Saturday, September 30, 2006

Homecoming - a small town's big deal.

Last night, my wife and I took our daughter to the Esparto High School's homecoming football game. From our house you can see the glow of the lights and on a still night you can hear the soft muffled voice of the public address announcer. Fall is football season. It is my season.

As we walked to the gate past the cars and trucks, mostly trucks, that line the end of the field, the homecoming ceremony was in full swing. The site of the stretch Hummer limousine on the 50 yard line stood in stark contrast to the many farm trucks parked outside. Esparto is a farm town, but that is changing. With the explosive growth of the Cache Creek Casino and the large suburban style housing tracks being built, the town is quickly becoming a bedroom community for those who work in the bay area and a rural escape for those who come from the Sacramento region. This story is not exclusive to Esparto, every small farm town and city that lies a few miles from an Interstate highway in California is being developed. No one can hold back the hands of time and while we like to see our homes increase in value, our small towns seem to be loosing their identity. I hope we can hold on to ours, this valley is a special place.

We pay our five dollar fee at the gate and walk past the boosters club grilling burgers and hot dogs to find a seat in the stands. The short walk takes quite a while. Neither my wife or I attend Esparto high school. I moved hear just after High School from Redding and my wife was a city girl from Carmichael. I have lived here off and on for almost 15 years, but I consider it my hometown.

One my way I am stopped by a friend who lives up the valley, I officiated at his son's wedding this summer and he wanted to thank me again and tell me that he just learned that the couple will be expecting their first child next year. We talked about the better than average dove hunting this year and the rest of his family. His family has been in the Capay Valley for six generations or so. I say goodbye and head down through the small bustling crowd to find my wife talking to the moms from our daughter's soccer team. She made a deal that we would sit at one end of the stands and she would be at the other, we could then let the girls roam free between us. The girls giggle and run off to see the sights.

My wife could not get over how small the field is. She was sure the football field was not regulation size. I assured her it was, its just that you are only fifteen or twenty feet from the side lines and sitting at field level. My daughter and her friend stood on the other side of the rope that separates the players from the crowd. Both girls mimicked the moves of cheerleaders as best they could. My wife and I laughed and wondered how long it would be before she would be out there. A long time is my hope.

The game was played well by both sides. Both teams had a good running game but as always in high school football, two or three players can make the difference. The Esparto running backs could get to the corner and turned upfield for several long runs and a few touchdowns. The team from Los Molinos just didn't have the speed to get outside. They did well running between the tackles, but could not could not sustain a drive. The final was 29 to 6 if I remember right. A great game for Esparto, who have not had many winning seasons lately. The night was not without a dark spot. A player from Los Molinos was taken off the field on a back board after a pileup. The crowd drew quiet and the players from both sides took a knee as the EMTs and local fire department staff looked after the young man. I have not been able to find any more information about the condition of the player, but it seems to have been just a precaution that he was on a back board. A scary time for his parents I am sure.

Watching the game from the stands you can hear the helmets hit and the players yell "pass! pass! ball! ball!" on fake reverse. It's great. I watched the girls with half their hair painted blue and the other side silver, walk up and down the sidelines talking to their friends. I recognized one from the 4-H club where I used to teach leathercraft. Many of the kids I know from 4-h or little league will be starting high school next year, I will have to come to more games.

There were many, many more people I didn't know at the game. I hope that the new residents of Esparto enjoyed homecoming in this small town. If you came from the city, you might wonder where the marching band is, or wonder why the teams only field between twenty to thirty players? Why is there a baseball infield on the twenty yard line?

Relax, this is Esparto, gateway to the Capay Valley. We may not be big time, but we have a good time.

Friday, September 29, 2006

From the what won't people eat files.....

Beijing's penis emporium.

Now before you go off thinking this is a place frequented by John Mark Carr, read the story.

The dish in front of me is grey and shiny.

"Russian dog," says my waitress Nancy.

"Big dog," I reply.

"Yes," she says. "Big dog's penis..."

We are in a cosy restaurant in a dark street in Beijing but my appetite seems to have gone for a stroll outside.

Nancy has brought out a whole selection of delicacies.

They are draped awkwardly across a huge platter, with a crocodile carved out of a carrot as the centrepiece.

Nestling beside the dog's penis are its clammy testicles, and beside that a giant salami-shaped object.

"Donkey," says Nancy. "Good for the skin..."

She guides me round the penis platter.

"Snake. Very potent. They have two penises each."

I did not know that.


