Saturday, January 31, 2009

Tante Nana

Tante Nana lived a quiet life in a town in Northern Germany
. It's a beautiful town, small and charming, with a university there. She had an older sister who died a few years ago, and they occupied two very large, nice homes, sharing a huge backyard between them, on the canals in that city. Those canals led to the North Sea. The two sisters kept a sailboat on a lake nearby their city and took it out together until they were both in their early eighties!

Tante Nana was married once, to a distant cousin, and had two children, a girl and a boy. The thing about her life that intrigued me enough to write about it here is that she was so SOLID. She was born and lived her whole life within one city block. The large house on the canal was the house she was born into. When she married, she made the 'big move' into the huge house on the main street in town..... just around the corner from the canal house. There, she raised her two children and lost her husband at a very early age. She continued living there, downstairs in this very old home with her two children, while her husband's brother lived upstairs with his wife and two daughters. It was that family upstairs who welcomed Mr. Z into their home when his mother died. He had lost his father when he was 2 years old, so this family meant a lot to him. When his aunt died two years after his mother, Tante Nana became the female figurehead of the whole family and was always loved and respected for all she did. By the time I met her, twenty year ago, she'd moved back into the house she'd been born in and left the house on the main street to her son's family.

We once went to Germany and surprised her at a birthday party the family held for her. It might have been her eightieth. She couldn't stop saying Mr. Z's name because she was so pleased to see him! It felt so right to be there for her and it felt so good that she'd been so pleased with our surprise! The year before that, we had spent half our honeymoon in Hamburg and visited Tante Nana, in her town not too far away, on one of those nights. She had a fabulous little wedding party for us with about ten relatives and amazing food! Even Los Angeles hadn't yet caught on to serving delicious individual hors d'oeurvres off the end of large silver soup spoons but Tante Nana's caterer in that small town had! Elaborately garnished bite-sized delicacies on silver platters were served and we had a terrific time. When we went to pay the bill the next morning at our hotel, after one of those delicious German inn breakfasts of sliced meats, soft boiled eggs, warm breads, sweet butter and jams, we were told it had been taken care of. Tante Nana's generosity knew no bounds.

Tante Nana was always interested in hearing what we were all doing and I got to thinking today about what she did. She started traveling when she was older, mostly to spas throughout Germany, but I wondered what she did all those earlier years of her long life. I guess she did what women did in those days; she shopped and cooked and kept a home. She helped her children with their school work, she was there for whatever extended family needed, she arranged birthday celebrations, she lived a quiet life in which the days passed without much excitement but, I hope, much fulfillment. Mr. Z remembers that every single Sunday's lunch was roast veal, boiled potatoes and peas. Every single Sunday, the same lunch, served around Tante Nana's dining table for the 2 families who occupied that big house.

A favorite memory from Mr. Z's time with those families was the weekends on their motorboat, Puck. Uncle Erich, Tante Nana and her children and her sister, Uncle Erich's 2 daughters, and Mr. Z, and a guest now and again, would spend Saturday night on the boat! Tante Nana would have packed nudel (pasta!) salads, cold sausages and breads, beer, and water for the kids. In the harbor in Bremerhaven, they'd see big ships, like a ship called The United States, the second largest passenger ship after the QE II at that time. Uncle Erich would always make sure they'd moor next to a big tugboat, with people on them he knew, and Mr. Z and he'd play cards with the captains late into the night.

Tante Nana took her position as matriarch of the family seriously and handled it with grace and dignity. Her solidity, that way she took life seriously, but with a smile on her face, and was always there for family, is why I loved her and why I wanted to write this today, two days after her passing. She's one of the last people, I guess, in the Western world, to have lived in one city block all her life, a phenomenon not rare at all until the last fifty years, I'd guess. With so much moving and so many more divorces and so much changing of jobs, living one's whole life in one block doesn't happen much anymore! People move on, they leave. She didn't. Who knows, maybe she always wanted to! But, this was the life she knew, this was the life that passed by quietly, and a life that leaves many people behind who'll never forget her and all she was and all she did.

Tante Nana was blessed with a long and healthy life. She'd have been 98 this coming November, and hadn't really had a sick day all her life, but she'd developed dimentia about five years ago and had been put in an old age home....about 1 block from that one city block in which she'd spent her whole giving, loving, respectable and solid life.

Mr. Z is grateful for her always being there for him and for her affection. Tante Nana's son went to University in Munich with Mr. Z and, Mr. Z tells me now that, as absurd as it sounds for 2 guys to send laundry home by post, they did! And, every time he'd open his little suitcase with the newly returned, cleaned and folded clothes, there was a delicious dry sausage in there from Tante Nana, too! These are the things people remember, these are the things that make life good. THIS is the kind of thing that filled her days. She had a good life.

We'll miss you, Tante feels nice and fitting, and even important, to share you and your life with our friends here.

z (the photos are of the boat, the PUCK, the house Mr. Z moved into after his mother died, and the street that was right across the street from his high school)


Friday, January 30, 2009

Welcome WHERE?...............

..............TO GERMANY? oh, I SEE!! I think!?


Michael Steele WON the Head of the RNC! HOORAH!

Just saw this picture.

You know how I ask for captions sometimes?

THIS one? Oh, please...DO NOT DO IT!!

This one...I'm not asking............. (much!)

(okay, but keep it clean!)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thomas Jefferson...what a mind

John F. Kennedy once said, to an assembled group of scholars in the White House:

"I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered at the White House - with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone"

These quotes by Thomas Jefferson prove his point:

The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.

It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.

I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.

My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government..

No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.

The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.


In light of the present financial crisis, it's interesting to read what Thomas Jefferson said in 1802:

"I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. "

Z; Pretty amazing, huh?


Up, Up, and Away..................

