Thursday, November 02, 2006

How much is too much?

Air Force said to seek $50 bln emergency funds

By Andrea Shalal-EsaReuters
Tuesday, October 31, 2006; 2:50 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Air Force is asking the Pentagon's leadership for a staggering $50 billion in emergency funding for fiscal 2007 -- an amount equal to nearly half its annual budget, defense analyst Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute said on Tuesday.
The request is expected to draw criticism on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers are increasingly worried about the huge sums being sought "off budget" to fund wars, escaping the more rigorous congressional oversight of regular budgets.
Another source familiar with the Air Force plans said the extra funds would help pay to transport growing numbers of U.S. soldiers being killed and wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Thompson, who has close ties to U.S. military officials, said the big funding request was fueled by Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England. England told the services in a October 25 memo to include the "longer war on terror," not just the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, in their emergency requests.
"This amount of money is so much bigger than the Air Force would normally request ... it hints at a basic breakdown in the process for planning and funding war costs," said Thompson.
He said the Air Force had identified $30 billion just in past war-related costs that were not approved by the Pentagon.
The Air Force's proposed emergency budget is nearly half the $105.9 billion it requested as its total base budget for fiscal year 2007, which began on October 1.
The Air Force said it asked Pentagon officials for $17.4 billion in emergency war funds in August, but was now submitting "additional requirements to cover costs for the longer war against terror," based on England's memo.
Spokeswoman Maj. Morshe Araujo gave no details on the new request, saying it would be completed only next week.
She said the service had already mapped out an expected supplemental funding request of $50 billion for fiscal 2008.
The Army, which got the lion's share of an initial $70 billion supplemental budget passed by Congress last month, is asking for more than $80 billion in additional funds for the second half of fiscal 2007, according to published reports. The Navy is also expected to seek funds for the Marine Corps.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld will decide on the supplemental funding requests on November 15, according to the England memo, reported by Inside Defense last week.
In the memo, England said the emergency funding requests should include reset costs for combat losses, accelerated wear and necessary repairs for equipment, or upgrades to newer models when repairs were not economically feasible.
But Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain and some other lawmakers are alarmed about continued use of "emergency" funding requests when the war in Iraq has been under way for over three years. Such requests should be reserved for true emergency situations, they argue.
With the latest bill passed last month, Congress has approved about $507 billion in spending for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, under some 13 "emergency" spending requests, according to the Congressional Research Service.
That compares to two supplemental requests made during 11 years of fighting in Vietnam several decades ago, and just one request for the Korean War, according to a congressional aide.
Thompson said Rumsfeld was clearly challenging Congress.
"Rumsfeld is playing budgetary chicken with Capitol Hill. Congress is saying it's time to stop doing budgeting outside the regular process, and the secretary is saying, 'Well, give us the money we need to defend the nation'," Thompson said.
In recent months, top military brass have called for more defense dollars, arguing that current spending as a percentage of gross domestic product is lower than during other wars.
Army officials say they can accurately calculate war costs this far into the conflict, but the White House does not want those costs included in the base budget.
Defense consultant Jim McAleese said the White House took exception to a clause in the 2007 defense spending law, which required the Pentagon to include all foreseeable Iraq and Afghanistan war costs within its 2008 budget.
Given that, he predicted the Bush administration could try to ram through a 2007 emergency budget during the congressional "lame duck" session in November and December.

© 2006 Reuters

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Thoughts for the day

Don't date because you are desperate.
Don't marry because you are miserable.
Don't have kids because you think your genes are superior.
Don't philander because you think you are irresistible.
Don't associate with people you can't trust.
Don't cheat.
Don't lie.
Don't pretend.
Don't dictate because you are smarter.
Don't demand because you are stronger.
Don't sleep around because you think you are old enough and know better.
Don't regress..Don't live in the past.
Time can't bring anything or anyone back.
Don't put your life on hold for possibly Mr/Mrs Right.
Don't throw your life away on absolutely Mr Wrong because your biological clock is ticking.
Learn a new skill.
Find a new friend.
Start a new career.
Sometimes, there is no race to be won.
Only a price to be paid for some of life's more hasty decisions.
To terminate your loneliness, reach out to the homeless.
To feed your nurturing instincts, care for the needy.
To fulfill your parenting fantasies, get a puppy. (or a cat! )
Don't bring another life into this world for all the wrong reasons.
To make yourself happy, pursue your passions and be the best of what you can be.
Simplify your life.
Take away the clutter.
Get rid of destructive elements: abusive friends,nasty habits, and dangerous liaisons.
Don't abandon your responsibilities but don'toverdose on duty.
Don't live life recklessly without thought and feeling for your family.
Be true to yourself.
Don't commit when you are not ready.
Don't keep others waiting needlessly.
Go on that trip. Don't postpone it.
Say those words.
Don't let the moment pass.
Do what you have to, even at society's scorn.
Write poetry.
Love Deeply.
Walk barefoot.
Dance with wild abandon.
Cry at the movies.
Take care of yourself.
Don't wait for someone to take care of you.
You light up your life.
You drive yourself to your destination.
No one completes you - except YOU.
It is true that life does not get easier with age. It only gets more challenging.
Don't be afraid.
Don't lose your capacity to love.
Pursue your passions.
Live your dreams.
Don't lose faith in your God.
Don't grow old. Just grow YOU!
Create your own life then go out and live
it without regrets...

