Sunday, May 31, 2009

Don't go phishing

If anyone claiming to be your ISP or bank or credit card company or church or bookclub or any organization/club asks you to confirm your e-mail and other identifying information, don't do it. We at the osu dot edu domain have been phished lately. They are trying to steal our identity, so don't reply. The one I got looked "phishy" simply because the sentence construction and capitalization was so odd--I hoped we weren't employing such poorly trained staff at our OIT. But another librarian got a better one and checked; this is what she was told:
    A large number of Ohio State e-mail addresses have recently been recipients of phishing scam e-mails, asking for their password in order to prevent the account from being removed.

    These messages are a scam, and were NOT sent by the Office of Information Technology or anyone else within The Ohio State University. **Do NOT reply to this message**.

    Once again, these messages are a scam, and were NOT sent by the Office of Information Technology or anyone else within The Ohio State University. Do not reply. If you have already replied, go to our Account Management web site (https://acctmgt.service.ohio-state.edu) and change your password immediately.

    Our network security team is aware of this issue, and since it was sent they have been working with the other Internet Service Providers involved to ensure the situation gets dealt with as quickly as possible.

    For more information on Phishing, see:
    http://buckeyesecure.osu.edu/SafeComputing/IDTPhish

    Our network security team has already taken steps to disable this account and contact the user for further investigation. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.

    If you have any more questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us
    at 8help@osu.edu or by phone at (614) 688-Help (4357).

The Poor and the Christian Church

As I've noted here numerous times, I'm really uncomfortable with Christian churches taking money from the government to meet their God-given commitments to those less fortunate, while shelving God's command to preach the Gospel because that's not allowed with USDA food distribution grants or the HUD housing rehab or the HHS neighborhood clinic. "Peace and Justice" Christians, whether liberal or conservative, Protestant or Catholic or Orthodox, need to open the Old Testament--to the Book of Job. The story of Job is a non-Israelite story. Scholars don't agree on how old the story is, or where it came from, but a casual reading shows that Job was considered a righteous and moral man by his peers and himself, a man devoted to God. Job in his own words described his close fellowship with God, his wonderful family, his blessings of wealth, and his respected position in the community (this sounds like the "health and wealth" gospel you find on Christian TV). Then disaster takes it ALL away. We see that Job is an adherent of an ancient patriarchial religion, common among many desert people--he avoids adultery, including carnal lust, even the smallest thought that would contaminate his mind; he doesn't lie or deceive and was never unfair; he was fair even to his slaves; he was a man of great charity, helping the widow and fatherless orphans; he didn't worship idols and knew that silver and gold could be idols; he didn't gloat when his enemies failed; he didn't hate the foreigner and practiced hospitality; he hadn't obtained his land by robbery; no one ever charged him with being hypocrite. He "wore righteousness as a garment."

So if this is the sum total of what Jesus came to preach, he was a few centuries late--the people already knew all this. What constituted righteousness was well known, common knowledge, just as today. So Christians need to make sure that their own "righteousness" is more than that, it must include the Gospel, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. If the USDA summer lunch and snack program forbids distributing printed Bible tracts, or says you can't sing songs about Jesus or that you can't console a pregnant mother with life giving testimony about your own situation, then DON'T TAKE THE MONEY! Don't pay your church staff to go after and manage these grants. It's a deal with the Devil.

President Obama promised us in his 2008 campaign that he was going to strip religion from these programs--and even in the old days of "a thousand points of light," (Bush I slogan) Christians were restricted about what they could do or say in order to receive government grants. But we've already seen how President Obama co-opted the Catholic church in their own building on their own grounds dangling before them the prestige of having the President stand at their podium. He won't be any less harsh to Lutherans running lunch programs in neutral community buildings in Hilliard and on the Hilltop.

Government programs are rarely "temporary" and almost never go away. They just get bigger because so many staff government jobs are dependent on them. They spawn entire marketing and printing projects, distribution channels, factories to process food, conferences and workshops to keep employees informed of changes in the law (with travel to interesting cities like Las Vegas and New Orleans), warehouses and storage equipment, soup kitchens, special healthy snack creation, and all manner of cross fertilization of other projects, especially environmental, the current craze. What started 65 years ago when my grandparents were farming in Illinois and Iowa to use up agricultural surpluses to help the farmers after WWII, has run amok creating a dependency among the poor and the distributers alike. And I use the word "poor" loosely here--to qualify for food assistance, the family of 4 can earn $41,299 and add $6,959 for each additional family member.
    "Ohio Foodbanks began in 1985 to develop the federally funded Temporary Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) within the state of Ohio. Working in conjunction with the Department of Education and then the Ohio Department of Agriculture and finally with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services the Ohio Foodbanks struggled through many years of programmatic development, burdensome federal bureaucratic processes, repeated threats of cuts to the TEFAP food sources, and the constant recognition that even in the best of times, the food was generally in insufficient amounts to meet the growing needs of the hungry Ohioans." So now they are a line item in the state budget guaranteeing a permanent income stream. OASHF

    "TOLEDO NORTHWEST OHIO FOOD BANK
    • 87% of pantries, 70% of kitchens, and 36% of shelters are run by faith-based agencies affiliated with churches, mosques, synagogues, and other religious organizations.
    • At the agency level, 80% of agencies with at least one pantry, kitchen, or shelter and 69% of all agencies including those only with other types of programs are faith-based. Toledo NW Ohio Food Bank, 2006"
Cross posted at Church of the Acronym.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The teleprompter on the brothers Emanuel

[Speaking about BO's speech on Wednesday in Los Angeles] "Last night's policy dinner was amazing. Big Guy compared himself to FDR, announced to the crowd in Beverly Hills that the recession was over, and then fist bumped David Geffen. In fact, Big Guy was so good that people just started writing him checks. It was funny, most people here say they weren't even aware we were in a recession.

Not so amusing was [Rahm Emanuel] Toes' brother, Ari, who showed up for the event. He's a big, foul-mouthed muckety muck out here in Hollywood. Most people in the White House didn't recognize Ari or even know Rahm had other living siblings; they just assumed Toes strangled them in their cribs.

I could tell right away they were related, when Ari claimed Big Guy's limo was in his spot in the Beverly Hills Hilton valet lot and tried to have it towed."

Here's Charlie Rose interviewing the three Emanuel brothers in June 2008.



The prompter calls him "Toes" because he used to be a ballet dancer before entering politics. Now he just runs the United States and we get to dance to his tune.

Another important job for librarians

Librarians, the most left of all professions, exceeding even the Hollywood stars who periodically appear before congress to opine (223:1 Democrat to Republican) spent a lot of time during the Bush years flapping their gums and becoming aroused at meetings over the USA PATRIOT Act (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001) that might snag a terrorist sitting innocently planning mayhem at a terminal in their library. I'm sure now that we're going to have an internet czar, that they will be equally as concerned that Obama not appoint another ethically challenged Timothy Geithner to an important post. So far, he has no details, which means it is wide open for abuse, but I know we can trust the librarians, because after all, "Knowledge is power," and librarians are certainly at the top of the ladder in pay grade, prestige and political clout.

This lovely mosaic, "Knowledge is Power," is at the Fisher College of Business which is closing its library.

Friday, May 29, 2009

A tax cheat and a cheating liar

That Timothy Geithner. What a guy. People desperately want to believe Obama knew what he was doing in appointing him chief tax cheat.
    It's Over ... or Not. The deepest recession in modern memory is coming to an end, said Department of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner during a May 18 briefing. Geithner pointed to improvements in credit and financial markets, among other indicators, as signs that the economy was starting to come back. However, the Federal Reserve Board's Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC)—the body that sets the federal funds rate, or the interest rate banks charge each other for loans—downgraded its economic forecast for 2009 in the recently released minutes of its late April meeting. Almost all FOMC members downgraded their projections from the ones they made in January, and the group as a whole is now projecting the U.S.'s real gross domestic product in 2009 to decrease by 2 percentage points from 2008, to 1.3 percent. The FOMC also predicts U.S. unemployment to continue rising and increased its projection for unemployment in 2009 to be between 9.2 and 9.6 percent, up from 8.4 to 8.8 percent in earlier prognostications. The FOMC projects nationwide unemployment to remain near 8 percent through 2011, before trending back to between 4.8 and 5 percent over the longer run. The FOMC did agree with Geithner in one respect, though, saying it expects a recovery in sales and production to begin in the second half of the year."
Weekly Federal Update, May 18-22, by Ethan Butterfield, Architect Magazine On-line edition. I'm always amazed at people who can count how many years FDR drug out the Depression, and yet believe following his example will somehow not cause the same disaster.

