From politics (moderates who lean to the right) to Pogo (drools during poker stare) to rants (Whatcha expect from savvy, sassy sexagenarians?) to raves (Have you had your kudo today?) -- we never take ourselves too seriously.
We do, however, reserve the right to slaughter an occasional sacred cow. And in case we fail to mention it -- we will never forget....
Honoring again those who perished on September 11, 2001.
We will not forget ....
Flocks of paper flying Faces bent from crying Traces of a skyline On a morning that will never die
Smoky silence burning Broken sky returning Echoes in a stairwell On a morning that will never die
Missing voices whisper through the broken sky Live your life and we will never die...
Lynn Catherine Goodchild May 27, 1976 - September 11, 2001
On 9-11-01, at 8:14 am, Lynn Goodchild and her fiancéShawn Nassaney departed Boston's Logan International Airport on United Airlines Flight 175.
Described by family and friends as "inseparable travelers," Lynn and Shawn were avid sportsmen who shared a contagious zest for life, a devotion to families and friends, a love of adventure and travel.
Known for whirl-wind vacations around the world, Lynn and her best friend were indeed inseparable travelers. On this fateful day, they were en route to a four-day vacation in Maui, Hawaii.
At 9:02:54 am, Flight 175 impacted the south side of the South Tower between the 78th and 84th floors.
A native of Attleboro, MA, Lynn worked as a program administrator with Putnam Investments. Testimonies by co-workers and friends refer to her compassion, her grace and dignity, her professional competence, her warm and gentle spirit, her beauty, her infectious smile, her love for Shawn ....
Actually -- it is difficult to garner a complete tribute to Lynn or Shawn without thinking of them as consummate soul-mates, kindred spirits .....
One of the qualities that made Shawn M. Nassaney and Lynn Catherine Goodchild such an enviable couple was that they shared the same attitude toward their young adulthood, one that could be summed up as: work hard, play hard.
It was like that at Bryant College, where they met. Both stood out in sports, Lynn in karate and Shawn in cross country, and both found lots of time to party, too. By 25, they were excelling in the business world.
They loved to travel. In 2000, they'd lived briefly in Sydney .... In 2001 they pulled off several whirlwind trips, usually just three or four days long - Florida in January for a college friend's party, London for Valentine's Day, Disney World in July for Shawn's 25th birthday.
On this trip, on Sept. 11, they were supposed to catch a connection in Los Angeles from United 175 to a flight bound for Maui, Hawaii. It was going to be their last splurge for a while, as they had decided it was time to save money for graduate school and for marriage.
They were always cramming in every last bit of fun.
''It was almost as if he had a feeling that he wasn't going to be here long,'' said Shawn's mother, Margaret Nassaney.
Shawn's older brother, Ryan, remembers the end of a trip to New York, when they had only 45 minutes left before their bus was leaving. Ryan wanted to go to the bus stop and wait, but Shawn and Lynn insisted on a few spins around the ice skating rink at Rockefeller Center. Ryan whined that it freezing cold and that the line would be endless. Lynn and Shawn dragged him anyway. ''The line was too long and it was freezing cold, but we had the best time in the world,'' Ryan recalls. -- Boston.com
You knew when Treasury Secretary Geithner stated that he would be in favor of replacing the US dollar for another currency (the Chinese yuan), it was already in the works. After all, US-hater and Obama-supporter George Soros had expressed his support for moving from US currency to the yuan.
China has also been arranging currency swaps with trading partners to bypass the U.S. dollar in trade settlements. Since mid-December, China has signed currency swap contracts worth 650 billion yuan (about 95.6 billion U.S. dollars) with six central banks in Hong Kong, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Belarus, Indonesia and Argentina. These swap accords allow other overseas central banks to lend yuan to local importers who want to buy Chinese goods. Since these deals bypass the U.S. dollar, they reduce exposure to exchange-rate volatility and cut transaction costs for both parties. Chen said these deals "expand the yuan's use in the region and pave the way for its global acceptance." The rules are also good for Chinese exporters, who have long had to bill their foreign customers mainly in U.S. dollars.
.... We learned this week that Obamatrons have leaked their intent to infiltrate tea parties on April 15 to instigate disruptions (more info later).
.... The alleged plan to attack Obama in Turkey was a hoax. .... Obama's Afghanistan policy is to be modeled after Clinton's Columbia Plan (surely you didn't expect anything original, did you?) which is just now in its final stages and appears to be ending with another broken Obama promise.
