Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Mid-week Thoughts

It's Tuesday and after a sunny and warm, meaning over 90 degrees, weekend the rain came back with temperatures in the mid to upper 50's. My usual appointment was cancelled, so I had the day to do other things beside that and errands, except I did a few local ones.

The recent weekend also initiated the snowmelt season. The snow if melting quicker than normal and the rivers draining the Cascade Mountains are higher than normal. It's also caused a number of people injured or killed rafting in the cold river water. Somehow people don't equate cold melting snow with rivers, only the warm lowland temperatures.

Ok, the news, if that isn't the news.

Did you know that only 20% of the prisoners in US prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan are really criminals and insurgents with "extremist groups fighting the US"? Twenty percent, which means 80% are innocent men and boys, yes boys under 18. And now the US has decided to release them to reintegrate back into society.

Ok, I'm stupified about this. Not because we did this, which is already stupid on their part to just conduct sweeps and arrest any male between 16 and 40+ as suspects, only to discover the clear majority aren't. But because after being in US prison, we expect them to like us and become ordinary citizens. What don't we understand about creating hate and fostering an enemy?

But I forgot one thing. Unemployment. We're paying those we release. Gee, there's no jobs, they have no money, and we paid for the information they gave us. What are we creating there? What happened to the economy that was supposed, as we were told, would bloom after the 2003 war? It's been 5 years now. And how long will this go on?

This one is a big "Huh?" Doctors have been prescribing medical marijuana for patients awaiting transplants to offset the pain and other symptoms of their illness. And now when it's their time for a transplant, they're being removed from eligibilty and taken off transplant lists because they're using marijuana. Since it's an illegal drug, that's an automatic rejection for a transplant. You're damned if you do and damned if you don't.

It turns out President Bush is true to his word. Not the truth mind you, but not following the law, and skimming money Congress funds for projects, called earmarks. It seems the individual agencies have been keeping 10-25% of the money for "administrative costs", meaning keeping it and using it for other government work, mostly staff and supplies.

This is against the law since no agency has the authority to withhold funds provided through Congressional earmarks. The whole amount is supposed to go through the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to the respective receiving entity. If any agency can take a small percentage for costs, it's OMB, but not other federal agencies, even those overseeing the funds. They simply pass the funds on through OMB.

And we expected something different from Bush's administration?

Ok, enough rants. Parting jesture? Well, street photography is about observation, and the capturing what you observe. A good example is Alexandra Zwolinski's street photography.

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