Saturday, October 31, 2009

Sensibly green

I would call it just good stewardship and being frugal, but these days, green is a marketing term too. This Bed and Breakfast, The Artist's Inn and Gallery, in Pennsylvania has an interesting list suitable for most people.


Go to Michelle Malkin’s blog and read her “small list of “Peace and Justice” shakedown organizations connected to SEIU” (ACORN‘s evil twin).

There are thousands of these groups, gobbling up money from foundations, churches, private corporations, individual donors, membership drives, United Way/community chest apportionments, state and local governments and the federal government. Not all are connected to ACORN like SEIU, of course and many do a lot of good. But they speak a common language and can easily be manipulated by the party in power through their financing. I call them PAJAMA Organizations--Peace and Justice and More Aid Organizations. There is every manner of non-profit set up to drain off even more tax and private money with special programs to “help the poor.” Much of this provides employment for a huge clutch of people from administrators to janitors. I sometimes think that if families earning less than $35,000 disappeared tomorrow, half the remaining citizens would be without jobs--and so would fill in the gap to keep the cycle going. At an earlier blog I wrote about the Ohio Housing Trust Fund (Ohio Dept. of Development), that resulted from an effort in 1990 to help the homeless and has managed to grow into a $56 million item in the state budget focusing on “moderate income housing.” Now they’re disbursing ARRA money, passing out $17 million for the homeless, putting on conferences at nice resorts and giving millions to organizations to recruit unpaid volunteers to help people winterize their homes. Not to worry--the national NHTF was signed into law by George W. Bush in 2008, and its budget is in the billions. I'm sure your state has one too.

The Peace and Justice movement is propped up by think tanks and academics, as well as the government--the government, universities and the non-profits are a co-dependent revolving door. Think John Podesta. Clinton retread, Obama's transition team, now taking in Obama's rejects into his $25 million a year think tank. I’ve done it myself, although not in the PAJAMA game. As a researcher in the early 80s I moved from university department to non-profit to state government to university all on federal money filtered through grants to the state and foundations as a self-employed contractor (that way they don’t have to pay benefits).

Many Peace and Justice organizations have been reengineered in the last decade to assure a steady income stream by bringing in “green” issues--very big in poverty programs now--just the way many marketed products are. I think a number are simply black “reparations” spray painted green. I just looked through the web-site of the library non-profit I worked for in the early 80s and the first item on the page was on “greening.” That should be worth a few bucks on the next grant.

NY RINO Scozzafava quits

She was a loser before she started. It was a mystery to me why she didn't run as a Democrat. Or weren't they having her either? Maggie thinks she wasted a huge amount of money.

HT Maggie's Notebook and Real Clear Politics.

Red grape skin may help sickle cell sufferers

"AUGUSTA, Ga. – An extract in red grape skin may be a new treatment for sickle cell disease, Medical College of Georgia researchers say. Link

The extract, resveratrol, a natural chemical typically found in red wine and various plants and fruits, has been found to induce production of fetal hemoglobin, which decreases the sickling of red blood cells and reduces the painful vascular episodes associated with the disease.

Most fetal hemoglobin production ceases after birth, but in patients where it remains the predominant form, it can result in fewer complications, says Davies Agyekum, a second-year Ph.D. student in the MCG School of Graduate Studies.

In sickle cell disease, abnormal hemoglobin causes red blood cells to sickle. The abnormal shape impedes blood's passage through vessels and can cause excruciating pain and other complications because of the blood's oxygen deficiency.

Davies is working with Dr. Steffen E. Meiler, vice chair of research for the Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine, on an eight-week animal study to determine if the combined anti-inflammatory and fetal hemoglobin-producing properties of resveratrol, a dietary polyphenol, can reduce the severity of sickle cell disease.

Hydroxyurea, an anti-cancer agent and the only Food and Drug Administration-approved therapeutic drug for sickle cell disease, increases fetal hemoglobin. Davies says reseveratrol-based therapy might be easier on patients.

The Ghana native recently received a three- to five-year $15,000 scholarship from the Southern Regional Education Board State Doctoral Scholars Program, a program aimed at increasing the number of minority students who earn doctoral degrees and become college and university professors."

One of the worst education stories I've read

A blogger from Detroit who has a fascination with photographing abandoned buildings came upon a middle school building abandoned in 2007. I was browsing his photos of the library (it would rip out the heart of any librarian) and then found this horror story. He could find no one who cared, so he's destroying the stash himself.
    "After my first visit to the shattered middle school, I am haunted by what I found in one office: hundreds of file folders containing student psychological examinations complete with social security numbers, addresses, and parent information. I sat and thumbed through them. Many contained detailed histories of physical and sexual abuse, stories of home lives so horrifying I still can't get them out of my head: sibling rape, torture, neglect that defies belief. The detailed reports explained emotional impairments, learning disabilities. There was another box full of IEPs. The dates revealed that many of these students are still in the school system somewhere. I found several of their faces in the 2007 yearbook.

    I spend the next few months trying to track down someone who cares. I send e-mails to the school's former principal, offering to go back and collect these records for her or destroy them. She never responds. I call my mom, a retired special education teacher and erstwhile administrator to determine the extent of malfeasance. Then I call the school district's legal department and leave voice mails warning them of the liability of this gross violation of student privacy. I never receive a response. I track down the school psychologist to some address in Troy. Nothing. It turns out a daily newspaper reported abandoned records like these within many of the 33 schools closed in 2007 and the district did nothing. No one is responsible. Someone else was supposed to destroy them. The company that had been paid to secure the school never did its job."
It's enough to make you homeschool, isn't it? And to cry for those poor, pitiful children that no school, no matter how good, will ever be able to save. But what excuses do the adults--the administrators of Detroit's school system have? They took the tax money to teach, test, classify and pigeon hole the children, and then abused them yet one more time. I'm ill. I'm sorry I read this.

Is Obama a Muslim?

Did he lie to us during the campaign? I watched this video, and although it is disturbing, it's hard to know how much has been edited out which may have explained the statements. I see what the left does to Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck to rile up the net wackos and extremists, watched that Congressman distort and lie about the Republican health care plans, and I'm sure it can happen with our President.

He says he is a Christian, I've heard his Christian testimony, so I'll accept him at his word. Christians aren't saved by what they do or say, but by the work of Jesus Christ on their behalf. If he IS a Muslim, as the video purports, then blacks, homosexuals and women should be the most worried. Plus it would make him a infidel for claiming he's a Christian.

What I found deeply disturbing was hearing him talk in the glowing terms about other countries, their accomplishments and culture (Muslim all) and yet he doesn't have a decent, kind, knowledgeable word to say about his own. Birthers believe he was born in Kenya; I sometimes think he was born in another century or on another planet, he's so out of touch with what it means to be an American! That obsequious, smarmy behavior in itself ought to clue the Muslim leaders and our own that something's very fishy about this guy.

Seven months ago

I didn't buy into The Obama Deception movie conspiracy theories, which was also extremely hostile toward Bush. But here's what I said on April Fools day this year, and that hasn't changed. His poll numbers are plummeting here in Ohio, both for job, economy and the war, so others are catching on to what many knew even in 2007. This misnamed "health care reform" [it's health care take-over], the clap and trade bill, the bowing and butt kissing to foreign enemies and banana republic dictators, the sneering at our history and accomplishments--it's all taking a toll in the polls.
    Someone said on the film, forgotten who, that if they cataloged all his lies, the film would never end, because they continue. Yes, I'd agree with that charge, too. It is truly amazing that a man who worked as a "community organizer" for nearly a decade, and never became a tenured law professor or wrote a law article or even practiced law, but wrote 2 autobiographical books, got hired by Illinois to represent a district for which he did nothing and which is still poor, and then got elected President on the basis of his looks and ability to speechify and talk black (something he had to learn as a foreign language as an adult). Call it a conspiracy against the American people if you wish, but really, Obama simply makes us look like a bunch of vacuous fools. . .if we're so great and wonderful and good, why would we let this happen?

Take off your apron, Mom

I'm going through the photo albums, starting with the piles of extras, to select some for a special album to display at our 50th celebration next year. I thought this one was sort of funny, taken at Lakeside summer of 1984 with our friends Ron and Jane who had come up for the day from Columbus. I'm always reminding people to take off their sun glasses when being photographed, but apparently I forgot to take off my apron. We were all thinner, didn't wear glasses yet, and had more hair, and I still use that apron purchased at one of the Lakeside antique shops twenty-five years later.

