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November 6, 2008 - 8:06am
posted by Bea McManis in news, comments, nation and world.

A quick look at AOL's News comments indicated that the bigots are out in full force. Some comments should, in my opinion, be removed, but AOL appears to thrive on this type of community back biting. Our country took the first step in healing the wounds the inept Bush administration caused for eight years. Electing Obama may not set well with the bigots. However, they are a small minority.

Quite honestly, if I were elected president and faced the 'clean up' job required to put this country back together after the many years of Republican rule, I would ask for a recount. It isn't going to be an easy job.

Will Obama raise taxes? Quite possibly, but who did you think was going to pay for the debt Bush foisted upon us? When did you think that bill would come due? I applaud the Obama victory and pray that President elect Obama will find the strength and the wisdom to lead this country out of the mire caused by the Bush years.

When, in your recent memory, did you see one of our presidential elections greeted with such a positive impact around the globe?

November 6, 2008 - 6:37am
posted by Howard B. Owens in nation and world.

Ralph Nader was, at one time, one of the most respected people in America. In an interview with a Houston radio station, Nader said Barack Obama will have a choice on whether to be an "Uncle Sam or be an Uncle Tom."

Fox News gave Nader a chance to take it back, and when asked if he regretted saying it, he said, "Not at all."

Nader appears completely clueless as to how offensive the term is.

November 5, 2008 - 10:55am
posted by Howard B. Owens in nation and world.

I like this post from conservative writer Megan McArdle:

Whether or not you are for Obama, the candidate, I think you have to admit that there is one pretty exciting thing happening today:  we will never again live in an America where a black man can't be elected president.   It's a great day for all of us--the thought really does thrill me every time I think it, even though I know I'm going to hate an awful lot of his policymaking.  But it's especially great for those who were, in earlier days, barred from that sort of achievement.

Which prompted a reader to write into libertarian blogger Glenn Reynolds:

UPDATE: Reader Rahul Banta writes: "I think one take away from this election cycle is that never again will two white men ever be successful running for President and Vice President. I think this election has changed all that permanently. For better or worse we now will have at least one woman and one minority person on one of the major parties ticket, perhaps even in the same person and anything other than that will be seen as somehow out of touch or not very representative of America. The amazing thing is this all happened without anyone really noticing it."

I also like this found on Glenn's blog:

JIM MANZI: "There are about 1,460 days until the next Presidential election, and I assume that I will spend approximately the next 1,459 of them opposing Barack Obama. But I’m spending today proud abut what my country has overcome."

It doesn't matter whether you're Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal -- the election of Barack Obama is a major milestone in this country.  It gives us hope that the ugly issues of race can become merely historical references in textbooks.

We should be proud of our country today, and for those of us who might oppose some or all of Obama's agenda, raise that opposition with equal measures of vigor and respect.  But we shouldn't let mere partisanship or over-simplified campaign rhetoric distract us from the work of moving the country, and our communities, forward.

November 5, 2008 - 10:33am
posted by Howard B. Owens in nation and world.

From NPR:

Along a rural highway in central Texas sits a small white house with some cows grazing out back and a wheelchair ramp leading to the front screen door. Inside that house lives Amanda Jones, 109, the daughter of a slave. No one in her family, least of all Jones, thought she would live long enough to vote for the man who is to become the first black president.

Jones is the living link between the time when black men were owned as property and the time when a black man has been elected president of the United States.

She wears a pink gown and sits in a worn recliner. Thick glasses magnify her rheumy eyes — eyes that have witnessed two world wars, a great depression, and the arrival of jazz, television and antibiotics. Born in 1899, Jones has lived through a half-century of institutional segregation and a second half-century of attempts to erase that legacy.

"The white is over everything," she says. "I never thought the colored would rise up" and accomplish this.

She says Barack Obama's election is "a blessing."

October 31, 2008 - 11:15am
posted by Darrick Coleman in nation and world, Recycling.

I heard about this a while ago but forgot about Home Depot's initiative to recycle compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs). This is really important as CFLs contain small amounts of mercury which is extremely poisonous. It is actually "illegal" to throw these bulbs in the regular trash. During my recent visit to the Batavia Home Depot I saw one of these CFL recycling boxes. They are located right in front of the returns counter as you enter the store. This is very responsible of Home Depot and we should really take advantage of their efforts! Here is more information from the Home Depot site.


And here is more information about CFLs and why recycling them is important:




October 28, 2008 - 11:55am
posted by Darrick Coleman in politics, bill kauffman, nation and world.

This article is from April when Hillary Clinton was still a possible option. It is a very interesting read and, as the usual Kauffman style, illegitimizes all candidates as being from "nowhere... or everrywhere". In the end it is a very interesting use of 5 minutes of your time during this election season!

