A nice way to stay in touch with loved ones, and a convenient way to share my opinions without having everyone just walk away...wait a minute, where are you going? I wasn't finished..

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Serious Stuff

Sometimes I feel a little screedish. But if you want to be subjected to a real rant, I can take you there. It's kind of hard to deal with so I'm not excerpting a passage - but if you want some hard facts, and you won't read just the first few lines and click away, go here. OK , I'll give you a clue:

Disclosure Statement: The author of this essay converted to vegetarianism two months ago. As a result, he has experienced spiritual, physical, and mental invigoration. He highly recommends it.

The authors name is Jason Miller and I'm going to read more of his stuff once I get over what I just read.

An interesting if not exact quote from Russell Means

"If elections could change anything, they'd be illegal"

Cassandra's back

I've been laying off the doom and gloom for a couple of weeks. But the bad stuff is not getting further away, it's getting closer. I don't post this stuff to bum anyone out. Just to let you know, when it happens, it wasn't something you did - it was done to you.

Social Cycles, Depression and Revolution (Part II)
March 29, 2007
by Michael Nystrom

It's not dark yet, but it's getting there...-Bob Dylan

Last week I gave you the good news, that after we make our way through the current political and economic mess that we find ourselves in, will emerge into a new golden age. This week, the bad news: Before we get we there, we will likely have to first undergo at least a depression, and certainly a revolution before we arrive. The brighter world will not come of its own accord; it will wait patiently until we collectively decide to create it. Until then, Batra predicts that "real wages and family income will continue to fall, while poverty will rise. The rich will keep getting richer and the poor getting poorer; similarly, the middle class will continue to shrink." For many, the motivation for real, fundamental change will only come from the depths of depression. Before continuing with Dr. Batra's theory, let's take a look at two recent news articles that set the stage and concretely depict the points he makes: The first, from today's New York Times, informs us that the nation's income gap widened significantly in 2005 to levels unseen since 1928 - the year before the start of the great depression. According to the story, the top 300,000 Americans collectively own as much wealth as the bottom 150 million. While the top 1% of the population got an average raise of $139,000 in 2005, the bottom 90% of workers saw their incomes fall by $172. These are times that try men's souls. Since these are abstracted numbers, it can be difficult to fully appreciate their meaning. But this second article should make things perfectly clear: Circuit City is firing 3,400 of its hourly sales floor workers, and will rehire either them or new workers at a lower hourly rate. Just so you understand the context, this is a company that is headed by a CEO -- Phillip Schoonover -- who raked in $8.5 million dollars last year. The company itself made a profit of $162 million, though it lost money in the most recent quarter. Apparently this is how Schoonover can justify his brilliant fire/rehire-cheaper scheme. According to the article, the average sales worker now makes $10-11 per hour, or about $21,000 per year, while a new worker would only make about $8.00, or $16,000 per year. That is below the poverty level for a family of four, or even three, so forget about trying to raise a family on that kind of a salary. Schoonover, on the other hand, makes about 530 times the average grunt worker's pay, and in today's climate, he'll likely get a bonus for his great idea. But as Batra points out in this and other books, these are precisely the kinds of conditions -- extreme wealth concentration and inequality -- that lead to depressions, for they weaken the overall capitalist system. With such minimal incomes, the only way for workers such as those at the new and improved Circuit City to continue to consume (the great "engine of global economic growth") is by taking on increased levels of consumer debt. But there are limits to how much debt such poorly paid workers can take on. To make sense of these stories in a larger context, let's take a look at the global economy through Dr. Batra's eyes. Batra asserts that the entire world economy has been colonized by the American Global Business Empire. The acquisitors have taken the reigns of power in both business and government and, motivated by unbrided and unchecked greed, are taking increasingly aggressive action to consolidate their power. As a result, members of the other three classes - both in the US and abroad - are being pushed increasingly into the laborer class, simply trying to make a living in the acquisitor dominated world. (for defintions of these terms, please see Part 1)

