In the Humble Opinion of LittleBill, Socialist, Atheist, and Humanist
D.C. Quagmire?

Is it possible for both parties to lose?

David Brooks asks,
Bob, what do you think about the state of our political parties?
Is it possible for both parties to lose at the same time?
Bob Herbert answers,
I think both parties are misreading the public’s mood on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Whatever individual polls might say, most ordinary Americans are fed up with those conflicts and have no stomach for the rising casualties that would accompany an expansion of the fighting in Afghanistan. The conservative trend you mentioned is, I think, a manifestation of the desire to wind down the extraordinary drama of the past several years and begin to focus, in a prudent, common-sense way, on the myriad problems facing us here at home.
Yes, a lot more was said in this dialogue, but this is what I come away with.

Pooch's Point of View? (I think not!)

From the Lost Angeles Times, a poor rendition of a Dawg's point of view.

Every self-respecting athletic Dawg deserves his/her daily run without no stinkin' leash.

And 'pooch' is a term of disrespect.

Take a hike, Donn. A one-way walk into the surf.

Senate Bill 1495 - Service Dogs for Veterans Act

Al Franken's 1st Bill:

A bill to require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to carry out a pilot program to assess the feasibility and advisability of using service dogs for the treatment or rehabilitation of veterans with physical or mental injuries or disabilities, and for other purposes.

Get The Picture?

Condoleezza Rice headed Chevron's committee on public policy until she resigned on January 15, 2001, to become National Security Advisor to President George W. Bush. Chevron, for unspecified reasons, honored Rice by naming an oil tanker Condoleezza Rice after her, but controversy led to its being renamed Altair Voyager.

Healthcare? We're Good Enough Already!

One Sees Heaven, Another Sees Hell

One Sees Heaven, Another Sees Hell

Tourists going through Santa Barbara on this beautiful fall day, are probably looking with envy at our Santa Ynez Mountains, wishing that they could live here too. But I look at those mountains through a different prism.

I was driving up a street on May 5 of this year, with a good view of the mountains, and I saw a small puff of smoke which turned out to be the birth of the Jesusita fire. And today I write this blog to the regulated sound of planes flying over, spreading hydromulch as they go. Their task is to plant the beginnings of another, far-far-off forest to replace what we once had.

When I look at the mountains, I do not see a scene of majesty. Instead, my mind sees frightened little animals trying desparately to stay alive. I see courageous little animal mothers covering their children with their own bodies to protect them. And five months later, I see those who are left searching in the rock and ash for nourishment which is no longer there.

A fire wrought by Nature is part of Nature’s history, as well as its recipe and nurture for the rest of time. A fire caused carelessly or purposely by Man is a weapon either of wanton pleasure or evil malice.

In the days since the fire, I have greatly increased my birdfeeding stations, and it is a joy to realize that I am now feeding birds which may well have come here to seek refuge.


Puppy Rescued By Oldest USA KIA in Iraq Rescues GI's Memory (Right Back!)

When Major Steven Hutchison was killed while serving in Iraq, he was, at 60, the oldest American casualty in either of the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan. His unit, who had come to love him like a father, devised a unique way to honor their fallen leader -- and it involved a puppy.

Hutchison had enlisted in the Army in 1966, served two tours in Vietnam and was awarded a Bronze Star before retiring in 1988. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks he wanted to return to active military duty, but his wife Kandy Rhode wouldn't hear of it.

Married three times before, Hutchinson was devastated when Rhode died from cancer in 2006. "A part of him died," Hutchison's brother Richard Hutchison told the Huffington Post.

In July 2007, at the age of 59, Hutchison "signed up for the Army's Retiree Recall program," reports the Los Angeles Times. He was sent first to Afghanistan for a year and then onto Iraq where he joined the 2nd Battalion, 34th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division.

Though Major Hutchison vowed he'd never fall in love again after the death of his wife, the seasoned military man fell surprisingly hard for a stray yellow puppy his unit found while leaving an Army base near Basra. According to the Los Angeles Times, Hutchison scooped the puppy into his arms and took her to his armored vehicle.

Hutchison named the puppy Laia [sic] (for Princess Leia, according to Stars and Stripes) and snuck her back to the base. Stray animals in Iraq are typically euthanized the same day they are caught, reports the Los Angeles Times, and service members are not allowed to keep any strays as pets.

But, the major "was hooked," Sgt. Andrew Hunt later emailed to Hutchison's family, according to the Los Angeles Times. The military man allowed Laia to sleep with him at night and sit in his lap while driving around to visit the unit's Iraqi counterparts.

On Mother's Day, May 10, 2009 -- two days before he was to go on leave and one month shy of his 61st birthday -- Major Hutchison was killed by a roadside bomb while patrolling with his team in Al Farr, Iraq, near Basra. Laia was not with him that day; he had left her behind at the base. He was buried in Scottsdale, Arizona on May 19 and is survived by his mother, brother, half brother, half sister and two adult daughters.

As a tribute to Major Hutchison, Sgt. Hunt secured approval to send Laia to the United States and worked with the U.S. Embassy in Iraq and SPCA International's Baghdad Pups to transport the lucky pooch to America and place her in a home, which costs the non-profit animal rescue group about $4,000.

Major Hutchison would be happy to know that the scrawny yellow puppy he rescued is now happily living in Michigan with the family of a special agent who worked with Hutchison's team in Iraq. Though Laia lost one of her legs to an infection, she is doing well.

Zennie Abraham Says Jimmie Carter Was Right