Friday, January 28, 2011

View From The Ditch Bank

I took this picture a couple of years ago. I have made it my blog post picture for a while. Sometimes a person just has to wonder what the people that lived here would think if they could see the world of today. Just what would their view of the world be. Since this is obviously on a hill side, would this be their "view from a ditch bank?" Their world view would be very narrow, compared to ours of today. And it would probably not cover a lot of territory. Since there is not space there to grow any thing, they would have to go at least a couple of miles from here to plant any thing. Since there is a corn crib on the property, I can only assume that they did go planting somewhere. Or did a brisk trade with some other people somewhere in the area. Several miles from here is a very fertile farming area. When it rains. At least there is now. Wonder what there was then? Hunting was also probably high on their list of existence. And existence is what they were all about, I would assume. Shelter, a safe defence from any enemies, including the weather,marauding animals or enemy tribes. Something to wear, and food, would be high on their list of necessities. While this probably was a tribal thing, family would be of paramount importance also, I would think. And when it comes right down to it, aren't these things what all of us are about. Even now. And that is The View From The Ditch Bank

Saturday, January 22, 2011

View From The Ditch Bank

WHAT, EXACTLY, IS INSANE?: A couple or three years back, a young boy, a year or two old, was found buried in the sand at a park playground in Albuquerque. He had been dead just long enough to make identification difficult. But not impossible. So, when he was identified, his mother was questioned, admitted she had killed and buried him. She said she had suffocated him, then performed CPR and revived him, then suffocated him a second time. Then buried him. She has been in jail since then awaiting trial. This week her trial was to commence, but her lawyer ask for a change, because she wanted to change her plea from guilty to not guilty by reason of insanity. A hearing was held yesterday and the judge granted that motion. So now she will be tried later this year on an insanity plea. Begs the question. Why did she wait so long to decide that.
The shooter in Tucson two weeks ago today, will undoubtedly plead insanity. And he may well be. But here's the difference. In New Mexico, if found not guilty by reason of insanity, you are sent to a mental hospital and given treatment, and when the Dr. decides you are cured, you are released back into society. Hopefully to never go insane again. Arizona, along with three other States, Utah, And I think Idaho and Montana, you can plead insanity and still be convicted. Guilty, but insane. You are sent to a mental hospital and treated, and when the Dr. decides you are cured, you are then released to prison to finish out your sentence. A much better solution, I think. The above mentioned mother said she killed her son because she didn't want him to grow up unloved, like she had been. Who knows why the shooter in Tucson did what he did. But because it is so easy to get off by pleading insanity, many people do so. Most are declared competent to stand trial, but the costs to be evaluated are high. So, do the tests, and if they are determined to be insane, find them guilty and treat them, then let them do the time. Our current governor is wanting to bring back the death penalty to New Mexico for certain crimes. While the death sentence has been carried out only once in this State in the last 50 years, I hope the legislature brings it back. While I don't think it needs to be used indiscriminately, I do think it should be in place to be used if deemed necessary. And that's The View From The Ditch Bank