For the rest of the review go here.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

You Lucky Cubs Fans

Posted by FaytlND at Rocks House:
Found in a "Young players to remember" article.
"JEFF SAMARDZIJA, RHP, CUBS -- There were people who were wondering whether Samardzija was really worth that $10 million the Cubs laid out to keep him away from the NFL. Well, after watching him this spring (where he had a 1.80 ERA in three appearances), one scout raved: "Best arm I've seen. Ran his fastball up there in the upper 90s, with an excellent slider. He could pitch up here quick. In fact, they had to get him back to the minor leagues to keep Lou (Piniella) from taking him north."
Hopefully he avoids the Wood/Prior treatment. It also looks like, at this point, he probably made the right decision sticking with baseball."

I'm so tired of the Woods-Prior "Oww Ouch Oooh That really hurts" thing. I don't know how you guys put up with it. 2002 was the year that I gave up on them. Bere, Clement, Lieber, Prior, Woods, and Zambrano
and, what? - they finished 5th - and they had Sosa, Alou, McGriff, Hundley, and Girardi. Fifth, for Crying Out Loud.

I'm getting really upset, and I'm not even a Cub's fan. But I might be interested in seeing a little more of Samardzija

Me when I was little

Who all see the leprechaun, say Yeah!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

We all extend our best wishes

Elizabeth Edwards has had a recurrence of cancer. She and John Edwards are lovely people and are a lovely and loving couple. What would you do? They have the resources that would allow them to retire to their mountain top home and devote themselves to their children and each other.

It wouldn't seem to me to be out of character for them to dedicate themselves to John's candidacy, with the sense that this would be the most fulfilling expression of their devotion to one another. Politics as ennobling? That's what separates them from the rest of the pack.

Everything seems to be moving in slow motion

Noah is home (to Fort Drum,NY) from Afghanistan and will soon be getting his walking papers. Everybody knows Lauren found them a house in Champaign, right? So, they'll be settling down there and once Noah gets enrolled he'll receive benefits under the GI Bill. That's all good, but he's wondering what program to enroll in. I'm not prepared to give advice. The obvious answer is something with a lot of computer science because Noah may have an aptitude, but I got my doubts. Pretty soon you'll have to move to Bangalore India to get a programming job, and your skill set might be out of date in six years, I don't know.
Noah likes theology, and I think he'd be a good youth pastor, or a good adult pastor for that matter. I think he'd bring the right balance of spiritual sensibility, energy, and intellect to a pastorial career.
He mentioned once getting into the building trades. I worked with a guy who had a construction management degree from Wisconsin, so I know such progams exist. I mean you don't have to be a civil engineer or architect. That could be cool - he'll have four or five years in school while the industry shakes out and then he'll come out with a degree when they're hireing again. I told him he could get some "hands-on" experience working with Jason summers. He didn't know what to say.
I still smile when I think about those two on a job together.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

All is well

Mom and Kim and I are going to Culver's for butter burgers. I've done that once, mom has never had a butter burger, and feels in the mood.
How come we don't have a Sonic? I like their ads on cable TV. See Ya

Saturday, March 17, 2007

John Edwards wrote me

I want to do this. Who will come over for a couple hours on the 28th?

Dear Andy,

Yesterday, I delivered a speech in New Hampshire where I laid out an agenda of transformational change to
guarantee universal health care,
stop global warming,
close the education gap and
end poverty at home and around the world.

