Sunday, March 30, 2008

"She just loves and revels in words."

Her opening line is "I am Jemma and I am immortal!" Jemma was honored yesterday in London, named the first place winner in the 16 and under category of the "Write Up Your Street" competition. Jemma is a native of London and moved to Houston about a year ago with her family. Her father took the position of technical director of Houston Grand Opera.

"Written words are for me the glue which keeps my existence held fast in a semblance of stability," she writes. "Without words, it would all come crashing round my ears, turning bright sunshine into darkest night. Poetry fills my soul with delightful hues of life's momentary escapes into bliss, and torment. Language is my paint and my keyboard is my brush."

"My heartbeat is written on a stave, with crescendos and diminuendos, tacit bars and heart-stopping glissandos, But my breath is the libretto, with such glorious poetry and anarchic rhyme that I can't make sense of it at all."

Jemma is a 10 year old fifth-grader. She was born not breathing and spent the first six weeks of life in intensive care. At age one, Jemma was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. The disease affects muscle control.

Jemma wasn't able to attend the ceremony honoring her writing but did videotape an acceptance speech - her voice was synthesized by a computer. She types words by using a xylophone stick.

She attends a public school in the Houston Independent School District, Mark Twain Elementary, a magnet school highlighting a literary development program. Her teacher, Pansy Gee, says, "She wows me."

A contest judge said, "Jemma Leech's winning entry...stunned us all with its imagery, craft and finesse." It was an essay describing a winter scene near her home in London.

At the age of five, Jemma was able to expand on her ability to communicate, previously limited to tapping out codes for "yes" and "no", by beginning to spell using flashcards, typing out poems on the computer keyboard. Her mother said,"Poetry is one of her big things. She can write poems i a few words to say the same things that would take a few paragraphs. She has the power of language. She just loves and revels in words. I have to go to the dictionary."

Jemma's winning essay: "A Hawarden Grove Christmas"

I remember in London the winters were warm and wet. No snow or ice, just rainy gumboot-puddled walks in Brockwell Park, while the summer-packed paddling pool filled of its own accord with rainwater, autumn leaves and rainbows of crisp bags.
We disappeared in the secret garden underneath palisades of sleeping creeping clematis and wisteria, swapping the dry dark with the wet light as we trailed the paving maze to the fishpond at its heart.
Blackbirds waded in patches of newly dug earth, taking worms from the mud as an avocet might from a turning tide-bare beach. A robin called to me from the crumbling wall, saying 'spring will be here soon, believe me, believe me.' His red chest puffed out with pride as he sang me a song of love and fidelity. Flattery became him as I cried at his song, and he flew off knowing I'd believed in his truth. From the far end of the garden, I heard him begin his flirtation again with another open heart.
From the top of the hill in the park we had watched fireworks break out all across the city that Fifth of November, as if in domino from common to common. But on that Christmas Day the mist had come down, the park was an island and we were cut off from the mass of humanity beyond the mist. It was just me, my brother and sister, and our weary parents inhaling the fog like perfume on a cloud of silage steam grateful fro the relief it brought from the stench of London. That mist-bound land was our kingdom that day, and I was its princess, adorned with a crown of diamond drips and drops, soon dried by the warmth of our terraced palace on Hawarden Grove.

Friday, March 28, 2008

624787 - TV Ad

Human Rights for All

Today I watched the press conference of President Bush and the new Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd. Not having heard Mr. Rudd speak before, it was interesting. He was quite charming, in the same 'cowboy' kind of aw shucks way as Bush. Rudd made a point of saying he is from Queensland, and he said it is much like Texas, though bigger. Good one.

Bush congratulated Rudd on following through with campaign promises. Rudd ran on bringing troops out of Iraq and has begun the process. He, however, promises strong, continued commitment in Afghanistan. He calls upon more nations coming forward and taking an active part in the blossoming free nation. Mostly they both spoke of our two nations shared values and long time bonds. He said he intended that to continue.

I know he's no John Howard, but he seems ok. Give the guy a chance.

Yesterday President Bush gave a speech on Iraq. I didn't watch it but I read a few quotes from it on The speech was in Dayton, at the National Museum of the USAF. My husband is an Air Force vet from the days of Vietnam. He served his four years.

Bush spoke to the yapping in Congress, especially those who seem to think they know better than the new Iraqi officials on the ground. "They got their budget passed, " the president said. Sometimes it takes our Congress awhile to get its budget passed."

"Nevertheless some members of Congress decided the best way to encourage progress in Baghdad was to criticize and threaten Iraq's leaders while they're trying to work out their differences," Bush said." "But hectoring was not what the Iraqi leaders needed," he said. What they needed was security. And that is what the surge has provided."

"They are trying to build a modern democracy on the rubble of three decades of tyranny, in a region of the world that has been hostile to freedom. And they're doing it while under assault from one of history's most brutal terrorist networks," Bush said. When it takes time for Iraqis to reach agreement, it is not foot-dragging, as one senator described it during Congress' two-week Easter recess. It is a revolutionary undertaking that requires great courage."

The lispy Senator from Oregon, Ron Wyden, was the name-caller referenced in the remark above. Wyden is of the same belief of the other defeatists, refusing to acknowledge anything other than failure of "Bush's war". Retreat and surrender the vulnerable country is their answer.

"If America's strategic interests are not in Iraq, the convergence point for the twin threats of al-
Qaida and Iran, the nation Osama bin Laden's deputy has called the place for the greatest battle, the country at the heart of the most volatile region on earth, then where are they?"

And, I listened to an interview with Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch from Baghdad. He is on his third deployment to Iraq, leading the Third Company and speaking to the progress made from his first deployment to the second and then his latest, which has lasted 13 months now. He was interviewed by Michael Medved on the radio. Quite a guy. He talked of being honored to serve with the men there, of their pride in their mission and of their dedication. An all volunteer force that has met its 2008 re-up quota a full six months early. Lynch said that had never happened before in the history of the military.

Then, Medved did an interview with Medea Benjamin, co-founder of Code Pink, currently leading the effort for the Marines to shut down their recruiting station in Berkeley. Benjamin doesn't even support the efforts in Afghanistan, so that was quite a contrast in interviews. She stated her committment to 'human rights for all'.

Too bad she doesn't see the irony.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Baghdad Jim Likes Being Used

OK, tell the truth. Did you smirk just a little when you heard the news break that Jim McDermott, David Bonior and Mike Thompson were the favored stooges of Saddam on their pre-war trip to Iraq 'for research' on the conditions in country? I suppose the truth exposed 5 years later is better than never. Their excellent adventure, complete with news conferences showing flies on their faces and sand all around in the hot sun, was arranged by Muthanna Al-Hanooti. He's referred to as a 'charity official' in yesterday's article on Al-Hanooti has been indicted and charged with arranging the road trip on orders from Saddam's regime. According to Breitbart, "Iraqi intelligence officials allegedly paid for the trip through an intermediary and rewarded Al-Hanooti with 2 million barrels of Iraqi oil."

The three stooges aren't named in the indictment. The Justice Department said investigators don't believe any of them had any knowledge of their underwriter. OK.

Remember how proud you were when Baghdad Jim and the posse were there at the airport telling the world how terrible President Bush was and that the impending war was illegal and unjust? Oh, yeah, that wasn't pride I felt. It was revulsion.

Al-Hanooti worked on and off as a public relations coordinator for Life for Relief and Development between 1999 and 2006. McDermott identified the charity as the financier of his trip. Thompson is also reported to have understood the charity as the money behind the trip.

Maybe the politicians were in such high Bush Derangement mode that they didn't bother to check out their money man. Maybe they knew full well about the money connection and it didn't matter to them.

Stephen Hayes has an article at Weekly Standard online on this and mentions that McDermott's spokesman denies McDermott knew the money came from Saddam's regime. "He told me the same thing in 2004, when I asked him about the $5,000 McDermott had accepted for his legal defense fund from Shakir al Khafaji, one of Saddam Hussein's biggest U.S. boosters before the war. Khafaji, who accompanied the congressmen and made the arrangements for their visit, had run "expatriate" conferneces in Baghdad for Saddam as recently as 2000. He also provided $400,000 to former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter for Ritter's propaganda film on behalf of the former Iraqi regime. In an interview back in 2001, Ritter told me that Khafaji was "openly sympathetic" with Saddam Hussein."

All of this information was public record.

"So how does it feel to be used as a propaganda tool against your own country? McDermott, who was asked that question by CNN's Jane Arraf when he was still in Baghdad, said it feels fine. "If being used means that we're highlighting the suffering of Iraqi children, or any children, then, yes, we don't mind being used." A traitor hiding behind 'the children'. Touching, isn't it.

Oh, wait. Isn't Baghdad Jim the same congressman found guilty of tape recording Newt Gingrich's private cell phone conversation with the help of two DNC officials in Florida when Newt was Speaker of the House? The same congressman who rails about the loss of personal privacy by the fascist Bush administration?

Yes, he is.

McCain Girls Way better than the Obama Girl

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I Did. No, I Did

Watching the video of Chelsea Clinton answering questions from the audience of her gathering in Bloomington, Indiana (my husband's hometown) was rather wince worthy. She's even been asked about the Monica affair as it relates to her mother. What is she suppose to say? Her mother and father wouldn't know the truth if it smacked them up side the head? It speaks to her fortitude that she is out on the campaign trail in the first place.

It does boggle the mind, though, as to why people at the highest levels still feel the need to embellish experiences and accomplishments, doesn't it? I suppose everyone is a mere mortal and possessing some level of insecurity. Some of the embellishing just seems so unnecessary, so plain silly. They get caught in their nonsense, too. Especially in this way too long campaign season.