And if you think the military have forgotten how Obama tried to shaft them on health care --- guess again. The reception in Iraq this week was not all "oohray" -- not by a long shot. Troops don't forget when a sitting President votes against them or insults them ....
... Oh please --- so they will not meet one-on-one at the Americas' Conference? Two of the most self-adoring, egotistical leaders in the world? Yeah right .... My only question is: who will bow to whom?
First Loaica updates her blog at Vietnam Reflections (great images -- with 3000 more to come!!) and then ut-Obama launches his Afghanistan policy ....
I'm no authority, but why do I get the feeling that Obama has just put his signature on the Afghan war .... and it's starting to look a lot like Vietnam?
Interesting how he appears to be distinguishing between the Taliban (can't we all get along?) and Al Qaeda (boooo bad guys) while isolating both from the problems IN Afghanistan AND Pakistan.
And we're supposed to trust this empty suit who says nothing without a teleprompter?
Funny how Al Qaeda has not launched an attack on anyone from Afghanistan in eons, yet it's critical we rush in with thousands of additional troops --- to maybe rescue the drug trade?
Son ofSoros got this plan from the puppetmaster, methinks. The ole global drug legalization baron himself -- George Soros.
We've got the chemical spray to destroy the poppy fields (which will not harm other crops or people), and would in succession, destroy the Taliban and Al Qaeda PLUS allow Pakistan and Afghanistan to regain control of their countries AND their own economies.
You knew it would come to this, didn't you? Within the threat of imposing a "fairness doctrine" to the airways, Henry Waxman -- Democrat watchdog of all things conservative -- has censuring the Internet in his sights.
Waxman is also interested, say sources, in looking at how the Internet is being used for content and free speech purposes. "It's all about diversity in media," says a House Energy staffer, familiar with the meetings. "Does one radio station or one station group control four of the five most powerful outlets in one community? Do four stations in one region carry Rush Limbaugh, and nothing else during the same time slot? Does one heavily trafficked Internet site present one side of an issue and not link to sites that present alternative views? These are some of the questions the chairman is thinking about right now, and we are going to have an FCC that will finally have the people in place to answer them."
As for the "Fairness Doctrine," a name change isn't going to change the goal of controlling speech.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee is also looking at how it can put in place policies that would allow it greater oversight of the Internet. "Internet radio is becoming a big deal, and we're seeing that some web sites are able to control traffic and information, while other sites that may be of interest or use to citizens get limited traffic because of the way the people search and look for information," says on committee staffer. "We're at very early stages on this, but the chairman has made it clear that oversight of the Internet is one of his top priorities." "This isn't just about Limbaugh or a local radio host most of us haven't heard about," says Democrat committee member. "The FCC and state and local governments also have oversight over the Internet lines and the cable and telecom companies that operate them. We want to get alternative views on radio and TV, but we also want to makes sure those alternative views are read, heard and seen online, which is becoming increasingly video and audio driven. Thanks to the stimulus package, we've established that broadband networks -- the Internet -- are critical, national infrastructure. We think that gives us an opening to look at what runs over that critical infrastructure." Also involved in "brainstorming" on "Fairness Doctrine and online monitoring has been the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, which has published studies pressing for the Fairness Doctrine, as well as the radical MoveOn.org, which has been speaking to committee staff about policies that would allow them to use their five to six million person database to mobilize complaints against radio, TV or online entities they perceive to be limiting free speech or limiting opinion.
Plans now are "hush hush" until Obama's new FCC nominee, Julius Genachowski is confirmed. Let's hope that proponents of free speech on both sides of the aisle stand up and put Julius Genachowski through serious hearings before another Obamatron is rubber-stamped.
Or maybe Obama and his minions need to see what a TRUE bipartisan campaign looks like.
The answer to the census question may be decided by the Supreme Court, but watch Obama’s clandestine maneuvers to assign “responsibility” for the census from the Secretary of Commerce to the White House.
“The Secretary [of Commerce] shall perform the functions and duties imposed upon him by this title, may issue such rules and regulations as he deems necessary to carry out such functions and duties, and may delegate the performance of such functions and duties and the authority to issue such rules and regulations to such officers and employees of the Department of Commerce as he may designate.”
As I read it, the Director of the Census must, by law, be within the Department of Commerce and under the direction of the (Senate approved) Secretary of Commerce who then reports to the president. Am I missing something? Correction: From reading through Title 13, Chapter 1 it appears obvious to me that the POTUS has no role in the census whatsoever beyond, with Senate approval, selecting the Secretary of Commerce and, also with Senate approval, selecting the Director of the Census who ” shall perform such duties as may be imposed upon him by law, regulations, or orders of the Secretary.” Hhmmm… No president mentioned.
