Sunday, August 31, 2008

A joke? Or not?

Maybe I have no sense of humor. At first I thought it a really strange way to support Obama--by gleefully hoping that New Orleans would be swamped just so the Republicans' Convention would be interrupted. Then I thought, NO, not even Michael Moore would be that stupid, it must be a joke from the other side. Either way. Poor taste, guys. Then I thought back on what he's done, and . . . I don't know, what do you think? That logo does look a bit phony.

McCain and Palin have gone to Mississippi and I understand that Obama is offering to send his million volunteers with a personal text message.

Anyway, Zogby says no bounce for Obama. Usually a candidate can count on a good 5-10 points. Zip, Nada, Zilch.
    "Republican John McCain's surprise announcement Friday of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate - some 16 hours after Democrat Barack Obama's historic speech accepting his party’s presidential nomination - has possibly stunted any Obama convention bump, the latest Zogby Interactive flash poll of the race shows.

    The latest nationwide survey, begun Friday afternoon after the McCain announcement of Palin as running mate and completed mid-afternoon today, shows McCain/Palin at 47%, compared to 45% support for Obama/Biden.

    In other words, the race is a dead heat.

    The interactive online Zogby survey shows that both Obama and McCain have solidified the support among their own parties - Obama won 86% support of Democrats and McCain 89% of Republicans in a two-way head-to-head poll question not including the running mates. When Biden and Palin are added to the mix, Obama's Democratic support remains at 86%, while McCain's increases to 92%."
Update: The comment about God is apparently "real," but who said it may be up for debate. "Suspending the normal GOP convention activities for at least a day will cut the time Sen. McCain’s surrogates spend in the spotlight making the case for his election. But the potential political gain for the Republicans and Sen. McCain is much greater because it provides them the opportunity to change voters’ unfavorable view of their competence and compassion.

Moreover, it’s difficult to understand the view privately expressed by some Democrats, and stupidly vocalized by a former Democratic national chairman caught on video, saying the hurricane was proof that “God is on our side.” " seen at WSJ political blog.

Lakeside 2008 Our Quarry Tour

About once a week here at Lakeside we hear a rumble and feel the ground moving--our cottage has a crack across the kitchen ceiling that reappears each time we repair it. We live within several miles of the Marblehead Quarry. Until Friday, however, we’d never visited our neighbor, LaFarge Marblehead Quarry, one of the largest and highest volume quarries in Ohio and on the Great Lakes. Along with about 80 other Lakesiders and visitors for Senior Venture week, we attended a lecture by a 3rd generation quarry worker on the history and production of the products on Thursday, and then boarded school buses on Friday for a fascinating tour of an amazingly high tech operation. I believe the only other time you can tour is to see the Lakeside Daisy in May. It doesn't grow (naturally) in Lakeside, but flourishes in the sand piles of the quarries in Marblehead.

“Lafarge North America acquired The Standard Slag Company, owner of the Marblehead Quarries, in 1989, and began an ambitious program to revitalize the quarry operations with an investment of $12.5 million to build the current processing plant and boat loading facility.” Before Standard Slag, it was owned by Chemstone Corporation, which acquired it from Kelleys Island Lime and Transport which had taken over several small quarries operating from the early 19th century.

Loading Lakesiders at the South Gate Parking Lot

Loading blasted rock into the crusher

View of the other side of the Crusher

Tire cost for 992Cat went from $16,000 (2007) to $30,000 (2008)

Loading the freighter; most goes to Cleveland; others to ports in MI, PA and Canada

It seems we can’t even learn about local history without some political mischief rearing its head. When I was looking up Lafarge on the internet, I found this story from WaPo in December 2007, which was featuring a series on the various candidates.

"Bill Clinton is renowned today for the millions he commands as a public speaker and business consultant. But in the early 1990s when he was making $35,000 a year as the governor of Arkansas, Hillary Clinton was the family's breadwinner, earning more than $100,000 a year from her law firm salary and corporate board fees. Lafarge, a U.S. cement maker owned by a French conglomerate, was one of her largest sources of income, paying her $31,000 a year to serve on its board. Shortly before Bill Clinton was elected president in 1992, Lafarge was fined $1.8 million by the Environmental Protection Agency for pollution violations at its Alabama plant. A year later, the Clinton administration reduced that fine to less than $600,000. Hillary Clinton had left the board in spring 1992 after her husband won the Democratic nomination."

Another Aging American minority

Did you know that only 8% of Americans belong to what we call mainline Protestant denominations? Surprised?
    . . .the actual organizations at the center—the defining churches in each of the denominations that make up the Mainline—have fallen to insignificance. The Disciples of Christ with 750,000 members, the United Church of Christ with 1.2 million, the American Baptist Churches with 1.5 million, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) with 2.3 million, the Episcopalians with 2.3 million, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America with 5 million, and the United Methodist Church with 8.1 million: That’s around 21 million people, in a nation of more than 300 million. The conservative Southern Baptist Convention alone has 16 million members in the United States. The Catholic Church has 67 million. The death of Protestant America
I'm a member of Upper Arlington Lutheran Church, an evangelical, multi-campus, believing congregation within the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, one of the Mainliners sliding into insignificance, losing millions of members to more conservative groups since its last merger 20 years ago. UALC has thrived because it has a message--you are dead in your sins and need salvation through Jesus Christ. ELCA has wasted thousands of hours and dollars over seven years trying to decide whether marriage means one man and one woman. We know where it's going--liberals can kill a church, congregation or synod this way, and then our congregation along with thousands of others will leave ELCA and create something else. Mainline Protestants are leaving for conservative churches, for Catholicism, for Orthodoxy, and for sleeping in and turning off.

I grew up and was baptised in Church of the Brethren (Anabaptist) and although it doesn't get counted in these numbers because it probably only has 50,000 members, it is also mainline in theology and culture. Our churches need to have something besides a glorious past and a present of worshiping at the feet of the gods of environmentalism, feminism, pacifism and leftist social causes. Anti-Catholicism and anti-semitism are now found primarily in the Mainline churches because of leftist politics and anti-Israel rhetoric.

Mainline Protestants have the oldest average age of any religious group in America, at almost 52 years, with 28% of believers over age 65. Adding happy, clappy guitar music and praise tunes to the service will not turn this around. Down with spirituality--we need a future. Jesus.
    America was Methodist, once upon a time—or Baptist, or Presbyterian, or Congregationalist, or Episcopalian. Protestant, in other words. What can we call it today? Those churches simply don’t mean much any more. That’s a fact of some theological significance. It’s a fact of genuine sorrow, for that matter, as the aging members of the old denominations watch their congregations dwindle away: funeral after funeral, with far too few weddings and baptisms in between. But future historians, telling the story of our age, will begin with the public effect in the United States.

The audacity of hype

"Barack Obama has made his economic thinking excruciatingly clear, so it also is clear that his running mate should have been not Joe Biden, but Rumpelstiltskin. He spun straw into gold, a skill an Obama administration will need in order to fulfill its fairy-tale promises." George Will, Aug. 24, 2008, WaPo, WSJ

"Despite the incessantly repeated mantra of "change," Barack Obama's politics is as old as the New Deal and he is behind the curve when it comes to today's economy. . . Barack Obama's "change" is a recycling of the kinds of policies and rhetoric of the New Deal that prolonged the Great Depression of the 1930s far beyond the duration of any depression before or since." Thomas Sowell, Aug. 30, 2008

Two similarities and one huge difference

Michael Medved has a long list of what Governor Palin brings to the ticket, and specifically addresses the experience of her and Obama, emphasizing that "ready to lead" should refer to issues, not years. He does address the charisma feature; I liked these points.
    It begins to close the energy gap. The biggest problem for the GOP this year is that Obama devotees were vastly more energized than McCain supporters. Even though polling looked close, the other side was more excited about their candidate. The Palin pick will help Republicans to catch up, exciting the party’s base – particularly religious conservatives.