The whole Hillary in the Bosnian war zone was unnecessary. People like Sinbad, grabbing a sound bite of publicity, calls her out on the corkscrew landing and running for an awaiting vehicle due to sniper fire recollection. He supports Obama. I haven't heard Sheryl Crow weigh in yet. Last I read, she supports Hillary. Who knows?

As a Republican, I find the back and forth of the two Democrat candidates entertaining. It is particularly ratcheted up today. And, the Obama campaign aides are just as guilty as the Clinton aides. Neither owns the high road.

The most jolting aspect, for me as a Republican, is when I have actually written posts including anything other than negative tones for Hillary. I truly dislike her and her husband.

In yesterday's Washington Post, Shailagh Murray and Jonathan Weisman produced an article comparing the embellishments brought forth by Obama and Clinton as far as legislative work is concerned. It began with Obama's claims to have been a part of the immigration policy deal in April 2006. "As the half-dozen senators -- including John McCain and Edward M. Kennedy -- headed to announce their plan, they met Sen. Barack Obama, who made a request common when Capitol Hill news conferences are in the offing: "Hey, guys, can I come along?" And when Obama went before the microphones, he was generous with his list of senators to congratulate -- a list that included himself." "Those morning sessions had attracted just three to four senators a side, Sen. Arlen Specter recalled, each deeply involved in the issue. Obama was not one of them."

"In 2007, after the first comprehensive immigration bill had died, the senators were back at it, and again, Obama was notably absent, staffers and senators said. At one meeting, three key negotiators recalled, he entered late and raised a number of questions about the bill's employment verification system. Kennedy and Specter both rebuked him, saying that the issue had already been resolved and that he was coming late to the discussion. Kennedy dressed him down, according to witnesses, and Obama left shortly thereafter."

Hillary has tried to claim her years of experience as First Lady as Presidential nominee material. After the health insurance debacle of hers in 1993 and 1994, she is tracked through the release of her schedule paper trail as having fairly much gone back into traditional First Lady duties. Those from the former inner circle who have spoken out say she had no part in decisions made at the cabinet level.

Kennedy, a former cheerleader for the Clintons is now an Obama supporter. Chris Dodd is another senator with a bit of a different recollection of a piece of legislation and is today a supporter of Obama. "Just this week, as the financial markets were roiling in the wake of the Bear Stearns collapse, Obama made another claim that was greeted with disbelief in some corners of Capitol Hill. On March 13, Dodd, the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee and Rep. Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, unveiled legislative proposals to allow the Federal Housing Administration to guarantee new loans from banks willing to help homeowners in or approaching foreclosure. Obama and Clinton were in Washington for a day-long round of budget voting, but neither appeared at the housing news conference. Yet Obama on Monday appeared to seek top billing on Dodd's proposal."

For Clinton, another embellishment is on SCHIP legislation. "You know how she says, 'I started SCHIP'? Well, so did I," joked Sen. John D. Rockefeller, one of the Democrats who pushed the bill across the finish line along with Kennedy. Both have endorsed Obama."

Sometimes it's just best not to say anything.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Richardson Plays Eddie Haskell

A favorite television show as I grew up was Leave It to Beaver. June and Ward Clever, raising their sons Wally and Theodore (Beaver), were written as the model American family. One character in the show, Wally's friend Eddie Haskell, was a weasel kind of guy. The phrase "Eddie Haskell" is known to refer to an insincere brown-noser", according to Wikipedia. "Eddie's two-faced style was also typified by his efforts to curry favor by talking to adults at the level he thought they would respect." June and Ward Clever saw the transparency of Haskell's weasel ways yet rarely called him on them.

Friday, at a rally in Oregon, former Clinton administration cabinet member, current New Mexico governor, Bill Richardson endorsed Barack Obama for President. This event was played up, excessively so, mostly to deflect some of the attention Obama's campaign has endured over the Jeremiah Wright flap. Richardson ran for the presidency himself but was unable to catch on with the Democratic primary voters. I think even the Democrats voting in the primaries saw the true Bill Richardson character. Just like Mike Huckabee, he was enjoying the attention and over-stayed his time in the campaign.

Richardson's endorsement was a big ole 'gotcha' moment for Hillary Clinton. As recently as Super Bowl Sunday, Richard was photographed and enjoyed the publicity of spending the afternoon with former President Bill Clinton, watching the game together in New Mexico. Richardson, a Super Delegate in the Democratic Party, was said to be sending signals that he was on board the Hillary Express.

Let's remember, Richardson was brought into the spotlight of national news as a member of Bill Clinton's administration. Bill did the whole 'my administration will look like America' thing. So, instead of concentrating on the most qualified cabinet appointments, it was all about symbols. Richardson was brought on from the House of Representatives. He was the Hispanic guy. Technically he's only Hispanic on his mother's side, but still. He was Secretary of Energy - no accomplishments - and then over to the U.N. as our representative.

Richardson ran for President this election cycle on these credentials. He was elected governor of New Mexico on these credentials. Were it not for Bill Clinton, Richardson would probably still be just another member of the House of Representatives. His main statement during his campaign for President was that he would immediately withdraw troops from Iraq and he would go around the world negotiating with every dictator known to man. He's all about the talking. Never mind that all his previous talking didn't stop the lead up to 9/11. He and Madeleine Albright were a swell team.

To pour a bit of salt into the wound to Hillary's campaign, Richardson deviated a bit from the standard protocol of diplomats. Richardson, previously self-promoted as an incredibly gifted diplomat, was interviewed by Lester Holt this past weekend. From : "Holt: Before we talk about what was behind your endorsement of Obama, I've got to ask you about the phone call you had to make on Thursday to Senator Clinton. You're friends with the Clintons, you worked for Bill Clinton in his administration. What was the phone call like?

Bill Richardson: Well [chortling], I've had better phone calls. I talked to Senator Clinton about 9 o'clock, and I told her, and you know, she was, she was disappointed. It was a little bit heated. She asked me why, I gave her the reasons..."

Standard diplomatic protocol, and just plain good manners, in this type of situation, would have Richardson do the standard response that he wouldn't blab about a personal phone call. But no. Richardson had to get in the jab that Hillary was angry. Was that an unusual response on her part? Why would it be? Up until that phone call, she was lead to believe Richardson was supporting her.

Eddie Haskell. Bill Richardson is Eddie Haskell.

So, who knows what kind of deal Richardson cut with Obama. Maybe he'll be offered a good gig with him. Richardson seems to have waited until he felt Obama will be the clear winner of the nomination and went with that team. And, he got the publicity at the campaign rally from the television networks and newspapers. He and Obama did the man hug three times on that stage.

It was all typical smarmy stuff from the campaign above the fray. There are lots of former Clinton people in Obama's campaign. They've shown a bit more class in how their participation has been handled.

Nice going, Eddie.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Blame It On The Moon

Easter is here. We just finished St. Patty's Day earlier this week and here we are. In today's Houston Chronicle, Jeannie Kever explains the early arrival. She quotes James Wooten, astronomer with the Houston Museum of Natural Science, "This state is incredibly rare."

The last time Easter was this early, it was 85 years ago. And, it won't happen again for another 152 years. So enjoy it while you can.

This year Passover won't begin for almost another month, sundown April 19. Usually Passover is near Easter. And, Eastern Orthodox Easter is April 27 this year. A professor of theology at the University of St. Thomas here in Houston dubs it "an astronomical accident" that the three movable feasts are so far apart.

"Christians look upon the Jewish Passover as a foreshadowing of the death and Resurrection of Christ, so they are closely connected. It just happens that this year, they're really far apart."

Looking for the reason? Look to Heaven. "Catholics and Protestants celebrate Easter on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal equinox - the day the sun crosses the equator, making day and night of equal length. The vernal equinox mark the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere," wrote Kever.

The vernal equinox fell on Thursday. A full moon occurred Friday and Easter is Sunday.

Fret not. Next year the holiday is on a normal date. Mark you calendar - Easter is April 12, 2009.

Warner Brothers has re-released "It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown." That makes me smile. I watched all those Peanuts holiday shows with my son when he was a little guy.

I will never think of the Charlie Brown gang in quite the same way, though. Last Saturday night my guys and I went to a playhouse production of Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead. It is not a play for the kids. It was good and left the audience a bit choked up but, damn.

The play was originally off-Broadway. The character names are changed a bit. Charlie Brown is C.B., Sally is CB's Sister, Pig Pen is Matt and a compulsive neat freak, Beethoven is based on Schroeder, Tricia York is Peppermint Patty. And so on.

Snoopy has died of rabies and CB is grappling with depression over it and seeking an answer to the question of what happens after we die. Van (Linus) is a pothead so he can't help CB, Sally is a goth and Lucy, known as Van's Sister is institutionalized to deal with being a pyromaniac. She tried to set the Little Red-Haired Girl's hair on fire.

The play deals with the whole gambit of modern teen life. There is drug use, suicide, eating disorders, homosexuality, eating disorders, rebellion and teen violence. Yeah, it's all there. In the final scene, there is a letter read by CB written by CS. Very poignant.

Not for the kiddies though.

For those who celebrate : HAPPY EASTER and may the Easter bunny leave a fine basket of goodies.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Barack and the Reverend

One week ago Senator Barack Obama saw the writing on the wall. He knew he had to go into full-on cya mode and sit for as many interviews as humanly possible. He had to try to thwart the shock most people were feeling as they watched the videos played on television cable shows of this minister of his and the church services. Obama tried to pass it off as nothing unusual, nothing controversial. The public response? Not so fast, Senator Obama.