A few years ago we attended Ron and Jane's 50th, a surprise party at a downtown hotel--they thought they were going out for dinner with their daughter and son-in-law who live in Ireland, and their sons who live locally. It was a great party, but we'll be doing something a bit more modest. Jane is a retired RN and Ron for years owned a painting business. Now he leads a Bible study my husband attends each week for which he produces reams of research and personal thoughts. We met them when we were all members of First Community Church back in the 1960s.

World's cutest studio

Sandy blogs at Thistle Cove Farm. A serious artist with the world's most adorable studio.

Friday, October 30, 2009

1,990 page health care reform bill--on line for 72 hours

Bob C. writes: "Why so many pages and who, in just 72 hours, could even hope to read it let alone understand it??!! If asked and told not to lie, how many in Congress could honestly tell you they had read ALL of it and UNDERSTOOD all of it??

This is a big deal folks and somehow, no matter how it turns out (this way, that way, anyway) I have a distinct feeling that a year or two from now a LOT of people (more than a simple majority) will be saying "Oh s___!! What have we done this time??" Look back at the history of such things and list the positive results from government programs like this. A small Post-it pad should do. And after the fact, how many of the negatives have EVER been corrected??"

Jack Cafferty of CNN notes the length of other important documents for comparison.
  • The original draft of the 1935 Economic Security Act, which established the Social Security Administration was 64 pages

  • The Civil Rights Act of 1964 - forbidding discrimination based on race and sex: 8 pages

  • The 19th amendment to the Constitution, giving Women the right to vote in 1920: 1 page

  • The Emancipation Proclamation, with which Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves in 1863: 5 pages

  • Or, if you really want to get back to basics: The Declaration of independence came in at 1 page in 1776

  • And the Constitution: 4 pages long in 1787

  • Health care reform, Pelosi version - almost 2,000 pages.

It's not Halloween--it's Detroit

Photo from Sweet Juniper and there are many more

Feral Detroit. What handing out entitlements and destroying the white middle class will get you. The President needs to tour some of these neighborhoods where the current mayor Dave Bing "recalls how, during the campaign, he would travel through neighborhoods where only a house or two remained occupied on each block, where weeds had reclaimed abandoned lots, and where storefronts sat empty. Today, officials estimate, the city contains an astonishing 70,000 abandoned structures—many of them houses, but also some commercial properties. In downtown Detroit alone, a local newspaper identified 48 office buildings with “no outward sign of life.” " . . .

"Though some blame Detroit’s population losses on larger economic forces, economists Edward Glaeser and Andrei Shleifer argue in a groundbreaking paper that the city’s problems are mostly self-inflicted. (The paper, called “The Curley Effect,” gets its name from legendary Boston mayor James Curley, who favored Irish residents and pushed other groups out.) After winning election in 1973, Detroit’s first black mayor, Coleman Young, consolidated his power, driving white residents, who had voted against him, out of the city by withdrawing services from their neighborhoods. Eventually, Glaeser and Shleifer write, Detroit became “an overwhelmingly black city mired in poverty and social problems”—and shrinking fast." From City Journal, Autumn 2009.

The cash for clunkers clunk

Now the White House is going after Edmunds for telling the truth.

"A total of 690,000 new vehicles were sold under the Cash for Clunkers program last summer, but only 125,000 of those were vehicles that would not have been sold anyway, according to an analysis released Wednesday by the automotive Web site

Still, auto sales contributed heavily to the economy's expansion in the third quarter, adding 1.7 percentage points to the nation's gross domestic product growth. [That's a gummit lie because moving government money around is not expansion.]

The Cash for Clunkers program gave car buyers rebates of up to $4,500 if they traded in less fuel-efficient vehicles for new vehicles that met certain fuel economy requirements. A total of $3 billion was allotted for those rebates.

The average rebate was $4,000. But the overwhelming majority of sales would have taken place anyway at some time in the last half of 2009, according to That means the government ended up spending about $24,000 each for those 125,000 additional vehicle sales." Money CNN

A beautiful day in the neighborhood--75 degrees

The city workmen and contractors seem to leave early on Friday, so I was able to walk on the new, but not quite finished sidewalks into a rather high-end, snitzy snazzy neighborhood and enjoy the beautiful color, landscaping and winding streets. First I need to thank you all for the sidewalks--I'm sure they saved one or two jobs. I saw a report the other day that said we pay $32 for each person who rides on Amtrak, but that's probably a bargain compared to what you're paying per walker in my neighborhood!

I saw a lot of well off women and one man working in their yards, raking, blowing leaves, and digging around. Slim, well-dressed, tanned, mid-forties. These people are probably the ones Obama wants to tax for your new health care plan. Doctors, lawyers, businessmen, university department chairs. Although I don't think there are enough of them to cover the entire nation on the public option, his goal. Plus, they probably have kids in college, car payments, mortgage payments, workmen to keep employed around the house. Here's one home I passed--the price has been reduced to $725,000--don't know in what range it started or how long it's been on the market. It was built in 1964 (that pine tree definitely needs to go) and has obviously had all the upgrades that people want--new bathrooms (5) and gourmet kitchen. Also an in ground pool--not as common around here as California or the southwest, hot tub, irrigation system, landscape lighting, paver patio, whole house water purification system, and nearly 4500 sq. ft. Ohio only gets 37% sunshine--be outside all you can. It would be a lot cheaper to buy a membership at a private club than have your own pool.

The Green MBA

Somedays I'm just overwhelmed by the green hype. As a Christian I take stewardship and conservation very seriously. We are commanded by the Creator God to do that. The record is clear in Genesis--God created everything, including the first couple, a man and woman, and gave them two commandments: 1) Be fruitful and increase in number and 2) rule over his creation--plants and animals, oceans and air, beasts, birds and seeds. And then he declared it all good.
    And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.
You can look through any academic program at Ohio State (or any college or university near you) and see the endless moralizing, preaching and nagging about the environment, but there's no foundation--nothing about God's creation, the fall, justice, mercy or why other than self interest we should be caring for planet Earth. At the top level (very thin) it's humanism (man is in charge); dig deeper and the middle level, really thick, is Marxism (the state is in charge and a one world government would work best); but at the sludge level which is bottomless, it's pantheism (we are all one divine being, one consciousness, animals have the same worth as people).

Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business came in 24th on the list of the “Beyond Grey Pinstripes Global 100” of the Aspen Institute Center for Business Education. “The CBE equips business leaders for the 21st century with a new management paradigm—the vision and knowledge to integrate corporate profitability and social value. . . CBE is a part of the Aspen Institute Business and Society Program (BSP), an organization dedicated to developing leaders for a sustainable global society [which] creates opportunities for executives and educators to explore new pathways to sustainability and values-based leadership.” Van Jones, the White House Green Jobs czar who escaped to John Podesta’s think tank when his Communist and radical ties were exposed, was one of the invited speakers at the 2008 Ideas Festival of the Institute.

Hello Agriculture, Political Science and Social Work students--I guess you’ll have to become the bankers and financiers, the investors and CEOs. It has captured all your buzz words -- global sustainability, greening the business world, building a just economy, climate change, climate justice, economic justice, emerging green economy, environmentally responsible. Now all we need is someone to make money and invest again in America.

The founder and “mother” of the CBE, Judith Samuelson, wants the White House to go much further in its plan to control executive compensation. She seems completely unaware of the extent that government interference in business has brought us where we are in this Wall Street Journal article.

Friday Family Photo--little Louis

During exercise class the instructor's little boy loves to come to my husband; he ignores the ladies. He's very well behaved and last year he just napped through the noise; now he plays with his trucks and books, and if my husband is on the floor he scoots himself over with a book.

UALC has three options for exercise--this class which meets at the Lytham campus at 9:15 on M-W-F and is a combination of weights, stretching and cardiovascular with three different instructors; a more gentle exercise group for older people at 10 on M and Th which focuses on mobility; and a killer work out at Mill Run called Boot Camp on T and Th at 9:30. I've seen them when I do the mail run on Thursdays. You don't want to mess with that instructor in a dark alley.

