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William F. Buckley, RIP February 29, 2008

Posted by chuckwh in News and politics.
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Note: This is another of several occasional posts referring to today’s “real world” as opposed to the more hopeful one of The Gore Years.

As the sane Republicans keep falling off the face of the earth let us keep in mind what one of his guests, Noam Chomsky, said in regards to Vietnam during a visit with Buckley on Buckley’s TV show, Firing Line:

“…What seems to me a very, in a sense, terrifying aspect of our society and other societies is the equanimity and the detachment with which sane, reasonable, sensible people can observe such events. I think that’s more terrifying than the occasional Hitler or LeMay or other that crops up. These people would not be able to operate were it not for this apathy and equanimity, and therefore I think that it’s in some sense the sane and reasonable and tolerant people who should—who share a very serious burden of guilt that they very easily throw on the shoulders of others who seem more extreme and more violent.”

In other words, it is we, the voters, who bear responsibility for what is happening today in Iraq. And it is we who will bear the responsibility if John McCain wins the next election.

The Chomsky quote is from http://www.democracynow.org/2008/2/28/william_f_buckley_dies_at_82

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SMU Mulls Over Bush Library Collection February 23, 2008

Posted by chuckwh in News and politics.
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Note: This is one of several occasional posts referring to today’s “real world” as opposed to the more hopeful one of The Gore Years.

Donald Evans, who chairs President Bush's library foundation, right, makes the Southern Methodist University school sign in a meeting with SMU President R. Gerald Turner, center, and board Chairman Carl Sewell. (based on a photo By Tim Sharp -- Associated Press)Southern Methodist University today announced the books that will be kept in the controversial Bush Library Collection. Donald Evans, who chairs President Bush’s library foundation, released the list in a press conference today.

The official, complete, and unabridged list of books in the library:

Dr. Seuss. Green Eggs and Ham (I Can Read It All by Myself Beginner Books) Random House Books for Young Readers

Dr. Seuss. I Can Read With My Eyes Shut! (Beginner Books) Random House Books for Young Readers

Helen Bannerman. The Story of Little Black Sambo (Wee Books for Wee Folk) Applewood Books

Siegfried Engelmann and Elaine Bruner Reading Mastery II, Storybook 1. SRA/MacMillan/Mcgraw Hill

Willems, Mo. Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity. Hyperion.

Willems, Mo. There Is a Bird on Your Head! Hyperion.

Harrington Janice N. The Chicken-Chasing Queen of Lamar County. Illus. by Shelley Jackson. Farrar/Melanie Kroupa.

Dillon, Leo and Diane Dillon. Mother Goose Numbers on the Loose. Harcourt.

Broach, Elise. When Dinosaurs Came with Everything. Illus. by David Small. Simon & Schuster/Atheneum.

Michael R. Marrus. The Nuremberg War Crimes Trial, 1945-46: A Documentary History (The Bedford Series in History and Culture) Bedford/St. Martin’s

Asked why a multi-million dollar facility was required to store a total of ten books, Evans replied, “We believe this historic project will best represent the Bush presidency and its profligate, almost unledgerable spending and its near childlike approach to government.”

The last item in the list, of course, is said to best represent Bush’s future.

Image based on a photo By Tim Sharp — Associated Press, at http://tinyurl.com/2rhwru

Is Obama The Next FDR? Or the Next Ike? February 18, 2008

Posted by chuckwh in News and politics.
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If you are a Republican, a true Republican who understands your roots, you will not be afraid of an Obama presidency, because it is likely that, like his Democrat predecessor, Bill Clinton, he will insist on running the government without deficit spending.

Another popular president (I’m assuming Obama will be popular) helped create the national highway system. Can any one of you imagine a president pushing through such a huge, government-funded program like what Ike created?

That’s the promise of Obama. He talks about things like national service, a peace corps on steroids, and it scares the shit out of Republicans, who are only interested in maintaining the status quo, and who forget their own heritage of interventionist presidents like Ike and Nixon (wage and price controls).

The Republican Party has become a caricature of itself, and it no longer represents anyone other than the very, very rich. That truth will be exposed on November 4. Those that fear Obama  ignore their own legacy, and are merely afraid that this country may go back to the tradition of fair government intervention that Reagan nearly destroyed.

Death at Cole Hall February 18, 2008

Posted by chuckwh in News and politics.
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My memory of Cole Hall is a simple one. I remember being a freshman at Stevenson North and seeing the woman of my dreams in the elevator. I had no idea I was so athletic! I saw her in the elevator, and I jumped over two or three dudes wrestling in front of the elevator. I leaped over them like a gifted athlete, and she just said, “hi” as I alighted before her.

