Thursday, September 30, 2004

501 I've got my eye on. . .

Women bloggers. As luck would have it, I clicked through "next blog" today and found three women bloggers who look like good possibilities for my blogroll. Two are using the same brown wallpaper template (which looks better on my laptop screen than my pc, for some reason). The three are (da dah):
Jo's Blog

The Anchoress and

Cindy Swanson.

They all appear to be conservative (from their blogrolls) and Christians.

Then there is Esther, urban and Jewish, My Urban Kvetch.

To my list of librarians, I've added Michelle Kraft's KraftyLibrarian, about medical librarianship. I was surprised how quickly my medical searching skills left me when I retired, so I'll be watching her for pointers.

500 Catablogging--Traveling with a Cat, pt. 1

A Globblog is a blog that supports the global economy; a clogblog is a blog from Holland; and a catablog is blog written by cat people. We only have one cat, so I don't do much catablogging--although some bloggers--usually women--make that their total focus.

If we can drive the 120 miles to our lake house without the cat throwing up or pooping, it has been a successful trip. Last week's round trip and this week's trip here have been in that rare category. Meds didn't help much, because by grabbing her, wrapping her in a towel and stuffing a fraction of a tiny Dramamine down her throat made her very unhappy about traveling anywhere. And the towel didn't protect us against biting.

Now we have a method that works much better. Thirty minutes before the car trip, we pick her up gently and place her in the carrier and put it in a quiet room and close the door so she can't see us scurrying around the house packing suitcases, and loading the cooler. It cuts her anxiety level way down--especially by not force feeding medication. We also began taking a straighter road, less scenic for us, but easier on her nervous system and tummy.

Cat on on Cool Pink Porch Posted by Hello

Catablogging pt. 2

After we were settled in at the cottage, my husband couldn't find the cell phone. "Check under the seats of the car," I reminded him. That's where it was lost for several months last year. "I did, but it isn't there."

We'd had a slight mishap on the way up. The cat mewed like she needed to use the facilities, but it was just a ruse. Once out of her carrier, she decided to wander around and look out the windows. She made a move for the front at the same time I braked, and she slid forward struggling and scrambling. My husband lunged for her and yelled (I was driving), and I steadied the coffee cups. This frightened the cat and her back claws caught us both, causing some blood gushing on his arm. But he caught her and put her back in the carrier.

It was this incident that caused me to tell him to check under the seats. The cell phone had been riding peacefully between the coffees, last time I saw it. So I told him I would dial the number on our land line, while he sat in the car. I did so and could hear a very faint tune in our living room. I went through my book bag, his camera bag and my purse. No phone. I motioned him to come in the house.

"When did you change the ring? I distinctly heard a classical tune when I dialed the cell phone." He seemed puzzled. I guess I've never actually heard the full glory of our cell phone alert. So I dialed again. The music was coming from the couch area. I dumped everything out of my bookbag and there it was, wedged between magazines and books, a black phone in a black bag.

The cat watched with great interest wondering what we were doing crawling around on the floor. Or perhaps she knew and was laughing at us.

499 Going without health insurance

We did that--the first year we were married. When you were young in the 60s you didn’t think much about it. Most young people are healthy (if they don‘t drink or smoke)--they also think nothing will ever happen to them. Our kids did the same when they left home at 18. Most companies today that offer health insurance have a waiting period--a month, three months--or it is an option that the employee needs to help pay for through payroll deductions. And what 18 year old thinks he should pay for anything?

So we paid up front in 1961 and sort of “lay away” for our first baby, from the time I found out I was pregnant. Later we bought a hospital insurance policy--but all our doctor visits we still paid out of pocket. Yes, doctor visits were cheaper then, probably about $10-$15, but our income was only about $4,000 a year--so you crunch the numbers and see what the difference is in today‘s dollars.

But this post isn’t about me but about the poor who lack health insurance today. The Current Population Survey of the Census Report got a lot of negative media play last month, particularly here in Ohio where Cleveland made the list of poorest cities. It being campaign time, of course, President Bush got a lot of blame as though he personally had insisted parents have babies without marriage or not earn high school degrees, the major cause of poverty in the USA.

American Heritage Foundation has issued WebMemo 556 which includes some interesting details that the MSM and many in the alternative press left out of their coverage. He refers to the U.S. Census Bureau, “Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2003.” Report No. P60-226, August 2004, at and summaries from this and other sources. The CPS is a snapshot, but other data in the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), also provided by the Census Bureau, follow individuals.

Poverty is often short-lived. More than half of all poverty “spells” (time spent in poverty) last less than four months, and about 80 percent last less than a year. In fact, very few people—only about 2 percent of the total population—are chronically poor in America, as defined by living in poverty for four years or more.

Substantial income mobility, both upward and downward, exists in America. About 38 percent of all households in the lowest income quintile rose to a higher quintile within three years. An almost equal percentage (34 percent) of all households in the top quintile fell within three years.

Spells of uninsurance are short-lived. The typical family that loses health insurance is uninsured for only 5.6 months on average.

Very few people lack health insurance long-term. Only 3.3 percent of all Americans went without some kind of health insurance for four or more years. Additionally, only one in nine people were without health insurance for more than two years of the four-year study period.

Health insurance coverage rates have risen over time. In 1996, some 8.8 percent were without health insurance for the entire year, a figure that dropped to 8.0 percent by 1999. Conversely, 78.2 percent of all Americans had health insurance for the entire year in 1996, which rose to 80.4 percent by 1999.

Read the entire report to see the references.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

498 Why an old computer game can't pick a president

Over at Tech Central, Nelson Hernandez Jr. explains why Douglas Kern's recent article ("President Elect - 2004") using the model of Commodore 64-era political game President Elect 1988 to predict the upcoming election, will not work in 2004. He gives numerous thoughtful explanations of the differences in time and culture, but I thought this paragraph particularly worth the whole article.

“. . . this election has seemed less about articulated policy issues and political ideology than any in the past. To editorialize, political campaigns are now more about entertainment and political theater because substantive, intellectual discussions of complex public policy topics result in poor television ratings and apparently have no positive effect on "swing voter" behavior. Try to imagine the show-stopping absurdity of Bush and Kerry earnestly arguing the particularities of an issue as technical and specific as the fate of the islands Quemoy and Matsu (as Kennedy and Nixon did in 1960) and you get a sense of how far we have come toward presidential politics becoming just a high-stakes reality television show, where the tactical objective is to simply to entertain, titillate and seduce the fickle "swing voter". “

If not Kerry, who? Hernandez offers Gephardt.

“My sense is that none of the Democrats who ran this year would have been likely to defeat Bush under the above circumstances. I think Dick Gephardt would have presented the most formidable opponent: he could have picked up a few close Midwestern states (e.g. Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota) while retaining all the states Kerry will win this year. In addition he would have been more likeable, less liberal and less vulnerable to attack than Kerry. Combined with moderate-to-conservative running mate from a battleground state capable of definitively swinging his home state into the Democratic column, and this election would have been very tight indeed. But even the optimal ticket (from a purely tactical standpoint) from the roster of candidates that ran this year would not have offered the Democrats a cakewalk.”

The entire article is here.

Monday, September 27, 2004

497 A Rich Childhood

"You can't describe the vastness of the Panavision prairie to East Coasters. Either the idea bores them--sorry, if there's not an all-night Thai take-out every ten blocks I am so not there. Or it's incomprehensible--what, a dirt ocean that just sits there?

Yes. That's it. The earth is flat and the sky is big, and you're a small lone thing rolling between the two. True Midwesterners have no time for oceans--all that pointless motion. It comes in, it goes out. What's the point? True Midwesterners have no time for mountains. They're so obvious. They don't do anything. We have mountains, in a way; they're called clouds. And they move. Can yours do that? "

Read the whole essay by James Lileks here.

496 Head Start is a Dead End for Children

Strengthening “Head Start” is under Bush’s budget plan if he is re-elected. The program is nearly 40 years old and has shown no appreciable long term results for education. Children have been immunized, families have been linked with various social service agencies, and a huge number of people have been employed--about 27% of them parents of the children. A program that started out planning to cost $17 million the first year (but cost $100 million), had ballooned to 1.4 billion in 1991 under Bush 41, and about 8 billion in 2004 under G.W. Bush. That’s about $7,362 for each of the 910,000 enrolled children.