October 27, 2008 - 3:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in nation and world.

Many GOP leaders are not only beginning to concede Nov. 4 to Barack Obama, they're predicting a landslide.

It leads to the question: Will John McCain put "Country First" and work to protect the GOP power to filibuster?

But another big issue is how the party is dividing along Cultural War lines.

Mr Frum argues that just as America is changing, so the Republican Party must adapt its economic message and find more to say about healthcare and the environment if it is to survive.

He said: "I don't know that there's a lot of realism in the Republican Party. We have an economic message that is largely irrelevant to most people.

"Cutting personal tax rates is not the answer to everything. The Bush years were largely prosperous but while national income was up the numbers for most individuals were not. Republicans find that a hard fact to process."

Other Republicans have jumped ship completely. Ken Adelman, a Pentagon adviser on the Iraq war, Matthew Dowd, who was Mr Bush's chief re-election strategist, and Scott McClellan, Mr Bush's former press secretary, have all endorsed Mr Obama.

But the real bile has been saved for those conservatives who have balked at the selection of Sarah Palin.

In addition to Mr Frum, who thinks her not ready to be president, Peggy Noonan, Ronald Reagan's greatest speechwriter and a columnist with the Wall Street Journal, condemned Mr McCain's running mate as a "symptom and expression of a new vulgarisation of American politics." Conservative columnist David Brooks called her a "fatal cancer to the Republican Party".

The backlash that ensued last week revealed the fault lines of the coming civil war.

Rush Limbaugh, the doyen of right wing talk radio hosts, denounced Noonan, Brooks and Frum. Neconservative writer Charles Krauthammer condemned "the rush of wet-fingered conservatives leaping to Barack Obama", while fellow columnist Tony Blankley said that instead of collaborating in heralding Mr Obama's arrival they should be fighting "in a struggle to the political death for the soul of the country".

During the primaries the Democratic Party was bitterly divided between Barack Obama's "latte liberals" and Hillary Clinton's heartland supporters, but now the same cultural division threatens to tear the Republican Party apart.

Jim Nuzzo, a White House aide to the first President Bush, dismissed Mrs Palin's critics as "cocktail party conservatives" who "give aid and comfort to the enemy".

He told The Sunday Telegraph: "There's going to be a bloodbath. A lot of people are going to be excommunicated. David Brooks and David Frum and Peggy Noonan are dead people in the Republican Party. The litmus test will be: where did you stand on Palin?"

I think traditional conservatives should tell the social conservatives: "Hey, you want the GOP? It's yours. See if you can win without us. We're going over here and starting a new party."

October 27, 2008 - 12:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in nation and world.

A New York Times reporter obtain a dial-in number to listen to a recording a JP Morgan Chase conference call. In it, an executive flatly admits that the $25 billion the company is receiving from the bailout stimulus package won't be used to finance more loans (thereby, in theory, stimulating the economy). The money will be used to help JP Morgan can buy up other companies and grow bigger.

“Twenty-five billion dollars is obviously going to help the folks who are struggling more than Chase,” he began. “What we do think it will help us do is perhaps be a little bit more active on the acquisition side or opportunistic side for some banks who are still struggling. And I would not assume that we are done on the acquisition side just because of the Washington Mutual and Bear Stearns mergers. I think there are going to be some great opportunities for us to grow in this environment, and I think we have an opportunity to use that $25 billion in that way and obviously depending on whether recession turns into depression or what happens in the future, you know, we have that as a backstop.”

Read that answer as many times as you want — you are not going to find a single word in there about making loans to help the American economy. On the contrary: at another point in the conference call, the same executive (who I’m not naming because he didn’t know I would be listening in) explained that “loan dollars are down significantly.” He added, “We would think that loan volume will continue to go down as we continue to tighten credit to fully reflect the high cost of pricing on the loan side.” In other words JPMorgan has no intention of turning on the lending spigot.

It is starting to appear as if one of Treasury’s key rationales for the recapitalization program — namely, that it will cause banks to start lending again — is a fig leaf, Treasury’s version of the weapons of mass destruction.

Does anybody still believe this "bailout" will do anything to help the American people. Wasn't it in fact just the largest pork bill in history?

October 27, 2008 - 9:43am
posted by Bea McManis in books, nation and world, hillerman, navajo, mystery novels.

Tony Hillerman Dead at 83

Every once in a while I will discover an author that intrigues me. Tony Hillerman is one of those people. Tony Hillerman, author of the acclaimed Navajo Tribal Police mystery novels and creator of two of the unlikeliest of literary heroes Navajo police officers Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee. 18 of his 30+ books were the Navajo series.

