Washington Times Updates Style Guide Over Gay Marriage And Immigrants

I do not think I have ever mentioned The Washington Times on my blog before.  The paper is just too conservative, but more importantly less than objective in the way they report the news.  I guess there might be something also about the paper being founded and owned by Rev. Sun Myung Moon that makes me less inclined to read it.  But today there is news to report in how the paper will write news stories.  Salon writes that “the quotation marks will come off gay marriage (preferred over homosexual marriage.)”

Also “Gay is approved for copy and preferred over homosexual, except in clinical references or references to sexual activity”

It is a small step to be sure, but a nasty habit that is now gone from the paper.  In addition there will be a style change to another issue that confronts the nation. 

“We will use illegal immigrants, not illegal aliens.”

One still must ask why these types of changes took so long.  We can only applaud the new executive editor John Solomon.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

Democratic Superdelegate Endorsement List

The daily news from the Democratic presidential campaigns over the all important fight for delegates and superdelegates is just remarkable to watch.   This week when Congressman John Lewis made a gut wrenching decision it was among the big stories of the day.  I really felt his angst when I heard him explain his rationale.  I have long respected the man for his service to the big goals of our nation.

There is a fantastic site devoted to the daily news of the upcoming Democratic Conventionthis year, which includes the intrigue and passion of gathering the superdelegates.  Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama understand very well how to orchestrate the moves, and therefore one needs a scorecard to keep track.    2008 Democratic Convention Watch is a must read. And as such it has also been added to my blogroll.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

State Representative Frank Lasee Fails To Hear The Needs Of Deaf Children In Wisconsin

When a legislator has become so controlled and owned by the special interests that he can look at a deaf child and not seek a solution, then it is time to make a change. 

I hold to an old fashioned notion that governing should be about insuring that the lives of the public improve, and they be as productive as possible.  That the roadblocks which impedes the path of the public be lowered, if not totally eliminated.  And above all that the common good always be the primary reason to make a law.

It therefore goes without saying I would be opposed to a Wisconsin State Representative that would use a position of power to stop legislation that would require insurance companies from paying for hearing aids or surgery for a deaf child.  And it is fair to say I would be very upset if that same representative while working against Wisconsin families, was also taking campaign cash from the insurance lobby, and doing their shameless bidding under the statehouse dome.

But sadly that is the case with State Representative Frank Lasee.  As Chairperson of the Assembly Insurance Committee, Lasee is not shy about making sure his campaign contributors in the insurance industry are well taken care of.  In fact, the insurance companies are the third leading contributors to the ‘Lasee Largess’, better known as his campaign coffers.  When the industry gives to Lasee, they expect something.  

This month Lasee was adamant that a bill to deny insurance companies the right to use a persons credit score when setting premiums would never leave his committee. Now his lack of desire to see a bill enacted in Wisconsin that would require insurance companies to pay for hearing aids or surgery for deaf children is yet another sign that special interests have a hold on the member from the 2nd Assembly District.

The problem is more dire however than just the obvious fact that money and special interests has prevented the political process from working properly.  The end result of the collision between special interests and sound public policy in this case are the deaf children.   God forbid that Frank Lasee would want to do anything to help out the parents with such a situation.  I mean why would Representative Lasee want to help out a parent like Beth Lidtke when he has pals like Northwestern Mutual, and Sentry Insurance?

Beth Lidtke said her son Abraham was born with one deaf ear. At 2, he lost the hearing in his other ear, making it necessary for the family to spend $4,000 on hearing aids.

“It was a long and frustrating road figuring out whether insurance would pay for it,” Lidtke said. “You pay so much for insurance. It’s supposed to be about paying for the unknown things that come up in life. We finally needed it and they would not pay.”

Lidtke said that soon the hearing aid was no longer working well enough and Abraham needed a cochlear implant for that ear.

“The cochlear implant changed his life,” Lidtke said. “But dealing with the insurance company again just drained me.”

The costs have been substantial. Now 7, Abraham wears a $7,000 piece of equipment. The surgery for the implant was around $100,000.

After hearing stirring testimony such as this mother above how can any responsible elected official not schedule the bill for a vote at once?  He had the power to do so.  But Frank Lasee will never let this bill out of committee as his lobbying pals will not let him.

It is quite clear that the citizens in the 2nd Assembly District have a chance to help the entire state when they vote in November.  That is not only an honor for these voters, but also a real responsibility. By casting a ballot for Democrat Ted Zigmunt to replace Frank Lasee, the best friend to the insurance lobby, the voters can help place a truly concerned and ethical man into office. 

When a legislator has become so controlled and owned by the special interests that he can look at a deaf child and not seek a solution, then it is time to make a change.  And soon.

Ted Zigmunt will have the moral compass to make the right decisions for the people in Northeast Wisconsin, and deaf children throughout the state.


Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Do We Want Barack Obama Or Hillary Clinton In Our Home?

Recently I had the chance to talk with a radio broadcaster from Chicago.  In our conversation I expressed my thanks to him for being the type of radio talk show host that I wanted to invite into my home.  After all, that is the way every radio and TV personality should be evaluated by all Americans.  Are they the type we honor by inviting them through the airwaves into our homes? Are they of the caliber and character to be in our space?

I think that at some level that is also the way we make our choice for President of the United States.  After all the debate about health care and immigration, and the many other vital issues that impact our nation, I think it comes down to who is more likely to be welcome as a long term guest in our home via the television?  Who has the ability to engage us in a long-term conversation as our leader on the evening news, and political shows without us wanting to bar them at the door?

