November 2008

Today, as many know, is Thursday, November 27th, also known as Thanksgiving Day.

We here at the Winkest Link wish you all the best over this holiday weekend. For those traveling, we hope you drive safe, wear your seatbelt, don’t run with scissors, and any other pearls of wisdom we are forgetting. In honor of Thanksgiving Day, this will be the last post for the week.

As I couldn’t fit in many turkey jokes in this post, I will refer you to these websites, as well as this wonderful poem that was made solely for this day:

‘Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving


‘Twas the night before Thanksgiving,

And all through the house,

Not a creature was stirring,

Not even a turkey.


All of a sudden,

The turkey woke up!

And saw thirteen sharp axes,

All nicely hung up.


The turkey was frightened,

And he flew away,

So the family went hungry,

On Thanksgiving Day.

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© 2008 Winkest Link

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Thus far the only rivalries I’ve noticed are of egos, and not the waffles either.

I am going to look at Obama’s picks, and likely picks and sort them out.

Peter Orszag is Obama’s choice for director of the Office of Management and Budget.  Mr. Orszag served under the previous Clinton administration as a Senior Advisor.  Likely has views very close to Obama’s but you can’t really say one way or another with just one pick, so let’s go on to the next.

Bill Richardson is the pick for Commerce Secretary. Now this is where the ego starts peaking in.  I don’t mean this in a bad way but I feel anyone who is running to be the most powerful person in the world has to have a large ego.  But Richardson doesn’t really differ on Ideals, he served under the Clinton administration as the Secretary of Energy.  He also endorsed Barrack Obama during the contentious Primary battle with Hillary Clinton.

Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State.  She worked under the Clinton Administration as ‘wife.’  Again she as a large ego that may clash with Obama occasionally. She is very similar in beliefs to Obama, slightly differing on foreign policy.  She may differ just enough to keep Obama honest in his foreign policy, but in all reality her foreign policy beliefs are close to that of Obama’s.

Jim Jones Is likely going to be Obama’s National Security Advisor. No not the Kool-Aid guy, he’s dead.  James L. Jones is a retired General.  Jones is not affiliated with any political party, and remained a general during the W. Bush administration.  He repeatedly declined to be promoted, and probably not a supporter of the involvement in Iraq. But that said I feel that he will probably assert his views even when incompatible with Obama’s views.

Timothy Geithner to be Treasury Secretary. Is a Democrat.  Geithner is a strong pick but not necessarily a different thinker.  Although current Treasury Secretary Paulson seems to like the pick stating “[Geithner] is a very unusually talented young man. He understands government and understands markets.”

Lawrence Summers is a Democratic economist who served 1.5 years as Treasury Secretary in the Clinton administration.  That sentence alone says a lot, especially if you include the link and read everything there too.  Kind of a loophole to make one sentence say much more than a typical sentence. He was selected as the Director of the National Economic Council.

Tom Daschle as Secretary of Health and Human Services.  Again a strong pick but not a very rival-y-ish pick.  The former Democratic Senator from South Dakota has supported Obama’s campaign essentially from the beginning.

Eric Holder is likely to be Attorney General for Obama.  Eric Holder, a Democrat, will likely be the first black Attorney General.  Hold up there a moment, technically* Holder has already served as Attorney General under the W. Bush administration.now we have some rivalry there a Bush Attorney General to perform the same role under Obama crazy.

Janet Napolitano Secretary of Homeland Security.  I just like saying that name. Nap-o-li-tano.  She is currently the Democratic governor of Arizona.  Digging into McCain territory there.  Again not really anything that stands in contrast to Obama.

And Finally:

Rahm Emanuel will be Obama’s Chief of Staff. He is a Democratic Congressman out of Chicago.  Not going far from home to select this one.  He was an advisor to Clinton, and stated he would Support Hillary for president until Obama joined the race.  At that point he didn’t publicly support either candidate, until after the primaries were over.

In all, I feel that Obama is making strong, and well thought out decisions.  But it remains to be seen at least in my eyes to be a “Team of Rivals.”  Obama does have three former challengers coming into his Administration (Biden, Clinton, Richardson), and that counts for something.  But to me this doesn’t seem like a supremely bi-partisan group of people.  I have that they rule bi-partisanly.  Individually they are not bi-partisan with the exception of Jim Jones.

*Technically he was just the Acting Attorney General while congress passed Bush’s real pick, John Ashcroft.

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A pit bull has attacked a seven year old girl in Oregon. Are you surprised? Why would you ever be?  A pit bull is as close to a ‘wild’ animal as a domesticated pet can ever be.

Here are some details:

The girl was playing on a tire swing when she was attacked by a 90-pound pit bull.

Her father was inside when he heard his daughter screaming and ran out to find the pit bull clamped on to her leg, pulling her off the swing.

He pried open the jaws of the dog with his hands and got it off of her.

He put the dog in a headlock and eventually pinned it to the ground, but he was bitten on the leg and in the chest. The father, a Staff Sergeant with the Oregon National Guard who served one tour of duty in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, dislocated his shoulder during the struggle and was bitten on his hands, chest, legs and arms.