The Secretary of Commerce is the only authority the law recognizes. Since as commenter Laird points out, the Constitution did not place the census function in Article II - the Executive branch but in Article I - the Legislative branch, it is not at all within the President’s reach unless the legislature places it there.
HERE’S a good question: why doesn’t Obama tell us specifically HOW this money will resolve his “now or never” crisis? We won’t see any jobs outta this political payback package for years.
– Obama has again voted “present” on this bogus stimulus plan. How to hype a crisis in two steps …. So where exactly is the change we (?) hoped for??? Forget it. It’s the same ole way with a Chicago twist ….
– BREAKING: Obama tells Gates to “stand down” on the troop surge in Afghanistan …..
A full video of the interview will be posted when available. This is an excerpt:
Text of the interview:
A-A: Mr. President, thank you for this opportunity, we really appreciate it.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you so much.
A-A: Sir, you just met with your personal envoy to theMiddle East, Senator Mitchell. Obviously, his first task is to consolidate the cease-fire. But beyond that you've been saying that you want to pursue actively and aggressively peacemaking between the Palestinians and the Israelis. Tell us a little bit about how do you see your personal role, because, you know, if the President of the United States is not involved, nothing happens -- as the history of peacemaking shows. Will you be proposing ideas, pitching proposals, parameters, as one of your predecessors did? Or just urging the parties to come up with their own resolutions, as your immediate predecessor did?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think the most important thing is for the United States to get engaged right away. And George Mitchell is somebody of enormous stature. He is one of the few people who have international experience brokering peace deals.
And so what I told him is start by listening, because all too often the United States starts by dictating -- in the past on some of these issues -- and we don't always know all the factors that are involved. So let's listen. He's going to be speaking to all the major parties involved. And he will then report back to me. From there we will formulate a specific response.
Ultimately, we cannot tell either the Israelis or the Palestinians what's best for them. They're going to have to make some decisions. But I do believe that the moment is ripe for both sides to realize that the path that they are on is one that is not going to result in prosperity and security for their people. And that instead, it's time to return to the negotiating table.
And it's going to be difficult, it's going to take time. I don't want to prejudge many of these issues, and I want to make sure that expectations are not raised so that we think that this is going to be resolved in a few months. But if we start the steady progress on these issues, I'm absolutely confident that the United States -- working in tandem with the European Union, with Russia, with all the Arab states in the region -- I'm absolutely certain that we can make significant progress.
A-A: You've been saying essentially that we should not look at these issues -- like the Palestinian-Israeli track and separation from the border region -- you've been talking about a kind of holistic approach to the region. Are we expecting a different paradigm in the sense that in the past one of the critiques -- at least from the Arab side, the Muslim side -- is that everything the Americans always tested with the Israelis, if it works. Now there is an Arab peace plan, there is a regional aspect to it. And you've indicated that. Would there be any shift, a paradigm shift?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, here's what I think is important. Look at the proposal that was put forth by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia --
THE PRESIDENT: I might not agree with every aspect of the proposal, but it took great courage --
THE PRESIDENT: -- to put forward something that is as significant as that. I think that there are ideas across the region of how we might pursue peace.
I do think that it is impossible for us to think only in terms of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and not think in terms of what's happening with Syria or Iran or Lebanon or Afghanistan and Pakistan. These things are interrelated. And what I've said, and I think Hillary Clinton has expressed this in her confirmation, is that if we are looking at the region as a whole and communicating a message to the Arab world and the Muslim world, that we are ready to initiate a new partnership based on mutual respect and mutual interest, then I think that we can make significant progress.
Now, Israel is a strong ally of the United States. They will not stop being a strong ally of the United States. And I will continue to believe that Israel's security is paramount. But I also believe that there are Israelis who recognize that it is important to achieve peace. They will be willing to make sacrifices if the time is appropriate and if there is serious partnership on the other side.
And so what we want to do is to listen, set aside some of the preconceptions that have existed and have built up over the last several years. And I think if we do that, then there's a possibility at least of achieving some breakthroughs.
A-A: I want to ask you about the broader Muslim world, but let me -- one final thing about the Palestinian-Israeli theater. There are many Palestinians and Israelis who are very frustrated now with the current conditions and they are losing hope, they are disillusioned, and they believe that time is running out on the two-state solution because -- mainly because of the settlement activities in Palestinian-occupied territories. Will it still be possible to see a Palestinian state -- and you know the contours of it -- within the first Obama administration?