That was a true moment, and I knew it at the time. I doubt she had ever paid much attention to me before that, but I am pretty sure that if you ask her, she’ll tell you she remembers that crazy, skinny man who had, for no real reason, determined he was in love with her, and, if you are a relative of hers, she might even tell you how he jumped over a small crowd just to get into the elevator with her. At least, I hope that’s the story she tells you.

I can’t imagine she doesn’t remember that moment.

Time went on, of course, and she disappeared from my life.

In fact, 30 years or so passed.

I am not sure what separates me from the newest killer, other than an obvious, wonderful domestication. When I see my wife sleeping, I see a child, hair draped over eyebrows as if painted by Matisse. And I wonder, what separates me from the NIU killer? What stops obsession?

Is it the pure softness of her hair as it falls against her face? Is it that simple? And if you don’t have that in your life, does it make you crazy?

Drunk Chelsea Backs Obama February 17, 2008

Posted by chuckwh in News and politics.
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You’re not gonna believe this. My wife and were sitting in a bar in Lanaii and in comes Chelsea Clinton. So to be polite, we ordered her a drink.

Next thing we knew, she was sitting at our table. So we got to chatting, and we found her delightful.

A couple hours and a few Mai Tais later we got around to the topic of her parents.

So I got up the nerve to ask her what she thought about her mom for president.

She leaned in, and said, in what I assume was her best conspiratorial voice, “You know my mom would kill me, I mean, she won’t let me talk to anyone … but I am secretly rooting for Obama.”

My wife and I were speechless.

“I mean,” she continued, “I love my mom, but she’s a little over protective. I mean that whole bit about how they want me to be 13? Please. I’m 28 frickin years old. Who wants an over protective mom for president?

“I mean Obama’s just got his head screwed on straight, you know? He’s not just sitting there thinking ‘Oh, I’m a Democrat, I have to think this way’, or ‘I’m a Republican I have to think that way’. He uses his own goddamn brain, you know? Have you read his book? My mom says he doesn’t know the issues. Ha! that’s a laugh.”

Yeah, I said, we both read it.

And he totally gets it, I said, but I just hope he can fix it.

“Well,” Chelsea said, “at least he knows what’s wrong. I’ll think he’ll do more than write a 1700 page health care plan you know what I mean? ”

“Holy shit.”

“Don’t tell anybody I said that,” said Chelsea, “my mom would kill me.”

Chelsea Clinton’s Age Will Be Updated February 17, 2008

Posted by chuckwh in Hillary, Hillary Clinton, News and politics.
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In a move to further protect Chelsea Clinton from the media, The Clintons today declared that a mistake was made in her birth certificate, and that she is actually 13 years old, not 28, as had been previously alleged.

Harold Ickes, one of Sen. Hillary Clinton’s senior advisors, made the announcement before a rambling strategy session today. “She’s 13. There was a mistake on her birth certificate,” said Ickes. “The Clinton campaign is determined to protect Chelsea from the media hounds, and this correction is part of that strategy.”

Chelsea Clinton, who is campaigning in Democratic front runner Barack Obama’s home state of Hawaii, would not comment on this newest development.

Asked by reporters how to explain Chelsea’s appearances among the Clintons during Bill Clinton’s presidency, where she appears to be a young teenager, Ickes replied that the individual seen in photographs and news footage was a surrogate. “As you know, the Clintons have many friends in the film industry, and the good people at Industrial Light and Magic created a computer-generated image of what the Clinton’s daughter would have looked like as a 12 year old. They then took that information and hired a body double.”

Told by reporters that there were still some general issues with this kind of time line, Ickes became visibly irritated and began to detail the Clinton campaign’s strategy for preventing Obama from winning the Democratic nomination. “Sending Chelsea to Hawaii, Obama’s home turf, will re-invigorate this campaign and deliver a firm message that the Clintons belong back in the White House.”

Although the 13 year old will be campaigning actively for her mother now, she will still not be allowed to talk to the press. “No,” confirmed Ickes, “absolutely not. And I think you can see why. She’s 13 years old, for God’s sake.”

Desperate For Cash, Clinton Campaign Raids Bührle, Nabs $163 Million In Art February 13, 2008

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Zurich police today identified the thieves who recently stole art masterpieces from the renowned Bührle collection as having “direct ties” to Vice President Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. The campaign, which has been reeling as a result of a string of several primary and caucus losses at that hands of Illinois Senator Barack Obama, is said to be desperate for cash, and will use the proceeds from the art heist to, in the words of deputy campaign manager Mike Henry, “make our stand at the Alamo. Paul Cezanne's painting The Boy in the Red VestWe’ll saturate the great state of Texas with ads on every radio and TV station in the state, and we’ll make our case for change with some beef.”

Henry was relieved of his duties later in the evening, but there is no indication if he was fired because of his involvement with the heist or because he simply did a sloppy job of carrying out the heist. “They came in with guns blazing,” Zurich police spokesman Marco Cortesi told the press today, “and screaming, ‘Remember the Alamo!'”.

