Friday’s Weekend Column
I Guess Even A Puppet Will Yank On Its String Some Times

by James Glaser
September 16, 2005

Iraq's National Sovereignty Committee, elected in that election where everyone was holding up their ink-stained thumbs, said that the only way Iraq could attain sovereignty, was for all the foreign troops to leave.

The Committee's report called on the US to set a timetable for the "OCCUPATION FORCES" to leave. Hassan al-Rubai, a member of the committee said, "We want the United States to make us feel they came to liberate us, not occupy us."

On top of this, Reuters reports, "Iraq's justice minister has condemned the US military for detaining thousands of Iraqis for long periods without charge, and wants to change a UN resolution that gives foreign troops immunity from Iraqi law."

Several American troops have gone on trail here in the States for killing Iraqis and then there were the prison sexual torture cases that were also tried here. Washington can now control any charges against our troops, and make sure no senior officers are charged with anything, as long as our troops have immunity.

Iraq's justice minister Abdul Hussein Shandal criticized the US detention of Iraqi journalists and said that the media must have a special legal protection to report on all sides in the combat. Imagine that, Iraq wants a free and independent press!

Bush in the Devastation Zone

President Bush spoke last night to the nation about what is happening now and what happened after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf coast. First off we learned if this had been a "normal hurricane," probably everything would have been all right, but Katrina was an extra ordinary storm and we were not ready for an extra ordinary one.

George talked about poverty and how the Federal Government is going to try and fix that. I imagine every big and small city mayor all across America is going to say that they need help too. Their cities have the same type of poverty that there is in the Gulf Region.

No, George Bush did not say how much these new programs are going to cost, nor did he say where the money was going to come from.

He did say that he has ordered the Department of Homeland Security to undertake an immediate review of emergency plans in every major city in America. This order comes four years after the 9/11 attack and most Americans thought they would have already done that. Most people would think of that as a First Step in any Homeland Security Plan.

Another interesting plan, is Bush's new Urban Homesteading Act, where surplus federal property would be turned over to low-income citizens by means of a lottery to build homes on, with mortgages or assistance from charitable organizations. Now you know every low-income family in America is going to want that, no matter where they live.

Billions of dollars are going to be spent and I have a feeling that some rich Americans are going to get even richer off of these new programs that George Bush has proposed. I would like to see the poor helped, but something tells me that once again, this will end up a hand-out to the rich.

Friday's Weekend Column
Making A Turn-Around Trip

I needed my truck and an enclosed trailer to get all of my tools down to Tallahassee and I think I have about all I need, but I am no longer out in the woods. Tallahassee isn't really what you would call a big city, but it does have a lot more traffic than I am used to and my truck seems huge down here. Also, even though I see them all over down here, there is no reason to have a four-wheel drive vehicle in Florida.

My truck is nice, it looks great, and I am sure some logger will get years of use out of it, but it wasn't made to be used just for transportation. For a truck, It gets pretty good milage, about 18 on the highway, but only 13 in town. If you are moving lots of stuff or you are working a job that you need to haul your tools or materials, then I would tell you that a Ford F-150 is fine.

I am thinking, red convertible, that gets at least 30 miles a gallon. For getting materials I can get a "beater" truck, like a Ranger or a S-10. My truck has a 30 gallon tank and it is pretty sad when you have to fill up.

I don't know what it will be like down here in the winter, but I guess that is part of this adventure I am on. Tallahassee has really great places to eat, and they have things you would never see in Jigg's Café in Northome. I had quail the other night and it sure wasn't anything like chicken. When you look at a quail leg, you think about robins. Very tiny.

I have found a couple of great lumber companies close to my studio and they have walnut and cherry lumber. I like working with those best. What is strange, is that the side of town I am on, has no hardware store. I have to drive to the outskirts and go to Home Depot. I guess those big places had caused the local Ace or True Value to close up shop. That hurts a town.

I am in a area of town that is filled with art studios and sits between Florida Sates University and Florida A&M. There has to be 50,000 students between the two. Lots of funky shops and cafes. I don't know how long I will last, but I think this is good for me.

I have been invited to several churches and I don't think that has ever happened to me in Minnesota. People down here wear their religion on their sleeve, where up north, people are very private about their faith. This is a strange place to me, but small town living has taught me to sit there, and not say too much, until I figure out what is what.

A few months ago I wrote about all the churches and the lack of bars. Well now I am seeing the bars, they are kind of hidden down here. They have no windows and no neon beer signs. Almost all of them serve food and the only one with a real catchy name is the White Trash Bar.

There is also a lot of racial divide down here. I see many trucks with Confederate flags and a bumper sticker that says, Willkillya. I don't know where that comes from, but will check that out.

So, I am heading home this weekend and feel I have made a great start down here and will continue to write and see where this part of the country takes me.

BACK to the Essays.