    Palin allows Republicans to compete on the novelty front. One of Barack’s biggest advantages has been the widespread sense of wonderment he inspires: “I can’t believe we can really elect a black guy on a national ticket!” Now McCainiacs can claim a miracle of our own, as we pinch our delirious selves: “I can’t believe we can really elect a woman on a national ticket – and a conservative woman at that!”
Black voters have admitted that they never thought they'd see a black man or woman in the White House in their life time and are 97% behind him (but that's not racism according to Civil Rights leaders). But they are probably no more surprised than conservatives that a real conservative might get there! I don't think she'll attract any PUMAS, but she might draw some back from the libertarian candidates who had despaired at the McCain candidacy and in a race this close really matter.

What she doesn't bring to the ticket are heaps, loads, and swamps of white guilt. Occasionally guilt is an energizer, but mostly it's a stand in for actually doing something. Conservatives just don't feel that strongly about the gender issue. Most don't support abortion, which when women's topics are raised among Democrats, it is always at the top, and often they don't get to point 2. Occasionally feminists mention elder care since that usually falls to daughters, but eventually, abortion will take care of that too--elderly, retired career women will have no off-spring to look after their needs. They'll be able to hire government workers from government agencies with their generous government pension. Or maybe the elder care worker will be assigned. I'm not sure the Obamanation have looked that far ahead.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Like fraternity hazing

"Mrs. Palin now must clear a daunting hurdle -- first the media, then public opinion. Since the press is unfamiliar with her, she will be treated as a target for aggressive scrutiny. In the past, surprise picks like Mrs. Palin have faltered in the face of a media onslaught and never recovered. Mrs. Ferraro, though more familiar, became an albatross for Mr. Mondale. In 1988, Dan Quayle was quickly turned into a joke for late-night comics."

I've been appalled by the bizarre, crude, rude, ungratious, sexist, hateful remarks about her--not her politics--but her body, her hair (no hair plugs), her choice not to kill her baby, all by the left, that appeared within minutes of the announcement. Of course, I'm reading comments on the internet. They could be the mind of 13 year old boys stuck between the legs of a 60 year old guy. They are really scared. The Obama campaign sneered first, leading the way, then realized how stupid they looked (especially after dissing Hillary), and eventually and belatedly, Obama congratulated her.

The best blog was two photos juxtaposed--Obama wearing a helmet on a bicycle, and Palin on a Harley. Vroom, vroom. Can't wait for the debates.

Lakeside 2008--The end of summer

Golden August Sunset at Lakeside

We got here on July 5 after our lovely tour of Italy, and my brief stay in the hospital from a gastrointestinal bug which required lots of IVs and bedrest. But from that week on, we’ve had a wonderful stay at our summer home, particularly enjoying the many arts activities and seminars. Here’s a brief run down. I didn’t attend a lot of these, of course, since I needed a little time to paint, draw, read, visit friends, entertain, walk along the lake, and ride my 40 year old no-gear bike. Lakeside pulpit and programming leans a little too far toward liberal guilt (been there done that in my 30s and 40s) for my tastes--peace and justice, removal of Indians, global health--but I was still able to pick and choose some very interesting topics, especially local Ohio history. Over all, our Director of Education, Gretchen Curtis, did a fabulous job, and yesterday she reported over 9,000 in attendance at the daytime programming during the summer of 2008.

Week 1: June 23-25 Lives & Legacies of Charles & John Wesley
June 26-27 Religious Environmentalism in the U.S.

Week 2: Jun 30-July 3 Health & Wellness Week (with Nursing CE credit)

Week 3: July 7-11 U.S. Presidential Elections: Then and Now (10:30 a.m.)
Spiritual Biography (1:30 p.m.)

Week 4: July 14-18 Four Gospels with Tim Grannon (10:30 am)
The Great Lakes (1:30 pm)

Week 5: July 21-23 Historic Chautauqua
July 25 Historic Building Design and Preservation

Week 6: July 28-Aug 1 Middle East Foreign Affairs (10:30 am)
Global Health Challenges (1:30 pm)

Week 7: Aug 4-8 22nd Annual Peace with Justice Week

Week 8: Aug 11-15 Interfaith Week

Week 9: Aug 18-22 5th Annual Civil War Week

Week 10: Aug 25-27 Indian Removal from Ohio (Senior Venture Week)
Aug 28-29 Lakeside Neighbors
    Thur 10:30 a.m. History of Camp Perry: 1907 to Now
    SSG Josh Mann, Historian, Ohio Army National Guard
    Thur 1:30 p.m. History and Operation of the Marblehead Limestone Quarry
    Ted Dress, Night Supervisor, LaFarge Quarry, Marblehead OH
    Fri 10:30 a.m. Bus Tour of LaFarge Quarry
    Fri 1:30 p.m. Celebrating Chocolate: Sweet Ending to Lakeside’s 135th Season
    Gretchen S. Curtis, Lakeside’s Director of Education
Also there were 3:30 seminars for book reviews, nutrition programs and Foreign Affairs Forum; Sunday history lectures; and week-day walking tours, tree identification walks and herb classes. Week-end events of plein air art, boat and auto shows, ice cream social, craft fair, and quilt show brought in thousands from outside the grounds.

The final week, Senior Venture Week, was open to all Lakesiders this year (in the past I think we had to pay a fee on top of our gate pass). Last week's archeological tour of Johnson's Island and this week's tour of the Marblehead Quarry were really some of the most interesting local events I've attended. A homeschooler from Port Clinton brought her 2 children for Ohio history credit. Wasn't that smart? Thursday and Friday I was very busy, and it was topped off with a delicious offering of CHOCOLATE!

Gretchen lectured on and served chocolate

The Women's Wage Myth--2004 campaign redux

Equal pay for equal work? Or equal experience? Or equal risk? Or equal degrees? Or equal professional contributions? Ah, the feminists are going after John McCain because in spite of all the laws, regulations and law suits of the last 35 years, they still complain about women's work. Here's what I wrote in 2004 during that misinformation mess by Kerry.
    The Women's Wage Myth

    George W. Bush has freed millions of women in Afghanistan and Iraq, although feminist groups have been pretty silent about that. And John Kerry continues to promote the myth of the gender wage gap--I think he said $.76 to $1.00, but they haven't been silent about that. Actually he's wrong. There are many reasons women earn less. I stopped working from 1968 - 1978, then worked only part time until 1986. And I was in a low-paid, female dominated profession. Any profession with a large number of women has depressed wages. And even with all the laws and law suits, we still have women putting home and family before careers.

    “. . . most studies of pay discrimination don’t weigh in such factors as experience and the desire of many married women with children to work shorter hours, and even seek less demanding jobs, so they can spend more time at home with their families. Studies that do account for those factors have concluded that across the board, the pay of unmarried men and unmarried women doing the same work are just about equal.” Independent Women’s Forum*

    During the 1990s two OSU librarians wrote an article that showed that male librarians really don't make more than female librarians--they publish more and relocate more often and are more likely to accept the more challenging jobs. That translates into better pay. If anything, the higher pay that male librarians are willing to go after pulls up the median. The women indirectly benefit from having more men in the field. See Bradigan, Pamela S. and Carol A. Mularski. "Evaluation of Academic Librarians' Publications for Tenure and Initial Promotion" The Journal of Academic Librarianship, v. 22 September 1996 pp. 360-365.

*Didn't link to article, try this

We report; you decide

That's what I like about Fox. It drives liberals crazy because if they don't hear their own off-key choir in their own reverb echo chamber, it's bias. However, facial expressions, voice and adjectives go a long way. And today, Fox did show an enthusiastic news corp over McCain's choice. I watched reporters on ABC and Fox discuss Sarah Palin. The ABC news dude first interviewed a Democrat (that is standard--sometimes only Democrats are interviewed), then a Republican whom he literally attacked and interrupted each time he tried to say something positive. By contrast, on Fox a female reporter who had been following the Minnesota governor closely thinking he might be the choice, was interviewed about reactions to the Palin choice. She practically bubbled with enthusiasm while reporting her "absolutely amazing personal story." The ABC guy twice demanded to know how a special needs baby was going to affect her campaigning. Then there's that NYT stalker-feminist (a brunette Ann Coulter) who has already smeared Palin, but Cokie Roberts was interviewed to balance that (on ABC) noting that her appeal wasn't her "female plumbing" as the accuser suggested, but her conservative core beliefs.