Dude, I didn't know that, and I didn't want to know that.
And people from New York freak out in California when we order pineapple on our pizza....

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Packing - man style.

I can think back to the days of being single, when the only excuse you needed for a two day road trip was enough money to fill the tank. Packing for the trip? It went something like this.
Find sleeping bag and unroll.
Remove dirty and somewhat stiff socks and empty beer can from sleeping bag.
Grab the cleanest t-shirt from your dresser or cardboard bank box, and one long sleeve shirt that can pass for a dress shirt if need be.
Find a pair of clean 501s and a change of socks and underwear.
If you have time, grab your toothbrush and deodorant.
All this goes into one end of the sleeping bag and gets rolled up.

Packing done.
Time; 2:30 seconds. Snag a handful of CDs for the trip and head out the door to pick up your buddy who is packing less than you have.

Those days are long past. I am now old. Old and almost domesticated. I find in my rapidly advancing age that I am fond of comfort. I also enjoy convenience and hygiene more than I did in my teens and twenties. I used to scoff at the cupcakes who had to shower after three days of deer hunting. Today I bring my liquid soap/shampoo and a full toiletry kit to take my shower every evening when I camp.

Have I turned into a Sissy?
Darn straight.

My three friends and I have been drawn for a limited tag deer hunt this year in the North East corner of our State.
I will be gone ten days or so. I am a week away from our departure and I have started packing this evening. I am taking my Jeep, tent, camp kitchen, cot, bed-roll, two rifles, three knives, back pack, fanny pack, two pair of binoculars, and enough food and clothing to outfit the Corp of Discovery.

I believe there is one other factor that has enabled my fall from the true manly man I once was to the soft creature of comfort I am today; Money.

When I was in school, I had just enough folding money to put gas in the tank and buy a lift ticket in the winter and a hunting license in the summer. The reason I didn't pack my LL Bean three season goretex jacket and self inflating air mattress is simply because I didn't own anything like that. I had an army surplus parka, and a GI issue mummy bag with all the goose down bunched up in the end. I was however, painfully unaware of how miserable I should have been. I had many great times out in the wilderness despite the inadequacies of my gear and bank ballance.

Today I scoff at the fifty and sixty year olds who pass me on the way to their hunting trips in 40 foot 5th wheel travel trailers and I say 'what a bunch of cupcakes, why not just stay at a hotel'. I am sure this too will come back to haunt me. In a few short years I will pass by a couple of college age kids in a Toyota pickup with only back packs and rifle cases in the bed. They will be giving me the 'cupcake' look as I pass them in my 40 foot motor home on my way to deer camp.

I just hope I still as much fun as they do.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Coming this fall to Fox - Extreme legacy makeover!

Not often do I feel sympathy for members of the media. I must make an exception for Chris Wallace of Fox News Sunday. Wallace is one of the best in the business, for all you Bush haters who think the Fox News Channel is programmed and directed by Karl Rove, turn off your hatred and watch it for a week. One thing is for sure, you won't find the venom and absolute hatred of a Keith Olberman on Fox.

I would say that Shepard Smith leans a little too far right at times to do pure news. When he is reading the teleprompter and sticking to his script, he is down the middle of the political road, when he does stand ups and remotes, he comes off as someone who votes GOP. That said, look at the rest of the shows, Hannity and Colmes gives both sides, Greta is no Republican, O'Reilly leans right on some issues, but is liberal on others, Brit Hume is the best broadcaster in the business period. Hume is conservative, but here is the difference, when he is doing an interview, he is fair. Stop chuckling, it's true. He is the most professional TV newscaster on the tube.

Which takes me back to Chris Wallace and his interview with President Clinton Sunday. I was shocked as I sat on my couch watching the former President of the United States act like a school yard bully to someone who gave him a tough question. No wonder President Clinton does not give many interviews to anyone but those who adore him. I watched Clinton on Larry King a week or so and I was not surprised when Larry asked him one cupcake question after an other as Bill Clinton sat back and opined on how he almost gave us world peace. Almost Bill, almost.

After one tough question on Sunday, President Clinton went into full Legacy makeover mode, complete with red faced finger wagging.


So you did Fox's bidding on this show. You did your nice little conservative hit job on me.
Conservative hit job? How about liberal spin job?

I have watched Chris Wallace drive through the spin of every Bush administration official they have, from Rumsfeld to Rice. He asks tough, pointed questions and will not take a politospeak answer. Sometimes he gets the answer to his questions, sometimes they refuse, but he always asks.

