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Saturday, January 31, 2009

BLOG: Saturday, January 31, 2009. I’m happy to hear that on last Thursday, the United States Senate followed the United States House in passing a reauthorization of a child health insurance bill. I do remember twice Bush vetoed this bill. Just imagine 4 million more children in America will have access to health insurance, isn’t that a huge post Bush phenomenon. Another positive sign that the boat has oars with a new helmsman! Right on Obama.

Hope springs eternal and that even the Republicans are seeing change by having former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele, an African American at the lead. Depending on which Republican media pundit you listen to, they would have you believe that Steele’s role is just for PR purposes. Bull. Last I heard the person sitting on the top of the Republican Party had to be a “damn good fundraiser”, and in this economic market where money isn’t falling from the trees anymore, even banks are standing in line begging for governmental support. Now how effective Steele will be with his moderate views makes politics so interesting. Yes, bedfellows in politics get a little weirder and weirder if you take the time to read, to listen and to watch.

Some republicans are trying to say that media commentators weren’t saying that Mr. Blago Bully was a democrat. Blago was voted out of office and out of politics by a group of his own peers and the fallout from the criminal charges are still left to be resolved. Yes, he is a democrat and his behavior based on the information that we were provided was horrible. But I don’t remember anyone NOT saying he wasn’t the democratic governor from Illinois. What does raise my eyebrows was that Democratic strategist James Carvell originally poo-pooed the idea that Blago was under scrutiny in the first place and he said “there is wheeling and dealing going on all the time”. So is this why Blago doesn’t think he did anything wrong?

Hopefully there won’t be large court scenarios but the way Blago went out was heartbreaking to see a man who doesn’t know when he is caught. And if in fact this was politics as usual, I’m sure there are folks scrambling to clean house. Speaking of cleaning house. . . How many flaws can you find in this write up? On reading the White House Blog I found this little gem:


43. GEORGE W. BUSH 2001-2009
George W. Bush, the 43rd President of the United States, was sworn into office on January 20, 2001, re-elected on November 2, 2004, and sworn in for a second term on January 20, 2005. Prior to his Presidency, President Bush served for 6 years as the 46th Governor of the State of Texas, where he earned a reputation for bipartisanship and as a compassionate conservative who shaped public policy based on the principles of limited government, personal responsibility, strong families, and local control.
President Bush was born on July 6, 1946, in New Haven, Connecticut, and grew up in Midland and Houston, Texas. He received a bachelor’s degree in history from Yale University in 1968, and then served as an F-102 fighter pilot in the Texas Air National Guard. President Bush received a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School in 1975. Following graduation, he moved back to Midland and began a career in the energy business. After working on his father’s successful 1988 Presidential campaign, President Bush assembled the group of partners who purchased the Texas Rangers baseball franchise in 1989. On November 8, 1994, President Bush was elected Governor of Texas. He became the first Governor in Texas history to be elected to consecutive 4-year terms when he was re-elected on November 3, 1998.
President Bush worked with the Congress to create an ownership society and build a future of security, prosperity, and opportunity for all Americans. He signed into law tax relief that helped workers keep more of their hard-earned money, as well as the most comprehensive education reforms in a generation, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. This legislation ushered in a new era of accountability, flexibility, local control, and more choices for parents, affirming our Nation’s fundamental belief in the promise of every child. President Bush also worked to improve healthcare and modernize Medicare, providing the first-ever prescription drug benefit for seniors; increase homeownership, especially among minorities; conserve our environment; and increase military strength, pay, and benefits. Because President Bush believed the strength of America lies in the hearts and souls of our citizens, he supported programs that encourage individuals to help their neighbors in need.
On the morning of September 11, 2001, terrorists attacked our Nation. President Bush took unprecedented steps to protect our homeland and create a world free from terror. He was grateful for the service and sacrifice of our brave men and women in uniform and their families. The President believed that by helping build free and prosperous societies, our Nation and our friends and allies can succeed in making America more secure and the world more peaceful.
President Bush is married to Laura Welch Bush, a former teacher and librarian, and they have twin daughters, Barbara and Jenna. The Bush family also includes two dogs, Barney and Miss Beazley, and a cat, Willie.


I thought it was an amazing play on wording and one day maybe I’ll meet the wordsmith who must have been having a hard time putting this together.
See y’all later, Todd says there is no maid here, so I have a house to clean today . . . Minerva

Friday, January 30, 2009

A PICTURE SAYS A MILLION WORDS . . .

