Friday, March 21, 2008

Dream Team

SANTA FE, N.M. - New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, the nation's only Hispanic governor, is endorsing Sen. Barack Obama for president, calling him a "once-in-a- lifetime leader" who can unite the nation and restore America's international leadership.

Can I put this on my bucket list as something I never thought I would live to see?

Lord, grant us traveling mercies!!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Ranting against this country's sins

I was going to stay out of this discussion since so many of my friends have blogged about it already. Barack Obama is supposed to make a statement today about race in this country. As "clean and articulate" (Joe Biden's words) as Obama is, I'm sure he will address this issue in a much better fashion than I can.

But I did want to share this article from the Huffington Post:
You can read the whole thing click here

Frank Schaeffer says:

Obama's Minister Committed "Treason" But When My Father Said the Same Thing He Was a Republican Hero

"When Senator Obama's preacher thundered about racism and injustice Obama suffered smear-by-association. But when my late father -- Religious Right leader Francis Schaeffer (the author's father) -- denounced America and even called for the violent overthrow of the US government, he was invited to lunch with presidents Ford, Reagan and Bush, Sr."

For the most part, Sunday morning in this country is the most segregated time we have. The black church in America was founded during slavery. Some major denominations started in the 1700's by freemen who could not freely participate in the white church. Southern plantation owners allowed the slaves to have their prayer meetings because it kept them quiet. Little did they know that those gatherings became the basis for liberation.

The black church became the only place where we could talk about liberation and the social concerns that are uniquely ours. The Emancipation movement and later the Civil Rights movement both started in the black church.

Now that we have a black presidential candidate, whose religious affiliation has been questioned from the start because his middle name is Husein and his father was a Muslim, now the world has to look inside the church where he has been a member for 20 years.

Jeremiah Wright has had a reputation for being a fiery preacher for a long time. I had heard of him long before I heard of Barack Obama. (I've been traveling in preacher circles for most of my life.) His message does not offend me. Some of the sound-bites we have been hearing on the news may be laced with urban legend, but that's all part of the dramatic leanings of the good preacher.

It's unfortunate that Obama has felt the need to distance himself from the message as well as the messenger. I do hope that his "major speech on race" today will make me feel more comfortable with his "political correctness" in this whole thing. He has my vote regardless of what he has to say.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The next trip

Friday we leave for our next cruise. We fly to Santiago, Chile where we board the Splendour of the Seas, and go south from there, through the Strait of Magellan, then north to Argentina and Brazil. We fly home from Sao Paulo. The first challenge for this trip will be having the right clothes for changes in climates. It will be chilly in Chile, then it gets colder as we head toward Antarctica. Then coming back up to Brazil it gets warmer. And we have to pack it into 2 suitcases each.

The next challenge will be going without the daily news of the Presidential campaign for two whole weeks. News junkie that I am, it will be hard. We'll probably be able to see CNN aboard ship, but it's never the US version. It will probably be the UK version. That ought to give us the perspective of what the rest of the world thinks of our "democratic" process.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Chicago Seven + 1

It's time for a history lesson. I got most of this from wikipedia, but I watched it on TV when it happened 40 years ago, and we may be ripe for it to happen again this year.

The 1968 Democratic National Convention, held in late August – convened to select the party's candidates for the November 1968 Presidential election – was the scene of massive demonstrations protesting the Vietnam War, which was at its height. Thousands of people showed up with signs and banners, music, dancing and poetry. Some people responded to a night-time curfew announcement with rock-throwing. Police used tear gas and struck people with batons, and arrests were made. In the aftermath of what was later characterized as a "police riot" by the U.S. National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence, a grand jury indicted eight demonstrators and eight police officers.

The original eight protester/defendants, indicted by the grand jury on March 20, 1969, were Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, David Dellinger, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, John Froines, Lee Weiner, and Bobby Seale. Early in the course of the trial, Black Panther Party activist Bobby Seale hurled bitter attacks at Judge Hoffman in court, calling him a "fascist dog," a "pig," and a "racist," among other things.When Seale refused to be silenced, the judge ordered Seale bound and gagged in the courtroom, citing a precedent from the case of Illinois v. Allen. Ultimately Judge Hoffman severed Seale from the case, sentencing him to four years in prison for contempt, one of the longest sentences ever handed down for that offense in American history at that time.