It was Mr. Hillerman's books that led me to New Mexico to trace the steps of Leaphorn and Chee. There, I discovered Mr. Hillerman's acute eye for detail. When he wrote of roads leading to or from Window Rock and when he mentioned a particular landmark, you could be sure that it was exactly where he said it was.

The cases of Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee have given readers an insight into the cultural milieu of the Indian peoples of the Southwest, particularly the Navajo. Hillerman has always been extremely careful, making no claims for insider knowledge (he is a white man who grew up with Indians in Oklahoma) and maintaining respect and courtesy toward the privacy of the tribes his books focus on.

Hillerman's Indians are wonderfully humanized and individualized, and his knowledge of current Indian issues is always impressive.

The Navajo Mysteries by Tony Hillerman

The Shape Shifters. New York: HarperCollins, 2006.

Skeleton Man. New York: HarperCollins, 2004.

The Sinister Pig. New York: HarperCollins, 2003.

The Wailing Wind . New York: HarperCollins, 2002.

Hunting Badger. New York: Harper, 1999

The First Eagle . New York: Harper,1998.

The Fallen Man . New York: Harper,1997.

Sacred Clowns. New York: Harper,1993.

Coyote Waits. New York: Harper,1990.

Talking God. New York: Harper,1989.

A Thief of Time. New York: Harper,1988.

Skinwalkers. New York: Harper,1986. Reprinted 1987.Bestseller List, 1986. This book won the Western Writers of America Spur Award in 1986.

The Ghost Way. New York: Harper, 1984. Reprinted 1986.

The Dark Wind. New York: Harper, 1982. Reprinted 1983.

People of the Darkness. New York: Harper, 1980. Reprinted 1982.

Listening Woman,New York: Harper, 1978. Reprinted 1979.

Dance Hall of the Dead. New York: Harper, 1973.Reprinted in 1975. MWA Edgar Allen Poe Award for the Best Mystery Novel of the West, 1973.

The Blessing Way. New York: Harper, 1970. Reprinted in 1978. This book was a finalist for the Best First Novel Edgar Allen Poe Award.

October 26, 2008 - 11:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in nation and world.

October 26, 2008 - 10:25am
posted by Howard B. Owens in nation and world.

October 26, 2008 - 10:04am
posted by Howard B. Owens in nation and world.

October 26, 2008 - 9:52am
posted by Howard B. Owens in nation and world.

I'm reading a story in the Los Angeles Times about how close Al Franken (the former Saturday Night Live writer and performer, and author of Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot) is close to unseating the Republican incumbent senator, Norm Coleman, in Minnesota, and I hit a paragraph that just stops me cold.

All this comes at a time when Democrats, who have a bare majority in the Senate, hope to pick up enough seats Nov. 4 to be able to prevent Republican filibusters. Thirty-five seats are up for grabs -- 23 of them held by Republicans -- and Democrats need to gain nine to reach a filibuster-proof majority of 60.

Imagine what it would mean for one party to have that kind of unchecked power. It should scare even loyal Democrats.

That's assuming, of course, Obama wins the White House and the Democrats maintain majority in the House. That's a pretty safe assumption.

Regular readers know I'm no fan of either political party, and that I often make noise about the Republocrat Plutocracy. 

That's more a matter of neither party not caring much about pursuing the interests of the people they're sworn to represent, and that on many issues, the differences are nuance rather substantive.

But in either party, there are extremes. For the Republicans, its the extreme social conservative agenda that tends to tamp down moderates (hence, an unqualified Sarah Palin picked to run with McCain because McCain has about zero appeal to the base).  For the Democrats, the extreme is a mix of anti-business, anti-wealth, pro-government solutions to societal problems almost socialism.

There are two things that keep extreme agendas in check under our current system -- the other party, and just enough wiggle room in each party for moderates to buck the party line.

You've got to ask yourself -- if the Democrats have unchecked power, will the moderates in the party be able to move freely to oppose the more extreme measures the Nancy Pelosis of the world might want to pursue? What kind of traitorous bastard would you be as a Democratic senator if you launched a filibuster in against your own party?

How many times do you think Obama will use the veto pen against a Democrat-dominated Legislature?

If we did not allow the Republicans and the Democrats so much power to prevent third parties from becoming contending alternatives, we wouldn't be facing this situation today.  It would be much harder for either party to achieve a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. The House would be much more divided.  We would be much closer to the republic the Founders intended that essentially one-party rule system (which is about to become the one-party tyranny system) we have today.

Right now, we can only hope that Barack Obama is sensible enough not to take advantage of the level of unchecked power he's going to have as president.

October 25, 2008 - 12:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in nation and world.