The three Rs of Preservation

Reuse. Reinvest. Retrofit. Unfortunately, I'm afraid we'll have the battle of the "greenies" on this one. I almost turn pea green reading my husband's newsletters and magazines.
    The Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles was built in the mid-’60s and designed by Minoru Yamasaki, the architect of the World Trade Center. "How is the demolition of a 40-year-old, fully functioning building environmentally responsible?" asks Richard Moe of The National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP). "In a state known for its environmental stewardship and strong focus on sustainable development, it boggles the imagination to think a developer could propose tearing down a newly renovated, thriving hotel—-a landmark of Modern architecture—-and replace it with new construction. Because historic preservation inherently involves the conservation of energy and natural resources, it has always been the greenest form of development." AIArchitect, May 29
In Ohio, we tear them down even sooner than 40 years. Our mayor wants to dump the City Center which I think is only 20 years old. Make a down town park. Now that brings in a lot of tax money. He'll probably get stimulus money for it the way he did for that phony Obaloney show on saving the police class right after the coronation. They've now run out of "stimulus" money, and will probably have to let some of the go.

A Brit observes President Pantywaist and asks why?

Gerald Warner at Telegraph.co.uk writes and wonders as do many of us on this side of the pond--why does Obama hate America so much?
    If al-Qaeda, the Taliban and the rest of the Looney Tunes brigade want to kick America to death, they had better move in quickly and grab a piece of the action before Barack Obama finishes the job himself. Never in the history of the United States has a president worked so actively against the interests of his own people - not even Jimmy Carter.

    Obama's problem is that he does not know who the enemy is. To him, the enemy does not squat in caves in Waziristan, clutching automatic weapons and reciting the more militant verses from the Koran: instead, it sits around at tea parties in Kentucky quoting from the US Constitution. Obama is not at war with terrorists, but with his Republican fellow citizens. He has never abandoned the campaign trail.

    That is why he opened Pandora's Box by publishing the Justice Department's legal opinions on waterboarding and other hardline interrogation techniques. He cynically subordinated the national interest to his partisan desire to embarrass the Republicans. Then he had to rush to Langley, Virginia, to try to reassure a demoralised CIA that had just discovered the President of the United States was an even more formidable foe than al-Qaeda.

    "Don't be discouraged by what's happened the last few weeks," he told intelligence officers. Is he kidding? Thanks to him, al-Qaeda knows the private interrogation techniques available to the US intelligence agencies and can train its operatives to withstand them - or would do so, if they had not already been outlawed.

    So, next time a senior al-Qaeda hood is captured, all the CIA can do is ask him nicely if he would care to reveal when a major population centre is due to be hit by a terror spectacular, or which American city is about to be irradiated by a dirty bomb. Your view of this situation will be dictated by one simple criterion: whether or not you watched the people jumping from the twin towers. . .

    President Pantywaist's recent world tour, cozying up to all the bad guys, excited the ambitions of America's enemies. Here, they realized, is a sucker they can really take to the cleaners. His only enemies are fellow Americans. Which prompts the question: why does President Pantywaist hate America so badly?
I really wish there were evidence to refute this.

Exercise-induced rhabdomyolysis

Symptoms are: darkened urine, prolonged weakness or aching muscles, cramps, muscle tenderness, swelling, confusion, seizures, nausea and/or fever after vigorous exercise and extreme temperatures. It is not unusual to find it in fit military trainees. I won’t even attempt to summarize this excellent article by Sandy at Junk Food Science which also reports on nutraceuticals and supplements, and their possible link to rhabdomyolysis. Taking any pill, prescription or non-approved herbal supplements, can have serious consequences.

When I worked in the veterinary library I used to get calls about rhabdomyolysis in horses, but wasn't aware it also affected human athletes or week-end exercise warriors.

Support for Sotomayor

I've read some hesitantly positive things about her, and I think she's our best bet right now. One of the best clues is the far left wack-jobs don't like her. But she's also made some decisions that show she really can read and understand the law. Under the tutelage of Alito and Roberts, whose brilliance should reflect a bit on her, she may be able to turn the corner. Underneath all that empathy and "natural" Latina wisdom, we'll hope for a fine legal mind also. Her roots are as European as mine, just a little further south, but that would probably be considered racist for the press to point that out.

Praying for the President

There's almost nothing more difficult for me (other than the discipline of regular exercise) than praying for President Obama. I intensely dislike him and everything he stands for. I believe he has kidnapped our spirit/freedom/wealth and sold them into slavery. But. However. Notwithstanding. Therefore.

Christians are clearly commanded to pray for their government's leaders, whether they be Roman Caesars, Romanian Communists, or Haitian dictators. And oddly enough, the Christian church seems to thrive under that sort of government, more than when they are invited to partake in the evidence of earthly powers by electing Methodist pastors to the state house or community organizers to the White House, with that call and post, old time, negro rhythm so appealing to agnostic liberals.

I remember way back in the 80s when the Communist regime in USSR was just beginning to thaw a bit, it was discovered there was a huge group of Lutherans in Siberia no one knew about--they were descendants, as I recall, of POWs of WWI from Germany who had intermarried with the local women, and they had stayed true to the church despite no longer even understanding the German language they used in their liturgy. Several weeks ago we had Chinese immigrants speak to our Bible study group and the stories they told us about how the church has thrived in mainland China under the Communists, but is weak in Taiwan where they had freedom to worship, were just amazing. They told us things about the Communist system which actually aided the growth of the church, even though at the time, there was terrible suffering and death.

So, how do you pray? I got a clue watching a program a few weeks about a mother whose daughter was kidnapped and murdered; she described how she prayed for her daughter's captor. She realized that her own bitterness and fear was bad for her, crippling her ability to function for the rest of her family and she needed to forgive him (at this time, she didn't know her daughter was already dead, only that she had been taken). She began by praying about very simple things . . . things that didn't matter at all, like maybe if he were fishing he'd have a good catch, or he'd have a sunny day, or a good meal. She reasoned (incorrectly on that point) that if life were better for him, maybe he would treat her daughter well. She was able, day by day, to lose her own bitterness by praying for a person who was evil, and who had hurt her terribly, and eventually came not to hate him. By the time he finally called to taunt her, about a year later, she was calm and caring, completely catching him off guard. She was able to keep him on the phone by expressing genuine, not fake, concern built by hours of real prayer. This lead to his arrest. Then it was discovered that he had murdered the child shortly after her kidnapping. And he then committed suicide awaiting trial. Not a happy "answer to prayer," or was it? She had refused to participate in his evil, and prayed for him.

So there are some little things I can pray sincerely for Obama--and that is his relationship with his daughters, because that I can tie in directly with his pro-abortion views. Only God knows how a man conceived and birthed by an unmarried teenager (her putative "husband" already had several wives back home) can be so bitter toward the unborn, but perhaps he was made to feel unwanted by his birth family and grandparents. Whatever the source of his hate, I can ask God that his daughters shower him with love and kisses and warm his cold, cold heart. Yes, indeed, I can do that!

Christians don't need evolution taught in the schools, or Christmas carols sung at public events, or plaques with the 10 Commandments, or government grants to feed the hungry; we need some good, old fashioned persecution by a hostile president, and boy, we've got that! Alleluia, let's get started! He has helped by destroying that golden calf of consumerism to which our knees had bowed. We can expect great things to happen during the Obama reign.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Three years ago in Finland

It seems like ages, but it was July 2006 and we were visiting our friends in Helsinki. I was desperate for something to read, so I bought a Time magazine. According to my blog
    "I paid 4 euros (about $5.00) for 52 pages of Time, 19 of which were photos of the World Cup. Photos I can figure out in Finnish. Five pages were devoted to bashing the "Bush Doctrine." No mention or credit for liberating the Iraqi people from a cruel dictator; no credit for identifying North Korea within months of taking office as part of the Axis of Evil; no mention that his neo-con advisors are former Democrats; or the 500 WMD that have been found; that the Iraqi people have voted in free elections. Although Bush has always acknowledged we were in for a long battle against Islamic terrorists, when he reiterates this, the MSM seems to think it is a victory for their side.

    So what does Time recommend? Some Truman era reruns. They don't mention how extremely unpopular Truman was his second term--I think he was lower in the polls than Bush. Another article by Jos. S. Nye, Jr. pined nostalgically for the days of FDR and containment. Tell that one to the Estonians and the millions of other east Europeans who died in the Gulags waiting for the Americans to come and free them. Sixty years ago we sold out 40 million East Europeans to the USSR; let's not repeat that mistake by selling out the Iraqis."
I'm pining for the Bush era; I should have been more grateful. Maybe the press bashed him, but unemployment was 4.5%, the economy was booming, the magazines were fat with advertising, there were 20 houses for sale in Lakeside instead of 60, and the capital wasn't full of socialists.