BLOG January 30, 2009. If you want to see an awesome picture of the inaugurational address, please check out Photographer David Bergman who is putting the “aweeeeeee luckie here” in a photo:

http://www.davidbergman.net/blog/2009/01/22/how-i-made-a-1474-megapixel-photo-during-president-obamas-inaugural-address/

I was totally surprise to find this little gem. He took a gigapan imager that consists of 220 shots all integrated into one enormous photograph. In his own words:
“My final photo is made up of 220 Canon G10 images and the file is 59,783 X 24,658 pixels or 1,474 megapixels. It took more than six and a half hours for the Gigapan software to put together all of the images on my Macbook Pro and the completed TIF file is almost 2 gigabytes.”
You can use the controls to zoom and pan around the photo.
You can also double click to zoom in and double click again to get even closer and see the scene in amazing detail and clarity.
And you can see close-up the expressions of your favorite — and least favorite — politicians and dignitaries as Obama makes his inaugural address.
After viewing this for over 30 minutes, I found the picture will take you into the crowd that is so vivid you will get to feeling of the largeness of the audience, expressions on people’s faces, and an instant in time. I’m sure you’ll never think of a photograph as “just another shot again”. The high resolution was astounding to me. The shot is also for sale framed, with and without the logo and in full color! I encourage you to go see this for yourself. ---- Minerva

Thursday, January 29, 2009

HISTORICAL BLAGO

BLOG January 29, 2009. The historical impeachment trial is underway in Illinois’ State Senate. 47 minutes of closing arguments were made by GOVERNOR BLAGO calling the whole procedure “a shame”. However, the senators will either “quit” or “acquit”.

Blago earnestly presented himself as “the man of the people” and he says this is what led to his being overwhelming nominated in 2000 and 2006 “by the people”. We learn Blago’s lead attorney asked him not to do a media blitz and consequently the attorney quit his representation.

Blago wasn’t under oath today, however, he presented himself as an anti tax guy, pro healthcare and an advocate of veterans, poor and the mentally ill. Depending on whom you listen to Blago seems to be milking the press, stroking what is left of a huge ego, and possibly connecting to those individuals he has helped in the past, who may eventually be called upon for jury duty. In all of his conversation selling Obama’s senate seat never came up.

We learn previous allies are distancing themselves for Blago and have asked Blago to simply resign, save him and the state more embarrassment but up to now Blago refuses to step down. It also came up that Andy Stern, President of the SEIU, met with Blago November 3rd. Blago had been an ally of the union. Stern agrees Blago came into public office with definitive comfortability and states that he wonders what caused Blago to start calling in “financial deals” and wonders what will happen and be said in a criminal court. News commentators speculate the reason he was making these deals is because Blago only had two years left in office. And he and his wife were shoring up “new opportunities” to keep them financially secure and in the political and power mix in Illinois.

It is believed Blago’s goals were always to be President of the United States. If he simply resigned and then work on rebuilding his credibility, over time, but Blago refuses to do this also. Instead Blago seemed to emphasize that he isn’t being given the opportunity to hear all of the Federal Prosecutors allegations. He seems to be confusing the procedures of a court of law which would allow him the opportunity to defend himself and then work through that court to determine his guilt or innocence. However, the senatorial process acts as a grand jury and isn’t based on due process of law. It is based on a hearing of enough charges to indicate that an excessive amount of behavior has been proven. The current procedure however, does have a clause that they can insist that he no longer enter political office ever again.

The 6th Amendment right Blago keeps referring to may seem confusing to the layperson listening to his claims. And the 6th Amendment is based on a criminal case. The senatorial procedure is not considered a criminal case, however some of the evidence found may be used in the case. So other pundits believe that Blago’s “running the mouth” is to denounce “a few open minds” or “cause a shadow of doubt” to any possible listening juror that may be called on when he goes to a criminal trial. Although Blago seems to be quite astute of law, some pundits believe that he is deliberately doing the media blitz to cause the future juror to believe he was treated unfairly. The Senatorial procedure is also reviewed by legislative officials, as a group of his peers, that are held to a much higher standard and ethic. The four incrimination tapes and the media blitz this week also doesn’t necessary waiver truth in Blago’s claims. Being a governor is not a right, but it is a responsibility and privilege which jurors must understand.

Blago’s name dropping by mentioning Oprah for senator and discussions with Edward M. Kennedy, Barack Obama and John McCain as well as releasing photographs and short videos with respected Democrats and Republicans is believed to not save him in a court of criminal law. An FBI representative read a series of allegations before the senate. David Ellis rebutted the allegations by the FBI and Blago. The Chief Justice of Illinois presided over the procedure. The question still remains will they deliver a “death sentence” which is an expression which means “a sentence to no longer run for any political office” to Blago. For a person who was desirous of running for President of the US this must be a major blow. The question is want antics will Blago bring up when he does answer criminal charges. Will he throw in the towel? The other question is Pat Quinn. Pat Quinn is the political outsider and stands to be the next presumptive Governor of Illinois. He has been the thorn in the side of the Democrats for many years and the question is “will he come out and play fairly as the new governor?”

