Monday, November 24, 2014

Injustice in Ferguson Not Relieved by a Good Grand Jury Decision

As the prosecuting attorney droned on in an attempt
to qualify (-spin) the skate-off awarded to Officer
Wilson by the Grand Jury, I realized the man
would not be charged. There was no reason not to
get immediately to the point other than to set up
the "rationale" for this ill-advised decision.

Even the devising of the Grand Jury itself was not
balanced: of the 12, only THREE were African
American. If they didn't actually agree with
the others' "no probable cause" sentiment,
what influence could they have had? It took
nine of the 12 to craft the outcome, so you
do the math. Ferguson is 67% black; how
does that translate into only three African-
Americans sitting on the Grand Jury?

I am disgusted and disheartened. With the
sharp decline in the intellectual ability of
most in key positions, married to the lack
of a vigorous electorate there in Ferguson,
the events since August were almost
preordained. I hope this is a wake-up
call to voters there; more blacks on the
local council and the police department
just might produce more reasonable,
equitable policies and practices...

But 'til then, this Grand Jury decision will stand
as another example of status-quo injustice.

It's the Wrong Time for Hagel to Resign

I have long held that Mr. Obama's White House advisers
are less than competently assured, less than what we
need in the Age of Terror; they demonstrate an unfortunate
sense of timing now, in insisting on Chuck Hagel's
resignation, which has been accepted. There should
be continuity at Defense while we struggle to handle
extremely problematic affairs in the Middle East. There
will be a power and policy vacuum while a transition
occurs, and no shining candidate for Defense Secretary
springs to mind.

Beginning with Axelrod and Plouffe, Mr. Obama
has favored his political Chicago connections, not
taking a page from Abraham Lincoln in presiding
over a diverse cabinet--except for appointing Mr.
Hagel, a moderate Republican who served in
Vietnam. These two characteristics made Hagel
a fine choice, which Obama now spurns on the
advice of his Chicago hacks.

The timing here couldn't be worse. The president
is wrong, Mr. Hagel has not "completed" anything,
not while ISIS runs rampant, among other nettlesome
dangers. There IS still time, however, for Mr. Obama
to complete an unfortunate chapter in his presidency--
get rid of most of his Chicago-based White House
inner circle...

No time like the present.


[Our president could ask former president Jimmy
Carter to be his Middle East adviser; Mr. Carter
is highly knowledgeable in Middle East Affairs,
is well liked there, has written important
books about the area. Why not? He certainly
has more foreign policy awareness and sensitivity
than anyone currently on the team.  But pride
rather than statesmanship will prevent such
an inspired appointment.]         

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Early Winter, 2014: Beware and Prepare

After seeing the six foot snowfall today in Buffalo, NY,
as well as the record cold temps nationwide, I am afraid
of what this portends for the season starting now rather
than in December. We'd better prepare NOW, as
more Polar Vortexes beckon:

(1) Blankets and flares for your cars
(2) Extra water and some small edibles
(3) Extra batteries for your cell phones
(4) Good, sharp shovels for your cars
(5) Buy salt and/or sand now
(6) Proper winter weight antifreeze
(7) Good boots with gripping soles
[forget the sexy high heeled styles]

Stay home if at all possible when such
storms blow, and shovel sensibly to avoid
heart attacks, which took some lives already
this week.

Winter, 2014: Beware and Prepare

Latest Palestinian Brutality Obscures Real Issues

A murderous machete in a house of worship? No
matter the underlying issues, such horrors in a holy
place can't be countenanced. I suspect sympathy for
the Palestinians' problems with Israel dims after an
atrocity like this. In the Palestinian areas, there were
celebrations complete with candy offered to drivers
and passersby. How nauseating! It's one thing to
kill for survival, quite another merely to make a

I have taken the Palestinians' side many times, as
Israel has wronged them, plain and simple. But
this latest brutality will not help their cause, even if
they feel some empty victory at the moment. All
they have achieved is murder most crude, while
the conflicts between Israel and Palestine remain.
Where are effective leaders on both sides here?
Answer: they don't exist. Netanyahu and Abbas
are incompetent.

