Fast Food Is Not Fast

copyright © 2005 Betsy L. Angert

Today I was driving past a Chick-a-Dee “restaurant.” I use the word “restaurant” with hesitation.  For me, a restaurant is a place where people go to relax.  The atmosphere is calm; there is an ambiance, and a flavor.  The food has zest, tang, and taste.  Delicacies are made with love.  They are created and cooked, slowly.  While the preparation is not swift, the delivery is delightful.  The dishes are savory.  However, I digress.

As I drove past this establishment, I noticed the line at the drive-through window.  It was long.  Car after car was sitting still with engines running.  Passengers were both patient and impatient.  They waited for what is commonly known as fast food.  This experience reminded me of another that happened only weeks earlier.  On that occasion, my father and I concluded fast food is not fast.

It takes time to dress, to drive, to sit, and to wait for the food that slowly destroys the human body.  Eating fast food does not save time, as many claim.  It does not save money.  Yes, the ingredients are inexpensive; however, the cost of these provisions is high.  The toll that this cuisine takes on the body is higher. I know.  I once ate foods that were full of sugar, salt, trans-fatty acids, and preservatives.

In truth, I did not eat junk food, though I did eat pre-packaged foods.  I did partake in fare that is full of preservatives.  I ate the ingredients that make-up much of what is America’s diet. It is “difficult” not to, or so I once thought.  Upon entering a grocery store, one sees little that is fresh.  There are aisles and aisles of cans, boxes, and frozen wares.  However, upon learning, observing and experiencing, the damage that these elements do, I decided, difficult or not, there must be a way.

As I discovered how these man-altered-ingredients age the body, how they silently destroy cells, and how these foods deliver results that are anything but healthy, I decided I had the will.

My own history with food is an interesting one, or so others say.  Often I am asked to write of it, yet I delay.  Other areas of life are more interesting to me.  Nevertheless, possibly, now, the time has come.  Each day there is talk of obesity, adult on-set diabetes, the new, and possibly better, food pyramid, low-fat, no-fat diets, good carbohydrates, bad; the trends abound. Yet, people gain weight, lose weight, and then, ultimately, put it back on.  I did the same; however, since my change, I do none of these.

Life is good.  Life is great!  I consume large quantities of chow.  Food tastes, as I never imagined.  I wish I could describe this to you; however, I know there are no words!  My weight is stable.  I do not crave food; miss any of the foods that I once ate.  I have time that I never had before, and energy, oh my gosh.  If I could only explain the difference, I would.  My hair is thicker, my teeth denser, my skin more supple, and my face less aged.  I am in “juvenescence”!  It is a fascinating tale or was for me when it was novel.  Now it just is.  Nonetheless, others think it an important parable. Therefore, I will partake.  I will share it with you.

Years ago I changed my eating habits, drastically; it was a slow process.  However, unexpectedly, after making one minor change all else changed totally.  The transformation began more than a decade ago; I realized that my addiction to sugar, trans-fatty acids, and chemical preservatives, though slowed, needed to stop.

There were studies of the brain on trans-fats, sugars, and preservatives that I found fascinating, though not motivating.  I had my habits and they were comfortable.  I knew how to do as I had done.  Change is a challenge and if life seems to be working, even if it is not totally as one might desire, why change?

My eating routines were adopted more than a century ago, or so it seems.  It all began when I was a very young child.  I was walking talking, and toilet trained myself by the age of eight months.  My own actions, made it possible for me to be left with my Grandfather while my parents went about their day.  My grandfather owned a pharmacy; it was a wondrous place, a child’s dream.

In the pharmacy, as in most pharmacies in years past, there was a soda fountain.  This is the name for a raised bar, where people sit to eat, drink, and indulge in the goodies that they crave.  As a young child, I had access to all the candy, soda, pretzel sticks, comic books, and gum, any little girl would desire.

I also was awarded the treats that my Grandfather prepared from scratch.  He made juicy hamburgers topped with homemade mustard.  I would watch my Grandpa mix the spices and water and marvel that something so simple could be so scrumptious.  “Milton” as my cousin and customers called him, fashioned malts, milk shakes with malt powder that would bring any mouth to salivation. Life was good, or so I thought.  Later I realized that this was the beginning of my downfall.

The introduction of foods such as these, in one’s youth, is often the collapse of good sense.  People do not realize that they do not need these foods.  They believe that what is available, easily, is all there is.  Some say natural foods are not as filling or fulfilling.  They cost too much, are difficult to prepare, and a challenge to find.  The majority of people seem to believe nothing is as sweet as “sugar”, processed sugar.  They crave it, and they there are studies showing that physically, they do.  The body does desire sweet foods; it learned to do so in prehistoric times.

Yet, fortunately for me, the same man that introduced me to all that I now know is awful, particularly, in respect to the affects these foods have on our body, taught me to appreciate the contrary. Uncle Milty, or Grandpa, was what my cousin Alvin laughingly calls, a health-nut.  He was a peacenik as well, which my cousin thinks is truly nutty.  Though grandpa would eat anything and everything, including ice cream for breakfast, my Grand-pop was a pharmacist/chemist.

In his every breath he spoke of chemistry, the chemical reaction between this food and that, between this substance and that.  He honored this wisdom; he took supplements and when I was destroying my own body, he put me on a regimen of these.  My then thinning hair began to heal; my skin improved, my teeth were restored, slightly. However, since I had not yet given up my poor habits, these changes were far less than they might have been.  My hair, skin, and teeth did not fully return to the thickness and vibrancy that they once had.  People often profess, this is what happens as we age; yet, now, I wonder.  Might this be expected and therefore accepted.