Liberal Fascism

A really unfortunate title choice for an excellent book, says Albert Mohler, who writes some of the best book reviews on the web. Liberal Fascism: the secret of the American left from Mussolini to the politics of meaning by Jonah Goldberg also contains one of the words I hate to see in a book title, "secret." But surprise! My public library, UAPL, actually owns four copies of this title, all currently in use, so perhaps I won't need to buy it! Just from the following excerpt this sounds like a title wafflers and fence sitters need to read in the months coming up to the election. It's not your grandfather's party.

An excerpt: "American liberalism is a totalitarian political religion, but not necessarily an Orwellian one. It is nice, not brutal. Nannying, not bullying. But it is definitely totalitarian -- or "holistic," if you prefer -- in that liberalism today sees no realm of human life that is beyond political significance, from what you eat to what you smoke to what you say. Sex is political. Food is political. Sports, entertainment, your inner motives and outer appearance, all have political salience for liberal fascists. Liberals place their faith in priestly experts who know better, who plan, exhort, badger, and scold. They try to use science to discredit traditional notions of religion and faith, but they speak the language of pluralism and spirituality to defend "nontraditional" beliefs."

Reinvigorated Republicans

To shake things up, Sarah Palin might not have been my first choice (i.e., a black woman, or a GOP ex-senator, cabinet level) but then what do you do to counter a media-made messiah, long on glamor and short on substance and finally get some attention? So I've been browsing the columns, pundits and a few conservative bloggers to see what Sarah Palin brings to the ticket. No sense wasting time watching the news anchors, although I did last night just to raise my blood pressure (it's always low). They dug as deep as these surfacers know how, even the PBS foots-asleep folks whom I watch even less than broadcast. So I found this at Hugh Hewitt, who gives 6 reasons, but I thought this summed it up well.
    "The long run of Congressional power drained a lot of the energy from the GOP when it came to the battle of ideas, and Palin is a representative of the non-Beltway GOP that wants very much to get back into that fray. Winning the war remains the first priority, and Supreme Court justices after that, but on a host of key issues Governor Palin represents the Reagan wing of the party, and that's a great thing." Hugh Hewitt Aug 29 2008
So we've got 2 old guys who've been in Washington forever, and two-forty somethings, handsome and articulate, with no Beltway ties, one of whom is so independent she has no federal or foreign experience and the other beholden to all sorts of muck-stuck pols, both the traditional Chicago back room boys and the anarchist lefties. Let's hope Sarah gives Republicans a reason to go to the polls, and that she's a really fast learner!

Sarah Palin on energy--some hope and change with specifics instead of hype.

Michael Medved on Sarah Palin's experience record

Friday, August 29, 2008

Shut up George

Charlie broke away from Sarah Palin's speech, one of the best I've heard this entire campaign, to interview George Stephana- stepa- stupa-, well you know, the former Clinton aide with all the hair. Then George S. announced that if Gustave hits NOLA, McCain should scale back the Republican convention and go to Louisiana, the "site of GWB's disaster." No, George, that was a Democratic city with a Democratic governor. With Democrat disaster plans. Republican states fared much better. The failure was theirs. And Charlie? Thanks for nothing. We had to switch to radio to hear the rest of her speech.

McCain Palin ticket

Another history making event--not a woman as a VP choice, because we’ve had that, but a parent of a special needs child. Her youngest child has Downs Syndrome; the parents knew, and chose to give him life and lots of love. Unless you are pro-life, you probably don’t know that statistically, births of Downs Syndrome babies are down. Not because fewer are conceived--the age of women giving birth is going up and that’s a serious risk factor. But prenatal testing has given parents the choice of not carrying a disabled child to term. There are also many couples who choose to adopt Downs babies.

That said, I actually believe a woman with 5 children ought to take some time off to raise them. Call me a reactionary, but that's a huge job and I think kids need their mother around, not just high paid nannies. (Please, no Queen Victoria stories.) I wouldn't vote against McCain for that reason, but I believe women have a different career track than men. You can do and have it all, but not all at the same time. The vice president, whether Biden or Palin, is a heart beat away from the oval office. She better have some outstanding executive qualities (she's Governor of Alaska) or this could be called one up(wo)manship.

Of the four running for the White House, Biden has been in Washington the longest, which makes Obama's complaints about business as usual and need for change sort of silly, and Palin is a first term Governor with many reforms to her credit, which makes McCain's criticism of Obama as inexperienced fall flat.

Well, she's still the youngest and prettiest (former beauty queen) of the four.
Update: And she gives the best speech of the four (Dayton, OH, August 29, 2008)if content counts.

Voting with Bush?

Is it really true that John McCain voted with President Bush 90% of the time as a recent Obama speech claimed? Yes! After all, we do have a two party system, and they belong to the same party, although neither is particularly "conservative" on many issues. McCain portrays himself as a maverick and one who reaches across the aisle (Obama sounds like he's lifted some of McCain's phrases). In 2007 McCain voted with the President 95% of the time. Obama votes along party lines 97% of the time. So?
    . . . consider that Obama's votes were in line with the president's position 40 percent of the time in 2007. That shouldn't be terribly surprising. Even the Senate's Democratic leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, voted with Bush 39 percent of the time last year, according to the way Congressional Quarterly rates the votes.

    The McCain campaign points out that Obama told a local TV interviewer recently that "the only bills that I voted for, for the most part, since I've been in the Senate were introduced by Republicans with George Bush." Obama was actually wrong about that. In 2006 he voted alongside the president 49 percent of the time, and in 2005, the year before Democrats took control of the Senate, Obama voted with the president only 33 percent of the time.

    Also, Obama voted in line with fellow Senate Democrats 97 percent of the time in 2007 and 2005, and 96 percent of the time in 2006, according to CQ.

The future of conservative books

I've often written about my frustration with the collection policies at my public library, UAPL. It's very difficult for a conservative author to get a review in PW or LJ, and many librarians seek no other source. Like many liberals in the information and education fields, they wear blinders.

Conservatives can’t help but be flooded with “the other side” in information, essays, editorials, opinions and library shelves full of liberal and leftist views. Actually, we benefit from that exchange. We are the “liberals” in the truest sense (we also protect the weakest in society with our anti-abortion stance) because the willingness to take into consideration multiple viewpoints should be the hallmark of liberalism. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work the other direction. Liberals don’t read or review conservative books or magazines, watch conservative shows, and their minds suffer from lack of light and new ideas as a result. And film? Don't even go there. The media--broadcast, cable, newspapers, publishing and the public libraries’ review Bibles, Publisher’s Weekly and Library Journal (owned by the same conglomerate)--are overwhelmingly left wing, but don‘t even see it, because they speak, write and read in an echo chamber. The academy, both private and tax supported, is so packed with liberals in university administrations and faculties that conservatives not only have a problems getting hired and promoted, they probably can’t find advisors for the PhD theses that will mentor and advocate for them so they can even get in the job pool.

About five years ago, some major publishers started their own conservative imprints when they saw how successful some conservative political books were put out by a small, fringe house, Regnery. These imprints such as Sentinel, Crown Forum and Threshold were dedicated to publishing conservative authors (kind of like keeping the funny uncle in a closet off-site). But their titles aren’t well promoted or reviewed and the conservative publishing houses that remained independent are still better for the conservative author than the siren call of the more established liberal houses.
    But no matter what happens to those imprints, conservative publishing will certainly survive—and thrive. If liberals continue to ignore the power of conservative books, moreover, the losers will not be conservatives—who cannot help but be endlessly exposed to left-wing views through the networks and leading newspapers—but liberals themselves, complacent in their ignorance of the other side. “There’s always another side, that’s a classically liberal argument,” observes [Adam] Bellow with a laugh. “The problem for contemporary liberals is that they really don’t understand it applies to them.”
Read the whole story
The future of conservative books

Lakeside bumps on a log--mystery sculptures

The date on my photos says July 31, but I'm not really sure when I took these. That's probably close. From time to time someone creates an arrangement of stones on the lakefront. These were cute and must have required a lot of patience. The first is looking west over the dock with Mouse Island in view; the second to the east with Kelley's Island in the background; the third is a close-up.