Looking back, I think that Clinton has been itching for this interview and wanted to show his party how 'tough' he was. It seems to have impressed his wife.



My husband's nation security team... they would have done a better job...

Oh, do you mean this crew?

Sandy(how many incriminating documents can I sneak out in my sox)Berger.

Madeline(if we give North Korea nuclear technology what's the worst that can happen)Albright.

Is she serious?

Look, what is past is past. If President Clinton said that he should have realized that Islamic terrorism was a huge threat, one that might be snuffed out in it's infancy if we all would have understood what we were dealing with, that would raise his standing with me a great deal. The first attempt to take down the World Trade Center was in 1993. The Islamic terrorists miscalculated on how much explosives they needed to bring the towers down. We dodged a bullet that day and what did the President do? Let the FBI and the police handle it.

President Bush had less than 8 months to figure out what he would do about the threat, Bush and his staff read the papers and knew about terrorism and al-Qaida, he and his team failed to act fast enough. In his defense, remember the delayed transition of power as Gore tried to recount his way to the oval office for two months and the US military plane that was forced to land in communist China had the State Department's attention for the first few months of Bush's presidency.

Could the President have prevented 9/11 from happening? If everything fell into place just right, yes he could have. Is that a realistic expectation? Not really. For every one who points to this brief or that document that says, Bin Laden - planes inside US, I would like you to imagine how many briefs, reports, assessments and documents the President, any President is asked to review or is briefed on daily. How many a day do you think? Five, ten, thirty?

For all of you out there screaming that the President should have known and should have acted sooner to eliminate the threat, think about your reaction to a cruise missile strike on Hugo Chavez or the US special forces kidnapping of the Hezbollah leader or an invasion of Iran or North Korea. How would you react to that? Are any of those threat any less real or less dangerous than Bin Laden? Just how do you determine who is a real threat and how do you eliminate the threat? Or do you keep negotiating with them and hope they don't do something stupid like detonate a nuke in San Francisco?

If President Clinton wants to polish his image, fine. Those who like him, will still like him, those who hate him will still hate him, those in the middle, well if you don't have an opinion one way or the other, have another Jamba Juice and go look for that new pair of comfortable shoes, stay away from politics.

As for President Clinton's national security legacy, as my high school history teacher used to say, you can't polish a turd.

Friday, September 22, 2006

What a day.

Scary, frantic and tragic.
How was your day?

The day started about 6:00 with a call from the in-laws saying there were fires burning all around Esparto. I turned on the news and listened as they showed the flames racing through the hills of Zamora, Yolo and up the valley near Capay.

I started calling the people I knew in those areas and asked if they needed help getting animals out or moving equipment. Everyone said that the fire burned around most of their houses but I could not get in touch with our friends in Zamora. I knew the fire department would have the roads closed so I tried to get around through the back roads to no avail. I was held at Interstate 505 and Road 14. I asked the CHP if I could go through to check on my friends, they are in their 70s and their son is on the fire department so I knew he would out fighting the fire in the hills and wanted to check on the home ranch. He said I would have to wait until the fire fighters gave the go ahead and I sat there on the off-ramp for 30 minutes.

When he let me sneak through, what I saw was terrible. Blackened hills in 360 degrees. I drove past the smoldering remains of a barn and saw the cattle huddled in the tiny oasis of an unburned creek bed. When I saw the first of the dead sheep I knew there would be more, and there were. From the road I could see half a dozen dead ewes and many more that would not make through the day. Their wool was gray or black and the sheep stood frozen, in the sea of blackened grass, their rounded forms the only feature on the fire ravaged hillsides.

When I made the turn to Bill's house I was relieved to see it was standing and appeared to have made it through the fire. I knocked on the door and was greeted by Bill and Joan. They told me of the night they had just endured, watching the flames march over the hills down to their house. Bill had been on his caterpillar most of the morning, pulling his disc and trying to make the existing fire break bigger. He looked tired, dirty and a little shaken. Who could blame him.
With the help of the local volunteer fire departments, he had saved the house and the home barn, but knew he had lost dozens and possibly hundreds of sheep, and a most of the rangeland he would use to feed them over the winter was now acres of black.

After seeing that they were safe, I was going head into work. When I walked back out to my truck I saw a small fire along the road side ditch across from the barn. I went back to tell Bill and he said that they had no water hoses on that side of the barn and their phone was still out. Back in the truck I raced back to the freeway to get help. I pulled up as the Zamora tanker truck was pulling out, I told the guy with the radio that the barn was minutes from going up in flames. He asked, 'are you sure the barn is threatened?'
Yes! I said and sped back to the fire.

