Thursday, June 24, 2010

Wife posted a photograph of my Tibitan Alarm Clock... she even has a snuzzle setting.

One of the periodic photos of my husband cuddled up with a blonde. There is an empty king-size bed on the other side of Fred and Waco, but they both budge over to one edge -- and no matter how little space there is, Waco will perch right up next to "her" guy until he shifts in his sleep, and she falls off. Her back legs are too weak to get back up on the bed once she slips off, so if I'm up, she will trot down the hall and bark imperiously until I follow her back down the hall to help her back up on the bed. I think one of those silly doggie staircases is in our future.

NBC's Full Take on the NBC/WSJ Poll

*** Obama's leadership moment: Talk about turning a lemon into lemonade. President Obama's firing yesterday of Gen. Stanley McChrystal -- and replacing him with Gen. David Petraeus -- provided him with a leadership moment at a time he desperately needed it. Our brand-new NBC/WSJ poll (conducted before the Rolling Stone article came out) shows that Obama's scores on being able to handle a crisis, on being decisive, and having strong leadership qualities all have plummeted since last year. What's more, the Petraeus move also potentially gives Obama a parachute if Afghanistan is indeed unwinnable. Indeed, check out what GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham said yesterday: "Dave Petraeus is our best hope. If things don't change, nobody can pull it out in Afghanistan." So in terms of giving him a leadership moment, er, commander-in-chief moment, as well as political cover if the situation in Afghanistan doesn't improve, that Rolling Stone article might turn out to be the best thing to have happened to President Obama in quite some time.

*** Yo, Michelle: Our new NBC/WSJ poll is pretty brutal for President Obama. Picture Rocky Balboa after seven rounds -- bruised, bleeding, black eye. That's what Obama looks like in our poll. But Obama hasn't been knocked down or knocked out, yet he certainly looks wobbly. And to beat this analogy to death, a defender would argue that it appears he's taking on Apollo Creed (the economy), Clubber Lang (concerns about the deficit), and Ivan Drago (the oil spill) all at the same time. For the first time in our survey, Obama's approval rating is upside down (at 45%-48%); for the first time in his presidency, more than 60% believe the country is on the wrong track; and for the first time in his presidency, Obama's "very negative" score on the feeling thermometer nearly matches his "very positive" score. The White House has recently been fond of using the phrase "inflection point" to indicate a new chapter in terms of their handling of the oil spill. Well, this poll is potentially an inflection point in terms of public opinion on this president. After months of keeping his head about water, he's now been dragged down to be unpopular as the rest of Washington.

*** Trouble with his mid-section: Much of the erosion in Obama's numbers has come from the middle. His approval among independents is upside down at 37%-52%; his approval in the suburbs is 44%-50%; his approval among suburban women is at 44%-51%; and his approval in the Midwest -- which was an important source of strength for him in 2008, in both the primaries and general election -- is at 44%-52%. What continues to sustain Obama, even during these tough times, is his base. African Americans approve of his job by a whopping 91%-5%; Hispanics back him 60%-33%; those 18 to 34 approve of his job by a 53%-40% (though that's down); and Democrats back him 76%-17% (though that's also down a few ticks). Our pollsters wouldn't say if Obama's overall approval rating has reached its floor, but they say that the way he gets his numbers up is for the right track/wrong track numbers to improve. And that means more people feeling better about the state of the economy and the situation in the Gulf.

*** BP -- less popular than O.J. or Philip Morris: Speaking of the Gulf spill, there is little doubt that it has played a significant role in the president's declining poll numbers. In our survey -- conducted AFTER his Oval Office address and his work getting BP to set up a $20 billion escrow account -- 50% STILL say they disapprove of his handling of the spill, versus 42% who approve. Nevertheless, the president fares a tad better than others on his handling of the spill as 48% believe he has done more or as much as expected in dealing the spill, compared with 39% who say the same of Congress, 36% who say that of the federal government, and just 27% who say that about BP. Indeed, the poll shows that only 6% hold a favorable rating of the oil company itself. And in the history of the NBC/WSJ poll, Saddam Hussein (at 3%), Fidel Castro (3%), and Yasser Arafat (4%) have had lower favorable scores, and O.J. Simpson (11%) and tobacco-maker Philip Morris (15%) have had higher ratings. Wow. Heckuva job, Tony.

*** The GOP's midterm edge: Turning to the midterms, the poll shows the Republican Party with the edge heading into November. The GOP holds a two-point advantage over Democrats (45%-43%) on our generic-ballot question. And while that's margin of error stuff, this is the Republicans' second-straight lead here, which hasn't occurred in our poll since 2002; the trend in favor the Republicans IS significant. And among high-interest voters, the GOP has a whopping 21-point edge over Democrats (56%-35%). So we've seen three key indicators move in the GOP's direction: generic ballot, right track/wrong track, and Obama's approval rating.