Do you ever feel like you've heard enough? That you're living in an alternate universe? We've got ridiculously huge amounts of 'stimulus' money and only a tiny amount will be spent this year so how can we ("WE?") call that a 'stimulus'? We've got a governor who's on tape clearly asking for money for a senatorial position but thinks he did nothing wrong. We've got thousands of people losing jobs every day. We have a new Secretary of the Treasury who very clearly evaded paying taxes. You and I both could go on and ON and on, right?

........and Yahoo! has a story tonight on Angelina Jolie having worn a dress backward. WHAT? up the balloon (as IF I'd get into one!!!).........................I'm ready to TAKE OFF into the air......mostly because I'm just not one of those who puts her head in the sand.


Obama's that cold?

According to this afternoon's news, Mr. Obama is sporting no jacket in the Oval Office because he's so warm. I personally like my president to have some decorum and a bit more respect for the office, but that's fine, he doesn't care what I think (TRUST me). So, like a hot house orchid, he cranks the heat up so warm he has to take his jacket off. Some people didn't like that after what he said in bold below, so David Axelrod, his spokesman, said that it's because "he's from Hawaii!"

See, if the guy's cold, I don't have any problem with the PRESIDENT turning the heat up in his office, do you? But, he said this not too long ago, when running for the job:

"We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times ... and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK"

Secondly, he's from Hawaii HOW many YEARS AGO? He's from Chicago! I live in a city which is warm pretty much all year long. When I moved to Paris, France, I was frozen the first year and then, when we moved back a few years later, I was too hot all the time! Hasn't he adjusted to 15 or so years in Illinois?

I'd just like to say: "Mr. Axelrod, we're TIRED of the lies, the excuses. Just be REAL. Tell us 'you know, Barack's cold all the time...he's turned the heat up'." FINE. "Thanks, Mr. A. That's MUCH better. At least we can believe you now." That'd be an improvement.


The Free Market and Faith...........Read it through, you won't be sorry

Can Free-Market Values Survive In An Increasingly Secular World?

By Steven Malanga | Posted Wednesday, January 28, 2009 4:30 PM

(Z: This is one of THE best, and scariest, things I have EVER read...I would very much appreciate your input):

The 18th century English cleric and theologian John Wesley was troubled by a paradox that emerged as his teaching spread. He, like other Protestant thinkers stretching back to Calvin, taught that one could honor God through hard work and thrift.

The subsequent burst of industry and frugality generated by Wesley's message improved the lot of many of his working-class followers and helped advance capitalism in England.

But "wherever riches have increased, the essence of religion has decreased in the same proportion," Wesley observed, and subsequently pride and greed are growing more common, he complained.

The emergence of what Max Weber described as the Protestant ethic represented an important point in the evolution of capitalism because it combined a reverence for hard work with an emphasis on thrift and forthrightness in one's dealings with others. Where those virtues were most ardently practiced, markets advanced and socie-ties prospered.

And, as Wesley foresaw, what slowly followed was a rise in materialism and a reverence of wealth for its own sake.

Today, we seem to be living out Wesley's most feared version of the pursuit of affluence unencumbered by virtue.

Scam artists perpetrate giant Ponzi schemes against their friends and associates. Executives arrange compensation packages that pay themselves handily for failure. Ordinary people by the hundreds of thousands seek a shortcut to riches by lying on mortgage applications. Heartless phony bailout schemes take the last dollar of people already in distress.

To survive all of this it seems capitalism needs a new dose of restraint. But absent a vast religious revival in the West, which seems unlikely, where will a renewal of the virtues of the work ethic come from?

That question becomes ever more difficult to consider because as religious practice fades and our institutions reject traditional values, so too does the memory of the role that these elements played in the rise of capitalism.

In the Church of the Middle Ages, work was something the faithful performed to survive, not something that had a value of its own. The most important occupations were not determined by the market but by church leaders: the monastic life first, followed by farming and then crafts.

Although the Church saved what was left of Europe's culture and economy after the fall of Rome, the continent's standard of living barely changed for 1,000 years under a worldview that was suspicious of all but commerce on the smallest scale.

Calvin undermined that view by placing work in a new religious context. Work was something that God willed us to do — even the rich. The worldly success that one achieved through hard work was a sign that one was perhaps a member of the elect.

But the fruits of hard labor weren't meant to be spent lavishly on oneself. The Protestant reformers preached that the faithful should reinvest the profits of hard work in new ventures rather than squander them because it seemed unlikely that people who were profligate were saved.

Over time this view of work became so widespread that many of the West's institutions accepted it, especially in America, a land settled by dissident religious sects that embraced the Protestant ethic.

By the middle of the 18th century Ben Franklin could publish a best-seller with the title "The Way to Wealth," a secularized guide to work values filled with observations like "a penny saved is a penny earned," and "early to bed, and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise."

By the early 19th century de Tocqueville could marvel that America's preachers seemed as interested in promoting prosperity in this world through industriousness as "eternal felicity" in the next. Our public schools reinforced this message, not because it was religious but because it became the American way.

It was also here in America that the Catholic Church, initially suspicious of capitalism because it was thriving in Protestant countries, embraced the work ethic.

As vast waves of poor immigrants from Catholic countries, most especially Ireland, streamed into America in the 19th century, church leaders, worried about a backlash, set up schools that taught the children of these foreigners the same virtues of hard work, thrift and the pursuit of advancement that Wesley had transmitted to the English working class.

Within a generation, the Irish of America were thriving the way their countrymen across the Atlantic wouldn't prosper for nearly another 100 years.

But Wesley's paradox has been a part of this landscape of work and prosperity, too. Secularism rose in the U.S. in the late 19th century and peaked in the Roaring '20s, another age of materialism. Then the Great Depression and World War II brought a revival of religious observance, which continued during the boom years of the 1950s, before another decline began in the 1960s and continues through today.

Perhaps most pointedly, the values of the Protestant ethic also began to disappear from our larger society, especially from our schools, whose principals and instructors, largely schooled in American university education departments that have abandoned the idea that there is a common set of American cultural values, found such Franklinesque admonitions as "there are no gains without pains" too old-fashioned.