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

View From The Ditch Bank

FOOD: We all eat it. We all need it. Some of us even savor it. Some of us make it from scratch. Some buy take out or just pop something in a micro wave and nuke it. Some eat at a fast food restaurant. Sometimes we eat at a slow food restaurant. But, wherever or however, we all eat. FOOD.
Did you see the news article on food a while back? No? Well, let me give you a brief capsule of what it said. "Folklore has it that in the 1970's McDonald's used Styrofoam balls as a filler in its milkshakes, until customers began to notice the fuzzy floating substances and complained." The article went on to say that while they didn't use Styrofoam, there are other things in McD's that you might think twice about eating. Ex. Among the 30 plus ingredients in their Chicken McNuggets, in each bite are dextrose, wheat starch and sodium phosphate. And that's just in the meat. In Thailand and the UK, food manufactures are required to disclose specific percentages of ingredients in food. So here are a few more examples of what you are fooled into buying in the good ol' U S of A.
1.Gerber graduates for preschoolers is a fruit drink, with a lot of fruit pictured on the box. What is does have is less than 2% raspberry juice concentrate and a lot of sugar in all its various forms. 2. The Quaker Strawberries and Cream instant oatmeal has no strawberries, but has instead, dehydrated apples dyed red. 3. Betty Crockers Supermoist Carrot Cake Mix is mostly flour, sugar and corn syrup, with just a few carrot flavored pieces mixed in for flavor. 4. Betty Crocker Bac-o's are not bacon, but are bacon flavored bits of defatted soy flour, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, salt and sugar. 5. Sun Maid vanilla yogurt covered raisins, ( one of the things I actually like to eat ) are made primarily from sugar and trans fatty palm kernel oil with a smidge of yogurt powder for flavor. (Guess I'll just stick to regular ol' raisins )
Well, there was more to the article, but you get the idea. Now, a different article says OBAMA SIGNS BILL TO IMPROVE FOOD SAFETY To paraphrase this article, The President signed a $1.4 Billion overhaul to the nation's food safety system. The first major overhaul of the food safety system since the 1930's, the law emphasizes prevention to help stop deadly outbreaks of food borne illness before they occur, instead of reaction after people get sick. It calls for increased government inspections of food processing plants and for the first time, gives the Food and Drug administration the power to order the recall of unsafe foods. There is a lot of political comment in the article, but then it says "Major food companies backed the bill, recognizing that safe food is good for business." Jack Kingston, a Republican House member from Georgia, said that the funding would be looked at carefully. Supporters of the bill said they would push for full funding. Senator Tom Harkin, a democrat from Iowa, said spending decisions will have to be made, but that food safety shouldn't be sacrificed in the process.
OK, so none of us want our food to make is sick. And when we go to the local grocery store, we expect to buy what we think we are buying. But two things struck me about this bill. $1.4 Billion. And, Major food companies backed the bill, recognizing that safe food is good for business. Uh! I'm not very smart. These blogs are my uneducated opinion, after all. But to me, if Major Food Companies think that safe food is good for business, then why not just PRODUCE SAFE FOOD. Why do we need to implement a tax payer funded $1.4 billion law to bring this about. Produce. Safe. Food... That's period, period, period. In case you didn't catch that. And it would save us $1.4 Billion. Or $1.4 Billion that could be put to other better uses, like education. Education that perhaps could educate Major food companies on how to produce safe food. :-) And That's The View from The Ditch Bank

Friday, January 14, 2011

View From The Ditch bank

IN MY LAST POST: I mentioned that I had a different idea to post about, then Tuscon happened and then Brisbane happened. I posted some pictures My wife and I had taken in Brisbane a few years ago, but I posted the last one upside down. This blog has corrected that picture. As mentioned, the dark rectangle squares mark the height of previous floods, with the top most one being over 20 feet, if I remember correctly. Also, so far, the flood, as devastating as it has been and is, did not quite reach the height that had been feared, and is now starting to recede somewhat. Good for them. Many years of recovery ahead of them.
Now to Tucson; My opinion. That was also devastating. And as usual, when these things happen, blame starts to be placed somewhere. On Sarah Palin, on guns, on the system that let the shooter do what he did. On whatever pet peeve some one comes up with and can get attention paid to. So, here's my uneducated opinion. First, it was not Sarah Palin's fault. Sure, she has here faults, but then we all do. She is just more visible than the rest of us. And the system. Hindsight is always 2020 or better. Many people observed the deterioration of the shooter in the last few months. But they were snapshots of a larger picture, and only after the fact did all those snapshots get put together to show a larger picture. Probably even now, not a complete picture. And guns? Well, if guns kill people, then computers and pencils misspell words and cars drive drunk. Some one said that if all the guns in the world was put in a pile, they wouldn't shoot any one, until a person picked one up and pulled the trigger. And Sarah Palin? If it is her fault, where was she when John F. Kennedy was assassinated? Where was she when the two boys went on a shooting spree at Columbine? Where was she when President Reagan was shot? Where was she when all of the many shooting events of the last few years took place. And where were the guns when all those in ancient history were poisoned to death? or were killed with swords or spears or arrows. History, ancient and modern, religious and secular, is replete with mans inhumanity to man. And the many ways man has come up with to kill his fellow man. The saying that, If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns, is a very apt statement. Guns, or cars, or knives, don't kill people. People kill people. Constantly. And have been doing so since Adam and Eve left the garden, and will continue to do so, until Christ returns in Glory.
So where does the blame lie? With the shooter. Are there extenuating circumstances? Probably so. Are his parents to blame? Don't know. Is society to blame? Maybe so, in some degree. Again, Don't Know. Will it help for politicians to carry guns themselves? Probably not. Might even make them so nervous that they become paranoid and shoot an innocent someone just wanting to shake hands of something. Could the Arizona congresswoman have prevented the shooting if she had a gun in her purse, or in a holster. I think she would have been shot before she even recognized the threat. And I am sorry she was shot, along with the 19 other people. I am sorry that 6 people were killed. It brings a tear to the eye and a lump to the throat for the 9 year old girl. It is all so senseless.
This has been a long post that isn't any better than the talking heads on the TV, but it is my opinion. I don't think we should go off passing laws, regulating guns, and doing all the things that come out of situations like this. Lets put the blame on the shooter, and future shooters. Or stranglers. Or any other person that uses whatever method to cause pain and hurt to their fellow man. Let them be responsible and held accountable for their actions. And That Is The View from The Ditch bank

