Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Palin is meeting with world leaders - sorry folks - no questions this time.....

Ms. Palin is meeting with world leaders, even as I write this. She is meeting with Hamid Karzai first and then an additional 8 leaders. She will do photo ops in a pair of her several hundred dollar spectacles (she has seven, I read somewhere) and designer suit with the winning smile, but will take no questions from reporters. Just how much money does a governor make these days anyway? Speaking of governors, who is running Alaska with her and Todd on the road?

No questions from reporters. Yes, you heard it correctly. It would appear that while Ms. Palin is eminently qualified to handle foreign affairs, yet just got her first passport at the age of 44, she will do photo ops, smile graciously, talk small talk (one has to assume that is all it is, if no questions are allowed) - and yet she will take no questions. I thought she was the media darling - this amazing woman who was/is the commander in chief of the Alaskan military, lives near Russia and is fit to serve as second in command succeeding the president, should, God forbid, his health fail.

I think we should all be worried - very worried.

Monday, September 22, 2008

A tale of two men

According to the Washington Post's Dan Blaze today, the following is a report of reactions by McCain and Obama during last week's financial debacle.

"McCain became the angry populist, railing against greed on Wall Street and calling for heads to roll in Washington -- or at least one head, that of SEC Chairman Chris Cox. McCain's critics pounced on him for rash behavior while supporters described him as strong and decisive.

Obama adopted a different approach. According to one of his economic advisers, Obama delayed issuing a rescue plan of his own at the request of Paulson. He held a highly visible meeting with a battery of economic advisers, but over the weekend he was restrained in either fully endorsing or criticizing what the administration was doing. His critics called him tentative, indecisive and political. His supporters said he showed calm and good judgment."

These are difficult times for the nation, and indeed the world. What the American people needs to be asking is who they trust to prevail in times of difficulty.

I am presently reading "What Happened" - the Scott McClellan book. It is an amazing tale of the White House years under George W. Bush. I have read that it will take the next president at least the first year of their presidency to get a handle on all that has transpired, economically, militarily, domestically and abroad. Methinks it will take a very strong leader a first term, perhaps a second term to turn this boat around.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Bush wants OK to spend $700B

According to a CNN story this morning,

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- President Bush has asked Congress for the authority to spend as much as $700 billion to purchase troubled mortgage assets and contain the financial crisis.
The legislative proposal - the centerpiece of the most sweeping economic intervention by the government since the Great Depression - was sent by the White House overnight to lawmakers.
President Bush said Saturday that the plan matches the scope of the problem.

"It is a big package because it's a big problem," he told reporters at a joint news conference with Alvaro Uribe, the president of Colombia.

"The risk of doing nothing far outweighs the risk of the package," Bush said.
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, lawmakers and their aides are expected to work through the weekend in an effort to craft a bill swiftly. Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill said they expect the bill to go before a vote within days.

Paulson, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and other officials have said in recent days that the lack of easy credit between banks and other financial institutions threatens to inflict serious damage on the economy if not addressed immediately.

The plan would allow the Treasury to buy up mortgage-related assets.
The aim is for the government to buy the securities at a discount, hold onto them and then sell them for a profit.

I don't have to tell you how I feel about having my tax dollars used to fix this mess started by Wall Street fat cats and banking executives. I say we should take their bonuses and stock options and retirement packages away from them and make them clean up this debacle they started - it is all about greed, nothing more, nothing less.

And while I am pontificating, why is it that congress can't seem to get a darn thing of import done when the chips are down for we, the American people, but at times of urgent need, they are able to rush bills through with the greatest of ease?

As stated in an earlier post, I am not done venting on this one.

Is first dude (Todd Palin) a "shadow" governor?

"Todd and Sarah met in high school at a basketball game and eloped in 1988, six years after graduation. Todd grew up in Alaska and is part Eskimo. He's an avid outdoorsman and champion of the Iron Dog snowmobile race."

According to a story on AOL today, "He's worked in Alaska's oil industry and as a fisherman. But in recent times, he's had another role. Some call him the "Shadow Governor."

In government circles and among the family's acquaintances, Todd Palin is known as his wife's greatest adviser and most loyal protector. One family friend said, "Todd is incredibly supportive and is willing to do whatever it takes to help Sarah."

Todd may appear quiet, almost shy, but he's made quite an impression on his wife's running mate, Sen. John McCain. On the campaign trail this month in Lancaster, Pa., McCain said, "He's not afraid of Washington, D.C.! He can take them on!"

Alaskans interviewed by CNN say Todd Palin has plenty of influence.
He's not on the state payroll, but lawmakers say he is a central figure in his wife's policy agenda."
There is a delicate balance to be found in power couples. Todd and Sarah exude power and they are clearly a good match, in love with each other and dedicated to a strong marriage. There is the yin and yang, the give and take, the coming together for shared interests, and the going away to pursue separate interests.

Earlier this week, Mr. Palin declared emphatically that he would not be able to testify in the "troopergate" investigation as he is scheduled for heavy travel with his wife on the campaign trail. Is he so intricately connected to her that he cannot leave for a few days to testify in a highly publicized campaign in order to clear his wife of misdoings? Maybe he is really a shadow governor and the American public deserves to know the exact nature of his dealings with the Alaska government before electing Ms. Palin to the highest office ever held by a woman in the land.