THE PRESIDENT: I think it is possible for us to see a Palestinian state -- I'm not going to put a time frame on it -- that is contiguous, that allows freedom of movement for its people, that allows for trade with other countries, that allows the creation of businesses and commerce so that people have a better life.
And, look, I think anybody who has studied the region recognizes that the situation for the ordinary Palestinian in many cases has not improved. And the bottom line in all these talks and all these conversations is, is a child in the Palestinian Territories going to be better off? Do they have a future for themselves? And is the child in Israel going to feel confident about his or her safety and security? And if we can keep our focus on making their lives better and look forward, and not simply think about all the conflicts and tragedies of the past, then I think that we have an opportunity to make real progress.
But it is not going to be easy, and that's why we've got George Mitchell going there. This is somebody with extraordinary patience as well as extraordinary skill, and that's what's going to be necessary.
A-A: Absolutely. Let me take a broader look at the whole region. You are planning to address the Muslim world in your first 100 days from a Muslim capital. And everybody is speculating about the capital. (Laughter.) If you have anything further, that would be great.
How concerned are you -- because, let me tell you, honestly, when I see certain things about America -- in some parts, I don't want to exaggerate -- there is a demonization of America.
THE PRESIDENT: Absolutely.
A-A: It's become like a new religion, and like a new religion it has new converts -- like a new religion has its own high priests.
THE PRESIDENT: Right.
A-A: It's only a religious text.
THE PRESIDENT: Right.
A-A: And in the last -- since 9/11 and because of Iraq, that alienation is wider between the Americans and -- and in generations past, the United States was held high. It was the only Western power with no colonial legacy.
THE PRESIDENT: Right.
A-A: How concerned are you and -- because people sense that you have a different political discourse. And I think, judging by (inaudible) and Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden and all these, you know -- a chorus --
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I noticed this. They seem nervous.
A-A: They seem very nervous, exactly. Now, tell me why they should be more nervous?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think that when you look at the rhetoric that they've been using against me before I even took office --
A-A: I know, I know.
THE PRESIDENT: -- what that tells me is that their ideas are bankrupt. There's no actions that they've taken that say a child in the Muslim world is getting a better education because of them, or has better health care because of them.
In my inauguration speech, I spoke about: You will be judged on what you've built, not what you've destroyed. And what they've been doing is destroying things. And over time, I think the Muslim world has recognized that that path is leading no place, except more death and destruction.
Now, my job is to communicate the fact that the United States has a stake in the well-being of the Muslim world, that the language we use has to be a language of respect. I have Muslim members of my family. I have lived in Muslim countries.
A-A: The largest one.
THE PRESIDENT: The largest one, Indonesia. And so what I want to communicate is the fact that in all my travels throughout the Muslim world, what I've come to understand is that regardless of your faith -- and America is a country of Muslims, Jews, Christians, non-believers -- regardless of your faith, people all have certain common hopes and common dreams.
And my job is to communicate to the American people that the Muslim world is filled with extraordinary people who simply want to live their lives and see their children live better lives. My job to the Muslim world is to communicate that the Americans are not your enemy. We sometimes make mistakes. We have not been perfect. But if you look at the track record, as you say, America was not born as a colonial power, and that the same respect and partnership that America had with the Muslim world as recently as 20 or 30 years ago, there's no reason why we can't restore that. And that I think is going to be an important task.
But ultimately, people are going to judge me not by my words but by my actions and my administration's actions. And I think that what you will see over the next several years is that I'm not going to agree with everything that some Muslim leader may say, or what's on a television station in the Arab world -- but I think that what you'll see is somebody who is listening, who is respectful, and who is trying to promote the interests not just of the United States, but also ordinary people who right now are suffering from poverty and a lack of opportunity. I want to make sure that I'm speaking to them, as well.
A-A: Tell me, time is running out, any decision on from where you will be visiting the Muslim world?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I'm not going to break the news right here.
THE PRESIDENT: But maybe next time. But it is something that is going to be important. I want people to recognize, though, that we are going to be making a series of initiatives. Sending George Mitchell to the Middle East is fulfilling my campaign promise that we're not going to wait until the end of my administration to deal with Palestinian and Israeli peace, we're going to start now. It may take a long time to do, but we're going to do it now. We're going to follow through on our commitment for me to address the Muslim world from a Muslim capital. We are going to follow through on many of my commitments to do a more effective job of reaching out, listening, as well as speaking to the Muslim world.