Nonetheless, I knew. I could see and feel what nutrients did for me, and what sugars, trans-fatty acids, and “chemical” preservatives were doing.  Slowly, very slowly, I increased my intake of supplements and healthier foods.  I expanded what I call, the “compensation.”  I did more healthy things in hopes of alleviating the affects of processed foods.  Finally, a few years ago, I completed the transition.  It was an interesting travel, one that taught me much, and now, as I listen to discussions on food, I marvel.

In June 2005, my father and I went to visit my Cousin Alvin in South Florida.  He was fascinated by my diet, not a diet per se, but what I eat and no not.  Alvin stated, “People do not have time to do as you do.”  They do not wish to invest in natural foods.  Fruits and vegetables need to be washed, cut, and shopped for, patiently.  People prefer to “just” eat.  Packaged, processed, and “fast food” is freely available, accessible, easy to prepare and takes so little time, energy, or thought.  I disagreed; knowing that for me the pleasure that I glean in making my meals is indescribable.  The joy I experience as I watch my health and appearance improve is immeasurable.

I see and feel the benefits.  The curl and thickness in my hair has returned.  The color is glossy and all natural.  The density of my teeth is ever increasing.  The smooth surface on my teeth has returned and while I see the flaws in my face, wrinkles, etched as an effect of earlier times, I do see what others say.  I have far fewer creases than I once did.  Interestingly, these continue to diminish! Many share, my skin glows from within, it is supple, and continues to improve.

Nonetheless, one cannot argue with the habits and beliefs that serve another well.  I said to Alvin, I am fine with his doing as he does; however, for me, I prefer to do as I now do.

The next morning, after the discussion with my cousin, my father went to Target.  He is an early riser, and therefore, arrived at the store long before it opened.  He noticed from a far, a long line of cars, waiting, for some event to occur.  He wondered, what was all the excitement.  The shopping center had little signage and this made it difficult to discern what was happening.

My father drew closer and saw.  These automobiles were filled with the hungry, the famished, those that were barely awake; yet, waiting for breakfast.  These people were waiting for McDonalds to open.  They wanted their happy meal, their healthy meal, their vittles.  They craved sugar, trans-fats, and oils. Caffeine also called them.

All these people woke early, dressed while ravenous, got into their cars, and drove.  They sat there starving, dreaming of foods that would wrinkle their skin, weaken their hearts, raise their cholesterol, and rot their teeth.  They waited and waited, while, back at the hotel, I prepared our meal.  My father and I made sure we had refrigerators in our rooms.  When our planes landed, we went to a fruit market before we checked into the hotel.  Once in the rooms, we filled the frig.  We were ready.

Therefore, on this morning, while he was out buying a hat, I was preparing our meals.  I was leisurely dressed in pajamas, happily washing fruit, and when by the time I was through, he had returned.  He and I sat, comfortably, chatted and I did not leave the hotel until after my delicious meal.  Had he not forgotten his hat, he too would have had no interest, reason, or desire to leave until after the meal was done.

My journey for food took minutes; it was quiet, calm, relaxed, and fulfilling.  There was no traffic, no trauma, no drama, and I did not need to dress for the occasion.  The travel of these others took time, effort, and energy.  I rather not expend all that just to have a meal, especially knowing that my health would suffer from such a venture.

The deterioration of the body when engorging fast food is a slow one; it is almost invisible, and yet it occurs.  The wrinkles, the thinning hair, the weakened heart, and the weight gain, the sagging skin, the loss of energy. Wow, it is quite a mouthful!! The cost is great!  With good, healthy food, there is rejuvenation.  This too may be difficult to discern, initially; however, in time, the rejuvenation is very visible.  The invigoration is almost instant.  For me fast food is not fast; good food is!  Being in “juvenescence”, though it takes time, I believe time well spent!

Possibly, you missed this link in the body of this treatise.  You might wish to read, An overweight America comes with a hefty price tag.  The cost is not merely physical; it is a financial.  It drains our pocketbooks.  We, as a society, pay. Medical expenses soar throughout the nation.

You might also think this find fascinating Food on the Brain, by Daniel Fisher, Forbes.  It too was embedded in the body text.  Please indulge!

Please peruse Our Junk Food Nation By Juliet B. Schor and Gary Ruskin, AlterNet.  This writing is quite revealing.  It helps to explain why we believe that what we eat is all there is to choose from.

Fun with Food . . .

  • Food On the Brain.  By Daniel Fisher. Forbes. January 10, 2005
  • Roberts Record, Flood of Files, Awash With What Is Missing ©

    Senate Democrats are demanding access to more of John G. Roberts’ writings.  Before they approve the Supreme Court nominee, they wish to know who is this man.  However, information is inaccessible.  The Whitehouse refuses to supply it.  Filibuster is the form that the administration is adopting. The Whitehouse states it has accommodated requests for papers; they have saturated Senate offices with 15,000 pages of text.  These folios document Roberts’ service during the early Reagan years.  Some say, shifting through these sheets of paper is as reading tealeaves; there is much roughage and little of it advances a message.

    Senator Patrick Leahy wonders; is the Whitehouse, “flooding us with stacks of really unimportant materials in order to divert attention from those that the matter most.”  One never knows; however, we can surmise.

    The documents that were delivered are old. They date back to 1980 -1981.  In these years, Roberts served as a special assistant to Attorney General, William French Smith.  In this position, his power was limited.  His personal and moral views were, rarely, if ever visible. Roberts worked for the Attorney General. The views he expressed were not his own, they were those of his superior.  Therefore, pages from these years reveal little of the man.

    The documents from more recent years, those that the Whitehouse states are “secret,” are thought to be of greater importance.  Senators believe the latter pages will divulge more about the man.  The administration argues, these documents do not necessarily offer Roberts’ personal views. Some in the beltway say this stance is the “crown jewel of attorney client privilege.”