A more eloquent and impassioned endorsement I have not seen

Okay, okay, this came on the 9th of September, but I missed the print version. I finally found Ed Koch's endorsement of Barack Obama and Joe Biden. How I miss that fiery, feisty guy. He was an amazing mayor of the greatest city in the world and truly understands that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, no matter one's race, sexual orientation, political affiliation or gender.

According to Ben Smith's NY Times blog, Ed Koch stated:"I have concluded that the country is safer in the hands of Barack Obama, leader of the Democratic Party and protector of the philosophy of that party. Protecting and defending the U.S. means more than defending us from foreign attacks. It includes defending the public with respect to their civil rights, civil liberties and other needs, e.g., national health insurance, the right of abortion, the continuation of Social Security, gay rights, other rights of privacy, fair progressive taxation and a host of other needs and rights.If the vice president were ever called on to lead the country, there is no question in my mind that the experience and demonstrated judgment of Joe Biden is superior to that of Sarah Palin. Sarah Palin is a plucky, exciting candidate, but when her record is examined, she fails miserably with respect to her views on the domestic issues that are so important to the people of the U.S., and to me. Frankly, it would scare me if she were to succeed John McCain in the presidency."

Enough said.

What America can learn from Rwanda

I met Mary Jean and Alouise Rutagwibera whilst living in Michigan some years ago. They were survivors of the Rwanda genocide. We spoke French together, often shared meals and our children became fast friends in our close knit neighborhood of "Anna's Vineyard."

The couple was uncharacteristically quiet, and finding out about their lives proved difficult. I am an inquisitive person by nature, and wanted to know all I could about what it would be like to live in another country.

After we built up a level of trust, Marie Jean shared with me a photo album of friends and family members. Page after page of beautiful images stared back at me. With tears in her eyes, Marie Jean explained that amost all of them had been killed in the genocide - how could this be, I wondered? I realized then, that the family had experienced atrocities that I could only dream of in my worst nightmares and that I should not ask questions, but rather be honored that such intimate details would even be shared with me - a casual friend of the family.

I just watched "Now" on PBS - the show was a one hour special tonight. I stayed up late to see it to its end - it focused on women in politics - apparently Chile has an amazing female president, one who was tortured under the Pinochet government, escaped, went to East Germany, became a physician, but returned to become minister of defense, before being asked to run for President. She is now El Presidente and has passed all manner of reforms for women, including safe havens for rape victims, working on equal pay for equal work, healthcare reform, preschool and a myriad of other reforms.

Similarly, the women of Rwanda comprise 41% of the government in Rwanda - after the genocide, the constitution was revised, mandating that no less than 30% of women should be in the government - they have superceded that number in droves. They are now setting about rebuilding the country, owning businesses, drafting legislation to protect women and yet here in America, we shut Hillary Clinton out.

Was she really the target of women hating men? Was that glass ceiling a little too close for comfort? Was Hillary really that much of a threat? She has shattered that ceiling for our daughters, grandaughters, and even some of us who hope to run for public office in years to come.

These women know a little about running for office, and winning.

I hope to see a woman president in my lifetime - I think I will. Oh - I did say president, NOT vice president, lest there be any confusion......

The Wall Street mess - AIG and what the heck is happening out there, friends?

I have not posted for a couple of days. That usually indicates that I am preoccupied, or too depressed to write about what is happening in our world.

I have struggled and wrestled with the information floating out there, and am not thoroughly convinced that I want my taxpayer dollars financing these huge bailouts. Where are the people who should have been guarding their proverbial ships before their Titanics ran aground, the icebergs in clear sight for a long time. Why did the President not think that the American people deserved more than a two minute patronizing talk about this important topic?

Recently, I was speaking to a new friend about politics and the financial mess, and his words chilled me. He is a director at Credit Suisse and told me something that I was not aware of. He spoke of McCain's affiliation to the Keating 5 and the massive S&L bailout. McCain is familiar with bailouts. He claims to be a maverick and an agent of change, but he is someone who voted 90% of the time WITH President Bush - how maverick is that, exactly? Our conversation vis-a-vis McCain appeared in an Op-Ed piece in the Washington Post not two days later - talk about ironic!

Would that he had picked Mitt Romney - he would know exactly how to handle this mess. Word is, Mitt is being considered for a cabinet position - surprisingly, he is not interested. Methinks a new SEC Chair is on the horizon.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

E.R. patients often left confused after visits

For the last two years, I have been with and without health insurance, mostly due to the prohibitive costs of COBRA.

The headline is from a NY Times story this morning.

Here is an excerpt:"A vast majority of emergency room patients are discharged without understanding the treatment they received or how to care for themselves once they get home, researchers say. And that can lead to medication errors and serious complications that can send them right back to the hospital.

In a new study, researchers followed 140 English-speaking patients discharged from emergency departments in two Michigan hospitals and measured their understanding in four areas — their diagnosis, their E.R. treatment, instructions for their at-home care and warning signs of when to return to the hospital.