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Monday, October 16, 2006

A few facts about Houston

I'm a proud Houstonian, what can I say?


Houston is ranked as the fourth best restaurant city in the United States by Wine Spectator and Esquire magazines

Houston is the most ethnically diverse city in the United States - with 83 consulates, Houston has the third largest consular corps in the nation

Each year more than 44 million people zip in and out of Houston's two major airports

Houston is one of only three cities in the United States with standing year-round symphony, opera and ballet. New York and San Francisco are the others

Houston has the second largest volume of theatre and performance art space (in terms of square footage) in the United States ranking only behind New York

Houston is home to the world's largest medical center employing 120,000 people. The Texas Medical Center is expected to double in size by 2012

Houston is the energy capital of the world

Houston is home to the second largest petrochemical complex in the world

Houston ranks third in the nation in terms of the volume of fine arts museum space

The Houston Museum of Natural Science is the fourth most visited museum in the United States, ranking only behind the Smithsonian Institute, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the American Museum of Natural Science

Houston is home to the world headquarters of more Fortune 500 companies than any city in the United States other than New York (23 for Houston)

The Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau is projecting double-digit increases in conventions and conventioneers through 2010

Houston is the third largest port in the United States and is the nation’s largest port in terms of foreign tonnage

Houston is home to NASA

Houston is now the fifth fatest city (chicago is first) by one magazine and the third skinniest by another magazine

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Strange News of the Day

DISCLAIMER: If you feel your IQ dropping, don't blame me.

Cool News:


I might get this for hubby's Valentine's Day present.

Outrageous News


Man insults Dick Cheney and is arrested for it.

“Initially, I walked past him. Then I said to myself, ‘I can’t in good conscience let this opportunity pass by.’ So I approached him, I got about two feet away, and I said in a very calm tone of voice, ‘Your policies in Iraq are reprehensible.’”

Stupid News


Except for the getting fat part, doesn't sound so bad!
Seriously, what the hell is wrong with people today?

News that make you go: "Hmmm...."


I wouldn't mind having the planet all to myself for a while. I like my privacy, you know.

'Pay Attention' News


Yay, now we can invade Belize! I say we take over the bars and resorts!

News that make you go: "Wow!"

It's an amazing and just beautiful picture of the planet Saturn and its rings, including some never seen or detected before. Worth clicking on...

News that make you go: "Huh?"

Yeah, I want to build a little log cabin on the moon... overlooking the Sea of Tranquility, of course!

International News

Ever wanted to travel to Israel? Might want to rethink that, after all.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

How do I say no to my child?

Here is our first question. Submitted yesterday.

Dear Diana,

My son is 3 years old, he's a wonderful little boy with a big heart who brings nothing but joy to our lives. The problem is that he won't take no for an answer. Yesterday we went to the ice cream store and they didn't have his favorite ice cream flavor so he threw a tantrum and then demanded I give him my ice cream. I told him no and he threw another temper tantrum.I vas very mortified because everyone in the store was staring at us so we had to leave. He does this everywhere we go, and even at home. He doesn't let other children near his toys or his playroom. I have told him it isn't nice not to share but he just won't listen. When we visit my sister, who has a son close in age, my son will take over his toys and not give them back no matter how much we insist.
I will not hit my child, but how else can I teach him to share and stop being so selfish?

Carmen Los Angeles, CA


We always must teach our children self-control and respect for other's property. We also need to make sure they understand that life is not all about them. If you continue to give your child everything he wants, he will grow up expecting you and everyone else to give it to him.

I assume your son is an only child, and it isn't easy to teach our children the concept of ownership and sharing but it must be done. Your son isn't too young or too old to learn this. Who wants their son or daughter to play with a selfish child? Children are born selfish, and going against what comes naturally isn't easy; it takes a lot of hard work and consistency but it gets results.

