Saturday, January 31, 2009


I didn't realize until a couple of days ago that this was Super Bowl weekend. That is pretty surprising for me. With the Patriots not going to the big game, I guess there really wasn't any reason to know.

Years ago, it was a different story. My TV would go on in the morning and off after midnight each and every Sunday. I would watch all the pre and post shows and whatever games were being shown in the Providence market. Teams I enjoyed were: Kansas City Chiefs (my favorite)along with the Buffalo Bills and Patriots (of course.) I also loved to watch Green Bay and the Pittsburgh Steelers (who I am rooting for this year!)

The Kansas City Chiefs were my favorite team, lead by Marty Schottenheimer, who is my all time favorite head coach. Steve DeBerg, Derrick Thomas (inducted posthumously into the Hall of Fame today) along with a great defense.

My second favorite team was the Buffalo Bills - Jim Kelly, Steve Tasker, Andre Reed and Bruce Smith - my all time favorite football player! Here he is, pictured below, back in the day:

What fun he was to watch! The determination he showed as a player was always something I admired the most of him.
“I am overjoyed,” said Smith, the career sacks leader who spent most of his career with the Bills.
A defensive end, Smith retired five years ago with 200 sacks and made two all-decade teams.
Drafted No. 1 overall in 1985, Smith had the most seasons with double-digit sacks (13) and the most postseason sacks (14½). He earned defensive player of the year honors in 1990 and 1996 with Buffalo and concluded his 19-season career with four seasons as a Redskin.

Smith previously said making the hall would be a bigger honor if two other Bills, Wilson and wide receiver Andre Reed, also got in the same year. He got half of his wish.
“What a phenomenal class, and especially with having Ralph Wilson, the founding owner of the Buffalo Bills, to be inducted in the ’09 class as well,” Smith said. “This is truly special.”
Then his thoughts turned to his family.
“Just thinking about my father and all the sacrifices he and my mother made when I was a child growing up to be a man,” Smith added, tearfully. “How he wanted me to have a life better than he had. I just wish he was here. He would be extremely proud of this day.”

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Rhode Island Most Democratic State

A poll released Wednesday by the Gallup organization showed that Rhode Island was the state with the biggest gap — 37 percentage points — between those who favor the Democrats and those who favor the Republicans.

Rhode Islanders who said they are Democrats or lean to the party made up 60.4 percent of respondents, to 23.8 percent who said they are Republicans or lean to the GOP.

The 60.3 of respondents in Massachusetts who affiliate with the Democrats was lower by a statistically insignificant difference. But a slightly higher number, 26.3 percent, favor or lean to the Republicans, making the gap 34 points. The same was true in Hawaii, the only non-New England state in the top four, where 60 percent identified with the Democrats and 26.2 percent did so with the Republicans.

Vermont scored 58.9 percent Democratic and 26.2 percent Republican, a gap of 33 points.

No state held a candle, though, to the District of Columbia, the Democratic stronghold that is the only non-state with electoral votes in presidential elections. The nation’s capital registered 84.1 percent Democratic to 8.7 percent Republican, a gaping chasm of 75 points.

These pro-Democratic leanings were clearly evident in last November’s presidential election results. Democrat Barack Obama easily carried D.C. and the four top Democratic states over Republican John McCain , taking 92 percent of the vote in the District, 63 percent in Rhode Island, 62 percent in Massachusetts, 72 percent in Hawaii (which also is Obama’s birth state) and 67 percent in Vermont. The Republican Party does not hold a single congressional seat, Senate or House, in any of these places.

Yet, in an interesting anomaly, three of the four strongest Democratic states — Rhode Island, Hawaii and Vermont — have Republican moderates serving as governor.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Bushisms We Won't Miss

This is historic times. (Washington DC, 2003)

I think it's very important for the American President to mean what he says. That's why I understand that the enemy could misread what I say. That's why I try to be as clearly I can. (Washington DC, 2008)

I don't particularly like it when people put words in my mouth, either, by the way, unless I say it. (Texas, 2007) I

'm the master of low expectations. (Air Force One, 2003)

It's clearly a budget. It's got a lot of numbers in it. (Reuters, 2000)

We ought to make the pie higher. (South Carolina, 2000)

You're working hard to put food on your family. (New Hampshire, 2000)

Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream.

