Saturday, January 31, 2009

Still Digging Helen

Looks like the Obama Administration is not immune from the wily inquisitiveness of Helen Thomas. I love her & I'm glad she's got a seat in the new press briefing room. Learned something new today - looks like she takes one day off a week:
Yes, Helen.

Q You were you saying that the President intends to attach strings to any new money in the stimulus package, aren't you?

MR. GIBBS: I'm sorry, say that again?

Q That you intend to attach a string -- attached to any giving of any more money in the stimulus.

MR. GIBBS: In the bailout money, right?

Q Right.

MR. GIBBS: Yes, I think that it is, again, very safe to assume that the way that the money will be used and what it can be used for will be different than what we've seen come before. And I think that the President is anxious to have that -- those decisions made and outlined. And I think you'll see those relatively soon.

Q When is he going to hold his first news conference?

MR. GIBBS: He is anxious and eager to do so, and we're trying to find him a time to do that. Will you have a question, if he does?

Q Twenty-four hours a day, six days a week?

MR. GIBBS: Are you busy around 2:00 a.m. this morning? (Laughter.) No, we'll -- I promise you, you'll get -- you'll get your chance.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

From The Grave: Updike Write's His Own Epitaph

It came to me the other day:
Were I to die, no one would say,
“Oh, what a shame! So young, so full
Of promise — depths unplumbable!”

Instead, a shrug and tearless eyes
Will greet my overdue demise;
The wide response will be, I know,
I thought he died a while ago.

For life’s a shabby subterfuge,
And death is real, and dark, and huge.
The shock of it will register
Nowhere but where it will occur.


Attention Republicans: Does This Man Represent You Or Disparage Your Ilk

Holy Crap. If this is what passes muster for upstanding political debate and quality argument on the behalf of republicans everywhere, the GOP is doomed to the dustbin of history. With the regime change, I thought we kicked to the curb all these nut balls who believe that if they don't like some one's opinion that it is okay to disparage them as a means of defeating their position.

If I call you names does that make my position correct? Hell no. Republicans need to give this Rovian gambit a rest. It's doing the GOP no good, destroying their credibility, and been sullying the reputation of America abroad for lo about 8 years.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

When Will The New DoJ Issue Some Subpoenas?

When do we get to see some high profile perp walks?
In an interview with National Public Radio this week, Mr. Gonzales attacked President Obama’s choice for attorney general, Eric Holder, for saying that waterboarding is torture. To hear Mr. Gonzales tell it, Mr. Holder was in the wrong — not the lawyers like Mr. Gonzales who tortured the law to justify torture, or the former defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, who approved its use, or the interrogators who actually subjected detainees to waterboarding and other inhumane and illegal interrogation techniques.

Making a “blanket pronouncement like that,” Mr. Gonzales warned, might affect “the morale and dedication” of intelligence officials. He said agents at the Central Intelligence Agency “no longer have any interest in doing anything controversial.”

We’re certainly glad to hear that.

No one in the Bush administration — certainly not Mr. Gonzales — has offered evidence that torturing prisoners produced reliable information. It did undermine the law, further endanger American soldiers who might be captured in the field and destroy the nation’s image.
Sticking to the talking points of a decrepit and archaic, not to mention barbaric, system seems to be also those things. More importantly, it (meaning the prior administration's actions) could involve a clear violation of the law.

I'm voting for Obama to prove that no one is above the law - including former presidents who skirted and bent the law to their own ends. Some one has to hold Gonzales' feet to the fire. We need some high profile perp walks to restore the faith the American people should have in both the Department of Justice and the very Constitutional foundation of our country.

Are we a land that abides by the rule of law, or not?

Is There Anything More Ironic (or Perhaps Moronic) Than Blogging About Blogging?

One of my pet peeves is bloggers who blog about blogging. Even so, a friend of mine sent me a link to a blogger who long about 2003 posted his "final" post. Of course, that resolution was broken and he's still at it. I myself have contemplated shutting down or shifting the focus of this blog in particular, but always reconsider it after taking some time away from the keyboard.

Perhaps the key to longevity in blogging is having lowered expectations. As I look down the right hand column of mine own familiar (well, at least to me) location and see how many years I've been quietly tapping away at the keyboard,it's astonishing. Nearly 2.5K posts later, what's it gotten me? Not much but personal satisfaction for having spoken out.