Is the SCOTUS nominee “outside the mainstream” on abortion?

A new Gallup Poll, conducted May 7-10, finds 51% of Americans calling themselves pro-life on the issue of abortion and 42% pro-choice. This is the first time a majority of U.S. adults have identified themselves as pro-life since Gallup began asking this question in 1995. According to US News and World Report, this development will keep the Republican Party marginalized. Also, DFLA are interested by another finding of this poll to note that for the first time in a decade, more men are against abortion than women, 54% of men to 49% of women. Democrats for Life

I'm not sure why this poll marginalizes Republicans as reported in US News. It just means Democrats don't vote their conscience when it comes to abortion.

You need to be very worried

Those of us who worried about a socialist being elected have seen all our fears met and exceeded. From Heritage.org: In just 4 months President Obama has
    Continued to fast-track government control of health care with a $33 billion expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) which isn’t even limited to children and only worsened our nation’s health spending problem.

    Pushed through a $787 billion stimulus bill that essentially federalized the construction and renovation of public schools, began subsidizing health insurance for unemployed Americans regardless of income, created more than 30 new federal programs, effectively abolished the hugely successful 1996 welfare reform; and created a trillions dollars of new debt, to be dumped into the laps of our children and grandchildren.

    Passed an Omnibus spending bill that raised discretionary spending by 8%, contained 9,287 pork projects costing $13 billion, and spent $123 billion on programs for which government auditors can find no evidence of success.

    Used the $700 billion TARP slush fund to effectively nationalize General Motors, turn Chrysler over to the United Auto Workers union, and strong arm the nation’s banks into accepting taxpayer money and government control they did not want.
Actually, I think he just by-passed European, post WWII socialism all together and is going directly into the past to communism (1950s USSR), or national socialism (1930s Germany). You didn't holler when he took over the auto industry, you're not complaining about the health grab, you allowed Congress to have families of business people threatened by Obama supporters, so you probably won't complain when he nationalizes your private pension plan to bail out social security, or says churches can't apply for government grants to feed the hungry if they support traditional marriage, or decides we need only x-number of hours of electricity a day so we can save the planet, or wants you to paint your roof white. If auto dealerships can be closed down because they didn't support the Democrats, your internet business can be unplugged, too. And it is all meaningless folks, he has no intention of "saving" the economy, he only intends to destroy it.

Why Sotomayor won't be borked

When degenerate profligate (but I repeat myself) Ted Kennedy is allowed to destroy a man’s character as he did Judge Bork's in 1987, he invents a new verb, a new low forever memorialized in our language. To bork, or borking. I don’t expect Sonia Sotomayor to get borked. Although I think the Congressional Republicans are obsequious wimps, they generally don’t stoop to the evil of a Ted Kennedy, or the bald-face lies of a Nancy Pelosi or the traitorous speeches about the war of a Harry Reid. Maybe they just aren’t clever enough. Then there was Joe Biden and his mystery tour of his own life during the confirmation hearings of Alito. And to think he is now a heart beat from the presidency!
    “Then-Judiciary Committee chairman Joseph Biden, Kennedy’s lieutenant in the assault, told the Philadelphia Inquirer not long before Bork was nominated: “Say the administration sends up Bork. I’d have to vote for him, and if the (liberal interest) groups tear me apart, that’s the medicine I’ll have to take.” But when it came time to take his medicine, he ran away like a Kennedy fleeing a car accident. The fact that Biden was about to run for president — for the first time — probably helped him rationalize his flight from honor.” Ted Kennedy’s America. The Borking of American politics, by Jonah Goldberg
I do hope the Republicans come to the hearings better prepared than the Democrats were to face Judge Alito, who may be the only one who even understands how badly the liberals have messed up constitutional law in the past half century and was able to make them look silly asking questions they didn't understand.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Patch, patch, patch

I got a hair cut and color today. It takes longer and longer to look presentable. I don’t leave the house without my buddy, Merle (Norman--make-up brand), and try not to wear sweat pants and athletic shoes in public, unless I’m exercising, of course. Yesterday was Peggy Lee’s birthday. Ms. Lee (whose real name was Norma) was going up in a hotel elevator to put on her make-up, stage clothes and jewelry for a show. A woman asked, "Are you Peggy Lee?" She replied straightforwardly, "No, not yet."

HT Powerline which has some details and links to video.

What is torture?

Not even those who have been tortured agree. But isn't it interesting that after Vietnam, the U.S. government didn't even investigate this question, although they had hundreds of POWs they could have interviewed. But Obama claims he knows?And uses his own special brand of empathy and understanding to smear our entire country to our enemies and friends.
    "If someone surveyed the surviving Vietnam POWs, we would likely not agree on one definition of torture. In fact, we wouldn't agree if waterboarding is torture. For example, John McCain, Bud Day and I were recently together. Bud is one of the toughest and most tortured Vietnam POWs. John thinks waterboarding is torture; Bud and I believe it is harsh treatment, but not torture. Other POWs would have varying opinions. I don't claim to be right; we just disagree. But as someone who has been severely tortured over an extended time, my first hand view on torture is this:

    Torture, when used by an expert, can produce useful, truthful information. I base that on my experience. I believe that during torture, there is a narrow "window of truth" as pain (often multiple kinds) is increased. Beyond that point, if torture increases, the person breaks, or dies if he continues to resist.

    Everyone has a different physical and mental threshold of pain that he can tolerate. If the interrogator is well trained he can identify when that point is reached - the point when if slightly more pain is inflicted, a person no longer can "hold out," just giving (following the Geneva Convention) name, rank, serial number and date of birth. At that precise point, a very narrow torture "window of truth" exists. At that moment a person may give useful or truthful information to stop the pain. As slightly more pain is applied, the person "loses it" and will say anything he thinks will stop the torture - any lie, any story, and any random words or sounds.

    This torture "window of truth" is theory to some. Having been there, it is fact to me." Col. Leo Thorsness, POW for 6 years

Isn't this how we got in this housing mess?

State of Florida helps single mom with child purchase home with stimulus money. Neighborhood stabilization program.

Well, lookee here. "Neighborhood Stabilization" money to go to ACORN, the voter fraud folks. Wonder if this has anything to do with payback for 2008 election?

Imagine if a Bush advisor had been this sexist

You know, like calling a Dixie Chick a bitch or a lesbian like Lindsey Lohan a dog because she didn't support his politics. How long before there would have been a congressional investigation with an enraged Barney leading the charge?

Waterboarding Sotomayor

"The Caribbean before the landing of Columbus served almost as a bridge between the north coast of South America and Florida for the Amazonian tribes in the south and the north american inhabitants. When Christopher Columbus on his second trip in 1493 landed in Puerto Rico and claimed it for Spain, he found the island populated by as many as 60,000 Arawak or Taino indians, which for the most part, were friendly compared to the Carib indians in some of the more southerly islands which were warlike and to some degree cannibalistic.

The conquest of the island didn't take long, and the peaceful Tainos were put to the task as slaves for the purpose of mining the gold that was found on the island. The gold didn't last long and in 1511 there was an uprising of the Tainos, who up to this point had believed that the Spaniards were Gods, and took a soldier by the name of Sotomayor and dunked him head first in a river for several hours to see if he would die. Just in case, they had prepared a feast for the Spaniard if he came out alive. However, it wasn't the Spanish sword that took most of the lives of the Arawaks, but the diseases that were brought from Europe and for which the indians had no defenses."

I haven't checked the authenticity of this story--just thought it had a familiar ring.

Puerto Rico was ceded to the U.S. after the war of 1898 with Spain. It became a commonwealth of the U.S. in 1952, and hoped to become the 51st state. In any case, Sonia Sotomayor isn't the daughter of immigrants, but citizens.

Obamart

Archeologists have unearthed a cache of Soviet statuary in France--everything from kolkhoznitzas (колхо́зница, collective farm women) to tank drivers to arm and sickles built for the 1937 Paris World Fair. Apparently, it's making French communists downright nostalgic. When we were in St. Petersburg in 2006 we visited the Russian Museum of Art which contains wonderful examples of this style of propagandistic, government sponsored art, and frankly I found it more attractive than some of the stuff of the last 50-100 years that flourished under "freedom of expression." Yes, a 10 foot tall Lenin in a painting pointing the way through the snow is daunting, but no more so than some of the stuff designed by Axelrod for the 2008 campaign.

This would be a good time for the French Communists to remember that Stalin killed more of his own people than Hitler did. Millions and millions. Just because the Nazis also killed the French and Stalin only wiped out generations of East Europeans, doesn't make him anyone to be admired. He also ordered thousands of artists, film makers and writers to death camps.

