Tweaking The Theme

I have been working on tweaking this theme, and so far my results are coming together, albeit not as good as I would like them to be. If you have followed along at all, you know that I used a WP theme generator to build this blog. I find that the CSS does not validate,nor does the HTML. I am not very happy about that, so will be struggling along with it in the future. Gotta keep it friendly for the SE’s! 😥

I added drop caps, which is a nice touch in a newspaper type blog like this one is. It adds a bit of elegance to the blog, and it also draws attention to the post. I want to tweak this further so will work on that later.

I added an RSS feed, using Carp, a free feed generator. I don’t like the large font, so will have to work on that one, too. It really helps having an RSS feed on your blog, boys and girls. I have a blog that is a WIP that incorporates an RSS feed by Carp, and I have done little to this blog except tweak the theme and add an RSS feed. It has been indexed by Google, and the only text on the pages is the pseudo-Latin Lorem Epsum. Google never fails to amaze me…

The blog is a lot of fun to write to. I am discovering a lot of things about CSS, PHP, and how WP comes together in the process. Good enough for me…

Drive on…

Charlie~

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Technology To Save The World

I get a lot of fodder for this blog from the NY Times and LA Times. It is a natural thing for an old man to get up in the morning and read the newspapers, and I don’t find it much different than it was in my own Dad’s day. He sat at the breakfast table and read the State Journal before beginning the day’s labor. I do the same. The only difference between Pop and I is that I get my news from the Internet. The Times, both of them, dutifully deliver the breaking news of the world to my inbox as regular as the sun coming up in the morning. My attachment to the LA Times goes back 40 some odd years when I lived in Imperial Beach and my whole world was southern California.

These days, I sit in the tower of the Beechler building in beautiful downtown Charlotte and spend a hell of a lot of time contemplating my navel. I find as I grow older that the news of the day is of utmost importance to me. Typically, I read the Times to find things of interest to blog about. This lovely morning in May, with the sun peeping through the blinds and a cool breeze soothing my soul, I read two articles. Both of them captured my interest.

The first, about Lurita Doan, is a political thing. I find myself obsessing on the ills of the political arena way too much, so decided to pass on this one. Folks are gonna start thinking I am some kind of radical rebel, or political activist if I don’t leave some of this shit alone. It just annoys the hell out of me, ya know?

I instead decided to write about something we all pretty much never think about, or probably don’t even care. The people of third world countries, especially Africa, have been in the news a lot lately. I first took interest once again in this after reading about the BOGO flashlight, and the man who developed it. We of a high tech nation think that something as common as a flashlight is not a thing to write about, and dismiss these thoughts out of hand. The capability of light in an African nation can mean the difference between life and death. The BOGO is used at night to help children learn to read and write by illuminating their classrooms. Wild animals are held at bay by something as simple as a flashlight. Who’da thought?

I read this AM about Kickstart, and the technology it is developing for third world nations. The article told of the billions of dollars spent to provide us with haute couture, wine labels, and the Maserati. It then went on to say that virtually nothing is spent on developing product for the billions of people that are in desperate straits. Kickstart does something about it.

The most prominent thing I saw on their website is a simple pump with which farmers can irrigate their fields. Because so much of Africa is without fuel or electricity, it is a man operated pump that takes advantage of the plentiful labor there. Methinks I shall think of that today when I jump in the shower, or turn o the tap for a cold glass of water.

I find myself once again humbled by these things. Rosie and I discussed this weekend the fact that we always bitch about how bad we have it, when other people are much more disadvantaged. The discussion arose from seeing a news story about a woman that gets up at 3 AM, has breakfast, gets in her car to drive to the bus station, and rides the bus for two hours to get to her job. Rosie jumps out of bed, takes a shower and puts on her makeup, and goes downstairs to work. Me? I get out of bed and walk 5 feet to my office and begin my day. No matter how bad we have it, there is always someone else who has it a lot worse. Food for thought…

Peace,

Charlie~

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Blogging For Good

Today, May 28th, the blogosphere takes on the challenge of blogging for good, and is doing so to help kids across the country further their education.  Particular focus is on the children of New Orleans.

I find this to be a worthy challenge, and post here.  I have long felt bad for the folks of The Big Easy, and what they have gone through following Hurricane Katrina.  The response time by FEMA for this disaster is what horror stories are made of.

Take time this Memorial Day weekend, visit  Donors Choose, and help ease the burdens of these people.  Children, especially in this day and age, need education, and usually all the help they can get.  It is the least we can do…

Peace,

Charlie~

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A Memorial Day Message

This weekend we celebrate Memorial Day here in the US. I remember as a child when it was still called Decoration Day, and was a time for family to gather together to visit the graves of loved ones lost to us. It was not a day of picnics, BBQ’s, and fireworks, but a solemn day of remembrance.