    In 1989, and through 1993, the ethical and private views of John Roberts were expressed in his work and writings.  During these years, Roberts served as Principal Deputy Solicitor General of the United States.  Roberts worked in the Bush senior Whitehouse.

    In this position John G. Roberts personally argued cases on behalf of the United States government.  He formulated opinions and helped to determine when the government would appeal adverse decisions.  Roberts was able to speak for himself in this office.  Access to the pages he generated while holding this post would be quite illuminating, if only this information was available. Thus far, it remains illusive!  The Whitehouse refuses to make these more recent writings public.

    There is much that remains private about Supreme Court nominee, John G. Roberts.  The candidate is scripted and encrypted.  Since President George W. Bush recommended the polished, polite, and prominent Harvard-trained attorney, he has traveled from Senate office to Senate office.  Roberts smiles and shakes hands.  He says all the “right” things, and yet, he says nothing!  He is afforded the luxury of “looking good on paper,” at least on the papers that are offered.  However, there are so many pages that are locked and sealed.  Senators and the public alike wonder; how might this man appear on these hidden pages?

    There are questions about where Judge Roberts stands on a range of issues.  The most prominent concern is abortion. There is much discussion about the discrepancy of opinions Roberts stated on Roe v. Wade.  Does he consider it “settled law,” or was the decision “wrong”?

    When a reporter asked of this inconsistency during a recent meet-and-greet session with Senator Dianne Feinstein [Democrat, California], Judge Roberts smiled.  However, noticeably, he did not reply.  Feinstein looked on quizzically and then interjected, “I don’t think he wants to take any questions.” Roberts added to the Senator’s assessment “No, no, no thanks.”

    Senators and the public assess, the nominee speaks on little.  What the Senators know is limited.  What public knows is this.

    [The source for the following is On the Issues.  For greater details, please travel to this resource.]

    John Roberts On Abortion

    • Wife is strongly pro-life. (July 2005)
    • Candidate finds no support for abortion rights in Constitution. (July 2005)
    • Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided. (July 2005)
    • Prohibit family-planning programs from giving abortion info. (July 2005)
    • Approves of Operation Rescue targeting abortion clinics. (July 2005)
    • Roe v. Wade is settled law. (July 2005)
    • Doctors receiving federal funds may not mention abortion to patients. (July 2005)
    • Limit funding for abortion clinics. (February 2003)
    John Roberts On Budget & Economy

    • No stance on record.
    John Roberts On Civil Rights

    • No paper trail on gay rights issues. (July 2005)

    • Approves of religious groups meeting in schools. (July 2005)
    • Opposed simplifying complaints against voting rights. (July 2005)
    • Weaken the separation of church and state. (July 2005)
    • Against Affirmative Action. (February 2003)
    • Should make secret settlements in some cases. (January 2003)

    John Roberts On Corporations

    • Whistleblowers can be fired for cause. (November 2004)
    John Roberts On Crime

    • Approves of prosecuting persons for eating French fries on city trains. (February 2005)
    • Guidelines for parole cannot add to sentence retroactively. (November 2004)
    • Police supervisors not liable for misdeeds of officers. (April 2004)
    John Roberts On Drugs

    • Approves of searching cars without particular evidence in mind. (July 2005)
    • Judges cannot overrule guidelines even if unjust. (October 2004)
    John Roberts On Education

    • No stance on record.
    John Roberts On Energy and Oil

    • Public committees need not disclose documents. (January 2004)
    • Approves of keeping Cheney’s energy task force secret. (September 2003)
    John Roberts On Environment

    • Allow development despite local endangered species. (July 2005)
    • No lawsuits to prevent mining on federal land. (July 2005)
    • Federal law does not protect species within one state. (July 2005)
    John Roberts On Families & Children

    • No stance on record.
    John Roberts On Foreign Policy

    • No stance on record.
    John Roberts On Free Trade

    • No stance on record.
    John Roberts On Government Reform

    • Disabled people can sue government for discrimination. (February 2005)
    • Approves of extending time limits for those wishing to sue lawyers for malpractice. (June 2004)
    • The Federal Government enjoys sovereign immunity. (January 2003)
    John Roberts On Health Care

    • No stance on record.
    John Roberts On Homeland Security

    • Military tribunals for terrorists are valid and just. (July 2005)
    • Bar veterans from suing the new Iraqi government. (February 2005)
    John Roberts On Immigration

    • No stance on record.
    John Roberts On Jobs

    • Union activists can organize outside of employment place. (July 2005)
    John Roberts On Principles & Values

    • Opponents will fight to hear these; however, they will hear Roberts’ issue stances. (July 2005)
    • Volunteer adviser to Bush in 2000 Florida post-election. (July 2005)
    • Adopted two children. (July 2005)
    • Public service history precludes “stealth candidate” label. (July 2005)
    • An establishment lawyer, with no all-encompassing philosophy. (July 2005)
    • Reliable conservative and perfect judicial temperament. (February 2005)
    • Positions a lawyer presents do not have to be his own beliefs. (January 2003)
    • There are certain areas where literalism does not work. (January 2003)
    • There is a right answer in every court case. (January 2003)
    John Roberts On Social Security

    • No stance on record.
    John Roberts On Tax Reform

    • No stance on record.
    John Roberts On War & Peace

    • As student during Vietnam, Roberts was disturbed by anti-war protests. (February 2005)
    John Roberts On Welfare & Poverty

    • Defended welfare recipients from losing benefits, pro-bono. (July 2005)
    Again, the President is the shrewd.  He knowingly chose a candidate with no real paper trail, a man whose credentials are impeccable.  Mr. Bush chose white, “right”, polite, and polished.  John G. Roberts is prominent, posed, and possibly, invincible.  Few doubt there will be any votes against this well-known unknown.