The study, published online in July by the Annals of Emergency Medicine, found that 78 percent of patients did not understand at least one area and about half did not understand two or more areas. The greatest confusion surrounded home care — instructions about things like medications, rest, wound care and when to have a follow-up visit with a doctor. "

I find this study to be disturbing on many levels. As an individual who speaks 3 languages, English happens to be my first language. I am fairly comfortable conversing with physicians and have long since given up the notion that they are to be revered, treated like deity and have sonme omniprescent power over me. I have become a truly engaged patient, an advocate - then again, I have a chronic illness and have to be.

Imagine that you are on vacation and do not speak the language of the country that you are visiting. I keep hearing of how full our E.R's are of the some 65 million people without health insurance. Is this supposed to make us feel better? If I understand correctly, could it be that even when people speak the language, they are confused about what follow up/after care is needed?

We need to address healthcare options from a comprehensive standpoint in this country or we are doomed to even more failure and massive lawsuits.

First wife out of sight.....McCain's former wife breaks her silence


Along with the dozens of emails showing up in my inbox these last few weeks, this one came two days ago. I post it here because it bears reading and thinking about. What sort of man would do this to a woman who has stood by him - whatever happened to "for better or for worse?" I heard Senator McCain once state that the biggest regret he has in life was that he did not try hard enough with his first marriage.

A must read!!!! First wife out of sight, how shallow can one man be? Carol McCain.
McCain likes to illustrate his moral fiber by referring to his five years as a prisoner-of-war in Vietnam. And to demonstrate his commitment to family values, the 71-year-old former US Navy pilot pays warm tribute to his beautiful blonde wife, Cindy, with whom he has four children. But there is another Mrs. McCain who casts a ghostly shadow over the Senator's presidential campaign. She is seldom seen and rarely written about, despite being mother to McCain's three eldest children.She was the woman McCain dreamed of during his long incarcera tion and tort ure in Vietnam's infamous 'Hanoi Hilton' prison and the woman who faithfully stayed at home looking after the children and waiting anxiously for news.

But when McCain returned to America in 1973 to a fanfare of publicity and a handshake from Richard Nixon, he discovered his wife had been disfigured in a terrible car crash three years earlier. Her car had skidded on icy roads into a telegraph pole on Chris tmas Eve, 1969.Her pelvis and one arm were shattered by the impact and she suffered massive internal injuries.When Carol was discharged from hospital after six months of lifesaving surgery, the prognosis was bleak. In order to save her legs, surgeons had been forced to cut away huge sections of shattered bone, taking with it her tall, willowy figure. She was confined to a wheelchair and was forced to use a catheter. Today, she stands at just 5' 4" in and still walks awkwardly, with a pronounced limp. Her body is held together by screws and metal plates and, at 70, her face is worn by wrinkles that speak of decades of silent suffering.

For nearly 30 years, Carol has maintained a dignified silence about the accident, McCain and their divorce. But last week at the bungalow where she now lives at Virginia Beach, a faded seaside resort 200 miles south of Washington, she told The Mail on Sunday how McCain divorced her in 1980 and married Cindy, 18 years his junior and the heir to an Arizona brewing fortune, just one month later.My marriage ended because John McCain didn't want to be 40, he wanted to be 25. You know that happens...it just does.'In 1979 - while still married to Carol - he met Cindy at a cocktail party in Hawaii. Over the next six months he pursued her, flying around the country to see her. Then he began to push to end his marriage. Some of McCain's acquaintances are less forgiving, however. They portray the politician as a self-centered womanizer who effectively abandoned his crippled wife to 'play the field'. They accuse him of finally settling on Cindy, a former rodeo beauty queen, for financial reasons.

Ted Sampley, who fought with US Special Forces20 in Vietnam and is now a leading campaigner for veterans' rights, said: 'I have been following John McCain's career for nearly 20 years. I know him personally. There is something wrong with this guy and let me tell you what it is-deceit.'When he came home and saw that Carol was not the beauty he left behind, he started running around on her almost right away. Everybody around him knew it. Eventually he met Cindy and she was young and beautiful and very wealthy. At that point McCain just dumped Carol for something he thought was better."McCain is the classic opportunist. He's always reaching for attention and glory,' he said. After he came home, Carol walked with a limp. So he threw her over for a poster girl with big money from Arizona . And the rest is history.'Ross Perot, a billionaire Texas businessman, and a former presidential candidate, who paid her medical bills all those years ago, now believes that both Carol McCain and the American people have been taken in by a man who is unusually slick and cruel - even by the standards of modern politics.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Violence in schools

I spoke yesterday with a dear friend in Elizabethtown, Kentucky.

It is every parent's nightmare to get a call that their child is in trouble at school, and worse yet, has been the victim of an assault.

This woman's sweet son was violently and brutally assaulted in front of several students on Friday afternoon. This took place in the cafeteria with a school safety officer present. Thank God he was able to intervene before things good too bad. The offending student is going to be suspended for 5 days - not expelled, merely offended for such an aggregious attack. My friend's son passed out from the blow that struck him in the back of the head - it seems that this offending student used a cafeteria tray to do his deed. He then dragged him across the floor while other students took pictures via mobile phones and then posted it on the Internet. The police detective told her that several phones had been confiscated. I wonder what stories those children are going to tell their parents in order to get their phones replaced......