Today it is a bit different. The meaning, however, is still the same. A message from John Edwards, (D) N. Carolina, is in order here…

[youtube width=”425″ height=”335″]http://youtube.com/watch?v=pMJwirCQ_ss[/youtube]

Let us hope we find peace soon.

Drive on…

Charlie~

Dubya And The Draft

It is no surprise to the Everyday Citizen that the bipartisan thoughts on the Hill are definitely against re-instituting the draft.  Ended in 1973, the Selective Services Commission still requires young men of 18 years of age to register, but they can no longer be drafted into military service.  The thinking behind this was the country needed “no more Viet Nams.”

Personally, I joined the Navy in 1963 to avoid the draft, and spent a major part of my time in the Navy in the Gulf of Tonkin.   After picking rocks and shoveling cow shit for a lot of years, the idea of living in a fox hole covered in mud just didn’t appeal to me.   Better,  a berth on some nice big war wagon

The draft, although hotly protested and heatedly debated, was essential to keeping the war machine going.  It provided fresh cannon fodder for Nam, and kept the boys busy as beavers picking up after the current administration.  Men rotated in and out of the war, and we always had a supply of fresh meat.  it’s the American way.

And now we see an Army that is weakened and less effective, because many troops are being re-deployed after as little as a year at home between engagements.  We see families torn asunder, and witness the death of our American young men in a war that has no future.  Without the draft to feed the machine, we have to recycle men that are battle weary, under-trained, and just plain worn out to just go and do it again.  The Army is becoming depleted in both men and resources, and our country, which has been renown for having the strongest Armed Forces in the world, is at danger of becoming ineffective and weak.  This scare hell out of me.

The Democratic Congress has finally backed down and given Bush what he wants in terms of military spending.  Their bad.  But it is essential that the men in the trenches and fighting the terrorists in the streets of Bagdad have what little that can be scrounged up in the way of support.  Bush himself has stated that the next few months will be bloody and tough.  I ask the question if we already have a weakened Armed Forces, how is stretching out this unpopular war going to make things better for democracy?

The National Guard, already seriously in trouble on the home front,  can no longer be expected to fill the gaps left by dead soldiers in the field.  Resources here in the US are poor at best. The head of the National Guard has said that 90% of the Army National Guard is poorly equipped, raising real questions about the Guard’s ability to respond to disasters.  This was evident in Bush’s response in Greensburg, Kansas, after visiting and offering his condolences.  When questioned about the resources of the National Guard, he simply chose to ignore the questions.

Can we as a country afford to bring back the draft?  Do we decide that in order to support troops that have been in Iraq for four years, and Afghanistan for six, that the draft will fulfill the need?  Or do we, as a nation, allow Bush’s clock to run down and he be allowed to leave the Presidency with a depleted Army, National Guard, and grieving parents?  One cannot help but wonder…

Drive on…

Charlie~

Some US Muslims Justify Suicide Bombings

As a writer, I often post content on Associated Content, a media site that publishes a lot of content and allows writers to submit for non-exclusive payment. Often, when on site, I browse the content by other writers to see what is hot, what is not.

Today, I found a disturbing article about suicide bombings. It states that the Pew Research Center has discovered that 25% of younger US Muslims believed that suicide bombings are acceptable in at least some circumstances when it comes to defending their religion. This poll, as reported by Reuthers is alarming to the Everyday Citizen.

As a Buddhist, I cannot justify any killing of any living thing. I even go so far as to release spiders and insects from inside the home rather than killing them.  Though this may sound extreme to some, it is my way of life, and I choose to live by these rules. As a Viet Nam vet, I have taken a vow to never harm another living things, and Buddhism has helped me define that vow.

To my way of thinking, suicide bombings have no relevance, because they are random killings, as are most terrorist acts. If you feel so strongly about your religion, then confront your enemy, identify yourself, and have at it. Don’t take the cowards way out, and just randomly set off a bomb, which could possibly kill your friends, neighbors, and even members of your own religion. To me, this is justification, not a random act of violence.

US Muslims report that they find it harder to live in the US since 9/11. I have to wonder why that might be? Could a hint be in the results of this poll? Food for thought…

Drive on..

Charlie~

Monica Goodling & The Whistleblowers

In related articles this morning in the NY Times, I read of matters in the Beltway that leave a bad taste in the Everyday Citizen’s mouth. Although lawmakers and staff are expected to bring attention to the wrongdoing of lawmakers, you can bet your booties that they are gonna pay. Big time. Whistleblowers, indeed.

