Friday, September 9, 2011

Where were you on Sept 11th 2001?

Julia and I were in England. England is 5 hours ahead of the east coast of the US.

We had gone to the Waitrose supermarket in Waterlooville, a small town about 5 miles from my parents house. The four of us shopped for a while and had lunch. My parents left and drove home at about 1.00pm (Remember England is 5 hours ahead of the east coast of the US.) Julia and I continued shopping and then drove home just after 2.00. We talked on the way home, so did not turn on the radio. I turned our car into the driveway of my parents little brick bungalow and turned off the engine. My father, who was 82 years old came running out shouting "Have you heard? Do you have the radio on?" Not knowing what he was talking about we said "No, what happened?" He said, "America has been attacked."

We`all rushed in and watched the nightmare unfold on their TV. I remember saying, "The world will never be the same again."

The phone rang, it was our daughter Sarah calling from the USA. We were all watching it on TV when the second plane hit. Sarah was screaming. Julia tried to calm her down, and said, "Make yourself a cup of tea." I remember she said that several times. Then the first tower collapsed. Sarah was crying and shouting. We were all dazed and did not know what to do. We stayed in front of the TV for hours. We were supposed to go down to our little cottage in Litton Cheyney that afternoon - we had been shopping for food supplies etc to take with us - but that had to be cancelled.

We left the next day, or two days later, I'm not sure.

Much of our time at Chimney Sweep Cottage was spent in front of the TV.

Air service was interrupted. All flights in the US were ordered to land at the closest airport. People were stranded hundreds of miles from their homes for a week or more. Planes carrying Americans landed at small airports in Canada where they were put up by local citizens. Some became friends for life - they lived with their hosts for up to a week. Many people spent days sleeping in airports. Some got rental cars and drove home, but cars were hard to find.

One person who slept in an airport was Sarah's first husband Aaron, he had taken off from Boston at almost the same time as one of the planes that had flown into one of the Towers. He spent several days sleeping at Chicago airport, until he was finally able to get a rental car and drive back to Reno, Nevada and his home.

Washington D.C. where Sarah's second husband Roy worked, was attacked of course by a plane that flew into the Pentagon. Apparently there were many rumors of attacks elsewhere in D.C. that proved false. Suspicious vehicles were reported everywhere.
In fact another plane that was heading for D.C. was brought down by the passengers. They received the news of the attacks on the Towers on their cell phones. They got together and organised an attack on the terrorists. One leader was heard to say on his cell phone which he left on while talking to his wife, "Let's roll." The plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. It was headed for DC so they undoubtedly saved lives. It could have been headed for the White House or the Capital or somewhere else, we will never know.

Schools were closed, so Sarah had to go and pick up our grandchildren. We were in England so we didn't get to experience the reaction here.

A day that I will never forget for as long as I live. Just like virtually every one else in the world.

Continuation of third world country story.

A man in California flips the wrong switch, 6 MILLION people lose power and a nuclear power station is shut down!
Sounds like third world country status to me!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Is the USA a Third World Country?

You decide.

When we returned from a trip to Europe last year, it seemed like the answer might be yes!

After the roads in Europe, and even in the UK, the roads here seemed pathetic. Even the roads in Croatia - the old Yugoslavia - beat us out!

And Health Care in Europe - at half the cost, it is arguably twice as good!

Now we have a new wake up call, with all the storms - power outages. I don't really know how it is in the rest of Europe because I haven't lived there. But I did live in the UK for 26 years, and I can honestly NEVER remember having a power outage! I'm not saying it never happened, but I can never remember it happening. Here, our power goes out between 5 and 10 times a year on average. This year it has been more than that. If you count brief outages we had over 20 in one day after Hurricane Irene. And it was out for part of 3 days during the hurricane for about 2 days total in all. It rained yesterday, and we were out for about 3 hours. If someone runs off the road and hits a pole, or a tree falls on a line, or a boat with too tall a mast takes out the power line over the creek nearby, we lose power. One of those happens regularly. Then you add in hurricanes, tornadoes, high winds and heavy rain and you see why so many people have generators. I only fire mine up if it is out for more than 6 hours or so, so we have only used it twice this year. (One of those times we kept it running on and off for most of 3 days.) But some neighbors fire up as soon as it goes out and that would be between 10 and 20 times this year.

So what does the UK and the rest of Europe do differently? The power lines, the telephone lines and the cables lines are underground.

We don't notice it here because we are used to it, but there are hundreds to thousands of cables running all over the place here. Check it out next time you are out driving, especially at intersections. We could not believe it when we first came here. Route 40, near where we first lived in the US, is an unbelievably mess of wires. I have only seen worse in places like India. But as I said, we are used to it and don't notice it now. When we return from a trip to the UK, we do notice for a while and then we forget again - until the power goes out!

I had to interrupt this post - because the power went out! Really. I think that is the fourth time this week - so far. Now THAT is third world!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Election thoughts.

First you have to know that I am a Democrat, or maybe an Independent. When choosing a candidate 3 years ago, I favored Hilary Clinton. Hey, we would have got Hilary and Bill, what a bargain, two for the price of one. Hilary, a smart strong woman and Bill Clinton, one of our best, if not the best, President ever. Hey how many Presidents have had a SURPLUS instead`of a deficit? Not many, if any. He had a 39% top tax rate and a plan to pay off the National debt in 10 years. (Had Bush stuck to that plan it would now be paid off!)