She will be working with the administration to see about addressing the students having mobile phones at school. They are clearly not just being used for emergencies.

The sad thing is that this violent child has started down a path of destruction and will be allowed to be reinstated in school after 5 days with little disruption to his life. Fortunately, my friend's former husband is going to press charges.

Greenspan says McCain tax cuts bad idea

WASHINGTON (Sept. 13) - Alan Greenspan says the country can't afford tax cuts of the magnitude proposed by Republican presidential contender John McCain — at least not without a corresponding reduction in government spending.
"Unless we cut spending, no," the former Federal Reserve chairman said Friday when asked about McCain's proposed tax cuts, pegged in some estimates at $3.3 trillion.

This story was posted on Saturday on the AP - I confess, I was preoccupied and did not read it until today, hence the late posting.

Based on that story - 58,722 people were polled and of those, 54% trust Obama more to manage the economy versus 46% who trust McCain. 55,642 people were polled and of those, 55% gave a thumbs down to McCain's tax cut plan and 36% gave a thumbs up to Obama's plan.

Which polls are people reading again?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

A tale of two hurricanes - Katrina and Ike

Hurricane Katrina is the absolute worst hurricane seen ever in this country. President Bush's FEMA director "Brownie" was not doing "a heck of a job" - he was, in fact, doing an awful job. While President Bush's mother, Barbara, felt that residents of New Orleans and its environs living in the Astrodome was "working out quite well for them", considering......I wonder how they feel now that the shoe is on the proverbial other foot.

FEMA is on hand with millions of supplies this time around. Amazing what a difference a few years and the home state of the President at stake make........

I know that many other private relief organizations came to the aid of Louisiana residents, and will do the very same thing with Texas residents in upcoming weeks. Of note is the amazing Bishop's storehouse organized under the careful leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. These cavernous warehouses store everything from 72 hour emergency kits, to diapers, to food and other necessities. They care not the religion or personal beliefs of those they help - they just do what needs to be done because it is the humanitarian/Christlike thing to do. I have seen the LDS Church in action many times - their compassion and organization are what endeared me to the organization for over two decades of my life. While I have since moved on, I admire and respect the church for its efforts.

Let us all pray for the residents of Texas and hope that since it is, after all, the great state of Texas, home of our President - there will be no foulups this time around......

Gloria Steinem on Sarah Palin


My inbox has been flooded this week and I wanted to share this LA Times piece with you.

Read and draw your own conclusions:

