Friday, September 26, 2008

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


it is mundane
wake up, busy day
start the coffee
"what's the weather"
game night for Jesse, 2 hours away
bag is packed, gear cleaned,
class trip tomorrow
that bag is packed too.
3 days my boy will be gone
I wrestle with bad-mommy-itis,,,should I be going?
backpacks are ready by the door
clothes laid out
he will wear his football jersey to school
she will wear a summer shirt with a heavy sweater
fall is coming to Maine
pause in the kitchen for a hug
this man smells so good
he is so strong
open Ciarra's door
she is sound asleep
baby blanket too short
clutched to her chin
little feet peeking out into the cold
the cat is snuggled next to her
paws up, smiling
down the hall to his room
he was up late, studying, reading
his life is on overdrive these days
he wakes slowly, turns and smiles
and rolls out of bed to start his day
back down the hall
I lie down beside my girl,
she is warm despite the cool air,
the cat opens one eye, the smile fades
do we HAVE to get up, Mom?
seems to be her thought
I wrap my arms around this little big girl
tickle her a little, pull her close
she opens sleepy eyes and smiles at me,
eyes twinkling,
Brushfield spots catching the sunlight
she is a beautiful little person
she trusts me so
mornings should be gentle
time for love, time for some cuddling
she is fully awake now
the dogs have joined us on her bed
the puppy is licking her feet
another cat comes in to check out the happenings
it is morning.
I put out bowls of cereal,
Jesse has to be at school early for checkin
we scramble, he showers
Jim hands me money for Jesse's trip
and some extra for me too...he knows me well
Ciarra eats in her room
Curious George is the background music
the cat still snuggled on her pillow, smiling again
they get dressed, shoes on...gym today
where's my library books, Mom
Mom, did you wash my girdle for football?
Honey, do you think this old cellphone would still work?
(No, it is from the 80s,
Coffee in hand, he leans against the counter and smiles
the commotion around us means our lives are full
Ciarra grabs her backpack and her sweater and heads out to wait for the bus
all smiles, she turns to me
"I found a dead frog yesterday"
I dont hear the rest of the story, but the excitement in her eyes
tells me its a good one
I walk to the window to watch her,
she is so small her voice a plume of smoke in the air
"Can I have Daddys binoculars?"
"I cant see the bus"
"its coming, baby."
"Bye Mom, I love you..."
one last I love you and she is gone
big girl, 4th grade, one kid down
Jesse walks in
football bag-helmet, pads, pants, jersey, socks, is heavy
strung across his back
the bus leaves at 3
backpack on the other side..big French test today
laptop case in hand
Jim smiles at him, takes the backpack
grabs the Maine Studies duffel bag
3 days of clothes, extra shoes, sleeping bag, pillow, flashlight
3 days in the wilderness, camping, learning
this boy has such clarity about him
he will be somebody
my boys walk out the door, stop for a kiss
and some I love you's.
Into Dads truck
he forgot his coffee
I put on Jims big old work shoes and clod out the door
to anyone else, I would be scary looking
in my nightie and my wild hair, too-big shoes
to them I am welcome, they smile at my getup
another round of goodbyes.
Jim backs down the driveway, coffee in one hand
I see him turn to Jesse
and then they both laugh
and that is the sound I hear as they drive away
and I am alone in the house with the dogs and the cats and the smell of coffee
and breakfast to clean up
and a 19 yr old still sleeping
we will both work today
and then
babysitter, schools out
drive 2 hrs each way to see his game
Daddy cant go he has to work too late
Ciarra cant be out that late
so just me and Kristin will go
shes driving
mundane is beautiful sometimes.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Dear Mr Obama

God Bless the USA-and thanks for your service


Iraqis Displaced Inside Iraq, by Iraq War, as of May 2007 - 2,255,000

The U.S. Government has increased humanitarian assistance for displaced Iraqis from $43 million in 2006 to almost $200 million in the first half of 2008.

Since 2003, the U.S. Government has been the single largest contributor of humanitarian assistance for displaced Iraqis.

UNHCR estimates returns during the second half of 2007 and the first three months of 2008 to stand at 50,000 refugee returns and 60,000 IDP returns. UNHCR projects that overall in 2008, there will be 100,000 newly displaced, 100,000 refugee returns, and 120,000 IDP returns. UNHCR “Progress on Mainstreaming IDP issues in UNHCR and Global Work Plan for IDP Operations,” EC/59/SC/CRP.16 (June 2008), p. 23.

(that is 430 thousand returnees predicted, and this was compiled BEFORE the surge worked)

Iraqi Unemployment Rate - 27 to 60%, where curfew not in effect
NOTE ON NATIONWIDE UNEMPLOYMENT TABLE: Estimates of Iraq’s unemployment rate varies, but we estimate it to be between 25-40%.
The CPA has referred to a 25% unemployment rate, the Iraqi Ministry of Planning mentioned a 30% unemployment rate

(lower than June of 03, incidentally)

Consumer Price Inflation in 2006 - 50%
06? This is 08. Inflation is down, considering the war is being won. Try using current "facts". ANY country mid war will be high.
2007 and 2008 Real GDP Growth projections are provided by the authors and disagree with the figures released by the
IMF and World Bank of 14.4% and 12.9% growth, respectively

Inflation and unemployment rates in Iraq have subsided recently due to procedures taken by the government, announced Iraqi Finance Minister Bayan Jabr Al-Zubaidi.

He told reporters Thursday that the reduction in unemployment rate could be attributed to the investment sector contribution to the government's budget, adding that the rate went down from 70 to 20 per cent.