Image URL: Paul Cezanne’s painting “The Boy in the Red Vest”, http://media3.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/photo/2008/02/11/PH2008021102650.jpg

Why Osama bin Laden Could Still Destroy America February 10, 2008

Posted by chuckwh in Al Gore, bin Laden, Iran, Iraq, John McCain, McCain, News and politics.
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It’s rarely talked about these days during the waning moments of the Gore Presidency, but one of Osama bin Laden’s stated goals with the attacks on September 11, 2001 was to send America into an impulsive and costly reaction. Analysts both in the United States and the Middle East say that had America done “what Osama wanted it to do”, in the words of one of them, America would have become engaged in a costly, unwinnable war in a place like Iraq or Iran.

Today, an analysis released by the Brookings Institute reveals for the first time some projections into the toll such a wide-ranging engagement by the United States might have taken on the federal budget. The study considers two nightmare scenarios.

The first assumes that shortly after the attacks, an unnerved and jingoistic American president for some reason follows the advice of neo-conservatives and attacks Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein. The Brookings Institute developed computerized projections based on current military operational costs and estimates that an initial invasion would have cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $300 billion, which would immediately have thrown the nation back into deficit spending. In a most positive scenario, and assuming that the invasion went well, the final cost would probably total half a trillion bucks, just to clean up afterwards and try to provide some rudimentary nation building.

However, the analysis then goes on to say that a clean sweep would be highly unlikely because Iraq has a multitude of edgy ethnic fault lines that weren’t revealed during Saddam’s iron grip. These fault lines, according to the study, would quickly expose themselves and the country could even devolve into a civil war before the Americans left. If that happened, the result would be catastrophic, keeping America tied down “for years,” according to the report. The cost of such a war would trickle down into other parts of the economy, either impacting federal dollars that would normally flow to key programs (if somehow a deficit were to be avoided) or sucking the federal treasury dry and leading to massive deficits. The report paints a horrific world where the world has turned on America for invading a sovereign nation, and stops buying or starts dumping American treasury bonds, among other things. It paints a scary world where the dollar begins a free fall and even begins signs of a collapse. From that point, the analysis says any number of other trickle down effects could occur, from an implosion of real estate prices to a collapse of entire industries.

Basically, according to the report, the U.S. would have played right into Osama’s strategy.

But it gets worse. The second scenario describes the costs of a war with Iran (before the current détente) and goes on to describe a near apocalypse as the war, even within the scope of an American victory, drains the economy completely and leads to an unprecedented economic collapse, with an unsympathetic world cheering on.

As it is, the Gore Administration did attack Afghanistan, a risky tactic, says the analysis, considering the complex tribal nuances of that nation. Luckily, Osama was found fairly quickly and eliminated, and that ended the discussion, along with that war, and Afghanistan is today a thriving nation.

So what’s the point of such a wild, almost impossible to believe scenario and releasing it to a satisfied, happy nation enjoying sustained economic growth and prosperity? Perhaps it is the recent gains of John McCain, and his apparent primary victory. McCain has said he will roll back the diplomatic carpet with Iran and close the recently opened embassies because of Iran’s intransigence “in world affairs”.  “We should be poking them in the eye,” he has said, “not trying to see where we see eye to eye.”

In other words, if McCain wins the Presidency, Osama may roll over in his grave, just to applaud.

Presidential Candidates Assault the Senses February 5, 2008

Posted by chuckwh in News and politics, Obama, Politics.
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Note to regular readers: As the campaign heats up, The Gore Years will be continuing the news on real events, rather than the fantasy world of The Gore Years. We leave it up to our readers to discern the difference between reality and that other thing, whatever that other thing might be. We appreciate your patience.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Buoyed by cheering crowds and bolstered by more than $1.3 million a day in TV ads, Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton continued their love fest as they raced through the final hours of an unpredictable Super Tuesday campaign across 22 states. The Republican race turned negative on the eve of the busiest day in primary history.

“We’re going to hand the liberals in our party a little surprise,” boasted Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, holding a small, hand-held telescope to help him search the tiny crowd for liberals.

He then criticized John McCain for his positions on tax cuts, gay marriage and immigration and predicted an upset win in delegate-rich California. “McCain will try to undo the damage of the Bush administration, and that can’t be a good thing,” he told an excited crowd of Republican ex-office holders in Tennessee. “If we cannot maintain the policies of this administration, then we can’t keep getting you all to vote against your own interests. We believe in moral majorities!” he screamed to the small crowd, which responded by tossing foreclosure notices into the air.

And then, in an apparent dig at McCain, he screamed, “And we believe in standing up!”