The water tanker arrived just as I did and while it is not a fire fighting vehicle, it does the two things you need to put out a fire, water and a hose. The hose isn't that long but with Bill's help we were able to knock down the flames before the fire made it to the barn. We were about 75 feet from the barn, so maybe it wasn't that close a call, but it was more excitement that I want to have from long time. The call must have gone out, because as we were mopping up, the cavalry arrived. Two brush rigs and five or six volunteers from Zamora and Yolo went into action and took over. I was glad to get out of the way.

Finally I was off to work, a few hours late and smelling like a campfire I pulled in to find one of the overhead shelters had lost it's roof. I spent the rest of the morning making sure that nothing else would fly off in the 40+ mile an hour wind. After lunch I received a call from my wife, she had taken our truck and horse trailer up to Bill's to move some his sheep that had been let out by someone from their burning pasture into a neighbor's alfalfa field. They were not burned but they had to be moved off the alfalfa before the rich feed made them bloat and possibly die. To make a long day a little longer, the truck had lost oil pressure and my wife had pulled over at same overpass I had waited on earlier that morning. I told my co-worker I would be back Monday and headed out to check on my wife and the truck.

Not good news, the motor is definitely not long for this world. I had to find a place to unhook the trailer, so I limped the truck to Bills ranch. I parked the trailer and waited for the towtruck.

While waiting I ran into the UC Davis Veterinary Emergency Rescue Team. I spoke with the team leader, I can't remember the gentleman's name, but he had taken a group of vet students out to triage and tend to the sheep they could save. The stunned and burned sheep would not move to water and they called for a water truck from Zamora to take water out to where the sheep were. They had water but needed something to put the water in. I told them, if they couldn't find any near by, I had two 6 foot water troughs back at my barn. They said they could use them, so I gave them directions to my place and told them to take anything that they wanted. I pulled in to my house just as they were leaving, and I wished they good luck with the sheep.

In a day of tragedy and suffering, there are bright spots. Bright spots in many forms. Help from strangers and friends, help from a group of vet students and as I was pulling out of Bill's front yard, the Yolo County Red Cross stopped by to offer any assistance they could.

Many long and hard days face those farmers and ranchers in Yolo County who were impacted by this fire. As the news turns to a new story tomorrow, there will be people who will have to make the best of this tragedy. It will not be easy. They need your prayers, and some hay to feed their livestock this winter.

I just walked back into the house from feeding the horses. I think I will reheat last night's left-over mexican food and collapse into bed.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

One flew over Hugo nest


What's that smell?
Sulfur?
No, it's horsesh#@.

After listening to Ahmadinejad stand history and logic on their heads to a crowd of soft minded diplomats from mostly corrupt and criminal regimes, I thought the asshatery of Hugo Chavez reminded me of Jerry Lewis playing to the Iranian President's Dean Martin.

Too bad they don't play Vegas.
Too bad it isn't a joke.

Maybe we can hear from Kim Jung Ill Thursday. He can give a presentation to the UN on the wonderful benefits of mass starvation and oppression.

In a dangerous world, you can face the threats head on, or you can vote for democrats.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Smoking kills? What about stupidity?

Yea, give me two packs of Camels, unfiltered to go.

"I was sitting back there, all this sound, and that's it," Singh said, pointing
at the car sitting in the middle of his store among shards of glass and
splinters of wood.

An entire wall of the store, along with a couple
display shelves were destroyed in the accident.

According to Woodland
police officer Matthew Gray, the driver was not intoxicated and the car had no
mechanical problems.

"I'm guessing it was a driver mistake," Gray said.


Driver error or a catastrophic failure of a nicotine patch?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Bikers, chili dogs and cold beer.

What in the world are you talking about now cowboy?

I know I am a little late in announcing this, but tonight being Thursday its 'Biker night' at the Capay Junction. Babs and the crew at the Junction will be serving chili dogs to any and all who ride up and wander in.

Having once been an avid motorcyclist, I appreciate the camaraderie of bikers. Although I preferred crotch-rockets to Harleys, I never had any trouble with anyone on two wheels. I have a few friends with Harleys and know most of the models and enough of the lingo not to get the crap kicked out of me if I happened to be the only guy on Japanese bike in a sea of Milwaukee iron. That and the fact that I am built like a offensive tackle.