And you're going to see me following through with dealing with a drawdown of troops in Iraq, so that Iraqis can start taking more responsibility. And finally, I think you've already seen a commitment, in terms of closing Guantanamo, and making clear that even as we are decisive in going after terrorist organizations that would kill innocent civilians, that we're going to do so on our terms, and we're going to do so respecting the rule of law that I think makes America great.
A-A: President Bush framed the war on terror conceptually in a way that was very broad, "war on terror," and used sometimes certain terminology that the many people -- Islamic fascism. You've always framed it in a different way, specifically against one group called al Qaeda and their collaborators. And is this one way of --
THE PRESIDENT: I think that you're making a very important point. And that is that the language we use matters. And what we need to understand is, is that there are extremist organizations -- whether Muslim or any other faith in the past -- that will use faith as a justification for violence. We cannot paint with a broad brush a faith as a consequence of the violence that is done in that faith's name.
And so you will I think see our administration be very clear in distinguishing between organizations like al Qaeda -- that espouse violence, espouse terror and act on it -- and people who may disagree with my administration and certain actions, or may have a particular viewpoint in terms of how their countries should develop. We can have legitimate disagreements but still be respectful. I cannot respect terrorist organizations that would kill innocent civilians and we will hunt them down.
But to the broader Muslim world what we are going to be offering is a hand of friendship.
A-A: Can I end with a question on Iran and Iraq then quickly?
THE PRESIDENT: It's up to the team --
MR. GIBBS: You have 30 seconds. (Laughter.)
A-A: Will the United States ever live with a nuclear Iran? And if not, how far are you going in the direction of preventing it?
THE PRESIDENT: You know, I said during the campaign that it is very important for us to make sure that we are using all the tools of U.S. power, including diplomacy, in our relationship with Iran.
Now, the Iranian people are a great people, and Persian civilization is a great civilization. Iran has acted in ways that's not conducive to peace and prosperity in the region: their threats against Israel; their pursuit of a nuclear weapon which could potentially set off an arms race in the region that would make everybody less safe; their support of terrorist organizations in the past -- none of these things have been helpful.
But I do think that it is important for us to be willing to talk to Iran, to express very clearly where our differences are, but where there are potential avenues for progress. And we will over the next several months be laying out our general framework and approach. And as I said during my inauguration speech, if countries like Iran are willing to unclench their fist, they will find an extended hand from us.
A-A: Shall we leave Iraq next interview, or just --
MR. GIBBS: Yes, let's -- we're past, and I got to get him back to dinner with his wife.
"I don't know why I was turned back," Ayers said in an interview this morning from Chicago. "I got off the plane like everyone else and I was asked to come over to the other side. The border guards reviewed some stuff and said I wasn't going to be allowed into Canada. To me it seems quite bureaucratic and not at all interesting ... If it were me I would have let me in. I couldn't possibly be a threat to Canada."
Well ... let us count the ways (courtesy of the author and comments from the article):
Ayers made headlines this summer after Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin suggested that then-Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama hung around with domestic terrorists like Ayers. The professor had hosted a meet-the-candidate event at his home for Obama in 1995, during his run for the state Senate. They also worked together on Chicago school reform and served on a charity board together.
Ayers first rose to notoriety in the early 1970s with the Weather Underground. The group claimed responsibility for bombings at the U.S. Capitol, a Pentagon restroom and New York City police headquarters. In 1970, a townhouse in New York the group was using to build a bomb blew up.
His [Ayers'] quote, "Guilty as hell and free as a bird. Isn't America great?" He got off on a technicality and his rich father brought him into the Chicago fold.
The Annenberg Challenge received a $50 million matched grant which Ayers and Obama used to advance radical alternative education. Funding, did not go to improve Chicago schools but to radical community organization groups, such as ACORN, Ayers's Small Schools Project, a radical alternative education project founded by Ayers and directed by Michael Klonsky, an Ayers friend and former chairman of the Communist Party, and the South Shore African Village Collaborative, the same Black Liberation Theology of Obama's Trinity United Church of Christ pastor, rev. Wright. Obama served with Ayers on the Board of Directors for The Woods Fund, which gave $75K to ACORN, $6K to Obama's church, and $60k to the Children and Family Justice Center founded and run by Dohrn, wife of Ayers. The Fund also gave $50K to the Ayers/Klonsky Small Schools Network. $75K grant was given to the Arab American Action Network, founded by anti-Semitic spokesman for the PLO and Yasser Arafat Rashid Khalidi.