Sunday, 31 August 2008

The Democratization of Illiteracy


Reading around on the internet is depressing, when one encounters chronic misspellings by native English-speakers with college degrees. They are not typographical errors, but purposeful ones wrought by ignorance. This applies to those living in two-million dollar mansions as well as to denizens of the double-wide. Today's movers and shakers have the same literacy-level as yesterday's movers and drivers.

Seen lately on a clothing forum:

"I just drape them over a chair or put them on a hangar." That one is spreading far and wide like a plague. Whatever that fellow is putting on a "hangar" must be huge! Judging by the context of his paragraph, he must have meant "hanger". Another fellow wrote that he needed a source of good "hangars" for his clothes. Either he has too many clothes, or he's a giant.

Burgandy instead of burgundy is incorrect, but very popular nonetheless. Even ebay gets that one wrong in their listing templates.
If I were to list all of the chronic mistakes on that site, I'd be writing for days.
Seen Everywhere:
Seperate instead of separate
Definate instead of definite
Your instead of you're
Loose instead of lose
Verbage instead of verbiage
Lavendar instead of lavender
Sirname for surname
Punctuation, or Lack of It:
It's claimed that dropping the punctuation is done to save time and keypad tapping.
Why, then, do people add apostrophes on plural words, when they belong on possessives and contractions? They'll erroneously add the apostrophe to its, while omitting it on the contraction of "it is". The possessive apostrophe is nowhere to be found (especially in Great Britain), but misuses of it on plural words abound!
How in the world are people from other countries supposed to learn English, when North Americans and the English cannot?

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Senator O Partly Right on Education, Partly Wrong on Energy

Now is the time to finally meet our moral obligation to provide every child a world-class education, because it will take nothing less to compete in the global economy. Michelle and I are only here tonight because we were given a chance at an education. And I will not settle for an America where some kids don't have that chance. I'll invest in early childhood education. I'll recruit an army of new teachers, and pay them higher salaries and give them more support. And in exchange, I'll ask for higher standards and more accountability. And we will keep our promise to every young American — if you commit to serving your community or your country, we will make sure you can afford a college education.
Editor's Note: Teaching more English, writing, math, history and science and less social engineering; removing computers from classrooms and teaching through the use of books, pens and pencils, and making sure that each teacher can spell and use proper grammar, will upgrade the quality and lower the price of education. Teachers are too often there for the life-style, and other less-than-salutary personal reasons. Money is not the answer; discipline and standards are. Japan spends half as much as the U.S. does on education, yet their system yields much higher results than ours. Parents in Japan take an active interest in their children's learning and intellectual development. Japanese culture says that knowledge is cool, whereas American culture says that imitating a pop or rap star is. Before there can be improvement in the educational system, the culture must right itself, and its participants must become more seriously engaged in the process. Cynicism and sloth have crept into a system that used to build character and brains. Reliance upon computers must be minimized during a child's years in public education, because in the event of power-outages, classical tools and skills must be put to work. Just as there are teachers who promote their personal opinions and lifestyles in the classroom, the internet provides a lot of distracting, inaccurate information. Reliable sources are difficult to isolate among all the web-based rubbish. A total simplification of the system, together with a renewed focus on manners and civility, will breed young people who have the tools to get along in the technical, professional, and social worlds. After all, peace begins with self-respect, and succeeds with an old-fashioned respect for others. Cynicism and pop-culture dogma have degraded the educational system more than any lack of funding has ever done.
Energy
As president, I will tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power. I'll help our auto companies retool, so that the fuel-efficient cars of the future are built right here in America. I'll make it easier for the American people to afford these new cars. And I'll invest 150 billion dollars over the next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energy; wind power and solar power and the next generation of biofuels; an investment that will lead to new industries and 5 million new jobs that pay well and can't ever be outsourced.
Editor's Note: Drilling for oil is not a "stop-gap measure", as Senator O characterizes it. Tapping our natural gas reserves is. They are reserved for extreme national emergencies, and are for the use of our military should we be attacked. It is irresponsible to suggest that, just because oil and gas are priced higher now (more commensurate with what the Europeans have been paying for many years), we ought to deplete a source that was established for a particular purpose. And, it takes fifty gallons of water to produce one gallon of ethanol. I've long been an advocate of wind-power, even back when the environmentalists claimed that it ruined their views of the landscape. We shall still need some oil in future times, and it is utterly short-sighted to say that we need to stop drilling it, and to resist doing so because it won't "help" in the short-term. We visited Alaska in 2005, and the consensus among all the Alaskan people we spoke with was that they wanted more oil drilling, especially in that infinitesimal section on the edge of the vast ANWR. Why? It's good for the economy.

Lt. Col. Le Roy Roberts, Tuskegee Airman Passed Away Aug. 13th

Photo: Jim Bates, Seattle Times

Democrat Senator Harry Truman didn't want Black Americans flying war-planes...
Lieutenant Colonel Le Roy Jones, Jr. of the Tuskegee Airmen
Passes Away in Tacoma, Washington at Age 86

Elegant Survival's Pick of the Week from Christabelle's Closet

Elegant satin skirt for evening in gun-metal gray, size 12, by Nicole Miller
at Christabelle's Closet on-line Consignment Boutique

Sun-Dried Shirts, a Natural Luxury


Washing and Drying Your Shirts

A well-made shirt can cost $500.00 or more. That is an investment to protect. Your shirts will last much longer if they are washed by hand and hung to dry. Don't use so much detergent that it takes a rinsing marathon to remove it. "A little dab'll do ya", as the old Brylcreem jingle said. Ideally, one would hang shirts on a clothesline, upside down, with clothespins. This keeps pinch-marks off the important areas of your shirts. The sun will dry them in no time. Alternatively, one could hang them indoors, perhaps out-of-sight behind the the shower curtain, on hangers. A sturdy spring-rod, placed inside the shower area for the purpose of hanging clothes to dry will not interfere with your existing shower-rod. If you don't want to get hanger-marks on the shoulders, just put wash-cloths under them, over the ends of your hanger. The worst thing to do, even if you wash your shirts in cold water in the gentle cycle, is to dry them in a machine--doing so will quickly degrade your shirt, which will die an angry death before its time. My husband and I have shirts from France and England that are twenty years old, and in perfect condition.