As I said in New Hampshire, America is more than a place, it's an idea - real, fundamental equality for all. And we have to make that idea real for all Americans, and rekindle it around the world.Today I'm counting on you as a member of One Corps to help make that vision real.I'm asking you to sign up to host a house party this Wednesday, March 28th. You can invite your friends and neighbors, play the DVD our campaign will send you, discuss the issues at the heart of this race and help us build the support we need to win.We created One Corps to start working today to build the one America we believe in—and this is the perfect way to do just that. Please sign up to host your party today:http://johnedwards.com/r/7875/861941/

Everything we do at home ripples around the world. And everything we do around the world affects us here at home. There is no such thing as just foreign policy anymore. In this new world the old incremental approach just doesn't cut it—we need to bold, daring, boundary-pushing change.We need transformational change because there are still two Americas —one for the powerful and one for everybody else. Millions of middle class families are struggling and 37 million Americans are left in poverty. Yesterday, my call for change began with my plan to end poverty in America and secure the middle class by creating what I call the Working Society.In the Working Society, we will reward work with a higher minimum wage, stronger labor laws, and tax credits for working families. We will offer affordable housing near good jobs and good schools, and create a million stepping-stone jobs for people who cannot find work on their own. We will help workers save for the future with new work bonds and affordable savings accounts. And we will end the scourge of poverty in America within 30 years.We need transformational change to address the health care crisis that leaves 47 million Americans without any health insurance, and millions more with spiraling costs and dwindling coverage. So my plan guarantees truly universal health insurance to every American, while making it cheaper and easier for businesses to cover their employees and establishing the basic responsibility of every individual to get the coverage they need.We need transformational change to address the education crisis that half a century after Brown v. Board of Education still yields an intolerable gap between the races and the rich and the poor. So I proposed a real investment to recruit, train, and support our national teacher corps. And I outlined a plan I call "College for Everyone" that will pay for the first year of college for any student in America who needs it and is willing to work part-time.We need transformational change to stop global warming and create a new energy economy that helps fuel the growth of a secure middle class in the 21st century. By changing our energy infrastructure and investing in research, development and deployment of alternative energy technologies, we can create more than a million new jobs in America. We must set an example for the world by implementing a cap on carbon emissions and through dramatically increasing our national and individual energy efficiency.This week, I announced our campaign will take the first step toward reducing our impact on global warming by going carbon neutral.There's one other subject I talked about yesterday that is very important to me personally—and to the security of America. And that's global poverty.Tackling global poverty is the right and moral thing to do. And it's also the smart thing to do for our security.A great portion of a generation is being educated in madrassas run by militant extremists rather than in public schools. And as a result, thousands and thousands of young people who might once have aspired to be educated in America are being taught to hate America.When you understand that, it suddenly becomes clear: Global poverty is not only a moral issue for the United States—it is a national security issue for the United States. If we solve it, we begin to create a world in which the ideologies of radical terrorism are overwhelmed by the values of education, democracy, and opportunity. Now that's transformational.So yesterday I outlined my plan to tackle global poverty head on. We will launch a worldwide effort to bring primary education to every corner of the globe. We will invest in preventive health care through clean water and sanitation systems to give poor families a chance at healthy lives. We will provide the tools of local entrepreneurship and active citizenry that are the cornerstones of stable prosperity. And we will create a cabinet level position in the White House to elevate all our national efforts at eradicating poverty worldwide.These plans may sound very big—and that's because they are. But we are a country built on our commitment to the biggest of ideas. We have never turned our back on progress, no matter how daunting. And we're not about to start.Transformational change of this magnitude can happen, but it cannot come from one candidate or one president adopting a big vision. It only happens when an entire generation decides they are ready to fully realize their potential for greatness. It happened at our nation's founding. It happened when our parents and grandparents overcame the Great Depression and defeated the fascist-totalitarian juggernaut. And if you are willing to step forward, it can happen today.Please sign up to host a house party next Wednesday, March 28th to help spread our message and build support. I'm counting on you as a member of One Corps to help lead the way. Everything you need is online right here at:http://johnedwards.com/r/7877/861941/Thank you,John EdwardsFriday, March 16th, 2006

Something I know nothing about

Mark went to the emergency room last night for the second time in two weeks because of a kidney stone. So I googled kidney stones, to see what caused them and to be able to make suggestions to Mark about changing his diet.
It seemed stones are formed of calcium oxalates, but limiting consumption of calcium and oxalates (chocolate, coffee, and dark green leafy vegetables) doesn't seem to necessarily reduce the incidents of stones, so I think the villain must be sodium, which is abundantly present in soda pop.
When I was reading about soda pop, I was surprised to read that there are 10 teaspoons of sugar in a 12 oz can of top, Yeccchhh.
I think sodium is a preservative and "flavor enhancer". There's a lot of it in soups and other canned foods. People with heart problems have to watch out for high sodium contents.