(However, one can occasionally find a football coach or phys ed teacher who echoes this wisdom.)

The gradual disappearance of the Protestant ethic has shifted the emphasis in our economy from work and production to work and consumption — but most of all to consumption. A culture of thrift has become a culture of debt, and in the process many people have blurred the line between the legitimate competitive activity that is so essential to capitalism and criminality.

When Franklin wrote that the bailiff does not visit the working man's house because "industry pays debts," he probably wasn't thinking of the no-doc, no down payment, interest-only, adjustable-rate mortgage with a balloon payment given to someone who conspired with his mortgage broker to obtain a loan for which he isn't qualified.

The meltdown of the financial markets in the last few months has left us grappling with how we can keep markets free and principled at the same time. The only debate so far is between those who want more government regulation — who want to impose from the outside via the regulator's eye the restraint that our institutions once tried to instill in us — and those who think that more government will only undermine our prosperity.

Neither side seems to be winning the public debate because most Americans are probably equally as appalled by the shortcomings of the markets as they are by the prospect of more government control of them.

People instinctively know something is missing, just not what. A religious revival in America seems unlikely. Is it equally as unlikely that our institutions, most especially our schools, would once again promote the virtues that made capitalism thrive and Western societies prosper — not just hard work, but thrift and integrity, or what we once called the Protestant ethic?

Malanga is an editor for RealClearMarkets and a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

Z: I have been saying this for a few years now..."Capitalism doesn't work without good, honest people" This man NAILS it, in my opinion. What do you think!?

By the way, when I Googled CAPITALISM IMAGES for an image for this article, the letters automatically turned to PRO CAPITALISM in the Google it so gone that they needed to add PRO? wow (ALL images were negative..ALL)


How soon will the signs come out in the streets? "GIVENCHY MUST DIE!"

So, the middle model here (Designer: Givenchy) struck me as 'interesting'.....let's cover the face, a la muslim women's wear....but let's put her in a camisole!? Is this designer going to become the new Geert Wilders? I hope not.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

ACLU.....only SOME of its agenda...Quickly read through this's a stunner!

“Freedom of speech” cases rank among the ACLU’s highest priorities. For example, the organization asserts that the First Amendment “protects” child pornography, and that there should be no governmental restriction on its distribution, reproduction, sale, or use. In August 2006 the ACLU objected to new Los Angeles City Council rules of decorum banning the use of slurs and profanity; the organization deemed such standards a violation of First Amendment rights. On the same grounds, the ACLU opposes laws prohibiting the disruption of military funerals by radical antiwar demonstrators, and has fought such restrictions in Kentucky, Louisiana, Ohio and elsewhere. (Z: um. child pornographers protected. By US. Welcome to the new America)

Among the American Civil Liberties Union’s additional issues of concern are the following:

The ACLU seeks to prohibit security personnel at National Football League games from searching fans for weapons before they enter the stadiums. It similarly aims to prevent New York City subway police officers from searching passengers they deem suspicious. (By contrast, the ACLU adamantly reserves the right to have its own security guards search the possessions of anyone entering its New York City headquarters building.) (Z: and a less safe America)

The ACLU was an Organizer of the April 25, 2004 "March for Women's Lives" a Washington, DC rally that drew more than a million demonstrators advocating the right to taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand. (Z: WHY do we have to PAY?)

In recent years, the ACLU has waged an advertising campaign and filed numerous lawsuits aimed at overturning felon-disenfranchisement laws (which bar convicted felons from voting in political elections) in Florida, California, Georgia, and other states. (Z: ACORN....congratulations! Democrats; You just got a few million more votes...putting votes before common sense. GREAT!)

The ACLU sued the state of Florida for having banned publicly funded universities from using state money to finance trips to countries designated as sponsors of terrorism: Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria.

In July 2006, the ACLU asked officials in a Detroit suburb to reject a proposal that would require businesses with foreign-language signs to add English translations – characterizing the proposal as “unconstitutional, anti-immigrant and unnecessary." (Z: "English in AMERICA? WHAT's the BIG DEAL?" HAA)

The ACLU’s policy guide states that all civil and criminal laws prohibiting bigamy and polygamy should be repealed.

In June 2006, the ACLU filed a lawsuit against the City of Indianapolis because of a newly passed local ordinance that would fine convicted child molesters, predators, and rapists $600 if they were found within 1,000 feet of playgrounds, swimming pools, recreation centers, or sports fields when children were present.

In 2007 the ACLU condemned draft regulations for the implementation of the Real ID Act (H.R. 418), a system (passed by Congress in 2005 and scheduled to take effect in May 2008) aimed at stiffening federal laws to: protect against terrorists’ entry into the U.S.; prevent people from abusing the state driver's license process to obtain false identification; and expand the legal definition of "terrorist organization" and “engaged in terrorist activity,” as those terms pertain to U.S. immigration law. According to the ACLU, the measure would constitute a "real nightmare" for America that “will only lead to a national identity card system that violates personal privacy …” (Z: "Come one, come all...America will be safe because WE LIKE YOU!" OY)

(Z: READ THIS ONE CAREFULLY....your health might be at risk):

In July 2007, the Capital Research Center reported: “With the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, aircraft maker Boeing is being sued by three suspected al-Qaida operatives transported by the CIA to Arab countries for interrogation … The lawsuit alleges a Boeing subsidiary helped the intelligence agency fly the detainees to Egypt and Morocco knowing they would be tortured by authorities there under its controversial ‘rendition’ program. ACLU executive director Anthony Romero said U.S. companies should not profit from a program that is ‘unlawful and contrary to core American values,’ and that such businesses ‘should be held legally accountable.’ The action was brought under the Alien Tort Statute using a legal technique perfected by the Center for Constitutional Rights … (Z: I can't comment. I'm snarling right now)

In September 2007 the ACLU won a court victory when federal judge Victor Marrero struck down a key part of the USA Patriot Act. At issue was a post-9/11 law that gave broader investigative powers to law-enforcement officials. Reported the Associated Press: "The ACLU had challenged the law on behalf of an Internet service provider, claiming that the law allowed the FBI to demand records without the kind of court supervision required for other government searches. Under the law, investigators can issue so-called national security letters to entities like Internet service providers and phone companies and demand customers' phone and Internet records." (Z: Why's SAFETY such a big deal? There's no terror threat!! Right? OH, there IS? Uhoh!!)