As to if my small twig that falls in this wood is heard by any one else isn't of consequence. It's that I have said something. There in rests the difference that propels me forward onto the next post for the new day.

Of course, the famous Warhol quote is that every one will have her/his fifteen minutes. The blogosphere, being less kind than the mainstream media, suggests that you will be famous to fifteen people (which, in reality is a smaller number). As to if there is any one out there? Does that matter? Not so much.

Blog on friends, blog on all,


Oh, and this one too:

Monday, January 26, 2009

Looks Like We Now Have A President Who Knows San Francisco Exists

If you pay attention to the new Whitehouse blog, you will see that the President is working to lead the word as well as the nation. Kong Hey Fat Choy!

Finally, we have a President who knows San Francisco exists. George Bush did not visit San Francisco once in eight years - yeah, sure he danced around the area to squeeze money out of the elites, but he didn't bother with the people of SF at all. This is different than Bill Clinton (and Al Gore for that matter, who actually owns a condo in San Francisco). Perhaps we will see Obama visiting the city by the Bay.
"I send my warmest wishes to people across Asia, in America, and indeed around the world who are celebrating the Lunar New Year and welcoming the Year of the Ox. As they gather with their families and celebrate over meals, they welcome new beginnings and honor the enduring wisdom of their ancestors.

"From the lion dances in San Francisco to festivals in Atlanta and parades in New York City and Washington, D.C., Americans of Asian descent carry on the vibrant traditions of their forefathers and enrich America's cultural diversity. I wish all those celebrating the New Year to be blessed with peace, prosperity, and good health."
On other thing you will see that is different than the Bush Administration is that they are actually working on the weekend. Just ask Lilly Ledbetter if she appreciates this.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Kind Of Leadership We Need

Not only has Obama eclipsed George W. Bush in about twenty minutes into his tenure as President, but he demonstrates the kind of leadership we need at this time in our history.
To accelerate the creation of a clean energy economy, we will double our capacity to generate alternative sources of energy like wind, solar, and biofuels over the next three years. We’ll begin to build a new electricity grid that lay down more than 3,000 miles of transmission lines to convey this new energy from coast to coast. We’ll save taxpayers $2 billion a year by making 75% of federal buildings more energy efficient, and save the average working family $350 on their energy bills by weatherizing 2.5 million homes.

To lower health care cost, cut medical errors, and improve care, we’ll computerize the nation’s health record in five years, saving billions of dollars in health care costs and countless lives. And we’ll protect health insurance for more than 8 million Americans who are in danger of losing their coverage during this economic downturn.

To ensure our children can compete and succeed in this new economy, we’ll renovate and modernize 10,000 schools, building state-of-the-art classrooms, libraries, and labs to improve learning for over five million students. We’ll invest more in Pell Grants to make college affordable for seven million more students, provide a $2,500 college tax credit to four million students, and triple the number of fellowships in science to help spur the next generation of innovation.

Finally, we will rebuild and retrofit America to meet the demands of the 21st century. That means repairing and modernizing thousands of miles of America’s roadways and providing new mass transit options for millions of Americans. It means protecting America by securing 90 major ports and creating a better communications network for local law enforcement and public safety officials in the event of an emergency. And it means expanding broadband access to millions of Americans, so business can compete on a level-playing field, wherever they’re located.

I know that some are skeptical about the size and scale of this recovery plan. I understand that skepticism, which is why this recovery plan must and will include unprecedented measures that will allow the American people to hold my Administration accountable for these results. We won’t just throw money at our problems - we’ll invest in what works. Instead of politicians doling out money behind a veil of secrecy, decisions about where we invest will be made public, and informed by independent experts whenever possible. We’ll launch an unprecedented effort to root out waste, inefficiency, and unnecessary spending in our government, and every American will be able to see how and where we spend taxpayer dollars by going to a new website called
Let's hope these are more than just words.

Of course, you can skip over the antiquated "radio address" and now access the youtube video of the weekly address right here:

Late add to this post: Not only do we see Obama as a different kind of leader, we also notice that his style is markedly different than Bush:
The high-tech Obama chose to keep his cherished BlackBerry, becoming the first sitting president to use e-mail. He made an impromptu visit to the White House's cramped media quarters just "to say hello." He also was spotted at one point ducking into the White House press office to consult with an aide. Bush avoided both areas at all costs.