I will tell you I saw Rev. Jeremiah Wright interviewed by Sean Hannity on Fox News last April, 2007. Rev. Wright was questioned about the black supremacy mission statement of the church. All the revelations of the videos were not as much of a surprise to me as to some. The surprise to me was the fact that it took so long into the campaign for Obama's judgement of church families to be questioned. Were it not for the fact that the media is so deeply in the tank for Obama and only now must at least ask a few questions, the issue would have surfaced a long time ago.

Obama has never been vetted as a politician on a national level. This is the first crisis of note for his campaign to manage. To say he's been given a free pass by an adoring press, some even going so far as to admit their bias on air, is an understatement.

During the interviews on television last Friday night, whether it was the one I watched with Major Garrett on Fox News or the one after that I saw with Anderson Cooper on CNN, the story was the same. Obama said he was never present in the congregation when Rev. Wright was spewing forth with the hate speech, the racist rants, the anti-Semitic snarling against Israel. Obama said it was just a black church and nothing controversial. No one was believing this nonsense, but Obama stuck with the story.

Tuesday was the speech. THE SPEECH. Live from Philadelphia, Obama tried to stop the bleeding by speaking about all things race in this country. Our history as a nation. He almost accurately quoted the Constitution by beginning with "We the people, in order to form a more perfect union" as the opening line. He left out "of the United States" after' people' but that may be nitpicking. Maybe it's like wearing a flag lapel pin on a jacket, or placing your hand over your heart during the national anthem. Maybe it's whatever you feel like doing now. I don't know.

I printed out the speech after listening to it as it was delivered. I read and re-read all nine pages of it. Three times over the next couple of days. I was looking for 'it'. The it that brings us all together. The it that shows the good judgement of a mature man running for the highest office in the land. I didn't hear it during the speech. So, I read over the transcript a few times.

I didn't want to be offended by parts of the speech. The speech was well written and delivered. No surprise there. Obama is an eloquent speaker and can deliver a speech with much apparent sincerity. Offensive to me, however, were the parts where he said, "I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely - just as I'm sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed." So, what wasn't controversial Friday night was by Tuesday morning. He wasn't in church to hear the remarks but he was.

He sounds like any run of the mill politician. He's run a campaign based on being above the fray. He's run a campaign claiming the ability to bring people together, to work with everyone, to lead with the gift of good judgement. If you were a loyal Obama supporter before the speech, you still are. If you weren't, you still aren't. If you were on the fence, you are now answering pollsters that you don't support Obama. His numbers are in free fall. There's plenty of time to stop the fall, of course. He'll still be the party's nominee. But the bloom is off the rose.

Obama has chosen not to be above the fray after all. He is not as crass as Hillary's campaign but it is there now - delivered smoothly and unapologetically. He brought into the speech Geraldine Ferraro and John McCain - "We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she's playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies." Intentionally or not, all of that implies a vote for Hillary or McCain would be a racist act. Only he can bridge the racial problems in this country. Just elect him.

I'll note here that McCain, just yesterday, suspended a campaign aide who posted a link to Rev. Wright's videos on his personal web site. McCain says he'll not run anything but a respectful campaign. He walks the walk.

There was this slap at conservatives/Republicans: "Anger over welfare and affirmative action helped forge the Reagan Coalition. Politicians routinely exploited fears of crime for their own electoral ends. Talk show hosts and conservative commentators built entire careers unmasking bogus claims of racism while dismissing legitimate discussions of racial injustice and inequality as mere political correctness or reverse racism."

And, he threw his white grandmother, still living, under the bus: ..."a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe." Well, that public airing of private talk from his own grandmother made me cringe.

And, at the end of the speech, for the first time and not in the script, he said the standard politician's God bless America. Was that to counteract Rev. Wright's God damn America remark? How are we to know?

He's just a run of the mill politician.

We have to question the judgement that allows an educated, ambitious, family man to remain in the pews of a church while his young daughters hear the race baiting, unpatriotic, hate speech of Rev. Wright. Wright performed the Obama marriage and baptised the two Obama daughters. Wright is called his spiritual advisor. His mentor. Like an uncle. Well, you can pick your advisers and mentors. You cannot pick your family. That is a big difference.

Obama knew Wright was a problem to a national campaign. He rescinded an invitation for Wright to stand with him as he announced his kick off to his Presidential bid in Springfield, Illinois but he prayed with him in private beforehand. What does that say? He brought Wright into the campaign as a member of his religious advisers. Only now is he taken off the committee. What does all that say?

He's a run of the mill politician.

Some Democrats, while insisting a candidate cannot be held responsible for the remarks of supporters, point to endorsements given to the McCain campaign, like Hagee in San Antonio and Rod Paisley in St. Louis. These Democrats say, well, what about those ministers? The difference is that none are McCain's ministers, McCain does not use them in advisory boards on this campaign and McCain does not have 20 year histories with them. Nor did he listen to their tapes as a college student.

During the 1980's, Oprah Winfrey joined Wright's church. When she left after disavowing his remarks, he publicly criticised her for leaving the church to the congregation.

Shelby Steele wrote in the Wall Street Journal, "What could he have been thinking? Of course he wasn't thinking. He was driven by insecurity, by a need to "be black" despite his biracial background. And so fellow-traveling with a little race hatred seemed a small price to pay for a more secure racial identity. And anyway, wasn't this hatred more rhetorical than real?

But now the floodlight of a presidential campaign has trained on this usually hidden corner of contemporary black life: a mindless indulgence in a rhetorical anti-Americanism as a way of bonding and of asserting one's blackness. Yet Jeremiah Wright, splashed across America's television screens, has shown us that there is no real difference between rhetorical hatred and real hatred."

Yesterday on a Sports Radio show Obama said of his grandmother, "The point I was making was not that my grandmother harbors any racial animosity. She doesn't . But she is a typical white person who, uh, if she sees somebody on the street that she doesn't know, there's a reaction that's been bred into our experiences that don't go away and that sometimes come out in the wrong way and that's just the nature of race in our society. We have to break through it." Typical white person? What if John McCain said 'typical black person', or 'typical Asian person' or 'typical Hispanic person' in any sentence?

Today there is a photo of Rev. Wright with Bill Clinton in 1998 at a Prayer Breakfast. This photo is circulated by the Obama campaign. Before that they circulated one of Tony Rezko in a photo with Bill and Hillary at a Christmas White House reception. Any aides lose their jobs over these?

And, lost in all of this flap over Rev. Wright? Obama admitted that his involvement with Tony Rezko was much greater than he originally stated. Larger campaign contributions and more real estate help were given to Obama from Rezko. Obama wisely thought he better come clean now rather than later, what with Rezko on trial and records being public. May be a long summer for both of them.

Change? Above the fray? Uniter?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Year Five

Today is the fifth anniversary of Operation Iraqi Freedom. I distinctly remember watching on television the beginning of the initial bombing. "Shock and awe" was the phrase used in the run up to psych out the Hussein regime. I was neither shocked nor awed by the video shown on television. I thought at the time that it should have been at least twice as much, the old Powell Doctrine of overwhelming force, but no one asked me.

I was not in favor of war in Iraq but I knew Hussein had to be removed. My husband had forged friendships in country and he said 'we have to help them'. So, I was resigned to our action.

In 2004, Obama said, "There's not that much difference from President Bush, at this point." That of the war in Iraq. Now, to hear Obama's speeches, nothing has gone right and it's the standard lines of 'Bush's war' and flowers to the MoveOn crowd.

As John McCain fact finds around the neighborhood, in the region, walking the walk as he does, he is met with swarms of well wishers. The people clamouring to shake his hand, clap his back, hug him all with big smiles on their faces. Privately, the leadership in Israel, for instance, wishes for a McCain administration. Nothing in public will be said in deference to remaining out of our election process. Publicly they reference public polling that shows strong favor for Hillary. Obama is a distance third in choice.

McCain is coming off his eighth trip to Iraq. Along with him were Senator Lindsay Graham of South Carolina, a long time McCain supporter and Senator Joe Leiberman, a strong advocate of the Bush Doctrine in all things terrorism. The three musketeers forging bonds of friendship abroad that will pay off later.

Hillary has been to Iraq twice and Obama once. Obama was there before the surge and only for two days. He cut his time in Iraq short and went on to Israel and Jordan, according to the group in which he traveled.

What are Hillary and Obama doing today? They are both in their own little competition trying to one up each other as to who will surrender on the ground first. Obama can't seem to make a speech without referencing his opposition to the war in Iraq, since his speech in 2002 of which he is so proud. He blasted Hillary again today for voting for the war. He mocked McCain for saying we couldn't leave when things were going poorly, yet we can't leave yet now either as things are so markedly better.

Obama doesn't get it. Or, if he does, he is in no way deserving of the office of Commander-in-Chief.

Hillary is Hillary. Say anything, do anything, to accomplish her goal. No one expected any less from her and we have not been disappointed. She is a woman without a core, no value system, no ability to stay with her gut. She is not an honorable person. She in no way is deserving of the office of Commander-in-Chief.

Obama admits today that the conditions on the ground are better as time goes on. The surge is working. He criticizes the political structure in Iraq. So does everyone but he and Hillary are particularly critical. Why? It's their way out of Iraq. They say, well, look at the politicians. They aren't coming together and putting the country back together. They have to unite.

Easy for them to say. Criticism is the easy way out. Childish behavior from adults who know better.

More Junior officers are re-upping than originally thought. The Army is not "broken" as stated by so-called experts. Maj. General Bob Scales (Ret) has been the first out of the box to say he was wrong to characterize the Army as such a year ago. Re-enlistments remain high, he said. They continue to go back because of the bonds formed. A true band of brothers.