Subject: Gloria Steinem on Sarah Palin
By Gloria Steinem September 4, 2008 Los Angeles Times Here's the good news: Women have become so politically powerful that even the anti-feminist right wing -- the folks with a headlock on the Republican Party -- are trying to appease the gender gap with a first-ever female vice president. We owe this to women -- and to many men too -- who have picketed, gone on hunger strikes or confronted violence at the polls so women can vote. We owe it to Shirley Chisholm, who first took the "white-male-only" sign off the White House, and to Hillary Rodham Clinton, who hung in there through ridicule and misogyny to win 18 million votes. But here is even better news: It won't work. This isn't the first time a boss has picked an unqualified woman just because she agrees with him and opposes everything most other women want and need. Feminism has never been about getting a job for one woman. It's about making life more fair for women everywhere. It's not about a piece of the existing pie; there are too many of us for that. It's about baking a new pie. Selecting Sarah Palin, who was touted all summer by Rush Limbaugh, is no way to attract most women, including die-hard Clinton supporters. Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Clinton . Her down-home, divisive and deceptive speech did nothing to cosmeticize a Republican convention that has more than twice as many male delegates as female, a presidential candidate who is owned and operated by the right wing and a platform that opposes pretty much everything Clinton 's candidacy stood for -- and that Barack Obama's still does. To vote in protest for McCain/Palin would be like saying "Somebody stole my shoes, so I'll amputate my legs." This is not to beat up on Palin. I defend her right to be wrong, even on issues that matter most to me. I regret that people say she can't do the job because she has children in need of care, especially if they wouldn't say the same about a father. I get no pleasure from imagining her in the spotlight on national and foreign policy issues about which she has zero background, with one month to learn to compete with Sen. Joe Biden's 37 years' experience. Palin has been honest about what she doesn't know. When asked last month about the vice presidency, she said, "I still can't answer that question until someone answers for me: What is it exactly that the VP does every day?" When asked about Iraq , she said, "I haven't really focused much on the war in Iraq ." She was elected governor largely because the incumbent was unpopular, and she's won over Alaskans mostly by using unprecedented oil wealth to give a $1,200 rebate to every resident. Now she is being praised by McCain's campaign as a tax cutter, despite the fact that Alaska has no state income or sales tax. Perhaps McCain has opposed affirmative action for so long that he doesn't know it's about inviting more people to meet standards, not lowering them. Or perhaps McCain is following the Bush administration habit, as in the Justice Department, of putting a job candidate's views on "God, guns and gays" ahead of competence. The difference is that McCain is filling a job one 72-year-old heartbeat away from the presidency. So let's be clear: The culprit is John McCain. He may have chosen Palin out of change-envy, or a belief that women can't tell the difference between form and content, but the main motive was to please right-wing ideologues; the same ones who nixed anyone who is now or ever has been a supporter of reproductive freedom. If that were not the case, McCain could have chosen a woman who knows what a vice president does and who has thought about Iraq ; someone like Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison or Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine . McCain could have taken a baby step away from right-wing patriarchs who determine his actions, right down to opposing the Violence Against Women Act. Palin's value to chose patriarchs is clear: She opposes just about every issue that women support by a majority or plurality. She believes that creationism should be taught in public schools but disbelieves global warming; she opposes gun control but supports government control of women's wombs; she opposes stem cell research but approves "abstinence-only" programs, which increase unwanted births, sexually transmitted diseases and abortions; she tried to use taxpayers' millions for a state program to shoot wolves from the air but didn't spend enough money to fix a state school system with the lowest high-school graduation rate in the nation; she runs with a candidate who opposes the Fair Pay Act but supports $500 million in subsidies for a natural gas pipeline across Alaska ; she supports drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, though even McCain has opted for the lesser evil of offshore drilling. She is Phyllis Schlafly, only younger. I don't doubt her sincerity. As a lifetime member of the National Rifle Assn., she doesn't just support killing animals from helicopters, she does it herself. She doesn't just talk about increasing the use of fossil fuels but puts a coal-burning power plant in her own small town. She doesn't just echo McCain's pledge to criminalize abortion by overturning Roe vs. Wade, she says that if one of her daughters were impregnated by rape or incest, she should bear the child. She not only opposes reproductive freedom as a human right but implies that it dictates abortion, without saying that it also protects the right to have a child. So far, the major new McCain supporter that Palin has attracted is James Dobson of Focus on the Family. Of course, for Dobson, "women are merely waiting for their husbands to assume leadership," so he may be voting for Palin's husband. Being a hope-a-holic, however, I can see two long-term bipartisan gains from this contest. Republicans may learn they can't appeal to right-wing patriarchs and most women at the same time. A loss in November could cause the centrist majority of Republicans to take back their party, which was the first to support the Equal Rights Amendment and should be the last to want to invite government into the wombs of women. And American women, who suffer more because of having two full-time jobs than from any other single injustice, finally have support on a national stage from male leaders who know that women can't be equal outside the home until men are equal in it. Barack Obama and Joe Biden are campaigning on their belief that men should be, can be and want to be at home for their children. This could be huge. Gloria Steinem is an author, feminist organizer and co-founder of the Women's Media Center . She supported Hillary Clinton and is now supporting Barack Obama.

Friday, September 12, 2008

A pig is just a pig

What a week in the wearying Presidential race.

Apparently, the esteemed Senator McCain quoted the "lipstick on a pig" line whilst referencing Senator Hillary Clinton's healthcare reform efforts sometime earlier in the campaign.

Senator Obama used it to reference failed McCain/Bush policies. Barack Obama is a gifted invididual, bright, articulate and intelligent. He used the remark innocently. I am not going to speculate as to where he pulled the quote from, but he used it and has been apologizing profusely ever since.

A couple of years ago, my former boss, a mayor, was speaking at an anti-war rally and referenced the local chair of the county Republican party who happened to be African American. He spoke of the "slavish mentality" of some individuals in that party. An incredibly poor choice of words. What a firestorm. I know how bad it was, because I was the one person of color left on his staff who was called upon to go on camera and deny that my ACLU civil rights boss was not a racist. Enough already people. Intelligent people make gaffes all the time - sometimes a pig is just a pig and that is all that is being stated - nothing more, nothing less.

I share with you two email that I received yesterday - they are markedly different, but bear thinking about:

Friends, compatriots, fellow-lamenters,
We are writing to you because of the fury and dread we have felt since the announcement of Sarah Palin as the Vice-Presidential candidate for the Republican Party. We believe that this terrible decision has surpassed mere partisanship, and that it is a dangerous farce on the part of a pandering and rudderless Presidential candidate that has a real possibility of becoming fact.
Perhaps like us, as American women, you share the fear of what Ms. Palin and her professed beliefs and proven record could lead to for ourselves and for our present or future daughters. To date, she is against sex education, birth control, the pro-choice platform, environmental protection, alternative energy development, freedom of speech (as mayor she attempted to ban books and fired the librarian who refused), gun control, the separation of church and state, and polar bears.To say nothing of her complete lack of experience.

We want to clarify that we are not against Sarah Palin as a woman, a mother, or, for that matter, a parent of a pregnant teenager, but solely as a rash, incompetent, and all together devastating choice for Vice President. Ms.Palin's political views are in every way a slap in the face to the accomplishments that our mothers and grandmothers and great-grandmothers so fiercely fought for, and that we've so demonstrably benefited from.

First and foremost, Ms. Palin does not represent us. She does not demonstrate or uphold our interests as American women. It is presumed that the inclusion of a woman on the Republican ticket could win over women voters. We want to disagree, publicly.