The Head Start program is administered by the Head Start Bureau, the Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACFY), Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

Grants are awarded by the ACF Regional Offices and the Head Start Bureau’s American Indian and Migrant Program Branches directly to local public agencies, private non-profit and for-profit organizations, Indian Tribes and school systems for the purpose of operating Head Start programs at the community level. (DHHS web site)

Using Google, it’s practically impossible to find an independent assessment of this program. If a politician votes to freeze the program at current levels, he is accused of “dismantling it.” Here’s an example from New Hampshire--I have no idea who Charlie Bass is, but this statement called “Voting to Dismantle Head Start,“ shows the problem:

"[Charlie] Bass voted for a bill that dismantles some of the high-quality standards and comprehensive services that have made Head Start a successful early childhood education program for New Hampshire’s toddlers. Current funding only allows 3 out of 5 eligible children to be served by Head Start, but Bass froze current funding levels and cut enrollment in Head Start for the first time in history. It also created block grants that provide no standards for minimum class sizes, child-teacher ratios or curriculum effectiveness. Bass’s vote was decisive - it passed by 1 vote, 217-216. [GOP Head Start Reauthorization Bill - Passage, H.R. 2210, Vote #444, 7/24/03. Adopted 217-216 (R 217-12; D 0-203)]" 6/8/04

Unfortunately, Head Start has no high-quality standards, and it has no high-profile “graduates.“ Funding requests just call for more money to expand the failed program and to hire more degreed teachers--as though that were the problem all along. The NCLB of President Bush created great controversy when it attempted to test the program and was criticized for testing pre-schoolers.

After 40 years shouldn't we be seeing improvement in scores, behavior and over-all quality of inner city and minority districts? The “jewel” of the Great Society is made of paste--library paste, it seems. If you know of a study that claims that Head Start is a success, that isn’t written by someone who takes it to the bank, I’d sure like to hear about it. I think our children deserve better, but no one knows how to do it.

495 Phones in Dorm Rooms Disappearing

The Keptup Librarian points to an article that reports how phones in dorm rooms are disappearing and being replaced by cell phones.

Phones in dorm rooms? What's the fun in that? I still remember checking the bulletin board by the phone in the office at Oakwood Hall (now torn down) in November 1957 and finding out my nephew David had been born. And at McKinley Hall at the University of Illinois where we had one phone per floor (more advanced than little Manchester College), I'd watch for that note: "MC 2:15 WCL." If you are of a certain age, you'll know how that message caused the pulse to pick up.

494 House by the side of the road

Every morning this past summer on my way to the coffee shop near Lake Erie, I passed a 1950s ranch along the side of the road. It looked like the typical 3 bedroom, 1 car garage, big picture window in the living room I remember from my youth--a "modern" house. It was sitting on a truck bed waiting for a foundation. Then a second ranch, maybe from the 60s, moved in next to it, sitting on supports for weeks. The owners of the lots who had moved them there to catch the summer renters, probably lost a prime $1200-$1500 a week from fishermen or vacationers anxious to enjoy the lake.

Cement shortage, I wondered? We import cement from China (takes 44 days), but impose high import duties for cement from Mexico (takes only 4 days), probably to protect American companies. This is hurting our housing industry and will impede the rebuilding in Florida which has just been through four hurricanes, tornadoes, and flooding. I'd like the USA to give Mexico all the help it can in free trade or trade concessions, so Mexican workers can stop risking their lives by coming here illegally.

Of course, it's much more complicated that that as this Houston Chronicle article shows: "Cemex, the world's third-largest cement company, acknowledges that Mexican prices are high compared to many other markets, and only slightly cheaper than in the United States. But company officials blame expensive energy, labor, transport, distribution and regulatory costs in Mexico, and the absence of government subsidies given to many foreign producers."

Sunday, September 26, 2004

493 Wired Magazine: The Plot to Kill Evolution

Inside the crusade to bring Creationism 2.0 to America's classrooms is the subtitle of this "scary" cover story. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. How do you kill what doesn't exist? I haven't opened the October issue yet, but it will probably soon be up on the Wired website. Arnold was still on the cover when I last looked (September issue). Wired is one of my favorite magazines, much more satisfying in paper than on-line, and great to take along as a companion on trips to the coffee shop. Science and technology are really amazing, but occasionally, the authors who bring them to life for the layman don't have a clue about who started it all.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

492 Is he Nixon? Dean? Edwards? Clark? Gebhardt? Sharpton? Or just plain ol’ 1970s John Kerry?

Kerry’s campaign made Vietnam an issue, and continues to do so. If he’d stepped up to the podium and said, “Reporting for Duty” and then apologized to all the veterans he maligned in the 70s, he’d have gotten the bounce he wanted. These guys are getting old and are willing to forgive and forget. But the wounds he caused are raw and open. Since he became Howard Dean this past week, I don’t know where he’s going now--it’s a crap shoot. Democrats have all their primary candidates rolled into one guy--except maybe Joe Lieberman--depending on the week or month and whether the words are James Carville’s or John Kerry‘s.

The Swiftboat Vets will probably never forgive--O’Neil (who says he would have been voting for Edwards had he been the candidate) debated Kerry 30 years ago and has never backed down--makes the same points today but with more documentation. The Swiftboat Vets 527s are using recordings of Kerry at the hearings, and some left 527s are using recordings of Bush, but far less effectively. Some 527s are just stringing Kerry’s remarks about the war and Saddam in a long series of sound/video bites. Bush has denounced the 527s and Kerry has denounced the publisher of the “Unfit for command” book and demanded that bookstores stop selling it. So much for freedom of speech. Swifties have spent about $500,000 and liberal 527s have spent $63 million. Plus the Dems have that paragon of virtue and character, Michael Moore, playing at first run theaters. For bottom of the barrel advertising, it is the Democrats, hands down.

Now Kerry is repeating history and denigrating our allies, insulting our soldiers and calling the new Iraq leader a liar. He’s hinting at the draft as a possibility. Not a good way to start his administration, if he is going to be the Commander in Chief after January. His billionaire wife calls people she disagrees with “scumbags,“ and tells reporters to “shove it,“ and thinks blacks should support her because she is an “African-American.” We had France and Germany in the coalition for the Gulf War and Kerry voted against it. Last night sound bites on the news had him sounding more unilateral and bellicose than I’ve ever heard from our President. But just days ago he sounded eerily like Nixon promising to get us out of Vietnam and then dragging it out 4 more years. What a team for the White House.

Keep in mind, even if Kerry loses, and I definitely believe he could win, the liberals have won all the wars--presidencies are just battles. Everything the Democrats and I agreed on and supported in the 1970s and 1980s has come about. We parted ways on abortion, but eventually the Republicans will slide into that quicksand too, because they‘ve mimicked their opposition on everything else. I always thought the party that claimed to care about the weakest and poorest, should have stood up for the unborn, but it didn’t.

In my opinion, George W. Bush is far more to the left and liberal than John Kennedy was in 1960--that’s just the movement and direction of the country. I’ve drawn a line in the shifting sand and said I think we’ve gone far enough with the laws on environment, sexual harassment, medical socialism, victimization of every personal problem, and crummy education that demands nothing from the students. Democrats want more laws, I want fewer, or at least I’d like to have the laws on the books enforced (which is what the NCLB was intended to do).

Friday, September 24, 2004

491 Kitty Kelley's Three Reasons to Elect Bush

Andrew Ferguson's review of Kitty Kelley's Bush Family "pathography" begins with a quote from Nancy Sinatra and moves hilariously on from there. He sums it up with three positive anecdotes which he thinks may be reason enough to re-elect President Bush.

I don't want to suggest that "The Family" is completely one-dimensional. Occasionally you come across anecdotes that a lawyer would call an "admission against interest" -- charming stories running counter to Kelley's theme of unrelieved Bush depravity and which can therefore, by the rules of evidence, be presumed true.

Since you won't find these in more sensational accounts of "The Family," I will close with three of them.

Story one: Laura Welch, the future first lady, was still a mystery to the Bush family on the day she married George W. in 1978. The Bush matriarch, Prescott's widow, tried to interrogate her after the ceremony.

``What do you do?'' the old lady asked her.

``I read,'' Laura replied.

Story Two: In 1976 CIA Director George H.W. Bush was tired of Secretary of State Henry Kissinger's gold-plated reputation for brilliance -- exemplified by his insistence on being called ``Dr.''