Meanwhile, the latest brutality shocks the world
and obscures the real issues.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

2014's Republican Rout: Now It's About Accountability

We WILL be looking at the party in power to abandon the
politics of "no", simply opposing the Democratic president, as
the mantle of responsibility now rests squarely on them. OK,
Republicans, you have the ball. What are you planning to DO
with it??

In Illinois, Governor-Elect Rauner has vowed to "Shake up
Springfield", whatever THAT that a prescription
for problem-solving here?  In DC, now that Mitch McConnell
leads the Senate, will he actually do his job, stop simply blocking
the president?  Soooo many questions, so few good answers.

The middle class and the poor are the real losers here; even
though they are the majority numerically, Tuesday's Republican
Rise is very bad news for them. Did voters decide to hitch their
wagons to a star, figuring the conservative rich really have the
answers to their problems and the country's woes?  I think not:
I see more bone-headed decisions like Citizens United in our
future. The "greater good" is not a conservative mantra;
"More for me and mine" IS.

The Republicans have a slim two years to prove they are
able, willing to work for all of  us, rather than their friends
in the 1%.  I don't see this happy outcome, however...
but we will be watching--now it's about accountability,
and results. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Evil of Two Lessers: Rauner and Quinn for Illinois' Governor

Neither of these two men are stellar candidates, but Rauner
seems to be someone who won't care for the average Illinois
resident; he lines up solidly with the 1% instead...are there
numbers large enough in that 1% to win him the election on
Tuesday? If even one out of four of the advertised allegations
against him are accurate, he indeed is not fit to be governor,
as one TV ad concluded. --Heavens! Rauner-owned nursing
home abuses, threats against one of his CEOs, etc. These
charges, cited in Illinois mainstream media, are extremely
troubling. Curiously, the very same newspapers reporting
Rauner's bad actions also are endorsing him...don't their
editorial boards read their own expose's?  I'd vote for myself
for governor before voting for this guy, who has ZERO
legislative experience.  

That only leaves Governor Quinn. Yes, he has made mistakes,
particularly regarding his unconstitutional 2014-2015 Illinois
Budget address, but his misdeeds pale in comparison to
Rauner's. Quinn has always had the little guy's interests
at heart, going back to his consumer advocate days. He
has never been money-mad to the detriment of every other
important consideration, which matters to me.

So we here in Illinois have the Evil of Two Lessers in our
choice for governor--my vote is for Quinn, the better of
the two lessers.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Latest Ebola Errors Start With Nurse Amber Vinson

The earlier smug assurance about U.S. hospitals'
superior technical expertise has given way to many
misgivings--chief among them, the CDC's failure to
rush a "swat" training team to Dallas the instant Mr.
Duncan arrived there--but they are not alone. Texas
Health Presbyterian was lax in several important ways,
resulting in two nurses contracting Ebola, possibly
over one hundred other health care workers being
exposed as well...where is Dr. Anthony Fauci,
former CDC  head, when we need him? He's now
at NIH, but he would be better, more effective,
back at the CDC, where he served with brilliant

Amber Vinson, a nurse, should never have boarded
any plane. Even with her fever being a low grade
one, she knew fevers rise, should have had the wit
and the grace to cancel her flight. But no, she had
those all-important wedding plans to confab about
with family and friends. Calling the CDC was simply
a way to obtain a get out of jail free card; she may
have infected hundreds of passengers in her quest.
Curiously, the media has criticized everyone else
EXCEPT Ms. Vinson in the recent U.S. Ebola
scare. I'm sorry she is ill, but she should have put
the interests of others before her own.

If health care workers won't isolate themselves,
authorities must step in: prohibit any U.S. plane
travel for any medical staff dealing with Ebola
patients, and begin travel bans to and from
West Africa. These latest Ebola errors started
with a nurse who behaved irresponsibly; let's
institute procedures which remove such decisions
from the individual.

P.S.: My first name is also Amber. I certainly hope
I would have behaved more carefully than this.