An electric, energy-consuming dryer is an enemy to high-quality clothing. In fact, dryers shrink clothes and wear them out quickly; lint is composed of fibers that a machine robs from your clothes. You'd be surprised at how swiftly shirts dry naturally, and when they are just a wee bit damp, they're easy to iron. In cases of stubborn collar and cuff soil, when hand-scrubbing fails, you can still wash your white shirts in hot water, soap, and a little bleach, as long as they are rinsed well, and then hung to dry. (Bleach alternative may be a better choice, if you can get it to work on stubborn stains.) The sun will do some natural bleaching of white cotton. Save costly energy and your shirts by hand-washing and sun-drying them.

Giving your precious shirts to a dry-cleaner or other laundry service is wasteful. They crush buttons and machine-dry the poor things. Do clothes hanging on a line outdoors conjure up bad images for you? Too bad, because it is one of life's simple luxuries to be able to dry a beautiful, well-made shirt in the sun--some of the best people do it. Believe me, it's not remotely infradig to care for your own shirts. After all, who cares for them more than you do?


~~Copyright M-J de Mesterton, May 2008

Friday, 29 August 2008

Abie Nathan, Israeli Peace Pioneer, Dies at 81


JERUSALEM - Abie Nathan, the peace activist who made a dramatic solo flight to Egypt in a rattletrap single-engine plane and later founded the groundbreaking "Voice of Peace" radio station, died Wednesday. He was 81.

Bio

Sen. McCain Congratulates Sen. Obama on Historic Presidential Nomination

Senator John McCain appeared in (and paid for) a televised announcement last night, graciously congratulating Sen. Obama on his ground-breaking nomination as Presidential candidate.
Article in the Hindustan Times
**************************************************************************************

The Travels of William Wells Brown


Here is a wonderful book given to me by Markus Wiener (Publisher, Princeton), where I once worked. I mentioned its eminent author in my last post. William Wells Brown, former slave and ambassador of abolitionism, was a great writer.

The Travels of William Wells Brown

Edited by Paul Jefferson
This is the remarkable story of two trips by a fugitive slave. One is the dramatic and poignant journey of a humiliated slave up the Mississippi to the North, into freedom. The second is a glorious voyage of the same man to Europe, now an elegant and eloquent ambassador of the abolitionists who hobnobs with writers like Victor Hugo, and moves freely in high society.
~~Markus Wiener Publishers, Princeton, NJ

Bernard Lewis' Princeton Papers
**************************************************************************************

Thursday, 28 August 2008

The Late Lt. Col. Howard Lee Baugh's Message to Young People

Education is free. Anyone who has the desire to can acquire it. Even in the 1800s, former slaves William Wells Brown and Frederick Douglass, with a determination to achieve, educated themselves and became brilliant international intellectuals. Yet, some Americans, those demagogues who are blindingly out-of-touch with real people present and past, would have you believe, for their own selfish purposes, that there are still official systems in their country that prevent black people and other "minorities" from becoming educated. If that's true, I wonder where exactly the Secretary of State, high-achiever and concert pianist Condoleezza Rice grew up and was educated, if not in the U.S.A. And, let us not forget General Colin Powell, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, who also served under President Bush as Secretary of State.

Here is a YouTube video interview, very brief but conveying a strong and simple message, with Lieutenant Colonel Howard Lee Baugh, whose passing I noted on M-J in the Republic, August 26th 2008:
Lt. Col. Howard Lee Baugh of the Tuskegee Airmen Has a Message for You
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Aerospace Engineer Mr. Arlington "Art" Carter


Black Engineer of the Year 1990, Arlington W. Carter, Jr. spent a great career at Boeing, which included being Vice President of Missile Systems, Facilities and Capital Investments.
He is a delightful raconteur and a great golfer. A graduate of Howard University, Arlington Carter retired as a Boeing Vice President in 1998.

President Bush's Record-Breaking Fight Against AIDS


Gee, Mr. Clinton--you really want the Democrats to continue President Bush's fight against AIDS? That's nice, because he picked up where you left off, and you really have some catching up to do.
Thirty-nine billion dollars have just been allocated thanks to President Bush towards the effort, making it a total of54 billion to your one billion!

I'm looking forward to tomorrow, when I shall update this post with a direct quote from the transcript of your misleading, self-congratulatory speech, in which you actually tried to fool your audience into believing that nothing had been done in the fight against worldwide AIDS since you left office....

Oh, and then there's the little matter of how you cynically left 800,000 to be mercilessly slaughtered in Rwanda.

"And here's what I have to say about that. Everything I learned in my eight years as president, and in the work I have done since in America and across the globe, has convinced me that Barack Obama is the man for this job."

~~Former President Wm. Jefferson Clinton, as he self-congratulates, brags, and circumlocutes in his Democrat convention speech. It's always really about him. No one is more skilled at that sort of obfuscation and demagoguery. And, hey--want to talk some more about inequality, Mr. Clinton? The "new" gap between rich and poor? You made over a hundred million dollars last year, finger-pointing and puffing at podiums all over the world, between parties.


Mrs. John McCain


Biography of Mrs. John McCain

CARE

Arizona native (born May 20th, 1954) Cindy McCain is the wife of Senator John McCain. An advocate for children's health care needs, she founded the American Voluntary Medical Team in 1988, and led many medical missions to developing and war-torn countries during the Team's seven-year existence. In 2000, Cindy was instrumental in her husband's notable run for President of the United States. That year, she was chosen to represent the State of Arizona at the Republican National Convention as the Chairwoman of the Arizona Delegation. She serves on the Board of Operation Smile and the Halo Trust, as well as several local organizations. Mrs. McCain has a Master's degree in Special Education from the University of Southern California. A survivor of severe physical ailments and spinal surgery, she is also recovered from a resultant addiction to pain medication. Most people I know who have had spinal surgery are either permanently bed-ridden or deceased because of it. Mrs. McCain is candid about the subject of her past addiction, and encourages awareness of the problem in the spirit of prevention.
Cindy McCain joined the CARE Board of Directors and the Marketing and Development Committee in 2005.

This is a re-posting of my piece on Cindy McCain, from February. It has had hundreds of search-engine-generated views. Mrs. McCain is being gratuitously trashed on the internet by the usual illiterate suspects. Let he or she among you who is without sin cast the first stone. Congratulations, you have more in common with Karl Rove than you thought. He is the one who made Cindy McCain's personal life a campaign issue in 2000! ~~M-J de M.

The Clintons Slept Together...

...at President Reagan's Funeral!

Sen. O and Sen. Biden's Son Linked by Lobbying

Article in The Washington Post

Well, I haven't heard any Clinton-style promises of "the most ethical administration in history" yet--we all know how that turned out!