Sportsmen for Obama?

A “Lifelong Republican” Tony Dean isn’t. Chad Baus must have watched BO’s speech last night (I didn’t). He says in an e-mail, “Obama just mentioned gun owners in Ohio in his "big speech", so he's obviously got us on the brain.” He knows Ohio is a key state--I think he was planning a visit to Toledo this week. According to Chad, Dean was mentioned a few years ago as a possible Democratic candidate for Congress and has supported anti-gun Democrats in the past according to this source
    “For Tony Dean to have "switch[ed] parties to head a Sportsmen for Obama group" he would have to have done so at least two years before Obama was even elected to Senate, and five years prior to when he announced his presidential bid. Indeed, it appears the word "lifelong" is as difficult for Dean and the Obama campaign to define as the word "is" is to Bill Clinton.

    Dean is quoted by the Dallas News as saying he's "99 percent sure a President Obama isn't going to infringe on gun rights." But seeing as Mr. Dean - who one blogger has dubbed 'South Dakota's Al Gore' because of his fervent belief in human-caused global warming - describes himself as a "moderate on the gun issue" who "opposes the NRA on most gun issues," his assurances about Obama aren't likely to be much consolation to pro-gun voters.

    On his website, Dean has castigated the NRA for having "done little to protect gun ownership" and for having differing views on conservation issues, even while posting op-eds from the likes of Humane Society of the United States Executive Director Wayne Pacelle, who has been quoted as saying "we are going to use the ballot box and the democratic process to stop all hunting in the United States...We will take it species by species until all hunting is stopped in California. Then we will take it state by state."“
A politician who lies about his core beliefs, friends and associates? This is change and hope? I could call myself a life-long Democrat, as long as I don’t count the last 8 years, or the 4 years before that when I couldn’t find a single Democrat to support for any office local or national, or the 4 years before that when I was waking up after voting for Clinton. Surely, even life-long Democrats who have worked their buns to the bones for this empty suit Obama must be getting tired of this “change” mantra.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The 8 hour day and 5 day work week

This entry at Hispanic Pundit is 3 years old, but it's a good read any time, on how the desire for profitability works in our favor.
    So, who gave us the 5 day, 8 hours per day, work week? Was it really the unions, was it really higher regulations? No, the historical answer is that it was Heny Ford who gave us the 5 day, 8 hours per day, work week. Ford was tired of continuously losing good employees, he was trying to increase employee retention and at the same time increase profits, so he basically doubled wages and implemented a 5-day work week, and in the process effectively invented the modern weekend. It is Henry Ford who is widely credited with contributing to the creation of a middle class in the United States.

    In addition, if you look at why Henry Ford did this, you will see that his reasons had nothing to do with charity, and everything to do with increasing profits and dealing with the forces of competition.
It was also a profit motive that gave us health care through our employers (sort of a form of indentured servitude if you ever want to change jobs). After WWII, offering health insurance was a way to attract better workers in a tight job market. Of course, only the biggest firms could do it, so in the long run it was not good for competition or the worker.

What does Health Care Obamanation mean to you?

We've seen the ads. Is there anything in them that actually tell us what the state of health in the U.S. is? What do we really know about the uninsured, and if we knew, would it make any difference to the politicians or to the voters?

The percent of uninsured rose a bit in the U.S. during the Clinton years, dipped slightly in early 2000s (probably from SCHIP, a new program of the late 90s) and now rests at about 14-16% of the population (virtually unchanged in 20 years), depending on which source you use, the U.S. Census CPS and SIPP reports being the most accurate with the longest record. The actual numbers are up because the population has increased, so that's what will be cited in political ads and speeches. No politician will stand at a podium and say, "Despite all our promises and all the taxes you've paid, we're no further along on this than we were 30 years ago because we're inefficient, pork-fed pols who need poor people in order to get elected." However, only about half of that small group are uninsured for a whole year, and the Congressional Budget Office estimates about 16% of the uninsured go for 24 months without insurance. If it’s your family and you’re paying out $1000 a month to COBRA to your new plan, even one month is too long. It’s a bit like rejoicing that military deaths are far lower today than 20 years ago when there was no war. If it’s your son or daughter who died in Iraq, that’s not much comfort.

Who is uninsured? Actually, it’s the youngest (19-24, who also tend to be the people with “it will never happen to me” attitude), better educated, married, and higher income people who are more likely to go without insurance. Some people who claim to be uninsured on surveys actually have it through a government program (Medicaid or SCHIP), and some people who are eligible, don’t apply, and some who could have it through their employment, don’t choose it because they don’t want the co-payment.

Also, being uninsured does NOT mean a person gets no health care. If you've ever been to the ER, you know that. We all wait together. The uninsured may not seek care as early as they should, however, and that might cause problems down the road. Most of the political ads I’ve seen about health care actually involved people who had insurance (like Obama’s mother, or Hillary’s examples), but they were brought up as examples of the need for it to be “universal,” lessening what you and I have, and increasing what others have.

Still, with a new hurricane approaching New Orleans and all the reminders of stranded people, drowning buses, a racist mayor wanting a chocolate town, and a woman governor who didn’t know when to say “help,” I really can’t imagine that we want to FEMA-tize our health care.

What's going on in Spotsylvania County?

Its school conduct code is 40 pages! I haven't checked Upper Arlington's, so maybe they are all having this much trouble. I looked at the first page, which really seemed sufficient.
    a. attend school regularly;
    b. arrive at school ready to participate in learning activities;
    c. accept responsibility for one's own behavior;
    d. cooperate with school personnel and fellow students;
    e. abide by all school regulations;
    f. abide by all laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia;
    g. complete all assignments fully and in a timely manner;
    h. cooperate with school officials in the investigation of any violation
    of school rules;
    i. refrain from any action which hinders other students' safety,
    welfare, peace of mind or achievement;
    j. respect the right of teachers to teach and students to learn; and
    k. assist the principal and faculty in the operation of the school as a
    safe place for all students to learn and to develop socially.
Sounds reasonable to me. This doesn't--no one (parents and students, I assume) is allowed to link to the school web sites without permission, according to the code (p. 32, #14).

The school web site has all sorts of interesting things that I suppose bloggers or complainers could use. You can even find the nutritional value of the cafeteria meals on the school web site which seem to be 2 days Mexican and 2 days Italian with a meat/potatoes, or Asian or Jamaican item the 5th day, and a Grab 'n Go selection of salads or sandwiches.

Seen at James Taranto, WSJ, Best of the Web, who received the school link from a parent in the district who needed to hide her identity to pass along the information because she signed the code of conduct.

So what's in your school's code?

The stealth candidate

And I thought Clinton was Slick Willy and Nixon Tricky Dick. Obama has them both beat because even his most ardent, naive supporters know very little about him. You can't judge a man by his character if you don't have a clue who he is.
    "Time and again, the man who draws so openly on King's legacy refuses to sacrifice an iota of possible political support by taking a principled stand on matters of racial justice that King said are matters of right and wrong. Instead, Obama makes cryptic or general comments that leave his position on important racial issues ambiguous or unknown." Juan Williams in today's WSJ
Unfortunately, I think we'll be finding out who he really is very soon. Republicans have contributed to this by choosing a candidate whose biggest attraction seems to be he's not as far left as Obama and will be tough on national security and doesn't advocate killing helpless babies. I wish there were more.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Do children need day-care or daddy-care?

If Democrats want to wag a finger this week, get all the men in a room and demand that they mentor and cajole young men about their responsibilities and to marry the mother of their children. And if you are divorced and can't take care of your first family, don't start a second. Even if the new wife or girlfriend nags. Barack Obama essentially did this during the primaries, and so did several other black leaders. I may not like his politics but he is a good role model for young men. But when the numbers are crunched, it will show that women contribute to poverty when they don't marry the fathers of their children and have babies before finishing high school. Feminists on the left need to report this instead of blaming President Bush, or men in general. Birth control? Just Say No, my sister.

