FUBAR

Oil shale to the rescue

Oil shale just might be this country’s energy salvation, although a friend of mine isn’t excited about it. He’s an engineer and was involved in some extraction and processing of the kerogen-loaded, sedimentary rock during the 1970s energy crisis, and witnessed what was apparently one heck of an explosion.

Do you feel a draft?

This month marks the 35th anniversary of the suspension of the military draft at the end of the Vietnam War.

But even though the Pentagon regularly — not to mention unequivocally — assures lawmakers and others that the current all-volunteer force continues to handle its combat and other defense duties splendidly, rumors of a return to the draft won’t die.

Time to rethink the ADA

Not long ago I was helping the elderly and infirm widow of a former colleague runs some errands, driving her in her car with a handicapped licensed plate to a shopping area in Albuquerque, N.M. There were at least 20 spots for handicapped parking all filled, mainly with autos displaying those badges that hang from the rear view mirror.

It’s good to be a geek

I never thought in terms of "bringing up geeks." But for much of my young life, I was a geek. Full disclosure: while other girls in junior high school had pictures of Leif Garrett in their lockers, I had pictures of Ronald Reagan.

It’s hard to get ahead socially in such a case, but so it was.

Selling out our veterans

When it comes to war and peace, we indeed are two Americas. One fights our nation’s wars. The other pays those who go to war so the rest of us, our children and our grandchildren, won’t have to.

Iraq again demands withdrawal

Iraq’s national security adviser said Tuesday his country will not accept any security deal with the United States unless it contains specific dates for the withdrawal of U.S.-led forces.

The comments by Mouwaffak al-Rubaie were the strongest yet by an Iraqi official about the deal now under negotiation with U.S. officials. They came a day after Iraq’s prime minister first said publicly that he expects the pending troop deal with the United States to have some type of timetable for withdrawal.

Some real news from Iraq

Americans appreciate an uncomplicated narrative, so we find an immediate appeal in a simple storyline like "The surge is working." However, the surge may not be working all that well for the families of the 29 American soldiers who were killed there in June. The previous month "only" 19 Americans died.

What’s wrong with America?

Even folks in the Optimist Club are having a tough time toeing an upbeat line these days. Eighteen members of the volunteer organization’s Gilbert, Ariz., chapter have gathered, a few days before this nation’s 232nd birthday, to focus on the positive: Their book drive for schoolchildren and an Independence Day project to place American flags along the streets of one neighborhood.

Rebuild the World Trade Center

In olden days, Americans needed just 13 and a half months to erect the Empire State Building, four and a half years to build Hoover Dam, and six years, four months to install the Transcontinental Railroad. And yet this Independence Day, six years, nine months, and three weeks have elapsed since September 11, and Ground Zero remains an 80-foot-deep international embarrassment for the United States.

The government functionaries who fathered this fiasco should yield immediately and assign private developer Larry Silverstein to arrange what already should have occurred: the Twin Towers’ return to America’s skyline.

The wholesale lethargy at Ground Zero became painfully clear in Tuesday’s report on the 16-acre site where al-Qaeda murdered 2,750 innocents:

An election of issues or skills?

As we’ve been celebrating this month what remarkable people our country’s founders were, it’s tempting to wonder what they would think of how we’re handling their legacy.

They would undoubtedly be thunderstruck that a man of color is in serious contention to be the next president, although some of them might think it certainly has taken us a long time to get to this point.