Anybody know more about sodium in foods?

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Nobody reads my blog

That's what it said on a tee-shirt Chad or Scott gave Steffie. Judging ny the replies posted to my blogs, I suppose I should get a tee shirt like that for myself.

I just alienated my last reader, my wife Janett. Re my post of a link to an article on the Neo-Cons, she replied with a question about who the Neo-Cons actually are. I replied to her reply - Read the article. I must have been in a hurry at the time, but I hurt her feelings, and she says she won't be back.

On the other hand, maybe a lot of people read my blog, and really appreciate my intellect, insightfulness, and my style, but are too intimitated to post a comment. (and probably feel as though a reply wouldn't really add anything to my post - kind of like painting the Pieta)

At any rate, as time passes and my prescience become apparent to all, my posts will probably be published in book form, and then I'll be rich and famous.

Chavez and me

I know a lot of good folks don't like Hugo Chavez and really don't like Fidel Castro. I like Chavez and am sympathetic to Castro. Not entirely because they're such good men, but because I admire their courage and determination in not succumbing to the massive and intense pressure the USA has applied to destroy populist movements in Latin America. Through the twentieth century the story of repression, murder, rape and torture by death squads and para-militaries financed and directed by the CIA, the State Department, and the Pentagon are so commonplace that the people of the US have lost their ability to be enraged, shocked, or even embarrassed .

The tide is turning. Bush has no vision or principles that enable him to determine a policy for maintaining positive relationships with the rest of the world. The dissolution of the Soviet Union, supposed to have represented the victory of Western democracy and free enterprise system, has given way to a resurgent totalitarianism motivated by concern over the US's military incursions into Eastern Europe, and facilitated by Putin's posing as an ally in "the war on terror" while he reversed democratic reforms in Russia.

Our leadership of the liberal democracies wasn't lost, it was discarded.
When the democratic governments of Europe questioned our unjustified invasion of Iraq, Rumsfeld labeled them as the "old Europe" and applauded the willingness of the "new Europe" who could be bribed into supporting the war effort with a token commitment of forces. Who needs France and Germany when you have Poland and Roumania?

In Asia as well things have come unglued, with Japan moving toward re-militarizing as the US is perceived as unwilling and perhaps unable to contend with the growing power of China. The trade deficit while enriching a segment of the US economy has given the Chines immense economic leverage (ie the ability to wreak havoc on the US economy) while causing an immense transfer of technology to our most vociferous enemy.

I can't even bring myself to begin to describe the mess we've made of the Middle East with our slavish devotion to the most militaristic / expansionist elements of the Israeli state apparatus.

So why should I express concern over Latin America? Read the attached article for an description of how badly the last four administrations , over a period of twenty-five years, have betrayed US principles and ideals, and then ask "to whose benefit?"

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Fear the shamrock

A thoughtful inquiry posted at Rocks House:

Is it time to drop the "Irish" nickname?by ndoldtown

(03/09/2007 15:25:21) Edited on 03/09/2007 15:25:21

1. It has always insulted the contributions of the Poles, Germans and Italians who actually made ND an excellent school.

2. It reinforces and praises the negative characteristics of the Irish regarding drunkenness, and disorder and is thus socially unproductive, much the way "gangster rap" is.

3. Notre Dame's live leprechaun is the most embarrassing mascot of any school. Must we be the Amos 'n Andy of American ethnic Catholicism?