The ACLU has received funding from the Open Society Institute, the Arca Foundation, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Columbia Foundation, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. Macarthur Foundation, the Mertz Gilmore Foundation, the Minneapolis Foundation, the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation, the Open Society Institute, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Scherman Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Columbia Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the JEHT Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, the Lear Family Foundation, the Public Welfare Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Woods Fund of Chicago.

SO....there you have it, folks...the ACLU, only part of their plans. What do you think!?


(thanks for the info, P!) Z


It's my Blog Anniversary, and I'd like to thank some very grand people!

This is my one year Blog Anniversary.

There are three people and one group of people I would like to particularly thank.

The first person I'd like to thank is Elmer's Brother. Some of you know him and his blog. He asked me so many times to start a blog and I thought he was absolutely NUTS. I knew I didn't have the techie gene and I figured any woman my age who still doesn't understand how a TV works and has trouble with a DVD player shouldn't go near a blog! Finally, Elbro said "I'll build it, just tell me what you'd like." So, I did. And he did. During the process, he was patient, talented, kind and amazing. He's continued to be so with any slightest problem I might have...and there have been a few! I hope he knows how much I love blogging and how much it means to me that he enabled the whole experience. Thank you, Elbro, from the bottom of my heart. I should mention that Elbro and I share a deep faith and that's been a big blessing to me. (I got to meet Elbro's family when they came to LA for another occasion and we stole them away for a nice walk on the ocean bluffs and dinner at our house...fabulous family, wonderful time together!)

I'd also like to thank Mr. Z for his undying support, enthusiasm and encouragement. He was in on this from the beginning, too, in such good ways, and I'm so grateful. Also, I'm so happy that he's written such good pieces for us all to read and learn from, and that he's taken such beautiful scenery photographs for us to enjoy! What a great addition to geeeeeZ all of his work's been! I am really thankful to my dear husband for so many things AND his blog participation!

Third, I want to thank Priscilla. I met Priscilla at Frontpagemag. com, and since I started this blog, she's been such a wonderful addition here to the comments page, the terrific email finds she's alerted me to and, especially, Priscilla's Post. Priscilla has a great conservative mind, knows her history, writes well, and is just an all-around great thinker and person. And she LOVES this country! I couldn't be prouder than I am for having her support and faithfulness at geeeeeeZ! (Priscilla and her terrific husband live not too far from here and we've been able to meet a few times and have had great times together...!)

There's a Small Band of Brothers (and know who you are!) who, along with Elbro, helped me get started in ways I had never expected. They welcomed me wholeheartedly and so graciously, taught me, nurtured my baby blog, and they have been here supporting me from the very, very first days and I believe that, without them, I don't know if I'd have met many of you! These are brothers and sisters to me, and I love you, guys. Thanks for so much!! I owe you a LOT and I know it, and I SO appreciate each and every one of you.

And THANK YOU, readers and commenters here.... Your blogs are fantastic and it's humbling that you come here to participate at mine. Thank you very much. You're all terrific, I honestly have a real affection for you ALL, and I hope we share many healthy, happy years of blogging together.

So...thank you, ALL! This is getting CORNY, but I couldn't help it!....It's been fun to indulge in publicly thanking all of you...but, now, back to your blogs! We have a COUNTRY TO SAVE!! God Bless America....And I thank God for all He is to all of us. We'd be nothing without him!

Love and thanks to you. Imagine if we could ALL get together somewhere and talk and laugh and solve ALL the problems of the world? I guess our blogs will just have to suffice for now, right? Well, they do far more than that already, don't they! THANK YOU for everything.



Tuesday, January 27, 2009

US Airways is PAYING the passengers in the Hudson River accident!!?? WHY?

U.S. Airways Passengers Get $5000.00 Each: Is it Enough?

By Gary Stoller, from USA TODAY

Many US Airways passengers who endured a crash landing in the Hudson River 12 days ago say they appreciate the $5,000 that the airline has offered — but some say it's not enough.

Joe Hart, a salesman from Charlotte who suffered a bloody nose and bruises, says he "would like to be made whole for the incident."

It's too soon after the accident to determine what emotional distress he has suffered, he says.

He's one of 150 passengers who were dramatically rescued Jan. 15, when the Charlotte-bound Airbus A320 jet safely ditched into the frigid river off Midtown Manhattan. A pilot on the plane told air-traffic controllers that birds struck the plane before both engines failed after takeoff from New York's LaGuardia Airport.

After the crash, US Airways sent passengers a letter of apology, a $5,000 check to assist "with immediate needs" and reimbursement for the ticket.

Exactly how much compensation is appropriate is a question after crashes.

The National Air Disaster Alliance & Foundation, a safety advocacy group, says $5,000 is not enough.

"We're grateful everyone survived, and the captain on the plane was so marvelous," says Gail Dunham, the group's executive director. "But passengers lost luggage, briefcases, cellphones, BlackBerrys and business documents, and went through a terrific ordeal."

Like many, Hart says he left a lot of items behind and doesn't know which ones may be lost.

The National Transportation Safety Board, which investigates aviation accidents, wants to examine baggage and belongings, and determine how much they weighed on the plane, says spokesman Peter Knudson.

It could take "weeks or months" before they are returned to passengers, he says.

Hart and another passenger, Dave Sanderson, say they each left more than $5,000 worth of items on the plane.