These media poverty stories never change. Even though we can all look around and see an incredible difference between 2008 and 1988 or 1958, in the news it is always the same--doom and gloom. No opportunity. No jobs. Hunger. Hopelessness. It's extremely political, and if I were a Democrat, I'd be ashamed that none of the "hope and change" programs we promised in the past have made any difference. Except that one in the mid-1990s under President Clinton, when welfare was cleaned up. Oops. He was forced into that one by Republicans, and the left was fighting mad. But that is his legacy. Millions of women grabbed hold and became energized tax payers, developed a back bone and showed that old American spirit. Obama will try to change that if he becomes President by sneaking in reinforcements to keep women with a step-daddy in the house named "Uncle Sam." Universal pre-school? One more way to get more taxes and more control and show no gains. Universal pre-school will create more feel-good programs, a demand for more taxes to fight poverty, more low-income jobs to be administered by educators, and more reasons for mothers to get into the labor force. Head Start is over 40 years old--no gains beyond the early years of elementary school.

Take away: The poverty gap is no longer racial, it is marital.

Toledo's poverty statistics

Just in time for the convention, we're getting "new" stories on poverty and minorities. In Toledo ABC Channel 13 is pulling stats from the latest census report. 22.6% Toledo residents in poverty (family of 4) compared to 12.3% nationally. And 41.3% of those in poverty in Toledo are black. Instead of tracking the story by race, they should report it by marital status, because that's what causes poverty among women and children. No father in the home.

How is an unmarried woman with children going to show the same economic gains as a married woman and man with children, when counting "households?" That's two incomes against one. A four person household can be a woman with 3 children, or a husband and wife with 2 children, or two gay lawyers and their adopted children. Plus, now that boomers are retiring, the MSM should be reporting that incomes fall after retirement, even if "wealth" hasn't changed at all. But that doesn't play well in speeches and poverty stories.
    Toledo Blade: "Overall, the Census found 37.3 million people living in poverty in 2007, of which 13.3 million were children. The poverty level for a four-person family in 2007 was $21,203. Among age groups, seniors had the lowest poverty rate at 9.7 percent, while children had the highest at 18 percent. The poverty rate for 2006 was 12.3 percent, but the change in 2007 was not statistically significant."
Apparently all our poverty programs put in place in the last 30 years have failed. According to a 1987 article in the NYT, “In 1980, Census Bureau figures show the country's overall poverty rate was 11 percent while it was 32 percent for blacks, 25 percent for Hispanic people and 10 percent for whites.” Poverty pimps will find ways to show it is higher now even if the poor own their own home, have an automobile, cable TV and cell phones. If you point out how poverty has decreased in cities (decreased around 50% in Toledo and Columbus by 2000), the Democrats will just tell you that's because the poor moved to the suburbs! Maybe all the "urban development" didn't help the poor? Perhaps all those environmental regulations pushed out industry so the working class have moved to retail and service industries?

Also, in reporting what's happened to gas prices under a Democratic Congress, let's also ignore the gains made during the Bush administration. The median household income in Lucas County, Ohio rose from $40,348 in 2005 to $42,296 in 2006. The percentage of people below the poverty level dropped to 16.8 percent in 2006 from 17.4 percent in 2005.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Smack down for Nancy

The most powerful woman in Washington needs to go back to catechism class.
    “After Mr. Tom Brokaw, the interviewer, pointed out that the Catholic Church feels strongly that life begins at conception, she replied, 'I understand. And this is, like, maybe 50 years or something like that. So again, over the history of the church, this [when life begins] is an issue of controversy,' " the release said.

    [Archbishop Donald W.] Wuerl strongly disagrees.

    He said, "We respect the right of elected officials such as Speaker Pelosi to address matters of public policy that are before them, but the interpretation of Catholic faith has rightfully been entrusted to the Catholic bishops. Given this responsibility to teach, it is important to make this correction for the record."

    Wuerl pointed out that the Catechism of the Catholic Church is clear, and has been clear for 2,000 years. He cited Catechism language that reads, "Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception … Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law.”

My silk scarf project

I went back to the Rhein Center today to pick up my scarf, the one mentioned here. The pretty lady showing it off is our instructor, Sue Wills, a former youth pastor who now leads tours for young people with WorldStride's Christian Discovery at historical sites primarily in the East like DC and Philadelphia. She was very bubbly and encouraging--I'm sure the kids love her.

There was an opening in tomorrow's class so I took it and hope to make a much more stunning effort. This one is pretty, but has many mistakes on it. The white pipe frame is what we attached the scarf to in order to do the painting.

Columbus The Musical Crossroads

David Meyers knows more about the Columbus music scene than anyone I know, and he has a new book in the Arcadia series, Images of America, called Columbus The Musical Crossroads. It follows the usual format of about 130 pages and 2 photos per page with text. That's probably murder for a guy like Dave who has boxes of research and documentation, but it's fun for the reader.
    “Columbus has long been known for its musicians. Unlike New York, San Francisco, Kansas City, Nashville, or even Cincinnati, however, it has never had a definable “scene.” Still, some truly remarkable music has been made in this musical crossroads by the many outstanding musicians who have called it home. Since 1900, Columbus has grown from the 28th- to the 15th-largest city in the United States. During this period, it has developed into a musically vibrant community that has nurtured the talents of such artists as Elsie Janis, Ted Lewis, Nancy Wilson, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Dwight Yoakam, Bow Wow, and Rascal Flatts. But, in many instances, those who chose to remain at home were as good and, perhaps, even better.”
I have only leafed through it (my husband brought it back to Lakeside with him), but I think Columbus boomers will get a kick out of Chapter 8, "Out of the Garage," which features the local high school rock and roll bands of the 1960s.
    "Every high school had its personal favorite, and at Thomas Worthington it was the Dantes. Anchored by the precocious guitar work of Dave Workman and lead singer Barry Hayden's Mick Jagger-Ray Davies posturing, the quintet, which included Lynn Wehr, Joey Hinton, and Carter Holliday, had the best equipment and dressed in the latest mod clothing purchased on trips to New York.

    Within a couple of years, at least one member of the band was earning more than his father playing weekends and holidays from school. The Dantes released three 45s before they found out the hard way that opportunities were limied for a cover band, no matter how good it might be." p. 110
Other Columbus teen bands of the 60s: The Triumphs; Vadicans; The 5th Order (Electras); The Grayps; The Rebounds; The Epics; The Shilohs; The Toads; The Thirteenth Dilemmas; The Dubonnets (Phantom Duck); The Trolls; The Edicates; Lapse of Time; In-Men; Four O'clock Balloon; The Fugitives.

Good job Dave--looking forward to dinner at the Bucket on the 11th.

Lakeside 2008 What’s going on in Week 10

We’re in the final week. June was rainy in northern Ohio--but we were in Italy. July and August have been fabulous, actually close to perfect, with perhaps the named storm Fay paying us a little visit on Thursday. I went to the Antique Show on Saturday with my neighbor Angela and saw something I liked the minute we walked in the door. She tucked it under the table while I browsed the other booths buying some little things, like a serving piece that matched my Community silver plate (wedding pattern), and two little pudding dishes to use for feeding our dainty, 7 lb. cat. I didn’t even haggle, although I know I should have. It might have been gone if I’d waited ‘til late afternoon when most of the dealers repack their trucks and vans and go home.

So I’m calling this our 48th wedding anniversary present--from me--and I think I’ll leave it here at the lake house, for lemonade or iced tea on the deck. It's frosted with hand painted flowers. The wicker tray is now holding the things that I removed to make room for it behind the glass doors so I could show it off. I asked the Michigan woman from whom I bought the set if she knew Mike and Judy Balluff (Michigan antique dealer and a h.s. friend) and she thought she knew the name.

Today was the final farmer’s market. I wasn’t able to get any beet tops this week, but did give in and buy a jar of homemade peach sugar-free jam. I resisted the white chocolate cranberry squares, and the iced scones that were at the same booth. Isn’t that the biggest pepper you’ve ever seen? I just can’t get over how different they taste fresh picked. And I’m not even particularly fond of peppers, but have managed to finish what I’ve bought the other weeks. Still only $14.75--red potatoes, green beans, bell pepper, corn, qt of peaches (the jam was a bit of a splurge I hadn't counted on.)