    Please read Washington Post, Few Have Felt Beat of Roberts’s Political Heart, by Michael Grunwald and Amy Goldstein

    If you, dear reader can reveal more, please do, tell us what you know.  Please, share with your Senators!  Though this Whitehouse is entrenched in secrecy, there are others that believe in freedom and democracy.  I recall the days when . . .

    • Since the initial writing of this post,  Voices of dissent are speaking. Senator Edward Kennedy accused Roberts, of having a questionable commitment to civil rights.  Former Democratic senator and vice presidential candidate John Edwards also criticized the Supreme Court nominee.  Edwards stated he is “a partisan for conservative causes.”  However, for the most part, the consensus remains.  Most Democrats state the candidate is “outstanding”.  They trust he will not be a “conservative activist jurist.”  Sadly, we are likely to see.

    Update:  You might enjoy reading more.  Brad DeLong writes on, John Roberts’s Judicial Temperament

    Forbes: The World’s Most Powerful Women, Condoleezza Rice ©

      Forbes declares Condoleezza Rice is the “Worlds Most Powerful Woman.”  Many regard Secretary of State Rice as “number one.”  Miss Rice stands at the side of the man that some say, is the “most powerful man in the world,” President George W. Bush.  She is the strength that King George II relies on.  It is said, during her first four years in the Bush Junior Whitehouse Miss Rice was both a protégé and mentor to President of the United States. There are those that believe this relationship continues.

    George W. and Condie chat easily; they seem to agree on everything. Publicly they have no differences.  Some say “sports” is there only bone of contention; at times she may support one team and he another.  Politically, it seems Miss Rice and the President share views, implicitly.

    During the President’s first term, Condoleezza Rice served as National Security Advisor.  In this position, Condie guided King George II.  She assisted him, helping him to understand foreign policy and security issues.  Miss Rice is decisive, an authority, and she delegates well. Then, Security Advisor Rice offered her views; she shared her expertise, and assisted a novice leader.

    As a friend and fellow, Condoleezza Rice is invaluable.  The lovely and loyal advisor helped Baby Bush respond to the September 11, 2001, attacks.  Declaring war on terrorism was was thought to be her dictum.  Miss Rice played a powerful role in drafting many Presidential plots.  The war on Iraq was, in large part, influenced by her wisdom.

    Faulty intelligence passed from Condie to George. Papers suggesting Saddam Hussein had “weapons of mass destruction” and that these were hidden throughout Iraq were delivered to Miss Rice before the President ever saw them.  Then, National Security Advisor Rice authenticated the information.  She presented “the facts” to the President as truth.  GW trusted her counsel, as he always had.  Mr. Bush had no reason to doubt the intellect that he long relied on.

    King George II understood that the senior King, Daddy George, had faith in the savoir-faire of the elegant Miss Rice.  Papa Bush first took note of the scholar when she served as provost at Stanford University.  President George Herbert Walker Bush asked Condie to serve as Director of Soviet and East European Affairs in the National Security Council.  Ultimately, he promoted her to Senior Director.  She served the President well. Bush senior acknowledged this; the then President asked Condie to serve as his Special Assistant.  She advised George Herbert on National Security Affairs.  In 1986, Miss Rice was again asked to represent the United States; she became Special Assistant to the Director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  The woman is quite impressive!  Her record is remarkable!  This author writes this last sentence with a smile, ahem.

    Some say, it was Daddy that encouraged the relationship between Baby Bush and the stately Miss Rice.  Others believe that King George II and Condie merely gravitated to each other.  They need each other; a student needs a teacher and an educator needs her/his pupil.  At times it is difficult to discern the roles.  They may be interchangeable.  The most powerful man and the most powerful woman are, often, indistinguishable.

    However, we can be certain they support each other whole-heartedly.  When President Bush appointed Miss Rice to the position of Secretary of State he spoke of this saying, “During the last four years I’ve relied on her counsel, benefited from her great experience and appreciated her sound and steady judgment. And now I’m honored that she’s agreed to serve in my Cabinet.”

    Power serves the powerful, and now we see it on the pages of Forbes.  Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice serves the most powerful man in the world and she is declared the “most powerful woman in the world.”  I am reminded, “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts, absolutely!”

    Please read a Frontline exposé, Paths to Power.  This document offers an interesting discussion. “The first Bush administration foreshadows many aspects of the Bush administration 12 years later.”  Condie is among the featured players.

    Condoleezza Rice Says, “Stop Making Excuses For Terrorists” ©

    This is a day of daft.  Earlier, I received and posted an electronic mail, that for me was an enigma.  I wondered; would I want to publish this passionate plea, one filled with party line propaganda.  I struggled with the idea.  This epistle stressed a thought that I disdain.  “I do not care” disturbs me.  Finally, I resigned myself.  I decided it is important to share what is truth for many Americans.  I surmise if we do not recognize what is within the minds of others, we know little.  Therefore, I offered a glimpse into the mind of a “Compassionate Conservative.”  You may wish to read, Scary Song of Compassion? From Conservative Pamela Foster ©

    Then I turned on the television.  I was looking forward to my daily dose of News Hour viewing.  Journalist Jim Lehrer was interviewing Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice.  I listened intently, always wishing to understand the views of this administration, and then it happened.  The Whitehouse, through Miss Rice, is promoting a stance similar to the scary one of Pamela Foster.  The email that I read earlier is now, virtually, United States policy.