Sanderson, a sales manager in Charlotte, says US Airways' letter and checks were "a nice gesture," and the airline's personnel "have treated me like gold since the incident."

US Airways Vice President Jim Olson says that an insurance claims specialist is contacting passengers and that they'll be reimbursed for expenses or losses above $5,000.

The airline wants to ensure no passenger is "losing money for the inconvenience or anything lost during the accident," he says. (Z: WHAT? The airlines was pretty 'inconvenienced, too...who's making it up to them, PETA? The zoo?)

Under Department of Transportation regulations, airlines are liable for up to $3,300 per passenger for checked bags that are lost or damaged on a domestic flight. Most airlines disclaim liability for carry-on bags unless a crewmember stowed the bag, says Bill Mosley, a department spokesman.

In addition to recovering losses, Hart says he's concerned about having trouble flying. He's flown on six planes since the accident, and each flight has gotten "progressively more difficult." (Z: will US Airways pay for his therapy? It's sad, but why do they OWE HIM?)

He says he was tense, sweated and "felt every bit of turbulence" on a Los Angeles-to-Philadelphia flight last week, though it wasn't that turbulent a flight. (Z: Can someone explain THIS one? NO TURBULENCE? How can you feel HALF of it, anyway?)

Hart says he has talked to a lawyer in North Carolina but hasn't decided whether to take any legal action.

"I want to see how things play out with US Airways," he says. "I'm hopeful US Airways understands the significance of the incident."

Kreindler & Kreindler, a New York law firm that has represented plaintiffs in crashes, says it has been contacted by several passengers on the US Airways flight.

The firm's lawyers are determining what injuries and emotional distress passengers may have suffered, and what parties might be liable under New York state law, says Noah Kushlefsky, a partner in the firm.

In many aviation accidents, survivors have claimed post-traumatic stress disorder. To recover damages, plaintiffs have to prove that injury or distress was caused by negligence, or the jet or its engines not performing as they should, Kushlefsky says. New York law requires a lawsuit to be filed within three years of an incident, he says.

Sanderson, a father of four, says he's thankful he could celebrate his 48th birthday on Friday and has no reason to talk to an attorney. (Z: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, you're the MAN!)

"US Air has been doing the right thing," he says. "Everyone is acting in a responsible way."

Fred Berretta, who suffered a small cut on his head during the crash landing, says US Airways representatives have called frequently and treated him very well. He says that a few personal mementos from his father were left behind but that the money sent by US Airways covers the value of his belongings.

Berretta, who works for a financial services company, was flown home to Charlotte after the crash on his company's jet.

"I'm a private pilot, and I'm sure I'll be flying again," he says. "But it might be a little while before I fly for pleasure again."

Amber Wells of Charlotte says she's so thankful to have survived and to be with her 9-month-old daughter, Rayley, that she hasn't had time to think about her belongings.

She says she lost $2,000 of nursing equipment and a laptop computer, as well as a checked bag and a carry-on bag.

"Everything that's gone can be replaced," says Wells, 34, a senior manager for NASCAR. "My life cannot be replaced." (Z; ATTABOY, kid..a NASCAR guy knows the right thing to say..kind of goes along with my article below, huh?)

Z: One man above says "would like to be made whole for the incident." Maybe he ought to go on Oprah instead, ya THINK? One man says "he left a lot of items behind and doesn't know which ones may be lost." That's funny! I was on that flight and THINK I lost a diamond bracelet worth half a million dollars, I think US Airways ought to pay for THAT, too! One "felt turbulence" could he NOT? Is this all US AIRWAYS' FAULT? WHY ARE THEY PAYING ANYTHING? Contact PETA, the geese were the terrorists, maybe PETA will make good?

geeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeZ! I simply CANNOT BELIEVE THIS! CAN YOU?


I just love this piece. And, no, I did not write it...I think you'll like it.........

Lets Get r done!!!

Dear American liberals, leftists, social progressives, socialists, Marxists, Obama supporters, et al:

We have stuck together since the late 1950's, but the whole of this latest election process has made me realize that I want a divorce. I know we tolerated each other for many years for the sake of future generations, but sadly, this relationship has run its course. Our two ideological
sides of America cannot and will not ever agree on what is right, so let's just end it on friendly terms. We can smile, slate it up to irreconcilable differences, and go on our own ways.

Here is a model dissolution agreement:

Our two groups can equitably divide up the country by landmass each taking a portion
. That will be the difficult part, but I am sure our two sides can come to a friendly agreement.

After that it should be relatively easy! Our respective representatives can effortlessly divide other assets since both sides have such distinct and disparate tastes. We don't like redistributive taxes so you can keep them.

You are welcome to the liberal judges and the ACLU.
Since you hate guns and war, we'll take our firearms, the cops, the NRA and the military. You can keep Oprah, Michael Moore, and Rosie O'Donnell (you are however, responsible for finding a bio-diesel vehicle big enough to move them).

We'll keep the capitalism, greedy corporations, pharmaceutical companies, Wal-Mart, and Wall Street. You can have your beloved homeless, homeboys, hippies, and illegal aliens. We'll keep the hot Alaskan hockey moms, greedy CEO's, and rednecks. We'll keep the Bibles and give you NBC and Hollywood .

You can make nice with Iran , Palestine , and France and we'll retain the right to invade and hammer places that threaten us. You can have the peaceniks and war protestors. When our allies or way of life are under assault, we'll provide them job security.

We'll keep our Judeo-Christian Values. You are welcome to Islam, Scientology, Humanism, and Shirley McClain. You can have the U.N. But we will no longer be paying the bill.
We'll keep the SUV's, pickup trucks, and oversized luxury cars. You can take every Subaru station wagon you can find.

You can give everyone healthcare, if you can find any practicing doctors (that is practicing, Howard Dean) who will follow to your turf (sic). We'll continue to believe healthcare is a luxury and not a right.