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The First Day of Obama

This is from the White House Blog enjoy:

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009 at 1:27 pm
President Barack Obama's Inaugural Address

Yesterday, President Obama delivered his Inaugural Address, calling for a "new era of responsibility."


Inaugural Address


By President Barack Hussein Obama


My fellow citizens: I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you've bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors.

I thank President Bush for his service to our nation -- (applause) -- as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often, the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because we, the people, have remained faithful to the ideals of our forebears and true to our founding documents.

So it has been; so it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost, jobs shed, businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly, our schools fail too many -- and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable, but no less profound, is a sapping of confidence across our land; a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this America: They will be met. (Applause.)

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord. On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics. We remain a young nation. But in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness. (Applause.)

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted, for those that prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things -- some celebrated, but more often men and women obscure in their labor -- who have carried us up the long rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life. For us, they toiled in sweatshops, and settled the West, endured the lash of the whip, and plowed the hard earth. For us, they fought and died in places like Concord and Gettysburg, Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions, greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week, or last month, or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions -- that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America. (Applause.)

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of our economy calls for action, bold and swift. And we will act, not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We'll restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. All this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions, who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short, for they have forgotten what this country has already done, what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage. What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them, that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply.

The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works -- whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account, to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day, because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched. But this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control. The nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity, on the ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart -- not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good. (Applause.)

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers -- (applause) -- our Founding Fathers, faced with perils that we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man -- a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience sake. (Applause.)

And so, to all the other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born, know that America is a friend of each nation, and every man, woman and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity. And we are ready to lead once more. (Applause.)

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with the sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort, even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we'll work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet.

We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense. And for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken -- you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you. (Applause.)

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West, know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. (Applause.)

To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist. (Applause.)

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to the suffering outside our borders, nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the role that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who at this very hour patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages.

We honor them not only because they are the guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service -- a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves.

And yet at this moment, a moment that will define a generation, it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all. For as much as government can do, and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends -- honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism -- these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history.

What is demanded, then, is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility -- a recognition on the part of every American that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world; duties that we do not grudgingly accept, but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship. This is the source of our confidence -- the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny. This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed, why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall; and why a man whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served in a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath. (Applause.)

So let us mark this day with remembrance of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At the moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words to be read to the people:

"Let it be told to the future world...that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive... that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it]."

America: In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

FINAL PARDON?

With 189 Pardons and 11 commutations under his belt Bush has granted lessening sentences to the two border patrollers who in 2005 hid the shooting of admitted drug dealer, Osvaldo Aldrete Davila in the buttocks as he was running across the Rio Grande from a van loaded with marijuana.

The officers were convicted with 1.) Assault with a dangerous weapon and 2.) With serious bodily injury, 3.) Violation of civil rights and 4.) Obstruction of justice. The first three charges were upheld on appeal. The obstruction charge was never refuted. However covering up the evidence and lying about the shooting was really what was in question. Their arrests caused a huge media debate over immigration laws and border patrol. Ignacio Ramos’s and Jose Compean’s sentences have now been commuted by Bush to two more months. Clemency was being requested from Republican and Democratic Congressional leaders for months after the convictions, saying the court didn’t take into consideration that they were following orders and simply doing their jobs.

Meantime the pardoning of I. Lewis Scooter Libby, Cheney’s chief of staff, is still a wait and see. Bush’s executive commutes end at noon of Tuesday, January 20th. The real question remains, why didn’t Bush do these three years ago?

Morning of a New Day!

BLOG January 20, 2009. The historic majesty of the transition has finally come.
President elect Barack Obama will be taking the oath of office with Abraham Lincoln’s Bible. We just heard that the Obama’s, Biden’s and Bushes are having coffee and Danishes at the White House this morning. Obama choose to have the direction of the event doing to the west consequently they are able to put more people on the dais and in the Mall area. Michelle arrived in a sheath fitted golden brocade dress with matching ¾ length jacket with a soft bold chiffon scarf made by a Cuban American designer. She was stunning, noticeably nervous, and all smiles. Barack was daper and calm as ever in a black cigarette-styled full length camel coat and dark suit. It is estimated that there are more than 3 million people there. Bush had on a dark blue suit, and blue dotted tie. His face is worn the years hadn’t been kind. Mrs. Bush was poised and smiling with a nicely fitted grey-double breasted knit dress and her hair was smooth and shiny.

Several camera vantage points shows little specks of blues, yellows, reds and occasional whites which are excited people who have been partying and waiting in the mall. As the camera spans across the lawn area you see chain link fencing separating the various sections for crowd control, seemingly pleased you see some people jumping up and down, others clapping their hands, hugging one another and others swaying to keep warm in the 50 degree weather.