In one Oval Office ceremony, Obama went through each executive order as he signed them, reading parts of each and methodically explaining them. He even halted a few times to ask for clarification from his White House counsel. That sort of deferral to someone else in a public setting and admission of a less-than-perfect command of the facts was never Bush's style.
Moreover, we see Obama committed to unite rather than divide, which seems to have been Bush's actual rather than espoused aim:
For too long, international family planning assistance has been used as a political wedge issue, the subject of a back and forth debate that has served only to divide us. I have no desire to continue this stale and fruitless debate.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Forced to Depend on the Mainstream Media

As a long time blogger (some may call me a dinosaur given the length of my tenure on line), I'm not used to depending on the mainstream media for my information. I typically like to go to places as close to the original source as possible for my "news." Unfortunately, it's the 23rd of January, and the last entry on the new Whitehouse web location (blogs and otherwise) are from one to two days ago. This does not constitute keeping up with the times in my book.

Certainly there are some major things happening with the Obama administration, but it's difficult for us ordinary citizens to get the news unfiltered, and now we are needing to lean on the MSM a bit more heavily that we are used to. And, for me, there is a certain layer of mistrust that pours a dose of cynicism on my belief that the "news" is really news.

Hopefully, the folks working for Obama can be a bit more swift in posting executive orders and proclamations as well as the verbatim text of any news conferences. Otherwise, "we the people" will have to wait for regurgitated news, filtered, watered down, and cut to twenty second sound bites. And in this trying time, I prefer my truths unvarnished and delivered in their entirety.

One example of this is that I heard on NPR this morning that Obama signed an executive order to close Gitmo - but there's no mention of it where you think it aught be linked as of my writing this post.

For some one who proclaims to want to run a transparent and tightly connected operation, one or two days late on the "news" is a day late and many dollars short.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The United States of "Isratine"

I love this country. We get exposed to all points of view.

Today, Qaddaffi, yes, the Muammar Qaddaffi has a op ed article in the NY Times. He has an interesting point, that the pathway to peace for the Israel situation is not a split set of Nation States (Israel v. Palestine) but a unifying one-state solution. Seems to work for the USA, why not form the United States of "Isratine?"
In absolute terms, the two movements must remain in perpetual war or a compromise must be reached. The compromise is one state for all, an “Isratine” that would allow the people in each party to feel that they live in all of the disputed land and they are not deprived of any one part of it.
Certainly we know that inclusion tends to work better for fostering peace than exclusion. He may, indeed, have a point.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

In Case You Missed It

The new Whitehouse web development team may be a bit behind the curve, but at least they are up to date with the technology.

The text is now on the Whitehouse location, here.

Blog on friends. Blog on all. And let's pray that hope delivers in a way that is exponentially greater than the fear dished over the last eight years.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Eclipse of George W. Bush

It took a sum total of about twenty minutes for Barak Obama to eclipse George Bush in toto. Already we have gone from the simplistic, dualism of "you're either with us or against us," to a place where you are with us until you are against us. One is substantially more inclusive than the other. Certainly,
On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics....

...from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and we are ready to lead once more.
Indeed change has come. I have become accustom to the old Whitehouse dot gov location. It's all shifted about. The Whitehouse staffer in charge of their web presence has started a blog. And, some things have not caught up to the rate of change we are familiar with in the blogosphere.

We have one proclamation, but it's not listed on the proclamations page but the blog itself. Of course, it's dramatically different than Bush's last proclamation (and his first).

I went looking for the text of the Inaugural Address, which I liked a lot, but only loved in some places. Obama has already proven himself a much better speechifier with gifted skills in delivery and a team of great writers. Alas, I usually like to go direct to the primary source for such things, but the UPI has the text up well ahead of his web team. For the time being, I think we will have to give them a break as they didn't technically have full access for low about and hour or so.

My favorite lines follow:
And because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.
Could you imagine George Bush delivering such a paragraph? Nope, not me either.