(Wisconsin, 2000) Rarely is the question asked, are, is our children learning? (South Carolina, 2000)

You teach a child to read and he or her will be able to pass a literacy test. (Tennessee, 2001)

Too many good docs are getting out of business. Too many OB/GYNs aren't able to practice their love with women all across this country. (Missouri, 2004)

I was like a pit bull on the pant leg of opportunity. (New York Times, 2000)

I want to share with you an interesting program – for two reasons, one, it's interesting, and two, my wife thought of it – or has actually been involved with it; she didn't think of it. But she thought of it for this speech. (Washington DC, 2008)

The Senator has got to understand that he can't have it both ways. He can't take the high horse and then claim the low road. (South Carolina, 2000)

The folks who conducted to act on our country on September 11th made a big mistake.… They misunderestimated the fact that we love a neighbor in need. They misunderestimated the compassion of our country. I think they misunderestimated the will and determination of the Commander-in-Chief, too. (Virginia, 2001)

I'm the decider, and I decide what is best. (Washington DC, 2006)

We need an energy bill that encourages consumption. (New Jersey, 2002)

You know, one of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror. (CNN, 2006)

When you're marching to war, it's not a very optimistic thought, is it? In other words, it's the opposite of optimistic when you're thinking you're going to war. (Missouri, 2004)

It's in our country's interests to find those who would do harm to us and get them out of harm's way. (White House, 2005)

I'm telling you there's an enemy that would like to attack America, Americans, again. There just is. That's the reality of the world. And I wish him all the very best. (Washington DC, 2009)

Oftentimes I'm asked, why? Why do you care what happens outside of America? (Washington DC, 2008)

The German asparagus are fabulous. (Germany, 2008)

We spent a lot of time talking about Africa, as we should. Africa is a nation that suffers from incredible disease. (Sweden, 2001)

First, let me make it very clear, poor people aren't necessarily killers. Just because you happen to be not rich doesn't mean you're willing to kill. (White House, 2003)

We're making the right decisions to bring the solution to an end. (Washington DC, 2001)

I am determined to keep the process on the road to peace. (White House, 2003)

One of the great things about America, one of the beauties of our country, is that when we see a young, innocent child blown up by an IED, we cry. (Washington DC, 2006)

Thank you, Your Holiness. Awesome speech. (White House, 2008)

I've been in the Bible every day since I've been the President (Washington DC, 2008)

I'll be long gone before some smart person ever figures out what happened inside this Oval Office. (Washington DC, 2008)

I think we agree, the past is over. (Campaign airplane, 2000)

Bonus: There's an old saying in Tennessee - I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee - that says, fool me once, shame on - shame on you. Fool me - you can't get fooled again. (Tennessee, 2002)

93 Year Old Man Freezes To Death - Indoors

Bay City (Michigan) Electric Light & Power manager Robert Belleman. Upon learning that 93-year-old Marvin Schur froze to death—"a slow, painful death" according to the medical examiner—in his home, Belleman defended the utility's decision to cut off the man's power, without warning, during last week's subzero cold snap. Installing "limiters" which put a cap on power usage and shuts off the juice altogether if an owner exceeds the limit, is company policy, noted Belleman, and he saw no reason to change it in the light of Schur's death. As for the utility's failure to inform Schur?

"I've said this before and some of my colleagues have said this: Neighbors need to keep an eye on neighbors," Belleman said. "When they think there's something wrong, they should contact the appropriate agency or city department."

Schur, who was $1,000 behind on his utility bill, was indeed found by his neighbor—four days after the limiter was switched on, in a sub-freezing room that had icicles on the insides of its windows.

Here is the email address for Robert Belleman if you'd like to give him a piece of your mind. I already sent mine.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Global Gag Rule Lifted

With little fanfare, President Obama has reversed one of the most damaging GOP policies ever visited on developing nations, which deprived millions of women of family planning services.
The "global gag rule," which forbade US government support for any organization that in any way fostered, provided or even advised women about abortion. It was a policy foisted on an unsuspecting world by the Reagan administration at, of all events, a United Nations conference on women and development held in Mexico City in 1984.