So, by Obama saying the military is stretched too thin, for example, he refers to the actual forces, not offering the suggestion that the number of actual members of the military are increased. That is the solution McCain and others who do know about the military and its needs point out as a much needed action. McCain would increase the military and spend the money to maintain equipment and build new equipment. Obama advocates a cut in military spending, much like the bad old days of the first President Clinton. For all the critics of the military equipment and safety gear available as the war on terror is waged, a continuing omission is that the supplies were diminished during the days of the so-called peace dividend as the Cold War ended. Former President Clinton's administration took it upon themselves to gut the military and reduce the number of active military. We were simply unprepared as a nation to wage two wars at once.

The Bush administration has been unable to communicate the importance of removing Saddam Hussein and his sons. The aftermath was not planned for and the President didn't remove Rumsfeld quickly enough to shorten the war on the ground. All history.

Many documents have been recovered from terrorist safe houses in Iraq. They show clear links to developing plans between Hussein and terrorists in other countries, such as bin Laden. Hussein was already on record as paying families of suicide bombers in Palestine. The threat to Israel was clearly established. Removal of Hussein was our policy as a country, put into place by the Clinton administration. Remember the no-fly zone? Our pilots shot at? The Oil for Food scandal? Seventeen U.N. resolutions?

Facts are stubborn things. I wish more were out there from the administration.

Obama advisor Susan Rice is correct - neither Hillary nor Obama are ready for that 3 am telephone call.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Eight Women of Note

On this year's International Women's Day, the recipients of this year's Women of Courage Awards were honored by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Under Secretary Paula Dobriansky. Eight women representing countries from around the world from Afghanistan, Iraq, and Kosovo, among others, were lauded for their work and commitment to others. This group was chosen from a pool of 95 women nominated by American embassies around the world.

This is the kind of good news that is usually overlooked as we drown in the negative. It's a shame, really, where the state of journalism is today and the demands of 24 hour cable news. I read about this year's honorees thanks to a column written by Myrna Blyth at National Review Online. Who can't use a good story today, right?

Blythe quotes Secretary Rice: "In too many parts of the world, unfortunately, women still struggle for basic rights and liberties in places where discrimination and exploitation and violence against women is all too common and all too often accepted or tolerated...Despite seemingly insurmountable challenges and often at great risk to their own lives, today's honorees have made a conscious decision to remain committed to the cause of equal justice for women."

Suraya Pakzad founded Voice of Women in western Afghanistan. The organization managed to protect and counsel women during the Taliban's reign and continues today.

Dr. Eaman Al-Gobory, an Iraqi, arranges care abroad for children with special medical needs.

Begum Jan cares for women and children in Pakistan's tribal areas, a dangerous environment.

The fourth Middle Eastern honoree, Nibal Thawabteh, is a politician, editor and author from the Palestinian Authority. Her newspaper takes controversial issues on, like polygamy and honor killing.

Farhiyo Farah Ibrahim is from Somalia, the youngest honoree. She lives in the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya and works on behalf of women, girls and refugees. She speaks out against the practice of female genital mutilation. She is a victim of abuse and uses her own experiences to speak out.

The Fijian Women's Rights Movement is led by Virisila Buadromo.

Cynthia Benden of Paraguay fights against the trafficking of women.

Valdete Idrizi of Kosovo, is an ethnic Albanian and lost her home in Serb-controlled north Mitrovica in 1999. Today she crosses over into Serb-controlled territory to run projects for women and youth. She moves from house to house for reasons of safety. She risks beatings, kidnappings, and death.

Good for them.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Teachers Teach to Lead

A bit of local pride first: the Houston Rockets are on a record-breaking winning streak. Despite the fact that our premier star, Yao Ming, is injured and not playing Center, the Rockets won again this afternoon at Reliant Stadium. That makes 22 in a row, sports fans. The Lakers, the losing team in the match up today, with a score of 104-92, holds the record of straight wins. Theirs is 33 wins back in the 1972-73 season.

This is the weekend so that means C-SPAN's Book TV and Food Network viewing. Yesterday's lineup on C-SPAN included an interview with David Boren promoting his new book, "A Letter to America." I look forward to reading it in the near future. Boren is a former Senator from Oklahoma for eighteen years and the former governor of Oklahoma. Now his current day job is President of the University of Oklahoma. He is a Democrat.

"A Letter to America" speaks to the need for bi-partisanship in politics. He sees it as the only route to solving the big issues such as health insurance and education. He speaks to the fact that politicians are too busy scoring partisan points and not interested in working with the other side of the aisle. He is particularly disgusted with the current trend in Washington coming from the far left that preaches pessimism and defeat and nothing but harsh and hate filled language of the opposition party. He refers to the all time low ratings of Congress, ratings even lower than the current President, disliked to the point of mental derangement.

Boren points to the fact that Americans are defined by optimism. We are a country of can-do people, not whining losers. Leadership is needed, especially in politics, to encourage a change in tone.

Boren also sits on a panel as an interviewer for finalists of Rhodes scholarships and encourages college age students to enter public service with fresh eyes and open minds. He pointed out that only 8% of colleges and universities require a single course in American History to graduate. That is just sickening and certainly explains a lot. "Teachers teach to lead", he said.

Political discourse has "gone from arguing issues into destroying the person", said Boren. Reminded me of the static John McCain gets for working with the other side of the aisle. He doesn't resort to name calling to make gratuitous points and is the only candidate currently running for President with a track record of the extent he does of working with both sides. Obama has no record of it and Clinton has only sporadically worked with Republicans as she got closer to running for President.

After that interview I watched a tape of a 15 minute speech given by Laura Bush at the NYC Yale Club. The occasion was the 2008 General Annual Meeting of the Association of American Publishers. Former Congresswoman and one-time Presidential candidate Patricia Schroeder, currently President and CEO of the Assoc of American Publishers introduced Mrs. Bush. I found a wee bit of pleasure in Schroeder doing that with such flowery and complimentary terms. In the years of the Bush administration, Schroeder has been a nasty critic of Republicans and going so far as last year stating about the subject of conservatives reading habits: "The Karl Roves of the world have built a generation that just wants a couple slogans: 'No, don't raise my taxes, no new taxes,' It's pretty hard to write a book saying, 'No new taxes, no new taxes, no new taxes' on every page. She said liberals tend to be policy wonks who "can't say anything in less than paragraphs. We really want the whole picture, want to peel the onion." That from, 8/21/2007. Especially in today's politics, the old canard that liberals are so much more intellectual than conservatives is laughable. And, further proving her ignorance of the real world, she insulted half of her potential reading audience.

Of Laura Bush, Shroeder said, "She's done more for literature, reading, books than anyone we've ever seen." "She has our passion for reading, for libraries." She ran down some of Mrs. Bush's credits, such as creating the National Book Festival in 2001, patterning it after the Texas Book Festival she started in 1995.

Laura Bush and Jenna Bush have a book coming out in April about a little boy who doesn't want to read.

May is National Get Caught Reading month. Laura Bush spoke about the Reach Out and Read program that pairs pediatric health care and reading. Children in waiting rooms are able to take home a book of their choice that has been donated to that doctor or hospital.

"A nation that does not read for itself cannot think for itself". I liked that line. She spoke about reading scores in schools across the country. Middle school reading scores are flat and high school scores are declining.

She spoke of the White House Conference on Global Literacy with UNESCO. She spoke of the efforts of this administration to bring literacy to Africa. Over 600,000 teachers in Africa have been trained, using Africa-centric textbooks.

She is co-chair of the U.S.-Afghan Women's Council. The council promotes literacy and education, reading and teaching the next generation. Girl children are being educated in Afghanistan now.

Approximately 774 million adults around the world cannot read. Literate countries are free countries. Literacy and freedom go hand in hand.

Two good events to watch. The glass is half full.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Pattern Develops As Tension Builds

Two Obama and Clinton stories caught my attention today. The first was a video clip with audio from the Obama campaign plane where he is bashing McCain for being in support of renewing the Bush tax cuts after he voted against them in the first place. This, like the portion of McCain's comment about how long we may be in Iraq, is only part of the story. Mr. Above-It-All is setting quite a pattern of this lately.

We know, if the whole remark is replayed, McCain was speaking of a small peacekeeping force presence in Iraq, as is used in South Korea, Germany, Japan and Bosnia. Obama didn't use the whole statement, though, because it doesn't fit his McCain as warmonger riff. Again, the pattern.

John and Cindy McCain have two sons. Both are in the U.S. military. One is on his second tour in theatre, the other is preparing to go. The McCains make it a practice not to talk about their sons. John McCain knows of what he speaks about war and walks the walk.

Senator Obama's now former foreign policy advisor, Samantha Powers, is on record as stating that of course Obama can't be held accountable for his immediate withdrawal of troops in Iraq if he is elected President. He'd have to go by what the commanders in the field recommend. Well now. Sounds like the third Bush term kind of stuff Obama throws McCain's way, as though it is the ultimate insult.

So, today Obama accused McCain of supporting the tax cut renewals because it is an election year. Fact is, McCain didn't support the tax cuts originally since no spending decreases were a part of the package. He admits the tax cuts worked and the economy has been remarkably strong up until a cyclical slowdown recently. McCain is on record as voting for tax cut renewals from President Bush more than once already. Mr. Above-It-All is not after all. The pattern.

Today the Senate was voting on a earmark moratorium. Obama and Clinton voted for it, as they each know one of them will face McCain, who has never asked for or received an earmark. Talk about election year pandering. Maybe Obama is feeling a bit hypocritical?

