Sunday, November 30, 2008

Straight Talk from Al Franken

As the recount in Minnesota continues, I just started listening to Al Franken's audio book Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right (from 2003). Now I wish I had more directly supported Franken's Democratic Senatorial bid, we could use the plain talk and fact checking. Man, he rips Ann Coulter up, down, and sideways. I don't know anything about her, but now I know too much (not that I've checked Al Franken's facts, and I really should, but he cites enough examples and sources to be pretty credible). I'll give a rating and brief review whenever I get through the whole thing, if I ever do (I think it's 10 hours of audio tape. As Dave Winer would say, "Oy."

Over Hill, Over Lily Dale: Spiritualist Town Book Reviewed

It was some tough wading, but worth it to me since I once visited and like to see people think outside the main current. My review includes ... one keen observation by a handy man, "I'm sixty-one years old now, and the only thing I know is that ...."
Read the rest here.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Monday, November 10, 2008

Obama's Initial "To Do" List

This piece was recently in The New York Times:
"(Obama) has begun an effort to tamp down what his aides fear are unusually high expectations among his supporters, and will remind Americans regularly throughout the transition that the nation’s challenges are substantial and will take time to address."

Sorry Mr. President-Elect, that boat has sailed. We expect miracles, or at least heroic efforts on the substantive and addressable problems that you are about to inherit. Not on the economy -- the economy is a long term issue and very difficult to control -- and it is likely to self correct, don't let it be an albatross around your neck -- get something else done.

Here's a nice place to start, a mini-rant by a well-informed friend of mine. Go ahead, pick any 3 to get done in your first 100 days; that'll be a good year's accomplishments and you'll have 265 days to work on less solvable issues, like the doling out $700 Billion dollars to someone that might do some good with it:

“…the Bush administration destroyed so much of what works in government that the Democrats should have a relatively easy time making corrections, like giving Bankruptcy judges the power to revise mortgages, giving Medicare the authority to negotiate drug prices with the big drug companies, closing Guantanamo, not torturing captured terror suspects, not illegally spying on Americans, no (or less) snowmobiles in Yellowstone, no roads in roadless federal areas, not butchering the Clean Air Act and the Endangered Species Act, ending don’t ask don’t tell in the military, not letting the navy torment whales, not giving health care providers a conscience opt out on abortion and other female health issues, not appointing right-wing Federalist Society judges, not wasting money on abstinence education, getting out of Iraq, capturing Bin Laden …”

While your advisors are busy lowering expectations, could they also discourage, just a little, the focus on your being the first African-American elected to the Presidency of the United States. I really don't care -- I mean it's great indication that maybe our nation is maturing, but I didn't vote for you because you are African-American or to prove that such a person can be elected. I voted for you, and I think so did a lot of others, because you are eloquent and visionary and persuasive and strong and you seem to be honest and moral and "in touch" and forthright but still clever; and those are the qualities we need in a leader right now, no matter what color his (or her) skin is.

Please find the issues that we can make quick progress on and make it. I'm looking forward to it.