To close, I think we are wise to remember the words of Washington, that Obama reiterated today; that things indeed could be much worse. The enemy could be bleeding us daily here at home; staring down our throats, deep into our hearts with an aim to kill on our soil.
"Let it be told to the future world that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive, that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet it."
The situation is not nearly as bleak as the one Washington faced, nor as dangerous, but it's grim nonetheless.

To undo what has been done will take some serious unraveling, like the Gordian knot, we may find solutions not in the usual places. But in our hearts and minds, at least the creativity of a Nation is bound, unified, and harnessed toward the positive rather than the negative end, and in that respect we have, in one day, made the effective transition from darkness to the light.

Blog on friends. Blog on all.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Adios Bush - Don't Let The Door Hit You In The Ass

Thanks a bunch for the lurch you left us in. A friend of mine found this image on the daily commute. I stole it off her facebook page. Sums it up, no?

Will he remain committed to his "democracy spreading" experiment by moving to Baghdad and finishing what he started? Doubtful.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Rich Stay Rich & Well Protected: The Poor Stay Poor & Neglected

Would you work for one year without a contract if the economy wasn't in the crapper?
UC service workers, represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Workers, Local 3299, have been working without a contract for a year and have been fighting for a raise. The union held a five-day strike in July over the stalled contract negotiations.

"The UC executives get bonuses and raises while we're trying to move beyond poverty wages," said Kathryn Lybarger, a gardener at Cal who serves on the union's bargaining committee. She was one of those arrested, and then released, for allegedly trespassing.
Exploitation of the poor has a long history about the globe.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Your 1.2 Trillion Dollars At Work - Was The Money Lent Or Spent And How Do You Win?

If the Fed is printing cash at a rate of 4K per taxpayer, don't you want to know how it was spent or lent, no matter the semantics? In contrast, education is being held tooth and nail to No Child Left Behind, which has been described as "all stick and no carrot." Why is that?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Bush: Fear Monger To The Bitter End

Among other things, we find that Bush is going to stick to the "terrorist threat" approach as he continues to peddle fear to the very end:
Q In your 2002 State of the Union address, you identified U.S. threats as an axis of evil -- Iran, Iraq and North Korea. Iraq is relatively calm; North Korea is no longer on the terrorist threat list. How would you define, if, in fact, there is an axis of evil? And what is the greatest and most urgent threat when it comes to security that Barack Obama has to deal with?

THE PRESIDENT: The most urgent threat that he'll have to deal with, and other Presidents after him will have to deal with, is an attack on our homeland. You know, I wish I could report that's not the case, but there's still an enemy out there that would like to inflict damage on America -- Americans. And that will be the major threat.
Perhaps it's because Bush wasn't able to actually kill the real devil (bin Laden), but some may disagree. It could be that it's the "economy, stupid," which was broken on Bush's watch that is our biggest threat. The wolf in sheep's clothing, it seems, comes wrapped in the Stars and Stripes, disguised as a capital P "Patriot."

Unscripted, answering questions off the cuff, I think we see the President Bush for who he really is. These are his most honest moments. What do you make of this next paragraph, which I'm almost certain won't be highlighted in any of the AP wire clips we see today or the next:
Q It was never the "loneliest office in the world" for you?

THE PRESIDENT: No, not for me. We had a -- people -- we -- I had a fabulous team around me of highly dedicated, smart, capable people, and we had fun. I tell people that, you know, some days happy, some days not so happy, every day has been joyous. And people, they say, I just don't believe it to be the case. Well, it is the case. Even in the darkest moments of Iraq, you know, there was -- and every day when I was reading the reports about soldiers losing their lives, no question there was a lot of emotion, but also there was times where we could be light-hearted and support each other.

And I built a team of really capable people who were there not to serve me, or there to serve the Republicans, they were there to serve the country. And President-Elect Obama will find, as he makes these tough calls and tough decisions, that he'll be supported by a lot of really good people that care -- care about the country, as well.
I get no remorse, no regret, and a tone that doesn't convey any sincerity or understanding about the amount of damage and collateral damage this man and his administration caused. "...every day has been joyous?" Holy crap!

What say you blogosphere?

Blog on friends, blog on all.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Welcome To George Bush's America

Typically, when the economy tanks, things go gangbusters at colleges and universities. George Bush's legacy will be an economy that sucks so bad that even people cannot afford to invest in improving their own education. The theoretical causal relationship between downturns in the economy spurring a corresponding upswing in enrollments may completely be obliterated by the atrocities perpetrated by the W, Rove and Co over the last 8 years.