The thing that makes me shake my head is the way some guys drink and ride. When I was young, I was a social drinker. I could pound em back with the best of them. Even then, I was smart enough never to drink and ride. I remember walking into a bar in old Sacramento one night and seeing two guys who rode in on brand new super bikes downing shots of Cuervo. I looked at my friend and told him if you ever see me sauced and wanting to get on my bike, you have my permission to knock me out.

The chili dogs are dangerous enough when you are wearing leather pants.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The hate speech of the Dixie Chicks.

I am ashamed. From the top of my FDNY cap down to the steel toes on my boots, I am filled with shame and a little embarrassment. I own two Dixie Chicks CDs. Well maybe not shame exactly but bit of sheepishness.

I listen to all kinds of music, Rock, Metal, Pop, Country, Classical, I have yet to find a way to appreciate rap or hip-hop, sorry, can't do it. My wife on the other hand is a big country music fan and her and my daughter know the words to almost every song on the Country top 40. When we go out on the boat, I let them choose most of the CDs, so I listen to the Dixie Chicks when I am out on the water. That's cool, I like their first two CDs, I have only heard bits and pieces of their new CD at stores like Starbucks and other 'progressive' places.

Natalie and the girls can make new CDs, play concerts, make videos, do whatever they want to do, no one is stopping them from pursuing their music or their money. Just don't give me a bad time or call me a fascist if I don't play along.

The last time I checked, I still live in America, land of the free and home of the brave. Being the good capitalist I am, I vote with my wallet. If I don't agree with Natalie Maines statements about President Bush or we disagree on the best way to eat corn on the cob, I don't have to buy her next album.

Her latest rant is proof positive that she is filled with hatred for the President.
After watching an interview where President Bush said "The Dixie Chicks are free to speak their mind, they shouldn't have their feelings hurt just because some people don't want to buy their records when they speak out. You know, freedom is a two-way street." Maines came unhinged.

After watching this footage, Maines repeats the president's comment about how the group shouldn't have their "feelings hurt," incredulous, and then says, "What a dumb f---." She then looks into the camera, as if addressing Bush, and reiterates, "You're a dumb f---."

How nice. And may I add, very mature.

Maines is undoubtedly in the top three percent of the wealthiest Americans. She is set for life, unless she develops a 5,000 dollar a day cocaine habit or invests all her money in Al Gore's next movie. My point is, she is not being persecuted for her beliefs, she is taking a political stand that is unpopular with the huge fan base that used to purchase her product.

The Chicks are marketing their new album to young urban progressives, and they seem to be doing well. Why is she so upset at her former 'unsophisticated' country fans? We all just ignorant rednecks and hillbillies, loosing us should be no sweat off her liberal brow. She is an American citizen, she has the right to free speech just as I do. I however, realize that their are consequences to my speech, ranging from a high five to a punch in the nose. In her case, its not selling as many CDs as she once did.

Spewing hate speech about the President in a time of war is not un-American Natalie, its just a bad business decision. And it makes you look like spoiled child.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Conaway Ranch eminent domain takeover is dead

The Yolo County Board of Supervisors cut a deal to let the Conaway Ranch sell 1,500 acres in exchange for paying for the County's legal bills, about 2 million dollars.
What a fiasco.
What has been a drawn out battle regarding land and water ownership came to an abrupt end yesterday when The Yolo County Board of Supervisors announced that a settlement agreement was reached with the Conaway Preservation Group.
The main reason the County was trying to take the ranch was to keep the water here in Yolo County and to keep the owners from developing the ranch. The County seems to have structured the deal to allow the CPG to sell only surplus water. Ok, what about stopping development? (sounds of crickets chirping)

There is nothing in the deal to preclude the CPG from asking for a zoning change. Believe me, if the County had a provision to keep the CPG from developing the ranch, it would be on the front page.

At best the deal keeps the CPG from selling the water rights from the ranch to some municipality in southern California, at worst the 1,500 acres the County will allow the CPG to sell in order to pay the Board's legal bills is just the first step in developing the areas of the ranch not in the deep water flood plane.

I just hope Frank Sieferman doesn't strain his arm patting himself on the back.
He is up for re-election in November and taking the Conaway Ranch by the use of eminent domain was an anchor around his neck.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The path to 9/11 goes through Bill Clinton's lawyers.

From what I understand of the content, I am not a influential member of the media and have not yet been sent my advanced copy of the movie, but from all accounts the 'docu-drama' is hard hitting on both administrations.

Do you hear any whining or legal wrangling from the Bush administration?
Presenting such deeply flawed and factually inaccurate misinformation to the American public and to children would be a gross miscarriage of your corporate and civic responsibility to the law, to your shareholders, and to the nation.