One CIA aide, referring to ``Dr. Kissinger,'' was quickly corrected by his boss.

``The (expletive deleted) doesn't perform surgery or make house calls, does he?''

Story Three: Though he's disdained Yale since his graduation in 1968, George W. Bush agreed to host a 35th class reunion.

One classmate, Petra Leilani Akwai, had undergone a sex change since graduation, and partygoers waited to see the reaction of Bush -- understood by all correct-thinking liberals to be a crude and backward boor.

Akwai greeted the president in the receiving line.

``You might remember me as Peter when we left Yale,'' she said.

``And now you've come back as yourself,'' Bush said.

It has been said by pious historians that we elect not only a man but his family to the presidency. Taken together, I'd say these three anecdotes -- funny and poignant and revealing -- form the best reason yet for President Bush's re-election. All thanks go to Kitty Kelley.

Full review of Andrew Ferguson at Bloomberg News. Thanks to Independent Women's Forum for the tip.

490 Women Bloggers--Where are You?

My blogroll has a small list of women bloggers, but it has certainly been a pain to track them down. To be fair, a number of women are listed under the library and media category, and there seems to be no shortage of them in that category. Ambra ( is wonderfully refreshing in the under 25 group (perhaps a group of one?), because I see such awful writing, both in content and style, from that group.

Here's my criteria: No trash talking, four letter words, dirty jokes; interests beyond the latest entertainment fluff job; as little angst as possible about being 1) fat, 2) single/divorced or 3) underemployed ; capital letters and standard English; Christian or Jew if possible, but will take any belief system not based on the writer's own navel gazing and "inner spirituality;" some evidence that she has read a newspaper or book recently; liberal or conservative or libertarian is OK, but must adhere to the previous criteria.

I prowl through other's blogrolls; I click through "next blog" at the top of the screen. I know they are out there. Four of them are mine.

489 There is no free lunch

Apparently, the Oprah audience who received the new Pontiacs will be paying about $7,000 in taxes. This was reported on both Fox and NBC local last night, but originally recipients were told the taxes were covered.

488 Kemp and Cisneros--What a Team!

"Of all the Cabinet secretaries who have served in recent decades in Washington, none has done more to energize their bureaucracies than Jack Kemp and Henry Cisneros. Running the backwater Department of Housing and Urban Development between 1989 and 1997, Republican Kemp and Democrat Cisneros used their competitive drive and enthusiasm to draw attention to what may well be America's most neglected issue.

Now the two men have teamed to produce an election-season report outlining a housing agenda for the nation - one that could command support in Congress whatever the outcome of the November vote."

I saw them interviewed on Fox News' Cavuto show last night. This quote is from David Broder's column, and the full article is here. He says the 12 point agenda is neither right or left, but good for those who want to build, preserve or rehab affordable housing. Finally. Now let's hope someone in Congress will pay attention.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

487 Martha and Teresa

George Washington’s election as President was a disappointment to his wife, according to a web site on the Presidents. She wanted to continue living in quiet retirement at Mount Vernon after the war. Nevertheless, she quickly assumed the role of hostess, and first First Lady.

When Teresa Heinz married John Kerry she said, “I’ll go down the aisle, but I won’t cross the aisle.” (Her first husband, whose name she retains, was a Republican.) She added, according to an article in W (a must-read for fashion, beauty and arts insiders, which I looked at today in the doctor‘s office), “for anyone who loves life the prospect of becoming First Lady was worse than going to a Carmelite convent.”

486 Hurricanes and Politics

I've now heard three things about how the hurricanes in Florida and the southeast might affect the coming elections. The first, which I originally heard on Fox News, was that after natural disasters people are so miserable they'll vote against any incumbant;* second, if Bush had been more aggressive about environmental issues, there wouldn't have been so many hurricanes,** and third, more counties that voted for Bush in 2000 were hit than the Gore counties, so it is punishment from God (a liberal's blog comment).*** I haven't heard it mentioned, but if polling places are damaged or voting machines out of whack, there will be law suits to hold up the results. Although the Haitians have suffered the most casualties, and they won't be voting.

*The now-famous quote that August [1992] from Dade County's emergency operations director, Kate Hale — “Where in the hell is the cavalry on this one? For God's sake, where are they?'' — summed up the frustration that many people in Florida voiced in the days after Andrew hit. (Some of Floridians’ anger was also directed at then-Gov. Lawton Chiles, a Democrat, who delayed asking for federal troops.)MSNBC


***Crooked Timber

485 Is this the medical care liberals want for us?

Although I have a degree in Library Science, I never took a "kiddie lit" or young adult lit class, focusing instead on my interests of the 1960s--Soviet studies, Russian literature and cataloging (so much for what you plan for at 24). But I came across a blog today written by a Brit called An Englishman's Castle in which he asks for suggestions for reading for his teen-age son who will be having a replacement cranioplasty and will be hospitalized for awhile.

Then he goes on to the scary part: "his doctor has suggested that he takes his own cup and cutlery in as well as cleaning materials and also to keep a large box of antiseptic wipes by his bed and insist that anyone coming to examine him cleans their hands. I hope he has the balls to do so..."

Even with our system, I remember asking a young medical tech to please wash his hands after he sneezed into them while preparing to examine my eye before the "real" doctor got there. "Oh, it's just allergies," he insisted. But I too insisted, and he reluctantly did as I asked. Some days you gotta have the balls. . .

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

484 The joy of cartoon memories

Did you have a favorite book at Grandma's house? When visiting my father's parents we cousins could walk to the town movie theater to get away from the boring adult conversation. However, when visiting my maternal grandparents, who lived on a farm, entertainment was a bit more old fashioned--playing in the out buildings, climbing trees, creating villages with a box of wooden blocks, playing the card game "Authors," or looking through dusty, old books. Not a bad way to spend a boring Sunday afternoon.

When my family visited that same farm house, about a decade after my grandparents were gone and my mother had converted the house to a retreat center for church groups and family reunions, my own children entertained themselves with the same activities (no TV). They would reach for a favorite book which was a compilation of cartoons from the late 19th century through the 1940s, Cartoon Cavalcade. It was most likely a People's Book Club selection (like Book of the Month but through Sears). It was my mother's book, and I had spent many hours browsing it when I was little. Many of her books migrated to the farm house to provide just such entertainment for quiet week-ends.

Good cartoons are difficult to create and probably even harder to understand from a distance of 50 years. For that reason I thoroughly enjoyed the wonderful entry at Library Dust for September 19 on H. T. Webster, the creator of the Casper Milquetoast character, whose work is now rarely seen except in libraries' cartoon collections. McGrorty writes:

"Where I will go is out on a limb enough to suggest that Webster is one of the finest cartoonists the country has ever seen in the pages of its newspapers. Cartooning is a difficult line of work. The artist has to create images that will become familiar without going stale over a considerable period of time, and always be amusing: funny, wry, hysterical or any of the other degrees of mirth must be produced with regularity, which effect requires a great understanding of human nature and an evocative power that must be strong but operate with no wires showing. If you do not think this is so, try to sketch the future panels of your favorite strip in your head—just see if you can follow the formula. It is difficult because the cartoon is such a precise balance of things, all familiar and practically sacred to the regular reader—who nevertheless requires frequent shifts in focus and theme upon the established base."

Click over to Library Dust and read some excellent writing about this cartoonist. Then blow the dust off one of your favorite books.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

483 Yet another position for Kerry

Last week in the Washington Post Charles Krauthammer wrote, “If the election were held today, John Kerry would lose by between 58 and 100 electoral votes. The reason is simple: the central vulnerability of this president -- the central issue of this campaign -- is the Iraq War. And Mr. Kerry has nothing left to say. Why? Because, until now, he has said everything conceivable regarding Iraq. Having taken every possible position on the war, there is nothing he can now say that is even remotely credible.”

Not so. John Kerry has changed his stance again. He’s taking a very hard line now--sort of sounds more like Howard Dean in the primaries than Dean. I heard the latest version (along with recordings of his previous pro-war positions in 2002 and 2003) on talk radio this morning. I wanted to cite a specific neutral source. I “googled” the phrase, “John Kerry’s latest position Iraq” just now and got over 100,000 matches. Now, there really haven’t been that many, but I’d guess easily 9 or 10.

One Democrat I read today said that finally Kerry had a message that people could understand--it had a subject, verb and predicate. And he laughs at President Bush’s speech?