Shortly afterwards, eBay’s CEO Meg Whitman, who heralds from the same venture capital fund company as Romney, Bain Capital, stunned the crowd and approached the podium and announced that all eBay sellers who were willing to vote for Romney would never pay eBay insertion fees for as long as they live.

“We need to give eBay sellers something to live for in this economy,” she explained to TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington.

McCain struck back a few hours later Monday with a television ad that showed Romney sitting at a desk, pining away for Whitman. The ad clearly shows a despondent Romney drumming his fingers on a huge, walnut desk while staring at one of several computer video screens showing Whitman captivating a crowd of eBay sellers with promises of “better things to come.” The crowd threw various artifacts at her, and there is a rumored YouTube video of her getting nailed on the head by a Pez dispenser, but, according to Romney pollsters, it hasn’t stopped the Romney juggernaut, and didn’t change Romney’s infatuation.

Meanwhile, outwardly, McCain projected confidence, not only about wrapping up the nomination but about staying healthy until November’s general election as well. “I can lead this nation in medication, and motivate all Americans to serve a cause greater than their self-interest, as long as they continue to stuff their throats with pharmaceuticals” he said while campaigning at a fire station in New Jersey, during a photo opp with Merck. Asked by The Gore Years if he might accidentally fart during some future press event helping to solidify America’s hundred year commitment to Iraq, he replied, “God, I hope not.” The Gore Years has always appreciated his honesty.

Unwilling to leave anything to chance, both men hastily rearranged their schedules to make one more late stop in California, the largest state, with 170 delegates.

After months on the road, the wear on the candidates was showing, and the schedules strained human endurance.

Clinton’s voice was raspy, and at one stop, she struggled to control her coughing. She denied it had anything to do with the Obama love fest. “Don’t you ever compare me to that nasty intern,” she scolded one reporter who asked how she was holding up.

Romney had breakfast in Tennessee, was in Georgia at lunchtime, was touching down in Oklahoma at the dinner hour, got drunk with former candidate George W. Bush after dinner, arranged for a Britney Spears-like pickup of Baseball Commisioner Bush around 10 pm, and was scheduled to arrive in California for a rally at the Spears residence just before midnight local time, partly, his aides said, because he was in the mood for “more debauchery”.

All before flying through the night so he could attend the West Virginia state convention on Tuesday morning and meet the few people still left in America who might vote Republican in the next election.

The Democrats were spending unprecedented amounts of money on television advertising. Records showed Obama and Clinton each spent $1.3 million last Wednesday and have been increasing their purchases in the days since. In fact, some broadcast industry analysts have been reporting that Clinton, through a proxy, has purchased KRON-TV from Young Broadcasting and will, according to one source, “begin broadcasting All Billary, all the Time.”

Obama spent about $250,000 to run a 30-second ad during the Super Bowl in selected, less expensive regions. Clinton bought one hour of time on the Hallmark Channel for Monday evening to air a live town hall meeting from New York. However, the Hallmark Channel refused to air the meeting. One reason, sources say, is that Hallmark is concerned about rumors that Hillary and Obama got a room (see above link). The other, more significant issue, according to pundits and Hallmark insiders (assuming there is such a thing as a Hallmark insider), is that Hallmark CEO Donald J. Hall, Jr. is not a fan of Bill Clinton. “I have seen poster boys for Hallmark Cards,” Hall is known to have said, “And my friends, Bill Clinton is no poster boy.”

The prize in each race was a huge cache of delegates on the biggest primary-season day ever. The biggest concern about that cache was that somehow the Republicans would find a way to get Diebold to create an electronic cache of Democratic votes and somehow turn them into Republican votes, and throw the election again in 2008.

But for today, it was all smiles as Hillary and Obama continued their love fest, and McCain and Romney each tried to figure out which part of the past to represent.

Associated Press reporters Beth Fouhy, Glen Johnson, Jim Kuhnhenn, Nedra Pickler, Libby Quaid and Liz Sidoti contributed to this report. The Gore Years reporter Chuck White made it all right.

The Ultimate Winner February 1, 2008

Posted by chuckwh in News and politics.
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I watched the California debates with trepidation.

After S. Carolina, I was pretty much ridden with the usual fear (politicians suck, etc).

But as I watched Obama and Hillary get into what Wolf Blitzer disappointedly called a conversation during the California debate, I saw TWO presidents promising that, at the end of the day, we would not forget our children.

I saw that, whether Obama wins or Hillary wins, the kids will finally have a voice. There’s a part of me that says that if Hillary wins, the kids will have a larger voice, but the other part of me says that if Obama wins the poor will be heard.

What a wonderful choice.

Thank you to both of you, Hillary, and Obama, for making us think a bit.

I am just assuming that things will work out no matter which of you gets elected.

The ultimate winners, I have decided after watching these two debate, is, our children.

Image credit: http://tinyurl.com/2mc2mf