As he struggled to hold the pit bull down, two other men took turns trying to subdue and kill the animal using an aluminum bat.

The two men with a metal baseball bat were not enough to stop the dog, or even chase it off. Eventually a deputy arrived to shoot and kill the dog.

I wouldn’t keep a lion in my home, no matter how cute & friendly it was as a cub. Good Lord, even Siegfried (or was it Roy?) was mauled by his own ‘pet’ lion.

Well, a pit bull is the next best thing to a lion, just a bit smaller.

I won’t bore you with the whole litany against this animal….bred to kill, unrelenting, blah, blah, blah…  Just suffice it to say, pit bulls should never be allowed where innocent humans might wander by.

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Well, this isn’t really Bits O’ Blaspheme, we are just doing a reader check-in.

It is time for you to update us at The Winkest Link.

Who are you? We don’t need to know your name… just general info.

 

Male or female?

General age group (20’s, 50’s, whatever)

Education level? 

Political bent?  Dem, Rep, Green, Indep, etc

 

Stuff you like about Winkest Link.

Stuff you hate.

 

Are we too boring?

What do you want us to address?

Who is buried in Grant’s Tomb?

 

What was our weakest article (or argument)?

What was the best?

 

Do you like the art around our heading?

Do you want more links to other articles?

Which Monty Python members are dead?

 

The political season absorbed us, did that bother you?

Do you want LESS political talk?

 

Do you think we are fair?  Should we be?

Please let us know….

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What you have heard for the past couple of months is true, we are in a recession (and if you don’t believe so, you are just kidding yourself). But a certain percentage of this fall is a correction to the corporations that led us to our currently failing economy. Businesses took their profits and turned them into big corporate bonuses, rather than reinvesting profits into improving their products or becoming more competitive. Precious little was spent on new innovations that would have limited the damage from the unforeseen such as this current economic downturn.

Now, auto companies like GM, Ford, and Chrysler are looking at stock values as low as they were more than sixty years ago, as well as facing imminent bankruptcies. Instead of working to make products that everyone could afford and “working smarter, not harder”, they decided to stick to the same old thing. After all, it had worked for the last 50 years. Why change now?

So, instead of improving the quality of their output, they have been falling behind while the dreaded foreign companies like Mercedes and Mitsubishi have been moving forward. Then Ford, GM, and Chrysler complain that foreign car companies have been selling their cars for cheaper, and demand that the government put import taxes on all foreign cars.

Would you like to know the problem? These American car companies have to be forced to move forward. Forced. Are current economic system was not made to drag these uncomfortable liabilities behind with a rope while they try to place the blame on the rest of the world. It is time we stop giving these companies a slap on the wrist and start demanding serious consequences be brought upon them. It is time to cut the rope and let them stand on their own or fall while others may take their places.

 

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Barack Obama’s cabinet positioning is well underway, and he’s not willing to say anything regarding it. If there is only one person he absolutely must put into his administration in some way, it’s Chuck Hagel.  As a major Obama supporter, and one who is very liberal, I know that Senator Hagel (R-NE) is smarter than Barack Obama, at least when it comes to foreign policy issues. With that in mind, he would be a top candidate when it comes to Secretary of State or head of the Department of Homeland Security. At the very least an ambassador to a very important nation like Russia or China, or maybe we could reinstate an ambassador to Iran or create a new one for North Korea.

If Obama want’s a bipartisan administration, Chuck Hagel is square one.

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I give the Democrats about a 20% chance of holding a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate (Alaska-90%, Minnesota-50%, and Georgia-40%).  Regardless of whether they have the super majority or not, these are my wishes for the next Congress.

I wish for the Democrats to take the moral high ground that the Republicans have lacked over the past number of years.  I hope that the Democrats reach out to the Republicans and work to get things done.  I realize that there will be a number of Republicans unwilling to compromise or work together.  But as the leaders of Congress you must offer a hand, work together to bring about bills regarding energy, the economy, and health care.

Regarding energy,  believe it or not there is a lot of common ground here on both sides of the aisle, and a President who has this as a top priority.  This is the time in history to get things done, and make advances for future generations.  Almost all Americans want energy independence and know that realistically a compromised approach from both sides is the only effective way of completing that.  DO NOT let low gas prices allow us to fall back and be complacent.  Yes we must drill, but that can only carry us for so long,  all that is is essentially taking out a loan.  This doesn’t solve the problem but it might stem the flow for a little while.  We need new sources of energy, and not only to power our cars, but to heat our homes and businesses also.  We need more efficient and cleaner cars, we need cleaner energy for our homes.  Wind energy cannot alone power our homes, and sorry while natural gas is a nice alternative to what we have it isn’t perfectly clean and it is still a fossil fuel, therefore not a permanent solution.  Nukular Nuclear, solar, geothermal, and clean coal (also a fossil fuel) all must be looked at and the best choices developed into working solutions.