*** Why Rand Paul and Sharron Angle are vulnerable, even in this environment: But the poll also contains warning signs for both parties. One question in our poll measured a host of candidate attributes to consider. The highest-scoring ones included: "supporting cutting federal spending" (which would appear to benefit GOP candidates); "favors financial reform of Wall Street" (which would seem to help Democrats), "favors the new law in Arizona on immigration" (advantage GOP), and "supports repealing the health care reform law" (advantage GOP). The lowest-scoring ones were: "is endorsed by Sarah Palin" (advantage Democrats), "supported the economic policies of George W. Bush" (advantage Democrats), "supports abolishing some federal agencies, including the Department of Education" (like some GOP candidates have called for), and "supports phasing out Social Security" (as some GOP candidates also are advocating). Folks, here is your playbook on how Democrats are going to try to win races this cycle.

*** No buyer's remorse: And here's one last set of numbers from our poll: Despite Obama's lower ratings, the public isn't experiencing buyer's remorse with George W. Bush. His fav/unfav score in our poll is 29%-50% -- which is similar to his rating as he left office. By the way, Sarah Palin's fav/unfav is also upside down in the poll at 29%-43%.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Prayer Request in My Email this Fathers' Day

This is Noah Young.
He is mine and Debbie’s soon to be 4 year old grandson
(July 11th)

As one of five wonderful grandchildren you can see the beauty of this child. He is the blessing we all thought he would be. And yet, Noah is fighting something bigger than anything I have ever faced in my life. Some of you may remember when Noah was 4 months old he developed a myofibroma tumor on his back and had to have surgery to remove it. We almost lost him due to blood loss. That was almost 3 years ago and we were told by the doctors that it was a rare tumor than had a 90% chance of not coming back. Less than a year later Noah developed a second tumor near his carotid artery on the right side of his neck. It is inoperable because of the close proximity to major blood vessels and nerves. For the past 3 years Noah has fought this thing with weekly chemotherapy and has done a marvelous job of standing all the probing and prodding the doctors have to do.

This past weekend (June 13th) we found out the doctors have now found another spot on the opposite side of his neck that may be the start of another tumor. The first reaction is always horror. Any parent dreads news like this. Any grandparent does, too. My thoughts today are to try to hold my family close as we fight this thing together. So I went back to my mental drawing board and asked myself what we did when this happened the first time. First, we cried. The emotional roller coaster is a killer. It is what I think of when I go to bed and what I think of when I wake up. I have wished a thousand times God would give the tumors to me and let him live in good health. But I understand God knows more, sees more and has a given us a great opportunity to see Noah bless those he comes in contact with. So, this email to you all is to bring you up-to-date but more it is to ask or help.

We are not asking for money. Money may not be the answer anyway. At this juncture I have called all around the country to every cancer hospital known to man. But the same story always comes back. Since it is not formally cancer (it is non- cancerous) they say they cannot even see him. The bad part about a tumor like this is its ability to invade the body’s organs. When this happens life is threatened. Therefore, we are asking all who read this email not to lay it aside as we do so many that come our way. This is not some orphan in a foreign land, someone with no face. This is my grandson and I am asking all who will to partner with me and pray for him every day. And not for him alone but our family as well.

I am listing our family by name so you know who to pray for. I am asking that you pray personally every day and do not forget. I am asking that you forward this to as many people as you have on your email list, facebook, church, work or wherever you know people. I am also asking each one of you to respond to this email who will do as I am asking.

I would do this for any one of you or your children. God has broken my heat over this and I have to get the word out to pray and pray hard. God answers prayer. So, who is with me? All you have to do is post Noah’s picture and pray for him. Then let us know you are praying. You will be blessed and we will be blessed. I already thank each one of you who are reading this and sense the urgency I do. May God bless each one of you. I eagerly await your response.

Prayer List of our Family
Jay, Amy Elijah and Noah Young
Brian, Carrie, Summer, Kylie and Keely Mashburn
Roy & Debbie Lemley

In Christ,

Roy and Debbie Lemley

Saturday, June 5, 2010

I am a song writer and didn't know it....