They are running out of money for the excavations. But not to worry. When American leftists have finished plundering our "wealthy," they will have a lot of money to send to France to glorify dead Communists.

Empathy and Sotomayor

Is it really a code word for liberal? If it is, it shouldn't be.
    em·pa·thy; ˈem-pə-thē ; a noun from the Greek, empatheia, literally, passion, from empathēs emotional, from em- + pathos feelings, emotion. 1: the imaginative projection of a subjective state into an object so that the object appears to be infused with it; 2: the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner ; also : the capacity for this. Merriam Webster definition
Who has less empathy than

The radical feminist denigrating white males?

A union leader living high on member dues while the company leaves town or the country?

A congressman or mayor sending his kid to private school while denying the locals the right to school choice?

An environmentalist who would rather see your home burn to the ground than allow you to clear diseased and dead brush?

A Code Pink crowd demonstrating outside a hospital filled with wounded veterans?

Gay radicals taking over a church service and physically demonstrating their "life style?"

Barney Frank grilling a CEO the government appointed so harshly that his home and family are threatened by ACORN bussed activists?

Animal rights activists who would kill lab animals and the years of medical research they represent rather than let them be used to save your pet, your child, or your mother?

The "green" building trades, including architects, with a handful of LEEDS awards who want your building removed because it's too expensive to bring it up to carbon footprint standards?

The tiny percentage in main line denominations who are forcing their sexuality agenda down the throats (excuse the pun) of their fellow members, the other 99.9%, rather than withdrawing and creating their own organization because their lust is for approval?

The horse protectors who have succeeded in getting slaughter houses closed so animal owners have no option for disposal of their aged or crippled horses?

Where is the empathy for the unborn child, full of hope and potential for changing the world, about to be cut out or sucked out of the womb designed to protect her?

Where is the empathy for the millions of Muslims, particularly women, freed from the tyranny of the Taliban?

Where is the empathy of a male web-gossiblogger who sandbagged a female, straight contestant because she refused to be his advocate.

Where is the empathy of the food-nazi whose demands, if met, would put more thousands out of work in the processed and frozen food industry.

Where is the empathy of the mold/asbestos/lead demolition teams who have removed hundreds of city blocks of housing, bringing the yuppies back to town, and pushing the low income to the suburbas away from transportation, community, and churches they've always known.

Where is the empathy for the millions and millions of Africans crippled or killed by malaria by "do-gooders" and Silent Spring fans who got DDT removed from the market.

Where is the empathy of the journalists who have destroyed the credibility of newspapers by abandoning the "who, what, when, where" stories in favor of gossip and anecdotes and political views?

Yes, empathy is in very short supply, particularly on the left.

Will they be allowed to use the T-word?

Car bomb. Busy street. Police killed. 90 injured. Wonder if VOA will need to dust off the terrorism words so unpopular
in the Obama regime.

Update: The WSJ apparently didn't get Obama's memo and used the T word at least 3 times.

Update 2 (May 29): AP reports they've got 39 suspects--described as militants, fighters and extremists. Obviously, they got the T-word memo.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

More on philanthropy

Not on my watch!

Speaking of philanthropy--what about Race for the Cure

Saying anything negative about the various races for this or that cause or disease in which volunteers raise funds from family and friends and sponsors is like being against motherhood and apple pie in this country. But let's look at the facts. It IS called "Race for the CURE." A cure would imply some heavy duty research, right? The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation was founded in 1982 by Nancy Goodman Brinker after losing her sister, Susan Komen, to breast cancer. According to their latest annual report, the Foundation and its affiliates have raised, in sum total (2009 figures) $1.3 billion dollars and have awarded more than 1,000 breast cancer research grants totaling approximately $190 million. (from the Komen web site) Cha-ching. That means the Foundation has spent $1.12 billion on expenses. Could you stay in business with figures like that? Would you sponsor a runner if you knew that in 2007 total revenue was $274,875,945, and total functional expenses were $239,544,000, and that the COO, Patrice Tosi, was paid $513,095 (2007 figures latest available in Charity Navigator).

Even the small amount that isn't used to keep the organization up and running with well paid staff, is primarily used for education and screening grants, not research that will really benefit women in the long run. Yes, mammograms are important, as are printed brochures and posters reminded women of the signs, but folks, unless the English language has really changed more than I realize, "education" is not "cure."

Lop a few zeros off those figures so you can understand the problem. If the Boy Scouts took in $1,300 selling Christmas trees, and $180 went into the fund for the trip to Yosemite, and the leaders kept $1,120 for their own expenses, the cost of the trees, advertising the tree sale and you and your son were also asked to volunteer to help, wouldn't you think something was funny if all you raised for all your efforts was $180?

I would love to have someone prove these numbers somehow make sense and not just get nasty and sling mud because I've pointed out another idol with clay feet.

Mistaken identity

When I was making my wonderful purchases at the yard sale on our street in Lakeside on Saturday, I mentioned to the owner where we lived and said my husband was an architect. He got very excited and said, "Oh, he's the guy with paintings in the Patio Restaurant. He had a great painting of our niece, Rebecca, last year, but it was sold." I looked a little puzzled and said, "Which painting was that?" "The one of the little girl fishing off the pier." "Oh, that was Lindsey, and we almost didn't sell it." (Lost her in the divorce.) "But it looked just like our fishing tackle box and was a dead ringer for our niece." Then another person stopped by to pay my husband the balance for the painting she bought last summer. I don't know why he let her take it without payment, but he did, and then she apparently forgot about it. So he sent her a reminder--a year later. She's quite a talker, but she took pity on him since he was on a ladder painting the house. The things you don't know going on in your own family!

Killing off the next level of jobs

There are some well-off Americans, not rich by their estimation, who are now feeling the affects of "going for baroke." They had nice jobs with philanthropies and non-profits. They'll soon see the tuition rise at the kids' private schools, as more parents pull out in order to cut back to pay for the mortgage, the summer house, the SUV, and basketball camp for junior. In two income families where both are lawyers or executives and one loses a job, that's a drastic cut in money spent in the community. Their tony communities will be raising taxes and it's just possible Maria will head back for Mexico. Yes, when Obama or the governors soak the rich, ask them to pay more than their "fair" share, they just move, and that hurts the local economy. It's really tough on the people who were basing their incomes on the rich folks' donations to good causes, many of which benefitted the poor, the mentally ill or handicapped, the immigrant and the disabled, or the rich folks' shopping habits, or the rich folks' leisure plans.

Philanthropy is a huge industry in the USA--Americans have always been generous, but they also get tax breaks for this generosity, and here's President Obama calling those tax laws written by our Congress, "loopholes." In 2006 Americans gave about $300 billion to charity, and 65% of that came from people earning less than $100,000. But that's over now. Bye-bye executive and administrative level jobs in philathropy. Let's see how it has worked out, soaking the rich, that is.
    "Maryland couldn't balance its budget last year, so the state tried to close the shortfall by fleecing the wealthy. Politicians in Annapolis created a millionaire tax bracket, raising the top marginal income-tax rate to 6.25%. And because cities such as Baltimore and Bethesda also impose income taxes, the state-local tax rate can go as high as 9.45%. Governor Martin O'Malley, a dedicated class warrior, declared that these richest 0.3% of filers were "willing and able to pay their fair share." The Baltimore Sun predicted the rich would "grin and bear it."

    One year later, nobody's grinning. One-third of the millionaires have disappeared from Maryland tax rolls. In 2008 roughly 3,000 million-dollar income tax returns were filed by the end of April. This year there were 2,000, which the state comptroller's office concedes is a "substantial decline." On those missing returns, the government collects 6.25% of nothing. Instead of the state coffers gaining the extra $106 million the politicians predicted, millionaires paid $100 million less in taxes than they did last year -- even at higher rates." Read the rest here.
I don't like to see people I care about losing their jobs, but it is so tempting to say, "I told you so." Well, eventually, the rich will have no where to go--there are very few states standing up to the massive takeovers by the federal government. Or they will just put all their assets out of the country or in even more clever "loopholes."

Then Obama will come for you, dear friends and relatives, who thought we needed hope and change and a radical leftist in the White House. That's about all we'll be left with--a little change, and the type of hope the 3rd world peasants have for a better day.

A Two-fer

Or three-fer. Sonia Sotomayor is a woman, an Hispanic, and also a "first." First childhood diabetic nominee to the Supreme Court, first daughter of a nurse. First Puerto Rican woman diabetic first appointed by a Bush. So why do some liberals think she's the wrong pick?

