Monthly Archives: October 2009


ethics-9651There are currently two separate ethics investigations going on in Washington: investigations to see if Rep. Laura Richardson and Rep. Maxine Waters, both Democrats from California, violated rules of conduct. Rep. Laura Richardson’s case involves whether she received preferential treatment in the foreclosure and eventual re-acquisition of her home in Sacramento, California.

Waters is being investigated for allegedly seeking preferential treatment for a bank linked to her husband, the committee said. According to the panel’s announcement, the investigation will look into whether Waters or her husband benefited from any of her communications or actions involving One United Bank, in which her husband held stock and previously was a director.

At a time when politicians are under intense scrutiny by every pundit with a camera or a computer, one would think those same politicians would learn crime doesn’t pay. South Carolina has had its share of idiots as well, both Republicans, so it’s not limited to any one party. So what is it about politics that tends to bring out the worst in some people? Or do the statistics reflect the general population?  I can imagine the answer to that question runs the gamete of everything from stupidity to outright greed, to it isn’t any different than pick a city near you. But I think there’s a basic question that does need to be answered:  Is politics, hence party affiliation, really involved, or does the perp lose that when he or she walks the on the unethical side? My answer to that is: a crook is a crook, and what party they belong to makes no difference. I’ve seen it used too often when either a Democrat or  Republican is charged with a crime, then suddenly it’s their parties fault. One can list the unethical from both parties, and the list would be ten pages long, at least. So using party affiliation as a blaming factor for criminal behavior is pointless. Any other views?



Filed under Crimes, Elections, Ethics

Saturday, 10/31/09, Public Square

250px-Jack-o'-Lantern_2003-10-31Halloween is an annual holiday celebrated on October 31. It has roots in the Celtic festival of Samhain and the Christian holy day of All Saints. Today, it is largely a secular celebration.

The day is often associated with the colors black and orange, and is strongly associated with symbols like the jack-o-lantern. Halloween activities include trick-or-treating, wearing costumes and attending costume parties, ghost tours, bonfires, visiting haunted attractions, pranks, telling scary stories, and watching horror films.halloween_2



Filed under The Public Square

Friday, 10/30/09, Public Square

ToiletPaperLgAccording to wiki, mischief night or mischievous night is a tradition in northern England, Scotland, Ireland, Canada, and the United States; a night when the custom is for preteens and teenagers to take a degree of license to play pranks and do mischief to their neighbors. The most common date for mischief night is October 30, the day before Halloween.

I think two things:

1.  It’s a good thing I didn’t know this when I was a kid.  I limited myself to Halloween (well if you don’t count the times a group of just decided to see what kinds of trouble we could get into.)  But at least we didn’t know there was a specific day set aside!

2.  Is mischief the same today as it was when we were kids?  My memory says times were more innocent back then and so were mischievous deeds.  But then I’m sure every generation thinks they weren’t as bad as these kids of today.  🙂

So, what mischief did you get into as a kid?



Filed under The Public Square

Thursday, 10/29/09, Public Square

team workThis picture says “team work” to me.

What do you think needs to change for members of Congress to work together as a team?

As we’ve talked about often, if you discount the radicals on both ends, there is less difference between the two major political parties today than in years past.  Yet, there is no agreement.  Makes you dizzy, doesn’t it?



Filed under The Public Square

Foreign Health Care Models

sick_worldThis is a well-written article reminding Americans they don’t need to reinvent the wheel to learn some lessons about how to reduce costs and make health care more efficient and effective.  America is close to the last country to face this challenge.  So why don’t we take a longer and closer look at what other countries have done, what has been successful, and where the real challenges are that need attention.

As Americans search for the cure to what ails our health-care system, we’ve overlooked an invaluable source of ideas and solutions: the rest of the world. All the other industrialized democracies have faced problems like ours, yet they’ve found ways to cover everybody — and still spend far less than we do.

I’ve traveled the world from Oslo to Osaka to see how other developed democracies provide health care. Instead of dismissing these models as “socialist,” we could adapt their solutions to fix our problems. To do that, we first have to dispel a few myths about health care abroad.

Continue reading here.



Filed under Healthcare

Wednesday, 10/28/09, Public Square

brain taken

This is what happened to ‘Conservatives’ in their childhood!



Filed under The Public Square

Tuesday, 10/27/09, Public Square

duct tape

A “fix” for The Party of NO!



Filed under The Public Square

Freedy Johnston & Kinsley, Kansas

300px-Freedy-johnston[1]I first heard Freedy Johnston on NPR’s World Cafe where his best known album, Can You Fly? was reviewed.  I learned just recently that Johnston is from Kinsley, Kansas.  The small Edwards County town is slightly closer to Dodge City than Hutchinson on Kansas Highway 50.

According to All Music Guide: “[Johnston is] a gifted songwriter whose lyrics paint sometimes witty, often poignant, portraits of characters often unaware of how their lives have gone wrong, Freedy Johnston seemingly appeared out of nowhere in the early ’90s and quickly established himself as one of the most acclaimed new singer/songwriters of the day. Johnston was born in 1961 in Kinsley, KS, a small town with the odd distinction of being equidistant between New York City and San Francisco. Growing up, Johnston developed a strong interest in music, but living in a city without a music store or a record shop, doing something about it took some effort. When he was 16, Johnston bought his first guitar by mail order, and a year later, a friend drove him 35 miles to the nearest record store so he could buy an album he’d read about: My Aim Is True by Elvis Costello.”

