The driver of tomorrow is not thinking Green...

The driver of tomorrow is not thinking Green...
He's thinking Classic. (click on photo)


Jan 30, 2009

Who cares about Jen & John!!!!

I don't think it's a secret that Matt's position with his employer was cut in the round of economy layoffs in December. So with each day news releases of layoffs in the Seattle area, fear does start to creep in. He's "beating the streets", working his networks, trying to find employment. It's grim.

While I flip to today, the caption "For American workers, January proves cruel", ( ) titled right about "Homelessnes surges across the US" ( ). This was not actually the headliners on the website. The headliners? Superbowl of course. Shopping Cart no no's. Dating younger men. Really, what was I thinking, when I expected the state of the failing economy and US citizen homelessness might supercede these blurbs.

Then I glanced to the left. And there was the snippet on whether Jen & John were kaputs again. Crud, where are MY priorities? I need to get with the program!

Jan 27, 2009

Can you Red Dawn it?

** Disclaimer, I am not a survivalist or a NRA fanatic. I simply was drawn down this thought path after reading about the situation in Israel & the Gaza Strip, which I found interesting and enlightening as to the blessings of my American life.

Driving to work the other day, after I posted the information on the Gaza Strip, I was stuck in traffic. Watching the crews work on the intersection in downtown Woodinville. People waiting for their light to change, getting their coffee, gas, dropping cars off at the repair shop. We've got it pretty good here in America. Matt & I had just had a conversation about our marriage "Love Dare" class the night before, about how we get all caught up in the differences of men & women and fixing our lives, relationships, selves (not that this is a bad thing), that if a disaster occurred in our life, it would make it all so insignificant and quickly put what was really important in to perspective.

As I ponder other countries that live in constant states of war, where death, chaos & simple survival are the concern of the moment, I shake my head as I imagine the devastation if a bomb were to hit one of our towns. If we were attacked. Hard to imagine. A situation we are so unprepared for as US citizens. We have no idea how lucky we are. We have become soft. As I drive home, I hear a talk show host talking about OBama's view on guns. Apparently (and no I don't know this to be true) OBama does not support gun ownership to some extent. I think about what this country was founded on. Freedom from tyranny. Freedom of choice, democracy, from the crown, government. Men were raised to protect their families, homes, land - gun ownership, fighting, survival, protection - it was part of life skills. Now, my 7 year old son who gets called to the principals office for using "gun hands" on the playground when he plays Star Wars with the other boys. We've swung way too far to the .. what is it? Right? Left? Who knows. but how do we raise these kids to not use "gun hands" in their play but then ask them at 17 to turn their lives to our military & go fight someone else's war? At some point we may need them to fight our own war, here on our own soil and what will they do? What will we do?

One great movie that came out when I was in high school was Red Dawn. Patrick Swayze and a bunch of teenagers run to the hills when I think the Russians drop in for a friendly invasion & swoop up all the towns people. It was survival and these teens, being raised in Red Neck America knew what needed to be done. Even the girls. It always struck me that I wanted to be a survivor. I want my children to be survivors. I'm afraid we wouldn't make it too far. I can't even tie a knot in the fishing line.

Jan 19, 2009

What was lost in the fire....

Don't fall of your chairs... but we've attended church 3 weeks in a row. And each week, the sermon has been pointed right at me. 3 Saturday nights ago, I lay on my bed, "reminiscing". Not pleasant thoughts. Running myself though my usual guilt of what if's and what for's about my divorce and effects of life during the time period on Ryan. Running myself through my memories of bad mothering. I was asked, "what are you thinking about baby?", I thought "nothing positive" but just responded "nothing in particular".

The next morning, we went to church, where we had been absent for some time due to a very involved & tiresome, busy life with work and kids. The sermon.... forgiving yourself first. Forgiving others next. The pastor, who nicely did not look my way as he went through his sermon, talked about the guilt we carry for years - sometimes entire lifetimes - over mistakes we've made. Our memories are like "movies" we replay over & over & over again, at any given time. Just push Play on the mental VCR, er, DVD player, and there it is for your perusal and mental/emotional anguish. I'm not sure who I have to forgive in my life - maybe I still have some pain towards my ex husband but for the most part, that's dealt with, other then the normal irritations when you share kids & financial responsibilities that go on for years. So I guess I have to start with myself.... sometimes that's the toughest person to pardon.

