Lonesome Tree in Sandhills

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The LiteSide: First Arms Debate

I have some observations to share about the President's address to Congress last night.

The First Arms debate is not about proliferation or reduction of nuclear arms. NonsenseNews is up in arms over the First Arms of First Lady Michelle Obama. 1,440 hits on Google in 24 hours, 2680 hits in 1 week and 11,400 hits over the last month! Media focus on the First Lady's First Arms would make one think bare arm wrestling will be the new sport of arms negotiations.

President Obama used his gift of oratory to chide and inspire with the best of them - he gives as good as he gets. Couldn't tell by watching Republicans, but the GOP did the same to Pres. Clinton and Democrats did likewise during Pres. Bush 43's addresses. So what else is new? Gov. Jindal is new... as a GOP spokesperson. I heard so many good things about him, I wanted to like him... but he simply does not have the gift of oratory.

Wish now I had taught my kids to clap every time I said something they liked and if they really, really liked it, to stand up and clap really hard with an occasional long "whooey" too! Too late now that they're almost as old as the First Couple and parents themselves. Parents today should consider whether they're teaching their children to respect them today, tomorrow and when they're my age.

The LiteSide: Music, Maps & Innovators

On The LiteSide: Discover another world of Music, Maps and Innovators!  Wiki, OpenSource, CreativeCommons, OpenStreetsMap are bringing delightful changes in the world.  Check out the video in the sidebar!

CreativeCommons ... Creative Commons (CC) is a nonprofit organization that creates free tools and software for authors, scientists, artists, and educators.
Jamendo ... Enjoy and legally download free music.  Discover new musicians in the largest Creative Commons (CC) catalog in the world (in 7 languages).
Jamendo's Blog ... Learn what's new in the world of music (in 5 languages).
OpenStreetsMap ... Free World Wiki Map that continuously maps countries.  Edits were made by 20,000 people in 2008.  ITO World provides free online support software for OpenStreetMap.
Ideas in Transit ... Engages User Innovators, utilizing an Innovations Portal on Wiki, to find solutions to problems facing transport systems and users, and provides incubator funding of sub-projects.  A collaboration of government, commercial and academic leaders and networks, it uses 'bottoms-up' people rather than 'top-down' industry as a powerful new source of innovation to influence transport decisions.

Video: OSM 2008: A Year of Edits by ItoWorld
Financial support from Ideas in Transit
Music by Vincent Girès' Silence: Open Electro
(Open Source Audio hosted on Internet Archive.org)

Access White House Info

Open and sharing are beyond buzz words now.  President Obama is meeting his commitment to be the most open and accessible Administration in American history.  The websites WhiteHouse.org and Recovery.org provide citizens with open access to information.  Citizens can also give their ideas, thoughts or complaints to the Administration by direct communication online.  Access to the Internet is available at most local libraries.  Folks, it just doesn't get any easier than this!

Read the Constitution and the history of melding divergent views.  Introduce your kids/grandkids to White House Fun Facts with photos of White House Pets:  Johnson's beagles Him & Her, or Bush's Millie & her puppies in "executive" service (Spot returned with George W.).

The White House Briefing Room blogs daily with summaries, documents, videos and transcripts. Automatic updates are available by email or RSS/Atomic Feeder.

My greatest hope is that we stop the mean-spirited sniping.  With access to the same information the media get, do we need their one-sided negative commentary to form our opinions?  The negativity that shrouds our country is old, gets us nowhere, and sure doesn't help our country get better. 

Read what happened at the Fiscal Responsibility Summit held Mon., Feb. 23rd, when Congressional and nonprofit representatives met with the President to discuss: Owning Up To What We Owe

Read about the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan -- the Q&A identifies who can qualify and how to get help.  Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan explained....
The President has talked about the solution to this economic crisis as a stool with several legs, and his commitment to a comprehensive approach was clear when he moved from the first leg, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, immediately into the second and third legs, the Financial Stability Plan and the Mortgage Affordability Plan. This started as a mortgage crisis, and then a credit crisis, but it’s become a job crisis, so we have to take it on all at once.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Tax TARP Recipients

I am outraged, too! What was Congress thinking... or at least the idiots who wrote TARP?!

Now I really like your style, Senator McCaskill, but you are singing to the choir out here. So roll up your sleeves & go to work fast to amend the tax code if you want to recoup most of that money.

Beginning with TY2008:
  1. Apply a 70% tax rate to total salaries over $500,000 received from a TARP recipient, including stock options valued as of January 1, 2008.
  2. Apply an 80% tax rate to the total value of bonuses received by anyone earning more than $250,000 from a TARP recipient.
  3. Disallow any personal deductions up to the total amount of salaries and bonuses received from a TARP recipient.
  4. Eliminate deductions for entertainment and marketing expenses claimed by a TARP recipient or by any employee of a TARP recipient.
If you can get this passed, you will be forever America's HERO!!!

Sup. Ct. Justice Ginsburg

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer today. Pancreatic cancer is a killer - few can survive it. Let's hope this tenacious lady does. Perhaps only 'old' lawyers like me understand the significance of this great American. Like Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, she has been a hero to many... & is in my thoughts & prayers.

Gearing up for Afghanistan

Anyone who thinks Pres. Obama isn't serious about routing Al Queda from its cozy mountain retreat just isn't paying close attention. Obama talks softly... to those who are listening... especially in the Middle East.

He's also carrying a BIG stick. Don't believe it? Listen carefully to this webcast of Secretary Gates testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Now look closely at who Obama has forming AND carrying out US policy on Afghanistan...

Obama has now tapped Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry as ambassador to Afghanistan. Eikenberry is about to retire as deputy chairman of NATO’s military committee in Brussels, but he served in Afghanistan twice, including an 18-month command tour, earning a reputation for spotting problems early. He's a West Pointer with master’s degrees from Harvard and Stanford. Obama's special envoy, Richard Holbrooke, backed Eikenberry because he knows all the players in Afghanistan & developed close ties with European NATO allies that haven't met their support obligations.

If the Senate approves, Eikenberry would become the 4th active-duty or retired general on Obama's 'team' setting policy on Afghanistan, along with Gen. Petraeus(CENTCOM), Gen. McKiernan (Afghanistan Commander), retired USMC Gen. Jones (National Security Advisor). HELLO!