All of this seems surreal to me because I could only hope all these months that this would even happen. Eight years ago Obama addressed the Democratic Party and his speech was well received and astonished some of us who had heard him for the first time. I remember telling my roommate at the time, “have you heard of that guy before?” He responded, “yes and said that his son believed he had the ability to be the next President of the United States that on meeting him he was in absolute awe. He taped it and I remember playing again and again in my bedroom later that day, hearing the deliberate choice of words the young man had chosen. Damn he has a great speech writer I remember thinking. My roommate’s son doesn’t get excited or impressed by much anymore, he said but he called while the speech was going on and we both found his enthusiasm refreshing because up to then, I only found him happy in the greater comfort of hiking difficult trails under snow and blistering wind conditions. Man and nature and a group of friends one would say. So I remember becoming interested in Obama then and asking, why hadn’t Ebony magazine done any special on him in the past? But they hadn’t. Of course after that speech everyone was talking about the new junior senator from Illinois and his face was plastered on all media.

Crowds surround both sides of the motorcade. Hearing the history of slaves building the White House, the MLK, Jr. “I have a dream speech”, hearing recaps of seeing President Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II taking the oath of office don’t compare to what I believe I am witnessing this morning. I still can’t cry. But my chest is full and my head is ringing from the inner excitement that I have lived to see this day.

The story goes that Dick Cheney pulled his back out while moving boxes so he will be in a wheelchair, but so far this morning we haven’t seen him yet. With his heart problems you would think that he would hire someone to move boxes for him. Meantime you hear CNN commentator saying that Bush told the media corp “you never clapped for me” and the media responded with a roaring laughter. Maybe this is the start of something different. Word is that the last time the media did clap was when Bill Clinton would appear. I’m sure Bush has much to think about, a legacy which he started rewriting weeks ago because he wants us to understand that there was purpose behind his actions. That is quite another story and I won’t taint the provocative moment with Bush thoughts.

I can only imagine the photo opportunity the photographer is having. Perfect for the moment is what Obama is described by the media representative from CNN. They are calling the color guard, I have to go and watch this. . . will be back in a few . . . Oh what a day, Oh what a day. . .

Saturday, January 17, 2009

BURRIS SWORN IN


Well it is official! Democrats control the senate 58 to 41. In spite of the fact that the Senate told Blago not to appoint anyone, that anyone appointed would be rejected, because Blago was under a huge cloud of “selling Obama’s office to the highest bidder” and there are many recordings made by the Federal investigation team, Burris was cleared and sworn in today.

Yes, Former Attorney General of Illinois, Roland Burris is the official Senator representing Illinois in the 111th United States Congress, taking over the seat vacated by President Elect Barack Obama and sworn in by Vice President Dick Cheney while his wife, Berlean, held the Bible. He grinned through a standing ovation by Republican and Democratic Senators. (Note: Picture from the Associated Press photo file). According to CBS News today:

Reid and Durbin initially balked at accepting the appointment, and Obama, too, made his displeasure known. But Burris hung in. He testified under oath that he promised nothing in return for the appointment, and he got his Illinois paperwork in order. After a week of tangling, Burris got Senate Democrats to accept the appointment on Monday.

He will finish out Obama's two-year term as among the lowest of the lowly freshmen in the Senate hierarchy.

If Burris expects to win the seat outright in two years, he'll need to quickly win over leaders of his party whose blessing can help raise campaign cash. That's a tall order considering he has little if any legislative experience. And some Senate Democrats are still smarting over being all but forced to seat him.


Trust me, we haven’t heard the end of this little fiasco. Enough said. . . oh by the way, I voted “I have mixed feelings”. Peace out,
Minerva

OBAMA TEAM COMES TO TERMS WITH APPOINTMENTS





John Kerry calls it “a definite embarrassment”, however it is difficult for the IMF to determine their tax levels. Senator Harry Reid calls it a “hiccup”. John Kyle said a thorough investigation is needed. MSNBC said that Obama’s transition team announced it “as a common mistake” and that Tim is human, also agreeing that individuals who work in the International Monetary Fund underestimate the taxes and what they owe. The new selection of Tim Geithner doesn’t negate the quality of the man’s skills, acumen, and proficiency in understanding finances, as well as, the Treasury Department and how the systems work. An admitted “embarrassed” Wall Street player Timothy Geithner paid $34,000 in back taxes and late charges yesterday. He paid on the audited years and hadn’t paid on the unaudited years. He has experience with large bailouts and major financial trades. The Alabama Senator poised with Obama and Biden, representing the Republican Party said “it is not the time for a gotcha” over a situation that can be easily remedied, and as a party they aren’t interested in pointing fingers. He continued, “There is way too much at stake at this time for any of us (Republicans) to do this”. Obama cynics are still questioning whether or not this is the right person you would want to be collecting taxes for Americans who is not capable of filing his own. Apparently the Obama team knew this for five weeks and asked the Republicans for an extension of this appointment and to please be quiet about it. Republicans say they don’t want any more money being printed and passed out. Although originally Obama said he wanted to have his Secretary of the Treasury with him on Inaugural Day to calm Americans’ fears regarding the economy, we learn this today. To do so, he indicated that his team “was on it” and implementing measures for a serious financial stimulus.