    The words of Secretary of State Rice will, henceforth, be pushed on the people, “When are we going to stop making excuses for the terrorists?  No one is making them do it [engage in violent behaviors]. They’re doing it because they want to create chaos and to undermine our way to life.”

    My thought is this; I recognize the administration rejects science.  Scientists were not included in the energy commission panel.  They do not advise on issues relating to the environment.  Nonetheless, I request that physicists be placed in the State Department.  America might benefit from the wisdom of cause and effect. Remember Newton’s Third Law of Motion, “For every action, there is an equal and opposing reaction.”

    Perhaps you prefer the principles of String Theory, “There is no such thing as a pure vacuum in space.  Depending upon which interrelated properties of the basic fabric that one attempts to define, the distinctions are only arbitrary and illusionary.”

    I offered a portion of the interview for your reading.  You may read the rest at Newsmaker: Condoleezza Rice, July 28, 2005

    JIM LEHRER: What about the additional element here that, increasingly, terrorism experts and Muslim experts are saying that the combination of Iraq and other foreign policy decisions by the United States are actually creating more terrorists every day than they are eliminating them.

    CONDOLEEZZA RICE: When are we going to stop making excuses for the terrorists? The terrorists on Sept. 11 attacked the United States. We weren’t in Iraq. We weren’t even in Afghanistan on Sept. 11.

    They have attacked in places that had no forces in either place. They’ve attacked all over the world. They’ve attacked in Morocco and in Bali and in Egypt and in London and in Madrid.

    When are we going to stop making excuses for the terrorists and saying that somebody is making them do it? No, these are simply evil people who want to kill. And they want to kill in the name of a perverted ideology that really is not Islam, but they somehow want to claim that mantle to say that this is about some kind of grievance. This isn’t about some kind of grievance. This is an effort to destroy, rather than to build.

    And until everybody in the world calls it by name — the evil that it is — stops making excuses for them, then I think we’re going to have a problem. And I hope that after the bombings of innocent people in London, innocent people at Sharm el-Sheikh, innocent children in Iraq, that people will call this by name and stop making excuses for these people.

    No one is making them do it. They’re doing it because they want to create chaos and to undermine our way to life.

    Dear Reader . . . I shared my thoughts.  Please feel free to offer yours.  I invite you to stimulate discussion, advance understanding, to rant, rage, or agree with the esteemed Miss Rice.  I look forward to your contribution.

    Scary Song of Compassion? From Conservative Pamela Foster ©

    This is circulating as humor among “compassionate” “conservatives.”  I cannot imagine that this is real; yet, I trust that it is.  The mentality and the message fascinate me, sadly.  The depth of my grief is great.

    I cannot imagine that these “caring” souls consider all Islamic as one.  The narrow frame that equates Saddam Hussein with Osama Bin Laden baffles me.  The disregard for reasons and the rational behind 9/11 overwhelms me.

    This writing nauseates me, as does the idea of “not caring.”  This colloquial phrase is an American euphemism and one I have long thought is the saddest state of affairs.  When we choose not to care, we eliminate all empathy.  We forego any understanding.  Knowledge is not ours, nor is power.

    Nonetheless, those that see “evil” in others embrace this idiom; ignorance is their bliss!  Though I do not believe in promoting the idea of an enemy, I acknowledge that people such as these say, “Know they enemy;” therefore I present this epistle.  Please ponder what this says of America and Americans.  How might the world view us and why?  This for me, is scary stuff!!!!

    Below is the Song of Compassionate Conservatives, those that don’t care at all! . . .

    I could not have said this any better myself, especially today.  The lady, who wrote this letter, is Pam Foster of Pamela Foster and Associates in Atlanta.  She’s been in business since 1980 doing interior design and home planning.  She recently wrote a letter to a family member serving in Iraq.  Please Read it…

    What’s all the fuss?
    Are we fighting a war on terror or aren’t we? Was it, or was it not, started by Islamic people who brought it to our shores on September 11, 2001? Were not people from all over the world, mostly Americans, brutally murdered that day, in downtown Manhattan, across the Potomac from our nation’s capitol, and in a field in Pennsylvania? Did nearly three thousand men, women and children die a horrible, burning, or crushing death that day, or didn’t they?

    And I’m supposed to care that a copy of the Koran was “desecrated” when an over-worked American soldier kicked it or got it wet? Well, I don’t. I don’t care at all!

    I’ll start caring when Osama bin Laden turns himself in and repents for incinerating all those innocent people on 9/11.

    I’ll care about the Koran when the fanatics in the Middle East start caring about the Holy Bible, the mere possession of that is a crime in Saudi Arabia.

    I’ll care when Abu Musab al-Zarqawi tells the world he is sorry for hacking off Nick Berg’s head while Berg screamed through his gurgling, slashed throat.

    I’ll care when the cowardly so-called “insurgents” in Iraq come out and fight like men, instead of disrespecting their own religion, by hiding in mosques.

    I’ll care when the mindless zealots, who blow themselves up in search of nirvana, care about the innocent children within range of their suicide bombs.

    I’ll care when the American media stops pretending that their First Amendment liberties are somehow derived from international law instead of the United States Constitution’s Bill of Rights.

    I’ll care when Clinton-appointed judges stop ordering my government to release photos of the abuses at Abu Ghraib, which are sure to set off the Islamic extremists, just as Newsweek’s lies did a few weeks ago.

    In the meantime, when I hear a story about a brave Marine roughing up an Iraqi terrorist to obtain information, know this: I don’t care.

    When I see a fuzzy photo of a pile of naked Iraqi prisoners, who have been humiliated in what amounts to a college hazing incident, rest assured that I don’t care.

    When I see a wounded terrorist get shot in the head, when he is told not to move because he might be booby-trapped, you can take it to the bank that I don’t care.