Therefore, we invite you to reply here mailto:womensaynopalin@gmail.com with a short, succinct message about why you, as a woman living in this country, do not support this candidate as second-in-command for our nation.

Please include your name (last initial is fine), age, and place of residence.
We will post your responses on a blog called "Women Against Sarah Palin," which we intend to publicize as widely as possible. Please send us your reply at your earliest convenience the greater the volume of responses we receive, the stronger our message will be.
Thank you for your time and action.
Quinn Latimer and Lyra Kilston
New York, NY

And the second:

If you're a minority and you're selected for a job over less qualified candidates you're a "token hire."
If you're a conservative and you're selected for a job over more qualified candidates you're a "game changer."
Black teen pregnancies? A "crisis" in black America.
White teen pregnancies? A "blessed event."
If you grow up in Hawaii (our 50th state) you're "exotic" and "foreign."
Grow up in Alaska, shooting moose and eating mooseburgers, and you're the quintessential "American story."
Similarly, if you name you kid Barack you're "unpatriotic."
Name your kid Track, you're "colorful."
If you're a Democrat and you make a VP pick without fully vetting the individual you're "reckless."
A Republican who doesn't fully vet is a "maverick."

If you spend 3 years as a community organizer growing your organization from a staff of 1 to 13 and your budget from $70,000 to $400,000, then become the first black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter registration drive that registers 150,000 new African Amerian voters, spend 12 years as a Constitutional Law professor, then spend nearly 8 more years as a State Senator representing a district with over 750,000 people, becoming chairman of the state Senate's Health and Human Services committee, then spend nearly 4 years in the United States Senate representing a state of nearly 13 million people, sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works and Veteran's Affairs committees, you are woefully inexperienced.

If you spend 4 years on the city council and 6 years as the mayor of a town with less than 7,000 people, then spend 20 months as the governor of a state with 650,000 people, then you've got the most executive experience of anyone on either ticket, are the Commander in Chief of the Alaska military and are well qualified to lead the nation should you be called upon to do so because your state is the closest state to Russia.
If you are a Democratic male candidate who is popular with millions of people you are an "arrogant celebrity".
If you are a popular Republican female candidate you are "energizing the base".
If you are a younger male candidate who thinks for himself and makes his own decisions, you are "presumptuous". (also known as "uppity)
If you are an older male candidate who makes last minute decisions you refuse to explain, you are a "shoot from the hip" maverick.
If you are a candidate with a Harvard law degree you are "an elitist--out of touch" with the real America.
If you are a legacy (dad and granddad were admirals) graduate of Anapolis, with multiple disciplinary infractions, you are a hero.
If you manage a multi-million dollar nationwide campaign, you are an "empty suit".
If you are a part-time mayor of a town of 7000 people, you are an "experienced executive".
If you go to a south side Chicago church, your beliefs are "extremist".
If you believe in creationism and don't believe global warming is man made, you are "strongly principled".
If you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, and left your crippled, disfigured wife and married the heiress the next month, you're a Christian.
If you have been married to the same woman with for 19 years and raised 2 beautiful daughters with her, you're "risky".
If you're a poor, black single mother of 4 who waits for 22 hours after her water breaks to seek medical attention, you're an irresponsible parent, endangering the life of your unborn child.
But if you're a white married mother who waits 22 hours, you're spunky.
If you're a 13-year-old Chelsea Clinton, the right-wing press calls you "First dog."
If you're a 17-year old pregnant unwed daughter of a Republican, the right-wing press calls you "beautiful" and "courageous."
If you kill an endangered species, you're an excellent hunter.
If you have an abortion, you’re not a Christian, you're a murderer (forget about if it happened while being date-raped.)
If you teach abstinence only in sex education, you get teen parents.
If you teach responsible age appropriate sex education, including the proper use of birth control, you are eroding the fiber of society.
If you're a Republican senator who solicits gay sex in an airport bathroom, you get to return to your job in the Senate and are encouraged to run for re-election.
If you're a former Democratic Senator who is out of public office and have an affair, your political career is over and your wife, who has terminal cancer, is to blame.
And finally:
Quiz question for the RNC, specifically those on the Religious Right.
Who was one of the most highly revered and famous (and popular) community organizers in history?
And who was the governor at the time?
...Pontius Pilate.

Some food for thought.

Are you listening or paying attention or both?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11, 7 years later

As I wandered through Greenwich Village yesterday, being a relative newcomer to the NYC area, (and directionally challenged to boot), I knew from my tourist map that there were at least 8 churches within the vicinity. I felt an urgent need to sit and pray for a quiet moment of tranquility amidst the bustle of the city. I wanted to get away and reflect and ask God to help me to make sense of the insanity of the world. We continue to fight a war that never should have been started, but is being waged because of the erroneous belief that there was some connection to the 911 attacks.

I remember that day as though it were yesterday. My mum was in her Park Avenue office and my sister was down near the UN building where she worked at the time. She is now, thankfully, overseas, but in war torn countries, also trying to make sense of the atrocities of war as she helps women and children to rebuild their lives after years of conflict in their countries. My sister is an agent of change and is one of my most admired women, along with my mum. They live their lives on a higher level - truly trying to make a difference in the lives of others.