On February 18, 1970, all seven defendants were found not guilty of conspiracy, two (Froines and Weiner) were acquitted completely, and five were convicted of crossing state lines with the intent to incite a riot. Those five were each sentenced to five years in prison and fined $5,000 on February 20, 1970. At sentencing, Abbie Hoffman suggested the judge try LSD, offering to set him up with a dealer he knew in Florida.

All of the convictions were reversed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit on November 21, 1972, on the grounds of bias by the judge and his refusal to permit defense attorneys to screen prospective jurors for cultural and racial bias (Case citation 472 F.2d 340). The Justice Department decided not to retry the case. During the trial, all the defendants and both defense attorneys had been cited for contempt and sentenced to jail, but all of those convictions were also overturned. The contempt charges were retried before a different judge, who found Dellinger, Rubin, Hoffman and Kunstler guilty of some of the charges, but opted not to sentence the defendants to jail or fines.

Of the eight police officers indicted in the matter, seven were acquitted, and charges against the eighth were dismissed.

The selection of a Presidential nominee was particularly difficult for the Democrats that year because of the split in the party over the Vietnam War, President Lyndon B. Johnson's decision not to seek re-election, and Robert Kennedy's assassination. On one side, Eugene McCarthy, a U.S. senator from Minnesota, ran a decidedly anti-war campaign, calling for immediate withdrawal from the region. On the other side, Vice President Hubert Humphrey, who did not participate in any primaries but controlled enough delegates to secure the nomination, called for a policy more in line with President Johnson's, which focused on making any reduction of force contingent on concessions extracted in the Paris Peace Talks.

The Democrats eventually nominated Humphrey, who went on to lose the election to Richard M. Nixon. The confusion of the convention, and the unhappiness of many liberals with the outcome, led the Democrats to begin reforms of their nominating process, increasing the role of primaries and decreasing the power of party delegates in the selection process.

So have we now come full circle so we can let the party delegates (the superdelegates) make the decision this year? The world will be watching this convention.

Friday, March 7, 2008

The Hillary Files

"Word that nearly 2 million pages of documents related to Hillary Rodham Clinton's time as first lady could remain locked up until after next year's election produced the predictable catcalls among critics suspecting coverup. But it raises the broader, unprecedented question of how someone's service as first lady should be evaluated in terms of her qualifications to be president in the first place."

....from the Morning Cheat Sheet, by Peter Baker, Aug 17, 2007

The official White House Biography of Hillary Rodham Clinton is here:

You can read it yourself, but I'll give you the topic sentences of each of the paragraphs:

  1. Hillary Diane Rodham was born in Chicago, Illinois, on October 26, 1947.
  2. As a young student, Hillary organized food drives, served in student government, and was a member of the National Honor Society.
  3. After graduating from Wellesley College in 1969, Hillary enrolled in Yale Law School, where she developed her strong concern for protecting the interests of children and families, and met Bill Clinton, a fellow law student.
  4. Upon taking office in 1993, President Clinton made health care reform one of the highest priorities of his Administration.
  5. When the Clintons arrived in Washington, D.C., Mrs. Clinton felt that she had not only public responsibilities as First Lady, but also the important private responsibility to make the historic, and formal, White House a true home for her husband and daughter Chelsea.
  6. In 1996, the First Lady authored "It Takes a Village and Other Lessons Children Teach Us", a national call for all sectors of society to take responsibility for our children.
  7. In 1997, the First Lady, along with the President, hosted two important conferences on children's issues.
  8. The First Lady has also worked tirelessly to reform our nation's foster care system and promote adoption.
  9. In addition to her work at home, the First Lady serves as a goodwill ambassador for the United States during her visits abroad.
  10. One of Mrs. Clinton's responsibilities as First Lady is to oversee the White House special events including the annual Easter Egg Roll.
  11. The holiday season is another popular time at the White House.
  12. The First Lady loves art, and she has said that sculpture is one of her favorite art forms.
  13. Like her predecessors, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton brings to the role of First Lady of the United States her own special talents, experience, and interests.

Aside from shaking hands with lots of heads of state, where is the foreign policy experience? And where is the preparedness for becoming Commander in Chief?
(Oh that's right, she got a bunch of retired black generals to back her up yesterday.)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

I got buttons!!

Since I have been retired, I still start the day with a To Do list. Sometimes I don't get past the first thing because one thing can lead me off track doing other things and surfing the net.

I've been working on my website for 2 months now in between doing other stuff. It's still "under construction" until I'm ready to unveil my book. But you know how you can find cool stuff just clicking around the net. The latest cool thing I found was buttons on this site

So I did mine.