Yesterday I took a silk painting class at the Rhein Center. Scary, but fun. And not nearly as easy as the instructor said, especially if you’ve done other types of art, and this defies what you knew about materials and methods. Also, I’m really poor at doing craft type things. My fingers don’t work right and this required fastening a very delicate silk scarf to a frame in 20 places. I made two huge mistakes (beside wearing one of my better shirts to the class--had to switch to a smock). I haven’t seen the final product yet because the instructor was going to take all the projects home, wash and iron them, and then we pick them up today. I woke up at 3 a.m. and worked out in my mind how I could have done it differently. The class will be offered again on Wednesday and Friday, so maybe I’ll re-up.

The programming this week (called 22nd Annual Senior Venture) is only half interesting to me. Monday through Wednesday (6 lectures) is about the removal of native peoples (aka Indians) from Ohio. After hearing so much about the Confederacy last week, I wasn’t ready for more self-flagellation and guilt (is it fall out over the Iraq War?) over something I didn’t do and which has transpired since the beginning of human kind in the Garden of Eden. However, Thursday and Friday has some seminars I hope to attend--local history. There will be lectures on both Camp Perry, now 101 years old and which trained millions of national guardsmen, and the Marblehead Quarry (we have cracks in our plaster from their blasting limestone). Also on Thursday is a book review about "Great Lakes water wars." This is an issue critical to Ohio and the 10 other states and provinces touched by the Great Lakes, 1/5 of our planet’s fresh water. On Friday there is a tour of the quarry. This means Thursday is waaay over scheduled since my son and his girlfriend plan to visit that day.

Pastor Jennings has an interesting Bible study on Revelation this week, but I would have missed 2 of the 4 classes, plus it is offered during my regular nap time and I might doze off! We’ve really enjoyed his dockside services on Sunday.

Evening programming this week is a little less upscale and more local, and is at the bandstand in the park instead of Hoover Auditorium. I did go Sunday evening to hear an Ohio ELCA pastor perform his modern Christian lyrics to swing era popular songs, “Sentimental Journey,” using a lot of Glenn Miller. He even had Easter songs for Christmas caroles. Wednesday looks good--TOPS Swing Band from Cleveland (Tough Old Pros). The barbershoppers will be here Saturday night, from the Johnny Appleseed District. Sunday night will be the closing with fireworks over the lake. Then it is pack up the car and head for Columbus, assuming we don't leave after church on Sunday.

On every channel

This morning I switched on the TV after I turned on the computer. More for background noise than news. I knew what would be on all the channels. Oooing and Ahing over Michelle, her clothes, her children and breathless narration by TV reporters. So I moved through the channels to some that only come in very early in the morning. I got a reality show called “Blind Date,” then an informercial promising me a wonderful life if I’d only go with their program. Same ol, same ol on every channel.

Update: I've seen a lot of Michelle today. Coffee shop. Local news. She did a great job, is very pretty, and has adorable kids. For a woman who has it all--a successful husband, healthy kids, good job, excellent education, lovely home and is beautiful to boot, she sure was an angry whiner when she came through Ohio a few months ago. She's toned it down to just hope and change now.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Damning interviews on Fox and Friends

The MSM is so ga-ga and supportive of Obama that chills go up the reporter’s leg, according to Chris Matthews. Detractors love to pound Fox, but a Pew Study has shown a more balanced (and informed) viewership.

There were two damning interviews this morning on Fox and Friends that would have never made it to the story boards on CNN or broadcast. First, there was an interview with Diana Degette (D-Colorado) who was responding to a question about the Hillary vote. She reminded the audience that even if they were disappointed that Hillary wasn’t the candidate, they should remember that Obama, rather than McCain, supports the issues women care about, “Birth control and abortion,” she said. “You mean McCain is pro-life?” the reporter asked, and she skipped right on by. On the MSM, no reporter ever uses that term--they always say “anti-choice.”

Then Steven Doocy’s son Peter was “student on the street” interviewing college age students about why Barack Obama was so popular. He began by pointing out to the TV audience this will be the 18 year olds first opportunity to vote for someone other than American Idol, which gets something bizarre like 98 million votes, 80 million more than Obama. First he asked the young women (I recall one guy but he never spoke), about American Idol and what they looked for. I forget exactly what they said--confidence, and a great performer (I don’t think they mentioned talent). Then he asked them about what legislation on Barack Obama’s resume appealed to them. They were completely stumped. Stuttering stumped. When he asked about his presentations, they could rave about his voice, eloquence and youth, but nothing he said, believed or had accomplished. Steven admitted he did find a few young voters who knew more, but most knew nothing about Obama except for his performing ability.

How sappy is this? And we never did elect another Catholic president!
    After Obama secured the nomination, CBS reporter Byron Pitts declared, “Barack Obama and his wife Michelle walked into history’s arms last night. … Just like JFK’s journey as the first Catholic president, America crossed a milestone. … One of America’s oldest and ugliest color lines has been broken, and there’s a new bridge for a new generation.”
Both of these interviews made my sex look really, really bad.

Aborton is the tar baby that sticks to the female vote, the Democrats have learned. It’s such a non-issue. Almost no babies make it out alive if a woman is determined to abort. All the wailing and marching of the last 30 years by conservatives have not changed the law, and no method of death, save WWII, has killed more humans in my lifetime (although the ban on DDT has probably come close). I’m guessing 95% of the women would say “although I would never have an abortion, I don’t want to take that right away from other women.” So when it’s someone else’s baby it’s OK? How liberal.

And celebrity? Why not elect Madonna (she's only 50)? Or Paris (is she old enough)? They draw crowds and men don’t complain about their legs.

She's a good liar

Will Hillary be able to convince her supporters she really thinks Obama is the best candidate for the party? She's got a better chance in 2012 if he loses.
    “A day after Mr. Obama unveiled Senator Biden of Delaware as his running mate, the McCain campaign launched a television ad titled "Passed Over" that asks why the presumptive Democratic nominee snubbed his chief party rival, Mrs. Clinton, for the vice presidential slot.

    "She won millions of votes, but isn't on his ticket," a narrator intones. "Why? For speaking the truth on his plans."

    The ad then features images from the Democratic primary, when Mrs. Clinton questioned Mr. Obama about his lack of specificity on policy, his negative attacks on her, and his connection to a convicted Chicago developer, Antoin Rezko.” New York Sun, Aug. 25
Let's see, if Russia hadn't invaded Georgia and Obama gave that limp-wristed "let's talk" comment, Biden wouldn't be his VP choice, and if the Edwards scandal had been reported in the mainstream press (that was already in the tank for Obama), Hillary would have been the candidate. Lots of ifs ands and maybes in politics.

I think the Democrats who support Hillary will end up staying with the party. Democrats stick together like velcro, Republicans hold no longer than a sweaty handshake. As a Nobaman, I was concerned. I really thought he'd choose Hillary and be unbeatable. She's more liberal than Biden, got tons more votes, and has a huge, unhappy clutch of supporters. Biden has run for president several times and the voters said NO early on each time.

Sure wish McCain could add Bobby Jindal, but he probably needs to cook a bit longer since this is his first term as Louisiana's governor. Those two would be an amazing balance to the Obama Biden buttons. If he's smart (instead of wanting to put on that maverick mantel again), he'll take, Mitt Romney.

Then the DNC can bring out the dirt from the primaries. And they will.

Wouldn't this would make a good McCain ad: At a Democratic presidential primary debate in Las Vegas last November, [Biden, a Catholic] said that if he were elected president he would impose a pro-Roe test on anyone he appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Update: Hillary has tamed her PUMAs. For now.

Suffering from No-see-ums

I've managed to go the whole summer with nary a bug bite, but Friday I visited an archaeological site on Johnson's Island, home of a Civil War Prisoner Depot. I think I've been attacked by a battalion of angry rebs--No-See-Ums, so named because they've infiltrated your clothing before you've noticed them, and you didn't think to put on any insect repellent.
    There are over 4,000 species of biting midges in the Ceratopogonidae family, and over 1,000 in just one genus, Culicoides. The distribution of midges in the genus Culicoides is world-wide; 47 species are known to occur in Florida. Species belonging to the genus Leptoconops occur in the tropics, sub-tropics, the Caribbean, and some coastal areas of southeast Florida.