Let your child see and hear about children who have much less. Tell them stories with good role models of giving, show them stories or movies on tv about disadvantaged children (make sure you watch with them)
Better than buying gifts for them to give to others, allow them to do a few special chores to earn money to purchase a gift. Or, they could help you bake some treats to give to someone who is alone at Christmas. Take the children along to see the person's grateful reaction to their gift. It will be an unforgettable experience. If a child is being selfish and doesn't want to give anything, let them experience the feeling of being left out when others have something to give and they don't.

Self-restraint and self-control are very important. Young children may think that they have a right to touch anything that catches their attention, but they must learn to restrain themselves and respect another person's home and things. Of course this is a lot easier to teach if your child has personal property of his own that others must respect (such as special toys, a blanky, etc). Each home should have share-toys (toys to share and take turns using for everyone at home and when people come over). This will let them practice sharing without the risk involved of something special of theirs being ruined. One way to avoid tantrums over sharing is to let your child hide a few of his most precious toys before any friends come over. Tell him these toys are ones he doesn't have to share, then put them away and do not let him access them while other children are visiting. Make sure your child is aware that what's left out is for everyone to share and ENFORCE this behavior. If your son attempts to share, praise his efforts. Also, kids learn by imitating what they see, so take every opportunity to show your child how to share.

Hope this helps!


Thursday, October 05, 2006

Are you lonely?

I often hear many people express how lonely they feel, almost starved for affection. Most of these people think the answer is to find a romantic partner, which isn't always right.
First of all... don't go out there and 'look' for Mr. Right, let him find you; when you're meant to meet, you will meet and things will go on from there. Period.

Let's talk about you and that feeling of loneliness, of being incomplete, of emptiness that you feel inside. Some people turn to love, others turn to religion and others turn to their work in order to find that fullfillment; Not many people would reason that a very simple solution is to get a pet, if not for the satisfaction of saving a life, for the purpose of companionship. Single woman with a full time job and active social life? Can you see that little kitten just waiting at home for you?

Coming home after a long day at work, or one of those days when everything just goes wrong, coming home to find your dog or cat waiting at the door, looking at you with that unconditional love, happy to see you. Your pet doesn't care that you hate your job, or that your boyfriend is a jerk or that your family is dysfunctional or that you gained 5 lbs pre-PMS. Your pet loves you no matter what and is always willing to provide you with affection, it will never question you or do anything to harm you. All it asks in return is that you feed it, give it water, shelter, proper medical care, and your affection. That's it!

People often make excuses such as working long hours, or not having time to train an animal, or just about anything. There is so much material on the internet. All it takes is a google search for dog housetraining, or dog training, etc. and the willingness to learn. If you can afford obedience classes, even better! You pay a one time fee and get a great dog for years. Can't afford obedience classes? Watch the Dog Whisperer... that guy has a gift. For busy people that really don't have time for a dog, you can always get a cat. They're not as high-maintenance as a dog and they are animals with very distinct personalities that will captivate your heart. They don't need to be trained (except for using the litter and they learn quickly) and they are lots of fun. It has been medically proven that interaction with pets lower your levels of stress

So what if it takes some amount of time out of your day? What seems like an inconvenience will soon turn to routine. What do you get out of this? Unconditional love and affection from someone whose world revolves around you. If you're in a relationship, a pet can even help you bond with your significant other; walk the dog together, take the dog to the park together, go to the beach and take the pup with you... or watch your children play fetch with your dog. The simple act of watching your kitten play and pounce on your child's toes or chase a rubber ball around brings the entire family together in laughter.

Don't live to work... work to live! Life is too short. Love your family, spend time with your friends, make a new best friend- adopt a pet and save a life. If your life is so full of excitement and happiness that you can't make room in it for a new best friend, then please consider donating money, pet food, etc to a shelter near you.

If you ever want to get depressed just swing by any animal shelter and look at those poor little faces. They will haunt you forever. People with no patience or who just can’t be bothered to alter any part of their lives to help discipline or train an animal would much rather get rid of them, fully aware their odds of making it aren’t high. It is heart breaking to walk into those places and realize there are hundreds of thousands homeless and hungry animals just in our city alone, many of which started out as pets and most of which will end up facing starvation in our streets, getting poised, mauled by other predators, run over by vehicles, injured, sick, and most likely getting euthanized for lack of people interested in pet adoptions.

Just think about that next time you think you had a bad day.