Sweet memories--white cake and one car

Ah, the memories I cherish of the Tremont Goodie Shop. When the children were small and we had only one car, I'd call my husband about 4:30 and suggest he swing by the Goodie Shop on the way home and pick up the 7" double layer, cream filled white cake with coconut frosting. On Saturdays we'd stand in line with our neighbors, sometimes all the way out the door and into the shopping center, for warm cinnamon bread, or frosted, melt in your mouth, sugar cookies in the shapes for the season. Some items you had to reserve ahead. On really, really special days when I was having a chocolate attack, I'd slip in and buy 2 fat chocolate eclairs, and divide them for the evening dessert for the four of us. On birthdays (3 days apart) even when our children were grown and living in their own homes, it would be a cake from the goodie shop with their names and fall decorations.

Birthdays 1996

So when the Goodie Shop closed this fall due to the recession and rising costs, it was a terrible shock. I hadn't been there in years, but it was like hearing an old friend you'd lost touch with had died.

But a former owner and volunteers from the community have come to the rescue--and the Goodie Shop is back in business!
    "Just in time for Halloween, fans of the Tremont Goodie Shop can look forward to the reopening of the longtime Tremont Center establishment.

    The shop, which closed just before Labor Day after 54 years in business, is scheduled to reopen on Oct. 26. Debbie Smith, who previously ran the family business for 13 years, acquired much of the shop's equipment during a Sept. 27 auction.

    The Goodie Shop opened in 1955 by original owner Bill Wood, who sold the business to James Krenek (Smith's father, who passed away in 2007) in 1967. After her father retired, Smith ran the Goodie Shop from 1993 until 2006, when Smith's sister and brother-in-law, Doraine and Paul Cooper, took over.

    The Coopers cited increased supply costs and declining sales due to the economy as the reason that the business closed.

    A groundswell of community support has arisen since the Goodie Shop closed. Dozens of loyal customers from all over the country have posted comments on a Facebook page created by Smith's daughters, indicating how much they miss the Goodie Shop and would like for it to reopen.

    Prior to the Goodie Shop's official reopening on Oct. 26, Smith plans to hold an open house at 9 a.m. on Oct. 24."

Our fading heritage

Remember to vote Tuesday, but be informed--all politics is local as the saying goes. If there's anything distressing to me about our being in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is that Bush took us into war believing they deserved democracy, and meanwhile we are destroying it in our own country through desire for entitlements, redistribution of our wealth and property in the name of marxist "social justice," and corrupt, power hungry politicians on both sides of the aisle.
    “How about a few civics questions? Name the three branches of government. If you answered the executive, legislative and judicial, you are more informed than 50 percent of Americans. The Delaware-based Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) recently released the results of their national survey titled "Our Fading Heritage: Americans Fail a Basic Test on Their History and Institutions." The survey questions were not rocket science.

    Only 21 percent of survey respondents knew that the phrase "government of the people, by the people, for the people." comes from President Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. Almost 40 percent incorrectly believe the Constitution gives the president the power to declare war. Only 27 percent know the Bill of Rights expressly prohibits establishing an official religion for the United States. Remarkably, close to 25 percent of Americans believe that Congress shares its foreign policy powers with the United Nations.

    Among the total of 33 questions asked, others included: "Who is the commander in chief of the U S. military?” "Name two countries that were our enemies during World War II." "Under our Constitution, some powers belong to the federal government. What is one power of the federal government?" Of the 2,508 nationwide samples of Americans taking ISI's civic literacy test, 71 percent failed; the average score on the test was 49 percent.
More at Walter E. Williams.

Don't be offended, but. . .

I don't Facebook, Twitter, or Linkedin. I rarely "exchange" links--if I like a blog, I just add the link and don't tell them. So if I haven't responded to your request--it isn't you, it's me. According to this article at CNN, people feel rejected when turned down in cyberspace. That's probably why I don't do this social networking thing--I remember junior high school girls' cliques.
    CNN) -- If you harbor a bit of angst over Facebook friend requests gone unanswered, a surprise "defriending" or being deserted by your Twitter followers, you're not alone. . .

    "People tend to think that these relationships are trivial and not very deep, but this is what we're moving towards, having a lot of our communications play out over the Internet," Purdue University social psychologist Kip Williams said. "That's the way it's becoming; this is how we interpret our worth. People care how many [online] friends they have."

    Or, increasingly, how many Twitter followers they have. This year, a third-party service launched Qwitter, which allows Twitter users to determine who's stopped following them and which tweet may have turned them off.

    Experts say rejection on social networks can hurt worse than an in-person snub because people are usually more polite face-to-face than they are online."
My blog has been "delinked" by a number of followers--usually I know the reason--and that's bad enough. Why would I want more of that? In a moment of weakness I did sign up for Classmates dot come, and now I get pestered from the website to pay money. No thanks. If there's anything that hasn't changed about me over the years of a hundred hair styles, and wide ranging political views, it's that I'm frugal. Blogger dot com is free and doesn't ask for anything from me. Not even undying friendship.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Would you call this a hate crime?

"Richmond, California (CNN) -- Investigators say as many as 20 people were involved in or stood and watched the gang rape of a 15-year-old girl outside a California high school homecoming dance Saturday night.

Police posted a $20,000 reward Tuesday for anyone who comes to them with information that helps arrest and convict those involved in what authorities describe as a 2½-hour assault on the Richmond High School campus in suburban San Francisco."

I only ask if it's a hate crime, because we know unless she's a lesbian, it won't be called that. Singling out some forms of evil as "hate" because the victims are members of a specific, protected group is just dumb and intended to increase tensions between groups. I don't know if the victim was black, white or Hispanic (the two female friends of the victim who spoke at a news conference about it were white), but we know if she were an African American and the attackers white, it would be called a hate crime. I think the "boys" are all Hispanic and black (some have been identified and charged as adults; photos showed relatives).

Update: "As horrendous as the allegations against the young men are, there is an even greater shock in revelation that the multiple raping took place outside, in an open area, with at least a dozen onlookers and an untold number of people passing by. Because the gang rape of the 15-year-old girl outside Richmond High School wasn't just the fevered sexual attacks of young men, it was a time-consuming two-and-a-half-hour ordeal where they beat, brutalized, raped, and even robbed the victim. And not one among them bothered to call the police or inform someone in authority.

Not one.

But they did find time to go in and out of the homecoming dance, according to Melissa McEwan at Shakesville, taking place at the time and inform others, who came out and watched and/or participated as well. It was not until after the incident ended, when someone overheard others talking about it, that a phone call was made to Richmond Police that something had occurred." AC Content

Counting on igorance

Dan Kennedy in Dumb and Dumber by Choice begins by pointing out that reading is down 20% in the last 25 years and that 40 million Americans don't read, can't read or won't read, and that most of the people who voted for Obama didn't read his books in which he outlined his socialist beliefs and anti-American plans. Nor does Congress read it's own legislation before it votes.
    "This past week, some clowns in Congress proposed a tax credit of up to $3,500 a year for pet owners. It was reported as something amusing by the media. But is it funny – or frightening? Doesn’t it speak to the confidence our Royalty in Washington has about the ignorance and stupidity of the peons they rule? As does Obama’s proposed $250.00 bribe to seniors, the asinine contention that they will magically take $500-billion from Medicare without cutting the benefits it delivers, the even more asinine assertion that the near trillion dollar costs of the new socialized medicine plan will be offset by savings from stopping fraud and waste in the already existent, smaller socialized health care plan. These are all the very same kind of insults to intelligence.

    All these insults display the same run-amok arrogance. The same power mad abuse of authority. The same contempt for you and me. They have decided that more than enough of us are ignorant idiots, easily pacified with empty promises and a piece of candy, happy to be done with all responsibility to think, busied with funny videos on YouTube and 146-character Tweets and X-Box and ordering complicated drinks at Starbucks. They know that five times as many people watch the climactic episodes of “American Idol” than watch TV news programs, let alone read a newspaper and news magazines. They know that more people participate in fantasy football leagues on one Sunday than watch “Meet the Press” in a year of Sundays. They are certain of – and rely on – the growing ignorance of the American public."

The $8,000 fraud for beginners

And it wasn't entrapment. It's as though the government really intended the $8,000 housing credit to be so easy to steal. Not since we saw Katrina "victims" shopping at high end stores for designer purses have we seen such chaos in a government program. According to testimony:
  • 19,000 filers for the $8,000 tax credit hadn't purchased a home
  • 74,000 filers (for $500 million in credits) weren't first time buyers
  • The refundable tax credit was even for those who don't pay any taxes
  • Required very little documentation
  • 53 of the criminal filers were IRS employees [following in Geithner's footsteps?]
  • Congress plans to extend this abusive, wasteful, chaotic plan. . .because?
  • It costs $1 billion a month, $15 billion so far this year
  • It drives capital into homes instead of other investments which could help restore the economy
  • It hasn't boosted sales--most of the buyers (the honest ones) would have bought a home anyway
  • It delays housing prices returning to "normal"
See today's Wall Street Journal for confirmation.