Update: I listened to Obama on the way to the grocery telling why he chose her--she's part of the "common people." No, Mr. President, I'm common. I didn't grow up in the city, my mother wasn't a professional woman, my brother isn't a doctor and I didn't go to fancy, private schools and get a law degree. She's about as common as you are. What he really means is she is a leftist who will vote her party's desires and preferences and cause of the day. And it will be called "empathy." Anything but constitutional law.

And she believes that judges make law! So much for our three branches of government.

Swine flu deaths now at 12

Another 30,000 and there will be as many as the regular, non-hyped flu.

Health savings proof demanded by Obama

Nice try, sir. How about proof that the universal coverage by government fiat and computerized medical records feeding into a government database will save money? The recent hijacking of Virginia's 8 million health records and 35 million prescription records hasn't brought much attention to this problem--probably because there are thousands of government employees and Democratic Congress people involved as "victims" in that heist. It is proof positive of what happens with centralized medical records. I think it has been 3 weeks and the site is still down as the "criminal investigation" continues into the crooks holding the records for ransom. The irony is this "secure" web site was set up to discourage illegal behavior.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Monday Memories--When Mom was a war wife


This is another great book I picked up at a Memorial Day yard sale (how appropriate). It was only fifty cents, but what makes it special, besides the interesting content, is it still has the cover. That's unusual for a book going on 70 years old. When I checked on e-Bay I didn't see any that still had the cover. The book was given to someone named Emily on Christmas 1944--and I'm guessing she was entering this new experience of being the woman left behind. Oddly, the handwriting looks exactly like my mother's, who in March 1944 had to learn all the tips and tricks the author Ethel Gorham writes so well about as a war-time wife. My review here.

My other blogs on WWII

Grad Student research grabs headlines

Last week I was complaining to my librarian colleagues about an undergraduate scholar poster competition at Ohio State where the website for entries contained no links to the library for research purposes, just sites for templates on formatting the posters! The first abstract I looked at which was on disproportionate representation by rural areas in the military had enough holes in the short paragraph you could have driven a tank through it. But it didn’t make the national news probably because it's been done before, and now that the war is Obama's problem, the press doesn't care. This one did, by grad student Kerri Tobin, reported at Junk Food Science on IQ and junkfood.
    Last week, more than 400 news stories in just two days reported that a study had found conclusive evidence that fast food makes children stupid and lowers their school tests scores. How many journalists do you think actually went to the original source and read the study?

    None.

    How can we be so sure?

    Because there is no published study. There was no ability for any educational or health professional, let alone a journalist, to examine the research and its methodology, data and interpretations.
Read the whole story at Junk Food Science and why and how we are so often mislead by the press with the fear of the day. "Had any reporter or editor gone to the original source material and understood it, they would have instantly realized that none of the claims they were hearing were credible."

A Thigh Master appointee?

We knew this was coming, didn’t we? More taxes to hurt the poor and grow government agencies.
    “Hot dogs, potato chips, soda and beer are staples of the traditional Memorial Day cookout, but Washington wants to redesign the menu. Just in time for your neighborhood block party, the Obama Administration and Senate Finance Committee are signalling a change in your diet.

    President Obama has named Thomas Frieden, the New York City health commissioner who championed a ban on artificial trans fats, as the new director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Frieden's campaign forced McDonald's to change the way it cooks french fries -- you may have noticed the taste -- and he has lately called for all restaurants to use less salt. Let's hope he spends at least some of his time considering flu pandemics and bioterrorism.” Memorial Day Make-over
Actually, I’m in favor of some government meddling in my food. Like, why can’t we clearly have on every label--canned item, frozen food package, and bag of carrots or lettuce--“grown in the USA.” The “distributed by” doesn’t mean a thing. I waste so much time looking for that tiny piece of information, and even then I came home the other day with carrots grown in Mexico. I’m not going to give USDA an A+ on everything, but we have a much better chance of avoiding parasitic diseases transmitted by careless hygiene, bacteria and gross amounts of pesticides, if we can buy American, even if our inspectors don't have enough staff, and we can’t do that without the information. I don’t want them off the market, they are important for trade, but I want to make the choice. That’s one area of my life where I am pro-choice.

Where it is grown or baked is more important to me than the percentage of fat or salt. I think I can figure out that a handful of potato chips won’t hurt me, but a bagful just might. And non-calorie pop must make people hungry and thirsty, because I never see a thin person drinking one. (Actually, I do buy it occasionally for my husband who wants something cold on an 84 degree day painting the house.)

Also, with so many people suffering from allergies, I think the wheat and peanut labeling is a good plan. Just don’t take the wheat and peanut products out of the store because two people within a mile of the store have severe reactions. In the last 30 years, there have been all sorts of movements by novices, animal rights groups, amateurs and environmentalist-food nazis to remove certain things because of obesity. And what has happened? We’re much fatter than we were in the 1970s as a nation, particularly men and children. Junk Food Science is the best place to go to read about the hype that comes with food warnings--it's the science that's junk, not the food, says Sandy.

If Americans need to lose weight, I suggest that Congress begin by emulating our First Couple. They are slim and trim and growing a garden in the yard (with tax paid gardeners). The Bushes were also a normal, healthy weight, and so were the Clintons (after Bill slimmed down) and the Bushes before them. It’s Congress that is fat in body and attitude--along with some of the regulatory agency employees and research staffers. Their retirement plan and health plan are also fat and sassy--and you'll never see anything like that!

If you're interested in beer, here's a cute story about beer and history at TonyRogers.com.
    "The 2 most important events in all of history were the invention of beer and the invention of the wheel. The wheel was invented to get man to the beer.

    These were the foundation of modern civilization and together were the catalyst for the splitting of humanity into 2 distinct subgroups: Liberals and Conservatives."

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sad news

I learned today of the death of Murray Weber. He was killed early Saturday morning when he was hit by a train near the Lennox Shopping Center. I knew Murray when he was a little boy growing up in Upper Arlington and he and my son were friends. I met him again later as a young adult, a veteran I think, and caring for a paraplegic in his home. I'd lost track of him during the last decade, but in my mind's eye he is still a beautiful, tall young boy, with hope, humor and caring in his heart.
    "The Franklin County Coroner has identified the man who was struck and killed by a train early this morning in Clinton Township.

    David Murray Weber, 40, of Columbus, walked onto the tracks and into the path of an empty freight train, according to a report by the Franklin County sheriff's office traffic bureau. He was killed instantly.

    The incident occurred at about 1:31 a.m. on the railroad tracks behind the Lennox Town Center, south of Kinnear Road.

    The report also stated that the man was seen causing disturbances at a nearby restaurant prior to the incident." Columbus Dispatch
Obituary

Randy's Ten Suggestions for Litter Critters

Randy lives on Cape Cod, and it seems some of you visitors are less than careful when you come to that beautiful vacation spot. He has posted some photos of the latest community clean up at his humor blog, and observes, "When someone comes tootling along sipping the last sip of an iced coffee and heaves the empty cup out the window, only one thing comes to my mind: Life imprisonment with no possibility of parole."

So Randy Hunt has a few ideas on how you can break that bad habit. It will work anywhere, even if it's Lakeside or Columbus, Ohio:
    10) No matter how old you are, think about what your mother would say if she saw you littering.

    9) Whether or not you remember the commercial released in March 1971 on the second observance of Earth Day, watch the Crying Indian Commercial.

    8) If you catch your kids littering, make them pick it up.

    7) If your kids catch you littering, make them pick it up. They’ll quickly learn how the rest of us feel about other people littering.

    6) Instead of throwing that losing scratch ticket out the window, save your two bucks and use it to buy gas to drive to the library and check out a book on environmentalism.

    5) Take your habit home with you. Rather than ruin the town for the rest of us, throw your litter onto your living room rug.

    4) Save your empty Dunkin Donuts and Mary Lou’s cups. They make great gifts for the personnel at the transfer station. Trust me. They love ‘em.

    3) If you find yourself throwing beer cans, liquor flasks, and nip bottles out your car window, seek counseling. You’ve got worse problems than being a litterbug.

    2) Rather than throw your empty cigarette pack out the window, eat it. It can’t be any worse for you than smoking the 20 cigarettes.

    And the number one suggestion for people who feel compelled to litter is:

    If your name is Ron and you feel compelled to litter out your car window, consider purchasing this hip hop vanity plate: M O dot R O N.
    Copyright 2009 Randy Hunt

Saturday, May 23, 2009

WHO is killing Africans and why

"In 2006, after 25 years and 50 million preventable deaths, the World Health Organization reversed course and endorsed widespread use of the insecticide DDT to combat malaria. So much for that. Earlier this month, the U.N. agency quietly reverted to promoting less effective methods for attacking the disease. The result is a victory for politics over public health, and millions of the world's poor will suffer as a result. Malaria, politics and DDT

Sadly, it's not just misguided environmentalists with an agenda, many Christian groups have bought into the bed net scam, too. But then, many European Christians of the 17th century thought slavery in the New World was saving Africans from going to hell in the Old--and the DDT ban has killed far more people than the trans-Atlantic slave trade ever did.