On the reduction of inflation rate, the Iraqi minister indicated that the Finance Ministry's policy to increase bank interest rates as well as boosting the rates of exchange for the Iraqi dinar over the US dollar led to this outcome.

The inflation rate went down from 66 to 20 per cent according to the Ministry of Planning while the Iraqi Central Bank affirmed that rates went down further more, reaching 16 per cent, Al-Zubaidi added.

Iraqi Children Suffering from Chronic Malnutrition - 28% in June 2007 (Per, July 30, 2007)

these are old figures, and frankly, with oil revenues of 6.07 BILLION dollars this year alone, thats up to them to fix. We arent the answer to every problem. Under Saddam Hussein's regime, Iraqis' standard of living deteriorated rapidly. In nominal terms, Iraq's per capita income had dropped from $3,800 in 1980 (higher than Spain at the time) to $715 in 2002 (lower than Angola).

Percent of professionals who have left Iraq since 2003 - 40%

Iraqi Physicians Before 2003 Invasion - 34,000 Iraqi Physicians Who Have Left Iraq Since 2005 Invasion - 12,000

Some 8,000 physicians, most of them specialists, have abandoned jobs at government health centers since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, most seeking refuge abroad and a few hundred heading to the relative safety of Iraq's Kurdish region. Many ran from a violent campaign by extremists and crime gangs that targeted Iraq's elite.

Iraqi Physicians Murdered Since 2003 Invasion - 2,000

Figures on how many doctors have fled since the 2003 US-led invasion have not been made available by the Ministry, but earlier this year it said 618 medical employees had been killed, including 132 physicians
UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

At the same time 40 per cent of the professional class has left since the invasion.

TV, however has flourished. before the war there were no commercial TV stations in Iraq. By March 2006 there were 54.

And politics, too, is flourishing. Over 300 political parties were registered for the December 2005 election.

The law has also changed enormously. There were no trained judges in Iraq before the war. By January 2007 there were 870.

Before the war there were an estimated 4,500 internet users in Iraq. By April 2007 there were an estimated 261,000 surfers. And this doesn't include those who access the web at internet cafes.

Source: Brookings Institution, Iraq Index

Specialists now make $2,000 to $3,000 a month, while under Saddam Hussein's rule, doctors would earn as little as 30.

Average Daily Hours Iraqi Homes Have Electricity - 1 to 2 hours, per Ryan Crocker, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq (Per Los Angeles Times, July 27, 2007)
nationwide Iraqis had 8.7 hours
Source: Brookings Institute, Iraq Index

Average Daily Hours Iraqi Homes Have Electricity - 10.9 in May 2007/Average Daily Hours Baghdad Homes Have Electricity - 5.6 in May 2007

in January 2008, Baghdad had 7.2 hours and nationwide Iraqis had 8.7 hours
Source: Brookings Institute, Iraq Index

Pre-War Daily Hours Baghdad Homes Have Electricity - 16 to 24

Because Saddam's regine focused on providing electricity in Baghdad rather than other regions, before the war Baghdad had 16 to 24 hours of electricity per day, whereas nationwide the average was 4-8 hours.

After the US invasion, the whole of Iraq, including Baghdad, had only 4-8 hours per day.

Since then it is Baghdad that has suffered the smallest electricity supply, while nationwide supply is generally greater than before the war. The country is currently producing less than half the megawatts it needs.

Electricity demand has increased 70 per cent since 2003 invasion (because Iraqis have more TVs, computers, refrigerators etc...)

Number of Iraqi Homes Connected to Sewer Systems - 37%

google "iraq sewer" and see what you find. HUNDREDS of hits talking about CURRENT infrastructure, and many many hits talking about pre-war life under Saddam.

Iraqis without access to adequate water supplies - 70% (Per, July 30, 2007)

In early 2004 the Ministry of Public Works announced that the average daily water service availability was one hour above pre-war levels. While the vast majority of Iraq's urban population has access to water, the quantities per capita are deemed to be insufficient. Although over half of the overall population has access to potable water, leaking pipes have contaminated those networks in many areas.

Water Treatment Plants Rehabilitated - 22%

RESULTS OF POLL Taken in Iraq in August 2005 by the British Ministry of Defense (Source: Brookings Institute)

Iraqis "strongly opposed to presence of coalition troops - 82%

thats old news,
THE U.S. – Views of the United States, while still broadly negative, have moderated in some respects. Just shy of half, 49 percent, now say it was right for the U.S.-led coalition to have invaded, up by 12 points from August; the previous high was 48 percent in the first ABC News poll in Iraq in February 2004.

Iraqis who believe Coalition forces are responsible for any improvement in security - less than 1%

THE SURGE – On a national level, as noted, 36 percent of Iraqis say security has
improved in the last six months; that’s jumped from just 11 percent in August. Of them, 82 percent express at least some confidence improved security will continue, although fewer, about a third, are “very” confident of it.

Iraqis who feel less ecure because of the occupation - 67%
BAGHDAD/ANBAR – As noted, it’s Baghdad and Anbar, focal points of the surge,
where many of the changes have been greatest – but where conditions still lag in real
terms. Ratings of local security have improved by 43 points in Baghdad (from nil in August) and by 32 points in Anbar (nil in March). They’ve advanced more slowly in the rest of the country, by 10 points since August, to 68 percent positive – still much higher than in Baghdad.

Iraqis who do not have confidence in multi-national forces - 72%

To my commenter, who wants so badly to bring America down, make it seem we are bullies and thieves: your information is old and very outdated. Things are looking up tremendously in Iraq. But, like Obama, you choose to see what you choose to see. Only now is he admitting the surge worked. Maybe your talking points will catch up with his newfound understanding soon?