In today's Chicago Sun Times, writer Lynn Sweet, a longtime follower of Obama, pens an article that Obama released his records on earmarks he put through the process as Senator from Illinois. This, after refusing since last June to do so. Clinton still hasn't.

The interesting earmark that popped out at Ms. Sweet is one for The University of Chicago Hospital. You may remember Michelle Obama was the recipient of a more than double salary increase from 2004 to 2005. Obama put in for a $1 million dollar earmark for a new pavilion for the Hospital in 2006. Nice. Obama claims to be not all about business as usual in politics.

Last night, after a day of answering as to what in the world she was thinking of as she made the remark that Obama is succeeding because of the color of his skin, Geraldine Ferrarro left as fundraising chair of Clinton's campaign. The snippet was taken out of context, again the pattern of the Obama campaign who are above it all, yet it was an unnecessary position in which to put herself. She is an old pro in politics and she should have anticipated it.

So, if no one is allowed to mention that Obama is running as a black man for President of the United States, do we also ignore the troubling audio and visual clips from services at his church in Chicago, Trinity United Church of Christ? After reading a blurb on Politico this morning, by Mike Allen, I switched the channel to Good Morning America to see an interview with Professor Shaun Casey, Obama's religious advisor for the campaign. As he was questioned by Chris Cuomo, Casey whined that the pastor's sermons are being scrutinized while the sermons given by pastors at the churches attended by Clinton, McCain and President Bush are not. What? Obama calls Rev. Jeremiah Wright his "spiritual guide" and used a phrase of his as the title of his best selling book, Audacity of Hope, which dramatically increased the Obama family's fortunes by acknowledgement from Michelle Obama.

Casey claims it is the "same dynamic" as criticizing JFK as a Catholic running for President. Obama says he "doesn't think my church is particularly controversial." The first clip run was one of Wright using the N word, saying Barack has been called that while Hillary hasn't in her life. OK. He slurred the names of black Republicans as less than black - Colin Powell, "Condamensia" for Condi Rice, etc. Maybe he didn't see the irony in the fact that Obama was called 'not black' as he began his run for President.

There were clips of Wright saying, after 9/11, the whacko line that "America's chickens are coming home to roost", straight out of Michael Moore's diatribes. And, before he retired last month, he honored Louis Farrakhan with an award from the church.

This is a church that certainly no longer qualifies for tax exempt status.

The church is controversial, as a place of worship, because of the black supremacy position it takes. That doesn't bring the country together any more than a church preaching white supremacy, does it?

This is a church Obama has been a member of for 20 years, by his own recollection. He was married by Wright in the church, and Wright baptised both of his young daughters. This is not the church in which he was raised. He was raised, according to his biography, as Christian by his Kansas/Hawaii family, in Muslim traditions in Indonesia by his father's family, and he has some Buddhist teachings in his religious background. The point is, this is a church he specifically joined of his own accord. To now act as though no one should find anything objectionable from some of the stated principles of the church is naive.

I don't approve of politics in church. We all know politicians campaign in churches every election cycle. The IRS has been negligent in shutting off tax exempt status of those who are so blatant as to employ some of these rants from the pulpit.

And, finally, today the clip of Hillary apologizing not once but three different times to the gathering of black journalists. She apologized for Bill's sleazy attempt throwing at the race card in South Carolina, then for Geraldine's remarks, then for the government's response to Hurricane Katrina.

She remains the Queen of Pander. All hail the Queen.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Spivak 'Splains Obama

I've read about an in-depth article from the Houston Press on Barack Obama on several sites. The investigative reporter, formerly of Chicago, now lives here in Houston and writes for the weekly publication, the Houston Press. I printed out the article and read it, all ten pages of it.

I looked for the current edition of the publication and its section was empty at the local grocery store. I guess I'm not the only one curious about the hard copy. I pick the Houston Press up as I exit the grocery store if the front page teases interest me.

This from the web site in the 'about us' section: "First place for investigative reporting in 1998 John Bartlow Martin contest sponsored by Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism, a national citation for environmental journalism; and a sweep of four out of five first place awards at the Houston Press Club Excellence in Journalism Awards." The publication is self-described as 'brash and freewheeling.' Readership is 300,000 per week.

The reporter, Todd Spivak, begins the article describing a phone call from Barack Obama screaming at him. Obama wasn't happy with the latest story Spivak published. The one before met with his approval, though. Spivak says a reporter friend told me months earlier that she overheard Obama call him an asshole at a fundraiser. Obama was still a state senator in Illinois and Spivak worked for a string of small newspapers.

So, first I wondered who this Todd Spivak is and what was his agenda. He writes that he lived and worked in Obama's Chicago district for three years, half of Obama's tenure in the state legisature. The district is D-13 and a large part of the city's South Side is encompassed in the district. Spivak goes on to tell the reader that in 2000 he wrote for the Hyde Park Herald and Lakefront Outlook community newspapers. He earned $19,000 and wrote about politics and crime. He spoke with Obama a couple of times a month, regularly. Obama wrote a column occasionally for his papers and it "ran with a head shot that made him look about 14 years old." Spivak had two cell phone numbers for Obama, now disconnected, as well as numbers for Jesse Jackson, his son Jesse Jackson, Jr., and David Axelrod who is now Obama's senior campaign adviser. He notes that Axelrod began his journalism career at the Hyde Park Herald, too, before he joined the Chicago Tribune, then moved on to starting his political consulting firm. Interesting, I thought.

So, as Spivak is stuck in traffic recently here in his current city of residence, Houston, he's listening to talk radio. "Right-wing rants on AM radio" he calls it. It's the Dennis Prager show and a listener called in denouncing Michelle Obama's remarks about her pride in America for the first time in her life. Then, Spivak says, Prager went on to say Obama himself is a blank slate, no record to look at unless you "lived in Barack Obama's old state Senate district." The light bulb goes off for Spivak. He makes his personal connection and this seems to be the motivation of writing the current story.

The interesting thread in the lengthy article is that of the years spent in the state legislature, it was only during his last year that Obama was able to make any progress as a legislator. The Democrats took over leadership of the State Senate and Obama was able to sponsor bills "that expanded children's health insurance, made the state Earned Income Tax Credit refundable for low-income families; required public bodies to tape closed-door meetings to make government more transparent; and required police to videotape interrogations of homicide suspects." Standard stuff.

Emil Jones Jr. became the Illinois Senate Majority Leader. A black man himself and a chain smoker, he was a long time politician in the legislature, three decades worth of service, and represented a district close to Obama's on the South Side. He decided to be Obama's kingmaker when the Senate seat opened up. He appointed Obama "sponsor to virtually every high-profile piece of legislation, angering many rank-and-file state legislators who had more seniority than Obama and had spent years championing the bills." Nice.

So, in his seventh year, the final year in the state Senate, Obama sponsored 26 bills into law. He cites them now as he campaigns for President. Jones' payment from Obama came in the way of "tens of millions" in pork barrel spending in Jones' district.

Spivak sites comments from a veteran South Side community organizer who remembers Obama from the days he claims as his own community organizing days. He only finally decided to vote for Obama on Super Tuesday as he walked into the voting booth. He holds Obama responsible for not doing more as an elected official to improve the quality of life in the community.

"Obama has spent his entire political career trying to win the next step up. Every three years, he has aspired to a more powerful political position."

"Even many of his staunchest supporters, such as Black, still resent the strong-arm tactics Obama employed to win his seat in the Illinois Legislature". Timuel Black is a historian and City Colleges of Chicago professor emeritus living in Obama's state district. Obama hired a fellow Harvard Law alum, and election law expert, Thomas Johnson "to challenge the nominating petitions of four other candidates, including the popular incumbent, Alice Palmer, a liberal activist who had held the seat for several years, according to an April 2007 Chicago Tribune report." Obama ended up knocking off his fellow contenders and running unopposed by challenging enough petition sheets. The petition sheets are signatures from registered voters living within the district showing a total of 757 names needed to run.

"A close examination of Obama's first campaign clouds the image he has cultivated throughout his political career, " wrote Tribune political reporters David Jackson and Ray Long. "The man now running for president on a message of giving a voice to the voiceless first entered public office not by leveling the playing field, but by clearing it." Interesting.

The writer, Spivak, says he admires Obama still today. He relates a story that he wrote about some black legislators who served with Obama in Illinois. They were 'disgruntled' that, as State Representative Monique Davis who attended the same church as the Obamas and didn't support Obama's candidacy complained of "feeling overshadowed by Obama."

In the same article Spivak wrote about the role Emil Jones, the Senate President kingmaker, played in Obama's career. Before Jones stepped in, Obama was a little noticed back bencher. His speeches were "vanilla" and he didn't take steps towards leadership on difficult issues. Needless to say, Obama wasn't thrilled with the article. It prompted the angry phone call. "He said the black legislators I cited in the story were off-base, and that they couldn't have gotten the bills passed without him. I started to speak, and he shouted me down." Obama complained that he should have been given a chance to respond to the article before it was published. Spivak reminded Obama he requested an interview through his communications director. Obama said he should have called the cell phone. Spivak said Obama told him not to use the cell phone due to his busier schedule. Back and forth they went.

The article finishes as follows: "Today I no longer have Obama's cell phone number. I submitted two formal requests to interview Obama for this story through his Web site, but have not heard back. I also e-mailed interview requests to three of his top staffers, but none responded. Maybe he'll call the day after this story runs. I'll get to the office early just in case. And this time I'll have my recorder ready."