Our Alaskan Cruise

About eight years ago we were preparing to take our first cruise--our first really big trip. I had it on my list of things to do when I retired and wrote it into my Post Employment Plan (PEP). Also in my PEP was to take up painting again (after about 30 years.) Those were the days before blogging when my family and friends just received fat envelops or stapled copies of things I wrote. When I was visiting my family at Easter, I found one of my hand painted post cards from that trip. I didn't have a scanner in those days, so had no record of it. I'd taken along a tiny little w.c. set and post card size #300 paper. I have no idea where the rest of them are or to whom I sent them.

Lakeside yard sales

I was headed for the Erie Road Mkt to buy milk and oj and just had to pass two yard sales! Got 3 fabulous CDs for $3--Sweet And Lovely: Capitol's Great Ladies Of Song with Keely Smith, Sarah Vaughan, Julie London, Peggy Lee, and others; Mary Chapin Carpenter (whom I heard live here at Lakeside in the 90s before she became famous); and a Glenn Miller. Also a one volume Bible dictionary for $1, and a midwestern garden book for $1 (I don't garden, but benefit from our son's special touch with plants). But on the way back with my treasures I passed a cottage with a laundry basket of Pfaltzgraff Yorktowne pottery for $10.00. We have more than enough dishes here at the cottage, also in blue and white (Currier and Ives), but this looked good to me. I tried to pick it up (put the money in the coffee can because the owners weren't there) and couldn't even budge it. I drafted the two young boys across the street to watch it and help load it in my van, and I came back with the car.

I think there are 5 dinner plates, a bunch of saucers, 3 cups, 6 sandwich plates, sugar and creamer, large pitcher, 4 soup bowls, serving platter and a serving bowl. I think they might be seconds, the stamp on the bottom is not clear on some, but for a cottage that's fine.

And the laundry basket was included in the price!

Axelrod and Rahm need to rein him in

This constant marketing of the President as though he were still on the campaign trail is over exposure. Axelrod's profession is marketing, and Rahm Israel Emanuel's is dance. So you put the two together and you get . . . a President who dances around the truth and does the splits? As soon as I hear that odd cadence (not black, not white, not Illinois, not Kansas, not Hawaii), I rush to switch channels or stations. It's grating when you can't figure out where a guy comes from. The only thing that has changed since 2008 is the phony diction and rhythym of a black preacher. He learned to talk "black" as an adult in Pastor Wright's church and African American linguists pointed this out before he became the favorite. The Righteous Brothers of the 1960s sound more black than he does, but that's what boomers like. Then the linguists shut up because it seemed to be working, particularly on guilt-ridden moderates. It is a foreign language for Obama--only whites think it is authentic. Because I was a foreign language major and worked with immigrants a large part of my work life, I became accustomed to listening closely to make sure I understood. His accent is the proverbial two dollar bill we used to talk about--although we eventually got one.
    On back of the $2 bill, "replacing Monticello, is engraving of John Trumbull's painting "The Declaration of Independence"; because of lack of space, 5 of 48 men in original painting were not included in engraving." Removing a piece of history--imagine that!
Rahm may get the credit for bringing the Democrats into power in 2006 by being ruthless, but in Ohio and elsewhere they got in by pretending to be highly ethical, soft, quasi-Christian wannabees. Also the "scandals" referred to in this review were nothing compared to Nancy Pelosi's. Usually, they were at the expense of gay Republicans, but HEY any sacrificial lamb for the Messiah! Also, the economy started going south after Democrats took over Congress, and it is Congress who has the final say.
    "Responsible for everything from handpicking Congressional candidates to raising money for attack ads, Emanuel, a talented ballet dancer better known in Washington for his extraordinary intensity and his inexhaustible torrents of profanity, threw out the playbook on the way Democrats run elections.Instead of rallying the base, Rahm sought moderate-to-conservative candidates who could attract more traditional voters. Instead of getting caught in the Democrats' endless arguments about their positions, he went on the attack, personally vilifying Republicans from Tom DeLay to Christopher Shays. And instead of abiding by the gentlemen's agreements of good-old-boy Washington, he broke them, attacking his counterpart in the Republican party and challenging Howard Dean, the chairman of his own party. In 2005, no one believed victory was within the Democrats' grasp. But as the months passed, Republicans were caught in wave after wave of scandal [concerning homosexuality mostly], support for the war in Iraq steadily declined, and the president's poll numbers plummeted. And in Emanuel, the Democrats finally had a killer, a ruthless closer like Karl Rove or Lee Atwater, poised to seize the advantage and deliver what President Bush would call "a thumpin." From review of The Thumpin' by Naftali Bendavid

Learning from the past

The dueling speeches--Cheney and Obama--certainly show that we have administrations with entirely different perspectives on war and defense. WaPo version. President Obama is attempting to criminalize, after the fact, actions that were taken by the former President and Congress which were ruled legal just a few years ago. At the same time, he's attempting to shore up his support on the hard left--those who pushed him into office hoping he'd dance to their jig--who think he's backing down. Obama's view on security and defense is that of the USA/FDR of the 1930s, the drill we went through as Hitler knocked off his neighbors and threatened England--watch, wait, and talk. The other, the Bush-Cheney plan (with Congress's approval and support) was to go on the attack rather than wait any longer. Last night I heard a woman liberal on a panel critiquing the two speeches whine that Cheney had mentioned 9/11 twenty times in his speech, that it obviously was a defining moment in his mind.

I've been reading "Westminster Pulpit" the collection of sermons of G. Campbell Morgan now 100 years old. He had some interesting points about remembering the past.
    The true backward look is that which sets the past in relation to God; that which lays to heart the lessons God has intended to teach by the experiences of the past; and is that which always has the future in mind. . . [commenting on Moses' use of the past] These people had been brought out of Egypt and its bondage to God, and to that freedom which was perfectly conditioned within government and within law. This was fundamental, and this they were charged never to forget. Take the Old Testament and read right through it, listening to its teachings; and whether you are reading its devotional literature, or that which is distinctly prophetic in the sense of the forthtelling of the Divine Will, you will discover how constantly these prophets, seers, and psalmists, took the people back to Egypt, and the fact of their deliverance there from. That was absolutely fundamental. V. 4, p. 10-11
Morgan goes on to make a spiritual point, and I don't think he mentions that often the escaping Hebrew people wanted to go back to Egypt where they were slaves rather than face the tough problems of the wilderness.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Arthur Erickson, 1924-2009

Arthur Erickson, the famous Canadian architect, died May 20, 2009. Story here. His firm and a Columbus firm Feinknopf Macioce Schappa were partners in the competition for the Wexner Center for the Arts.

Their submission won the popular vote, but wasn't selected by the jury. In fact, it was so popular, even the other participants thought they'd won. Too bad. If you're familiar with the Wexner you probably know it has been extremely expensive to maintain for a named "gift." The most recent renovation cost $15.8 million for a building built in 1989, named for the primary donor, Les Wexner, founder of Limited Brands, which includes Victoria Secret, and Bath and Body Works.

In 1982 the OSU Board of Trustees authorized a competition for an arts center and my husband’s firm (he was a partner) Feinknopf Macioce Schappa was paired with the Arthur Erickson firm of Vancouver, British Columbia. Trott and Bean, both OSU grads (Bean lived across the street from us) was paired with Eisenman/Robertson of New York. Three other Ohio architectural firms from Dayton, Cleveland and Columbus also participated. The program was vague--an understatement. The participants didn't even have the place for the building specified let alone a firm focus.

In the vicinity of the supposed location there once was an armory which was removed in 1959. To tie into the history of the location, Peter Eisenman's design (with two loyal OSU alumni) includes faux towers reminiscent of the armory at the corners of the building and some sort of alignment with the football field and flights into Port Columbus! Not being familiar with this piece of OSU history, the Eisenman building always reminds me of a collection of glued popsicle sticks.

Although FMS + Erickson didn't win, it was an exciting time in my husband's career with Erickson's people coming to Columbus several times, and he going to Vancouver to work with them. He loved working with this group and fell in love with Vancouver.

In 1996 we visited Vancouver after my MLA meeting in Seattle, and stopped at the Erickson firm again, but much had changed (downsized, different location). It had been about 12 years. My husband didn't know many of the people. But we did visit several of Erickson's buildings in that area: Museum of Anthropology (1972) Vancouver; Simon Fraser University (1963) Burnaby, B.C.; and Robson Square (1973-79) Vancouver.

