Tag: president

So You Want to be President – Learn to Play a Musical Instrument

So You Want to be President – Learn to Play a Musical Instrument

President Harry S. Truman, the man in the White House when the United States intervened on behalf of the millions of innocent people who were being displaced and massacred by Hitler’s Nazi Germany, claimed to have practiced his piano lessons for two hours every morning during his childhood. Likewise, President Warren Harding was said to be able to play every instrument except the trombone and the clarinet. Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) played the organ. Of course we all remember President Clinton and his saxophone, but did you know that President Nixon was an accomplished pianist?

And more recently a girl who was a musician long before she became an academic and then a world-famous diplomat, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is a very accomplished classical pianist. As she was growing up in the Rice home music was a family affair, and as early as age 3 Condi played piano at family gatherings. Her Dad was a minister and she often accompanied her organist Mother in church. The name “Condoleezza” is from the Italian phrase con dolcezza, which refers to playing music “with sweetness.” While other kids in her neighorhood were playing outdoors, she was more likely to be found practicing the piano or reading a book.

Politics and the 80/20 Principle

Politics and the 80/20 Principle

We all know by now that the 80/20 principle states that 80% of our business comes from 20% of our customers and 80% of our complaints come from 20% of them as well.

So what do I mean when I refer to an 80/20 principle in politics? If seems to me, and this is just my opinion based on decades of observation – that maybe 10% of the people are on the far left. And 10% are on the far right. That leaves the vast majority – 80% in between.

The 20% get the majority of the media attention, their respective political parties act as if everyone agrees with “their” 10% and hated the other party’s 10% passionately.

The founding fathers, recognizing that our country was too big – even then, for everybody to sit around a big table in Philadelphia, established a representative democracy. We, the people, elect folks to represent us.

These representatives go to our state houses and to Washington as our representatives. They are there to do our bidding. They work for us. They represent us.

Well that was the theory anyway. It turns out that they have a different agenda. It looks like this to me. First they want to get re-elected, forever. Second, they want their party to control things so they (whoever ‘they’) are can do what their party wants and not what we, the people, want. And finally, they want to make sure that whatever the other party does, tries to do, or proposes – fails.

A better Bailout

A better Bailout

Recently I was talking to a friend about how little good Bush’s bailout and Obama’s economic stimulus bill were doing. My suggestion was to give everyone over 60 two million dollars. I was only half joking. Then my brother in law sent me this via email:

Dear Mr. President:

Please find below my suggestion for fixing America ‘s economy. Instead of giving billions of dollars to companies that will squander the money on lavish parties and unearned bonuses, use the following plan.

You can call it the Patriotic Retirement Plan:

There are about 40 million people over 50 in the work force. Pay them $1 million apiece severance for early retirement with the following stipulations:

1) They MUST retire. Forty million job openings – Unemployment fixed.
2) They MUST buy a new American CAR. Forty million cars ordered – Auto Industry fixed.
3) They MUST either buy a house or pay off their mortgage – Housing Crisis fixed.

It can’t get any easier than that! If more money is needed, have all members of Congress and their constituents pay their taxes…

Now in principal I heartily agree but unless my math is wrong forty million times one million is forty trillion. I don’t think even the government would spend that much money.  Of course my idea of giving everyone over sixty $2,000,000 isn’t going to work either.

The eight signs of terrorism

The eight signs of terrorism

When I came across this little tidbit I was both amused and frightened. Without further ado I give you the eight signs of terrorism (according to our government) and my comments.
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Terrorist operations usually begin with extensive planning. You can help prevent and detect terrorism — and other types of crime — by watching out for suspicious activities and reporting them to the proper authorities. Be alert for the eight signs of terrorism!

1. Surveillance- Someone recording or monitoring activities. This may include the use of cameras, note taking, drawing diagrams, annotating on maps, or using binoculars or other vision-enhancing devices.
So the next time you go on vacation don’t look too long at any national monument and for God’s sake leave your camera at home.

2. Elicitation- People or organizations attempting to gain information about military operations, capabilities, or people. Elicitation attempts may be made by mail, email, telephone, or in person. This could also include eavesdropping or friendly conversation.
Elicitation, now that’s a real nice big word, I’ll bet George Bush was never able to pronounce it. If I’m reading this correctly – and I probably am – anytime someone talks to you or someone else it could be a terrorist action. And if you happen to overhear them talking then you could be a terrorist. Turn yourself in now. They saved the best for last – now I should also be suspicious of friendly conversation. I don’t want to be a hermit but I guess I’ll have to otherwise the terrorists win.

When Wright is Wrong

When Wright is Wrong

God Damn America. Most Americans don’t agree with that statement. Presidential candidate Barrack Obama doesn’t and yesterday in Philadelphia gave another inspiring speech denouncing much of what Reverend Wright delivered from the pulpit.

Unlike many politicians Obama didn’t distance himself from Reverend Wright but embraced him. At one point Obama said, “As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me.” I think every person in America understood exactly what that means. You don’t throw your family away even though they may be embarrassing at times.

My mother always told me to hate the sin but love the sinner. I think that’s a subtlety lost on many of todays right wing politicians and religious leaders. Many of whom just a few short weeks ago were implying Obama was a Muslim are now saying Obama has been going to a Christian Church for years where the pastor is a racist. I guess the idea is to throw enough mud untill it sticks.

To his credit Obama was mostly silent on the attempted religious slurs (even though being a Muslim is not a slur) but tackled the issue of race firmly and decisively. He continued and clarified his campaign of hope and unity saying, “We can dismiss Reverend Wright as a crank or a demoagogue, just as some have dismissed Geraldine Ferraro, in the aftermath of her recent statements, as harboring some deep-seated racial bias, but race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now. We would be making the same mistake that Rev. Wright made in his offending sermons about America — to simplify and stereotype and amplify the negative to the point that it distorts reality.”