Friday, February 29, 2008

Hussein who?

SEN. JOHN McCAIN TOOK THE HIGH ROAD after one of his supporters disparagingly emphasized Barack Obama’s middle name, Hussein, during an Ohio campaign rally. Sen. Obama was named for his late father, Barack Hussein Obama, Sr., a Kenyan.

Radio talk show host Bill Cunningham repeatedly used “Hussein” in reference to the Democratic front-runner. The implied suggestion is that Sen. Obama is some kind of closet Muslim, or should be identified with Saddam Hussein. Unfortunately, there are some on the right who are now criticizing McCain for his apology.

Here is what Sen. McCain said: “I have repeatedly stated my respect for Senator Obama and Senator Clinton; I will treat them with respect. I will call them ‘senator.’ We will have a respectful debate, as I have said on hundreds of occasions. I regret any comments that may have been made about these two individuals who are honorable Americans.”

The election of a president is too serious to rest on name calling. The process should be respectful and dignified, and fought on the issues, as Sen. McCain has said.

Besides, there is more to criticize Sen. Obama for than his name. The American Civil Liberties Union gives him an 82% rating on its congressional scorecard, the second highest in the senate. Compare that to Sen. Hillary Clinton who only rates 67%. In that 82% there should be enough fodder to take down Sen. Obama, whatever his middle name happens to be.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

So Obama wanted to starve Terri . . .

TWO YEARS AGO I WAS appointed to represent a 42 year old black woman, severely retarded from birth, who was blind and deaf. She was kept alive with a feeding tube. The Iowa Department of Human Services wanted court permission to disconnect the tube. I visited the women at her bedside and interviewed the floor nurses in her ward. I filed an objection to the proposed action and during the court hearing the DHS representative, in answer to one of my questions, admitted that if the tube was withdrawn the woman would starve to death.

Fortunately, I won the case and the judge ordered the feeding tube to remain in place. Shortly afterwards I had a very pleasant phone call from Bobby Schindler, Terri Schiavo’s brother.

I was floored last evening when Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama suggested that he should have tried to block congress when it authorized federal jurisdiction for Terri’s case. Of course, from a candidate and a party that supports the infanticide under the euphemism of a “woman’s right to chose,” that should not have been a surprise.

Read the story here.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Is Easter really that early this year?

SO YOU THINK EASTER IS A BIT EARY THIS YEAR? Here’s a tid-bit I received in my e-mail the other day:

Easter is early this year. Easter is always the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring Equinox (which is March 20 this year). This dating of Easter is based on the lunar calendar that Hebrew people used to identify Passover, which is why it moves around on our Roman calendar. Based on the above, Easter can actually be one day earlier (March 22 – it’s March 23 this year) but that is pretty rare.

Here’s the interesting info: This year is the earliest Easter any of us will ever see for the rest of our lives! And only the most elderly of our population have ever seen it this early (95 years old or above). And none of us have ever, or will ever, see it a day earlier. Here are the facts:

1. The next time Easter will be this early (March 23) will be the year 2228 (220 years from now). The last time it was this early was 1913 (so if you’re 95 or older, you are the only ones that were around for that!).

2. The next time it will be a day earlier, March 22, will be in the year 2285 (277 years from now). The last time it was on March 22 was in 1818. So no one alive today has or will ever see it any earlier than this year!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Presidential first: Two Senators will face-off

MITT ROMNEY’S DEPARTURE FROM THE PRESIDENTIAL race presents an interesting historical first. Sen. John McCain will now become the Republican presidential nominee and will face either Sen. Hillary Clinton or Sen. Barack Obama in the general election.

This will be a historical first; two sitting senators will face each other in the presidential race.

My political science students are always surprised to learn that presidents don’t usually come from the senate. Governors and military men have been elected more often. In fact, only two sitting senators have been elected president: Warren G. Harding in 1920 and John F. Kennedy in 1960.* Harding’s opponent was Ohio Gov. James Cox (Franklin D. Roosevelt was his vice presidential running mate) and Kennedy’s opponent was Vice President Richard Nixon.

Immediately before they became president: William McKinley was governor of Ohio; Theodore Roosevelt was vice president; William Howard Taft was in the cabinet; Woodrow Wilson was governor of New Jersey; Harding was senator from Ohio; Calvin Coolidge was vice president; Herbert Hoover was in the cabinet; F. D. Roosevelt was governor of New York; Harry Truman was vice president; Dwight Eisenhower was former military; Kennedy was senator from Massachusetts; Lyndon Johnson was vice president; Nixon was a former vice president; Jimmy Carter was former governor of Georgia; Ronald Regan was former governor of California; the first Bush was vice president; Bill Clinton was governor of Arkansas, and the second Bush was governor of Texas.

That lists goes back to the 1896 election. You can follow the line of presidents back to George Washington and you’ll see the same pattern. Just an interesting bit of trivia you can throw into you next bar-stool conversation.

*Ironically, neither lived out his first term; Harding died in San Francisco in August of 1923 and Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas in November of 1963.

Monday, February 4, 2008

State of the Onion

THE WHITE HOUSE KITCHEN IS THE BACKGROUND for a new mystery series that is part political suspense and part amateur sleuth. My friend Julie Hyzy has produced an excellent new series beginning with the just released State of the Onion. It follows assistant White House chef Olivia (Ollie) Paras as she becomes an unwitting actor in an international assassination plot during her campaign to succeed her friend as the top presidential chef.

The book starts quickly with a bang (or a bong), as Ollie uses an engraved frying pan, meant as a gift for her retiring boss, to stop a man being chased by the secret service across the White House lawn. One thing leads to the next as Ollie’s small bout of heroism gets her drug into to a murderous plan to sabotage the president’s mid-east peace initiative. As the unsuspecting Ollie dodges attempts on her own life, she is also being upstaged by her chief rival for the executive chef position; all under the nose of her secret, secret service beau Tom MacKenzie who is all but powerless to help her out.

A good, fast read for anyone who likes suspense in any genre. And the book has a nice bonus: an appendix full of informal presidential recipes.

A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery. Paperback.