The Communications Act of 1934 provides your network with a free broadcast license predicated on the fundamental understanding of your principle obligation to act as a trustee of the public airwaves in serving the public interest...

Nope, just from Bill-save-my-legacy-Clinton and his pals.

Maybe, just maybe.

Could it be that the Senate has finally corrected it's rectal-cranial inversion when it comes to spending?
The Senate unanimously passed S. 2590, the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006.

The passage of this legislation is a triumph for transparency in government, for fiscal discipline, and for the bipartisan citizen journalism of the blogosphere.
Did we just pass the low water mark for the Republican Congress? Is it too late for them to put on their rally caps? Time will tell.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Coalition forces to hand over security to Iraqi army

While the 'secret prison' story and the death of Steve Irwin seems to taking up much of the newsprint, an under reported story gets shuffled to the back.

Iraq, US to sign military handover pact on September 7

Nice photo of General Casey by the way. I could think of better photos to lend a mental image to the story.
Like this one.

I cannot think of a more important story than the fact that the Iraqis will soon be in charge of their own security. Let me be the first to say that there will be setbacks and black days ahead for the Iraqis and for the coalition forces. However, this is good news to be sure.

Maybe the MSM needs a little time to write up their 'US hands over a broken Iraq' headline. I saved you the trouble. How about this one; 'Ready or not, US forces pull out.' When the White House holds the press conference tomorrow, I am sure the spin will be "American people are tired of the war and the Republicans want to dump Iraq back into the laps of the Iraqis no matter how bad the civil war is."

Maybe I will be surprised. Maybe Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi will grudgingly applaud the administration for raising and training a standing army from nothing in a little over three years. Maybe Jack Murtha and Howard Dean will say they were wrong, the Pentagon had a plan. The plan has been 'as the Iraqis stand up, we stand down', and it seems to be working.

Maybe.

Not a chance.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

A little late in the year for spring cleaning, but it needs to be done.

Ted Stevens, the Republican Senator from Alaska, was person who put a 'secret hold' on a proposal that would establish an internet site where the public could examine who is getting the billions of dollars in earmarks (pork) each year. It seems he had help from the former Grand Kleagle of KKK Robert Byrd (D-WVa), to secure the secret hold as well. Stevens needs to go, and quickly.

I know that lately I have been pounding on my fellow Republicans, but enough already. The people who elected these Republicans did so on the belief that they would follow three principals; strong on national defense, sound fiscal managment and hold fast to a high standard of ethics. In some cases, we have been taken for fools.

I know that there are many outstanding elected representatives serving in Congress, Senator Tom Coburn seems to be one of them, but there are all too many who have succumb to the aphrodisiac of power and influence. While the majority of Republicans get the war on terror right, I wonder how many are massaging their support for the war into a few earmarks for their districts?

'You know the President has my full support, but my people back home are getting nervous about Iraq, they would feel a lot better if I could bring home that new highway project'

What should I as a Republican do? Let the Republicans get thrown out and try to re-group in 2008 with a fresh batch of new conservatives to bring back that 1994 mentality to Washington?

No, I can't do it. The war is too important in protecting our very way of life, we can't risk a short term loss for a long term gain. The Democrats would undermine our national security and embolden our enemies to such an extent that it would take years to get back to our current position, which isn't all that great , but is far superior to retreating behind our borders and letting the Middle east become a free for all for Islamo-fascism. Without our support for Israel, Afghanistan and Iraq, the Saudis, the Eygptian, the Lebanese and the Jordanian government would fall in short order.

If you didn't like $3.00 a gallon gas, what do you think about $9.00 a gallon gas? If you think Iran is a small threat now, wait until we leave and they shut down the Straits of Hormuz and bomb a few pipelines choking off 27% of the world's oil from the market. Without oil from the Gulf, who are the new power players? Iran, Venezuela and Russia. How comforting. Just what the world needs is for two certifiable dictators to gain even more influence with oil hungry, and nuclear supplier China.

So back to my dilemma, what to do about the Republican who have lost their way? I believe the only way we have to prune the dead wood without killing the tree is from the inside. We as citizens and grass roots supporters need to look at our own representatives. Porkbusters is a great effort to do just that. I have been checking out Wally Herger and will post whatever I find about his pork spending. We need to clean our own house. It starts with out local representatives and moves on from there. Hold their feet to the fire and bring some more wood.

Will it work? I don't know.

Maybe I'm wrong. If you have any other ideas, I am all ears.