R. Hunter Biden, Bush Appointee

President Bush appointed Senator Biden's son, lawyer and lobbyist R. Hunter Biden to the Amtrak Reform Board. I wonder why the press and the Democrats themselves never acknowledge Republicans who reach out to them. They just go the knee-jerk route and trash President Bush and Senator McCain, who have a history of working with Democrats. When President Clinton took over the White House, he fired everybody there. President Bush didn't, but hindsight tells some of us that he really should have. He was and is a good sport. Poor sportsmanship is the Democrats' stock-in-trade.

Mrs. John McCain, Elegant Survivor



CARE

Arizona native Cindy McCain, born May 20th, 1954, is the wife of Senator John McCain. An advocate for children's health care needs, she founded the American Voluntary Medical Team in 1988, and led many medical missions to developing and war-torn countries during the Team's seven-year existence. In 2000, Cindy was instrumental in her husband's notable run for President of the United States. That year, she was chosen to represent the State of Arizona at the Republican National Convention as the Chairwoman of the Arizona Delegation. She serves on the Board of Operation Smile and the Halo Trust, as well as several local organizations. Mrs. McCain has a Master's degree in Special Education from the University of Southern California. A survivor of severe physical ailments and spinal surgery, she is also recovered from a resultant addiction to pain medication. Mrs. McCain is open about the subject, and encourages awareness of the problem in the spirit of prevention.

Cindy McCain joined the CARE Board of Directors and the Marketing and Development Committee in 2005.

Environmentalists Endangering the Human Species

Dateline, Indonesia:

"...but now, villagers say, the once-friendly dragons have turned into vicious man-eaters. And they blame policies drafted by American-funded environmentalists for this frightening turn of events."
Article in the Wall Street Journal: When Good Dragons Go Bad
By YAROSLAV TROFIMOV
August 25, 2008; Page A1

Environmentalists and animal activists rarely show any real respect for, nor understanding of, nature. They tend to mess up eco-systems, and usually have little regard for humanity. Want to go surfing during a hurricane, or playing with a Komodo dragon? Go ahead. Test the "survival of the fittest" theory. Youtube: Kills with One Bite Warning: you may lose your lunch!

Interviews with Senator McCain at Aspen Institute, 2006

Aspen Institute chief Walter Isaacson and Fortune Magazine's Eric Pooley teamed up to question Senator John McCain in 2006.

McCain's opening comments:




"I'd like to say a few things about the Supreme Court's decision yesterday on the whole issue of detainees in Guantanamo Bay. The good news is that it has unstuck the process. The administration has been saying they were waiting [for the ruling.] The Court said two things: the court said they should be handled under the Unified Military Code of Justice.

The UMCJ does not guarantee all the rights [that the civilian court system does], but I think it's basically a fair system. The other was the admonition to adhere to the Geneva conventions. I'm not surprised by that either.

What I'm hoping is that we can start a hearing in the Armed Services Committee, and, as soon as we get back from our well-earned recess, we can push the issue forward.... Guantanamo has become a symbol around the world that is not good. I've always believed it was not the facility, but the lack of movement. [The fact that detainees are not getting their day in court.] You've got some bad guys in there, but you may also have some innocent people.

Finally, climate change is real.... The fact that we have not done more about it is a crime to our children and grandchildren.... I travel a lot around the world, usually at your expense, and [I've seen the effects of global warming.] I think we need to stop arguing whether it's happening.

Climate change is real, and we need to begin to start figuring out how we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The trick in my mind is to get business to see that reducing greenhouse emissions [is in their economic interest.] Lieberman's and my cap-and-trade legislation should have gotten more attention....

Nuclear power, in my view, is not only a viable, but a very important element in our effort to reduce our dependence on foreign oil... Let me remind you that the Europeans have moved forward long ago on nuclear power. It's a question of psychology not technology.

Pooley: What's your take on the nature and tone of the debate in Washington around immigration?

McCain: I could cry. It's become highly personalized. Very unfortunate. It impedes our ability to come together on these very important issues. I always wonder why an issue becomes the issue. In the case of illegal immigration, it's been building and building and building for 40 years, and finally it's reached a snapping point.

Governors are angry, sheriffs are angry, hospitals are angry. It now dominates the media, especially the talk shows. It keeps getting stoked and stoked. It seems that, in democracies, issues just sort of bubble up. On the issue: I do not understand [those that say we just need to enforce our border.]

We must have a comprehensive approach, and we who are the sponsors are more than open to considering various options, but we can not accept the premise that a stronger boarder will reduce the fundamental root causes [of illegal immigration] and we can't avoid the 11 million people who are already in the country.... We can't say all we need to do is enforce our borders.... As a Republican, I've tried to point out to my colleagues is that the worst case scenario is to go into the November election having done nothing. 95% of polls say Republicans want to do something on the issue.

Isaacson: Will you have a bill?

McCain: I can't say that. I can say there's active talking on the issues.... I believe the chances are fairly good.

Question: Might it be better off to wait?

McCain: Every day we wait, more people come across the border. Every day that we wait, more people die in the Arizona desert. Last year 400 people died. One was a two year old.... Over 50% of the people that cross the border from Mexico come across the Arizona border... [Everyone says:] enforce the border first. I've been trying to say to them we're enforcing it [we're pouring billions into enforcement.] And, if we started on a guest worker program tomorrow, that would take time.... My proposal is that you have to have a tamper proof visa/ID...

As you know it's called the Amnesty bill. You can call it whatever you want. You can call it a banana. But it does not qualify as amnesty.... We're not forgiving anyone, we're not pardoning anyone.... [MCCAIN describes the tough process for getting the proposed guest worker status.] I'm not afraid to demagogue a little.

I don't really want to have to call an American soldier who's fighting in Iraq and say we've deported his parents. I'm unashamed to say that I'm working with Senator Kennedy. Senator Kennedy knows how to get things to done.... If you want to talk a lot, that's fine but if you want to pass legislation that takes (crossing the aisle.) The issue should transcend party politics. Why should it be a partisan issue?

Isaacson: Would you close (Camp) Guantanamo?

McCain: I'd try to, and I think the President wants to. It's become a symbol around the world that's clearly not helpful.

Pooley: On Iraq what would you do now?

McCain: Pray. Pray. Pray. The one thing I wouldn't do is paint an optimistic picture. I wouldn't say that just because Zarqawi went to his special place in hell that was reserved for him, that we've got this conflict solved. "Mission accomplished," "Just a few dead-enders," 

Question: Do we need more troops?

