Wednesday, December 24, 2008
And so another year comes to an end, but the scourge of war is still with us...when will war cease to exist? Only God knows. One article in Discover Magazine claims science may have found a way to end war. Currently according to the United Nations organization there are about 134 worldwide (from UN recognized states only) that fall within these designated parameters:
1. It must involve armed struggle by at least one province against another.
2. It must be formally declared as such.
3. It has existed for at least 6 months.
The kind of wars that are new or not within these parameters are outside the figure of 134. John Lennon's "War Is Over" song when combined with scenes of world conflict causes one to take pause on this Christmas Eve of 2008 and hopefully 2009 will be a better year:
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
The Lincoln Bible (the same Bible used by Abraham Lincoln for his swearing-in) has been chosen to be used at Barack Obama's inauguration swearing-in ceremony on January 20th, 2009. It will be the first time the bible has been used since President Lincoln's swearing-in ceremony in 1861 (image on left of Lincoln's Inaugural Bible).Today, Presidential Inaugural Committee Executive Director Emmett Beliveau stated that "President-elect Obama is deeply honoured the Library of Congress has made the Lincoln Bible available for use during his swearing-in...The president-elect is committed to holding an inauguration that celebrates America's unity, and the use of this historic Bible will provide a powerful connection to our common past and common heritage," The Preseident-Elect also plans to take the same train route that Lincoln took to Washington, D.C. and will hold a welcome event at the Lincoln Memorial prior to his inauguration ceremony in January.
The Lincoln Bible (bound in burgundy velvet with gilded edges) was originally purchased and inscribed by Clerk of the Supreme Court at the time, William Thomas Carroll. The bible is to be displayed at the Library of Congress from February 12th to May 9th as part of an exhibition called "With Malice Toward None: The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Exhibition." It will then go on tour to five other American cities in commemoration of the bicentennial of Lincoln's birth on February 12th, 1809. There is no constitutional requirement that a Bible be used during inaugurations, but US presidents traditionally have used Bibles for their swearing-in ceremonies. One couldn't have asked for any greater symbolism for the inauguration than this to help set the new President and nation on the right course for the coming years of this administration. (partial source: associated press)
Thursday, December 18, 2008
The intensely private Caroline Kennedy, 51, decides to go for the open senate seat in New York left by Hillary Clinton...amid an awkward political debut by evading television cameras and charging past the press into an SUV waiting outside, seconds after officially declaring she wants a seat in the Senate. Some say its Park Avenue privilage being exercised, others claim she is trading on the Kennedy name, fame and connections for spring boarding into elected politics.
The publicity-shy Democrat is not exactly known for going out of her way to engage people even in casual conversation. However she has quietly gone about her personal "causes" such as assisting in raising $350 million to help out the New York City pubic schools.
Kennedy was quoted yesterday while in Buffalo, NY as saying "I've spent a lifetime growing up around public policy issues, and public service is something I'm proud of in the family tradition. It's something that I've always wanted to do. I've worked in New York City public schools. I've written books on the constitution, I've raised my family, and now it's time, I think, with the problems we have, for me to be able to step forward and do more."
The New York state governor, David Paterson, can choose Clinton's replacement to the Senate, but whoever is chosen will have to endure a run in a 2010 special election. Kennedy has engaged the services of the savvy world political player, Josh Isay (currently he is consulting for Israeli Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu). Caroline already has approached women's organizations (met with an abortion rights group this past Monday as a pro-choice candidate. She has even made the trek to the upstate areas of New York where 40% of the vote resides.
Only five years old when JFK (her father) was assassinated, Kennedy lives on the Upper East Side of Manhattan currently. A former student at Harvard University and Columbia law school, she then married Edwin Schlossberg (a designer and artist). Caroline has never changed her surname from the Kennedy moniker. She has a son and two college-aged daughters. Her mother died of cancer in 1994 and in 1999 her brother John was killed in a plane crash. She is the only immediate JFK family living member. She has written seven books rather than practice law full time. She has been the keeper of her father's legacy by being actively involved in awards and foundations bearing her father's name.
Kennedy met with Barack Obama in 2007 in hopes of using her name's influence in the Democratic primary and had indicated that Obama echoed her father's effect on politics. This is one more event that is scheming to create more excitement in the world of U.S. politics. (source: guardian.co.uk photo:BrianSnyder/Reuters)
Ahhh...legal politics and skullduggery...they have a place, quite literally, where they abound. This, according to the annual ranking by the American Tort Reform Association (ATRA) entitled "Judicial Hellholes 2008", is now available to the public in which it identifies the legal jurisdictions that civil defendants will most likely NOT be assured of a fair trial (the list follows):
- West Virginia
- South Florida
- Cook County in Illinois
- Atlantic County in New Jersey
- Montgomery & Macon Counties in Alabama
- Los Angeles County in California
- Clark County (Las Vegas) in Nevada
ATRA offers a supplementary "Watch List" of seven more jurisdictions that it can't quite classify as a "Judicial Hellhole", but sure seem to be on their way. They are: the Rio Grande Valley & Gulf Coast of Texas, Madison County Illinois, Baltimore Maryland, and St. Louis (city and county) & Jackson county Missouri. So now you've been warned...don't go to civil trial here and there. (source: pointoflaw.com)
Monday, December 15, 2008
President George W. Bush ducked a pair of shoes hurled at his head -- one shoe after the other -- in the middle of a news conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the Associated Press reports.