KS1003011[1]Johnston headed to Lawrence and K.U. after graduating from high school.  He dropped out of college after attending less than one year.  He performed in Lawrence and was a huge fan of the local favorite new wave group, The Embarrassment.  Johnston set out for New York City in 1985.  After years of paying his dues, he produced his first album for an independent label Bar/None.  He sold off farm land that had been in the Johnston family for generations, to help produce his second album Can You Fly?  The gamble paid off and the album was named among the best of the year by the New York Times, the Village Voice, and Billboard.

Johnston managed to escape the agorophobia-producing vast open spaces of western Kansas.   With determination and hard work even citizens from Kinsley, Kansas can ascend to the world stage.


Filed under Music

They Shoot Falcon’s, Don’t They?

image5387408x[1]alg_balloon_floats[1]Thanks to my hero, Frank Rich, of the New York Times, for the inspiration for this thread.

Making money, and seeking one’s moment of fame these days is much like it was in the 1930’s  according to a recent NY Times editorial by Frank Rich.  The 1935 book, and then 1969 movie, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?, examined the common man’s desperation for survival and attention at an especially despondent time in the history of this country.  The corruption and venality of current-day reality television and the dance marathon movement of the 1930’s are compared by Rich and unsettling similarities are revealed.

So, is it so terrible to expose one’s children to real or imagined danger if the goal is 15 minutes of fame, which can in turn, be exploited for obsence profits?  Has this Great Recession become the most recent version of the Great Depression?  What do you fine bloggers think?


Filed under The Economy

Monday, 10/26/09, Public Square

Charles_StreetDeLuca’s Market, pictured here, is all dressed up for fall.  I took this picture during an October visit to Boston.  Our son lives just around the corner from this delightful market.  I’m going back in a couple of weeks and hoping winter hasn’t settled in.  Fall is nice, winter can be less than nice in Boston.

How was your weekend?  Did you get outside to enjoy our beautiful weather?  We tackled the piles of leaves, once again, knowing it would need to be done over again by next weekend.

Anything you want to talk about on this first day of a brand-new week?



Filed under The Public Square

Sunday, 10/25/09, Public Square

42-17167180A beautiful Indian Summer day is on tap in Kansas.  We can hope for many more, but get out and enjoy this one just in case ole man winter decides to horn in on our fun soon.

What are you thinking about, what would you like to discuss?



Filed under The Public Square


InbredNew York’s special election is now split three ways, and I’m not talking about a Ménage à trois. It appears the Republican Party has officially split into the GOP and the Conservative party, with people like Sarah Palin endorsing the Conservative candidate. No surprise there. Poll numbers  show Democrat Bill Owens with 33%, Republican Scozzafava with 29% and Conservative Hoffman with 23%.

This section of New York is heavily Republican, and if they joined forces, would gain a Republican seat easily.  But with the split, could lose the seat. This split has gone so far as to put out a call for all Conservatives to refrain from sending any money to the RNC. The Democrats could win huge on this split if they can get their collective together and figure out a plan to use this to their advantage. I have my doubts about their being capable of it, though.

With the Republican Party’s numbers the worst they’ve been in over 25 years, a split sounds like a losing proposition. Meanwhile, Rush is saying Obama is ruining the Democrats . . . Rush fiddles while Republicans burn.

What’s your thoughts?



Filed under Elections, Political Reform, Republicans

Saturday, 10/23/09, Public Square

NoBadDayLet’s plan to not miss any opportunity to dance.

Life is short.  Break the rules.  Forgive easily.

nobadday2Kiss slowly.  Love truly.

Laugh uncontrollably.

And never regret anything that made you smile.

Let’s refuse to have a bad day!nobadday3


Filed under The Public Square

Obama to Reform Critics, “Grab a Mop!”

NN_27obama2Barack Obama has had crowds chanting “Grab a Mop” at more than one location.  In a speech in California, Obama states:

“What I reject is when some folks sit on the sidelines and root for failure,” he said at a fundraiser in San Francisco where he was joined by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

“I’m busy,” he told the crowd. “Nancy’s busy with her mop cleaning up somebody else’s mess. We don’t want somebody sitting back saying you’re not holding the mop the right way.

“Why don’t you grab a mop? Why don’t you help clean up?

“You’re not mopping fast enough,” the president said, imitating his critics’ comments.

“That’s a socialist mop.

“Grab a mop!” he demanded. “Let’s get to work.”

The theme has proven to be so popular, that Obama used it in a speech in New Jersey today.  I like it.  What do you guys think?  Can you think of better exhortations?


Filed under Healthcare

Friday, 10/23/09, Public Square

remember_the_alamole_11Mole Day — It’s not a day to celebrate our favorite insectivore, but a day to celebrate chemistry! Mole Day was started to as a fun was to create interest in maybe a not so exciting subject. The date (October 23) and the time of its celebration (from 6:02 a.m. to 6:02 p.m.) represents , Avogadro’s Number (6.02 x 10^23), which is a basic measuring unit in chemistry.

Many high schools around the United States, South Africa and Canada celebrate Mole Day as a way to get their students interested in chemistry, with various activities often related to chemistry or moles.

For a given molecule, one mole is a mass (in grams) whose number is equal to the atomic mass of the molecule. For example, the water molecule has an atomic mass of 18, therefore one mole of water weighs 18 grams. An atom of neon has an atomic mass of 20, therefore one mole of neon weighs 20 grams. In general, one mole of any substance contains Avogadro’s Number of molecules or atoms of that substance. This relationship was first discovered by Amedeo Avogadro (1776-1858) and he received credit for this after his death.

Somehow, I expect several of you to tell me you knew a mole was something more than a furry animal that burrows, and you knew the meaning of Mole Day…  (sigh)  I learn something most every day!  Will this be today’s lesson for me?  What else can I learn today?



Filed under The Public Square