McCain: We've never had enough troops, and that was something that some of us were so distraught about. It's two steps forward, and one-and-a-half back.

We've had success training their military, but we haven't had much success training their police.... The bad news is that it took them five months to form a government. Well, they've got a government. There are some good things happening, but it's going to take a long time.

What's the formula for success? I remind you that the nature of insurgency is that there isn't going to be peace talks on the deck (of an aircraft carrier.) The end of the insurgency comes when there is a better economy. More jobs. (These will) gradually put down this insurgency....

What's the key? It's the Iraqi military taking over. The key is Iraqis doing the fighting and dying, and Iraqis taking over.... Americans are not yet ready to set the date for withdrawal.... The classic way to fight an insurgency is not what we did in Vietnam under Westmoreland. (Landing in a place with lots of firepower and then leaving. The insurgents just gradually re-emerge.)What does work is you take an area, and you hold it, and you expand it, and you make the lives of those people normal.

Pooley: Can we get the job done with the troop levels we have now?

McCain: Yes. Because politically I don't think we could pass some proposal (to send over another massive wave of troops.) We are politically dependent on the Iraqi military and the Iraqi government.

Pooley: Can we train their troops?

McCain: Yes.

Isaacson: Speaking of Arizona. Sandra Day was in here and she pulled out the Constitution (and said that it's great advantage is that it is short and simple and broad. Do you feel that the Constitutional amendments for flag burning and gay marriage are necessary?)

McCain: I guess it's the eye of the beholder... I believe states should regulate marriage.... I happen to believe in the sanctity of the union between man and woman.... But I'm a federalist.... On the issue of flag burning, umm, there's a certain amount of showmanship, but it's also (true that) our constituencies have very strong feelings about this.

Isaacson: You tried to fight the amendment for gay marriage.

McCain: Yeah, and I've never seen more partisanship and lower ratings.... (I read a poll for Republicans that put approval at 20%.) At that level, you're getting down to paid staff and blood relatives.... On the flag burning, we did try to pass a law to prevent the desecration of the flag, and they were rejected, and that's why we felt there was a need for an amendment....

Question: (About media and the recent publication by the New York Times of the federal call tracking program.)

McCain: If we feel national security has been jeopardized, we should find the people who gave that info to the media in the first place. Do I think the New York Times was correct in printing it? No I don't.

If you really want to hold someone accountable, why not try to find the person who did the leaking. There's a lot of turmoil now.... I don't think I've ever seen the media under more assault than I have in recent times....

Pooley: If you decide to run again in 2008, what would you do differently?

McCain: I wouldn't do anything differently. Look, after I lost in South Carolina, I slept like a baby: I slept two hours and woke up and cried. Political campaigns are tough. But we've got to have the town halls, (and the open conversation.) You've got to make it enjoyable. )Bush won because he ran the better campaign.) The best man won. He had the entire Republican Establishment behind him. He was more organized....

Q&A with the audience

Question: On Iran, are they just playing a game with us?

McCain: In the shows over the weekend, I saw Senator Lugar, who I respect as highly as anyone in America, saying we should have direct talks with Iran. Now, what Senator Lugar says carries great weight, but let me say cynically, we've been talking about two party, five party, seven party talks...but what is the motivation of the Iranian people to give up something they think is very good idea for their country? What is the motivation of our Asian Elvis, who would be forgotten tomorrow -- he has the GDP of Des Moines -- (were it not for his nuclear threat?) I wouldn't get my hopes up just because we agree to two party talks (that the problem will be solved.)

But, finally, it is a serious, serious threat. When the President goes to the United Nations and repeatedly announces that his policy is the annihilation of Israel..this is serious, serious stuff....

(Yes, our) President says he hasn't taken the military option off the table, but he's also said he's pursuing every option. The acquisition in Iran of a nuclear weapon would destabilize the Middle East...Everyone would feel the need to have one too (Saudi Arabia, etc.) And, I'm sorry to say in the 21st century, this is only the first (such problem given the ease of construction of nuclear weapons.)

Question: What changes would you make (in how Democrats and Republicans are working together?)

McCain: I would demand that the American people demand that we sit down together...One of my earliest political memories was Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neil standing together (announcing the passage of the 1983 legislation to save Social Security.) But now the Democrats cheer when the President said his social security bill had been defeated in his State of the Union.

Why should we cheer that we can't fix a system that we have to fix for our children and grandchildren. No one denies that the system is going to go broke. We need to sit down together and fix Medicare and Medicaid because they are a catastrophe waiting to happen....

Stewart Brand: First, what do you think of Al Gore's movie, and is it helping your cause. (?) The second thing is, one of the issues of nuclear energy is the enormous amount of waste. (Would you support the U.S. moving to a system of re-processing such as the French have?)

McCain: ...On Kyoto: we needed to have China and India. We're not going to sell Kyoto to the American people without China and India. On the issue of waste, I've always been in favor of re-processing. Yucca Mountain is the worst kind of (shameful situation.) We can't put waste in there because it's only good for 10,000 years? Now, I worry about the future, but God Almighty!

Question: What's your stance on teaching creationism in schools?

McCain: I think that students should be exposed to every theory and every thought that we can...I don't like communism, but I think students should be exposed to communism.... There are people that believe this is the the way the earth was created. I'm not saying it should be forced on them, but I don't get this dispute....

Question: But in science class?

McCain: I'm not on the school board. I'd let them decide that. One of our fundamental beliefs is local control...

Tom Downey: The former congressman from New York -- and Clinton-Gore adviser -- compliments McCain on his positions with regard to money in politics, but takes issue with the Senator's earlier comments on the Democrats cheering during President Bush's State of the Union. Downey says the reason the Democrats "staunchly opposed the legislation, was that it was fundamentally a bad idea. If the President had the courage to show up with a real plan," things might have been different.

McCain: I thank you for your friendship and your service of many years....The President, when I was with him, began his speeches on the subject saying that the Social Security Trust Fund was broken, and we have to fix it... Were the private savings account too heavily involved? (Maybe, though McCain thinks they're not a bad idea.) I knew that we were in trouble, and I understand why the Democrats stood up and cheered, but I'm not sure that 20 years ago you would have had the same reaction. (And, he allows, it could just as well have been Republicans cheering)

Question: Questioner introduces himself as being born in Iran, and having come to the U.S. when he was 18 -- to the "Land of Liberty." He says the last five years have significantly diminished his feeling that America is still the Land of Liberty.] "As a man of peace, I'm disturbed, you think that Iran having a nuclear weapon would disturb the balance power, but Israel, Pakistan, India, etc. having them wouldn't. It sounds disingenuous.