    When I hear that a prisoner, who was issued a Koran and a prayer mat, and fed “special” food that is paid for by my tax dollars, is complaining that his holy book is being “mishandled,” you can absolutely believe in your heart of hearts that I don’t care.

    And oh, by the way, I’ve noticed that sometimes it’s spelled “Koran” and other times “Quran.” Well, Jimmy Crack Corn and — you guessed it — I don’t care!”

    McKinnon Extradition? Crime, Penetrating Pentagon Computers ©

    Gary McKinnon, also known as Solo is now 39 years of age.  He is a Briton, from Wood Green, north London.  He is a calm and steady man, and today he stood before the courts as such. Family and friends were at his side.  They wanted to actively show their support.  After, the proceedings all exited and were met by the press.  The media asked if the group would pose for photographs or make a statement.  These requests were denied.  For McKinnon and his entourage, the day was done; it had been quite a trying one.  The trial was a fight against extradition.

    It seems an embarrassed America wants to punish this man for his crime against the States; they believe that only they can do this well.  US government officials are not willing to trust their dearest friend and ally, the United Kingdom.  They do not think that the Brits can deliver the dictum or carry out the penalty.  American bureaucrats do not believe that the United Kingdom will castigate this criminal as well as they themselves can.  Therefore, American attorneys are posed to present their case.  They want the head of Gary McKinnon on a skewer, an American skewer.

    According to the United States government, from February 2001 until March 2002, McKinnon hacked into 97 military and National Aeronautics and Space Administration [NASA] computers.  This action caused an estimated $700,000 in damages.  McKinnon is thought to have exploited poorly secured Windows systems.  He is suspected of attacking networks run by NASA, the Pentagon, and twelve other military installations.  His efforts affected systems in fourteen states.

    McKinnon said of this endeavor, “It was easy, easier than expected.”  Many believe that for Gary McKinnon it was an adventure. He loved the hunt; as a young man he was looking for ways to pick locks.  He knew that defense computers were supposedly “locked” tight and this intrigued him.  McKinnon wanted to see if he could open these impenetrable systems.

    Mr. McKinnon had long been interested in defense computers.  He wanted to determine if the technology these departments use truly defends against invasion. He explored and discovered these software systems were flawed.  He would live to regret this finding, for it changed his life in a way he had not imagined.  Perhaps, it was not the discovery that altered his life; instead, it was the way in which he revealed it.

    Gary McKinnon boldly scripted a note stating, “US foreign policy is akin to government sponsored terrorism these days . . . I am SOLO. I will continue to disrupt at the highest levels.”  He left this message on an Army computer.  This communiqué was a threat, a threat to the image of the United States government and at the Department of Defense.  Officials were livid; an appearance of strength was lost.  Revealing the vulnerability of US computer systems is a crime against illusion. Though not an act of treason or terrorism, this action is punishable by law.

    Gary McKinnon had not been considered a powerful man in the past.  Yet, he exhibited power beyond what others expected.  A manager and former supervisor to Gary McKinnon spoke of this saying, “He was personable, relatively happy around the office.”  While working at the London-based telecom equipment seller, Corporate Business Technology Limited, Mr. McKinnon was thought to be a friendly chap, though an unremarkable fellow.  The supervisor offered, “You wouldn’t have realized that he could do what he did.”

    McKinnon, worked for CBT for approximately ten months, leaving late in 1999. He left on good terms. “As I remember it, he decided to leave because he was bored working here,” says the manager. “But at the time that he left, he didn’t have any place to go to.” The American government claims, he went off to entertain himself.  Gary McKinnon probed the Pentagon; he assessed the ease with which he could penetrate Department of Defense computers.

    By 2001, the unemployed systems administrator was hacking into United States government computers.  In February 2002, he is said to have shut down Internet access to 2,000 military computers in the Washington area.  The systems were down for a full day.  Prior to this effort, he scanned networks for vulnerabilities, extracted administrative accounts and passwords, snooped on network traffic, and installed hacking software.  McKinnon, Solo is also accused of deleting system logs.

    In March 2002, United Kingdom police arrested Mr. McKinnon.  However, it was not until November 2002 that an indictment was filed by US Federal Grand Jury.  Eight computer crimes were listed in the official dossier.  The lapse of time is significant, and was mentioned by the defense in today’s extradition hearing.

    Karen Todner, McKinnon’s solicitor, spoke on her client’s behalf.  She argued that as a Briton her client ought to be tried in the UK.  Later, in a prepared statement Ms. Todner furthered her case, “Gary McKinnon continues to vigorously contest extradition which was only belatedly requested by the US government. The British public need to ask themselves why British citizens are being extradited to the USA when the US government has not ratified the extradition treaty between the two countries.”

    Great question, why is it that American officials profess, “Do as I say, not as I do?”  US authorities do not sanction expatriation contracts; yet, they expect to seek one.  This seems quite a contradiction.  American authorities want the United Kingdom to honor what they do not.

    Currently, McKinnon is out on bail; however, if convicted in United States, McKinnon faces charges punishable by fines.  He could serve as much as 80 years in prison.  A guilty ruling in the United States would mean a life lost.  I know not whether a British ruling might be less severe; however, imprisonment in a land so far from family and friends would certainly place an unimaginable strain or the supposed “felon.”

    Thus we have today’s hearing.  It was held at London’s Bow Street Magistrates’ Court.  United States prosecutors detailed and restructured the allegations against Mr. McKinnon.  American attorneys now say Solo seized control of over 53 US Army computers, 26 US Navy computers, 16 NASA systems, one US Department of Defense computer, and one US Air Force computers.

