Ok. This may be the last blog to take on the octomom issue, but I have something important to say.

She has 14 kids. So what?

She's not the first person to have 14 kids. Having 14 kids does not make you a bad mother. Not aborting eight children does not make her a bad mother. Having tons of plastic surgery does not make her a bad mother. Being poor and on food stamps does not make her a bad mother.

She may be a poor decision maker. Maybe. We don't really know why she did what she did. And, honestly, who cares? Why is it our business?

I don't care for the argument that she's a burden on the system and so she and her kids are everybody's problem.

Really? Isn't that what welfare was designed to do? Are she and her kids the only 15 people receiving government aid suddenly? I didn't realize.

Taxpayers are spending billions of dollars to bail out failed businesses and yet the media has the audacity to waste time covering one woman on welfare. Does the money spent on even a lifetime of government aid for this family even come close to comparing to the money thrown down the drain on GM and Chrysler?

The answer is no!! Stop wasting time and energy tearing down this woman. Spend your time and energy figuring out where the real money is going. Spend your time figuring out why the auto industry can't seem to find a workable business model!

Don't be deceived by the media's inane distractions.

I will admit, though, I really like the nickname Octomom.


Job Contest: The Results Show

Back in October I put forth a challenge; the first of you to give me the tip that got me a paying job was to win $50.

You can all stop looking. The Contest has a winner. It's Chad. Congratulations Chad.

I started on Monday. I work the night shift at a call center (we call it the Command Center). It's pretty good and the pay is right. It's also only four days a week, which is really good for us right now.

AND it let's both Angie and I work at the same time. Well, not simultaneouisly mind you - she's at home asleep right now.

Thanks again to Chad and to everyone else who helped. This job is project-based, so we may see another contest in the Fall.


American Village

I found the website today for a new housing complex in Hewler, Iraq.

As you know, Hewler is also known as Erbil and is the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq.

The village looks amazing. The first thing I noticed is how Kurdish the houses look - marble, stone, etc.

Then I noticed how unkurdish they look. The houses are right on the street. Kurdish home typically hide behind a large wall and, in many places, there aren't even sidewalks just street to wall.

Take a look for yourself.

According to the Kurds in Sulemania, all of the Hewleris are hill-billies or hic nedew. It's fun to imagine it like a village full of the Beverly Hillbillies.


Something Different

I usually don't post cute stories here, but this one is really sweet.

You should read it.


The Third One is Important

Third post today. I have to share the following:

Daylight Savings Time begins at 2 am on March 8!


Not Quite So Depressed

The current economic crisis isn't as bad as you think.

It's funny. For Angie and I, our economic situation is whole lot better than it was one or two years ago, so with the exception of my continuing unemployement, things seem to be alright.

That's not the point I want to make, though. I read an article from the WSJ online's opinion section about Obama's rhetoric on the economic downturn. I've copied a large chunk below because the statistics are pretty clear.
The latest survey pegs U.S. unemployment at 7.6%. That's more than three percentage points below the 1982 peak (10.8%) and not even a third of the peak in 1932 (25.2%). You simply can't equate 7.6% unemployment with the Great Depression.

Other economic statistics also dispel any analogy between today's economic woes and the Great Depression. Real gross domestic product (GDP) rose in 2008, despite a bad fourth quarter. The Congressional Budget Office projects a GDP decline of 2% in 2009. That's comparable to 1982, when GDP contracted by 1.9%. It is nothing like 1930, when GDP fell by 9%, or 1931, when GDP contracted by another 8%, or 1932, when it fell yet another 13%.

Auto production last year declined by roughly 25%. That looks good compared to 1932, when production shriveled by 90%. The failure of a couple of dozen banks in 2008 just doesn't compare to over 10,000 bank failures in 1933, or even the 3,000-plus bank (Savings & Loan) failures in 1987-88. Stockholders can take some solace from the fact that the recent stock market debacle doesn't come close to the 90% devaluation of the early 1930s.

You can read the complete article here.

Now, before you comment, don't get caught up in some sort of an I-hate-Obama/I-love-Obama debate. Let's talk about the numbers.

An Announcement About the Announcements

I still owe you one exciting announcement about my plans for the future, but that will have to wait. I've decided to put that announcement on hold for a little while. Not to say I'm putting goal #2 on hold. I'm not.

In the meantime, I have another exciting announcement which I will make next week. Let's just say someone won themselves $50.

To recap: I owe you two exciting announcements. One to be completed next week - probably Tuesday - and the other on hold for a couple of weeks.

In case you're wondering, I am 500 words closer to completing Goal #1.


13Month Goal #1

Write a book.

I'm going to write a book over the next 13 months and I'll let you know how I'm doing as I go along.

I have decided that I want to write about my experiences in Iraq.

The way I see it, I made three trips, so I have a trilogy on my hands. If you know any agents, send them my way.

Ironically*, as I write this post, I can't think of anything more to say.

*not actual irony



A couple of posts ago I wrote about the blog's lack of direction and purpose.

I can't go on forever aimlessly. I need a framework around which to work.

Since the blog was started to track thirteen months of an experience - Iraq - then I will go back to the original intent.

Over the next 13 months I will work towards two goals (I have more than two, but I'll focus on two here).

I am going to do two things between now and March 2010 about which I will commit to writing here.

Expect an announcement this week.