482 Stars and Stripes in her Eyes

Melanie Phillips has returned to Britian after a brief stay in New York with "stars and stripes in her eyes," she says in the September 15 Jewish Chronicle.

"It’s the sheer energy of the place that strikes you, the sense of can-do, the certainty that people can improve life for themselves and others and that setbacks can be overcome. Serving others is not a chore but a pleasure, because satisfaction is to be gained from making someone’s life that bit easier or nicer. You get the impression that people are glad to be part of the same human race as you.

What a difference from cynical, depressed, defeatist Britain. Yes, the US lacks subtlety; yes, sometimes it’s brutal and primitive (think of its prison system). But that sense of optimism, the belief in the future, is a precious commodity."

A Brit I met at the coffee shop last year said the same thing--and he'd been here for thirty years! He said he noticed the difference immediately.

Monday, September 20, 2004

481 Don't Mess with this Mama!

Lauri homeschools her brood and is proud of it. She home schools because she believes it is the best way for her children to get an excellent education. And she's really irritated that some feminist is questioning her motives.

"The crux of Ms. Boyce's problem with home schooling, I suspect, is the "don't tread on me" American ingenuity that is HS. To HS one has to believe they can educate their children not the state, that they, not the state, know what is best. And most folks do not question the superiority of HS because it is obvious, they question their ability to hs because it takes hard work and dedication. The honest folks state they couldn't do it (HS), the dishonest tell others they shouldn't do it (HS)."

Read her excellent rant here.

Note: I'm trying to update my "blogroll," but after several hours, still can't find the error, so the page may not be working quite right. I'll try later. Right now it is time to go. . . to the library!

Sunday, September 19, 2004

480 How Myths about Librarians Get Started

Although I have two shelves of older unanalyzed first issues, I was reading two of my newer titles, Cottage Living and Find! to put in my hobby blog, In the Beginning, which is about first issue magazines. A man I see frequently in the coffee shop stopped at my table.

"You're always reading," he said. "I wish I had more time, I'd read." (This is either a lie or a fantasy told by most non-readers--he probably finds time to do what he really enjoys. Golf. Fishing. Watching TV.)

"I'm a retired librarian--you know, that's all we ever do--just read," I joked.

He asked where I had worked and I told him the Veterinary Medicine Library at Ohio State, and he said he is there frequently in his job as a caterer. He was quite jolly, and I'm sure he believed me that librarians read all day--that's how rumors get started--over coffee and jokes.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

479 Christmas is Coming!

Harry and David, L.L. Bean, and Cheryl's Cookies catalogs all arrived last week. Sigh.

478 The Price of Pork

Was it Hurricane Opal or Floyd or both that brought us all those photos of dead pigs floating in flooded fields at those huge hog farms in the south? There’s another kind of rotten pork, and that’s the smelly stuff that gets included in bills intended to help people in the devastated areas. Both parties do it--pork is an equal opportunity diet--and apparently it will be added to hurricane relief in supplemental bills.

“Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) today issued a Category 5 warning to taxpayers that members of Congress are preparing to take advantage of the devastation caused by Hurricanes Charley, Frances, and Ivan to fund their own parochial projects. House Appropriations Chairman Bill Young (R-Fla.) will introduce an emergency supplemental bill to help pay for damages caused by the storms, and members are already looking for ways to tack on pork.

“Congress simply has no shame. Knowing that this is most likely the last opportunity to bring home the bacon before the election, members are busy maneuvering behind the scenes to add their pet projects to the emergency supplemental,” CAGW President Tom Schatz said. “Considering the record $422 billion budget deficit this year, loading the bill with pork could be more costly than cleaning up after the three hurricanes.” "

Full comments on this story with other pork classics at this site. The “King of Pork” is Democrat Robert Byrd according the CAGW.

Friday, September 17, 2004

477 The Reunion

Books in my house have conversations with each other and me. They complain that they aren’t happy here at the condo because of the stationary shelving. They have to congregate and socialize with volumes of similar size instead of similar interests--as though our home were some sort of storage facility!

Books aren’t the only physical objects that speak to me. In the morning I take out a china cup decorated with rabbits that belonged to my Mother, and I say, “Hi, Mom, let‘s have tea.” When I need just a little coverage from the fall breezes I slip on Dad’s oversized, shabby, royal blue baseball jacket and say, “Thanks for the protection, Dad.”

Today I’ve planned a reunion for my parents’ bedroom suite from the 1950s. I’m guessing that the pieces have been separated for over 40 years. My father always suffered from painful back spasms and was a restless sleeper who rose before 5 a.m. to go out on his truck. So the earliest bedroom suite I remember is a deep reddish brown, hard rock maple set with twin beds, a dressing table with a mirror, and a five drawer tall bureau. There used to be a dressing table bench, but that seems to have disappeared.

In the 1960s I believe my parents converted to a king size bed and tried several styles, including a waterbed. The twin beds and dressing table went to the farm home of my grandparents which my mother was converting into a religious retreat center. They kept the bureau for their own use. After they gave the farm to my brother in the late 1980s, the beds and dressing table came to us in Columbus, and in a few years they migrated to our second home in Lakeside on Lake Erie.

Mother died in 2000 and Dad in 2002. Because his house was to be sold, children and grandchildren took what they could immediately after the funeral. We could just get the bureau into the back of the SUV. It came to live with us here in the condo guest room, and we brought the dressing table down from the cottage to keep it company. Today my husband and son-in-law are driving to the Lake in the remnants of Hurricane Ivan to bring the beds back to Columbus. Our double bed from the guest room and my daughter’s baby dresser (both green) will settle in at the Lake house to welcome guests there.

The room is freshly painted and matching bedspreads and sheets in moss green and pastels have been purchased. A “South Hannah Avenue” street sign will be attached to the wall. A painting of lilacs similar to those on the bush that decorated our yard on Hannah Avenue will hang in the room, and a 1950s photo of my parents will be on the dresser. Mother liked to read at night so I may put a book or two from the 50s near one of the beds. If my memory has failed here and the set originated in another house in another decade, just don’t tell me. I’m having too much fun planning this reunion.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

476 Today's Nest Egg Hasn't Changed Much

Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal had an article about Social Security in which it claims that people didn’t have retirement nest eggs before the 1930s--this apparently written by a young person who believes owning stock is the only way to a sound retirement--therefore Social Security was born. The pre-1930 plan was to own assets and to have adult children to help. Not everyone did, of course, just as today not everyone buys stock or has 401(k)s or IRAs.

Social Security was never intended to be a retirement fund which could support any standard of living above rock bottom. It has been an extremely badly managed government program and will never be as good as privately managed funds because the government has never invested it for growth, but used it for other programs. It is a safety net period, and should be reserved for those who were unable to work to contribute to their own accounts. Today’s workers are paying for my husband’s check--he is not receiving the payout of his efforts.

My husband contributed the maximum every year he worked, and his monthly Social Security is about $1,500. My STRS pension is about the same, and I’m not eligible for the wife’s portion of Social Security. Although it might be possible to live on this, we’d certainly have to slim down somewhere--our auto and house insurance bill came this week and it is over $2,000. Our long-term care insurance is over $3,000 a year. Our annual health insurance I haven’t exactly figured out yet, but even with Medicare, it will be around $5,700 for the two of us. So just our insurance takes close to one-third of our retirement income, and we haven’t even gotten to taxes yet.

Our real estate taxes are over $5,000. Our local income taxes are about $300 a quarter and our federal taxes about $1500 a quarter, plus the $360 annually taken from my pension which I think totals about $7,560. Add to the taxes and insurance, our church tithe of 10% of our gross income, and I think we’re left with less than $100 a month for both of us from our combined pension/social security.

So please, Mr. Young Guy at the Wall Street Journal, don’t tell me retired people today are a lot better off than the 1930s because of Social Security! Fortunately, we do have adult children, and have invested in real estate, just the way our grandparents did.

474 A Car for Dan Rather

The USAToday (4b) has an article on fake, vintage automobiles. The 1972 Oldsmobile 442 is one of the more common fakes. It was (is) a beautiful car. We could have purchased a red convertible 442 in 1985 from a neighbor. I think he wanted $5,000, but I don't remember exactly. It was within the realm of possibility. But I said no--after all, we had a 16 year old son.

"It takes someone with a lot of knowledge to catch a phony," says Dan Mershon of Springfield, OH. He was fooled and sold one--but gave the buyer his money back five years later when the forgery was discovered.