McCain: You're welcome to your view, but none of those countries have announced their dedication to the extinction of their neighbor.... If Iran somehow had a freely elected democratic candidate who did not say they were against the state of Israel, I would not be nearly alarmed as I am.... The day the Iranian government says we're going to live in peace, that's the day I'll look more favorably on them.

Closing: I'd like to say we face numerous challenges, both foreign and domestic.... On the foreign policy front, just a few years ago we look back on as golden era. Domestically, it's time that we Americans got back on track.... We have a lot of work to do. But I am fundamentally an optimist. I still travel around the world and in most cases people look up to America. We're a long way from the end of history, as far as America is concerned.

Thanks to Fortune Magazine for the transcribed interview. I did have to edit some of their mistakes in syntax and spelling, however.


Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Madonna, Material Middle-Aged Ma'am, Maligns McCain


Madonna, fifty-year old performer amd madam of materialism, played a photo-montage of Senator McCain and Hitler during her "sticky and sweet" show. She is typical of mindless Leftists who lash out at things they don't understand, and express hatred for people whose shoes they are not fit to shine. What a star.

Madonna's Size XXX Carbon Footprint

She carries three freezers on her tour, while promoting activism against global warming. Madonna's 45-day tour will consume as much energy as 160 U.K. citizens use in a year.
Maybe Madonna is too busy celebrating perversity to stop pointing fingers and start employing some introspection.

The Record-Breakers


- The only president ever impeached on grounds of personal malfeasance
- Highest number of convictions and guilty pleas by friends and associates*
- Highest number of cabinet officials to come under criminal investigation
- Highest number of witnesses to flee country or refuse to testify
- Highest number of witnesses to die suddenly
- First president sued for sexual harassment
- First president accused of rape
- First first lady to come under criminal investigation
- Largest criminal plea agreement in an illegal campaign contribution case
- First president to establish a legal defense fund
- First president to be held in contempt of court
- Greatest amount of illegal campaign contributions
- Greatest amount of illegal campaign contributions from abroad
- First president disbarred from the US Supreme Court and a state court

Crime Statistics

- Number of individuals and businesses associated with the Clinton machine who have been convicted of or pleaded guilty to crimes: 47
- Number of these convictions during Clinton's presidency: 33
- Number of indictments/misdemeanor charges: 61
- Number of congressional witnesses who have pleaded the Fifth Amendment, fled the country to avoid testifying, or (in the case of foreign witnesses) refused to be interviewed: 122

Campaign Finance Investigation

- As of June 2000, the Justice Department listed 25 people indicted and 19 convicted because of the 1996 Clinton-Gore fundraising scandals.
- According to the House Committee on Government Reform in September 2000, 79 House and Senate witnesses asserted the Fifth Amendment in the course of investigations into Gore's last fundraising campaign.
-James Riady entered a plea agreement to pay an $8.5 million fine for campaign finance crimes. This was a record under campaign finance laws.

The Largest Fraud in Campaign Law History

Lt. Col. Howard Lee Baugh, Tuskegee Airman, Passes Away at 88


Article in Richmond, VA Newspaper, on the Passing of Lieutenant Colonel HowardLee Baugh

Tribute to Lt. Colonel Howard Lee Baugh

Great American Hero Lt. Col. Howard Lee Baugh had 6,000 flying hours.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Some Easy-to-Store Kitchen Essentials and Survival Foods

Ingredients for a Well-Stocked Pantry
Elegant Survival Kitchen Essentials


  • Frozen Apple Juice Concentrate or Bottled Apple Juice
  • Cornstarch
  • Unbleached White Flour
  • Rye Flour
  • Yeast
  • Gelatine
  • Almond Extract
  • Vanilla, Imitation or Pure Extract
  • Rum Extract or Flavoring
  • Aluminum-Free Baking Powder
  • Baking Soda
  • Hershey's Cocoa Powder
  • Chocolate Chips
  • Cinnamon
  • Salt
  • Peppercorns
  • Dried Red Chiles
  • Dehydrated Mixed Vegetables
  • Brown Rice
  • White or Basmati Rice
  • Corn Meal or Grits
  • Dried Pasta
  • Alfalfa Seeds
  • Wheat Berries
  • Dried Parsley
  • Dried Chives
  • Dehydrated Onion
  • Dehydrated Garlic or Garlic Powder
  • Soy Sauce
  • Powdered Ginger
  • Toasted Sesame Oil
  • Sesame Tahini Paste, Joyva brand of Brooklyn is best
  • Almond Butter
  • Popcorn, loose: Jolly Time Organic is better than Orville Redenbacher, at one-third the cost
  • Peanut or Corn Oil
  • Olive Oil
  • Mustard Powder, Colman's English
  • Spanish or Hungarian Paprika
  • Capers
  • Green Peppercorns in Brine
  • Rose's Lime Juice
  • Maggi or another brand of Chicken Bouillon Powder
  • Canned Tomato Paste: store brand
  • Canned Whole Tomatoes: store brand
  • Canned Beets: store brand or generic
  • Canned Small, Peeled Potatoes: store brand or generic
  • Canned Green Chiles, whole or chopped
  • Coconut Milk, Canned
  • Whole Water Chestnuts, Canned
  • Canned Ham
  • Canned Vienna Sausage
  • Canned Beef (usually from Argentina)
  • Canned Pineapple, No Sugar Added
  • Peanut Butter
  • Raw Walnuts
  • Almonds
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Brown Sugar
  • White Sugar
  • Molasses
  • Honey
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • White Vinegar
  • Boxed Red Wine, and a Cube of White Wine, both for Cooking
  • Frozen Peas
  • Dried Split Peas, Green or Yellow
  • Freeze-Dried Coffee
  • Coffee Creamer (not Coffee-Mate, which contains aluminum--check ingredients)
  • Coffee Beans
  • Tea Bags
  • Non-Fat Dry Milk
  • Powdered Buttermilk
  • Powdered Eggs for Emergencies
  • Bottled Lemon Juice
  • Herbes de Provence (a combination of marjoram, thyme, rosemary and savory, available at Costco)

To Be Continued....

Compiled by M-J de Mesterton, 2008

Reminiscing about the 1980s in Manhattan...