Oh, and that IRS employee story? Broken by Fox Business channel.

Write what you know

And David Myers certainly knows about prisons--he worked in corrections for 30 years. He and his daughter Elise have authored his second title for Arcadia Press, Central Ohio's Historic Prisons. Here’s the story.

We spent a lot of time in Ohio prisons back in the 70s, following a friend around for visiting hours on Sunday afternoons when our children were small. Most recently we added a fourth to our list when we participated in a closing ceremony at Marion for Kairos.

The Myers family belongs to UALC, and is active in many arts projects and local theater, Dave having written a history of the local music scene, Columbus; the musical crossroads.

Do you really want to invite Chicago in when you’re viewing Picasso and Matisse?

“James Cuno, president and director of the Art Institute of Chicago, walks us through the Museum's Renzo Piano-designed Modern Wing. He explains how the addition, a "luminous box" that opened in May, creates optimal conditions for viewing art.”

I like the old Museum. I prefer that museum design not distract from the art. Don’t care much for scrims, flying carpets and curtain walls. Let’s see if this holds up for a hundred years.

The photo album

Last night I e-mailed a photographer from Wisconsin asking permission to use his photo as a reference for a painting, and he graciously responded OK (very interesting photos from all over the world). Then I decided I needed a special folder for this, because I ask and then forget where I saved them. When I changed computers about a year ago, my e-mail didn't transfer. thing led to another and I started moving other files--it began to take on a life of its own--like when I clean my real office. Then I came across this story, written in November 2004 for NaNoWrMo. When I write fiction, I have no middle or ending in mind, only the first sentence, so I wrote what came to mind, saved it, and didn't reopen it for five years. At this point, the inspiration is gone, but here it is.
    Paula Bearfoot. I knew her the minute I saw the old photos glued to the page of the crumbling scrapbook laid out on the table at the reunion. I’d seen her photo a few times back in 1959, and the scrapbook was from the 50s--the kind with the ugly black paper. Something like a shoestring provided the flimsy binding.

    How prissy the girls all looked then in black and white glossies, caught and preserved by a little Brownie Kodak. Neat, straight, pencil thin wool skirts, a short sleeve sweater with stitching on the sleeves, a white collar “dickey,” and white anklets in saddle shoes. What pride they took in their appearance. Oh, the wasted hours in front of the mirror. Leafing through the album, I realized somewhat belatedly that teen-agers weren’t fat then, they didn’t wear jeans when trying to impress guys, and they wore way too much lipstick. I looked around the room. Times had certainly changed. Fat mamas, all. Pale lips. At least no jeans.

    P-B they called her. With a name like Bearfoot, she probably got a lot of questions. I mean, I would’ve asked--if I’d known her. What do you suppose she answered? Did she make up something clever or tell the truth? Did anyone ever hear the truth from PB? She was my husband's steady. Even at the reunion, he heard of yet another guy who had dated “his” girl. Even after 40 years, I felt just a little sorry for him.

    No one had seen her since college. No one knew where her family had moved. Did she even finish college? Occasionally, letters were read at these every decade affairs. No one seemed to remember exactly what they said when I inquired, discreetly of course. She was a social worker. She was a lawyer. She was a secretary. She’d never married. She married three times. Her step-daughter was in the Clinton administration. Her sister had drowned in Hawaii. She lived in Maine. She lived in Arizona. The stories were told in such an off-hand, quasi-authoritative way, I just gave up.

    The guy who owned the photo album looked carefully at her pictures. “I think I dated her,” he said, “or maybe her sister. June? Julie?” (371 words)
And that's all I wrote. NaNoWrMo should have been a natural for me, but it means writing on command (it's sort of a contest to write a novel in one month), and nothing will kill my inspiration like someone telling what, when, where or how to write.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Grayson Cavuto interview March 31

I'm glad Cavuto replayed this one tonight. When I saw Grayson do his "Republicans want you to die" shtick for all the world to see, I thought, "Where have I seen this clown before?" Because Cavuto held his feet to the fire asking for specifics on salary caps (which he could not supply) he called Cavuto rude. No wonder Washington doesn't like Fox commentators--they ask those tough questions.

89% of Americans are satisfied with their health care

That was the findings of a study done by ABC News/USA Today/Kaiser Family Foundation poll in September 2006. Obama assured Americans that if they liked their health insurance, they could keep it, and as we've watched these huge, multiple bills overwhelm the legislators and the public's ability to understand, we've learned that there's no way that can happen. Either we'll be taxed more if the plan we like is better or covers more than someone else's, or our employer will drop our plan because something cheaper is available from the government. The latest ploy from Reid is for states to "opt out" of the public option. Oh yes, calling it something other than public option is also a plan (Pelosi).

Let's take another look at that 2006 poll, and ponder why health care "reform" became number one on Obama's agenda, so important that he even had to put our troops in danger in a war that he said was more important than Iraq (during his campaign). Why was it so urgent when 89% of the people were happy with their health care, and even 70% of the uninsured were satisfied with their health care and nothing would happen for four years?
    A survey conducted jointly by the Kaiser Family Foundation, ABC News and USA Today, released in October 2006, found that 89 percent of Americans were satisfied with their own personal medical care, but only 44 percent were satisfied with the overall quality of the American medical system. . . .

    Those with recent serious health problems, possibly the people with the best knowledge of how health care is working, were generally the most satisfied. Ninety-three percent of insured Americans who had recently suffered a serious illness were satisfied with their health care. So were 95 percent of those who suffered from chronic illness. . . .

    70 percent of the uninsured who indicated their level of satisfaction said they were either "satisfied" or "very satisfied" with their health care, and only 17.5 percent said they were "very dissatisfied." . . .

    "It is a common finding in public opinion research," Henry Aaron, a senior fellow for economic studies at the Brookings Institution, told "People are satisfied in the small, but dissatisfied in the large. People are satisfied with their child's teachers or school, but dissatisfied with schools generally.... They are satisfied with their doctor or their last visit to the hospital, but they are dissatisfied with what they perceive is happening with medical care as a whole. This finding is just one additional example." . . .

    A majority of the uninsured are not desperately poor; about 60 percent of them have personal incomes over $50,000 per year and pay out of their own pockets when necessary, rather than paying for insurance. Others manage to obtain care at highly discounted rates as charity cases.

    But there are two other reasons why most uninsured are satisfied: About 14 million of the "uninsured" qualify for Medicaid, and pre-existing conditions do not exclude people from joining the government program. As a result, many who are eligible for Medicaid wait until they need care to register, so they are effectively insured at all times even when they are not formally enrolled in the program.

    In addition, once those who are already effectively covered by Medicaid are excluded, nearly 70 percent of the remaining uninsured are without insurance for less than four months. The large majority may be uninsured for such short periods of time that being uninsured is never relevant for their ability to get health care. Summary here.
His reasons for "reforming" the health care that most of us are happy with, even the uninsured, are his own.
    1) He wants, needs and craves, a signature event for his first year--a bauble for his first Christmas in the White House.

    2) It's a critical step in taking all other freedoms away from the American people, particularly the massive computerization of records that he wants. It will make the Patriot Act look like a drop in the ocean.

    3) It's a huge industry--something like 1/6th of the economy, $2.2 trillion in 2007. It will only temporarily satisfy his voracious quest for power, however.

    4) Socialized medicine is the hallmark of all socialist countries--he can't drag us kicking and screaming in that direction without that notch on his belt and he can't be a global leader/czar/dictator without proof he's up to the challenge.