Update: If you think I'm tough on librarians, you should read my thoughts on architecture and the rush to be green.

There is a photo of the Erickson/FMS popular winner on p. 9 of "Design by Competition" by Jack L. Nasar. It has been scanned by Google.

The "Give Back" theme of the Democrats

It's graduation season. Giving back is always and forever the theme of speeches at graduation, but it seems only the Democrats have recently discovered it as a way to smack down Republicans. And that's so strange. Because all research for years and years has shown that conservatives, particularly conservative Christians, are more generous with their time, talents and money than liberals. Joe Biden and Al Gore's contribution record is laughable, and President Obama's was almost as paltry until he got serious about campaigning for the presidency and one of his advisors noticed this moral flaw.

I personally was a bit uncomfortable with George H.W. Bush's "thousand points of light" theme. I was a Democrat then, but also an evangelical. It just didn't seem right to me that the President was doing a Preacher's job. Later I found out it was Peggy Noonan, his speech writer, who came up with "kinder, gentler nation," and "thousand points of light." Liberals absolutely hated this Bush theme because it encouraged Christians to do even more (and apply for government grants to do it). After Democrats were trounced in 2004, they had many pity parties--I know this because I watched some of them on C-SPAN. The conclusion apparently was to pretend to care more than conservatives, so that they could gain political office. Play down the liberal-progressive drivel. In Ohio we elected a former Methodist pastor as governor on an ethics platform because our former governor played golf with someone and it wasn't recorded as a donation, or something silly. Our new governor, who seems a nice person, has had nothing but trouble with some of his morally-challenged appointees. You remember, don't you--the folks who decided to investigate Joe the Plumber for calling Obama's bluff accidentally.

But that Presidential leadership into good works wasn't good for the churches, either. Christians were getting a bit fat and sloppy at the government money trough.
"Wanna feed the hungry? Wanna rehab housing for the poor?"
"You bet!"
"Just apply for a USDA or a HUD grant."
"What will it cost?"
"Not much. Just take down the cross of Jesus and don't hand out literature."
"Well, OK, it's for a 'good' cause."


It's not that Candidate Obama didn't notice that U.S. citizens were already volunteering for all manner of projects from community concerts, to cleaning up rivers and streams, to recycling yard waste, to helping immigrants learn to read. No, of course he knew. But he needed something to make us feel guilty and morally deficient, like we couldn't decide for ourselves if taking an elderly neighbor to the doctor was the right thing to do if the government wasn't tracking it. So he's going to make it mandatory.

Right off the bat I can tell you what will happen.
    First, volunteering in a religious activity where evangelizing or proseletizing takes place will not count, in fact, it might even be penalized. If that activity takes place in a church basement--like a food pantry--all religious symbols will need to be removed.

    Second, certain 501-c-3 non-profits (religious, educational, charitable, scientific, literary, public safety, amateur sports, or prevention of cruelty to children or animals) will count more than others--like the ACORN, Saul Alinsky-type, left-leaning organizations, animal rights organisations (as opposed to animal welfare) and radical "greenies" claiming concern about safety. Signing up illegals to vote, for instance, will be a credited, gov't approved volunteer activity. Helping someone refinance a mortgage they can't afford, will count if the helpee is a minority. Helping a woman avoid an abortion or going back to Mexico to give birth in her home community will not.

    Third, many non-profits, if not allowed to use government money because they won't dance to Obama's tune, will have to close shop. People who wish to remain in the "giving" field will increasingly need to be employed by the liberals and socialists.

    Fourth, your mandatory volunteerism will become a factor in your job security and promotion ladder. Maybe even in hiring. The "volunteerism" required of many school children (begun years ago) can barely pass the sniff test.

    Fifth, eventually, only those volunteer activities that directly promote the government approved agenda (what ever it is at that time) will be allowed.

How to screw up the language

I could swear President Roosevelt declared war after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, but apparently not--he declared a discussion or negotiation, as Bush should have done, but didn't. Congress must have misunderstood him. And it was his words, and not Japan's actions, that propelled us into war.
    "I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December 7, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese Empire." FDR, December 8, 1941
Yet that's what this article in Scientific American Mind implies. We have terrorists because of the words we use. Reminds me of the mothers of pre-schoolers, "Now sweet dumpling, use your words not your fists. Johnny's nose is bloody." It's not their fault--we're inflaming them with our choice of words. We should have treated the attack like street crime. Declaring war is for a country, and this was just a world wide movement. And apparently Obama read the article!
    "The Bush administration’s framing of terrorism as an act of war is a departure from past administrations’ ways of thinking. Presidents Richard M. Nixon and Ronald Reagan, for example, preferred a disease metaphor. President Bill Clinton’s general themes were the pursuit of justice, law enforcement and international cooperation. Clinton wanted to deny “victory” to terrorists, but he and other previous presidents stopped short of the word “war.”

    President George W. Bush adopted the war construct immediately. On the morning of September 12, 2001, after a meeting of the National Security Council, the president told reporters: “The deliberate and deadly attacks which were carried out yesterday against our country were more than acts of terror. They were acts of war.”
Refresh my memory. Did Nixon or Reagan or Clinton field any attacks on US soil the way FDR and GWB did? Must have missed that in the news.

The author is hoping now that there are more academics in counterterrorism, we can develop more successful strategies. Must be working. We haven't had any attacks for 7 years, thanks to Bush and Cheny. Article here. I wonder if these are the guys who gave us "enhanced interrogation techniques."

Whoopi and Rachel exchanging misinformation

Walking through the living room to wash the dirt off my hands and straighten up my back (working in the yard, a task I'm not accustomed to) I heard Rachel say to Whoopi that obese people tell her they'd love to cook some of her recipes but they can't afford broccoli and fruits and vegetables. That's such an outrageous lie! If they want to believe it, that's one thing, but she shouldn't be spreading gossip. Yesterday I was in the "12 items or less" line and the woman in front of me bought 7 packages of Jello and a small can of mixed fruit. She paid more than I did and I bought 4 apples, 2 bananas, l lb. of carrots, a pint of organic grape tomatoes and a pound of strawberries--I know I paid with a ten and got back change and some bills.

The myth that the poor are obese because of "expensive" processed food (i.e., it's the fault of capitalism) is just ridiculous. They are fat for the same reason everyone else is--too many calories and too little exercise.

Come on, Whoopi--you aren't skinny and you sure aren't poor!

The weather is cooperating

We're at the Lake. My husband is painting the house this year. The weather has cooperated--in fact, a bit too hot yesterday--84. Milder today with a slight cloud cover. I keep reminding him about sunscreen, but you all know how husbands love to be nagged about their health and safety.

I did make an important reservation yesterday. I reserved the pavilion for our 50th anniversary party (for lake friends) on August 15, 2010. We've got a rain room too, because the weather here is very iffy. We have not a single computer model that can tell you what Lake Erie will be doing this afternoon, let alone a 15 months from now. We'll have our Columbus event on the real date in September.

I'm cleaning. Decided to tackle the throw pillows. Two will be tossed. There is no way to wash them. I'm washing two that my mother made for me about 20 years ago. From the looks of the stitches to close, I've washed them before. She was neat and careful; I just get the job done and hope for the best. I remember when my parents visited for the first time in 1989 and she and I went shopping over in Marblehead to pick out the fabric. She took the pieces home and made pillows. They are very special. It would be nice to be able to pick up the phone and wish her a Happy Birthday (next week).


I'm going to plant a few more flowers--white impatiens. We already put in 2 flats, but they always seem too thin. When our daughter-in-law planted our flowers one year for Mother's Day they were fabulous--only year they looked really good. A good cook, too. I have the proverbial brown thumb and don't like dirt under my fingernails.

We actually had an offer to buy the cottage yesterday. Although it was a bit of a joke. The neighbor said, "I'll pay you twice what you paid for it." That got a good laugh. I'm not sure how real estate is holding up here, but the county, the people who want to kill the golden goose that is supporting their school system, says it is worth about 6 times what we paid. It's interesting how home values come down, but the taxing entity doesn't reevaluate. They just want more. But we will be selling (he promised) in about 5 years. We'll need the money to pay the higher energy costs as the President destroys Ohio's coal industry and auto plants and everyone has to put a windmill in their back yard. And the higher food costs. And the higher cost of everything made with petroleum products from highway paving to shoes to carpet to windshield wipers. And health care (if you think it's high now just wait 'til Obama Amtracs it).

Sigh. Life is just political, isn't it?