...I present an old souvenir, probably from my thirtieth birthday, when Bobby Short sang Happy Birthday to me at Café Carlyle. No, this was some years earlier, when Joe Bushkin-- pianist, singer and composer, friend and colleague of Frank Sinatra, appeared at the Carlyle. What an exciting show he put on, which included his signature hit, "Oh, Look at Me Now". The late singer and pianist, Bobby Short had a home in France. He also lived across 57th Street from Carnegie Hall, in an elegant beaux-arts building. He had a lot of sartorial style, great taste, and lived very well. There's a photo of him in an old book about men's wear that we have in our library. He brought happiness to so many people.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

The Sleazy Scorched-Earth Policy Continues

Their scorched earth policy has continued apace, even after leaving the White House in a shambles. Whenever they get caught doing wrong, it's someone else who becomes their scapegoat. These are brazen, dangerous hucksters. Watch this video and see the story unfold:

The Largest Fraud in Campaign Law History

Wine Snobbery No Longer Blocks the Box

It is environmentally-friendly, user-friendly, and fun: wine in a box now has appeal for nearly everyone! The boxed wine is contained in a "bladder", and the wine is dispensed through a tap that pops out of the box. Aussies and New Zealanders have been drinking boxed wine for many years, and California has offered good, ready-to-drink wines for the refrigerator and counter-top for a long time. Wine snobs and Francophiles can reassure themselves knowing that in France it is standard to keep a box o'rosé on-tap in the fridge. Good wine brands come in three-liter units. A red wine that doesn't need to age can sit on a counter-top in your kitchen, ready for guests to tap, or for dispensing into an elegant glass decanter. The wine stays fresh because there is no air in the bladder, unlike when you pop a cork on a heavy glass bottle. Speaking of heavy glass, there is much less breakage and fewer bottles in your domicile with a handy box of good wine. To dispose of the container, cut and fold the box, "recycle" it, and toss the now-tiny bladder that used to hold your excellent wine. Napa Valley, California makes some excellent boxed wines.
~~M-J

Inexpensive, Good Boxed Wines Available at Target


Innovative Packaging

Wine Cubes are currently available in two sizes: 3-liter and 1.5-liter. The 3-liter Wine Cube holds the equivalent of four bottles of wine while the 1.5-liter Wine Cube holds the equivalent of two bottles of wine.Easy to stack, pack and carry, Wine Cubes are perfect for entertaining and on-the-go gatherings—picnics, family reunions, tailgates, barbecues, holiday parties and more. The eco-friendly packs are constructed of durable, renewable resource materials, ideal anywhere that glass containers are not suitable.

An innovative ramp evacuation system within the cube ensures that the wine is never exposed to oxygen and makes it possible for the wine to last four weeks after opening, guaranteeing that every drop is as good as the first.

Tasting Profile
Pinot Grigio-Packed with flavors of sweet pear and white peach. Deliciously juicy, smooth and aromatic.
Sauvignon Blanc-Crisp and refreshing, with appealing herbal aromas and fruit flavors of citrus and green apple.
Chardonnay-Full-bodied and smooth with apples, melon, citrus and a delicate floral note with hints of creamy vanilla.
Merlot-Scents of cocoa, sweet tea and spice, and a velvety texture for easy sipping.
Cabernet Sauvignon-Oak-aged for richness and sports juicy blackberry and plum flavors with a touch of herbal complexity.
Cabernet/Shiraz-The marriage of two popular grape varieties creates a seamless 50/50 blend. Medium to full-bodied with dark berry richness from Shiraz and a touch of herbal elegance from Cabernet Sauvignon.
Australian Chardonnay-Rich and crisp with a smooth texture, featuring flavors of tropical fruits and citrus, and a bright, clean finish.
Australian Shiraz-Lush, full-bodied wine packed with pepper, smoke and spice.
Product Pricing Details
The 3-liter Wine Cube, which retails for $15.99, is available in seven varieties including, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Grigio, Australian Shiraz and a Cabernet/Shiraz blend.

Wine Snobbery No Longer Blocks the Box, Continued

It is environmentally-friendly, user-friendly, and fun: wine in a box now has appeal for nearly everyone! The boxed wine is contained in a "bladder", and the wine is dispensed through a tap that pops out of the box. Aussies and New Zealanders have been drinking boxed wine for many years, and California has offered good, ready-to-drink wines for the refrigerator and counter-top for a long time. Wine snobs and Francophiles can reassure themselves knowing that in France it is standard to keep a box o'rosé on-tap in the fridge. Good wine brands come in three-liter units. A red wine that doesn't need to age can sit on a counter-top in your kitchen, ready for guests to tap, or for dispensing into an elegant glass decanter. The wine stays fresh because there is no air in the bladder, unlike when you pop a cork on a heavy glass bottle. Speaking of heavy glass, there is much less breakage and fewer bottles in your domicile with a handy box of good wine. To dispose of the container, cut and fold the box, "recycle" it, and toss the now-tiny bladder that used to hold your excellent wine.
~~M-J

Inexpensive, Good Boxed Wines Available at Target


Innovative Packaging

Wine Cubes are currently available in two sizes: 3-liter and 1.5-liter. The 3-liter Wine Cube holds the equivalent of four bottles of wine while the 1.5-liter Wine Cube holds the equivalent of two bottles of wine.Easy to stack, pack and carry, Wine Cubes are perfect for entertaining and on-the-go gatherings—picnics, family reunions, tailgates, barbecues, holiday parties and more. The eco-friendly packs are constructed of durable, renewable resource materials, ideal anywhere that glass containers are not suitable.

An innovative ramp evacuation system within the cube ensures that the wine is never exposed to oxygen and makes it possible for the wine to last four weeks after opening, guaranteeing that every drop is as good as the first.