We'll keep The Battle Hymn of the Republic and The National Anthem. I'm sure you'll be happy to substitute Imagine, I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing, Kum Ba Ya or We Are the World.

We'll practice trickle down economics and you can give trickle up poverty its best shot.

Since it often so offends you we'll keep our History, our Name, and our Flag.

Would you agree to this? If so please pass it along to other like minded patriots and if you do not agree just hit delete and hang on.

In the spirit of friendly parting, I'll bet you ANWAR on who will need whose help in 15 years.


John J. Wall

Law Student and an American

P.S. Please take Barbra Streisand too.

z: I don't know who John J. Wall IS, but I'd SURE like to meet him. And hug him.


Monday, January 26, 2009

I scream, you scream, we ALL scream for ICE CREAM!

Who worries about cows when all we want is ice cream? The most eye-opening civics lesson I ever had occurred while I was teaching third grade this year. The presidential election was pending, and some of the children showed an interest. I decided to stage an election for a class president. We would choose our nominees. They would each make a campaign speech, and then the class would vote.

To simplify the process, candidates were nominated by other class members. We discussed what characteristics these candidates should possess. Among the many nominations that came in, Jamie and Delia were chosen to run for the top spot. The class had done a good job in their selections. Both candidates were good kids. I thought James might have an advantage because his parents gave him lots of support and attention. Delia was a sweet, very attractive little girl, but I could not remember ever seeing her mother.

On the day they were to make their speeches James went first. He had specific ideas about how to make the class a better place. He told us we should all cooperate more with the teacher, do our homework carefully every day, volunteer to answer questions in class. Do extra research at the public library when possible, and ask the teacher for special help if we didn't understand an assignment, He also suggested each of us should contribute part of our allowance to a Field-Trip Fund, so we could go to museums of natural history and art, and nature centers to learn more about history and biology. He also suggested we start a Gift Fund so we could buy our teacher a really nice present at the end of the year to show our appreciation for all she had done. He ended by promising to do his very best to see that this all came about. Everyone applauded.

Then, James sat down and Delia came to the podium. Her speech was brief and asked no effort from anyone. She said, "If you vote for me, I will give you ice cream." She sat down. The class went wild. "Yes! Yes! We want ice cream."

Surely she could have said more? She did not have to. A discussion followed. How did she plan to pay for the ice cream? She wasn't sure. Would her parents buy it or would the class pay for it? She didn't know. The class really didn't care. All they were thinking about was ice cream. James was forgotten. Delia won by a landslide.

Every time Barack Obama opened his mouth he offered "ice cream" and fifty-two percent of the people reacted like nine year olds. They want ice cream.

The other forty-eight percent of us know we're going to have to feed the cow, milk the cow, process the milk, and muck out the barn every day and likely pay for veterinary services now and then, or not only will we have no ice cream, well have no milk, cream, butter, yoghurt, or sour cream --- and not even a cow ---, if we don't take proper care of the animal.

(Thanks, R!)


Did Mr. Z find the lost island of Atlantis?

LOOKS like it, doesn't it!? As time went on, the 'island' looked more like the cloud formation it is, but I couldn't help but joke that "We found ATLANTIS!" Gorgeous, huh?

(photos by Mr. Z!)


We're rewarding ACORN?

Could ACORN get BILLIONS of our tax dollars? I just saw this and had to post it.
Thanks to Gateway Pundit and our friend Carol for the information...This could mean we will NEVER have a legal election again, you all know that. WOW
Shoprat, another fantastic blogger buddy, commented at Carol's that this could be PAYBACK.
I think he's probably right.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

"Clinton Foundation's Secret Donor"

Here it goes...The Clintons refusing to give the details............How long will we go for this?

Hillary was's a done deal. Could somebody show this information to the Republicans who confirmed her? (Then also tell them I'm not paying my taxes on time this year because Geithner didn't!!)

Isn't THIS a happy little post!? I can't help it, folks. The times are getting scary. IMAGINE what the media would have done about Bill's foundation money OR Geithner if these were Republicans!?

Yes, this post is angry and accusatory but what is going on here? Why the unfairness? How can we have gone this far from doing the right thing? Since when do we get a Secretary of State whose husband won't tell exactly what foreign countries are giving his foundation money? Shouldn't we ask? Would we not be a healthier, safer country were our media to at least ASK?


Sunday Faith Blog

He said to his disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?" Mark 4:40

Have a wonderful Sunday....

Mr and Mrs Z (photo by Mr Z...Santa Monica, CA)


Saturday, January 24, 2009

Mr. Obama said some scary things on Friday...did you hear?

Khaki Elephant has an important piece on his blog:

Here's a snippet from the linked article in his excellent post....

"You can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done," he told top GOP leaders, whom he had invited to the White House to discuss his nearly $1 trillion stimulus package.

One White House official confirmed the comment but said he was simply trying to make a larger point about bipartisan efforts.

"There are big things that unify Republicans and Democrats," the official said. "We shouldn't let partisan politics derail what are very important things that need to get done."

That wasn't Obama's only jab at Republicans yesterday. (and what ARE the 'big things that unify Reps and Dems, by the way?)

While discussing the stimulus package with top lawmakers in the White House's Roosevelt Room, President Obama shot down a critic with a simple message.

"I won," he said, according to aides who were briefed on the meeting. "I will trump you on that."

Can we go forward with that attitude? This information REALLY bugs me....and, by the way....if one of those Republicans had had any courage, I'd have hoped he or she would have said "But, Mr. Obama, while we hardly have any time to listen to the radio during the day, maybe listening to Rush would help our country......maybe it would be better to let OUR 'partisan politics' enter into your thinking, too, just to have a mix? That's real bipartisanship... After all, they represent approximately 46% of the electorate." ??

My biggest worry is that "I won....I will trump you on that" comes from a frustration he's felt all his life with the Right, which he'd come to despise as bigoted, unkind, too focused on self-reliance and, therefore, selfish. Especially the white Right. I worry that this is payback and that's not really a mindset that's going to move us forward in a unified way. This really does scare me.