Both shoes narrowly missed their target and thumped loudly against the wall behind the leaders. "This is a farewell kiss, you dog!" shouted the protester in Arabic, later identified as Muntadar al-Zeidi, a correspondent for Al-Baghdadia television, an Iraqi-owned station based in Cairo, Egypt. Bush ducked both shoes as they whizzed past his head and landed with a thud against the wall behind him. "It was a size 10," Bush joked later. (Source: The Times Online-photo, Chicago Tribune and MSNBC)
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
FBI arrests Rod Blagojevich and his Chief of Staff early Tuesday morning at 6:30am on corruption charges...allegedly he is caught on tape...this news first reported by the Chicago Tribune: "A source said today that Gov. Rod Blagojevich was taken into federal custody at his North Side home this morning"... "U.S. attorney's office spokesman Randall Samborn said both Blagojevich and his chief of staff John Harris were arrested today."
The Illinois Governor indicted by Federal authorities on basically three charges: 1. selling of Obama's Senate seat (Gov has legal right to appoint successor) 2. purge of editorial board of Chicago Tribune in exchange for cutting a deal to sell Wrigley Field (mail fraud) 3. solicitation of campaign funds ("pay to play" scheme; solicitation of a bribe) Additionally, The Department of Justice alleges that in exchange for the Senate appointment, Governor Blagojevich discussed obtaining: --a substantial salary for himself at either a non-profit foundation or an organization affiliated with labor unions --placing his wife on paid corporate boards where he speculated she might garner as much as $150,000 a year --promises of campaign funds — including cash up front --a cabinet post or ambassadorship for himself --Just a side-note here, Blagojavich likes Jackson...
Some questions here:
-- How will this affect the process to fill Obama's Senate seat? Will Blagojevich make the appointment?
-- If Blagojevich decides not to resign, the Illinois state legislature could decide to impeach him. That would work as follows, per Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan's press secretary Steve Brown: (1) It would require someone to file a resolution; (2) there would then be hearings in the House; (3) there would then be a vote in the House; and (4) if the House votes to impeach, then there would be a trial in the Senate. -- If the Gov goes to prison, and former Gov. George Ryan isn't commuted by President Bush, there will be two Illinois governors in prison AT THE SAME TIME. That means that possibly Blagojevich would become the 4th Illinois governor to go to prison (following Ryan, Otto Kerner, and Dan Walker). -- Unusual that he was not allowed to surrender, but was arrested at home; apparently to prevent him from appointing the Obama Senate seat successor
-- Illiniois' lieutenant governor is Pat Quinn, a Democrat, who would replace Blagojevich if he's ousted from office.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Would Caroline be up for running a campaign through out the 62 counties of New York? This remains to be seen, as many feminist organizations are getting ready to press Governor Paterson to fill the vacant Senate seat with a female.
(photo source: Kristin Mullen/The Citizen's Voice; article source:The New York Times)
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Via Probublica we see how much is being given to whom for the bailout. Numbers are in millions of U.S. dollars.
|Bank of America (incl. Merrill Lynch)||10/14/08||details||$25,000|
|Bank of Commerce||11/13/08||details||$17|
|Bank of New York Mellon||10/14/08||details||$3,000|
|Capital Pacific Bancorp||11/06/08||details||$4|
|Cascade Financial Corp||11/03/08||details||$39|
|Citizens Republic Bancorp||11/14/08||details||$300|
|Columbia Banking System||11/04/08||details||$77|
|First Community Bancshares||10/30/08||details||$43|
|First Horizon National||10/24/08||details||$866|
|First Midwest Bancorp||11/10/08||details||$193|
|First PacTrust Bank||11/12/08||details||$19.3|
|Heritage Commerce Corp||11/05/08||details||$40|
|Home Federal Financial||10/27/08||details||$25|
|Intermountain Community Bancorp||11/7/08||details||$27|
|JP Morgan Chase||10/14/08||details||$25,000|
|Marshall & Ilsley||10/28/08||details||$1,715|
|Old National Bancorp||10/27/08||details||$150|
|Pacific Capital Bancorp||11/06/08||details||$188|
|Simmons First National||10/30/08||details||$40|
|Western Alliance Bancorporation||11/13/08||details||$140|