Tasting Profile
Pinot Grigio-Packed with flavors of sweet pear and white peach. Deliciously juicy, smooth and aromatic.
Sauvignon Blanc-Crisp and refreshing, with appealing herbal aromas and fruit flavors of citrus and green apple.
Chardonnay-Full-bodied and smooth with apples, melon, citrus and a delicate floral note with hints of creamy vanilla.
Merlot-Scents of cocoa, sweet tea and spice, and a velvety texture for easy sipping.
Cabernet Sauvignon-Oak-aged for richness and sports juicy blackberry and plum flavors with a touch of herbal complexity.
Cabernet/Shiraz-The marriage of two popular grape varieties creates a seamless 50/50 blend. Medium to full-bodied with dark berry richness from Shiraz and a touch of herbal elegance from Cabernet Sauvignon.
Australian Chardonnay-Rich and crisp with a smooth texture, featuring flavors of tropical fruits and citrus, and a bright, clean finish.
Australian Shiraz-Lush, full-bodied wine packed with pepper, smoke and spice.
Product Pricing Details
The 3-liter Wine Cube, which retails for $15.99, is available in seven varieties including, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Grigio, Australian Shiraz and a Cabernet/Shiraz blend.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Don't Waste Overcooked Pasta

Photo copyright M-J de Mesterton 2008: click to enlarge
How to Salvage Overcooked Pasta

Instead of dumping your overcooked pasta--the result of an emergency elsewhere while you should be watching the pot--drain it well and sauté it in butter, then add grated cheese if you wish. It will have a toasted flavor and stiffen up a bit if you brown it as shown. Sautéed in butter or olive oil, overcooked spaghetti or pasta can have a nice texture. You may even add the sauce of your choice after it is browned. A little butter won't kill you, but an Italian, faced with mushy pasta, might!

Cut Cable Costs


You can save many dollars per month by switching to basic cable television and continuing to rent the cable-box for a few bucks. One can even live without cable TV. Fox News Channel has an internet website that shows the main news stories on video, and other amusing content. Many other cable channels have the same feature. With the cable box, one can still rent on a pay-per view basis, or even choose to watch the free movies offered, including fearnet productions and classic horror flicks. If your monthly cable bill is a fright, consider living without premium service. It is possible to live without premium cable!

Additionally, you can purchase classic movies for a few dollars apiece and create a movie library. Considering what is actually available on premium cable television, and the abundance of things you would never watch but are paying for nonetheless, it's worth cutting from your budget.

Elegant Survival Pick-of-the-Week from Christabelle's Closet


Genuine Crocodile Pumps, size 8B, by Ralph Lauren
New in Box, Originally $1,400.00; Now $420.00
A well-made shoe can last many years. Especially useful are classic styles, which are increasingly rare.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Elegant Survival Decorating: Window Treatment

Golden Wood Blinds in an Elegant, Energy-Efficient Room

Picture these warm, radiantly golden wood blinds in a room painted chocolate brown. Then, the light-colored sofa would take on a whole new aspect, while being accented by some brown and gold velvet cushions or pillows. With dark brown walls, this room could be an elegant study or library. The ceiling could be painted a glowing shade of golden brown or tan. As the room appears now, there is no contrast between room elements, and it looks cold. Speaking of temperature, imagine how warm this room could be in winter, with insulation provided by the wooden blinds and thick, velvet drapes. A heavy, woven brocade in brown, gold, and ivory would make an elegant window covering. Blinds and drapes also keep a room cool in summer. The combination of warm, dark wall-color, wooden blinds and opulent velvet or brocade curtains can make a room inviting and energy-efficient year-round.

~~M-J

Click on Photo for Source

Jacquard Curtains

Velvet Curtains

Thermal Blackout Curtains (Overstock.com misspells burgundy, but they have great deals and a live-chat feature where any questions you have about the product are answered quickly.)

High Praise for the Lowly Potato

Potatoes: the much-maligned tubers aren't guilty of fattening us. The added fats in potato-preparation are the culprits. This humble vegetable that grows low on the ground is high in nutrients. The potato is high in a substance called "resistant starch", a carbohydrate which has a low glycemic index and acts as fiber.

A potato supplies more potassium per ounce than a banana. Potassium helps to regulate blood-pressure and blood-sugar. Potatoes also contain vitamin C, B-6 and about 60 anti-oxidants.

M-J's Recipe for Golden Brown Potatoes

Peel and cut into quarters or eighths, as many potatoes as you think you need for dinner. The cut potatoes should resemble chunks or nuggets. One potato per person is a safe bet; the leftovers can be re-heated and eaten the next day.

Boil water in a pot, with salt or chicken bouillon to your taste. Add the potato chunks and boil them for twenty minutes. Drain potatoes and then sauté them in butter or the fat of your choice until brown. Alternatively, you may coat the potatoes in lemon, olive oil and salt, then bake them on a cookie sheet until brown. A good way to evenly distribute the coating is to put the potatoes, oil and seasoning in a Zip-Lock bag and shake gently, being careful not to break the potato chunks.
Baked or sautéed, these potatoes are soft on the inside, and crispy on the outside.
~~Copyright M-J de Mesterton, 2008

Friday, 15 August 2008

An Elegant, Low-Cost Wine for Parties

Photo copyright M-J de Mesterton 2008--click image for close-up.
Penascal Tempranillo Red Wine, 2005
Wine of Spain

Usually available in the U.S. for 5.99 per bottle. Tempranillo is the emblematic Spanish grape, and these are grown in the Castillo y León region of northern Spain. Hints of cherry, blackberry, and strong minerality combined with spicy leather and pepper notes make this a full-bodied red wine, yet it is not heavy on the palate. Its tannins are smooth, with a hint of oak. In 2005 and 2006, we served Penascal Tempranillo Red Wine 2003. It was always popular with our guests, and so is Penascal Tempranillo 2005. With the price of nearly everything going up, you need to have a good wine (and a good whine), at a low price. A good, low-priced wine from Spain comes in handy when you are hosting a party and need to purchase a case.

Elegant, Rugged Cotton Jacket for Women

Shapely Cotton Jacket for Women from Cabela's
Friday, Aug 15, 2008

The Topanga Jacket, $39.95

They offer "Topanga" trousers made from the same herringbone-weave cotton. Beware, though--like 90% of Cabela's slacks and skirts, they are low-rise, meaning they land below the navel.

I can see this rugged yet elegant jacket combined with a long, cotton or denim skirt, and a white, ruffled blouse.


Thursday, 14 August 2008

Cyprus: Famagusta Refugees Meeting in Dherynia Aug. 16th

From The Cyprus Weekly:
Famagusta Refugees Remember

The Municipality of Famagusta has invited the refugee inhabitants of the city to attend an open meeting in Dherynia on August 16 during which a resolution protesting its capture and military occupation by Turkey will be approved.

The resolution, addressed to the United Nations Secretary General, will be handed to the UN mission in Nicosia and the permanent members of the UN Security Council.

The meeting will be held at the Famagusta Cultural Centre in Derynia at 11 a.m. and will be followed by a march to the memorial of Famagusta dead, where a religious prayer and a wreath laying ceremony will take place.