What became known as the "Mexico City policy" was always a political football. It was rescinded in 1993 by President Bill Clinton, then reimposed in 2001 by George W. Bush, who also proceeded to deal a second harsh blow to the world's poorest families by cutting off American assistance to the United Nations Population Fund, the largest global provider of family planning assistance. The reason, or excuse--rejected by the administration's own internal report--was that the Population Fund was linked to forced abortion practices in China. The fund has lost about $250 million in American aid since 2002.
Millions of women and their families were the direct victims of these shortsighted steps, taken in the name of people who called themselves "pro-family," but appeared to be woefully ignorant of the harm they caused in homes around the world. The International Planned Parenthood Federation, based in London, estimates that in the last eight years alone as much as $100 million in US aid was lost to its affiliates in 100 countries because of their refusal to accept an abortion ban. The federation estimates this lost aid could have prevented 36 million unintended pregnancies and 15 million abortions, often acts of desperation. More than 80,000 women and more than 2.5 million children might not have died.

Not surprisingly, the rate of unsafe abortions is highest in the poorest countries, where at least 200 million women cannot get contraceptives. The World Health Organization, which supports safe abortion as a tool of last resort, estimates that of 45 million abortions globally every year, 19 million take place under unsafe conditions, causing at least 68,000 deaths. Forty percent of those most dangerous abortions involve teens and women between the ages of 15 and 24. A woman in the developing world--primarily in Africa and parts of Asia--is at least 100 times more likely to die of a botched abortion than a woman in the industrial North.

Which raises the question why President Obama--and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, once an outspoken champion of women's rights in the developing world--made so little of this policy reversal. Is abortion still too skittish a topic to talk about in public? Even when a presidential order signals a promising new approach to development aid?

President Obama also pledged to work with Congress to restore contributions to the Population Fund, known as UNFPA. "By resuming funding to UNFPA, the US will be joining 180 other donor nations working collaboratively to reduce poverty, improve the health of women and children, prevent HIV/AIDS and provide family planning assistance to women in 154 countries," his statement said.

Not lost on Thoraya Obaid, the courageous Saudi woman who is executive director of UNFPA, was President Obama's focus on poverty reduction as a byproduct of family planning, giving millions of the world's poorest women some of the same reproductive choices and life opportunities enjoyed in richer nations.

"President Obama's decision could not have come at a more critical time," Obaid said in a statement hours after the White House announcement. It was, she added, "an essential step towards creating a world where all women have the opportunity to participate as equal members of society." The rate of death from pregnancy and childbirth--99 percent of which occur in developing countries--has fallen just one per cent between 1990 and 2005 around the world, the UNFPA statement noted. "Every minute, a woman dies giving life, totaling up to 10 million women during a generation," it said.

UNFPA has argued tirelessly at the UN, where population growth is not a fashionable issue, that high fertility (mostly not a woman's choice) lowers per capita income, reduces education levels and consumes resources necessary to sustain healthy, productive lives. It also creates a generation of poorly educated, unemployable young people shorn of hope and open to recruitment by militant organizations of all kinds, threatening the stability of countries trying to make still-shaky democracies work.

Secretary of State Clinton, who has said she will focus on democracy and development, now has her mandate.

Steven Sinding, a former director general of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, a Columbia University professor and advisor to the World Bank, was working on family planning in the US government in 1984 when the gag rule was first announced in Mexico City, taking
American officials on the scene by surprise.

Sinding has been campaigning ever since against this destructive policy, which for the IPPF alone, he said in an e-mail, "necessitated clinic closures, staff layoffs and, ultimately, curtailment of family planning services to hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions, of women in developing countries.

He described President Obama's reversal of the order as something akin to "a glorious sunrise after a long and exceptionally dark night."