As we use to say about the pastor at East Hill.... he's been reading our mail again.

The History of the Gaza Strip -

Hundreds of Palestinians have been killed and thousands more wounded since Israel launched a military offensive in late December against the militant Islamist group Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip.

Israel says the military action was taken in response to persistent rocket fire from Gaza into southern Israel, which has been struck by thousands of missiles since 2001.

As international efforts at mediation quicken and the humanitarian situation in Gaza grows grimmer, here’s a quick look at some of the context to the latest chapter in the decades-long conflict between Jews and Arabs in the Holy Land:

Where is the Gaza Strip?
The Gaza Strip is a 146-square-mile strip of coastal land running along Israel's southwestern flank on the Mediterranean Sea and on the border with Egypt. About 1.5 million Palestinians live there and it is governed by the militant Islamist group Hamas.

What are both sides’ demands?
Israel has three main demands: an end to Palestinian attacks, international supervision of any truce and a halt to Hamas rearming.

In the immediate term, Hamas demands a cessation of Israeli attacks and the opening of vital Gaza-Israel cargo crossings, Gaza's main lifeline.

Why now?
An Egyptian-brokered truce between Hamas and Israel, intended to halt Hamas missiles from being fired into Israel and stop Israeli incursions into Gaza, lapsed on Dec. 19. Almost immediately dozens of rockets were fired into southern Israel and the Israeli military responded with its offensive on Dec. 27.

What's the big picture?
A battle over soil is at the heart of the current conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

The lands that now make up Israel and the Palestinians territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip emerged out of the ashes of the Ottoman Empire, which collapsed after World War I.

Although initially run by the British under a League of Nations mandate, the United Nations recommended partitioning what was then called Palestine into Arab and Jewish states.

But Jewish settlers declared the formation of the state of Israel in 1948, prompting the surrounding Arab states to invade. By the end of the brief war, the land that was to have been the Palestinian Arab state was occupied partially by Israel and partially by Egypt and Jordan. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were expelled or fled Israeli-controlled territory and many wound up in refugee camps in the Egyptian-held Gaza Strip.

In the wars that did much to define the region in the ensuring decades, the Gaza Strip passed into Israeli control and, as a result of the Oslo accords, became partly autonomous under the Palestinian National Authority in 1994.

Israel continued to exercise considerable control in the area, however, and Israeli settlements that had been built during the period of military occupation remained.

Successive peace processes started and stalled in the following years. Neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians met commitments made under a timetable set forth in 2003 meant to lead to a Palestinian state next to Israel. Israel did eventually evacuate its settlements in the Gaza Strip, however, forcibly ejecting Israeli citizens from these settlements in 2005.

What's life like in Gaza?
Difficult. Conditions for regular Gazans, many of whom live in refugee camps, have deteriorated dramatically in recent years, with 80 percent living on less than $2.30 per day, according to the United Nations. Two-thirds of all Palestinians do not have access to a sewage system.

The population of Gaza is subject to Israeli closures and checkpoints, which often make it impossible to travel to or work in Israel and the West Bank.

Gaza lives under a tight blockade, which often makes it impossible for food, water, medical supplies and other essentials to reach the population.

The Israeli military has severely limited journalists’ access to Gaza following its invasion but reports indicate the situation is growing grimmer each day.

What's Hamas?
The organization grew out of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1987 and maintains that it will never agree to a permanent cease-fire while Israel occupies what it views as Palestinian land. Its stated aim is the destruction of the state of Israel.

Hamas includes political and military arms, but distinctions between the two are often difficult to discern. Khaled Mashaal, who has lived in Damascus since the 1990s, is considered the group’s leader.

The United States, the European Union and Israel consider Hamas a terrorist organization. It has links to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and members carry out suicide bombings and periodically hit southern Israel with rockets. However, the organization has also stepped into the void left by the often ineffectual and corrupt Palestinian Authority to offer basic services, including schools and health clinics, thereby gaining the trust of many Palestinians.

Parliamentary elections swept Hamas into power in January 2006. Hamas and the secular Palestinian party Fatah created a unity government, but pitched battles between opposing supporters led to the dissolution of the coalition in 2007. Tensions between the two groups, which briefly erupted into a virtual civil war, have cooled slightly but remain.