Imagine that. A used car salesman more honest than a TV journalist!

I was a bit puzzled Tuesday when watching coverage of Bush's speech before the National Guard members. I saw coverage on CNN, Fox, ABC, and read the story Wednesday in the Columbus Dispatch, and USAToday. All the news media pointed out that Bush didn't mention the controversy surrounding his time in the Guard. CNN made it the high point of its story, not the speech itself--and replayed it numerous times.

Should he have cast aspersions on Dan Rather's forged documents? Should he have asked why he has called Kerry's service honorable, but Kerry has maligned all the Guard by disparaging Bush's service? Should he have pointed out how all Guard service during Vietnam has been impuned by the Democrats since Dan Quayle was the Vice President?

50,000 Guard and Reservists are on active duty. Every time the Democrats cast doubt on one, they probably send two more to the voting booth for Bush.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

473 A teen-ager is a murderer, but a doctor provides a service?

Here in Ohio, a young teen-ager (15) went to jail for murdering her newborn. She says the baby was dead when born and she was frightened and put the body in a trash can.

Jill Stanek says she has talked to hospital staff who say that after “live birth abortions” the still alive, viable baby is put in a biohazard bag and smothered or drowned. This what a nurse told her:

“I saw a lot of babies born alive…. Dr. X said that was a side effect of a medication. They always said to leave the baby alone, and they would stop breathing…. Two hours was the longest I saw a baby live…. One girl was 26-27 weeks….

They put the babies in red biohazard bags when they were still moving… tied the bag up… put them in a biohazard box. The biohazard medical service would pick boxes up Monday and Thursday.

Dr. X would insert the medication and send the women home. They were told to come back the next day.

There was one incident where the woman had the baby while she was waiting at the door for the clinic to open. She got there at 7a. The clinic opened at 8a. She said the baby was born alive. The baby was now dead, and she was holding the baby in a bag. She was bleeding.

I was in the room when Dr. X gave the digoxin to stop that baby’s heartbeat beforehand. [Digoxin is a medication inserted by needle through a mother’s abdomen into a baby’s heart to cause instant cardiac arrest.]

Well, he didn’t have an ultrasound machine that day. He inserted the needle blindly. He said he’d been doing it so many years, he knew the location. But he didn’t actually know if he hit the heart.

I know this nurse Bridget. She was working there when the new doctor held a baby under water in a bucket when she told him the baby was alive. That baby was between 25-26 weeks. Bridget left two months ago because of that.

I left because I got tired of everything going on and the fact Dr. X would coach women into saying they were going to kill themselves if they didn’t abort. Then he said he had a legal right to do it past viability. He did them all the way to 40.” weeks.

Full story here.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Monday, September 13, 2004

471 New Charges Against Bush--He Lied in 1978!

Now there is a new Democratic 527 campaign to say that Bush lied about being in the Air Force, because he was in the Air National Guard. This complaint is about the wording in campaign literature from a 1978 race. Why are the Democratic 527s into this hanging chad mentality? If they are trying to establish a pattern of lies, this is really weak. Kerry’s is much stronger--the pattern, that is.

But if you look at all the papers which have been released, they say he is in the Air Force Reserves AND the Air National Guard. Kerry was in the Naval Reserve, but I’m quite sure I’ve heard him referred to as a Navy officer, and also a solider. His own website calls his records, “Naval Records.” Then if you go to Air Force online magazine and click on “Almanac,” you’ll see all the various parts of the Air Force displayed, and it includes both the Air Force Reserves and the Air National Guard.

Here’s what Jerry Killian wrote about George W. Bush upon promotion to 2nd Lt.
3. Lt Bush is a dynamic outstanding young officer. He clearly stands out as a top notch fighter interceptor pilot. Lt Bush is possessed of sound judgement, yet is a tenacious competitor and an aggressive pilot. He is mature beyond his age and experience level as evidenced by his recent participation in the unit firing deployment. During his deployment, Lt Bush delivered both primary and secondary weapons from the F-102. The tactics and procedures conformed to a test project and were, therefore, more difficult to perform. Lt Bush performed in an outstanding manner, bringing credit to himself and the unit. He also participated in a practice element deployment and practiced simulated weapons delivery on varying geometrics and tactics solutions. Lt Bush’s skills far exceed his contemporaries. He is a natural leader whom his contemporaries look to for leadership. Lt Bush is also a good follower with outstanding disciplinary traits and an impeccable military bearning. He reflects credit upon himself and the Air National Guard. Lt Bush possesses vast potential and should be promoted well ahead of his contemporaries.

Read all the Bush papers at this site.

I don’t believe John Kerry has released all his records, but there are some files about his medals (did you know he had medals?) and requests on his Kerry Edwards Page.

470 The Forgeries--Who Dunnit?

I used to write my library's newsletter in the mid-80s with an old IBM Selectric (possibly early 70s?) and was pretty good at it--had correctible type (a white ribbon) and balls for changing type fonts. It was tricky changing the font, but I learned. Reading this story about the IBM Selectric Composer which may be the only typewriter in the early 70s that could have come close to creating those forged Bush Guard memos, really brought back memories, and reminded me of how grateful I am for word processing and for the 70-80 wpm speed I learned on a typewriter. Even so, no researcher, not even a librarian, could have pulled this together so quickly before Google.

The web site of the Selectric History page has this message:

"Sorry, but due to excessive hits, this page is temporarily out of service.

Please check back after the election.

For those who want my opinion...the documents appear to be done in Word, and then copied repeatedly to make them "fuzzy". They use features that were not available on office typewriters the 1970s, specifically the combination of proportional spacing with superscript font. The IBM Executive has proportional spacing, but used fixed type bars. The Selectric has changeable type elements, but fixed spacing (some models could be selected at 10 or 12 pitch, but that's all). The Selectric Composer was not an office typewriter, but apparently did use proportional spacing. These were very expensive machines, used by printing offices, not administrative offices."

If you are too young to remember electric typewriters or had secretaries to do your typing, you would not want to use even the office model Selectric typewriter today . Photo of type balls in e-bay.

Who created and planted the forgeries? I'm leaning toward the Clinton camp as pulling a scam on CBS. The Republicans wouldn't want to put anything out there that kept up the discussion, even misinformation, about the guard service. Especially the way the media covers things--sometimes when I've heard this story on the radio, the majority of it deals not with the possible scam of CBS, but the content of the memo, even though the report claims to be about the forgery. Some commentators (Juan Williams, for instance) seem to think it is the message, not the forgery, that is important.

The Clintons have apparently successfully unloaded James Carville, a CNN employee, on the Kerry-Edwards campaign, which sets them up for all sorts of problems. Carville is married to Mary Matalin, a Bush advisor, so I suppose he could be just posing as a Kedwards supporter, but it sets the Democrats up for even more accusations of media bias than they already have. Plus, Carville regularly makes a fool of himself in front of millions as a loud mouth, news analyst (entertainer) on cable. He can make Rush Limbaugh look and sound like a mild mannered Episcopalian priest.

The Old Media has tried to disparage the bloggers who uncovered the forgeries. Jonathan Klein of CBS looks down on bloggers: "A guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas." Amy Ridenour says, “Let make sure some of these jammies are pink nighties, so when people in jammies are running rings around his well-dressed ace reporters, Jonny will receive a reminder that not all bloggers are guys." Amy is on my blogroll.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

469 Letters from the Guard

Letters are posted anonymously at Andrew Sullivan, who dislikes Bush intensely, because he is gay and doesn’t like Bush’s stand on marriage. The letters aren’t particularly easy to find, or read (white on navy, narrow columns, almost indistinguishable from Sullivan’s comments), otherwise I‘d just link to this. But I thought this one was interesting.

“RE: The Bush AWOL charges: I have worked fulltime for the National Guard for 20 years have been in charge of payroll documents, which are what are mainly used to chronicle reserve service. I have followed this stuff when it was exposed by the LA Times back in 2000 and I was prepared to not support Bush if the charges were proven true. I've seen copies of the records and what Dems are saying is a distortion of the record. A drilling guardsman is required to have 50 points per year to have a "good" year. His records show that he met this requirement, sometimes many times over . . .