    Mark Summers, the lawyer representing the US government said,  “The defendant’s conduct was intentional. His objective was to disrupt the operation of the US government; thus endangering public safety.”  Summers stressed the seriousness of the supposed attacks, however, he and the American authorities passionately proclaimed, “No classified information was obtained through the year long assaults.” Authorities also emphasize McKinnon acted alone.

    These positions are important to note.  They are meant to reassure an already anxious American public.  Some ask, Gary McKinnon: Scapegoat or public enemy?

    Crimes against the United States are punishable by law, American law.  Penetrating Pentagon computer systems is certainly a crime; however, American citizens, be reassured, this man acted alone.  He is not a terrorist.  Nonetheless, we will treat him as such.

    How dare he think to threaten America security systems!  Does he really believe that demonstrating the vulnerability of the strongest nation in the world is acceptable?  He must know that we will punish him, harshly!  All people throughout the globe must know that the United States will take strike out against any intimidation.  Let it be known, “No man or woman show that America security can be compromised.  If they do, they will suffer, publicly, privately, and in prison!”  According to the United States government, Gary McKinnon must be penalized severely, American style.

    Blair Woke Up Post 9/11. The World Went Back to Sleep ©

    Oh Really?  Reality is Perception. © [The Series Continues]

    New_blairI offer the quotes, and you decide.  Is this reality or perception?

    Stagnation is not possible for this series; stimulation is everywhere.  The British and American governments offer much material.  In this the era of “metamorphosis,” meanings are malleable, dictums are delicately posed.  War is wonderful; it is a means for “spreading democracy,” freedom, and liberty.  Forgive me, I digress.

    I share this recent release; decide for yourself, and please, share your thoughts. Do these words present the truth or a shrewd discernment?

    The stage is set.  On Tuesday July 26, 2005, Prime Minister Tony Blair holds a press briefing.  The healthy and glowing Blair appears.  He is well prepared, looking the part.  He always is and does.  Please read this Daily Times report, Secret of Tony Blair’s healthy glow revealed and discover why this is.  On this day, as on all others Mr. Blair plays a strong and solid leader; questions come, and rapidly, he retorts.

    When BBC’s James Landale requested a definitive answer, is there “any contributory factor” between Iraq and the London bombings, the British leader offered this . . .

    “Whatever excuse these people use, I don’t think we should give one inch to them.  September 11 for me was a wake-up call; a lot of the world woke up for a short time, then turned over and went back to sleep again,” however, Blair continues.

    “It’s an obscenity to say it is concern for Iraq [that] drives these people to terrorism,” he goes on. “We shouldn’t allow them a vestige of an excuse.”

    Please express your thoughts.  Do you believe Blair is attentive and aware?  Did you awake, only for a moment after 9/11, and are you now asleep again?  Is it ludicrous to think terrorist bombings are an outgrowth of the Bush/Blair/American/British invasion?  Is this concept an excuse? Hmmm?

    My thought . . . speaking of excuses, this pretext serves as one. Accuse the other of wrongdoing, present them as the enemy, as “evil,” and you can validate your own aggressions!

    Why the War? ©

    Ironically, cosmically, I love these connections, moments ago a friend asked, “Why did we go to war in Iraq?”  This man is proudly a Republican, a conservative, and one whose views, at times, differ from my own.  I presented many options, among these, oil.  This fine fellow stated, “No, not possible; oil is a commodity.  We would not go to war to steal what is traded.”  We continued chatting.  We wondered aloud, what were the true motivations for this “engagement.”

    Minutes passed; my email arrived, and there is was, here it is the parallel universe is partaking . . .

    Blair Regrets Killing. Brazilians Protest ©

    Days after the “mishap” an innocent man lies dead, deprived of a full and fulfilling life.  The British police killed the Brazilian electrician and Prime Minister Tony Blair offers his regrets.  However, he does not apologize.  He justifies.

    Susan Scott, author of Fierce Conversations is sensitive to words, how they are used, and received. She is cognizant, words imply more than what they seem to say.  Ms. Scott writes, “We are guaranteed to offend others when we present our impressions and interpretations as truth.” She, and other communication experts, are aware of the effects of “but.”  When said, “but” denotes, ignore all that I said earlier, what I really mean is what I am about to say.

    The British leader Blair said, “But!” and people are upset.

    Knowing that words were necessary after the “accidental” killing of a blameless man, Blair spoke, belatedly.  He said, “We are all desperately sorry for the death of an innocent person and I understand entirely the feelings of the young man’s family, BUT we also have to understand the police are doing their job in very, very difficult circumstances.”

    The de Menezes family did not receive Blair’s words well.  Nor did the citizens in the hometown of Jean Charles de Menezes.  Those in Gonzaga, Brazil took to the streets.  They came out in droves. These citizens demanded the arrest of those British police officers responsible for the slaying.  They stated the Prime Minister’s apology did not go far enough.  “Apologies don’t help, we want justice!”

    Some of the protesters held banners condemning the killing; others carried photographs of Jean Charles, all loudly proclaimed the British police are the real terrorists.  Calls were heard throughout the crowd urging British Prime Minister Tony Blair to send the young man’s body home for a proper and honorable burial.

    The Brazilians marched on cobblestone streets chanting, praying, and shedding tears for the fallen 27-year-old electrician.  They recalled the gentle man, Jean Charles de Menezes.  Friends and family spoke of his dreams.  The trained professional left Brazil to work in Britain; he planned to return home with his savings.  Jean Charles would buy land, invest in cattle, and develop a prosperous ranch.  However, his dreams were scattered in an instant. Eight shots tore through this man’s body and his life drew to a violent end.

    Yet, Tony Blair blasted “Had the circumstances been different and had this turned out to be a terrorist, and they [the police] had failed to take that action, they would have been criticized the other way.”  The Prime Minister expressed his truth; the police could not win, either way.  Many are left to wonder, who did win?  Certainly it was not Jean Charles de Menezes.