The updated enemy list--Glenn Beck

There's a not-so-scary, but very long hit piece on an associate of Glenn Beck in the Washington Post today. Isn't it amazing. Afghanistan and Pakistan Muslims are killing each other at an alarming rate, Obama fiddles or plays golf and jets around the country doing a little of this, a little of that preparing for the 2012 and 2016 campaign, and Jason Horowitz consumes time, money, trees and pixels, talking about a former disc jockey's PR person. Beck has offended the Obama White House by asking questions Horowitz should have asked, pointing out the Marxists on staff, the regulator czars, and the "fundamental transformation" Obama promised us days before his inauguration. But instead of doing his job, he does the bidding of the White House to look for dirt about Beck. You can almost see Axelrod snarling--"I don't care if you have to go through his grade school transcripts. Find me something I can use!" I looked through the Horowitz article, and it's about as alarming as the Carville marriage--a liberal and conservative cooperating. The leftist media, steadily losing in readership, subscriptions, and viewership, have tried attacking Beck from every possible angle--his religion, his addictions, his family, his sponsors (which weasled out under pressure from leftist pressure groups), so now it's moving on to any one close to him. Look out, Stu.

Thomas Sowell--would you have believed it a year ago?

"Just one year ago, would you have believed that an unelected government official, not even a Cabinet member confirmed by the Senate but simply one of the many "czars" appointed by the president, could arbitrarily cut the pay of executives in private businesses by 50% or 90%?" Actually, I was calling him a Marxist long before last October, so I'm not surprised with anything except the speed of the collapse. And that so many of you who voted for Obama continue to wear blinders. Read the rest of his column.

Norma's plan for wealth and security--at your expense

This may look a little ragged---I sketched it out in about 10 minutes at the coffee shop this morning and I only have a little time before I leave for exercise class, but here's a reasonable draft. If you follow this, you'll be set for life with a very comfortable income with lots of perks, plus you'll feel so good about doing good.

1) Bring together a group of like minded friends--in your home would be best--for coffee and dessert.

2) Present a "problem" or "need"--could be anything you've noticed and tsk tsk'd about.
    Maybe water use on the OSU golf course

    wild life in the creek that runs through the neighborhood

    non-native species, birds or plants, taking habitat and changing the ecology

    roaming homeless people who show up in the community riding the bus from down town

    no afterschool social programs or latch key for autistic children

    be creative!

3) Everyone shares their "rolodex"--who we know, our neighbors, friends, members of city council, members of the state legislature or regulatory boards, boards of directors of non-profits, boards of trustees at the university and colleges we attended, department chairs at OSU, members of local Chamber, Rotary, Lions, etc.

4) Plan a fund raiser--maybe a silent auction, a "run for awareness," or a tent at a larger community festival, art show, or school event. This not only raises money but broadens your base of support--you need more people to feel invested emotionally and mentally in your plan.

5) Write your mission and vision statement/plan; open a bank account; rent a P.O. box for an address; appoint officers. I, of course, will be at the top. Find recognizable names and appoint a board that won't have to do anything except have their names displayed. Make sure one of your volunteers is a lawyer. You'll need a charter and organizing document. Apply for 501 C 3 non-profit status for your organization (charity, scientific, save animals, etc.). After you get this, it's doubtful anyone will check on you in the future, unless you do something screwy, like appear on the Glenn Beck show or dance nude in front of the city building.

6) Apply for grants from local foundations. Grant writing is an art--so you'll want to find a member in your group that has some experience in this. I used to do this, but it was years ago, so you won't ask me.

7) Using that small amount of grant money you can do a marketing campaign, pay for a professionally designed web "presence" and offer one or two educational events (again, this isn't for information, but for broadening your base of support). Get your little group on facebook and Twitter. Blog it to death. So far, you've not saved a single bird, or drop of water, or plant, but it takes a lot of money and time to gear up for the big reveal.

8) Reevaluate your mission, members and message. Redesign to become "green,", "sustainable," or "eco-something." No matter what your original concern was, this step is absolutely critical for further funding.

If you chose wildlife, you can expand to deer killed on the interstate, and you know what that means--big bad SUVs and semi's slurping up petroleum products shipped here from the middle east making us oil dependent so we need more wind mills to save the deer and stop the war in the middle east. See how easy it is to grow?

If you chose afterschool programs for autistic children, you can branch into investigations of products, healthy foods, anti-vaccine campaigns, or any of the larger health care concerns. There are lots of people on this band wagon, so it's a little dicey--not as safe as energy needs.

9) Apply for major funding and gifts--national foundations (there are thousands of these set up by rich entreprenuers to protect their wealth and run 2 generations later by feel-good, guilt-ridden descendants), state grants (which come from and are laundered from the federal) and federal grants when you're ready. There are thousands--most with very little oversight until the next administration comes in, so now's a good time.

10) Put me (or you) and your BBF BFF (a BBF was a local hamburger) on salary--nothing flashy--maybe $75-80,000 a year with full benefits. This is all covered in the 501 C 3 instructions. You don't want to raise any red flags. But make it comfortable. It's the perks that come from the travel to conferences and meetings in exotic locales, the schmoozing with other movers and shakers, and all those great connections for home loans, investment opportunities and good deals at wholesale that really make this job pay.

I don't want you to think I was smart enough to think this up on my own. No, I just read an interesting history of a non-profit in their latest annual report, and this is how the Ohio Housing Trust Fund went from a rag tag group of volunteers with no budget 20 years ago to a constitutionally backed budget of $56 million in the 2008-2009 Ohio Biennium Budget. Or you can follow and back track any group linked to Fannie Mae, whose front man is Barnie Frank. Just now I googled, "affordable house" + Fannie Mae + grants and found an amazing group of attractive annual reports. Go to it--I have to run to class.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

CNU--Another non-profit seeking to change you

The Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization is the leading organization promoting walkable, neighborhood-based development as an alternative to sprawl. Not the nanny state exactly, but certainly one of the nagger earth groups. Many of these same building and design career groups gave us urban sprawl and mile after mile of cul-du-sacs and congested feeder roads 30-50 years ago. Now they’re unhappy with it, want you to move back down town, and walk every where. Good luck!
    "CNU takes a proactive, multi-disciplinary approach to restoring our communities. Members are the life of the organization – they are the planners, developers, architects, engineers, public officials, investors, and community activists who create and influence our built environment, transforming growth patterns from the inside out, and making it easier for people to live healthy lives. Whether it's bringing restorative plans to hurricane-battered communities in the Gulf Coast, turning dying malls into vibrant mixed-use neighborhoods, or reconnecting isolated public housing projects to the surrounding fabric, new urbanists are providing leadership in community building.

    Our relationship with our members allows us to do more than just talk about the problems of the built environment. Together, we are creating tools that make it easier to put New Urbanism into practice around the world.

    CNU advocates the restructuring of public policy and development practices to support the restoration of existing urban centers and towns within coherent metropolitan regions. We stand for the reconfiguration of sprawling suburbs into communities of real neighborhoods and diverse districts, the conservation of natural environments, and the preservation of our built legacy.

    Rebuilding neighborhoods, cities, and regions is profoundly interdisciplinary. We believe that community, economics, environment, health and design need to be addressed simultaneously through urban design and planning."
Oh, and it is also an international movement and very, very green--asking for lots and lots of money from the government (that's your tax money) to tear down, and start over.

Key words to look for in this movement are: sustainable, targeted, mixed use, proximity, access, mixed income, self-sufficiency, community, transect-zones, pedestrian friendly, green-space, job-creation, transportation reform, housing mix, smart growth, street design alternatives, low-carbon--think a 1930s movie about a fantasy 19th century city--no cars, happy people chatting on street corners, and ordering from the butcher personally. Or the setting for the Huxtable townhouse on the Bill Cosby TV show in the mid-1980s.

Just remember, these are the people who just 25-30 years ago brought us urban centers that looked like cereal boxes in a row, empty pedestrian malls in cities to bring shoppers down town, shops and boutiques in renovated factories, and here in Columbus, we got the fabulous City Center, just about 20 years ago which is now slated for demolition. Here in suburban Upper Arlington we've got one of these "mixed-use" complexes about 2 miles down the road that looks totally inappropriate, with about 10% occupancy because of the recession, across from a mall that they are bulldozing and rebuilding.

Obscene profits of health insurance companies?

President Obama, July 22: "Now, you know, there had been reports just over the last couple of days of insurance companies making record profits. Right now, at the time when everybody’s getting hammered, they’re making record profits and premiums are going up."

Speaker of the House, Pelosi, July 27: “I’m very pleased that our Chair of our Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and member of the leadership will be talking too about the immoral profits being made by the insurance industry and how those profits have increased in the Bush years. We all believe in the profit motive; we all want to reward success. But having that success come at the expense of America’s working families — have that success come by withholding care, when a person becomes ill, is just not right and we’re going to take this issue in a new direction."