Hillary Clinton has obviously gained the respect of the Republicans and there was some contention with Senator Lugar and Senate Vetter regarding the amounts of money that Bill is receiving from his library foundation. Mike Allen from Politico.com calls the response by the republicans more of “a belly scratch” given to a puppy. They seem thrilled that Clinton is the Secretary of State pick for the Obama team. MOU’s have been looked at broadly. There isn’t any intention of changing the MOU. Hillary says that no president has ever disclosed the amounts and identification, she said her husband provided, which was unprecedented. Clinton’s Global Initiative has always been public.

Steve Jobs dismissed the rumors that he has serious health conditions and some economists wonder if this is reason behind the Apple stock dropping also. Having been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the past, the rumor is that the condition has returned.

Lesson here: As much as Obama may mean well, he can plan for the good, but sometimes negative situations have to be cleaned up first, quickly, and concisely, which may also slow the original course. And last that I checked, as long as you are dealing with other humans, he can expect sometimes they may “hiccup”.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

PROJECT CENSORED

We went to an International program that presented information regarding the stories that received the least amount of media attention in 2008. The purpose of the meeting was to inform those present that the media should have focused on several events and didn’t. The articles explain why the stories weren’t taken seriously. In some categories the stories were covered by the big ten papers. He strongly recommended that we become familiar with BBC News, Aljazeera, Associated Press, Reuters and The Christian Science Monitor for starters. In some instances, important stories ran on page 84 of the LA TIMES or page 44 of the Seattle Times. The speaker, Dr. Peter Phillips, felt some of these stories should have been first-page news.

Dr. Phillips, a sociologist, emphasized the point that these anthologies were made by a group of undergraduates in journalism from Sonoma State. The 31st and 32nd edition of the book, The New American Censorship, was outside of the sanctuary for review, book signing and purchasing. The organization said that this was the largest turnout, especially for a Friday night that the group had ever hosted. Believe me the room was packed, the seats were filled to capacity. There were a few nicely dressed young people, a few admitted old hippies, college professors, and teachers, motherly and grandmotherly types. Some people insisted on coming in, so they sat on the floor in the outer aisles. I saw a couple people sharing seats. I remember seeing at least 10 entries on the event from various sites, so personally I thought it would be a good draw. My intent in going was to hear the message, meet the speaker and try to find out if such a group already existed in the Santa Clarita Valley.

“International issues are affecting us financially and businesswise and no one seems to talk about it in our local paper”, he started out. “We are only seeing the tip of the iceberg in relations to the economic fall out to come”. Then he gave us some sites to check out. He spoke the recent erosion of “posse comitatus” and “habeas corpus”, due process of law and the Constitution in general. He warned us about an Executive Order that is in place, being fought by the ACLU, but not being able to be heard in the Supreme Court yet, regarding the President having the right to take an individual or groups up to 1,000 and incarcerate them. He said Halliburton has been building prisons for over 15 years. The detention camps have barbed wire fencing around them, state of the art security and they are out in remote areas of the desert areas of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and California. Now you know I will be checking this out.

I thought, isn’t this what all the uproar is all about regarding the Guantanamo hearings?

He also assured us that the military, CIA, FBI, Homeland Security, State militia and local police officers have untested agreement program with corporate executives, “elite citizens” and government agencies where they can round up individuals if they believe they are a threat to the USA. Under this program, they can seize your property and your inheritance as well. He said with so many individuals being unemployed, it was a great outlet for employing mercenaries and retired military, police and individuals from the National Guard. He asked us to check out a couple web sites if we didn’t believe him.

He recommended 13 media sources to add to our daily news diet. Offering these sites as tested media sources that get it right. He said the responsibility of the media is not only to provide information from various points of view, but to at least tell the people what they need to know in order to make good concise and well thought out decisions. Several mentions were made that American media is sanitized and that some journalists want to tell the story, but are afraid that they’ll get demoted, loose their jobs, get sued, and “accidently die”, if they tell “too much of the truth”. Examples were given of journalists who met their maker early in life for having done so.

What was interesting was that the stories in the book were written by undergraduates in journalism. What I didn’t understand was why the students weren’t there to present the material. It would have given an added dimension to the validity of the writing. Our speaker was angry and insisted that if Americans knew what was going on in their names, they would appreciate why Europeans believe “we are coddled to sleep or entertainment”. He mentioned how Americans seem too interested in Paris Hilton, American Idol, and all the other “reality television” out there.