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Inauguration Day At Auntie's House

Jaelyn and Vanessa joined me to watch the inauguration. Jaelyn, like her auntie and mom, really likes Barack Obama!
She was watching lots of different things...the crowds

And the President with his daughters...

She didn't seem to have a whole lot of interest in Senator Diane Feinstein, though.

We had bells and whistles to make lots of noise when the oath was done.

Of course, there was lots of clapping.

She watched even when the event was over...

I'm so glad that my niece and great-niece were with me on such a historic day. We'll show these pictures to Jaelyn when she is older so that she will know that she was part of history.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What A Day

From Aretha's fabulous hat (that only she could wear) to Michelle's beautiful golden yellow dress and coat.
To the oath that our new President took to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

To the history of Barack Obama being the only President (besides Abraham Lincoln) to use the Lincoln bible when taking the oath of office.

To the endearing way that the First Lady held onto the President's hand while out for a stroll.

To the love that these two share together and aren't embarrassed to show to us.

To the coolness of who they are.

To being a proud American again!! WHAT A DAY!!!
(and, oh, how badly I wish that Tim Russert were here to see all this) What A Country!

President Obama

How lucky are we to have a new leader with such potential? It was a great speech!
If only Chief Justice Roberts brought his notes to give the oath to Obama, who knew right away that Roberts had screwed up!

I Thought This Day Would Never Come

Finally!! New tenants are moving into the White House today.
All the best to them in their new home.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Goodbye Stupid Idiots - Hello Competence

The city of Washington DC is abuzz like no other place on our earth has ever been. While I am physically here in Rhode Island, my spirit is in our nation's capitol with the millions gathered to watch and experience history.

The thing that strikes me is that the strongest message that can be sent to President Idiot of the absolutely awful job that we know he and his cronies have performed is the enthusiasm, joy and hope that is being shown to our incoming President and his administration. I hope he hears the cheers tomorrow and hangs his head in shame. Ah, but he would never admit it to us (or himself.)

The Idiot has shown in the past couple of weeks that he just doesn't get what a disaster he was and is! He finds it easier to blame others, or to use the excuse that he "had to make the tough decisions!" Hello!!, you stinking idiot, that's part of the job description when you are President, even my dog knows that.

There is no doubt in my mind that an investigation must be done into what this administration did - from torture to Katrina to Guantanamo to the economy. And NO pardons!

It almost seems that we could not last one more day. And thank goodness we don't have to.

An Email From Chelsea

My niece Chelsea is in the 8th grade. Tonight I got an email from her that, surprisingly, consisted of more than just two or three words!

"Just one more night of the idiot in office. I am hoping to get out of class tomorrow to watch the big moment of history where the first African American becomes the 44th president of the United States. Big moment.

Also, remember, don't buy peanut butter crackers, cookies, etc. Jars of PB are okay. Officers believe these are being contaminated like spinach was."


She cracks me up.

August 1963 to January 2009

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, “My country, ‘tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.”

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true.

So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.

From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

By This Time Tomorrow

Barack Obama will be our 44th President of the United States! After 8 years of insanity, we have elected the right man at the right time.

A lot of people want to share this moment in history.

The cold didn't seem to bother the hundreds of thousands who descended on the National Mall to enjoy the concert and hear Barack Obama speak. He stood in the exact spot that Martin Luther King did when he gave his "I have a dream" speech.
Just 24 hours to go!!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Looking Back

On that Wednesday night back in December of 2000, I sobbed as Al Gore gave the speech of his life - his concession after the Supreme Court stole the election from him. And, I'm sad to admit, my life and health took a downward turn that continued these past 8 years. Depression, weight gain, arthritis, insomnia among many other ailments. The past 8 years have been hell for me and so many others who love this country and felt the assault on their bodies and minds as President Idiot (as I call him) and his cronies turned our country into a worse mess than even I imagined.

We have been assaulted. My heart is broken over and over each time I hear of a service man or woman dying in Iraq, where they should never have been sent.

When I think of the attack of 9/11, as awful as it was, the repeated attacks by the Bush administration have been much worse. I knew that Barack Obama would be elected, and I knew I would be emotional. However, I was completely unprepared for my reaction when the announcement was made. I burst into tears and couldn't stop for almost an hour, that's how profound the relief was for me.