Please be praying that humility and an open heart and mind become the best parts of this president's demeanor.


Friday, January 23, 2009

The Kenya Connection

As a follow-up to our essay about Sub-Saharan Africa, in which we described the horrific situation in several African countries and outlined some of the reasons, I’d like to discuss here one country which appeared to be a haven of calm and promise for the future in the vicinity of some of the most dangerous countries but which now has fallen into the same trap as others: We are talking about Kenya. The irony is the direct involvement of then Senator Barack Obama (irrefutable links in the article are a must-read) in helping the communist contender, Raila Odinga, in the elections a little over a year ago.

Kenya used to be a wonderful, peaceful country. I visited it many years ago, and was very impressed by the combination of African culture, a beautiful landscape, and what I considered an only modest intrusion of Western lifestyle. I saw the sprawling capital Nairobi, the beautiful seaside at Mombasa, and the immense and beautiful expanses of the National Park South of Nairobi with its wild animals, the typical trees which always appear to be standing at the horizon, a fascinating Massai village, and, yes, a first hand view of Africa’s highest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro. A friend of mine had bought a vacation house near Lake Victoria, because, contrary to other countries in the general area, Kenya was considered safe.

Kenya used to belong to the British Empire, just like other countries in the Sub-Saharan region, and it left the Empire in 1963, but it somehow appeared to have managed the transition to its existence as a free country better than other countries. Was it perfect? No. But, they somehow managed, despite tribal differences and a stark difference between the rich and poor, to succeed quite well, something that was obvious for everybody to see when visiting not only the capital, but also the countryside. It appeared to me that the Massai lived like they had for thousands of years, were able to support themselves, and lived their more or less undisturbed but, from our view, primitive life.

The country was considered one of the success stories of Africa, with an economic growth of about 6%, and an enticing, peaceful environment. Then came the elections at the end of 2007 and all hell broke loose. Both the camp of the current President Kibaki and that of his communist opponent Odinga (educated in communist East Germany) claimed victory, but the supporters of Odinga started to vandalize the country, and so did the supporters of Kibaki. By spring 2008, the country was completely in flames. In the meantime, the opposing parties have agreed to share the power, and generated a government with a President, Kibaki, a new post of Prime Minister for Odinga, and a total of 94 ministers. The result is a high flying government which lives a very rich, opulent lifestyle and completely disregards the poor population, enjoying for themselves a level of corruption so high that it caused even European Governments to stop foreign aid. Even members of the Parliament get something like $17,000 per month and live in palaces, while the population suffers enormously.

It appears that there are many issues for the current desolate situation of the country. Without attempting to get too much into the details, the following factors stick out:

1. Problems between the different tribes, mainly Kibaki’s Kiyuyu tribe (20% of Kenya’s population

and Odinga’s Luo tribe (representing 13%). The resulting violent actions were characterized as ethnic cleansing (or the attempt thereof) with the slogan “No Raila [Odinga] no peace” (sounds familiar?).

2. Problems between political sides, the more Western oriented party of Kibaki and the communist party of Odinga.

3. Odinga also is backed by Saudis and has signed a promise to introduce Sharia law in Kenya (after the elections, many Christians died under the hands of Odinga supporters).

4. A situation left over from the British could have been solved a long time ago: the distribution of land. But the Government was too much involved in corruption activities and serving themselves.

Many reports exist about the current desolate situation in Kenya – the ones I have read are in German and came from people who had lived a peaceful life in Kenya until the unrest hit, one of which came from the correspondent for Der Spiegel. The tendency, unfortunately, appears to be the continuation of the trend which we have indicated in our previous geeeez article. Very much like in Zimbabwe and South Africa, and to a degree in Nigeria, formerly flourishing countries, once rid of colonialism, sink into tribal animosities, while communists are taking advantage of this situation to further the communist cause, with an effect we all know all too well.

An extremely delicate matter in the midst of this has been the involvement by Barack Hussein Obama in the furthering of the communist cause. He has, in a trip in 2007, paid for by US taxpayers, actively supported the communist contender Odinga in the Kenyan elections, to an extent that the Kenyan Government filed an official protest to the US Government about undue involvement by a US Senator in another country by supporting a candidate who was considered by the Kenyan Government as destructive for the country..

The pattern is clear: Earlier or later, basically all Sub-Saharan countries will end up in anarchy, caused by the inability to reach a National agreement because of tribal differences, and supported by people who further communist causes (like Obama, Mandela and Mugabe). The result is devastating: Formerly flourishing countries sink into complete dependence on outside help, corruption climbs to new heights, and the leaders live a high lifestyle while the population suffers enormously because they don’t know anymore how to nourish themselves (thank you, Bono, I know you mean well, but you are achieving exactly the opposite of what you intended).

This geographical region is enormously rich in resources and it would be a shame to not put that to work for the people living there. They will not be able to solve this by themselves after what has happened there. I maintain my position that “Imperialism Light” is the only hope these people have at this time. However, given the current structure of the UN, and the new administration in Washington, this is not going to happen. So, we will witness one country after the other go down. What a terrible shame.

Mr. Z

Thursday, January 22, 2009

George Walker Bush...the Legacy

So, Mr. Bush is departed from the White House.

Of all the things he did, what will you most remember him for? I'll delete nasty posts when I get the chance (so will Elmer's Brother, who has access to my blog workings), so fire away if you must, but know that I invite you to a reasoned, intelligent criticism or appreciation of this man today. We want discussion here, not insult and belittlement. He oversaw an amazingly civil and dignified transfer of power in every way, even the personal. What are your thoughts? I didn't always agree with him, that's for sure, but I thought it might be nice to get your opinions.

I wish him, Laura, and their daughters all the best. He kept us safe, he stood by his guns. He was terribly maligned and deserves a nice long rest.

God bless Mr. Bush, and God bless America.