“We are being entertained instead of given the news”, he hammered away. Several individuals asked questions afterwards. Many guests took the side door out but a large group was forming around the book signing table in the foyer.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

ONE PRESIDENT AT A TIME

Bush is still the President of the United States until January 20, 2009 which is in 13 days. Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Meantime, ladies and gentlemen there is only one President in the United States at a time.

The fact that the media is constantly asking President Elect Barack Obama or members of his staff for Obama’s point of view is staggering. Why aren’t the cameras and microphones still rolling on Bush’s face and demanding answers from him for his numerous discretions? Could it be that someone is worried about Obama not continuing the Bush Administrations “shoot them up” conciliatory reaction to the Israeli government on the Palestinians?

We are talking about the same Bush Administration who couldn’t find room at the Blair Manor inn, 35 rooms and 34 bathrooms in a 70,000 sq. ft. home with its own florist designated for heads of state when they are visiting White House officials. Knowing that the Obama girls needed grounding to prepare for school, the Bush Administration, gave the excuse that “because the place the was booked already” they could not be accommodated”. So even though this request was sent to the Bush staff by the 15th of December, the Obama family moved to another hotel across the street from the White House. Now we learn Monday night from the New York Times and from reporter Carlson, that there wasn’t anyone at the Manor at the time and that “the past” Australian leader, was staying only on one day, isn’t due to be here until the 13th of January was asked to come by Bush once they realized that there could be a check. Bush couldn’t find a room at the Hilton for this guy? He isn’t a head of state now. Makes you wonder what is really behind the Manor excuse? Why isn’t the media slamming Bush for this?

“The coalition of the willing” is supposed to be behind the loyalty to the Australian leader but rumor has it that Bush is meeting with this leader in order to coerce him into accepting the prisoners of Guatanamo since Obama plans on closing Guatanamo. Allegedly the purpose is to move the prisoners so that they don’t have media contact or the possibility of speaking to any members of the Obama team who are believed to have suffered torture, waterboarding, and maiming.

CBS “Hot Sheet” reports today that President elect Barack Obama is deflecting responses regarding the Israeli and Hamas violence and killing with the following comments:

"We can't have two administrations running foreign policy at the same time. We simply can't do it," Mr. Obama said. "Until I take office, it would be imprudent of me to start sending out signals that we are running foreign policy."

On a follow-up, he was asked whether how his silence on the issue should be interpreted.

"I can't control how people interpret what I'm saying," he said. "The silence is not a consequence of lack of concern."

Israel needs to open up Gaza and allow the residents to move back and forth over the border, especially to acquire food, medicine and business. There needs to be a discussion over the representation of the Palestine community. Why did the people choose Hamas to represent them?
Why does Israel always use military means to negotiate? Haven’t we learned that war should be the last resort? A master negotiator needs to come forth and find a means to this never ending saga.

Imagine the mentally instability of all the families in this region. We see the whole mental health community turn out in our area when a child dies. We are talking about hundreds of children dying from both sides of the conflict.

This morning on CNN Lee Hamilton says that the “opportunity to move decisively needs to be addressed and he hopes that based on Obama’s response to other situations that he will be as concise and deliberate in responding to the Israeli situation. He believes the Bush Administration have performed poorly in this regard.”

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

THE BURRIS DILEMMA

Yes I understand it is the Constitutional right as governor of a state to appoint a qualified individual when a seat is open, however Obama’s Senatorial seat is still causing uproar and no drama Obama is not in agreement with the appointment.

It appears that with Burris’ impressive resume, Burris will meet with Harry Reid on Wednesday morning. Legally Burris is legit, however he is poison because he is BLAGO’s appointment. Will someone in the media just say the words, “ethical”? What is the ethical way of handling this situation? And why didn’t the Democratic Party just hold the special election in the first place? Because Illinois is economically strapped? Or is it that Blago is very savvy on the political chess board?

Has Burris’s firm contributed to any of Blago’s appointments, yes. It is believed to be $140K. Did Burris run against Blago, yes. And he lost. Is Burris aware of the letter of the law, yes. He is an accomplished attorney and was the Illinois State Attorney General. Has Burris been known to be given to drama in the past. Not as of this writing, but I am researching the topic. Is Burris playing the racial card, maybe. Fact, the racial component with the 111th Congressional Assembly is that there aren’t any African Americans in the senate now that President elect Obama’s seat is up. Does this in of itself seem odd? Yes. That in 2009 there aren’t any other African American senators in the United States Congress. You bet and that may be one of the “wake up calls” that Burris is quietly holding in his arsenal.

Obama says that Burris should not be seated in a previous statement but agrees Burris is an accomplished man. The done deal would be to tell Burris that he can’t run for office in 2010 because of the “taint” of the appointment in the first place. However it would also give validity to Blago’s appointment. Burris says that he won’t promise to be a “seat filler” up to the 2010 election. He says that he wants to openly run for the seat in 2010 because his supporters and friends told him to do so.