I will go into the chapel near my office today - it is a short walk, fortunately, and I know exactly how to get there.

I will pray for those whose lives were lost and hope that we will see the end of war and terrorism and that peace may prevail on the earth.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Army suicide rate could top nation's this year

That grim headline greets me on the CNN website this morning.

George Bush and John McCain want to extend tours in Iraq while our soldiers are dying at their own hands. This cannot and should not stand.

I am going to call my senator today and let my voice be heard - I encourage you to do the same.

It has been reported that the army is using mass quantities of antidepressants to help soldiers deal with the horror of combat. I do not believe that they are getting psychotherapy or seeing a psychiastist monthly for medication adjustments and checkups as do civilians who are taking antidepressants. Many antidepressants cause some individuals to become even more depressed and the chance for suicide attempts is greater. This headline would indicate that our wonderful men and women of the armed services are suffering greatly for the Bush administration's grave error in judgement over this damn unwinnable war.

How many more lives? Will McCain send his children to serve? Will George Bush send his?

My former husband served for 15 years and was not deployed, thank God - but I know the suffering and pain of separations necessitated by duty and other assignments and I managed to do it with 3 very young children. I sacrificed for the good of my family, just as military spouses are doing now, only they are not having their spouses come home alive and that is not acceptable. Not on our watch.

According to CNN "As of August, 62 Army soldiers have committed suicide, and 31 cases of possible suicide remain under investigation, according to Army statistics. Last year, the Army recorded 115 suicides among its ranks, which was also higher than the previous year."

I will keep going to every single protest that I see against this war because the powers that be are not getting it. They consistently overrule military leaders - you know - the West Point graduates and those who have trained their whole lives to be generals, commanders and the like.

Our troops deserve better.

Please make that phone call today.

As Campaign Heats Up, Untruths Can Become Facts Before They're Undone

The following is an excerpt from a story in today's Washington Post.

"For now, there appears to be little political reason to back down. A Washington Post-ABC News poll taken Sept. 5 to Sept. 7 found that 51 percent of voters think Obama would raise their taxes, even though his plan would actually cut taxes for the overwhelming majority of Americans. Obama has proposed eliminating income taxes on seniors making less than $50,000 a year, but 41 percent of those seniors say their income taxes would go up in an Obama administration."

I am beginning to wonder who these individuals are who being polled and what their news source is? Are they reading mainstream news, Fox News, Internet blogs or what? I imagine that depending on what they are watching, that is what forms their respective opinions. I am not a big TV watcher, I have seen one McCain ad and one Obama ad. I think that if people are relying on just the ads, they are doing themselves a grave injustice.

There are less than 57 days to the election - the American public needs to research and vote based on what matters most to them - not what they saw in a slanted political ad.

Just this writer's opinion......

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Rice: Not enough blacks at State Department

I was saddened to see that headline this morning from a story at CNN last evening.

"I have lamented that I can go into a meeting at the Department of State -- and as a matter fact I can go into a whole day of meetings at the Department of State -- and actually rarely see somebody who looks like me. And that is just not acceptable," Rice said.

Dr. Condoleezza Rice is one of the most powerful women in the world. She is a credit to brilliant women everywhere, intelligent, educated, a classical pianist and, I suspect she sets the time for when she jogs with the President - not the other way around.

Dr. Rice is one of my most admired women and is in a group of the likes of Hillary Rodham Clinton, Jeanne Kirkpatrick, Margaret Thatcher, Madeleine Allbright, Angela Merkel, Golda Meir, Benazir Bhutto, Tina Turner, Oprah Winfrey and a few select others.

When I read that she encounters her own challenges being a sole woman of color in State Department meetings, I am reminded of the amazing Dr. Claudia Anyaso who works there. She is a former diplomat and I was priveleged to be in a meeting with her some years ago, during my tenure in the Salt Lake City mayor's office in Utah. The meeting was with black community leaders and the idea was for us to figure out how to become more cohesive.

I shall call Dr. Anyaso and take that long awaited trip to DC and have her show me around sometime.

During the time that Dr. Rice was in Utah along with Dr. Anyaso, I had requested to meet with her - her schedule, alas did not permit. She was, after all, traveling with the President.

One never knows if that opportunity will come my way again, but I will for sure be reading her book when she writes it.

Come to think of it - why on earth didn't John McCain think to pick her as a running mate?

Monday, September 8, 2008

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

The news is more detailed this morning.

The government is taking over the troubled entities and using our tax dollars - yes, those would be yours and mine - to the tune of one billion dollars to each entity as an initial cash infusion. Where are the fat cats who created this mess with their greed and lack of oversight? Their million dollar salaries, bonuses and incentives should be garnished to clean up this mess. The American public should not have to bear the brunt of their misdeeds.

Barack Obama stated yesterday that the shareholders in those companies should realize, as do working class Americans who invest their hard-earned monies, that they are in a situation where they might make money and they might lose money, not that they should be in a "heads win, tails, don't lose" situation (the investors at Fannie and Freddie).