    Breeding areas can be very varied depending on the particular species. Areas with substantial salt marsh habitat are major producers of many biting midge species. Additional sources for some species, like the bluetongue virus vector Culicoides sonorensis Wirth and Jones, include highly organic soil that is wet but not underwater such as those found with high manure loads in swine, sheep and cattle farming operations.
Knees, elbows, chest and toes
I’m itching all over.
Some Cutter’s I needed
God only knows

Is it ghosts of the dead
Getting revenge?
Or too much history
Going through my head?

Midges also enjoy a charmed life in very cold climates. Seem to like penguin poop. Columbus Dispatch

Libraries out of their depth

You probably can’t pray or hold religious services in this library, but you can buy clothing. Call me stodgy, but I think libraries should serve the community with information about services, not the services themselves.
    “The Good Buy Room has some great deals on gently used clothing. The Spring selection of wares are here and are very reasonably priced. When you come into the main library in Buckhorn next time, go downstairs to the lower level and checkout the wonderful selection.”
So many librarians really wanted to be social workers at heart. They wanted to help people save the world without seeing blood or a classroom or digging a well. In career counseling they were warned about the paper work, documentation, constant meetings, low pay and seeing no change in people’s lives, so instead, they gravitated to library science. No one alerted them . . . that. . .well. . . it’s supposed to be about information--collecting, storing, preserving, guiding and providing (plus all the above listed stuff). Increasingly it’s about networks, computers, licensing, and fund raising, but all with the goal of providing people with information they can use. Some libraries rent tools and supply day-care. Some have reading classes. Or teach crafts. Show movies. Put on rock shows with air guitars. Anything to raise stats.

Does this community not have a Women’s Club, or Veterans Group or Church or Hospital Auxiliary that is looking for a service project? Is there only one public building? Let the schools teach; let the churches read and follow Matthew 25; let the volunteer groups raise funds.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Obama and his relationship with Bill Ayers

The new 527 ad by a political group (I saw it for the first time today) doesn't go back far enough in detailing the problems Bill Ayers presents for Obama's candidacy, according to John Batchelor. "The Ayers-Obama relationship is warm, long-term, sophisticated, familial, and heavily documented" (according to the Annenberg material at the University of Illinois Library which like so much in Obama's background is not available for scrutiny).

    "Speaking this Sunday 24 to a principal investigator in the Ayers-Obama relationship in terms of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge Program, Steve Diamond, of Global Labor blog, who started last Spring to unearth and explicate the significance of the Ayers-Obama work at the Chicago Annenberg Challenge Grant. The short version is that Ayers is a major-league radical education professor who travels the world (especially Venezuela) to promote a variety of pet progressive schemes such as using education budgets to redistribute wealth and possibly to bring about reparitions to descendants of slaves. Much of it is utopian tomfoolery and harmless inside a classroom of bored students. Nonethless, Mr. Obama could not have mistaken Bill Ayers for a lamb. And Mr. Obama also could not have missed the fact that Bill Ayers published and promoted his memoir of his years in the Weather Underground, "Fugitive Days: A Memoir," in the summer of 2001, so that the book and the author were featured in a New York Times profile published on September 11, 2001, a profile in which Bill Ayers boasted of terror bombing Congress and other 1970s vanities such as flag-stomping (left). It was stunning bad taste on any day, and fate made that newspaper the one forever buried in the remains of the World Trade Center. And yet afterward, Mr. Obama continued to serve on the Wood board with Bill Ayers, and there are reports that the families have remained close to this day." (From Batchelor's blog)

    "I don't regret setting bombs," Bill Ayers said. "I feel we didn't do enough." Mr. Ayers, who spent the 1970's as a fugitive in the Weather Underground, was sitting in the kitchen of his big turn-of-the-19th-century stone house in the Hyde Park district of Chicago. . . He writes that he participated in the bombings of New York City Police Headquarters in 1970, of the Capitol building in 1971, the Pentagon in 1972. But Mr. Ayers also seems to want to have it both ways, taking responsibility for daring acts in his youth, then deflecting it. (from Ayers profile in NYT)
Why is this creep on the faculty of my university is my first thought, and second is, why do Obama fans find this so innocuous and not see the danger?

What you heard is not what you get after the campaign

In Great Myths of the Great Depression you read about the attempts by the federal government to shore up the economy. Most failed, and these failed Hoover programs of the final years of his presidency are what FDR built his Big New Deal on.
    "Though modern myth claims that the free market “self-destructed” in 1929, government policy was the debacle’s principal culprit. If this crash had been like previous ones, the hard times would have ended in two or three years at the most, and likely sooner than that. But unprecedented political bungling instead prolonged the misery for over 10 years.

    . . . The [1932] platform of the Democratic Party, whose ticket Roosevelt headed, declared, “We believe that a party platform is a covenant with the people to
    be faithfully kept by the party entrusted with power.” It called for a 25-percent reduction in federal spending, a balanced federal budget, a sound gold currency “to
    be preserved at all hazards,” the removal of government from areas that belonged more appropriately to private enterprise, and an end to the “extravagance” of Hoover’s farm programs. This is what candidate Roosevelt promised, but it bears
    no resemblance to what President Roosevelt actually delivered.
Is there ever a presidential campaign in which the candidates don't tell us that they will cut government spending, get out of our business, and end waste? After the election, we voters always put that sign on our backsides that says, "Kick me again."

Thursday Thirteen and Friday Family Photo

Yes, I know it's Sunday, but it is also the 5th anniversary this week of our Amtrak trip to California in 2003, 16 days and 16 states. We parked our car in Toledo and traveled to Chicago with a special $6.50 ticket, cheaper than lunch. From there, it was on to Flagstaff, visiting the Grand Canyon, on to California for 5 days with the Bruce family to celebrate my father-in-law's 90th birthday, on up the coast, for a stay over Labor Day at Glacier Lodge (fires prevented us from seeing much), then back to Toledo and Lakeside. The only one of the 16 states I didn't "see" was Idaho because I was asleep.
At the Fullerton, CA train station
With our fabulous hostess, sister Kate, in reflection, here we are ready to head for Glacier National Park. Yes, we did go 16 days with only this luggage, 2 carry-ons each. I'm wearing the 21 year old khakis I wrote about in the broken zipper entry here. I started this blog about a month after we returned, so I don't think I've talked much about that trip, but here are Thirteen Things worth remembering.
    1. Best overall event: Visiting with the Bruce family for 5 days in California 2. Most emotional: Seeing the four Bruce siblings together with their Dad 3. Best views: Riding through Glen Canyon on a pontoon boat 4. Best restaurant meal: Khoury's in Long Beach with Aunt Dorothy, my dad's sister 5. Best train ride: Pacific Starlight, through California, Oregon, Washington 6. Best tour guide: Billy with "Over the Road" tours in Flagstaff 7. Most disappointing: Fires and smoke at Glacier National Park; we experienced but didn't see McDonald Lake, Going to the Sun Road, the Continental Divide, and Two Medicine Lakes 8. Biggest surprise: Meeting former members of our church, UALC, on the Glacier Lodge porch 9. Best value: Upgrade to sleeper on Empire Builder 10. Biggest blessing I missed: I thought he was a drunk cowboy on the train and ignored him, but later learned otherwise 11. Most never-before-eaten fruit: Huckleberries are ubiquitous around Glacier 12. Biggest scenery change: Western Montana and Eastern Montana, like a plumb line 13. Most destructive government program observed: cradle to the grave government care and disincentives for Native Americans; environmental regs for not removing dead trees and brush were a close second (fires)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Summer's bounty

It's peak season for cucumbers, and if you're lucky, you'll have a farmers' market near by or your supermarket will have locally grown. Fresh cukes and fresh green bell peppers taste very different in August than they do in January. Read the Whole Foods story on cucumbers.
    Cucumbers are a very good source of the vitamins C and the mineral molybdenum. They are also a good source of vitamin A, potassium, manganese, folate, dietary fiber and magnesium and contain the important mineral silica. See all the nutrients
This week I've been sweetening a small amount of apple vinegar, adding a little salt and pepper, then slicing into it cukes, onions, bell peppers, and fresh green beans. I refrigerate it and shake it from time to time. Yummy snacks.