    Double Pleasure, Fun, and Standards. John G. Roberts and Wife ©

    I recall the 1992 Presidential elections, vividly.  Beginning in 1991 with the primaries, continuing into the campaign, and later, even after the votes were counted, the press and public expressed great concern.  They stated it openly, frequently, and loudly.  There was apprehension.  The potential First Lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton was considered an activist, well educated, intelligent, and a professional woman.

    The accepted image of a First Lady differed from the public impression of Mrs. Clinton.  Former First Lady’s were thought to be demure; they appeared to sit silently by their husband’s side.  They were content be courteous.  They needed nothing more.  Many doubts were expressed about Hillary.  It was believed that she would not be well suited for the position of First Lady.  Numerous persons predicted Mrs. Clinton would serve as a second president; they were certain she would.  For years, the clamor continued.  Remember the health care commission.

    Yet today, when asked of the activist, professional life of Jane Marie Sullivan Roberts, wife of Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts, United States Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales stated strongly, inquiries into her life are off limits.  The Attorney General was interviewed on CBS’s, Face The Nation.

    • Please read this recent release, Confirmation Path May Run Through Florida.  Jeb Bush spokesman Jacob DiPietre told the Los Angeles Times, “Judge Roberts was one of several experts who came to Florida to share their ideas. The governor appreciated his willingness to serve and valued his counsel.”  The now President appreciated his service as well.

    When Gonzales was asked if it is suitable for the Senators to ask of Roberts’ wife, Gonzales deferred to Senator Ted Kennedy, [imagine that] stating the Senator said it best; the wives views and positions should not play a factor in this discussion.  Gonzales declared, the activities and attitudes of Mrs. Roberts need not be questioned.  Certainly, the nominee should not be asked about her work with the anti-abortion activist organization “Feminists for Life.”

    Journalist, Robert [Bob] Schieffer then reminded Gonzales, of his earlier statements, “You do not want to put someone before the court that has a secret or private agenda.”  Therefore, is it not fair to ask Judge Roberts his views on abortion?  Though this question was posed separately, the belief that a wife might influence her husband, in this case, the Judge Roberts was implied.  There is much speculation within the beltway, possibly, probably, the two share attitudes.  Therefore, questions pertaining to her activities might be pertinent.

    Gonzales retorted in return; “Are you asking of his personal views  . . . his moral views . . . would he overturn Roe v. Wade?”  Gonzales avowed, asking of these is not relevant to the decision or debate.  Gonzales maintains, “We expect our judges to put aside their own moral views or judgments and simply apply the law.”

    Hours earlier on Meet The Press, Tim Russert, interviewed former Senator Fred Thompson (Republican-Tennessee).  The two discussed the upcoming judicial hearings and the Senator voiced his view; asking Supreme Court nominee John Roberts of his opinions “is inappropriate.”  On the subject of Jane Sullivan Roberts, Thompson said, she is not the nominee.

    Later in the program, during a panel discussion the same topics, were broached.  Reporters deliberated on abortion and lawyer, Mrs. Jane Roberts.  Journalist William Safire, of the New York Times, offered his thoughts.  John G. Roberts will be facing a “murder board;” he will be asked the toughest questions possible.  Yet, Safire expressed, the candidate cannot [ethically] be asked of his wife’s work.

    Nina Totenberg, of National Public Radio, agreed.  “No one will speak “publicly” of John G. Roberts’ wife.” Ms. Totenberg acknowledged that they might think of the possible bond between husband and wife; however, the Senators on the Judicial Committee will be facing re-election soon; they want to get re-elected.  Asking of the nominee’s wife might hurt their chances.  Therefore, they will not travel down that road.

    Yet, everyone, everywhere acknowledges abortion is possibly the most important issue that will come before the Supreme Court.  This subject causes greater controversy than all others. In evaluating this Judge, or any Judge for the Supreme Court, Senators will want to know where he, or she, stands on this issue.

    In the past, Judge Roberts has expressed questionable and contrary views on this topic.  He publicly stated that he believes Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided.  He later relented it is established law.  It is well known that in his earlier positions, Judge Roberts did not have the power to change what was and is.  Yet, if approved, he would have this authority.  In such an esteemed position, as a Supreme Court Justice, his personal philosophy could be relevant.  His ruling could over-turn the decision.

    There is an old adage; one accepted as truth, “there is a woman behind every successful man.”  George W. Bush admits this.  He often credits his own victories to his wife.  While there are those that say, John G. Roberts is not running for President of the United States, and therefore, his appointment will not give him the authority that the President has, others argue it will.  In actuality, some say, he will be more influential.  After all, a Supreme Court Justice is given a lifetime appointment; a President can only reign for four, possibly eight years.  There are those that believe the attitudes and activities of spouse are a strong consideration.

    However, in this the eras of conservative rule double standards are the norm. Etiquette is an evolving art.  A Democrat running for President can and will be questioned of his wife; a Republican “campaigning” for a lifetime appointment cannot be asked of anything that touches a nerve.  Well, he can be asked; however, he need not answer.  Roberts need not worry.  No one will claim that his selection will bring double pleasure, double fun, only an acceptable double standard.

    Please consider John Roberts’ rule: Reach for the top, This is an assessment of the nominee by Tim Jones, Andrew Zajac and Andrew Martin, Chicago Tribune national correspondents.

    It gets worse.  Please read and reflect upon, What Is The Bush White House Trying To Hide On Roberts’ Time Working For Poppy? by Steve Soto, The Left Coaster.  This July 26, 2005, treatise is quite enlightening.