So, take from this what you will. I am one who is interested in the motivation of people. I like the back story. Perhaps he is a candidate who aggressively follows political office dreams. Perhaps he is a candidate who runs over others and takes the credit. We simply don't know with someone with such a short career resume.

The press is beginning to turn a bit on Obama. Some of the swooning is coming to a halt and being reported as 'creepy'. One snippet from the Washington Times from 3/7/08 was one of a woman who recoils at the calls by Obama to end arrogance. She told of her first encounter with the freshman Senator. "He strolled out of the Senate chamber, balled up a piece of paper and tossed it at a large trash can - missing. At which point, she says, the senator from Illinois paused and, without saying a word, looked back at his two aides who were trailing him, then continued on his way. One of the aides walked over, retrieved the paper and threw it away."


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Just Jackin' Her Jaws

Irony. Life is just chock full of it, isn't it? Referred to as an "outspoken feminist" by Yahoo! News, Germaine Greer is at it again. Just when you thought it was safe to go outside.

Ms. Greer is no fan of Hillary. While promoting her new book, apparently she thought it a good idea to toss a few ugly remarks Hillary's way and get a bit of extra press out of it. "I don't like Hillary because she's so bossy and cold and manipulative and stuff, and I don't think having her in power is going to make any difference, basically, because she will have the same set of advisers," Greer said.

"She attacked the first couple's marital style, saying the pair enjoyed a "confederacy" or business partnership, rather than an emotional relationship." That from the article.

The clincher for me was this quote: "Everybody loves Bill. Bill is adorable and Bill is always flattering me and inviting me to stuff in Britain and we're buddy-buddy, and I like him," she said. After fighting off the urge to lose my breakfast, I thought, there she goes again. Why doesn't she get it? Why doesn't she understand that this very attitude is what is responsible for making her and other old school feminists irrelevant?

I completely agree with her assessment of Hillary, don't misunderstand. But, slobbering over Bill? Really? Why do 'feminists' continue to pant after him? He was abuser in chief of women for so many years, carefully documented for everyone interested in knowing the truth. Yet, slick guy that he is, he continues to wow the old broads. Unbelievable.

Bill Clinton did nothing special for women but send Hillary to China to chide the Communist regime's treatment of the human rights of women. Big deal. He probably had a date that night.

The old school feminists have remained silent as to the rights of women around the world. I guess it is only for western women to have equality. It makes no sense.

The older I get, the more I appreciate my upbringing. I'm the oldest of three daughters. My poor father. The main theme in our home was that we could all do anything we wanted to do with our lives. We could go to whatever school we wanted to go to after high school, and it was expected that we would continue on with our education. We were not raised to just marry young and depend on a husband to take care of us. Over and over we were told we had to be able to take care of ourselves, life is uncertain and one never knows what is around the corner. My legal name is hyphenated. My maiden name and my married name together. My Republican husband never batted an eye over that. I had my own credit history long before I met and married my husband.

I was all about the women's movement in the 70's. I had the requisite subscription of Ms. Magazine. I waited until my late 20's to marry and then into my 30's to become a mom. I never felt in a rush to do anything. Thank goodness. My sisters and I have taken different paths in life and it seems perfectly normal.

I do know, however, the difference between those that support women and those that don't. Some liberal men do and some don't. Some conservative men do and some don't. For me it is a character issue, not a matter of political parties. A sleaze is a sleaze.

Greer brings to mind the Montgomery Gentry song " What Do Ya Think About That?" "Sayin' blah, blah, blah, Just jackin' their jaws".

Walk the walk and use some common sense.

Monday, March 10, 2008


Makes a person ponder sometimes when statements are said by politicians yet are utterly false on premise or simple facts. Just about everything today can be at our fingertips, thanks to the brilliant Interwebs.

Hillary, in particular, falls into writing her own versions of history, whether it is her personal story or the story of our country. She has taken to claiming a part in bringing peace to Northern Ireland on the campaign trail, boosting her foreign policy bona fides. "I helped bring peace to Northern Ireland," she told CNN on Wednesday. But negotiators from the parties that helped broker the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 told The Daily Telegraph that her role was peripheral and that she played no part in the grueling political talks over the years." That according to The Telegraph's Toby Harnden.

Lord Trimble who shared the Nobel Peace Prize with John Hume in 1998 said: "There would have been no contact with her either in person or on the phone. I was with Hume regularly during calls in the months leading up to the Good Friday Agreement when he was taking calls from the White House and they were invariably coming from the president."

Why does she do this stuff? Just as she was finally held accountable for the silly story that she was named for Sir Edmund Hillary. Who didn't know that was a whopper? All these unnecessary stories only lead to more doubts as to her truthfulness on everything else.

From the Obama campaign, intelligence adviser John Brennan told a National Journal reporter, "They were told to cooperate by the appropriate authorities that were operating in a legal context. I know people are concerned about that, but I do believe that's the right thing to do." Those were his thoughts on the vote recently in the Senate concerning legal protection of telecommunications companies being held liable for cooperating with the U.S. government post 9/11. His candidate voted against the corporate protection. "My advice , to whoever is coming in to the White House, is they need to spend some time learning, understanding what's out there, identifying those key issues."

"They need to make sure they do their homework, and it's not just going to be knee-jerk responses." Brennan was head of the National Counterterrorism Center. The NCTC is a joint office operated by the CIA, FBI and other government agencies.

Why does Obama favor trial lawyers over telecommunications companies doing what they thought was the right thing to do? You know why.

Last night I watched the 60 Minutes interview, conducted by Scott Pelley, with John McCain. Pelley was using his own brand of audacity, questioning McCain's judgement on Iraq, wondering if 'you had an understanding' about the economy as he toured Texas with the candidate, if his health is good, etc. McCain, who released more medical records than any other politician,ever, in 2000 when he ran for President the last time, told Pelley all his current records would be released next month.

Then it was all about the 'temper' of McCain. The incident being touted as McCain loosing his temper with Elizabeth Bumiller, of The New York Times, on the campaign plane. Frankly, I think it speaks volumes of his generosity that a reporter from The New York Times is allowed to be on the plane in the first place. Bumiller, no fan of Republicans, was badgering McCain about allegedly talking to John Kerry in 2004 about the VP slot on his ticket. McCain said it was old news, everyone knew the two spoke about it. Kerry instigated it and McCain listened to him and turned him down. It was a stupid line of questioning, I heard the tape and saw the clip on television, and McCain was firm with her but certainly did not lose his temper. He never raised his voice or became rude. He was firm but respectful. She knew she was wrong and tried to make a joke - why are you angry then? she asked him. Obviously bating him and hoping to be the one to have a story about McCain's temper. What a hack.

Do you want someone in the White House without a temper? Can you name any previous President that didn't have a temper? Do you have a temper? I think every human does. McCain has never done anything to embarrass his country, such as losing his temper in a foreign country or at a state event. He has manners. That is what matters.

I'll be curious to watch how Sean Hannity conducts his upcoming hour long interview with McCain on Thursday night. Hannity likes McCain as a person but is no fan of his candidacy for President.

And, last, there is Eliot Spitzer. The governor of New York has a nasty reputation. If you have ever seen one of his press conferences, you have noticed his arrogance and self aggrandisement. You may remember he was all for ramming through legislation to give driver licenses for illegal immigrants. He's a Super Delegate and committed to Hillary. She suffered in that debate where she was asked if she supported the governor's legislation. She was flopping all over the place.

Today karma bit Spitzer on the butt. Seems he's been caught with a penchant for a little something-something with high dollar women of the night. This from the governor who was braggadocios about busting up prostitution rings. This from the governor who claimed he would clean up New York politics, he would be so ethical and honest.

Beware the politician claiming to be so pure. They lie. It seems those bellowing the loudest are the most corrupt.

My heart was breaking for Spitzer's wife standing next to him as he spoke of his dishonest behavior. She is tall and beautiful and a successful lawyer. They have three teenage daughters who will now have to go to school every day as classmates gossip about their parents. Plus, the father-daughter relationship is precious. Girls see their fathers as their first heroes, generally speaking. So sad.

How could he have been so stupid and careless?

A whole lot of arrogance going on out there.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Share Their Stories

Army Spc. Monica Lin Brown is a 19 year old medic from Lake Jackson, Texas. She will become the first woman in Afghanistan and the second female soldier since World War II to receive the Silver Star. The Silver Star is the third highest medal for valor.

H/T Blackfive.

The policy of the Pentagon that prohibits women from serving in front line combat gets blurred in Afghanistan and Iraq. As has been said many, many times by our military leaders and the Bush administration, these are not 'traditional' wars and have to be fought with evolving specifics. There is no set 'frontline'. This needs to be said over and over until more of the American people fully understand. Just as the far left bemoans the alleged diminishing civil rights here at home, completely proven false time and time again, attitudes like the deliberate lack of cooperation of the leadership in Congress, the Democrats, in areas of terrorist surveillance for the sole reason of protecting trial lawyers over the military and the intelligence agencies is just one reason why their poll ratings are half of what the President's are. The American people are not nearly as asleep as the gangs of Pelosi and Reid would believe.

Army Spc. Brown saved the lives of five wounded soldiers after an explosion of a roadside bomb tore through a convoy of Humvees in April 2007. She ran through the insurgent gunfire and used her body to shield wounded comrades as mortars fell less than 100 yard away, according to the AP write up by Fisnik Abrashi. "We stopped the convoy. I opened up my door and grabbed my aid bag," Brown said. As they were assessed to be in a dangerous spot, the wounded, who had all evacuated the Humvee in the four vehicle convoy, "So we dragged them 100 or 200 meters, got them away from the Humvee a little bit, she said. I was in kind of a robot-mode, did not think about much but getting the guys taken care of."