How has Israel reacted to Hamas?
Israel has long taken a hard line against the Islamist group. It has launched an effective assassination campaign against Hamas' leadership, killing among others its quadriplegic founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin in 2004. In 2007, Palestinian militants captured an Israeli soldier, prompting a major Israeli incursion into Gaza during which it arrests most Hamas cabinet members.

Since the current fighting began on Dec. 27, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has frequently said that no peace can be expected while Hamas remains in control of Gaza.

What is the world doing about the fighting?
The U.N. Security Council approved a resolution on Jan. 8 that demands a cessation of hostilities but both sides have so far ignored it. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the United States “fully supports” the resolution, but abstained from voting on it while mediation continued.

Egypt and France have taken the lead in trying to reach a truce.

More broadly, top figures in the Bush administration and in Congress have mostly supported Israel’s actions. The fighting is seen as a key test for the Obama administration, but the president-elect has so far been reluctant to comment specifically on the events.

AlertNet, BBC News,, The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

Jan 12, 2009

Ree's Boys

My littlest sister ;)

Jan 6, 2009

THE PARTY'S OVER - By Linda Monk

The Crash of 2008, which is now wiping out trillions of dollars of our people's wealth, is, like the Crash of 1929, likely to mark the end of one era and the onset of another.

The new era will see a more sober and much diminished America . The "Omnipower" and "Indispensable Nation" we heard about in all the hubris and braggadocio following our Cold War victory is history.

Seizing on the crisis, the left says we are witnessing the failure of market economics, a failure of conservatism. This is nonsense. What we are witnessing is the collapse of Gordon Gecko ( ' Greed Is Good! ' ) capitalism.

What we are witnessing is what happens to a prodigal nation that ignores history, and forgets and abandons the philosophy and principles that made it great.

A true conservative (Rep or Dem) cherishes prudence and believes in fiscal responsibility, balanced budgets and a self-reliant republic. He believes in saving for retirement and a rainy day, in deferred gratification, in not buying on credit what you cannot afford, in living within your means.

Is that really what got Wall Street and us into this mess -- that we followed too religiously the gospel of Robert Taft and Russell Kirk? ' Government must save us! ' cries the left, as ever.

Yet, who got us into this mess if not the government -- the Fed with its easy money, Bush with his profligate spending, and Congress and the SEC by liberating Wall Street and failing to step in and stop the drunken orgy? For years, we Americans have spent more than we earned. We save nothing. Credit card debt, consumer debt, auto debt, mortgage debt, corporate debt -- all are at record levels. And with pensions and savings being wiped out, much of that debt will never be repaid.

Our standard of living is inevitably going to fall. For foreigners will not forever buy our bonds or lend us more money if they rightly fear that they will be paid back, if at all, in cheaper dollars. We are going to have to learn to live again within our means.

THE PARTY'S OVER! Up through World War II, we followed the Hamiltonian idea that America must remain economically independent of the world in order to remain politically independent. But this generation decided that was yesterday's bromide and we must march bravely forward into a Global Economy, where we all depend on one another. American companies morphed into "Global Companies" and moved plants and factories to Mexico, Asia, China, and India and we began buying more cheaply from abroad what we used to make at home: shoes, clothes, bikes, cars, radios, TVs, planes, computers.

As the trade deficits began inexorably to rise to 6 percent of GDP, we began vast borrowing from abroad to continue buying from abroad. At home, propelled by tax cuts, war in Iraq and an explosion in social spending, surpluses vanished and deficits reappeared and began to rise. The dollar began to sink, and gold began to soar. Yet, still, the promises of the politicians come. Barack Obama will give us national health insurance and tax cuts for all but that 2 percent of the nation that already carries 50 percent of the federal income tax load.

Who are we kidding?

What we are witnessing today is how empires end. The Last Superpower is unable to defend its borders, protect its currency, win its wars, or balance its budget.

Medicare and Social Security are headed for the cliff with unfunded liabilities in the tens of trillions of dollars. What we are witnessing today is nothing less than a Katrina-like failure of government, of our political class, and of democracy itself, casting a cloud over the viability and longevity of the system. Notice who is managing the crisis. Not our elected leaders. Nancy Pelosi says she had nothing to do with it. Congress is paralyzed and heading home. President Bush is nowhere to be
seen. Hank Paulson of Goldman Sachs and Ben Bernanke of the Fed chose to bail out Bear Sterns but let Lehman go under.
They decided to nationalize Fannie and Freddie at a cost to taxpayers of hundreds of billions, putting the U. S. government behind $5 trillion in mortgages. They decided to buy AIG with $85 billion rather than see the insurance giant sink beneath the waves. Unelected financial elite is now entrusted with the assignment of getting us out of a disaster into which an unelected financial elite plunged the nation. We are just spectators.