4. We should adopt something less offensive to people but that would also refer to our historic heritage. Crusaders, for example.

And a thoughtful respone:

In reply to: Is it time to drop the "Irish" nickname? posted by ndoldtown

I've had quite a few pints of the Guinness and I've changed me mind

I now think your suggestion fookin' stinks and ya' can shove it up your arse.

And I'll fight any man here who's not with me.

What the fook are YOU lookin' at?

Thursday, March 08, 2007

ND Hoops

ND beat Syracuse this afternoon and will meet Georgetown tomorrow evening in the Big East semi-finals. The Irish shot their usual40% from the field, but 85% from the free throw line

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Small World

Steffy was saying last night that she and Mark went to see a movie (Amazing Grace?) about William Wilberforce,, who led the struggle in England to ban slavery and the slave trade. She'd been impressed by his steadfastness and resourcefulness.

Meanwhile one Republican candidate stands out in my eyes. Please spare me McCain and Giulliani and give me more Sam Brownback. Browsing today I came across an op-ed piece on Wilberforce by Sam Brownback.
Note: if Wilberforce was born in 1759 and entered Parliament in 1780, already a morally committed person, he must have been an exceptional young man

Brownback op-ed on William Wilberforce
Calls British abolitionist a hero
Tuesday, March 6, 2007

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Sam Brownback today released an op-ed regarding the life of British abolitionist William Wilberforce. The op-ed is below and is 589 words.

The world today is in need of heroes. We need those who show us the path to be good and reflect the great potential of the human spirit. While I'm glad to say I have many heroes, I think often these days of one in particular. Little known but most relevant for our present day, the British parliamentarian William Wilberforce is indeed a hero for our times.
William Wilberforce was born in Great Britain in 1759. His country in that day was very much like the United States in our own time. They were a world superpower but were threatened at home by a coarsening of culture and fading morale. Worst of all they were beset by the evil of slavery. They understood well the vital lesson however - if they would not strive for goodness they would surely lose their greatness.
William Wilberforce entered the British parliament in 1780 with two monumental goals: the abolition of slavery and the reformation of culture. The first, for which he worked tirelessly and is now so gratefully remembered, marks a turning point in human history. Thanks in large part to William Wilberforce the British people stood up against the horrors of the slave trade and eventually abolished slavery itself. He fought for what was right and stood up for the voiceless. Against all odds, the goodness deep in the hearts of the British people won out.
The second great object that occupied Wilberforce's energy in parliament was the reformation of the culture. He understood that in order for Britain to do great things they needed to be good. To combat the great evil of slavery they needed a culture that encouraged what is right and discouraged what is wrong. They needed a people willing to sacrifice and to fight for the dignity of another. Great Britain of the nineteenth century, not unlike America today, needed a culture worthy of their great goals for their people and for all humanity.
Wilberforce is a helpful guide in another difficult question of our day, the place of religion in the public square. He was a person of faith who rightly saw his faith as a value not a vice for public life. He was a committed Christian who took seriously the instruction to "love thy neighbor." It was his notion of the immensity of human dignity that led him to fight for men and women everywhere and without exception. He worked for prison reform, to help the weak and downtrodden, and most of all to end the abhorrent institution of slavery. Seeking to impose nothing but only to propose a vision of human dignity, his faith committed him to justice in the public square. We are a grateful world for his witness and courage.
Finally, Wilberforce is a model to reject the partisanship that often enters debates today. His example makes clear that it is principle that combats partisanship. Leaders who stand for a particular set of values - even if there will not be total agreement on every point - represent the surest hope for civil discourse. Principled leaders do not divide simply on party lines, seek not their own good or that of a particular party, but the good of the whole people. William Wilberforce is the model of a leader with conviction.
William Wilberforce and his monumental achievement is indeed the story of Amazing Grace. It is the story of heroic leadership and courageous action on behalf of the weak and marginalized. It is the story of William Wilberforce, a hero for our times.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Who are the Neo-Cons?