Has Reid revealed his hand on whom he would prefer to see taking the seat. Yes. Both are accomplished women but neither to my knowledge is African American.
As for Blago, I can see him now sitting in his den eating popcorn watching the fall out of his actions on the evening news. Will this current scenario effect the federal investigation against Blago’s previous behavior? Maybe, but the Democratic Party is full of attornies who “know the game” and know how it is played. Will Blago eventually be indicted, who knows, but to have asked for a thirty day extension seems to indicate that this is a serious case Fitzgerald does not intend on loosing. Do you believe that Blago should be shaken by this? Based on the released tapes, Maybe, Maybe not!.
But we are talking about someone who believes he has the political system by the (BEEP) and they have several recordings of this. Don’t you just love technology?

What I question is the wisdom of a man who would take such an appointment when even he was complaining of Blago trying to sell the seat in the first place. Unless he is in deep need of attention, or believes he is executing an act of Solomon (biblical wise king mentioned in the Bible) why would one’s ego take on such an appointment in the first place? It was mentioned for the first time by interviewing reporters in the airport that another person was originally appointed the position before Burris, who turned it down.
You could tell by the expression on Burris’s face that either he didn’t know this or expect the reporter to ask.

Also in the range of additional senatorial fiasco’s, funny man Al Franken didn’t show up to work today either. It appears the Coleman attorneys are requesting that all of Coleman’s court actions be answered before Franken is sworn in. Meantime, because Coleman’s term ended last Friday, this is one less member of congress from Minnesota in chamber today and the office is still closed.

Well, I’m on my way to meet with my three Republican business partners, I know I won’t hear the end of this drama and mess behind the senate appointments. Again “ready for television movies” and we can only hope for the better. . . Peace Out, Minerva

SENATORAIL SHORTAGE

One more senatorial situation, Senator Norm Coleman (R-Minne), 7 weeks later, after the certification in voting was announced today by the Minnesota Canvassing Board, has lost to Al Franken, the “Saturday Night Live” funny man. But it is not over yet according to Coleman. For 62 days 3 million ballots were hand counted and inspected and Franken says “it leaves me not only humble but proud because the margin was so close to his being the next Minnesota Senator. “ Franken, not joking or projecting the usual sarcasm said that “the challenge he hopes has made the country grow”.

“We have a lot of important work to do. I am ready to go to Washington and get the country moving in the right direction. Our economy is the worst since the Great Depression. The situation in the Middle East is ready to explode (referring to the Israeli and Hamas fighting).” Franken hopes to provide the residents of Minnesota with continued great services without interruption and mentions the task now is to get the middle class working again.

Meantime, the Republican Governor will not sign off on the Canvassing Board’s results. In addition to this, the Republican Senatorial leader says that they will not accept Franken when the senate rejoins on Tuesday, until all of Coleman’s Supreme Court motions have been answered. The Coleman campaign attornies. Fritz Knaak and Tony Trimble, say they still have 700 absentee ballots and 133 ballots before the courts and believe that 133 ballots were double counted on Franken’s behalf. Legal experts say that Coleman would be pulling a rabbit out of a hat if Coleman believes he can counter Franken’s success. It is still up for scrutiny whether or not this week, Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Secretary of State Mark Ritchie will co-sign the certification. Republican insiders say the keys have to be handed over first. Today Monday, the offices were closed. According to the Huffington Report, Franken has 1,212,431 votes to Sen. Norm Coleman's 1,212,206 votes, a 0.0077 percent margin of victory. Marc Elias, Franken's lead recount attorney, announced that Franken won by 225 votes.

If all of the disclosures of Coleman are weighted on and reviewed the results may take months to resolve. So this too is a stay tuned senatorial situation . . .

Peace out, Minerva

Monday, January 5, 2009

PLANTATION POLITICS




“Plantation Politics” is what Illinois Bobby Rush is calling the embattled Illinois governor Blagojevich’s appointment of Ronald Burris. Burris, who says he is taking over Barack Obama’s federal senate seat on Tuesday is possibly “ole school, grand standing” even though, he has been voted into office four times and has served the state of Illinois in varying positions for twenty years. Former Illinois Attorney General Burris calls himself “the solution to the people of Illinois’ problem” and in spite of all the media attention, he warns that if he is not seated, the senate will be hearing from his attorney. Burris, an attorney himself, served as Attorney General for Illinois. Others wonder why he didn’t turn down the appointment knowing that Blagojevich was asked not to appoint any senatorial replacement because of his own questionable “pay to play” taped conversation and the apparent selling of Obama’s vacated senatorial seat now being heavily investigated by Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. The entire scenario has been named “Bleep Gate” due to the many curse words found on the tapes. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OpZHNb1DuGo

Meantime, the outmaneuvered Senate leader Harry Reid called Burris Sunday asking Burris to withdraw his acceptance of the seat. At Burris’s news conference at the airport this afternoon, while on his way to the Washington DC, he said that he is enjoying all the media attention and has no intent to challenge Reid through the media. Cameras are rolling from every major American news group to visually chronicle the possible unfolding episode. Yes, don’t be surprised that this becomes a “Hallmark, made for television movie”.