Welcome to George Bush's America. This just in from the CSU Chancellor's office:
For the past several months, the CSU has been taking actions to reduce costs while doing everything we can to protect our students, faculty and staff and to preserve the quality of our universities. These actions have included steps to limit the number of new students admitted in fall 2009 based on the state’s inability to fully fund enrollment growth and CSU’s operational needs. Today I am announcing additional mandatory measures for the Chancellor’s Office and all campuses including: travel restrictions for employees; the cancellation of all non-critical equipment and supply purchases; and a hiring freeze on all positions except those essential to the operation of the university.

In addition, we are implementing a salary freeze for all vice president level positions and above including presidents’ and vice chancellors’ salaries and my salary, effective immediately through the 2009-10 budget year.

We have also been forced to suspend and shut down state-funded design and construction projects on all of our campuses in response to the state’s freezing of $600 million in general-obligation and lease revenue bonds used to finance these projects. Unfortunately, hundreds of projects will be affected including libraries, performing arts centers, classrooms, administration buildings, seismic upgrades, laboratories and more.
When do the educational institutions that train America's workforce get their "bail out?" Certainly, if you want to remain competitive with a skilled workforce, you might want a viable educational system, no?

Twenty Seconds With Obama

Face it. No matter how good Obama will be about reaching out to the common folk, most of us won't ever get a chance to meet the man face-to-face. A tête-à-tête with Obama may be far beyond our grasp, but that shouldn't leave us with nothing to say should you win the lottery to have a personal interaction of some kind with our new President. Most likely, that would be something like 20 seconds or less. This brings me to...drum roll please....

Windspike's Weekend Wonderment
Finish this sentence
If I managed to wrangle at most 20 seconds with Obama alone, I would tell him...
I'm going to mull over my thinking on this as a diversion from other weekend activities and post mine in a comment later in the weekend. Until then, blog on friends.

Blog on all.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Has Bush Effectively Killed The Conservative Movement?

Here's an interesting set of closing paragraphs:
In the coming years, the only legitimate opposition to the bipartisan pro-Wall Street policy will come from the scruffy populists of both parties, many based in the heartland regions of the country. Bush may even make quasi-Marxism respectable again. Hearing about $20 billion in new bonuses for government-subsidized Wall Streeters this year should be enough to bring out the hidden Bolshevik in even rational people.

Ironically, the only people who should be thanking Bush — the environmentalists, the urban gentry, the welfare staters — are the very ones who have despised him the most. Now that he has helped put them in power, perhaps they could host a celebrity fundraiser for the new Bush library in Dallas. Serenaded by Barbra, scolded by St. Al, with a short film by Michael Moore, the program — hosted by Whoopi Goldberg — could help consecrate a lavish new sarcophagus that Bush has prepared for the conservative movement.
Question: Has Bush effectively killed the Conservative movement?

Blog on friends. Blog on all.

If You Are Still A Fan Of No Child Left Behind, Have A Look At This Article

No Child Left Behind, the biggest social engineering project of our time, put 50 million school children and their 3 million teachers under the gun. The law passed mainly because many people were convinced that low-income, minority students learn less than middle-class, White children because their teachers don’t try hard enough.

“The impetus for change built into NCLB was to effectively ‘shame’ schools into improvement,” wrote Susan Neuman, a former top Bush education official, after she left the government.

...The bottom line: this strategy doesn’t work.

“Vilifying teachers and saying we are going to shame them was not the right approach,” says Susan Neuman, the former Bush official.
The scientific proof it's not working are simply outlined in the graphs in the body of the article. Click over if you dare.

Blog on friends. Blog on all.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Good News For The War On Drugs

Hey, more people to fight, propped up by whom and what?
“This government has lost the capacity to govern because a shadow government has taken over,” said Ashraf Ghani, a former Afghan finance minister. He quit that job in 2004, he said, because the state had been taken over by drug traffickers. “The narco-mafia state is now completely consolidated,” he said.
Nice. I thought George Bush's war in Afghanistan was working? Well, add that on to the heap of problems crafted by George and his posse of crack terrorist fighting, freedom spreading cronies.

Blog on Friends, blog on all.