I'm appending the conclusion of a long paper by Kevin McDonald on the Neo-Con ideology and history. The paper states what we already know, but does so with unassailable detail and documentation. Whether you find the conclusion gratifying or offensive, you should read the article. If you are indifferent, I can't help you,


The current situation in the United States is really an awesome display of Jewish power and influence. People who are very strongly identified as Jews maintain close ties to Israeli politicians and military figures and to Jewish activist organizations and pro-Israeli lobbying groups while occupying influential policy-making positions in the defense and foreign policy establishment. These same people, as well as a chorus of other prominent Jews, have routine access to the most prestigious media outlets in the United States. People who criticize Israel are routinely vilified and subjected to professional abuse.270
Perhaps the most telling feature of this entire state of affairs is the surreal fact that in this entire discourse Jewish identity is not mentioned. When Charles Krauthammer, Bill Kristol, Michael Rubin, William Safire, Robert Satloff, or the legions of other prominent media figures write their reflexively pro-Israel pieces in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, or the Los Angeles Times, or opine on the Fox News Network, there is never any mention that they are Jewish Americans who have an intense ethnic interest in Israel. When Richard Perle authors a report for an Israeli think tank; is on the board of directors of an Israeli newspaper; maintains close personal ties with prominent Israelis, especially those associated with the Likud Party; has worked for an Israeli defense company; and, according to credible reports, was discovered by the FBI passing classified information to Israel—when, despite all of this, he is a central figure in the network of those pushing for wars to rearrange the entire politics of the Middle East in Israel’s favor, and with nary a soul having the courage to mention the obvious overriding Jewish loyalty apparent in Perle’s actions, that is indeed a breathtaking display of power.
One must contemplate the fact that American Jews have managed to maintain unquestioned support for Israel over the last thirty-seven years, despite Israel’s seizing land and engaging in a brutal suppression of the Palestinians in the occupied territories—an occupation that will most likely end with expulsion or complete subjugation, degradation, and apartheid. During the same period Jewish organizations in America have been a principal force—in my view the main force—for transforming America into a state dedicated to suppressing ethnic identification among Europeans, for encouraging massive multiethnic immigration into the U.S., and for erecting a legal system and cultural ideology that is obsessively sensitive to the complaints and interests of non-European ethnic minorities—the culture of the Holocaust.271 All this is done without a whisper of double standards in the aboveground media.
I have also provided a small glimpse of the incredible array of Jewish pro-Israel activist organizations, their funding, their access to the media, and their power over the political process. Taken as a whole, neoconservatism is an excellent illustration of the key traits behind the success of Jewish activism: ethnocentrism, intelligence and wealth, psychological intensity, and aggressiveness.272 Now imagine a similar level of organization, commitment, and funding directed toward changing the U.S. immigration system put into law in 1924 and 1952, or inaugurating the revolution in civil rights, or the post-1965 countercultural revolution: In the case of the immigration laws we see the same use of prominent non-Jews to attain Jewish goals, the same access to the major media, and the same ability to have a decisive influence on the political process by establishing lobbying organizations, recruiting non-Jews as important players, funneling financial and media support to political candidates who agree with their point of view, and providing effective leadership in government.273 Given this state of affairs, one can easily see how Jews, despite being a tiny minority of the U.S. population, have been able to transform the country to serve their interests. It’s a story that has been played out many times in Western history, but the possible effects now seem enormous, not only for Europeans but literally for everyone on the planet, as Israel and its hegemonic ally restructure the politics of the world.
History also suggests that anti-Jewish reactions develop as Jews increase their control over other peoples.274 As always, it will be fascinating to observe the dénouement.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Ann Coulter

Ann Coulter said she couldn't discuss John Edwards because if she used the word faggot she'd have to go into rehab. The conservative republican conference audience applauded.

