Monday, September 29, 2008


One of my heroes is Barney Franks who is the Democrats "point man" on the bailout fiasco, (which, as of this writing, failed) the House Financial Services Chairman. What endears Barney to me is that he is not terribly unlike Barney and Friends on TV's Discovery Chanel, watched by my three year old granddaughter, Lilly. On TV's Barney, they end with "Barney Says." These are little lessons on living life that 3 year olds get.

Well, in the financial bailout, the bankers and those related who have gotten us into this mess could use a little "Barney says." Most of the bankers should remember "Barney Says" from a former encounter. He was a last minute sub for some big bankers Association. Here they are at this big gathering, waiting to be told how great they are. Barney gets up and "flays the sheep" so to speak. He tells them how sorry they are and how they are responsible for the many ills which Americans face. He tells them they don't care for the poor, adinfinitum. And, just as he is getting warmed up, someone is heard to say, "who invited this guy?"

What makes this amazingly remarkable is that this was several years ago but in light of this present crisis, it is like yesterday. So, what am I saying? Well, along with Warren Buffet (although the majority of the "girlfriends" say that Warren is part of the same group as Paulson and consequently has a vested interest), I trust Barney to keep our best interest at heart.

For most of us, we don't understand how this has happened. We surely can't see into the future to see what might happen if we don't do something. How can we know? The ones who got us into this mess and lined their pockets don't even know. So for now, it is BARNEY SAYS.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


The so called "surge" has been touted as the singular aspect of strategy that has literally changed the course of the Iraq war. Not really even as we acknowledge and are grateful for the decrease in violence. But, let us be realistic in what has happened. Plain and simple, a new doctrine of counterinsurgency has been initiated. And, this doctrine in the very beginning is "get the local populace on your side." And, I might add, in any way you can. However, here is the rub: the very idea that the Iraqis will have an acceptable measure of peace is as elusive as ever, even if temporarily, violence is down.

And, here is why. In the latest scenario, the Shiite led government will begin to man checkpoints and in general assume control over the Sunni fighters known as the Sons of Iraq (also called Awakening Councils). These are the guys that were killing Americans when the new strategy was initiated. We paid them to come over to our side. It worked, they quit shooting at us. However, the strategy now stands a good chance of coming unraveled. Lions may lay down with lambs in Biblical analogies but not in Iraq. The strategy can only continue to work if we stay in Iraq forever and back the Sons of Iraq. And, then it is only a "maybe." My view.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Recently, I took a trip back to North Carolina to see my brothers. I do this about every three months or so. I knew that it was going to be hard to avoid politics but didn't realize truly how difficult it would be. Politically, most are not on a different planet, rather a different galaxy. I have to shake my head because of this "sea change." Growing up, simply everybody was a Democrat. On this trip, I felt like what someone once said, "A lonely wanderer on a wind swept sea." There were a few times when I would be in a room full of people and be the only Democrat, two shakes from being "stoned." For my brothers, other than me, my Dad is turning over in his grave repeatedly. And, the idea of how the South has changed would not hack it with him. Sorry Dad.

There is simply no reasoning to their position. I gave my view of "forget the candidates, tell me one thing that is right with the country." Do we want four more years of "W." NO COMMENT. And, I follow with the idea that when things happen on a person's watch, even if it is politics, the leader has to take the "hit." The nobody's home look. I usually follow with the idea that I hope this is not prejudice since we have a black man running for President. "Oh no, everybody insist." Yes, I believe that .

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


When 9-11 happened, I, along with the rest of the country, wondered what our country would look like once we figured it out. We still don't know but something a friend said resonated with me at the time and is still with me: "9-11 has forever changed our country and everybody in it and anybody who has anything to do with America."

This has proven to be true. One of the very subtle ways I think the country has changed is the perpetual suspicion which is a part of our lives: suspicions of those who are different. Here's an example: On the bus, as I was crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, I glanced up and noticed a woman in a burka and beyond us, coming toward the bridge, very close, was a gigantic container ship: my first thought: how ironic that I'm in a bus with a Muslim woman, crossing the GG Bridge and my first thought is terrorism. It is in our psyche, a completely new phenomena, only since 9-11. Can any of us say that when see someone, a different look, someone we perceive to be Muslim, that our minds don't take us to Suspiciousville.

Other things, of course, remind us that life has forever changed. For one thing, two wars going on with the continuing reminders of young Americans dying, not to mention, Iraqi and Afghan innocents being blown up with regularity. (These events may have left the front pages of our newspapers but they are still going on). And, my personal pick, Gitmo where we are still holding low level types acting like they are major terrorists.

On a personal basis, I think that we simply have to protect ourselves the very best we can and then not worry about it. It is the only way to preserve our American way of life. God bless those who gave their lives in whatever ways on that fateful day of 9-11!