I am not finished editorializing on this issue. I will keep following it and updating the blog as needed.

Thanks for reading.

McCain's Convenient Untruth

That was the headline that greeted me this morning on my mobile phone from the Washington Post this morning. I could hardly believe my eyes. While I have had significant respect for Senator McCain's maverick ways and attempts to change the status quo in Washington, I distinctly recall that he would not make any negative attacks during this campaign. This past week was, unfortunately, replete with said attacks.

According to Sebastian Mallaby's Washington Post piece today, "Obama is not proposing to raise taxes for most Americans. To the contrary, he would triple the earned-income tax credit for low-wage earners, increasing work incentives at the bottom. He would cut taxes on people in the middle -- indeed, he would do so more aggressively than McCain would. It is only the wealthiest Americans who would face higher tax bills under Obama. According to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, Obama's plan would require the richest 1 percent of Americans to sacrifice a modest 1.5 percent of their after-tax income in 2012. By contrast, no-sacrifice McCain would award America's elite a 9.5 percent increase."

Obama's plan is very similar to the highly respected plan of former President Bill Clinton that provided tax breaks for poorer people - jobs were created, there was a significant budget surplus that has dwindled to nothing, indeed, we are facing historically large deficits at the federal level, even as the Bush administration takes over the receivership of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

John McCain would give more tax breaks to the wealthiest individuals in the country - those who already pay proportionately less taxes than working class Americans because of their deductions with second homes, boats and other such items.

And so it goes.....

Agents of change - Senator Obama or Senator McCain - one is, methinks, misleading the American people

I tried to be objective about the Republican convention, given its incredibly negative tone. I must admit that it was refreshing to see a woman taking center stage for such an unlikely event. Sarah Palin is certainly making history in many ways.

What I did not care for was Senator John McCains arrogance about being an agent of change - was he an agent of change at one point? Absolutely - a maverick even - indeed. And now, he is beholden to lobbyists and other special interest groups and is a bona fide Washington insider. The money from big spenders is falling into his campaign troughs in buckets.

While he claims to be an insider Senator McCain, he has voted with the current administration some 90% of the time - that is a pretty big risk for the American people to take that he will maybe vote appropriately 10% of the time in his new administration. Indeed, in a recent headline in the Economist, the cover shows Senator McCain and essentially asks what happened to the McCain we all knew.

At one time, he all but villified right wing Christian conservatives, and yet he picks an extreme right wing Christian conservative, who opposes abortion under any terms (Senator McCain defers to a woman's right to choose in certain instances, such as incest and rape, etc.), who is a lifelong member of the NRA (what - do they hand those things out with birth certificates in Alaska hospitals?) and tried to fire the town librarian for refusing to destroy or remove questionable material from the shelves. Ms. Palin did not count on the town rallying around the librarian en masse. Would that her brother in law, the fired Public Safety Commissioner had had the same support.

Which of these men is the real agent of change? Today's Gallup poll indicates that McCain received a "bounce" from the convention and now leads Obama by some 3 percentage points. The American people are listening, but are they paying attention?

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae debacle

I could hardly believe the headline on my mobile phone early this morning. The federal government is actually going to bail these two companies out.

All their lobbying, stock options, million dollar salaries for executives - gone in a few weeks, we can only hope.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be officially in government care - or receivership - akin to chapter 11 bankruptcy. They will be reorganized - managers and board members fired and new blood brought in to turn things around.

The government will infuse cash as needed - yes, cash from yours and my tax dollars, until such time as they become solvent - we can only hope.

Isn't there a federal penitentiary out there somewhere for whoever the hell was at the helm of this ship when it started sinking?

Governor Jon Huntsman of Utah - one of the best

There is a state that was my home for some 7 years - the great state of Utah.

I now live in the great state of New York - I have had two governors in my 9 months here.

I had two governors in my 7 years in Utah - actually three. Former governor Michael Leavitt was tapped to be the Secretary of Health and Human Services under the current president. Olene Walker - a bright, PhD bearing articulate woman was his lieutenant governor. She succeeded him. I believe that she now lives in New York City where she serves as a missionary or ambassador of sorts for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints - my former church.

Jon Huntsman shocked many Mormons and Utahans in particular when he endorsed John McCain early on. Others felt sure he would endorse his "brother" and Utah's beloved adopted Mormon son, Mitt Romney. Personally, I would have preferred to see Mitt Romney on the VP ticket over Sarah Palin. Mitt Romney has a complete term as governor of Massachusetts in his CV, decades of turning around failing million dollar companies and is a fiscally responsible individual. He has been married to the same wife for years, knows how many homes he owns and earned his money the old fashioned way - by the sweat of his brow. He is bright, articulate and knows a good thing when he sees it. I wonder whether John McCain will come to regret his choice of Palin, current news stories notwithstanding.

Jon Huntsman is a maverick in his own right. He is somewhat of a moderate, in the reddest of red states and has assembled a staff including Democrats and Republicans in his Republican administration. Who knows, maybe he is angling for a cabinet position - there are after all, worse things.