I should probably just let it go, but this episode highlights an issue I find most disquieting. Ann Coulter is reported to be a transsexual named Arthur Coltrane from a wealthy pig farming family in Georgia who paid for his sex change surgery in Denmark when he was a teen-ager. His appearance supports this rumor. I wouldn't care to describe his masculine physique other than to point out his very manly adam's apple .

When his voter registration was reviewed in Florida due to a question about using an address to register where he didn't really live it was observed he hadn't checked M or F in section 15 where gender was supposed to be recorded.

It is disturbing that so many deviants at the top of the Republican party, including Carl Rove and George Bush, claim to represent family values and traditional morality. The same kind of hypocrisy has been associated with some self styled Evangelical leaders.

I am in complete sympathy with the Christian conservatives. What appalls me is that they are so susceptible to the cynical manipulation of right wing ideologues and politicians, and are misled into supporting an agenda antithetical to Christ's teachings.

Tourney time

Boy, I have to lighten up on this presidential politics stuff. The first primaries are almost a year away. Right now polls show Hillary leading in 24 states to 2 for Edwards, and one each for Obama and Richardson.

Notre Dame's basketball team finished their regular season yesterday, 17th in the country, 4th in the Big East. This hasn't been a great year for the Big East. Georgetown is on top of the conference but only ranks 10th in the country. Well, it's tourney time and anything can happen, but probably won't. Still, this is a very young Irish team, and they have a very bright future.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Like a bad dream

Barack went to an AIPAC meeting this week and said the US should fund the entire cost of Israel's missile defense program, and that no US president should pressure the Israeli leadership to accept a peace plan the Israelis don't like. There was more about being willing to use force against Iran, but you get the point.

When new senators get elected, they choose a more senior member of that august body to be their mentor. Barack picked Joe Lieberman. I don't know how that slipped by me at the time. But it moves Barack from the "bought and paid for" category into the treasonous collaborator group.

As expected, Hillary is not happy about being out-zionized. Just before she and Barack visit the sunny southland this weekend to commemorate the Selma marches, with Obama's poll numbers among blacks rising, word came out that his mother's great grandparents were slave owners.

Stay tuned for more mad-cap political fun as Hillary attempts to savage Barrack, while Barrack endeavors to overcome lingering doubts among his jewish constituency. "He speaks beautifully, but we don't find a lot of emotion in what he says," said Mark Sherman of Northbrook after Obama's AIPAC speach. Could it be that as hard as he tries, Barack will continue to run up against jewish suspicion of the trustworthiness of black politicians as regards the blacks' love for Israel. If he could close the doors and turn off the mikes he could explain, "but I'm not really black, you know."

Flat Tires

Kim was dropping by this morning on her way to run some errands. Then she was going to go to Chicago and meet Ross and a few if his out-of-town friends for lunch, then go to Brian's wedding. She had a flat tire a couple blocks away, and didn't realize that it was past the point of going flat and continued on her way here. So we'll get that taken care of, and in the mean time she can drive Janett's Buick. Unfortunately, that means I can't take Janett to run errands this afternoon in her car, we'll use my Nissan instead. Not as nice a ride for Janett, so she's a little discouraged. I hope she doesn't decide not to go with me. I'd like her to be able to wander the aisles and pick up things that look appealing, so she'll eat regularly as she recovers from her surgery. Also, I think it's good for her to get out of the house for little things, so as not to feel cabin-feverish.

Anyway, I told Kim to be grateful she had the flat where it was so manageable, as opposed to, say, on the expressway into Chicago. I've been pretty lucky about having flats in convenient places. Except for one notable exception over twenty years ago. Janett and I were driving the 6 kids to Minnesota in an emergency situation. Jason needed immediate medical attention, and so we all packed up and headed out. We had a flat on the inter-state, and I had to tell Janett I'd removed the spare from the trunk to make room for all the luggage. Not one of my better moments. Other than that, though, I've been pretty lucky.