The press approach to Kerrys service records has been the exact opposite of their approach concerning Bush's service records, which should be a big enough clue as to what the objective is here. This isn't a quest for objective truth telling. It's a naked attempt to try to lift their rather pathetic candidate out of the ditch he has dug for himself. Also, the only reason the press has any of these records is because President Bush signed a SF 180 authorizing them to access his records. John Kerry won't sign one. I wonder why?”

Saturday, September 11, 2004

468 The September 11 Anniversary

September 11, 1960 Posted by Hello

It is our 44th wedding anniversary. For our 40th, we went to Illinois and worshipped in the Church of the Brethren where we were married. At my father’s home we hosted a brunch for the dwindling group of relatives and friends who still live there. I was on vacation that September, due to retire from Ohio State on October 1 and running out the clock on my vacation time.

We laughed about what an unusual anniversary it was--we'd spent the week-end in lumber stores and paint shops helping my Dad fix up the Lustron he bought after my mother died. And I always say "we" although only my husband did the exhausting work. I just cooked and cleaned, using ingenuity since Dad thought no one would visit after Mom died and had disposed of most of the cooking utensils and had only 2 plates and flatware settings.

Yes, we thought it an odd anniversary. Little did we know that the next one, September 11, 2001, would be so different, no one would forget it. I watched the re-cap/memorial on CNN that was apparently put together for the 2002 anniversary (I‘m guessing from the copyright date). Although it brought back a lot of horrifying memories, I also saw many things I hadn’t seen before, such as recollections of the press core that was with President Bush on that day and footage of the minutes and hours immediately following the news. He definitely has a stunned look on his face as he sits with the children and you can almost see him composing words of comfort and rallying points--which he then did effortlessly before he rushed to his plane to go to an underground site for a strategy meeting. Hardly a word was different than what he says today.

As I’ve watched Al Gore implode over the last four years from a capable, honest statesman in Clinton’s shadow who won the 2000 popular vote but not the electoral vote into a bitter, hysterical enemy of the administration, I wonder if he could have possibly shown the strength, endurance and steadfastness President Bush has shown, or would he have collapsed under the weight and pressure?

467 Desk top icons

The desktop icons always seem to be either congregating when I don't want them, or disappearing when I do. Now The Illustrated Librarian refers to a site that shows what happens to them when we aren't looking. Caution--violence. Get the children out of the room. Unless they are helping you with the computer.

Club for Growth has a Kerry ad I haven't seen in Ohio, called Blowing in the Wind. CFG is a 527. Democrats have raised much more money in their 527s, but the GOP is catching up, according to this Washington Times article.

There's a photo of the source of the forgery plaguing CBS at their own site! Upper left column. Typewriter looks quite authentic.

Wonderful postcards of motels from the 1950s, arranged by state. You're sure to recognize some of them.

Friday, September 10, 2004

466 How the American Library Association responded to September 11

Greg over at Shush has taken a nostalgic stroll through American Libraries, November 2001, the house organ of American Library Association. The article is not online--for all ALA says about freedom of information, its own archives are only available for subscribers, even though many professional and commercial journals allow readers to see non-current issues.

Greg points out the paucity of information on the terrorist attacks, and the immediate launch into warnings about anti-terrorism bills being proposed in Washington.

Another anniversary piece is at Victor Davis Hanson's site:

Chechen Islamicists burn up Russian airliners and shoot schoolgirls . . . Beheaders in Iraq decapitate Americans, Pakistanis, Koreans, Japanese, and Nepalese . . . Italian humanitarians and charity workers are kidnapped by Islamicists. In the "holy" city of Najaf, religious extremists bomb innocents . . . Islamic terrorists kidnap French journalists and threaten them with execution . . . Hamas "freedom fighters" blow up buses inside Israel and call the dead children Zionists who belong in the sea . . . Islamic fascists incinerate dozens in Madrid. . . Australians in Bali are engulfed in flame by car bombers for the felony of being Western visitors in an Islamic enclave . . ." and so forth.

Meanwhile, back in the United States, it is business as usual for the ALA. Even if it kills you, no government official will ever see your library record. Especially if you are a terrorist.

Thanks Greg, for reminding so many of us why we never joined.

465 Pondering the ceilings

Some women encounter the "glass ceiling" in their professions--i.e., you can see the top, you just can't get there. Then there is the expression "hit the ceiling" meaning to loose your temper. I spend a lot of time pondering the ceilings in our condo. It took me awhile to discover that the deep hued wall colors had also been on the ceiling when the guy decorators lived here. The next two owners had lightened things up a bit, and painted the den ceiling and living room ceiling and the bedroom ceilings white. The ceiling of the dining room was still orange and the ceiling of the family room and hall were still red when we moved here in January 2002.

Today I decided to climb on a stool and try to wipe what I thought was glue from the wall paper off the ceiling of my bathroom. It is wild wallpaper, but I sort of like it. It looks like huge voluptuous folds of beige satan with red/pink tassles around the border. The cabinets are painted black and the marble is sort of beige/cream. Really, a bit decadent, but a fun place to wake up in at 5 a.m.

Well, when I steadied myself on the stool grasping the door for support, imagine my surprise when I found out that it wasn't glue at all, but the formerly red/pink ceiling color. I suppose whoever painted the ceiling white missed a few spots trying to avoid those tassles.

464 Former VVAW wants to apologize to veterans

Steven J. Pitkin appeared at the "Winter Soldier Investigation" conducted in Detroit in 1971 by former Navy Lieutenant John Kerry and his group, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, but now says he never intended to testify and that his statements were coerced. . . He says that he wants to apologize to Vietnam veterans for what he did and said as a young man.

"The VVAW found me during a difficult time in my life, and I let them use me to advance their political agenda," Pitkin said. "They pressured me to tell their lies, but that's no excuse for what I did. I just want people to know the truth and to make amends as best I can. I'd hate to see the troops serving today have to go through what Vietnam veterans did."

Another group, Vietnam Veterans for the Truth, will hold a rally in Washington, DC on September 12.”

Full story is here.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

463 Military deferments in the 1960s

After watching the Democrats complain about Cheney's deferments, I asked my husband if he knew how many deferments he had had during the 60s. He didn't have a clue. Most men of that era probably don't. I wonder how long it would take to dig up records of the Indianapolis draft board from 1957-1967. (I haven't researched this date, but I think after age 28, you weren't drafted, so age was also a factor. During WWI my grandfather was required to sign up for the draft at age 44.)

It is my recollection that we had to report anything that would change his classification. One time he was out of school to earn money and found out he was within 2 numbers of being called, so he re-enrolled. It was a constant roller coaster, and whether each change was a deferment, I don't know.

There were many ways to get deferments--education was the big one, and having a baby was probably next. Then they decided to defer all married men, so I assume some guys got married. There was nothing "fair" about the draft, just like taxes on the rich--there are always loop-holes for those who can afford accountants and tax lawyers and shelter their wealth in foundations. We were poor and at the bottom, so that only left an educational deferment (besides, we had married while undergraduates).

It was a very badly run war and I never met a single guy who wanted to go. "Volunteers," like Kerry, had been denied their deferments (he told the Harvard Crimson when the war was unpopular). I'm sure there were actual volunteers; I just never met any. I had a classmate who had enlisted in 1957, and went back for the Gulf War, but I think he was out when VietNam heated up.

There are many urban legends out there about Bill Clinton's deferments, but this site seems to set the record straight. The fact is, deferments were legal, and I don't recall anyone my age or 10 years younger who turned down the opportunity to defer their military service.

Democrats had no problem with Clinton’s record. The so called “new” revelations about Bush’s National Guard service don’t sound particularly startling. It has long been known that during his final year he served the minimum days. All this was vetted in 2000 by his opponents in the Republican primaries. What is clear is that he hasn’t asked anyone to elect him because of his VietNam era service.

462 Title Inflation

A young acquaintance is job hunting. She's 18 and just graduated from high school (looks about 12). So I looked through the OSU job postings on-line. No one is a file clerk, gardener or janitor anymore. There are no technicians or mechanics or waiters.

Now we have instructional aides and assistants, custodial workers, nutrition aides, patient care assistants and associates, communication coordinators and team members. We have classroom technologies specialists and restaurant servers. In one category a "worker" gets three cents more an hour than "attendant," but the job description isn't terribly informative. Only the wage scale tells me it is entry level.