Today for breakfast I grilled two small, sliced Ohio peaches, jazzed it up a bit with a few sprinkles of cinnamon and a dash of sugar free maple syrup, added a few Michigan blueberries and topped it all with some walnuts. Then for lunch I grilled fresh green beans in a little olive oil, added onions, bell peppers, some frozen corn and in the final minutes some locally grown zucchini, turned the burner off and put on the lid to steam lightly. Heavenly.

McCain's houses

McCain has more houses than I realized, but I'm not surprised. Many wealthy people have multiple homes as investments, particularly in the 21st century. Mortgage gaming is one of the ways, perfectly legal, we got into our latest financial slide. I think he and Cindy only use three, and the others are rented or used by family. And who knows what their pre-nup said; perhaps she and not he is the owner, and that's why he waffled? She's the rich one. Seven. Hmmm. That's how many siblings Obama has. And one is living in dire poverty, according to news stories. Maybe to tap this down, McCain could offer Obama's youngest brother, George Hussein Onyango Obama, a place to live.

However, considering the shady deal Obama had to get his primary residence in Illinois, I was really surprised his supporters jumped on this (I suspect a planted question). Real estate is not an issue he wants people to talk about.

Perhaps it's not common, but since owning a second home (since 1988) I've met a number of very ordinary Americans who own three or four homes. In fact, until July we owned three, one used by our son but now he owns it. My parents owned two homes; both my maternal and paternal grandparents owned two homes; my husband's parents owned two homes. My friend Helen has one in Hilliard, Lakeside and Orlando; Angela has one in Hudson, Lakeside and Bradenton; Mrs. Lowe, our former neighbor, had four, Ashland, OH, a farm in Ohio, Lakeside and Florida; Vinita has homes in Akron, Lakeside and PA. Elizabeth has homes in Lancaster, Lakeside and another Chautauqua community. There are families here at Lakeside who may own 4 or 5 homes here, saving them I think for the grandchildren, renting them in the meantime. I know a number of people who own their adult children's homes in order to protect and provide for their grandchildren. Real estate is an investment. Just ask Tony Rezko.

Obama Biden

Obama Biden
by Norma Bruce

Obama Biden, it has a certain ring,
Not quite Hillary who wanted to do her thing,
Or Edwards who lost it after his fling.

Obama Biden, does it some gravitas bring
Or is it more mud to sling,
and praises to Messiah sing?

Obama Biden, is it just this year's fling
'cause I don't sense much bling bling
Or hope and change in Obama Biden team.

Lakeside 2008 Trip to Johnson’s Island

A large group gathered Friday morning at the theater to hear Dr. David Bush of Heidelberg College talk about the lives of POWs in the Confederate Prison on Johnson’s Island. It was only for officers, so there are hundreds of documents and letters to describe their stay there. According to program notes, over 10,000 Confederate officers were imprisoned there, and until near the end of the war, conditions were good and the internments short, because there were active exchanges for federal prisoners held by the Confederates. Late in the war, rations ran short worsening conditions and exchanges all but ended. Most deaths were from diarrhea and dysentery; a few graves in the cemetery were from executions for men found guilt of specific war crimes. Heidelberg is the repository for thousands of documents about these Confederate soldiers and the prison culture. If you Google "Johnson's Island" you'll get a lot of misinformation and myth. Go to the site that has collected the data.

In the afternoon we carpooled to the cemetery, which is owned by the federal government (sold to the government in the 1930s by the group of Southerners who rescued it from decay). I rode out with this handsome group from the Columbus area.

Dr. Bush had read some letters to us in the morning, and pointed out some of the graves of those men. In response to questions, he was able to go directly to the document--usually a letter. One of the most interesting was written by a well educated Choctaw Indian, who wrote about how his "modern" (1860s) culture was completely misunderstood by the white man.

We also got a close-up view of "Southern" a statue of a Confederate soldier placed by the Daughters of the Confederacy of Cincinnati and the Masons. Here's an 1899 article appealing for funds.) He isn't looking south however, but is looking out over Lake Erie to the north. Perhaps looking for the enemy. Not everything you see here is accurate, this recently placed monument and its twin, for instance. The best information is at Heidelberg. It's also possible that the monument was placed without thought to the graves, since it isn't known where all of them are, and many are misidentified.

A new group formed a few years ago is called Friends and Descendants of Johnson’s Island Civil War Prison
    “The archaeological resources of Johnson’s Island are certainly unique. Nowhere else does there exist time capsules (in the form of latrines) from the American Civil War, giving us a few months at a time of how prisoners were treated. Nowhere else does there exist such a wealth of primary documents, giving us a day to day account of how these prisoners saw their predicament. Combined, this provides the best field laboratory for demonstrating not only the science of archaeology, but also a chapter of American history as seen through prisoners of war.”
The land the Friends purchased is being saved from housing development on the Island, which has the most gauche, gaudy array of styles I've ever seen ordered from of a catalog of house designs. If an architect designed any of these monstrosities, he should lose his license. Some of Fort Johnson is under a tennis court.

The fort is the site of buildings, hospital, latrines, wells, etc. that the prisoners used, now long gone and located only through old maps and archaeological methods. Thousands of school children come here to perform "digs" and each child finds something. The digs are in the latrines, which were shallow (bedrock 3 ft down) and frequently moved. What's in a latrine? You'd be surprised. Contraband. Jewelry. Buttons. Garbage. And of course, the usual. What fell in usually wasn't retrieved!

We have oil, gas, coal and many alternatives

And we also have the Democrats and RINOS who want us to fail in all areas so we can "save" the planet for the Chinese.

Won't it be a treat to hear the Denver Dems chastising GWB for the latest increase at the pumps (it has gone down some since this graphic was made, seen at Wizbang)? They've knocked down every plan for 8 years to make us energy independent. Think any of the alternatives will pass the regulatory sniff test by the eco-terrorists? Not a chance. Don't miss Ohio's Governor explain how he's pulled Ohio's economy up since 2006.

I watched Bill Moyers (gag reflex) on PBS last night (got bored with the bikini Olympics) trashing the economy. You'd think they'd told the truth about how good employment and prices were in the recovery after the Clinton slip in 1999-2000. Because if it's down now, it must have been up earlier. (My portfolio did fabulous from late 2002 into early 2007, a nice run up after the tax cuts kick started the economy.) The liberals did this during the 2004 campaign too, constantly inserting the phrase "in this economy" so it's hard to know how much is true and how much is election manipulation.

One slip away from disaster for the "middle class" was Moyer's theme. Really? So being middle class is all about income? Not about values, savings, family or education? A heavily tattoo'd woman moaned about how she had a college education but couldn't get a job at the level of her former employment. I hope she put a shirt on for job interviews because I was really turned off. The interviewees were in lovely homes with nice cars, and I assume in debt to their eyeballs, young boomers or Gen-X-ers who never saw a toy they didn't buy or a mortgage payment that wasn't too high. The American dream? When did that come to mean "interest only" home loans, boats and 3 cars? You also see these sob stories on the local channels. Doesn't this constant negative barrage on PBS, broadcast and cable defy everything we've been taught since the 1970s in our school, churches and women's magazines about positive thinking, self-esteem and "possibility thinking?"

Since the American Depression in the 1930s (which lasted longer than needed due to FDR's socialist programs) the record shows the worst thing the government can do is raise taxes in an economic slump, particularly on those who contribute the most to the economy in investments and jobs. But that's Obama's plan. More Pelosi pandering. Don't buy it. I doubt that our Nobama candidate McCain's ideas are all that much of an improvement, but I think he'll keep the Bush tax cuts. He's a middle of the road Democrat, not a socialist. Raising taxes on the rich helps for about 2 weeks, then their accountants and lawyers go into high gear; companies move, loopholes are found, and you and I foot the bill. Obama isn't going to raise taxes to help anyone; by his own testimony with Charley Gibson, he's going to do it out of a sense of "fairness." Yeah, that works.