The five wounded soldiers were moved some 500 yards away in the end and treated on site before they were evacuated by helicopter.

"I didn't have time to be scared," Brown said.

Quite a soldier, that young woman. The defeatists in Congress are not worthy of being in the same room as her.

The first woman to receive the Silver Star since World War II was Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester, of Nashville, TN. She recieved it in 2005 for "gallantry during an insurgent ambush on a convoy in Iraq." That from the same AP article.

I have often thought it a shame that we, as Americans, are not called upon by our political leadership, beginning with the president, to make sacrifices for our war efforts. Every able American should be doing something, however small an act it may be, to make the sacrifices of the military and their families a little easier. I've done some efforts to make the tours of duty of soldiers we have 'adopted' through organizations a bit more comforting but it never feels enough.

The very least we can do is share their stories.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

A Name You Should Know

Myrna Blyth, a former editor of Ladies Home Journal and a founding editor of More magazine, as well as the author of Spin Sisters: How the Women of the Media Sell Unhappiness and Liberalism to the Women of America, is now a contributor for National Review Online. Her piece this week focused on an old friend of hers, very recently deceased.

Barbara Seaman died the same day as William F. Buckley, Jr. Ms. Seaman didn't receive the same attention from the press though. In the world of women's health care, she was every bit as renown.

Seaman's first book was very controversial, The Doctor's Case Against the Pill, which described the dangers of blood clots associated with the birth control pill, not being widely reported at the time. Her ground breaking work on the subject, which began as an article in Ladies Home Journal, then became the book, is responsible for the warnings on the packaging of the Pill and of the reduction of estrogen in the Pill today.

She was no fan of the pharmaceutical companies, or of the medical establishment. She was critical of hormone replacement therapy, silicone breast implants and the deluge of unnecessary hysterectomies. She later wrote a biography of Jacqueline Susann, as a break from her more serious research.

Ms. Blyth remembers Seaman as a mentor for young women trying to break into the publishing world, for hosting writer's groups and for holding book parties for authors.

She was vocal about the mentality of doctors in the 1960's and 70's being one of treating women as if we were stupid and as though it was a bother to explain answers to questions. Women of a certain age, ahem, remember that attitude. It is what produced my opinion that the only doctor for me is a female doctor, particularly as far as 'female' health is involved. I have never had a male doctor for ob/gyn health care.

The end of Seaman's life came in the throes of lung cancer. At the age of 72 she chose not to have chemotherapy. She chose to work up until the very end, as Buckley did, and she wanted to maintain the energy to finish the two books on which we was working.

The lives of interesting people is always a favorite choice in my reading material. Barbara Seaman fit the bill quite well. May she rest in peace.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Buh-Bye, Sam

From the latest Peggy Noonan column at, "It was like Claude Rains summing up the meaning of everything in the film "Lawrence of Arabia": "One of them's mad and the other is wholly unscrupulous." It's the moment when you realize you just heard the truth, the meaning underlying all the drama. "They win in the end." Noonan was playing off a quote from Christopher Hitchens giving his opinion that Hillary will be the next president, because "there's something horrible and undefeatable about people who have no life except the worship of power...people who don't want the meeting to end, the people who just are unstoppable, who only have one focus, no humanity, no character, nothing but the worship of money and power. They win in the end."

I love it when I get to dovetail two of my favorites.

Sometimes interesting events just fall into a person's life. I'm a glutton for politics. No broadcast on C-SPAN is too boring for me. I want to hear what those in power are up to with my future, how they are managing my country. It is important to check out those advising your political candidate of choice. It's important to know who a presidential candidate may bring along into the White House. As fate would have it, I've had a fly on the wall point of view into the operations of some political machines. I don't need a therapist to tell me where my cynical outlook comes from and I look at that as a money saver. One area of the country I have been privy to behind the scenes is Chicago. Comes in handy this time around, right?

I read a piece by John Kass in the Chicago Tribune yesterday. He writes about the "Chicago Way". Mostly he was dealing with Tony Rezko and the connection to Obama. It is fascinating to watch the rise of Obama, a man who would still be working with a non-profit on the south side of Chicago or in a corporate law firm, as his wife did, were it not for the political machine in Chicago. Obama has been quite successful at packaging himself as someone fresh and new and completely above the everyday politics. He has his old friend, the current governor of Massachusetts, another 40ish black man, dish out key catch phrases for rallys, encouraging the chanting of the crowds. His minister, the leader of a church preaching black supremacy, supplies the title of his latest best selling book. And, Tony Rezko, a longtime political insider in Chicago, a noted money man, is an old friend, going back some 20 years in friendship.

Interesting that a man born of a Kenyan father and a white mother from Kansas, raised in Indonesia and Hawaii, educated on the east coast at Harvard University, later settles in Chicago to lay the foundation for a political career.

One evening while watching C-SPAN I listened to an interview with Samatha Power, now a foreign policy adviser. Some would say Power is THE key foreign policy adviser. I've read articles on her recently at American Thinker, which lead me to articles in New Statesman magazine in England and in The Scotsman. Ms. Power is on a book tour now and it has brought her to Europe. That would be your first clue as to her world view.

Ms. Power may ring a bell with you as she has made a bit of news over her characterization of Hillary as 'a monster' to the foreign press, thinking it was an off the record conversation. Or so she claims. This morning the word is that she has resigned from the Obama campaign.

"Plans have already been made for Clinton's withdrawal. "If he does well,"she says, "one of the questions will be how to integrate the Clinton people. Because we want to maximise our technical expertise and be welcoming." Not all will be greeted with open arms, however: veterans of Bill's administrations, yes; others Power dimisses in pretty uncomplimentary terms. "We don't want to end up in a lowest-common-denominator operation, which is what, I think, actually, really hurt her." This interview was done the day before the Texas and Ohio primaries.

A speech she recently gave in California the week before about the subject of her new book, Sergio Vieira de Mello, the UN special envoy to Iraq killed in a bombing in Baghdad in 2003, included focus on what is called the key of what she and Obama think is to be found in the book: "She mentions talking to dictators; promoting the concept of "dignity", possibly over democratisation and human rights; freedom from fear; humility about the world's complexity, and still rising to its challenges. "A number of people came up to me afterwards and said, 'Wow, that's the Obama doctrine,' and I was like, 'Oh my god, it is."' That from the New Statesman article.

What does 'the concept of dignity over democratisation and human rights' mean anyway? I'm like, oh my god.

Seems to me I remember George W. Bush talking about a humble foreign policy, too, as he ran for President.

A little more to chew on: "Obama has talked a lot about the importance of moving away from electocracy," she says, trying to move on to more comfortable territory, and suggesting that the way people actually live is more important than the 'reification of elections". "In terms of how radical the shift will be, I think it's very hard. There's going to be a huge foreign service and civil service that he will inherit, senators and congressmen who have already been elected. So I think he is one guy, trying to steer this ship of cacophonous agendas into a new place." The article continues: "In other words, promising to shut Guantanamo Bay, ban extraordinary rendition and pull troops out of Iraq within 18 months is fine. So is striking at al-Qaeda positions in Pakistan without the government's consent, an Obama line widely thought of as a gaffe when he delivered it last August."

Those fancy Harvard professors, advising the alleged candidate of the common man, sure do talk fancy, don't they? Change?

A little biography on Samantha Power: 1970 Born in Dublin, 1979 emigrates to U.S. with mother, 1988 studies history at Yale, 1993 war reporter in the former Yugoslavia, 1995 Harvard Law School, 1998 Founder exec. director of the Carr Centre for Human Rights Policy at Harvard, 2003 wins Pulitzer Prize, 2004 one of Time's top 100 thinkers, 2005 advisor to Obama, 2007 Anna Lindh professor of Practice of Global Leadership and Public Policy, Harvard.

According to The Scotsman, she was head-hunted by Obama to become his foreign policy advisor in 2005 and she continues with her job as a columnist for Time magazine. Sounds like a conflict of interest to me.

You'll forgive me if I don't for a minute believe she will no longer be advising Obama and making standard nasty comments about the competition, off the record, of course. Change?

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Words and Attitudes Do Matter

If you have not read the lengthy interview and story on Michelle Obama in the upcoming March 10th issue of The New Yorker, I suggest you do so. The piece is a glimpse into the workings of her mind. I am curious if some of her remarks are questioned by the press. I doubt it but if Cindy McCain said some of the statements Michelle Obama said, you can believe it would be all over the place.

I don't think Michelle Obama belongs in the White House, as First Lady. I think she will require a press office that has to make apologies and excuses for her lack of tact and applauded as honesty. Michelle enjoyed reminding the audiences in South Carolina that her family roots are there in that state. Bless her heart. Think Teresa Heinz-Kerry with a more folksy touch. Obama very much understands changing her speech according to the audience. The last thing we need, in today's climate in the world, is a First Lady chastising fellow Americans with a chip on her shoulder.

Michelle Obama, like her husband the Presidential candidate, has been the beneficiary of a charmed life. The question is, do you see the glass as half full or do you see it as half empty? The answer reflects how you will use your time in the White House. Mrs. Obama has taken the opportunities and yet still doesn't sound grateful. She sounds as if she is Michelle from the hood, when in fact she is Michelle living in a $1.65 million dollar Georgian Revival mansion in Hyde Park, according to the magazine. It is the property that now may come back to haunt them, as it was purchased with the help of Tony Rezko, now on trial for corruption and bribery in Chicago. Rezko is a 20+ year contributor to Barack's political career and part of the Chicago political machine, as is Barack.