Many departments have information assistants and associates. I think my field would do well to hang on to "librarian." Forget that "information specialist" and "information architect" nonsense. Stay with a term that has some class.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

461 Kerry the Politician

Brendan Miniter says Kerry will lose because he isn’t a very good politician. I wouldn’t count on that. The hatred for Bush is palpable even for people who don’t particularly like or support Kerry. Here’s what Miniter wrote in the September 7 Wall Street Journal.

“Mr. Kerry's problem is much worse than having phoned it in for 20 years in the Senate. Somehow he has built a political career without ever developing the skill of connecting with people or being able to read the pulse of the electorate. In the 1980s, he opposed nearly every new weapons system the Reagan administration rolled out. In the 1990s he fought to slash intelligence funding. Both look like clear mistakes now. On Vietnam, he misread how the electorate would react to his antiwar record. Some Democrats actually argued Mr. Kerry would be popular among veterans. So Mr. Kerry thought he was giving voters what they wanted to hear when he responded to the GOP convention by getting on TV at midnight to talk about Vietnam and whine about imagined attacks on his patriotism. Democrats politely say that he's not very charismatic, but the truth is that he's like a tone-deaf musician who stumbles into a gig at Carnegie Hall and can't understand why the crowd doesn't cheer.”

Full editorial here. [Unlike the New York Times, the WSJ doesn’t try to pass of editorial opinion as “news.”]

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

460 The Recession and the Recovery

The Kerry Campaign posted 143 inaccuracies heard during the speeches of the four day Republican National Convention last week in New York. Unfortunately, they didn’t provide the information to refute them. Now they’ve taken the list down. With all that money in the 527s couldn’t they hire a few librarians to double check the record? Anyway, Captain’s Quarters has cached the list so I looked at them. Democrats didn’t like #65 and #66 at all.

“65. Cheney: “As President Bush and I were sworn into office, our nation was sliding into recession…” [Cheney Remarks, 9/1/04]

66. Chao: “Thanks to President Bush’s tax relief, the economy is expanding, creating more than 1.5 million new jobs in the last eleven months. Today, the national unemployment rate is lower than the average for the 1970s, 80s, and 90s.” [Remarks at the Republican National Convention, 9/1/04]

But I can show anyone who wants to look at my portfolio of mid-2000, six months before the current administration took office, when the tech sector was beginning to implode, and that same portfolio in December 2003 when it had more than recovered.

Mr. Kerry, you and your staff as you swing through Ohio are welcome at my house. I’ll dig out the files and show you. Just don’t ask me to make coffee.

459 Why we need to pay very close attention to Beslan massacre

Melanie Phillips (British) comments on the blindness of many westerners about the terrorism in Beslan that murdered and maimed and terrorized so many school children. She draws comparisons and points fingers at the ineffective Russian response to Chechen terrorists.

“When the US was repeatedly attacked by Islamic terrorism throughout the 1980s and 1990s, it merely sat on its hands, made token responses, or decided to cut and run. Osama bin Laden concluded from this that the US was weak. We know this because he said so. And so he unleashed 9/11.

But instead of learning the correct lesson that the current horrors are the result of such a failure to act, the west has succumbed to historical amnesia over those previous attacks. It is convulsed instead by hysteria over the war on Iraq, with absurd conspiracy theories about Zionists and ‘neo-conservatives’ surfacing instead almost daily in the mainstream media and driving out rational debate.”

See the complete article at A war like no other

From her bio: Melanie Phillips is a British journalist and author. She is best known for her controversial column about political and social issues which currently appears in the Daily Mail. Awarded the Orwell Prize for journalism in 1996, she is the author of All Must Have Prizes, an acclaimed study of Britain’s educational and moral crisis, which provoked the fury of educationists and the delight and relief of parents.

Monday, September 06, 2004

458 Language cleanup

Sometimes the convolutions to revise our language so that nothing offends anyone really are ridiculous. However, I am a bit surprised that a bi-partisan bill to remove “colored” when referring to race from the Ohio Revised Code insurance laws hasn’t been done before. That wasn’t even an acceptable term when I was in college over 45 years ago before all the political correctness started! H.B. 233, 125th General Assembly, Ohio. Apparently that part of the Code wasn’t looked at often.

457 Easiest recipes from Illinois

While looking up the strike at the Kable printing plant, I came across a site that has digitized some Illinois periodicals. Browsing the 2004 issue of Illinois Country Living, I came across a group of easy-prep recipes. Particularly the first one--the 3 ingredient cookie--sounded easy enough. I haven't tried any of them, but I will bookmark that page to try.

456 Steubenville and Mt. Morris

Mr. Kerry was in Steubenville, Ohio this past week. I read that protestors made up half the crowd, which wasn’t very large. Ohio gets a lot of attention from both the President and the man who would be President. I certainly hope he didn’t bring up that tired nonsense about outsourcing and manufacturing jobs. Steubenville is part of Ohio’s “rustbelt,” and it was killed by the unions in the 1970s, when they wouldn’t allow companies to eliminate jobs by improving technology, something that all companies do. First, companies just moved out of state--now they move out of the country. You wouldn’t be working at a computer right now if your department had kept all its secretaries and clerks and hadn’t forced you into learning word processing.

The effects of a strike at a printing plant in my home town in Illinois which was never satisfactorily settled (and the strikers moved on to well paid jobs in Mississippi), lingers today, 30 years later. It was the lesser paid workers and all the small businesses that depended on a flourishing company that suffered. The economic disaster caused by this strike was worse than the fire that demolished the town’s college in 1931.

“How much the community benefited from the company was demonstrated on May 10, 1974. On that day photo engravers at the company began a strike. A week later the book binders joined them on the picket line. This strike continued for six and a half years, one of the longest in northern Illinois' history. The enrollment in the Mount Morris schools declined in the strike years. Many community leaders feared Mount Morris would become a ghost town when many of the Kable employees found work elsewhere and moved away. After the strike ended, everything began to look much brighter for the community. The strike seriously depressed the community's economy.” The Kable Brothers Company

People less committed to the town's values began to move in, people who didn't care about education, churches and helping your neighbor. Bond issues failed. Now the town has lost its high school and is bussing its children to the next town, and may soon lose its elementary school, which burned down in a disastrous fire this year.

A town without a school system has no soul; a town with a greedy union has no heart.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

455 What they didn't say

“Tonight I will talk about this good man and his fine record leading our country. And I may say a word or two about his opponent. I am also mindful that I have an opponent of my own. People tell me that Senator Edwards got picked for his good looks, his sex appeal, and his great hair. I say to them — how do you think I got the job?”

That’s good for a chuckle. But I ran a word check on the entire speech and neither Cheney nor President Bush ever said Kerry was “unfit” (alluding to the Swiftboat vets ad), nor did they question his patriotism. So why is the Washington Post (Thursday) and Kerry saying they did?

Full Text of Vice President Cheney’s speech

Full Text of President Bush’s speech

454 Boys will be boys

Friday night at the fireworks on the lakefront we had the opportunity to see families enjoying the last week-end of the summer season. We took our lawn chairs down about 8:30, but the first blast didn't go off for about 30 minutes. Looking around, I noticed three things, two timeless and the other timely.

First, little boys were running, wrestling, shouting Karate moves, ordering the other children to watch (one little guy actually said, "Now, feast your eyes on this!") and being belligerent in front of the little girls who licked their lollipops, played with little lighted worms, and quietly watched the little boys acting like chipmunks on speed.

Second, the older adults (50+) quietly conversed with each other and the group on the next blanket, or snuggled in the cooler air. They watched the children and reminisced and told stories of an earlier, but similar time.

Third, the teens and young adults, bored with the wait, pulled out their cell phones, making little spots of light throughout the crowd waiting in the dark, checking for messages, talking to people not a part of our little community, and taking digital photos of the people who were.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

453 Multiplying shirts and shrinking pants

We are packing to go home for a few weeks, leaving some clothing here at the lake house for the cooler fall days in September and October. Seemed a good time to straighten out the folded items in the dresser. My goodness! The t-shirts have multiplied and all the jeans have shrunk!

My husband has been teaching VBS since 1993, and has 8 of those shirts here--electric lime green, black, brilliant royal blue, white, etc. I attended the Medical Library Association meetings from 1989 to 1999 (didn't attend my last year since I hate good-byes) and have the "Walk with Majors" t-shirts--about 8 of them, mostly white or red. Then there are the Lakeside t-shirts, most too scruffy to wear, but which are "favorites," two of our own design, a Tony Packo shirt (restaurant, Toledo) and a University of Illinois shirt. Then there were 5 plain t-shirts from Wal-Mart in beautiful (to me) colors. Also I uncovered five t-shirts we had designated as "work shirts" some time back but had misplaced. I think some of those mysteriously travelled up from Columbus at different times.