Inside the Commerce Department, the inspector general, Johnnie Frazier, committed “egregious violations” by assigning his top deputy and counsel after they refused to sign off on questionable expenses Frazier had made, including expensive trips and office renovations, to demeaning jobs for their insubordination. Imagine that!

And now we have Monica Goodling, testifying before the Senate that she felt her boss, US AG Alberto Gonzales, had tried to “shape” her recollections concerning the dismissal of the US attorneys. Her reaction was “uncomfortable.” Sure.

She also testified that she may have “crossed the line” a wee bit by stating she had taken into account the political leanings of applicants for jobs at the Justice Department, including career prosecutors and immigration judges. She also reported ” that she had gone overboard in considering the political backgrounds of candidates for jobs as career prosecutors.” Clearly in violation of civil service laws, she confesses “she didn’t mean to.”

What is it going to be? Are we, as American citizens, to be subjected on and on ad nauseum to the political manipulations of the Bush administration? I have to ask myself why Bush is so adamant in not allowing Karl Rove or Harriet Meiers to testify under oath. That scares the helll out of me…

My intent was never to make this blog a political platform that bashes the current administration. It is leaning that way, and if you find this distasteful, leave a comment. I am, however, sick and tired of the gloom and doom I hear on the news each night, and cannot hide my head in the sand any longer. We, as Americans, need to take a stand…

Drive on,

Charlie~

Carter Blasts Bush & Blair

Ex-President Jimmy Carter pulled out all the stops in what seemed to me almost like an attack on the Bush presidency, and Tony Blair, Britain’s Prime Minister. I admire him for his stand. Remember, this is the gentleman who won the Nobel Peace Prize for his humanitarian work.

Quoting President Carter, he said that Blair’s relationship with Bush was “Abominable. Loyal. Blind. Apparently subservient.” Blair has long been characterized as “Bush’s poodle” but I have never heard such a strong reaction before.

In another interview, Carter stated that Bush’s presidency was “the worst in history.” It gives me pause. I was born when FDR, often called The War President, was in office. I have memories of Harry S. Truman, hearing him on the big old Zenith that stood in our living room. I joined the Navy when JFK was Commander in Chief, and still have the utmost respect for him to this day. I strongly believe that Nixon will be remembered as one of our greatest President’s, even though he was caught up in a scandal of his own making. All of our Presidents were normal humans with all the problems associated with being human. Even Slick Willy

I do not ever recall such an attack on an American President by another President. I also don’t feel his comments are unwarranted. I have seen a lot of Presidents come and go in my lifetime, but have never felt such deep disrespect for the office of the presidency as I do today. Everything Bush touches seems to turn to shit – the war in Iraq, his defense of Gonzales, his handling of the Katrina disaster and the tornado in Greensburg, the depletion of National Guard resources to feed the war machine – all these and more make me feel as if America is in a huge crisis, and that it will blow up in our faces sooner or later.

Carter of course has been labeled “irrelevant” by White House officials, and I read today that Carter feels he might have mispoken. the bottom line here is a man of integrity and one who has done so much for mankind has spoken. Call it what you may. I call it the truth…

Drive on…

Charlie~

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Mr Gonzales’s Most Incredible Adventure

I oft times wonder whether it is herd mentality or just plain disgust that drives me to single out a person who is in a highly elected office, yet is showing actions and deeds that go against everything an American should believe in. I could never be classified as a “patriot” that feels his elected government officials and those in power can do no wrong. I am proud to be an American, and love my country. Yet I get very cynical and disturbed when I see such blatant lies and deceptions that our Mr Gonzales displays.

Today in the NY Times I read an article about the wiretapping scandal that has rocked the nation, and Mr Gonzales’s hand in this despicable treachery against the American public. It seems that while former AG Ashcroft lay sick in a hospital in March 2004, that Gonzales and White House chief of staff Andrew Card rushed to his bedside and attempted to coerce him into signing off on the continuation of the wiretapping bill that begin in October 2001. Mr Ashcroft had been forewarned by acting AG James Comey and F.B.I. Director Robert Mueller before the arrival of Gonzales and Card. Mr Ashcroft, much to his credit, flatly refused to sign off.

America needs to know who had endorsed this untimely visit. We need to realize that our very quality of life is jeopardized by such abuse of power. On Tuesday, when Mr Comey testifed about that night in March 2004, a lot of unanswered questions arose. These questions will of course go unanswered. When Gonzales testified in February 2006, he basically covered up or refused to elaborate on the circumstances of this illegal operation.

We as American citizens have our right to privacy. We do not live in a monarchy. Our government is supposedly elected by the American people, yet as time goes by, I realize that it is business as usual. If we lose our privacy through illegal acts that our president is not held accountable for, how different are we than many third world nations? I lay awake at night wondering…

Drive on…

Charlie~