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

View From The Ditch bank

WHEN IT RAINS IT POURS: I had a totally different idea in mind for today's post. Then a shooting happened last Saturday in Tucson, so I thought to post about that. Then I heard from my son and daughter in law in Australia, so I decided to post about that today. Maybe Tucson later.
I can assume that those of you that read this blog are aware of the flooding that is going on in Australia. My youngest son and his wife live in a suburb of Brisbane, and as of yesterday, are affected by the flood. Since they are 15 hours ahead of us in time, as I write this at 1:30 p.m. MST it is 6:30 a.m. Wednesday morning there. We haven't heard from them since yesterday afternoon. Water was lapping at their doorstep at that time. Having been to Brisbane a few years back, and having spent several days in the area that is now under water, I thought to include a few pictures my wife and I took at that time, for perspective to those of you that might have seen enough news to be aware of what I am talking about.

This picture is looking eastward, I think, across the Brisbane river with the Brisbane LDS Temple on the point above the river. This is in the Kangaroo Point area of Brisbane.
This picture is a similar view, but with a zoom lens.

This is just a picture trying to capture the old Cathedral on the bank above the river. It is a ways north of the LDS Temple but in the same general area.

This picture is across the road from the LDS temple on Kangaroo Point, looking northwest, kinda, toward Eagle street. Eagle street is probably in the area of the buildings in the center of the picture, or maybe just beyond. This area is under water today, and the peak of the flood has not yet arrived.

This is a picture of one of the numerous boat ramps that line the river. Many people live on boats on the river, and use a small boat to get to shore, then bicycle, walk or taxi around the city. River taxis, called River Cats, ply the river during the day, and a lot of people use them to get to and from work, or school, across or up or down the river. It is an inexpensive way to traverse the city. Many, if not most, of these ramps are now gone in the current flood, and the water is almost up to the bottom of the many bridges across the river.

A River Cat. We spent a very pleasant time going on a tour of the city in one of these one evening.

I took this picture of a barge pushing a drill rig up the river, but I included it in this post because it shows many of the office buildings across the river that are similar to the building in the next picture.

I don't remember the name of this building. The dark colored rectangular squares show the heights of where past floods have reached. This building is in a similar position to the river as the buildings in the background of the previous picture. It takes a lot of water to spread out that far and to that height.
The land is quite flat and the river feeds into the Pacific ocean and is subject to tides. Those tides are expected to come tomorrow, well today in Australia, and meet the flood waters coming down. Where ever they meet, it will be catastrophic. When we were there a few years ago, I saw more water than this old southwest desert dweller has ever seen, not counting the ocean, but they said they were in a drought. This is not a good way to end the drought.
We need to keep these people in our prayers, as well as those who have suffered from the snow and cold in the Northeast United States, and those who are suffering from the senseless shooting last weekend in Tucson, Arizona. We need to daily count our blessings. Especially those of us who have so much. And that is the View From The Ditch Bank

Friday, January 7, 2011

View From The Ditch Bank

A CONTINUATION: What is coming in the next 358 days. Do I know? Nope. Do I care? Yep. Do I have predictions? Not really. Some thoughts, maybe? Uh! Yeah, I guess. Along with a few comments. The first thing the Republicans did was to read the Constitution from the floor of the house. Never been done before. So, about time. Will it make a difference? Time will tell, but probably not. Can they balance the budget? Not any time soon. And it will take a lot of work. And cooperation from the members of Congress. The next thing the new House did was to announce that they were going to repeal the health care bill. Won't happen. They will try. And waste time and money. But it won't happen. What could, and I said COULD, happen, is for both sides to set down together and rework the bill to a more workable document. Will that happen. Time will tell. President Obama will want a lot of things, but will spend a lot of the next two years campaigning for a 2nd term. Who will run against him? Again, don't know. There are several predictions out there, but so far no one has officially announced. Sarah Palin? Maybe, but I don't think so. I like Sarah. She is down to earth and would make a good have made a good president. But, now, I think she has kinda shot herself in the foot. Mitt Romney? Again rumors. He is a good financial man. If congress worked with him, he could balance the budget by the end of his first term. Does he have a good handle of foreign affairs and other items? Don't know. But then, that's why they have advisors. Mike Huckabee? Stay tuned, the next two years may turn out to be interesting.
As for New Mexico's new governor. She has been in office for one week. She has said that she wants to balance the State Budget. She has taken steps to do that, but without some major changes somewhere, she is fighting an uphill battle. She has fired most of the previous governor's political appointees, and cut the salaries of cabinet level employees. She has put the new State jet up for sale. She fired two Chefs, saying she knew how to cook. She did retain a short order cook and an assistant. She has made headway, but so far the savings is kinda like eating pudding with a fork. It can be done, but will take a while. Again Stay tuned. The legislature meets later this month, for the start of a 60 day session. What will happen? Don't know. I just know this Half of your trouble comes from wanting your way. The other half comes from getting it. And that is The View From The Ditch Bank