Politico reports that Sarah Palin, and some of her long-time advisers, are frustrated with the way she's been handled by the former Bush aides assigned to run her VP campaign.

Palin has been increasingly off message and talking with reporters without consulting the aides tasked with keeping her away from the media.  She blames the Bush aides for damaging her image by not letting her be herself and trying to too tightly script her interview with Katie Couric.

"She's lost confidence in most of the people on the plane," said a senior Republican who speaks to Palin, referring to her campaign jet. He said Palin had begun to "go rogue" in some of her public pronouncements and decisions.

"I think she'd like to go more rogue," he said. 

The emergence of a Palin faction comes as Republicans gird for a battle over the future of their party: Some see her as a charismatic, hawkish conservative leader with the potential, still unrealized, to cross over to attract moderate voters. Anger among Republicans who see Palin as a star and as a potential future leader has boiled over because, they say, they see other senior McCain aides preparing to blame her in the event he is defeated.

"These people are going to try and shred her after the campaign to divert blame from themselves," a McCain insider said, referring to McCain's chief strategist, Steve Schmidt, and to Nicolle Wallace, a former Bush aide who has taken a lead role in Palin's campaign. Palin's partisans blame Wallace, in particular, for Palin's avoiding of the media for days and then giving a high-stakes interview to CBS News' Katie Couric, whose sometimes painful content the campaign allowed to be parceled out over a week.

With McCain's chances of winning the election dwindling, Palin could do herself a big favor by breaking with the campaign. Palin's best chance for rehabilitating her political career is to lay the ground work for her future. She needs to show the country who she really is over the next 11 days and then go back to Alaska and be a great governor.  That's assuming who she really is isn't what we've seen of her so far.

October 24, 2008 - 5:53am
posted by Howard B. Owens in nation and world.

In his 1987 book, A Conflict of Visions, Thomas Sowell, an African-American writer and political philosopher, identifies two competing world views that can be traced back to Aristotle and Plato.

The "constrained view," which basically states that some people believe humans are basically flawed, or limited, and society much be constructed in such a way as to provide checks and balances against those limitations.

The other outlook is the "unconstrained view," which sees no limitations for the human race.

According to this piece in Forbes, Sowell says McCain represents the constrained view, and Obama, the unconstrained view -- and he predicts an Obama presidency coupled with large Democratic majorities in both houses will be disastrous for the country.

McCain promises to prosecute the war unapologetically. Obama? "In the first 100 days of my administration," he has declared, "I will travel to a major Islamic forum and deliver an address to redefine our struggle. I will make clear that we are willing to stand with those who are willing to stand up for their future."

"Barack Obama," Sowell says, "has a lot more faith in verbal interactions than I would. What he is proposing under the guise of change is what was tried between the two world wars and failed disastrously." Accommodation, diplomatic overtures, talk. It failed seven decades ago. It would fail today.


Take it all together, Sowell believes, and this election will prove decisive.

"There is such a thing as a point of no return," he says. If Obama wins the White House and Democrats expand their majorities in the House and Senate, they will intervene in the economy and redistribute wealth. Yet their economic policies "will pale by comparison to what they will do in permitting countries to acquire nuclear weapons and turn them over to terrorists. Once that happens, we're at the point of no return. The next generation will live under that threat as far out as the eye can see."

"The unconstrained vision is really an elitist vision," Sowell explains. "This man [Obama] really does believe that he can change the world. And people like that are infinitely more dangerous than mere crooked politicians."

Obama has said he will take any measure necessary -- not rulling out the military option -- to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Can we trust him on that?

October 24, 2008 - 5:31am
posted by Howard B. Owens in nation and world.

UPDATE: It turns out this story is completely bogus. The young woman made it all up.

This is a disturbing bit of news -- the kind of thing that should never happen in the United States:

Police spokeswoman Diane Richard said the robber took $60 from Todd, then became angry when he saw a McCain bumper sticker on the victim's car. The attacker then punched and kicked the victim, before using the knife to scratch the letter "B" into her face, Richard said.


The Obama-Biden campaign released a statement, commenting on the attack. The statement said, "Our thoughts and prayers are with the young woman for her to make a speedy recovery, and we hope that the person who perpetrated this crime is swiftly apprehended and brought to justice."

The McCain-Palin campaign also released a statement saying, "The McCain campaign is aware of the incident involving one of its volunteers. Out of respect, the campaign won't be commenting. The campaign also confirms that Senator McCain and Governor Palin have both spoken to the woman."

October 23, 2008 - 7:51am
posted by Howard B. Owens in nation and world.

October 22, 2008 - 5:41pm
posted by Tom Gilliatt in candidates, president, nation and world.

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