"I now pronounce you MAN and STRANGER..."

Changing the subject from politics .......I have often wondered about this:

Do you think ARRANGED MARRIAGES can work?

Ever heard anybody debate it?!! Have any personal stories to share on the topic?

I think most of us have very little experience with this, but I sure do know that my grandmother and grandfather didn't know each other well before they married! And, you can be REAL sure they didn't know each other in the Biblical way! Actually, if it weren't for my Dad having been born, I'd have said they STILL hadn't............ never mind. But, they had a love for each other that was very sweet. They had respect for each other. They respected each others' families and wouldn't ever do anything to dishonor each other or their families or their children.

I see so many couples living together for four or five years, then divorcing fairly soon after marriage. The statistics show that couples who lived with each other have less success in marriage than couples who hadn't. What do you think?

Any thoughts? I'm curious! I wonder if the men's and women's comments will differ much!!


Wednesday, January 21, 2009


You've just GOT to go to Mustang's blog and see his latest post!

The Justness of our Cause

From Obama's speech...."They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint."

Do you believe that our security "emanates from the justness of our cause"?

What about the rest of the statement? I'm hoping our enemies also use their 'qualities of humility and restraint' in planning dirty bombs or nuclear attacks here. But, of course, some people honestly don't believe in the promise of terror training camps or messages from Al Qaeda, either... 9/11, to some, is a rare event we should have known was coming and prevented it (apparently the Left feels Bush should have canceled all air travel forever because the message was unspecific but talked about airplanes, right?).

The line about security is troubling...........really, really naive.....and troubling.


Do WHAT with my spouse??!!

I saw this article and wanted to share it. I think it's important...especially these days........and kind of inspiring!?

In another University of Chicago survey, this one of married couples, 75 percent of the Americans who pray with their spouses reported that their marriages are "very happy" (compared to 57 percent of those who don't). Those who pray together are also more likely to say they respect each other and discuss their relationship together.

Not to say that prayer is a cure for all that ails you. But whether they're talking about a simple grace at dinnertime or some soul-searching meditation, couples routinely say that a shared spiritual life helps keep them close. And as Doug and Beth say, even couples who are on different sides of the theological fence can benefit from praying together daily.

"We have been married for seven years, but praying together is something we didn't start doing until about a year ago," says Doug, a 32-year-old Salt Lake City biochemist. "In the past, whenever we faced big decisions, we'd have discussion after discussion about them, but we'd never really come to a resolution."

"I soon found that praying together brings out a real sense of selflessness and humility," Doug says. "When you're praying for each other, not yourself, you're focused together and speaking from the heart on a whole different level. I would never have predicted this for us, but it really works."

"As bad as any problem may seem at that moment," agrees Beth, "prayer always helps us see beyond it. It doesn't have to be a long-drawn-out scripture reading, just a few minutes a day. When we pray, it brings another level of honesty to our conversations. I think it's the most intimate thing you can do with another person."

Now they pray together every night, once the "urchins" are in bed, which puts them in the company of the 32 percent of American married couples who say they pray together regularly.

"It's pretty short and not at all scripted," says Julie about their giving thanks before each meal. "We just join hands and let it rip. Whether we're asking for forgiveness or giving thanks, saying it out loud holds a lot of power. Marriage takes a ton of faith."

Our country needs a "ton of faith", and prayer, too, especially now.

If ever we needed prayer, it's now. For our relationships or for America. Married or not.



Tuesday, January 20, 2009

President Obama's Speech and a couple of points.

Some thoughts on the Inauguration. No, I didn't watch it. I read it. I have to admit that I haven't digested the whole thing yet. I felt teary this morning and had a meeting and decided to go forward "You only have 4 more years of this...go to the meeting!"

I was very curious about Rick Warren's invocation and so I was curious to find it in print and see what he said. This bothered me: "Evangelical pastor Rick Warren, whose participation drew criticism from liberals and gay rights groups, directly invoked Jesus as expected in his invocation, but did so personally. 'I
humbly ask this in the name of the one who changed my life,
' he prayed."

Well, I can understand it. If we are slipping as a Christian nation, which Mr. Obama has implied many times, and come out and said at least once, then Rick Warren was correct in only invoking Jesus personally. But, Christians are roughly 82% of our population. I'd have thought it might be acceptable to have said "I humbly ask this in the name of Jesus Christ," since the world knows Rick Warren's affiliation. And it also is aware of America's huge Christian population.

Then, Mr. Obama told us that "We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and non-believers." The latest statistics I found today ranged from 2% Jews and 1% Muslims to both having 1% of the American population. Jews and Muslims, the same amount. Hindus are so miniscule a population that they are not on the statistics I researched. Why would an American president, in a country where "Judeo Christian" is a term often applied to our ethics and values, suddenly put Islam before Judaism? Strange, I thought. Devastating to some of my friends who called and emailed, Jewish and Christian. I guess it cheered the Muslim groups and gave them HOPE.

But, putting religions aside, here was what I thought was the most naive thing he said, though I haven't really pondered the whole speech in great detail yet: "...our security emanates from the justness of our cause,.."

To which my comment is. YIKE! Think about it......hard.

Did any of you have anything you found troubling or exciting...positive? I hope you'll take the time to share it. Anybody have a favorite line that really resonated with you positively? A line that invoked YIKE?!!

By the way, I thought Aretha Franklin's hat was absolutely wonderful!

UPDATE: Here is what the new Obama White House Site says about :


In June of 2006, then-Senator Obama delivered what was called the most important speech on religion and politics in 40 years. Speaking before an evangelical audience, then-Senator Obama candidly discussed his own religious conversion and doubts, and the need for a deeper, more substantive discussion about the role of faith in American life.

Senator Obama also laid down principles for how to discuss faith in a pluralistic society, including the need for religious people to translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values during public debate. In December 2006, President Obama discussed the importance of faith in the global battle against AIDS.