The economy at this moment has lots of minds on both sides thinking the same way.  The window is narrow, once the economy starts turning around I feel that Republicans and Democrats will part ways regarding the economy.  So get the things done while you can.  While there is no possible way to completely protect the economy from disasters like this, we need to at least try to prevent it and make sure we learn our lessons.

Health care has been set to the back-burner due to the economy, which is too bad.  This is of major importance to millions of Americans, and directly affects their lives unlike energy and even to some extent the economy.  This is the hardest subject to get agreement on both sides of the aisle.  But with a majority in Congress I am sure the Democrats can come out with something that Republicans can deal with.  They all have parents, and family members are negatively affected by our current Health care policy.

As stated in another article the pendulum ALWAYS swings back so treat the Republicans right, they might do the same when the ball comes swinging, but the Democrats will have a case to shorten the swing when they are on the bad side.

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Iraqi leaders are now gently pushing us (the U.S.) toward the door.

What was our purpose there again? Feel free to ignore the imaginary ‘weapons of mass destruction’ and ‘poison gas factories’ that Bush & Cheney used to drag us into an unprovoked war.   Let’s pretend that the real reason, all along, was simply to depose a ruthless dictator and to introduce democracy to the region, with the hope of it spreading. 

That is how the rationale morphed, so what is the prognosis?

Here is a terribly easy prediction:  At some time in the near future whoever governs Iraq will declare a crisis, stop holding elections and invalidate all or part of the constitution.

They will never let the minority parties have a legitimate voice in government decisions.

Crackdowns, imprisonment of dissidents and martial law will follow naturally. To placate international interest they may eventually hold sham elections.

Iraq will then look precisely like it did before we deposed Saddam. Instead of a ruthless Sunni President-for-life, we will have a ruthless Shiite President-for-life. This will easily morph into an America-hating theocracy.

Who will be blamed for that?  Bill Clinton, I suppose. Hannity & Rush will confirm this for you.

When our involvement finally ends, what will the total cost have been, in lives lost, lives ruined due to disabling injuries, and in dollars?  Our hearts go out to the families of the soldiers, and for our children who will be paying taxes for this war for generations to come.

Isn’t war fun?  Maybe not, but at least a few select corporations profited enormously from it. Bush & Cheney can look forward to some handsome payoffs after they leave office.

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Please excuse us while we excerpt from the Sept 8, 2008 issue of Time

John McCain, according to one of his most perceptive & persistent critics, has struggled throughout his career to balance his principles and his ambitions, to reconcile the code of honor instilled in him as a boy with the insistent demands of political expedience. His worst moments in public office, this critic has charged, have come when he has failed to put country first – opposing a holiday for Martin Luther King Jr. to bolster his conservative credibility in Arizona, concealing his abhorrence of the Confederate flag to troll for votes in South Carolina. And before you judge, you should know that the critic in question is John McCain, who has explored and deplored his own flaws in remarkable detail in his books and speeches and has apologized for them with candor that is rare in a politician. In 2000, after sidestepping the flag issue during his first presidential campaign, he returned to South Carolina to flay himself for pandering. “I don’t seek absolution,” he said. “I can only try to resist future temptations to abandon principle for expediency.”

 

Well, that was in 2000. Obviously the temptations of the presidency were great. Some of the honor which he values so highly slipped thru his fingers in implying that the election of Barack Obama would not just be a boon to terrorists, but that Obama is in fact a friend of terrorists.

The honorable John McCain would never make such statements. He knows and likes Barack Obama, and knows Obama would fight terrorism. He knows Obama loves America as much as he does.

Terrible things come out of our mouths when we aspire to higher office. Things that dishonor us.

Both parties use hatchet men (and women) to tear down their opponent, but we heard much less ‘character assassination’ type of attack from the Obama camp.

Curiously not until the last days of the campaign did any Republican ads run the infamous “God Damn America” clip. Even then, they were run by some Republican operative, and not approved by McCain.

No doubt McCain demanded that “God Damn America” not be used in his name. This is the honorable side of McCain.  

Too bad. We could have used a lot more of that during the campaign.  

We were not surprised to hear his extremely gracious concession speech. That was the real McCain. The McCain we knew and loved. He understood the magnitude of the moment, was self-effacing, funny and smart. In a word, honorable.

We suspect Senator McCain will be the statesman that Bob Dole and Barry Goldwater became when they lost their last presidential bids. Finally free of any higher aspirations, they were no longer burdened by the need to chase votes, and could speak their mind. No longer would they pretend to support distasteful issues.

Senator McCain, feel free to cast aside the yolk of ideology and follow your heart.

And welcome back.

We missed you.

 

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I would like to give a message to all voters in the country.

Many are upset over the outcome of the election, which is certainly
understandable. It was an upset to about 47% of all voters. I
sympathize with you on that regard.

However, I hold no sympathy for anybody who does not stand by the
president-elect now merely because he was not the one they voted for.
It is not only shameful to yourself, but to citizens everywhere if you
will not put betterment of the nation above your personal anger
towards this one man.

No matter who won, this election marked the beginning of America’s
first chance to flourish in years, and it would be an insult to the
country of a whole if you did not consider it important enough to set
aside your grudge.

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