Don't you just want to weep over those immoral, record profits--and yet they are 86th measured by profit margin. There are 85 industries more profitable than Health Care Plans (includes Cigna, Aetna, WellPoint, HealthSpring, etc.). So who will they go after next? The brewery business? #1 is Brewers at 25.9%--no wonder Obama tried to cover his mistakes by inviting the guys over for a beer. #15 is railroads. #31 at 7.1 is cleaning products! Auto parts stores is 5.8 for slot 53--not even close to health insurance. Hospitals are #77. August 12, Carpe Diem

Fox News Ratings Soar After Snub From Obama

After Anita Dunn went after Fox News (and her admiration for Mao was revealed), the ratings on Fox soared. The top 11 shows are on the Fox News Channel. Why do you suppose that is? For starters, they present more than 24/7 ONO, the Obama News Only (pronounced Oh No!). In fact, with their commentators, there are usually 2, 3, or 4 points of views. But liberals are so ga-ga over their gotta-get-over-the-guilt candidate (who just keeps campaigning), they think anyone who questions him or his programs must be evil and shut down. The same people who went bonkers over the Patriot Act (which was bipartisan and intended for terrorists) have no problem at all shutting down a news agency and sending out thought police under the guise of "hate speech" regulations.

HT Silicon Alley Insider

President Obama wants to hear from you

Really. He said so many times. Not all blacks voted for him. Not all gays are liberals. Not all women are feminists. Not all Hispancis crossed the border in this century. Not everyone at the tea parties were Republican retirees. He says you should speak out, you should effect change, so JUST DO IT!!

Here are the president's words, and a link where you can go to write a letter to your local papers (based on your zip code) so you don't have to reenter the information several times.

“I have always said that I don’t think that the LGBT [insert your group here] community should take its cues from me or some political leader in terms of what they think is right for them. Real change comes from the bottom up, not the top down. As your President, I will fight to make LGBT equality a reality at the federal level. But it is the LGBT community [insert your name, family, group, church here] that has to decide what is in their best interest, and to help make it happen by engaging actively with the political process.”
Barack Obama, April 30, 2008

"This is what change looks like when it happens from the bottom up. And in this election, your voices will be heard.

Because at a time when so many people are struggling to keep up with soaring costs in a sluggish economy, we know that the status quo in Washington just won’t do. Not this time. Not this year. We can’t keep playing the same Washington game with the same Washington players and expect a different result – because it’s a game that ordinary Americans are losing….

The politics of hope does not mean hoping things come easy. Because nothing worthwhile in this country has ever happened unless somebody, somewhere stood up when it was hard; stood up when they were told – no you can’t, and said yes we can."
Barack Obama, February 13, 2008

". . . it’s so important that you continue to speak out, that you continue to set an example, that you continue to pressure leaders — including me — and to make the case all across America.
Barack Obama, October 10, 2009

Let's take him at his word. He wants us to speak up, stand up, demand no more same old, same old, from corrupt, pork crazed, deficit deranged politicians!

Then go to this link, it's extremely easy to fill out your message to your local papers, (it's Obama's own website) and be clear, specific and polite.

Here's mine--and I think I clicked on the Columbus Dispatch, WSJ and USAToday. Whether their editors are honoring these, I don't know. But it certainly is easier than contacting each one and trying to figure out different templates. It has a preview before you send, with an easy editing feature. Of course, Obama will have your home address and e-mail, . . . but oh well, did you think he wouldn't know?
    Easy solutions for fixing health care [subject line you fill in]

    [Message] Our system will work much better if competition across state lines is included in the plan. Once we eliminate the fraud from Medicare and Medicaid we will have a template for reform; but let's not add to that plate until we've cleaned it up. People in this country illegally are breaking the law and should not be eligible for any plan, not employers, not public option. The government should not be silencing people who have alternative views any more than it should be taking over private businesses and running them. And that includes insurance companies, car companies, banks, small businesses, large businesses. That's statism, and it's not the hope and change Americans voted for. Also, Democrats and Republicans both seem much too cozy with lawyers and don't want to consider tort reform. Why is that?

    Also, legislators who have broken laws--ethics or tax--should be excluded from the process until they are cleared.

    Only about 10% of our citizens are without health care in any given week/month. That's probably about the number who also want vaccines. When we get the vaccine campaigns correct without fear, scare tactics and declared national emergencies, maybe we can move to larger targets.

A generation that applauds for death panels

Last night Glenn Beck looked into the camera (wearing glasses) and reminded us there is a generational divide in support of the take over of America's health system, of the generation that is supporting the President's health plan. They applauded Robert Reich in 2007 when he spoke at Berkeley about how elders were not going to be treated because it is too expensive. Beck read to us a letter from a reader of Time magazine about their cover story on him. It truly was chilling.
    "I had to wait through eight years of an administration that brought this country to the brink. Frankowski should sit down quietly while the rest of us get to the task of cleaning up Bush's mess. Besides, this health-care debate isn't about those over 30; it's about the millions of uninsured, recently graduated young people saddled with loans we can't imagine paying off, who are sick and tired of living in an abyss created by our elders' stupidity. Obama would be smart to focus on college towns. Step aside, grandma. We want health care and we want it now."
Today I came across a blog, no longer active, where the last item written Aug. 22, 2008, was this:
    I just received my eldest daughter’s senior year yearbook from Pomona High School, Arvada CO. I am at the moment shaking as I write this post. The yearbook, cover to cover, bears a font which would be perfect on a slasher-flick poster. It’s a Halloween font, with every single letter dripping black blood. Every page, every header, and to cap it off every single child’s name in the baby picture section. MY child’s name, right there above her angelic smiling toddler face, dripping black blood.

    This is the result of a generation of children raised with time-outs. This is the result of a teenaged yearbook staff allowed to run the entire process without adult supervision. This is the result of a generation of kids being raised in what has been described as a culture of death. Names above baby pictures, dripping blood.

    The kind of thing people like Michael Schiavo, and nearly the entire nation of Denmark and the state of Oregon, might just approve of.

    Traumatized, shocked, appalled. And thinking quite seriously if litigation.

    My daughter’s senior memories, dripping black blood.
Long before Glenn Beck was even at Fox, she certainly knew about this generational divide.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Is it H1N1, just regular flu or a cold?

There are reports that any flu patient seen by a hospital or doctor is being reported as having H1N1, which could account for the numbers in the latest crisis the government is promoting. A few days ago CBS reported in a month's long investigation, state-by-state results of tests for H1N1 found that most cases were negative. (Remember, never waste a crisis--Rahm Emanuel) Although why, during the health care push Obama would want to emphasize how ineffective and chaotic this drive to get people vaccinated is, I can't imagine. If they can't handle this, how will they handle 300 million? In Columbus, you can't even get the regular vaccine, and people stand in line for hours on a rumor for H1N1. Anyway, I looked it up, and maybe this is just another urban legend, but here's what I found, and I think I've read this before.
    "H1N1 is a type of viruses, comprising dozens different strains. No specific strain was ever shown to be the cause of this particular new swine flu, chiefly because it was never shown to be present in all the cases, then or now. But from the outset, the national media was counting all these numbers as cases of the disease even there was no verifiable method for specifically identifying the disease. Without a screening test, the cases were being diagnosed by symptoms only. This is precisely what happened with the nonexistent Avian flu of 4 years ago. [5] If we're diagnosing by symptoms only, then any case of any flu can be counted. And that's exactly what has happening here all along with swine flu."
No longer than these vaccines have had to be developed and the short time to be proven effective, we're essentially testing them on children! Another doctor says there has been no testing since July--so why are these being counted as H1N1 if no one knows?

The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Will Obama attack them too, or are they protected from his anger and ire because of their Spanish surnames? The web site of the El Paso Chamber (all in English, incidentally). According to today's WSJ wealthy Mexicans are migrating to El Paso in the largest number since the revolution of 1910. Link. Murder has exploded in Juarez, now at 300 a month (Isn't that more than Iraq and Afghanistan?). Even the non-rich need body guards to stay in business, so they are moving to El Paso.
    Cindy Ramos-Davidson, chief executive of the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, said her staff was swamped with requests from Juárez businesspeople wanting to settle in El Paso. They started more than 200 companies in the 12 months ended July 31, a 40% jump from the same period last year.