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

View From The Ditch Bank

REFLECTIONS: As I contemplated this first post of 2011, and deciding on what to write, and writing it out in my mind, I soon realized if I included everything I thought of, It would rival War and Peace in length and be about as hard to read as the Book of Isaiah. So I have pared it down to what, I hope, is manageable ramblings. Those of you who have been with me since the beginning, or have scrolled back through the posts to see the beginning, know that I write very little about myself and my family. This may change a little this year. We will see.
For now, here are a few reflective thoughts I have to start this year of 2011.
On religion; I have stated that I am LDS, more commonly known as Mormon. In that vein, I start this year with two Nephews and 3 Grandsons serving missions for the LDS Church. One of the Grandsons will complete his mission this year and return home. If I am not mistaken, both of the nephews will return home this year also. They all will return very much more able to continue on with their life.
For my wife and I, we spent 6 1/2 years serving in the LDS Temple in Albuquerque, New Mexico and 6 months serving in The Gila Valley Temple in Arizona. We have been released from Temple service, because of the next reflection. However, before I leave this topic, I must say that those 7 years were the most enjoyable 7 years of church service I have ever spent.
Now, We were released from that service because after 2 years of being retired, I have decided to return to the land of the gainfully employed. I won't go into the job I have taken, but it is in the same line of work that I retired from. The reason I decided to return to work is simple. Money. Well, because my wife and I have some things we want to do, and a little boost in income at this time will accelerate getting those things done. Some of them are expensive. So, I will work for a while. How long to be determined. I have been met with mixed reactions from my contemporaries. Some say WHY? Some say WHY NOT? Many say good for you, and a few say Better you than me. What ever their reactions, I have returned to work.
Now, I can't leave this post with out a few remarks about politics. The new year starts off with a new congress. The Republicans are back in charge. I am a republican, but don't believe all things republican. However, many of those in the new congress have stated they will work to reverse all that has been done in the last two years. My view point on this. Don't kill the health care bill. I don't like the health care bill as it was passed. There are many aspects of it that I don't like. There some of them that I do like. Many Americans feel the same way. So, work on the bill, with the Democrats, and eliminate those items that are unnecessary, and leave the rest alone. Many of the Republicans have stated that they want to hold Obama to a one term President. While I have no objection to that, For them to just object to every thing he has done, and object to every thing he may want to do, nothing will get done and the Republicans will just come out looking like fools, and any ground they may have gained this past election will be lost, and we the people will be the biggest losers.
Now, to the State politics. New Mexico entered this new year with a Republican Governor. She has made some history, according to the talking heads on the news, by being the first Woman Governor of New Mexico and the First Hispanic Woman Governor of any State. As a prosecuting attorney in a southern county, she is making statements already of things she wants done that will be a benefit to the law enforcement community. I voted for her, and so far I like what I have seen from her as a Governor. Granted, she has only been in office 4 days. And she will not be able to keep all her campaign promises. That is a given, and should be accepted as such by all. Her promises to balance the budget, not take from education to do so were based on a $250 million imbalance. Shortly after she was elected our then Governor said Oh! the imbalance is actually $450 million. But even though he spent and spent, he blamed it on the national economy. So Mrs. Martinez will have to break some promises to get a balanced budget. She wants to reverse the Death Penalty that the past Governor got passed last year. She wants to loosen regulations and taxes making it easier for businesses to do business in New Mexico. She also wants to repeal the law giving drivers licenses to undocumented residents. She also wants to strengthen the laws against illegal immigration. She has many other ideas that sound good. Stay tuned. The year is new and who knows what will actually result by years end. And that is The View From The Ditch Bank