Senator Hillary Clinton surprised me by being so ‘accessible’ when I met and talked with her in Madison the night before the Wisconsin Primary.  On television she has tried to make herself into a tough leader who could make the hard decisions, but by doing so has in effect made herself come across as less friendly and more hard-edged.  So when she walked with calm composure and made herself available with effortless laughter and intelligent conversation at her campaign rally my first thought was how ‘assessible’ as a person she could be.  That side of her is very hard to discern on television. 

Barack Obama has a talent for conversation and thoughtful dialogue that demand we listen and pay attention.  He is well suited for the camera and the television screen.  His calm demeanor and slow delivery enhances the connection with his television audience.  It is due to that type of speech pattern that 63% of the Democratic Primary electorate in the latest CBS/New York Times poll state that Obama cares about them “a lot”.  It is due to that effective use of language and media image that creates a personal feeling for Obama that places him comfortably ahead of Clinton in the nominating process.   We want to like our leaders, and the fact that many already love him is why so many are ready to invite him into their homes for the next four years.

I have met many politicians over the years (that is my thing) and there have been a handful that was so very different in person as opposed to being on television.  Vice-President Al Gore, and former Illinois Senator Paul Simon are two examples of not having a strong television presence, but having warm and remarkable personalities up-close and in person.  On the other hand, I found former Senator Bob Dole, and former Democratic nominee Mike Dukakis as dry as dust when I met them.  Sadly they matched their TV image. 

Would I rather have a substantive candidate with a less than desirable personality elected President in order to have the correct decisions made over the fate of the nation?  Yes.  But that is not how the media driven elections in America work.  After all, President Bush was judged to be the one most Americans would want to have a beer with.  Today we realize that the wooden image of Al Gore on TV would have been far preferable to the former cheerleader from Texas.  But in this media age I do not think it possible to decide our President solely on the merits of the issues, or the leadership strengths of the candidate themselves.  There is that ‘thing’ that the TV lens amplifies in some candidates, and totally misses in others that will be the deciding factor in the Democratic primaries to come, and the general election this fall.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

William F. Buckley, Jr. Was A Joy To Listen To

I would be remiss if I did not mention the death of William F. Buckley, Jr. today.  As a teenager I found myself watching his “Firing Line” program, and was in awe that someone could have such a rich and diverse vocabulary.  And use all the words in such a way that the ordinary sentence was almost poetry.  While listening to his program I would learn new words for my own usage.  When was the last time anyone said that about a television program? 

I know of very few people on television that could ever match his intellectual power.  While his political point of view was often in sharp contrast to mine I was never able to stop listening to the way he spoke.  Even years later, in the occasional interview on televison, I would be drawn to his slightly elitist charm and world-class intelligence.

Many years ago in an interview he commented that he always was writing and working on the issues that confronted the nation, and challenged his mind.  That struck me as a noble way to live part of ones life.  As CNN reports, Buckley died doing what he enjoyed.

Buckley died while at work,” said Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of the National Review Online, in a written statement. “If he had been given a choice on how to depart this world, I suspect that would have been exactly it. At home, still devoted to the war of ideas.”

I guess the best programs he ever did on the air, in my estimation, were the debates that he orchestrated and helped star in.  Powerful thinkers engaged in serious dialogue on issues that mattered.  Sadly, much has passed over the years, including the art of debate without rancor.

We always say when the big names such as William F. Buckley pass away, that we will not see their kind again.

In this case it is true.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Diebold Accidentally Leaks Results Of 2008 Election Early

This video came my way tonight via a friend.   Looks like FAUX News with their war-loving intro, and feels like GOP tactics as we know them to be.  The Onion Newspaper at their best.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

I Pity Those Who Steal From A Cemetery

Shortly before Christmas, James and I bought a handsome wreath of dried pinecones anchored on grape vines, accented with red cranberries and apples.  It was a very emotional purchase. My mom had just passed away in August.  After traveling from Madison to Hancock, I added some personal touches of white pine greenery that I cut myself from the woods on my parent’s land.  We had also purchased a wreath stand, but due to the snow and ice cover at that time, found it difficult to place it at the cemetery.  My dad helped fashion a way to make the stand work.  Lots of thought and care went into this simple token of love at Christmas, a way to honor my mom.

As I walked in knee high snow in the cemetery this past Sunday I noticed at once that the wreath was gone.  The stand was still there, anchored as my dad had envisioned, but someone had stolen the wreath from the grave.  I was stunned and sickened even as I dug through the snow hoping that I was wrong.  How could anyone remove something from a cemetery left by a loved one?

I am hurt over this theft, but I feel more sadness for the person who stole it, or perhaps pity.  What would one do with a wreath that was intended for a grave?  My mom would have said that if someone ‘needed’ something so badly they would steal from a cemetery that they could just have it.  My guess is though that the artificial apples on my wreath would hardly feed a hungry family.  What type of person benefits from such an inhumane act?  We will plant a dogwood in her memory at our Madison home this spring, along with white pines from the family woods.  They are only symbols, like the wreath, of what can never be stolen away.  Love.  On the one hand, for as long as we live my mom will always be honored with pretty flowers and wreaths at her grave.  On the other, no one can ever steal away the sad knowledge that this unfortunate thief carries inside, the knowledge that s/he stole from a cemetery.

There are many times when I wonder what is happening to the social fabric of our country. The bonds that united people in a sensible and caring fashion seem to be unraveling.   I tend to think of the social breakdowns as being ‘out there’, and not in our small town communities.  But this past Sunday as I visited my mother’s grave in Hancock I was struck by the fact that even in small towns the points of human connection that we take for granted have become frayed and torn.  I have to wonder where we are headed as a nation.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

Barack Obama Political Cartoons

I have posted political cartoons on my blog for most of the major presidential contenders running this year.  So I guess now it is time to promote a site that features political drawings of the next President of the United States.   


Technorati Tags: , , , , ,