Mayor Alexis Galanos and members of the board will also brief the inhabitants on developments concerning the efforts to return to their ancestral homes.

The illegal establishment of Turkish settlers in part of Famagusta as provided for in the aborted Annan Plan will be one of the issues under review.

Barbed Wire

The main Famagusta event denouncing the Turkish invasion and occupation will this year take place in September at the Strovolos Municipal Theatre with President Christofias as the key speaker. Members of the European Parliament and other foreign personalities have been invited to attend.

The foreign participants will be escorted on a visit as far as possible to the ghost city of Famagusta in order to get a first-hand impression of its continuing occupation and isolation behind barbed wire.

A municipality source said the change in time and venue of the event was deemed necessary because this time of the year was inconvenient for many overseas guests.

Earlier this year the Famagusta Municipality undertook a successful campaign to collect signatures from the rightful inhabitants of Famagusta, calling for an end to their refugee ordeal 34 years on.

The UN Security Council has expressly called for the return of Famagusta to its Greek Cypriot inhabitants before a solution to the Cyprus problem.


M-J's Previous Post on Cyprus: Ledra Street Opens

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

How an Elegant Woman Dresses at Ascot in the Autumn


One may be able to get through the gate at Ascot while not observing traditional rules, but if a woman wishes to look proper and elegant, she will follow them. A knee-length, or mid-calf fitted dress or suit with long sleeves and modest decolletage, stockings or tights, closed pumps, and a hat that covers the crown of the head will ensure a warm reception. Gloves are optional. Wearing a mini-skirt, jump-suit, slack-suit, sun-dress or spaghetti-strap cocktail dress may inspire derision, together with unflattering class-identification.
~~Copyright M-J de Mesterton, 2008

Tuesday, September 25th, 2007: Re-posting

¡Qué Valór! by Francisco de Goya y Lucientes

President Ahmadinejad Lifts the Veil from the Left's Eyes

...and when it's not to their liking, they register surprise!

Somewhat untoward in philosophy, the people they lionize....

Tough-talking cowboys, over whom they fawn--

From Venezuela, Moscow and Tehran--

Prove that the Napoleon Complex lives on!

~~M-J de M.
Copyright September 2007

Outrageous Official Blunders Take a Life

In The New York Times:

Dying of Cancer, Chinese Immigrant Is Told "Stop Faking It"


Le Boulevardier, Exclusively at Elegant Survival

Photo Copyright M-J de Mesterton
A New Article by Le Boulevardier:
The Gentleman's Ten Essentials

Leipäjuusto: Make Your Own Finnish Cheese

Click Image to Enlarge Recipe

My mother gave me a booklet in 1985, when it was published: Kitsi Finnish Foodways, a publication of Suomi College (now called Finlandia University) for FinnFest 1985. My copy of Kitsi is yellowed. Mother never made squeaky cheese, but she did draw the illustrations on Kitsi's cover. Leipäjuusto is an unusual creation that I really like with rye bread, when in Finland. Here is the recipe for making your own Finnish Squeaky Cheese.

Update: I've just found my mother's friend, Beatrice Ojakangas' blog, where she hosts a richer recipe for leipäjuusto.


Monday, 11 August 2008

Big Oil, Little Gratitude, by Ben Stein

Ben Stein, How Not to Ruin Your Life

Friday, September 28, 2007

Pure Chemistry

Imagine there was a chemical compound so valuable, so useful, and so indispensable that the whole present and future of the industrial world depended upon its plentiful supply. Suppose that chemical meant the difference between life and death, peace and war, and freedom and slavery for the whole developed world.

Suppose there were a small number of companies that took great pains to find this chemical, extract it from underground in deep jungles, miles below the ocean floors, in cruelly hot deserts, and in swampy marshes. Suppose that these companies sent brave men and women into these inhospitable spots to face the elements -- as well as terrorists, kidnapping gangsters, and extorting governments.

Then suppose these companies brought the chemical home to North America, and had to face endless, bitter fights from well-funded opponents of this chemical -- some good-intentioned, but some purely troublemakers. These opponents fought to the bitter end any attempt to turn the raw material of this chemical into a refined product that would power cars, trucks, fire engines, ambulances, hospitals, schools, factories, nursing homes, and the military weapons that guard us and fight our wars.

The Truth Hurts

Now further suppose that the companies that bring us this chemical and its refined products, like heating fuel and gasoline, made profits that were, on a percentage-of-sales basis or a percentage-of-equity basis, far smaller than the profits in banking or Internet software.

Finally, imagine that political people and intellectuals wanted to put every kind of control and restraint on these companies and tax them to within an inch of their survival. And that the owners of these companies were not billionaires, but that the pension funds of firefighters and police officers and nurses and teachers and widows and orphans relied on the dividends of these companies to survive.

You don't need to suppose any of this, of course, because it's the reality of America's oil companies and how they're treated.

Don't Be a Hater

Yes, America's oil companies, besieged by foreign dictators, attacked endlessly in the media, mocked and belittled in the academic world, are vital to the survival of this country. Just try to imagine America without oil -- we'd be embroiled in "Mad Max"-style chaos within a week. We would be living in complete anarchy.

Instead, we have a rich, advanced nation where the whole society and its progress float on liberally supplied, bargain-priced petroleum. And, like surly teenagers who hate their parents because they're totally dependent on them, we respond by hating the oil companies.

This is a sure way to commit national suicide. The oil companies aren't run by rich conspirators out of some Oliver Stone movie. They're not monopolists illegally fixing prices the way Rockefeller did more than a century ago. They're owned by people like us, employing people like us, saving the rear ends of people like us.

Lighting the Genie's Lamp

If they're making a legal product that we can't live without in a legal way and selling it at a legal price, let's lay the heck off of them and let them do their jobs. If you think the oil companies make too much money for their stockholders, then buy their stock for your retirement.

If burning their oil causes pollution, well, so do cattle. If burning their oil heats the planet's atmosphere, then let's work with them to make cars and trucks that burn less oil. (And let's not forget our dear pals in China, who are offsetting all of our "green" efforts a million times over with their ruthless murder of the planet in the form of massive, unchecked pollution of the air and water.)

There will be a substitute for oil in a few generations anyway, or maybe we'll be living a totally different kind of life. (I won't be living at all.) But for now, oil is what lights up the genie's lamp. Let's show some respect for the companies that bring it our way. After all, it makes no sense to kill the goose that lays the (black) golden eggs.

Ben Stein has no financial interest in the products mentioned in this column.