The Arbroath Lifeboat tragedy
(Fred Dallas)

Oh listen while I tell you of the Arbroath tragedy
Of how six gallant lifeboatmen were thrown into the sea
On October twenty seven in the year of fifty three
And only one brave man was saved in that calamity

The night was dark and stormy and the lifeboat standing by
And all at once a rocket jumped into the angry sky
The "Robert Lindsay" ventured out to find the reason why
But nothing could they find that night no matter how they tried

Four hours they searched that Tuesday morn until the break of day
But not a bit of wreckage could they find in Arbroath bay
"It's home and mugs of cocoa for us sailors while we may
Or else we'll never see the shore," they heard the Cox'n say

As they came back across the bar it was an awful sight
The lifeboat overturned them in the sea as black as night
They couldn't reach the shore alive though struggle as they might
And only Archie Smith was saved upon that dreadful night

Two brothers sank beneath the waves, a father and a son
The bowman, Thomas Adams went the way that they had gone
And when the boat was washed ashore beneath the morning sun
The Cox'n, David Bruce, was lash'd the steering wheel upon

So let's remember all the men who go down to the sea
And all their wives and sweethearts dear wherever they may be
And working men who give their lives in dire necessity
The fishermen who died that night in Nineteen Fifty-Three.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Foxy News: al-Qaeda terrorist network or teenagers. You decide!

BARABOO, WI—Sauk County Sheriff Virgil "Butch" Steinhorst announced Tuesday that he believes a recent rash of Baraboo-area crimes was perpetrated by the al-Qaeda terrorist network or teenagers.

Steinhorst investigates a recent crime."In this day and age, it's important for law-enforcement officials to consider global threats as well as local ones," Steinhorst said. "We could be dealing with an al-Qaeda sleeper cell attempting to collect information that they could use to plan a terrorist strike or some of those goth kids who knocked over that mailbox. Neither group has any respect for the law.

"The string of unsolved crimes includes the defacement of public property, an incident of breaking-and-entering, and a string of harassing phone calls. The latest crime—the sudden disappearance of two yield signs from Hoxie Street—occurred Monday."We believe the yield signs were removed in order to disrupt traffic patterns, most likely to cause an accident," Steinhorst said.

"The party responsible for the crime could be anyone from suspected terrorist Ahmad Ibrahim Al-Mughassil, who is on the FBI's most-wanted list, to that Fairman kid and his buddies. It could be the work of one or the other. Possibly both, though I have to say I doubt that."Responding to an anonymous report of a blue Ford Mustang seen idling in the Circus World parking lot for several hours after closing, Steinhorst said, "In these troubled times, any and all suspicious activity is worth investigating.""This activity matches up with the M.O. of a terrorist casing a potential target," Steinhorst said.

"It also matches the M.O. of a group of teens drinking beer and fooling around. But, as Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge told us, we are in a state of heightened alert. We could come under attack anywhere, at any time, from any direction. The tip-off could be anything from a duffel bag abandoned in a bank lobby to a carload of people at a stop sign who exit the car all at once, only to reenter through different doors."

Steinhorst regularly receives Department of Homeland Security bulletins that include the names of suspected terrorists. He also makes frequent visits to Baraboo High School, where Principal Larry Stordahl provides him with a list of possible truants."Teens regularly act without regard for the consequences of their actions or concern for their own physical well-being," Steinhorst said. "So do terrorists."Wanted al-Qaeda operative Ahmad Ibrahim Al-Mughassil (left) and Baraboo High School junior Michael Fairman, two leading suspects in the recent rash of Baraboo-area crimes.

According to Steinhorst, the first in the series of crimes currently under scrutiny occurred several months ago, on April 1, when an unknown party pulled a fire alarm in the Baraboo Community Library during a children's puppet show."The perpetrators of the April 1 incident may not even live in Sauk County," Steinhorst said. "They could be terrorists based in Madison. Or it could be students from Reedsburg High School, our nearby rival."To investigate the possibility of the latter, the Sauk County Sheriff's Department has been exchanging intelligence with the sheriff in Richland County, where unsolved crimes of a similar nature have been reported."Over in Richland Center, we had some criminal activity occur dangerously close to unguarded reserves of fertilizer," Richland County police officer Tim Hutter said.

"The report came from one Helen Johnson, who expressed fear for the safety of her cows. A cow found lying on its side could either be the victim of a chemical agent or of some immature teenager who thinks it's funny to sneak into the pasture and tip over a helpless animal. Either way, we can't be too cautious."Steinhorst called upon all Baraboo citizens to report anything suspicious, especially since Deputy Dale Schneider broke his wrist last week subduing a drunken patron of the Come Back Inn, and Deputy Frank Pulvermacher can't work overtime since his mother got sick with dropsy.

Steinhorst said it's important to "not let fear get the better of us, but still remain vigilant.""Just today, we had a report of some suspicious lettering by the high-school football field," Steinhorst said. "Upon investigation, we discovered the phrase '2005 Rules' burnt into the grass. An item of clothing found at the scene leads us to believe the cryptic phrase was the work of members of next year's senior class, and not, as was originally feared, the warning of an impending terrorist attack. So we can all breathe a little easier."

"You know, that football team is really shaping up this year," Steinhorst added. "We could go all the way to State."