Instead, Bush, true to his word - "Vote for me and I will send everyone a check for $300" - blew it all. Then he cut taxes on the rich to a top rate of 35%, made no provision to pay for it, except to borrow money. So he borrowed money and gave it to the rich, leaving us all to pay for it. Then he started two wars, again making no provision to pay for them. At any other time in history taxes have been raised to pay for wars, here and in any other country. Instead he borrowed to pay for them. So the National debt, instead of being paid off, almost doubled, from $5.7 Trillion to $10.7 Trillion. In one Presidency he added more to the National debt than ALL other Presidents combined! Then he turned the mess over to Obama. A huge tax cut and two wars, which still had to be paid for, remember he made NO provision to pay for them? So the economy continued to shell out money.

Then comes my President, and what does he do? Nothing! Disappointed is a far cry from how I feel. He didn't stand up for his beliefs at all. Instead of letting the Bush tax cuts expire (Even Bush knew we couldn't keep them up forever so he made it for just 10 years.) he allows himself to be pushed into extending them! Then he makes more tax cuts. Then a stimulus bill of which 70% was tax cuts for business. Hello, how do you expect to pay for anything? The man is a secret Republican. What did Boehner say? "I got 98% of what I wanted."

So I start to look around for a suitable replacement, apart from Hilary, who I would go for in an instant, what do I find in the Republican line up but what appears to be a bunch of rejects from a three Stooges casting call. There are people who think the world started 6,000 years ago! And/or Climate Change is not happening. We don't have to pay our bills. And/or we can pay off our National debt by cutting taxes! Each one seems to be more insane than the next - hey an insanity contest! I'm crazier than you, no you're not, yes I am! A bunch of fanatics and extremists.

So I am forced to vote for Obama. Even he has got to be better than the alternatives. Ron Paul is not too bad. Sarah Palin looks good - she'd definitely be our best looking President ever, but I cannot imagine having her represent our country! Even Bush acted good next to her! I can imagine her in the Oval Office with her shotgun. Lets take them out. I don't like them, drop the bomb. Perry says that Soc Sec is a Ponzi scheme, the Earth is 6,000 years old, there is no climate change, he prays for rain (It didn't work. So I guess God is not on Rick Perry's side! So I don't want him.) Michelle Bachman thinks the earthquake and the hurricane is retribution from God! (I was taught that he is a loving, forgiving God. Apparently I got that wrong - according to Ms Bachman anyway.) Mitt Romney signs in a health care bill in his State almost identical to Obama's, and then denies it!

Please, please, pray that none of these crazies get into power.


Some Tea Bagger ideas.

Michele Bachman says that the Earthquake and Hurricane (And the Tornado here) that hit the East Coast of the United States were sent as a divine warning to (Democratic?) Politicians in Washington to curb government spending!

That is silly - it was of course sent, I think, as a warning not to raise taxes on the 1% of wealthiest Americans.

But maybe Ms Bachman is closer to the source than I am.

It seems a real shame that God would kill more than 30 Americans, destroy thousands of homes and lives and do tens of billions of dollars of damage to warn us about government spending. Sometimes collateral damage just cannot be avoided.

Should we apologise to the people who were killed and injured in The Bahamas and the Dominican Republic for the damage that Hurricane Irene caused there because our government is spending more money than they are collecting in taxes?

Should we thank Michele Bachman and the Rev Pat Robertson for interpreting the true meaning for us of what many stupidly thought were natural events? In case you missed it, Pat Robertson said that the recent earthquake damaged the Washington Monument to show his displeasure at the path we are on. (Not sure why he damaged the National Cathedral. More collateral damage perhaps?)

If we are allowed to come up with our own reasons I would like to put forward the possibility that it was because of the government bailout of General Motors.

Now, please don't doubt Mr Robertson's claims. He exposed the connection between legalized abortion and Hurricane Katrina. (There is some controversy here as the Rev John Hagee says that Katrina was retribution for the New Orleans gay parade.)

But back to Mr Robertson who said that the blizzard of last December was a divine message to punish Americans who were going to drive to do something gay. Perhaps he confused the divine message between the two disasters?

Lets not forget the Rev. Jerry Falwell - who could? As we approach the 10th anniversary of 9-11 remember how he saw that it was not Osama Bin Laden but Pagans, abortionists, feminists, gays and lesbians who were responsible. Or did they just help Osama Bin Laden?

Anyway I am sure that you can clearly see from these disaster interpreters, that God is both a Social and Fiscal Conservative, rather like Rush Limbaugh without the drug problem.

Should we point out to God that there are other places he could direct his warnings to? Perhaps we can cool off some of his warnings to us if he knew that Canada, the UK, Switzerland, Japan, Taiwan, most of Europe, and in fact almost the whole world had National Health Care long before us?

Lets hope that little bit of information helps to protect us.

Oh, one more Tea Bagger type bit of information, Rick Perry says that we can ignore Liberal claims of Climate Change. It is not happening. So that is a relief! (Did I just hear that he returned to Texas because of heat, drought and fires? The worst that Texas has ever had?)

9-11 anniversary approaches.

As the tenth anniversary of the 9-11 nightmare approaches it occurred to me that I am more upset and depressed by our current situation than I was by the 9-11 tragedy.
Thinking about that it may be because when 9-11 happened we knew who our enemies were. They were real enemies, real terrorists.
But who is "doing it to us" now? It seems to be our own people, greedy bankers who have done way more damage to our economy than Al-Quaida ever did, just as greedy Politicians who seem determined to sink us, just so they can be "In power" and "Save" us!
Save us from Politicians!