The writer of the article, Lauren Collins, would like the reader to know the Hyde Park mansion has a wine cellar with a capacity for 1,000 bottles and the bookcases are made of Honduran Mahogany. Along with the full time housekeeper and the four times a week visits from her personal trainer, Obama's life is a bit different than the ordinary voting woman's.

Wouldn't speeches with the theme of look what is possible with hard work and a good education be more uplifting than America is bad and going to hell?

After Barack was elected Senator in 2005, Michelle's salary from her job at the University of Chicago Hospitals jumped from $121,910 to $316,962. This was explained by her bosses that her salary was brought into line with other vice-presidents at the hospital. I guess the timing of the large salary increase was just a coincidence. The author notes that Michelle has "spent most of her life working within the two institutions for which she most frequently claims a populist disdain: government and the health-care system".

The author is thorough in her coverage of Michelle's days growing up and her family ties. The author notes the presence of the Obamas on the philanthro-social scene in Chicago, as Collins describes it. A Sun-Times columnist, Michael Sneed, reported in 2006 that Michelle's mink coat was missing from a birthday bash for Jesse Jackson. Don't tell PETA about that one.

The author covers a trip to South Carolina. "Obama begins with a broad assessment of life in America in 2008, and life is not good: we're a divided country, we're a country that is "just downright mean," we are "guided by fear," we're a nation of cynics, sloths, and complacents. "We have become a nation of struggling folks who are barely making it every day," she said, as heads bobed in the pews. "Folks are just jammed up, and it's gotten worse over my lifetime. And, doggone it, I'm young. Forty-four!"

"Let me tell you, don't get sick in America".

"If Michelle Obama's husband succeeds in garnering the Democratic nomination and then in winning the general election in November, she will be not only the first black First Lady of the United States but also one of the youngest since Jackie Kennedy." True. Jackie Kennedy, however, didn't succumb to the America is bad theme of the guilty liberal crowd.

The author goes into the church affiliation of the Obamas in Chicago, a church with the doctrine of black supremecy.

There is a bit of referencing of milder personalities as First Ladies, a veiled reference to Laura Bush. It is as though Laura Bush is not strong-willed, not accomplished. The usual pap. I suppose working in inner city schools in Houston Texas is not on the level of working with inner city girls on the south side of Chicago. Don't question such arrogance. Just feel. Change.

"There is a hectoring, buy-one-while-supplies-last quality of Obama's frequent admonitions that Americans will have only one chance to elect her husband President. Someone who has spent a good portion of her life gaining purchase has suddenly been asked to sell something, and she seems to find it slightly beneath her."

And, finally, from the author, en route with Michelle to Green Bay, Wisconsin:"Back in the Explorer, I asked Obama if she thought that her husband, as the Democratic nominee, could take John McCain. "Oh, yeah. We got him," she replied. Got him? Gotcha? Change?

Careful what you wish for.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Contrasting Speeches

If you listened to the speeches delivered by the Presidential candidates last night, maybe you noticed something that struck me.

First, as predicted, Mike Huckabee saw the writing on the toteboard and gracefully exited the stage. Good for him. He, and Obama, has a gift for delivering a good speech. He, and Obama, are not ready for prime time.

Senator McCain gave an inspiring speech, full of gratitude and love of service to country. This is what set his speech apart from the two Democrats. McCain has a history, much to the heartburn of many conservative Republicans, of working with both sides of the aisle and encouraged Independents and Reagan Democrats to join with Republicans to take him to the White House. He rightly pointed out that Obama, Mr. Change/bringing everyone together, took a pass when opportunities arose for him to join in with bi-partisian working groups.

McCain walks the walk.

The stars aligned for Hillary and she can be congratulated for handily winning Texas and Ohio, besides Rhode Island. She can claim the ability to win the big states, particularly if she goes on to win Pennsylvania as it comes up.

Throught out the day, the Obama camp made claims of ballot shortages and the need for extended voting hours in cherry picked areas where they thought support would be on their side. Change? Same old politics, Senator. Tones of 'he wuz robbed' came to mind.

I think Obama got a little too cocky riding the hoping for change train and the voters took a second, more intense look. He may well continue on the path to the victory of the nomination but you can be sure the days of the free ride are over for him. The swooning press now does some homework and begins to question the candidate of change. A different narrative emerges and the public support waned. His phony pandering to the Ohio voters on the economy and the lies of the meeting with the Canadian came forward. The trial of Tony Rezko begins with jury selection and he has to answer questions, even from the Chicago press who have been shut out until now. Did you know he will only take written questions from them? And, that the campaign doesn't specify who is doing the answers to the questions? Change? Or just another politician in the machine of the south side of Chicago?

Read Rick Moran and his excellent explanations of the history of Obama in Chicago. Rick, brother of ABC's Terry Moran, is a blogger/writer out of Chicago.

Obama's speech was not his best by any means. It was empty. His trying to say Hillary and McCain are the same is simply amateurish. And, since he didn't have a vote on Iraq and did compliment the Bush administration in 2004 on the war and did vote to fund the war after that, well, he may want to rethink his pieous stance. And, rest assured, his cherry picking of only part of McCain's line that the U.S. will be in Iraq for 100 years will be a fine political ad, using the entire quote that Americans will surely support.

And, whining that the press wanted answers to questions on his relationship with Rezko that, "come on guys, I've answered, like, eight questions", then leaving the reporters? Well, that was silly. Like, totally.

Last night his speech included the slap at America: when today's young people have the opportunity to travel the world, they will "once again" be proud to say they are Americans when he is in the White House. I think most Americans, except to the far left, are still quite proud to be Americans, thank you. Flyover country doesn't like that sort of barb. He's all about changing "the world" yet preaching isolationism at home. Doesn't wash.

Hillary was all about thanking Ohio and saying more than once, that the next President has to be able to win Ohio. True enough. It just looked cheap as she delivered the lines. Her line that she will "end the war in Iraq and win the war in Afghanistan" was a rookie mistake. Americans expect victory, especially with the continued success of the ground operations and the political developments there. Yes, everyone is war weary but she and Obama shouldn't mistake that for American voters desiring to act as losers and defeatists.

And, finally, at NewsBusters today is an article about the Obama campaign demanding that the web site Politico change a headline on a report about the Obama vote. Change? Or just another politician?

The differences in the speeches of the two party candidates was stark. Huckabee and McCain appealed to citizens of a great country. Obama and Clinton were just all about them.


"The contest begins tonight", said McCain in Dallas after securing the nomination. Hillary was in Columbus, Ohio and Obama in San Antonio. Maybe they realized too late that the Hispanic vote was loyal to Hillary. Turns out the woman telling the tale last Saturday morning to our group was right.

Pat Caudell, Democrat strategist and former Presidential campaign manager for Jimma Carter and George McGovern, was a guest on the Bill Bennett radio program this morning. He feels the Democrat party has left him as it insists on continuing to lurch to the far left. He knows the 60's are over, yet as with every kind of cycle, the far left is demanding control of the party. Those like Obama and now Clinton pandering to the MoveOn and Kos Kids are running for office. Caudell spoke to "American exceptionalism" and the lack of acknowledgement from those on the far left.

The contrast between the two parties is stark this time around. It won't be boring.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

"Hang on tight, spur hard and let her buck"

"Hang on tight, spur hard and let her buck." This from Kinky Friedman over the weekend during a televised interview about politics in Texas and our primary/caucus today. Mini Super Tuesday. We have been subjected to robocalling, ad after ad on television, full page ads in newspapers (Obama, who is outspending Hillary 5 to 1 in the state) and coverage of lots of rallys all around the state, many here in my city. Sometimes it is good to be important in the process. Texas rarely is so it's good for now.

The big rodeo is in town for the next week or so, you know.

So, there sounds as if there is the big mo going today for Republicans to vote for Hillary. We have an open primary here. The polls show a virtual tie between Hill and Barry. Hillary just may pull off a squeaker here in the great state of Texas. We'll see this evening.

Mr. Change, Senator Obama, besides outspending Hillary here, you know like all politicians do, and putting pressure on the SuperDelegates to commit to him, you know like all politicians do, is heavily relying on the youth vote. We'll see if they remain enthusiastic long term, all the way to November.

I was at a Saturday morning meeting with the listeners of the Bill Bennett radio show and the conversation was really interesting, as usual. A woman I sat next to was a first time attendee and she was introducing herself to the group. Her life story is fascinating, to say the least. Born in Mexico, moved here at the age of eight, her parents opened up a small neighborhood style store in the barrio (her term, not mine) and she has been a nurse for 40 years. She began her career with Dr. Denton Cooley. Talk about starting out at the top. She has traveled the world with her nursing and today is a school nurse for HISD, on the east side. She demands more of the pregnant Hispanic eighth graders and insists they don't play the perpetual victim card. She shows them pictures of herself posing with Taliban fighters in Afghanistan during the Charlie Wilson days, the Russian fighter days. She waited to have her child, her daughter when she was 40ish so that she could make her career gains in her 20's and 30's. She rocks.

She was in Laredo last weekend for a family funeral. Most of her family is Democrat. All are voting for Hillary. She said the old notions of the divide between the black voter and the Hispanic voter remain intact to this day. This is why she thinks Hillary may be able to win in Texas, which she didn't think before she went to Laredo last weekend. Interesting.

The weather here is absolutely beautiful today. Sunny, clear skies, a bit chilly. Turn out is strong. McCain will finally be able to knock out Rev. Huckabee tonight. Time for him to go on back to Little Rock and gracefully step aside. Give him a prime time speech at the convention if that is what he wants. He fought his good fight and remained a happy warrior. There is no shame in that.

That is change.

Si, se puende.