What the Greatest Generation handed down to us -- the richest, most powerful, most self-sufficient republic in history, with the highest standard of living any nation had ever achieved -- the baby boomers, oblivious and self-indulgent to the end, have frittered away. Added Comments: How do WE THE PEOPLE put the villains who are responsible under oath and sit them down at public hearings to determine whose necks should meet the guillotine? Hypocritically, those who had oversight
responsibility such as Senator Chris Dodd [Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee] and Barney Frank [Chairmen, House
Financial Services Committee] who helped get us into this mess are on every TV channel voicing their righteous indignation and pompously sitting on their elevated platform glaring down at those they are chastising and grilling, trying to pass the blame to others.

WE THE PEOPLE should be on the elevated platform in judgment and execution of the likes of Chris Dodd, Barney Frank, Dick Durbin, Ted Kennedy, Chuck Schumer, and the rest of the band of thieves and conspirators who are responsible for the financial collapse of the USA . To name just a few of the culprits: Henry Paulson Jr, Secretary of the Treasury Alan Greenspan & Ben Bernanke -- Chairman Federal Reserve Christopher Cox, SEC Chairman.

But not to worry -- YOUR PUBLIC SERVANTS who fear being voted out of office will take their self-awarded Golden Parachute Congressional Retirement, give WE THE PEOPLE the finger one last time and head for their safe havens as the World Citizens they are. However, before they waddle off into the sunset, they will go on record one last time denouncing corporate greed, lavish salaries, and bonuses for their key felons at Fannie May, Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers & AIG Meanwhile, WE THE PEOPLE fiddle while Rome burns and were too lazy and indifferent to vote them out of office.


About Linda Monk

Linda R. Monk, J. D., is a constitutional scholar, journalist, and nationally award-winning author. A graduate of Harvard Law School , she twice received the American Bar Association's Silver Gavel Award, its highest honor for law-related media. Her books include The Words We Live By: Your Annotated Guide to the Constitution, Ordinary Americans: U. S. History Through the Eyes of Everyday People, and The Bill of Rights: A User's Guide. For more than 20 years, Ms. Monk has written commentary for newspapers nationwide, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and Chicago Tribune

Jan 5, 2009

Faith in trying times

Surprise!.... my faith is not so deep at times.  I like it when times are smooth sailing and the path is rather straight, as in I can see what's coming and prepare o know what to expect.  When the path veers steeply to one side and is no longer clearly seen, I panic.  Yes.  Fear.

So in the midst, I felt a little passion for someone's kindness.  Here's a submission I sent in to the Woodinville Weekly last week - 

In Nov. I found a drivers license on the side of the road while running.  For a second I was perplexed how an older woman's DL could end up there.  Then I realized, maybe it was stolen.  Returning home, I looked her up & called her. Yes, it was.  I went back to the site, found a few more of her cards, sent them to her with the info of where to go look for anything else.  She offered a reward, of which I refused because this is something people should do - kindness.  Simple.

A few days later, sure enough I received a Thank you card - and a Starbucks card.  One of those few luxuries I allow myself is a sweet sweet coffee.  This woman knew nothing about me yet it was a gift of something I truly enjoy.  Sometimes, its such a relaxing thing to hold that warm cup in your hands as the sweetness pours into the mouth.  Ahhhh, a moment of peace.  I felt guilty accepting the card & thought I would just return it with a nice note.  Thanksgiving came, hurried holidays, card set aside - forgotten.

Our household did not survive the economy layoffs.  One job down and another on the edge of collapse (real estate), we are looking at our budget and slashing.  All extra things - bye bye.  That's okay, we have home, warmth, food.  We are still blessed and well.

Fishing through my wallet... what did appear?  but a beautiful shiny Starbucks Card, thanks to a wonderful woman who doesn't know her act of kindness touched me during the start of a difficult, winding path.  I will give up my coffee... but not today ;)

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