FUBAR

Whining about our financial woes

On behalf of the whiner community, I would like to say a few characteristically depressing words about the economy.

As former Sen. Phil Gramm said recently, whiners like myself are having a mental recession when it comes to the economy. I have to admit this is true. My mentality long ago receded so much it took my hair with it.

The VA should be ashamed

The Mystery Caller dialed the Department of Veterans Affairs help line 1,089 times in 2002. And it created quite a problem.

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.