There is a pair of jeans 33 x 30 that should be my husband's but he claims they don't meet in the middle by 2 inches and swears they aren't his. I found a pair of women's jeans in a size 8 petite. When was I ever that small? When I was 12? Also a pair of loden green jeans I bought up here at a yard sale for $1.00, but are now too small.

Before leaving for Chicago I ran my hose and we dashed off to the store because I couldn't find any in the drawer. I've found seven, never worn, new pair this morning, still in the package, buried under the multiplying t-shirts and shrinking pants. Summer wardrobe rabbit sydrome.

Friday, September 03, 2004

452 What Kerry Could Do

Paul Cella writes at Tech Central that Kerry has two choices to get out of his VietNam dilemma:
(1) He could boldly stand by his position of some thirty years ago, when he went before Congress as an eloquent antiwar voice; he could reassert the view he propounded then, which was the view of the antiwar movement in general: namely, that the United States military, during the war it conducted in Vietnam, became in essence a criminal organization, from top to bottom countenancing and even encouraging cruelty, plunder, atrocity and mayhem. Now I want to say, in all sincerity, that if it is true what the John Kerry and antiwar movement alleged; if it is true that the whole institution of the military was implicated in the most awful of crimes, that events such as the My Lai massacre were not evil anomalies, but quotidian features of the war effort -- policy, even, promulgated implicitly or surreptitiously by its commanders; if the war was waged not by mostly honorable officers, mostly honorable soldiers, and a few cowards, madmen and psychopaths, but rather by a throng of fiends; if, in short, the American military conducted itself in Vietnam not as the armed force of a civilized nation, but as the savage and sanguinary instrument of a barbarian tribe, then Senator Kerry should stand by his condemnation. Indeed, he should thunder it from the rooftops. Patriotism that gives succor to such wickedness is no virtue; it is vicious madness.

Alternatively, (2) Kerry could repudiate his previous statements root and branch as reckless, inflammatory, malicious imprudence; attribute it to a terrible fever that overtook him and parts of the country; and beg forgiveness from his fellow veterans and the American people whom he slandered so venomously. I, for one, would forgive him.
Cella doesn't expect he'll make such a choice because either way he would loose a critical part of his constituency.
Kerry's Impossible Choice

451 Imagine that--four years before Bush!

How can this be? Isn't the blame for outsourcing and stagnant wages and unemployment to be laid at the feet of Dubya? Look at this July 1997 article in HR Magazine.
"Insecurity on Main Street" is behind the concerns about outsourcing and staffing levels, says John McDowell, director of the Labor Center at Los Angeles Trade Technical College.

"There's a fear that employment is declining, a fear that is heightened by relatively high unemployment levels. [Federal Reserve Board Chairman] Alan Greenspan thinks unemployment figures are low, but members of the workforce see 6 million or 7 million people unemployed. There are a lot of part-time and temporary workers and discouraged workers. There's a lot of competition for jobs," says McDowell.

Also, disposable income and real wages have remained stagnant for workers, he says. "We are supposed to be in a recovery mode, but workers don't see it in their paychecks. The overall economy is healthier today, and the strike is returning as the mode to put pressure on, within the collective bargaining process."
HR Magazine is for human resource management professionals.

450 Convention coverage and other Friday Thoughts

I've been listening to WJR [Detroit] "cover" the President's speech last night (I went to bed--10 p.m. is just too late), but so far all I've heard was Kerry's rambling speech of last night where he threw in every thing--except his 20 year lackluster record in the Senate. Kerry's again using VietNam to stump. Democrats started this with Dan Quayle's vice presidency because he was in the National Guard, they kept quiet about Bill's deferment, and now have returned to the theme. Kerry just can't get off the pot, poor guy. There is one bright spot if he gets elected. . .Hillary can't run in 2008. But America will survive the Johns pimping for all the tired, outdated liberalism of the 60s and 70s.

Our Florida relatives are staying close to home. My brother's recently had some surgery so he's supposed to stay quiet. Niece Cindy and family are not leaving because they have too many pets. Niece Karen who was going to truck some supplies from DC for the Charley victims may have to wait now for the next disaster. We have no report on niece Susie and her family in Sarasota, but right now the Gulf side looks to be in better position than the Atlantic side.

Fireworks at Lakeside tonight, so the gates are down again. The weather is looking a tad overcast--hurricane forerunner? The Archives is having its yard sale at the train station instead of our street. I stopped by yesterday, but didn't buy anything. Biking up the hill was good exercise, however. Tomorrow is Barbershop night with friends coming in to have dinner with us. Then Sunday it is home to Columbus, where we will host one of the artists of the Labor Day show in Upper Arlington.

449 Whiny Political Ads

Ohio must be getting the bottom of the barrel as the undecideds ponder the issues, or we're a test market for bad political ads. The newest one I've seen (by Move On Org I think) is just a talking head of a middle-aged woman who looks like she's been sucking lemons, has just learned she has a fatal disease, and hasn't seen her hair dresser in a while. Well, why not? She says she is a Republican "financial advisor." She's concerned that speaking out/dissent isn't considered patriotic. (Has she not seen the Democrat protestors in New York patriotically trying to shut down the Republican convention?) But she, brave soul will not be afraid to speak out, even if she loses clients because she is voting for Kerry.

There is all sorts of innuendo in the ad. But if she's a good financial advisor, why is she talking politics with her clients, except to report how the stock market has rebounded? We meet quarterly with our guy, and I have no idea what his party politics are--the subject has just never come up. He patiently explains risk, REITs, bonds, his fees, etc. If this gal (the person the actress is portraying) doesn't know what is off limits when in business situations, she deserves to lose clients, and it has nothing to do with her patriotism.

Her voting for Kerry may be her clue that it is time to stop calling herself a Republican. I was still registered as a Democrat when I voted for Bush in 2000, but changed my registration for the next primary. That's the only time anyone asks--certainly clients don't if you're good at your job.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

448 Thanks, Janet and Bob!

We caught an early morning train out of Toledo Tuesday and were picked up in downtown Chicago by Bob and Janet a few hours later. Chicago has a new, fabulous park, Millennium Park, so that was our first stop. Located in downtown Chicago on Michigan Avenue between Randolph and Monroe Streets, the 24.5-acre park was supposed to be ready for 2000, but it just kept growing. If you haven't been to Chicago for awhile, or since last year, don't miss this. It has wonderful fountains, and currently is running a photography exhibit called Family Album. It is a wonderful arena for concerts, food, art--and it didn't hurt a bit that we had fabulous weather.

After lunch at Bob's favorite Greek restaurant, Greek Islands, we headed for Oak Park where they live, and where there are many examples of Frank Lloyd Wright's home designs from his early career. We got tickets for the 2 p.m. tour and while we waited, did a simple walking tour. The tour of Wright's early home with his first wife and six children, and his office was very informative. We saw the plans of some of the buildings we saw in Buffalo laid out on drafting tables, which really pulled it all together. We had a quiet evening at home enjoying our hosts' gracious early 20th century home with wonderful leaded art glass windows and natural woodwork.

Wednesday we started out early for the Robie House on the campus of the University of Chicago. That this house is still standing is no small miracle and it will take years and millions to restore it. It was used as a private residence for a relatively brief time, and has spent the rest of its existence in limbo, but appears now that it will be successfully restored. Across the street was the new Graduate School of Business building designed by Rafael Vinoly tying in the materials and design of Wright's Prairie style architecture and the Gothic style of Rockefeller Chapel.

After a nice lunch at a bakery downtown, we got in line for a 2 p.m. river architectural tour sponsored by the Chicago Architecture Foundation where our talented guide pointed out significant architecture for 90 minutes. On a beautiful day, it is the only way to see Chicago. After a quick tour through some badly blighted areas that have been recently gentrified, our wonderful hosts dropped us at Union Station, and our train left on time to the minute, and we arrived in Toledo near 11 p.m. and were back in Lakeside by midnight.

Chicago is our favorite city, and not hard to get to with Amtrak. If anyone from home is reading, you can catch the VanGalder Bus out of Rockford and meet us at Union Station downtown for a week-end of tourism, good food, and culture.