WalMart believes Moms don't watch Beck

On October 9 I wrote to Eduardo Castro-Wright of Walmart in Bentonville, AR about pulling advertising from Glenn Beck because of pressure from groups like Color of Change and I pointed out that they need a capitalist country if they are going to succeed and advertising with Beck, an old fashioned "muckraker" will help restore our economy (even though he's not a journalist--most of them are either dead or cowed into submission by pressure from special interest groups or the White House). Even though there is a black man in the White House, we Americans are being insulted and called racists by the leftist and marxist groups that support him. So when Obama showed he was one of them--prejudging an entire segment of the country in the Gates incident--Beck called him on it.

Do you know what Walmart wrote back? In an unsigned letter some department called "Executive Communications" wrote a reply very condescending to women, addressing me as "Dear Norma," about my "reaching out to us."
    "Our ads are targeted at moms, and fundamentally these ads are about saving people money so they can live better. We buy advertising on shows that run the spectrum politically and socially because we want to be on the programs moms are watching. As our core customer, she is "the boss." At the same time, we want to make sure our commercials don't appear in programs that detract from the message we are trying to deliver."
Wow. Apparently they haven't read any of the conservative, politically astute mommy bloggers that I read. Ladies, I think you have your work cut out for you. Walmart thinks you're not interested in the future of the country. And just where is that "spectrum" of different political and social ideas? Even the comedy and drama series are getting their talking points from the White House. Are the moms only watching football? Gambling? Food channel? Those are the only shows I can think of whose outcomes haven't been influenced by the White House directives to continue campaigning for Obama's take over of health care and the global warming myths.

Also, there's a grammatical error in the first paragraph, but I won't embarrass them by pointing it out on my blog. Also, they seem to think Glenn Beck is a cable "news" show--another mistake. Opinion disguised as news is what Katie Couric and the New York Times do.

Rosie's done one thing right

Her chair. I saw a photo of her today in USAToday doing her Sirius XM radio show on satellite. It appears she's sitting in an Aeron Herman Miller chair. Oh, how I miss mine.

She's irreverent, irrelevant and irritating, but she loves Obama so she won't get get hassled for her opinion by the White House, which only complains about right wing opinions and tries to close them down. She'll probably have Anita Dunn, the Mao-admirer who told high school kids he was an example of choosing your own path in life (not mentioning he was responsible for the deaths of 70 million.) Maybe they could discuss body disposal.

Bonita's Apples

Bonita is a blogger I follow who takes the most wonderful photographs--especially of food (always very healthy and often over a campfire), her family outings in the mountains or interesting places, and her Bahai fellowship. We got permission to use one as a reference photo for a painting (by my husband) and this is the result. The cat didn't want to get up so she came along for the show. He didn't like it, but I made some suggestions and I think he's going to keep it. I think a bit more dark on the right side of the oar would really give more depth, but he says no.

Our trip to New England October 1977--Monday Memories

Today I was looking through the photo album of our trip to New England in October 1977. The photos were taken with my little instamatic camera and the plastic pages of the album have pretty much sucked out all the color, although I think it was gray much of the trip. Plus I taped the description on the open end, so it's virtually impossible to take any photos out. But here's one that many people, particularly artists, will recognize--Motif #1 in Rockport, Massachusetts. It may be the most painted scene in America.

Also on that trip we stopped in Boston for two days and stayed with my college roommate, Dora Hsiung and her husband, who is also an architect and a watercolorist like my husband. Dora and I roomed together at McKinley Hall at the University of Illinois. So I went into Google to see what shows she's doing these days and found a slide show selection of her work of fifty wall hangings, installations and sculptures, many large-scale, which are on view at the Chinese Culture Center (CCC) in San Francisco as part of its Xian Rui (Fresh and Sharp) exhibition series. She is a fabulous artist, and I still have the fabric piece she gave me in 1977, and always look forward to their Christmas cards.

Find more images like this on Chinese Culture Center Online Gallery

Photos of Dora and me in the 50s and 80s

Still clueless about what Obama is doing

ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" October 25.

When will our vigilant, "free" press wake up? Yes, they are nibbling around the edges, but only Laura Ingraham nails it. Where else do you see this kind of passion from the White House, except when attacking America's free speech? And this is the guy who's had a free ride to the White House from the press--yes, even from Fox News. But Laura, the ratings will make no difference when he shuts you down after shutting you out! It's all a cover so we don't focus on what's really happening.

HT David Zurawik, Baltimore Sun.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The fun way to change behavior

Probably works better than lectures and finger wagging from the nanny state.

Florida gets the most--$580,096,634

Treasury Dept. Press Release on ARRA Housing money

Call me crazy, but I think "supporting local developers," "working quickly," "tax credits," "innovative programs," and "building affordable housing," are what brought us to this mess.
    "WASHINGTON – As part of the Obama Administration's efforts to strengthen communities and ease pressures on the housing market, the U.S. Department of the Treasury today announced $284 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) funding to spur the development of affordable housing in California. To date, 45 state housing authorities have been awarded a total of $3.1 billion in payments in lieu of tax credits for affordable housing projects.

    This innovative Recovery Act program allows the federal government to partner with states to support local developers and helps ensure that housing developers can access the financing necessary to build affordable housing," said Treasury Deputy Secretary Neal Wolin. "We have worked quickly to make available more than $3 billion to state housing agencies, and we expect to see continued efforts at the state level, so that these funds can be delivered to the communities that need it most."

    In May 2009, the Treasury Department launched an innovative program to provide payments in lieu of tax credits to state housing agencies to jump start the development or renovation of qualified affordable housing for families across the country. Upon receiving notice of these allocations, state housing agencies manage a competitive process to disburse funds to qualified developers. This is an ongoing program open to additional state applications through 2010."
More low income people pushed into mortgages they can't afford to supply jobs for the building trades and unions.

Maybe it's Kerry's first term?

At some very far left blogs, I've seen grousing (swearing, cursing, gutter language like you wouldn't believe!) that Obama is doing a Bush third term. No indeed, they are not happy with the hope and change--it looks like Bush retreads to them. They know and we know why he's waffling on his assurances to us during the campaign. So Dick Cheney's speech at the Republican Convention in 2004 looks more interesting. Maybe, Obama is really Kerry's first term, minus the experience and the military service, of course? Wanting to be under the authority of the UN, seeking approval from our critics, flip flopping on a variety of issues--yes, except for the lack of experience, it all sounds very familier.

"The President's opponent is an experienced senator. He speaks often of his service in Vietnam, and we honor him for it. But there is also a record of more than three decades since. And on the question of America's role in the world, the differences between Senator Kerry and President Bush are the sharpest, and the stakes for the country are the highest. History has shown that a strong and purposeful America is vital to preserving freedom and keeping us safe — yet time and again Senator Kerry has made the wrong call on national security. Senator Kerry began his political career by saying he would like to see our troops deployed "only at the directive of the United Nations." During the 1980s, Senator Kerry opposed Ronald Reagan's major defense initiatives that brought victory in the Cold War. In 1991, when Saddam Hussein occupied Kuwait and stood poised to dominate the Persian Gulf, Senator Kerry voted against Operation Desert Storm.

Even in this post-9/11 period, Senator Kerry doesn't appear to understand how the world has changed. He talks about leading a "more sensitive war on terror," as though Al Qaeda will be impressed with our softer side. He declared at the Democratic Convention that he will forcefully defend America — after we have been attacked. My fellow Americans, we have already been attacked, and faced with an enemy who seeks the deadliest of weapons to use against us, we cannot wait for the next attack. We must do everything we can to prevent it — and that includes the use of military force.

Senator Kerry denounces American action when other countries don't approve — as if the whole object of our foreign policy were to please a few persistent critics. In fact, in the global war on terror, as in Afghanistan and Iraq, President Bush has brought many allies to our side. But as the President has made very clear, there is a difference between leading a coalition of many, and submitting to the objections of a few. George W. Bush will never seek a permission slip to defend the American people.

Senator Kerry also takes a different view when it comes to supporting our military. Although he voted to authorize force against Saddam Hussein, he then decided he was opposed to the war, and voted against funding for our men and women in the field. He voted against body armor, ammunition, fuel, spare parts, armored vehicles, extra pay for hardship duty, and support for military families. Senator Kerry is campaigning for the position of commander in chief. Yet he does not seem to understand the first obligation of a commander in chief — and that is to support American troops in combat.

In his years in Washington, John Kerry has been one of a hundred votes in the United States Senate — and very fortunately on matters of national security, his views rarely prevailed. But the presidency is an entirely different proposition. A senator can be wrong for 20 years, without consequence to the nation. But a president — a president — always casts the deciding vote. And in this time of challenge, America needs — and America has — a president we can count on to get it right.