To date little has been said by Senior Senator Dick Turbin.

The Secretary of State of Illinois Jesse White, who is black, has not signed the certificate of election. Burris is calling the inaction an affront on the 13 million Illinois residents and plans on going to Washington anyway.

Will Reid have the sergeants at arm apprehend Burris when he stands with other junior senators? Will there be a behind the door deal made between Burris and Reid before they reach the senator floor Tuesday morning? Reid has said he is a trial attorney and willing to negotiate. Will the Democratic leadership reconsider the appointment being that Burris had a huge public send off by his “old guard” Black Democratic supporters? Supporters say that Burris is of outstanding character and shouldn’t be judged by BLAGO’s problems.

What I wish to address is Rush’s inflammatory usage of the Senate not seating Burris as the "the last bastion of racial plantation politics in America . . . we are just faced with a hard-headed room of people in the Senate who want to keep an African American out of the Senate." He referenced the 111th Assembly not having one African American in the entire chamber.

Is Rush seeking publicity, making misguided statements, spurring Obama’s ascension to the Presidency or just causing us to keep the situation under close scrutiny?

Washington Monthly states that the situation is: “strategically, a race-based strategy isn't just offensive; it's likely to be counter-productive. I seriously doubt Harry Reid is going to respond well to these kinds of accusations, especially when Reid has Barack Obama taking the same position.

Burris and his supporters who want to see him fill the vacancy have a far better option: emphasize the rule of law. Remind the political world, Illinois voters, and reporters that, like him or not, Blagojevich is the duly-elected governor, he has the sole authority to fill this vacancy, and he enjoys the presumption of innocence. Burris is unrelated to the governor's scandal and he's fully qualified and eligible to serve. The Supreme Court precedent in the Powell case seems to back them up.

What's that old law-school adage? "When you have the facts, argue the facts. When you have the law, argue the law." My advice to Burris and his surrogates: skip the Bull Connor nonsense and go with the more compelling argument."


Where is Jesse Jackson when you need him? Why didn’t he find a way to end the impasse caused by this situation? Could it be that he prefers to stay out of it because he is hopefully that his son may be eligible and he doesn’t want to taint the waters? Or is this just an example of Burris pushing the envelope to fullest extent of the law because he isn’t under scrutiny Blagojevich is?

As of this writing the Secretary of the Senate has rejected Burris’ application as the junior senator appointment. Burris exclaimed at the conference that “What has been done is legal,” adding, “I am the junior senator of Illinois”. He says the drama must be for the media to maintain their job and is coming from the media not him although he called the media conference.

Meantime last week, Burris filed a motion to the Illinois Supreme Court regarding his appointment being challenged. Also, last Friday he filed another motion asking the Supreme Court to “hurry up” on that motion, “so that he could take care of the people business of Illinois”.

Burris is 71 years old, in spite of his twenty years of service in the most recent few years; he has run for governor twice and lost and in his last bid, he ran for Mayor of Chicago also and lost. If he has lost the past three bids for elected positions the question remains is he the best candidate for this position or is this a ploy by Burris to increase the odds of being elected to the position when the term is up?

Well Tuesday morning will be “an event” to watch as to whether or not Burris is seated.

BLOG January 4, 2009: Day four of the New Year and 16 days before Obama becomes the official President of the United States. When a country doesn’t have formal military forces, how are they supposed to defend themselves, especially when their country is occupied by a foreign nation? Will someone please answer this for me?

Why isn’t this a normal legal procedure. They are violating the use of court using military means. Is this because the United States did this for 9/11 to justify invading two countries? And guess what; the United Nations can’t make a decision on what is the proper process, in spite of it being in plain view, at least as seen through the perspective of FOX and CNN.

Governor Richardson of New Mexico declined the Secretary of Labor position. Richardson is one of the highest ranking Latino Americans in the Democratic Party, so we are talking a huge loss here.

NewsMax and the Republicans are calling it a second example of “Pay to Play”, The Governor Blago situation being the first example.

Apparently a California contractor won a $1.34 million transportation project in New Mexico, raising eyebrows because the company is also cited as having been a large campaign donor for the Richardson for President 2008 campaign. Citing that “to not interfere with the current economic situation and requiring a couple months to clear” it would also slow down any actions Obama will be required to take to solve the various labor plans.

Where is Bush? Has he disappeared off the radar? It frightens me to think what he might be up to.

Cheney is still trying to convince us that his neocon buddies need to provoke Iran so he can upset the entire Middle East before he goes out of office. Call it World War III.