Update: I just checked a real estate list. Prices here are still crazy. I noticed a tiny "fixer upper" that would get you laughed out of town at $80,000 if it were on Columbus' west side listed at $209,000. The coffee shop building is listed at $689,000 and that's not the business--just the building. There's a wooded lot on our street (waaaay back) for $174,000.

Today's new word--less unaffordable

What ever happened to "affordable?" Now it's "less unaffordable"
    "It is well known that the largest percentage losses in house prices occurred early in the housing bubble in inland California, Sacramento and Riverside-San Bernardino, Las Vegas and Phoenix. These were the very southwestern areas that housing refugees fled to in search of less unaffordable housing in California’s coastal metropolitan areas (Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and San Jose).

    Yet now the prices in these hyper-expensive markets are beginning to fall. Once considered widely immune from the severe housing slump, the San Francisco area now has muscled its way into the list of biggest losers. The newly published first quarter 2009 house price data from the National Association of Realtors indicates that prices are down 52.5 percent from the peak. Only Riverside-San Bernardino and Sacramento have experienced greater losses out of the 49 metropolitan areas with a population of more than 1,000,000 for which there is data (see table below). Other metropolitan areas that have seen prices drop more than 50 percent include Phoenix, Las Vegas and, for very different reasons, that rustbelt sad sack, Cleveland." Housing downturn update
We may have more relatives in California than Illinois--so we keep a close watch, and don't like what we see.

And of course, we like to eat, too. Environmentalists along with Mother Nature seem to be conspiring to bring down the agriculture industry in California. Governors of either party are helpless and hopeless. That's higher priced food for the rest of us, shipped from a "country" that won't use its own energy resources.

Friday Family Photo--Biggie

Sunday I was moving winter coats to storage when I pulled out a forgotten maroon, hand-knit, zip front sweater in a dry cleaner bag that had belonged to my husband's grandfather, Stanley, or Biggie as he was known to his grandchildren. I think I have the story straight when I say that the oldest grandchild, whose name is Norma Lou, gave him that nickname. Probably because she was little and he was "big." She was raised by her grandparents; her cousins, my husband and his sister, visited on week-ends. These three little ones were all children of divorce, so Biggie was the one monumental and consistent male figure in their lives. Yes, he was BIG. The whole family always called them "Neno and Biggie," and so did I (although I never knew his grandfather).

I decided to take the sweater out of the bag and check for moth holes because it is 100% wool and probably close to 90-100 years old. It was made at a time when knitting or sewing for the family was just a feature of the homemaker's life, a necessity rather than a "craft." (Neno had been a police woman before marriage.) I had a vague recollection of my husband wearing it on very cold days back in the 70s (when all the talk was about global cooling and we couldn't keep our house warm enough), and I think I used to occasionally wear it to work in the 80s because we couldn't control the air conditioning in Sisson Hall. Frankly, I'm not sure either one of us could get this sweater zipped today. And no, the dry cleaners didn't shrink it. It would definitely be an XXS in either a men's or women's size.

The item on the sweater is Biggie's gold pocket watch, and we don't have much else that belonged to him. When I asked my husband where it was, he couldn't remember, but then found it in the first box he checked--along with the silver cuff links we bought our son for his wedding or graduation--don't recall which--and a few other odd items.) The photo below is Biggie, Neno and brother Jimmy, and was probably taken about 1948.





There seems to be a strong family resemblance--photo of my husband at about the same age in 2003.

Ed Asner--a very hate filled man

My little converter box here at the lakehouse works great--except I get programs I'd never watch at home. This morning in the background (can't see the TV from this angle) I can hear Tavis Smiley interviewing Ed Asner who is spewing the most hateful, anti-American drivel I've ever heard from the Hollywood left. It's enough to make you stop watching old re-runs. This man desperately needs to retire.

Here’s what the Waxman-Markey energy bill will do for you

“Nothing. Zip. Zero. Zilch. There are no benefits for the American people in the Waxman-Markey energy tax bill. Whenever defenders of the free market point out how much an energy tax will cost the economy, the enviro-left always tries to change the subject to “the cost of inaction.” But here is the dirty little secret about Waxman-Markey: it does nothing to prevent global warming/climate change whatever you want to call it. And that is before House Democrats gutted the bill.” Heritage.org Indeed, in a Congress full of downright scary people, thieves, murderers, adulterers, and brain dead, Henry Waxman reigns supreme.

Here are the numbers. My detractors always want the facts, not the unintended consequences, not the run up to the War on the Economy by smart investors and CEOs who were ducking for cover hiding their assets in foreign countries as soon as an Obama presidency was on the horizon, while contributing to his campaign. Not an historical survey of the Kulaks loss of property and life by Stalinists. OK, here they are. Here’s what higher prices on everything for the sake of a global warming myth looks like. Waxman's energy bill will mean the loss of your job (especially if you are paid on local tax money such as a teacher, librarian, policeman, street sweeper, dog catcher, etc.)
    By the year 2050, the “clean” version reduces projected global temperatures by 0.044ºC (or ~3% less than the rise without the legislation), the “dirty” version gets you about half of that, or 0.022ºC (~1.5% less), and the “dirtier” version saves half of that again, or 0.011ºC (<1% less). By century’s end, you don’t do much better–the temperature reduction amounts to, respectively, 0.112ºC (0.20ºF), 0.046ºC (0.08ºF), and 0.013ºC (0.02ºF).
They only crunched the job loss numbers on the clean version and found it would reduce aggregate gross domestic product (GDP) by $7.4 trillion by 2035 and destroy 844,000 jobs annually. Maybe on your planet that sounds like a worthwhile trade, but not on mine!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Burying the lede

It probably pained the NYT to even report on the foiled terrorist plot against two Jewish synagogues, but since they were in New York, it is sort of local news. They didn't mention until the end that all those arrested in the year long investigation were Muslims. And of course, Chuck Schumer (D-NY) calls them unsophisticated. That should be a comfort if it is your family that is blown up. According to James Taranto's column, May 21, in WSJ:
    At the end of the ninth paragraph comes the revelation that the suspects "are all Muslim, a law enforcement official said."

    According to Rod Dreher of BeliefNet.com, "This is what is called 'burying the lede.' Some editor in that newsroom found this to be an inconvenient truth, and tried to hide it. You can practically hear the Times cringing when it has to disclose this fact, which most fair-minded readers would find rather pertinent."
According to the NY Daily News:
    Among those arrested was [James] Cromitie, of Newburgh, who is the son of an Afghan immigrant and his African-American wife. Cromitie, who also called himself Abdul Rahman, has served a long stretch in prison.
    David Williams, Onta Williams and Leguerre Payen - his alleged henchmen - were busted with him. Cromitie allegedly recruited them at the Newburgh mosque.

Cheney, a man who will protect us

from enemies without and within. It was shocking to hear Obama, as a first act of his presidency, criticize the former administration like he was some third world potentate ready to throw his opponents in prison. Then when he also threatened the people in the administration who kept us safe for 7 years, it was time for an answer. Al Gore brags that he kept quiet for 2 years before criticizing Bush for using the security developed on his watch--Obama/Biden couldn't wait even 2 weeks. They are lackeys for the leftist who got them elected.
    " When President Obama makes wise decisions, as I believe he has done in some respects on Afghanistan, and in reversing his plan to release incendiary photos, he deserves our support. And when he faults or mischaracterizes the national security decisions we made in the Bush years, he deserves an answer. The point is not to look backward. Now and for years to come, a lot rides on our President’s understanding of the security policies that preceded him. And whatever choices he makes concerning the defense of this country, those choices should not be based on slogans and campaign rhetoric, but on a truthful telling of history." . . .

    "To make certain our nation country never again faced such a day of horror, we developed a comprehensive strategy, beginning with far greater homeland security to make the United States a harder target. But since wars cannot be won on the defensive, we moved decisively against the terrorists in their hideouts and sanctuaries, and committed to using every asset to take down their networks. We decided, as well, to confront the regimes that sponsored terrorists, and to go after those who provide sanctuary, funding, and weapons to enemies of the United States. We turned special attention to regimes that had the capacity to build weapons of mass destruction, and might transfer such weapons to terrorists.

    We did all of these things, and with bipartisan support put all these policies in place. It has resulted in serious blows against enemy operations … the take-down of the A.Q. Khan network … and the dismantling of Libya’s nuclear program. It’s required the commitment of many thousands of troops in two theaters of war, with high points and some low points in both Iraq and Afghanistan – and at every turn, the people of our military carried the heaviest burden. Well over seven years into the effort, one thing we know is that the enemy has spent most of this time on the defensive – and every attempt to strike inside the United States has failed." The Cheney Speech on national security