On Iraq, Senator Kerry has disagreed with many of his fellow Democrats. But Senator Kerry's liveliest disagreement is with himself. His back-and- forth reflects a habit of indecision, and sends a message of confusion. And it is all part of a pattern. He has, in the last several years, been for the No Child Left Behind Act — and against it. He has spoken in favor of the North American Free Trade Agreement — and against it. He is for the Patriot Act — and against it. Senator Kerry says he sees two Americas. It makes the whole thing mutual — America sees two John Kerrys.

2004 Republican National Convention on Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2004

Has Bill McKibben abandoned Jesus for Al Gore?

Looking back through his writings, I'd say YES. Five or ten years ago he was obsessed with correcting self-centered, me-and-Jesus Christianity, the failures of dispensationalism on the one end and Rick Warren on the other, with some CO2 and environmentalism as top dressing. Oddly, I didn't find much criticism of the humanistic, communistic, peace and justice Christians. The ones whose churches have emptied out from lack of following Jesus. From admiring Cuba's agriculture, to criticizing just about everything in American culture, his Christian veneer is desperately thin, even five years ago. Yesterday, the big 350 event, shows he's completely moved to climate changism. Algorism. No more "let's pretend". Since Jesus put all Creation in motion, (In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. John 1:1-3 RSV), it's odd to see yet another man-made, spiritual but not Christian, movement go global. Ah, the power of the internet. Paul was much more convincing back in the first century and demanded much more of people than demonstrating, painted faces, group projects, and protests. Yes, much more demanding.

Hundreds of photos at the 350 site. From expensive sail boats to high tech bicycles. But I thought this one on the site of a destroyed culture seemed to best illustrate what eco-fundamentalists want for us--especially America. Didn't the rulers of some of these civilizations need human sacrifice to stay in power?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Atheist Pat Condell speaks out on free speech

It's not often I agree with an atheist about religion, but this be one of those times.

Our First Amendment rights are under attack.

Giving out awards

A The New Republic Jonathan Chait notes in "The case against awards" that:
    "A recent statistical analysis by Robert T. Hodgson, published in the Journal of Wine Economics (I kid you not), found that a wine that wins one competition is no more likely to win another competition than any other wine. Which is to say, wine awards are handed out completely at random. If you listen to movie buffs, they will tell you that the Academy Awards regularly commit unforgiveable sins of commission or omission. Look closely at any field that gives out awards, and you will probably find that injustice is more the rule than the exception.
I've often suspected as much at art shows when I look at the winners. However, since I think the point of his article was to reference Obama's recent prize when he erroneously says, "the committee frequently chooses recipients in order to encourage or empower them, rather than to reward actual achievement" at least I can't think of any examples, one person comments:
    Originally the award was designed to be given to those who had done the most to bring about peace. This means it should go to international mediators and those who make peace with their internal or external enemies. While there might not be good candidates every year, there are many who fit this criterion who haven't received the award. It took the Nobel Committee in Oslo 23 years to award Carter for mediating the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty. There are two figures in the Obama administration who deserve it for their work in the Clinton administration: George Mitchell for mediating the Good Friday Agreement in Belfast in 1998; Richard Holbrooke for mediating the Dayton Accords for Bosnia in 1995. Obama should give each of them half of the peace prize.
I think I could go for that--split it with people who deserve it. Although wasn't Clinton given the credit for the Belfast Agreement? He certainly is revered in Ireland.

Google and social networks

Independent booksellers fight back

This is a very, very old problem. The people who do it better get more customers, and the smaller firms (which years ago put the mom and pop firms out of business) complain to the government. I feel badly for the book sellers--I like nothing better than to nose around a cosy bookstore, but there sure are a lot of holes in their arguments. The letter to DOJ from the ABA.

I really think their gripe is with the publishers, not Wal-Mart, Target and Amazon. The book business has been screwy for many, many years. Long before Sam Walton ever thought of expanding his little five and dime store. I remember thinking that when I sat by the hour tearing the covers off books and hauling the guts to the trash bin behind the bookstore.

Mr. President, there is no consensus

Why does he keep smacking us with the global warming myth? Calling us names like naysayers and cynics. Defeatists. Living in the past. Pretending that most people believe it? Any thinking person can see where we're going with the cap and trade bills and agreements--not to protecting future generations, not to lower energy costs, not to saving glaciers and polar bears. Not only do we know the temperature hasn't risen in a decade, but we're on to his one world, global control scheme. It's just an opinion but considering what a bad country he believes he's heading, I think our president, hopes soon to be ruler of the world. (Look out Norway, he's got his eye on you!)
    “There are those who will suggest that moving toward clean energy will destroy our economy — when it’s the system we currently have that endangers our prosperity and prevents us from creating millions of new jobs. There are going to be those who cynically claim — make cynical claims that contradict the overwhelming scientific evidence when it comes to climate change, claims whose only purpose is to defeat or delay the change that we know is necessary.” Obama's remarks at MIT, Friday
If anyone bought into this, it would be the building trades, architects in particular. Their livelihood depends on it--they're wetting themselves over the thought of tearing down the clunkers and getting government money to build green. And yet the cover story of Architect says 46% believe in climate change, 34% believe it isn't caused by humans, 13% believe global warming is a myth perpetuated by the media, and 7% aren't sure that building green will help when China and India are expanding so rapidly. So let's see, that's 46% for, and 54% who either don't believe it's man made, or it's a myth, or that there aren't political solutions. Does that sound like a consensus to you?

And how about Pew Research Center? According to the New York Times
    The decline in the belief in solid evidence of global warming has come across the political spectrum, but has been particularly pronounced among independents. Just 53% of independents now see solid evidence of global warming, compared with 75% who did so in April 2008. Republicans, who already were highly skeptical of the evidence of global warming, have become even more so: just 35% of Republicans now see solid evidence of rising global temperatures, down from 49% in 2008 and 62% in 2007. Fewer Democrats also express this view – 75% today compared with 83% last year.
Obama and Waxman are losing ground on this, even among their own people. No wonder he wants to rush it through. The biggest drop of support is in the Mountain States. Hmmm. Do you suppose they are figuring out what cap and trade will do to their economy?

What's the hurry, Mr. President? "Never waste a [man made, trumped up, media engorged, one-world government] crisis."

Kiplinger drinks the Obama Kool-aid

This little item came through today in AIArchitect, the "Kiplinger Connection."
    Economic Stimulus
    Was the economic stimulus a success? Depends on how you measure.
    The answer’s no, if set against Obama’s original goals: Holding joblessness around 8% and limiting the economic contraction this year to about 1.2%. [Yup, he missed that big time.]

    But measured against what would have been, it was a rousing success. [You're kidding, right? Have you noticed your grandchildren will pay for this?] Washington added about $90 billion to GDP in the second and third quarters, through direct payments to the states, COBRA subsidies for the unemployed, reduced income tax withholding plus the first round of infrastructure spending. [Notice how little was spent on infrastructure--but isn't that what he promised?] Otherwise, the second quarter contraction would have been worse than the 0.7% it was, and third quarter GDP would have been expected to come in flat. As it is … GDP surely rose in the third quarter, probably by a healthy 3.5% or so. [Gee, maybe he can keep this going 10 years like FDR did?]

    One reason for the view that the stimulus isn’t panning out: Obama’s tendency to focus on infrastructure development. Spending on it has been slow to take off…with long lead times for planning and contracting … and slow to pay off in terms of increased business spending and job creation. [Or maybe he was wasting too much political capital on stealing our health care and had no appointments who knew anything about business and capitalism?]
Shoulda coulda woulda--there is no way to measure "what would have been," just as there's no way to know about that job you didn't take, or the one you didn't marry, or that promotion you didn't get, or club you didn't join, or that trip you didn't take. Sure--might have been super, or it could have been a bust. You just don't know. Nor do we know what would have happened if the federal government had just let the recession run its course, let bad companies fail--no cash for clunkers, no take-over of banks and automakers, no petty czars poking their noses into business, no threatening Fox News for pointing out the obvious, no denigration of 95% of American businesses who belong to the Chamber, no take over of the economy in order "not to waste a crisis." But if government stayed out of our business, out of market manipulation, out of mortgages, out of schools--well, wouldn't that mean we don't need them. And what would they do with all that surplus, pent up wind power?