I hope this country and it's citizens NEVER have to go through anything close to this again and I pray that Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld are charged with crimes against humanity.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Whistle-Stop Train Rally

The Obama family got on a train today in Philadelphia, PA headed towards DC for the inauguration. The trip is identical to the trip that Abraham Lincoln took just before his inauguration in 1861. Crowds gathered along the way to watch this historic journey.
After a stop in Delaware to pick up the Biden family, the train continued on with more people lining the tracks! Today is Michelle Obama's 45th birthday. They celebrated her birthday along the way.
Only 3 more days!!!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Cheney Sleeps Through Farewell Speech

Hah! I just found this picture. Guess he wasn't into hearing what the Idiot had to say either.

President Idiot's Flat Farewell Speech

We have heard (hopefully) the last of President Idiot with his farewell speech last night. Of course, I didn't watch it - it's the only way my TV doesn't have a hole in the screen. I read the text of the speech and if this guy isn't completely delusional, I don't know who is.

One of the bloggers that I enjoy reading is David Corn who has his own blog at and also posts to Here's what he had to say. I couldn't agree more.

George W. Bush gave his final speech to the nation on Thursday night. I skipped it to see my daughter, who has known no other president, perform with her school chorus. But when I later sat before my television to see how the speech was being punditized on the cable news shows, I was surprised. The water-landing of a US Airways flight in New York City dominated the coverage. There was little chatter--almost nothing--about Bush's farewell.

After watching the speech on the White House website, I understood why. It was flat and short. Bush said little of interest. He dwelled mostly on 9/11 and the so-called war on terror, once again (and for the last official time) characterizing the invasion of Iraq as part of his effort to take "the fight to the terrorists." He suggested that although the Iraq war was the subject of "legitimate debate," there "can be little debate about the results. America has gone more than seven years without another terrorist attack on our soil."

Was the nation's safety ensured because Bush invaded Iraq and did not finish the fight in Afghanistan? No doubt, he and his ever-dwindling band of defenders will continue to insist that it is so--just as a rooster might insist there is a connection between his crowing and the rising of the sun. And Bush defended himself for having been "willing to make the tough decisions"--as if making hard choices is the same as making wise ones.

For most of the 13 minutes he spoke, Bush offered surface-level observations. He provided one quote, noting that President Thomas Jefferson once remarked, "I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past." It's no wonder Bush fancies this line. Given that he is passing to Barack Obama a country burdened with two unresolved wars and an economy in severe decline, Bush certainly would rather look forward (and hope his now unpopular presidency comes to be seen in better terms down the road) than face the present-day consequences of his actions and inaction.

Ernest Hemingway, I believe, once observed that what one doesn't put on the page is as important as what one does. And what Bush did not discuss in his farewell address also defines his presidency. Here is a partial list:

* Climate change
* China
* Russia
* North Korea
* Iran* Pakistan
* Osama bin Laden
* Nuclear weapons
* Poverty
* Health insurance
* Foreclosures
* Housing
* Guantanamo
* National debt
* Budget deficit
* Trade deficit
* Wall Street
* Financial regulation
* Dow Jones
* Retirement security
* Social Security
* Medicaid
* Energy
* Immigration
* Automobile industry
* Subprime credit
* Wages
* Jobs

What else is there to say? In the end, after eight long and traumatic years, Bush did not have much to tell us. Who wouldn't rather watch a miracle airplane landing than a failure saying goodbye? This was first posted at

David did say it was a partial list - I would add Katrina. acdc

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Happy 80th Birthday, Dr. King

Dr. Martin Luther King, the most celebrated leader of the black civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, was born Jan. 15, 1929, and would have turned 80 years old today had he survived to this date. He was 39 when he was assassinated by a gunman in Memphis, Tenn., on April 4, 1968.

The annual federal holiday honoring Dr. King is next Monday, January 19th, the day before Barack Obama is sworn in as President of the United States.
It wasn't in his lifetime that a black man would be elected President, but I'm certainly glad that others who marched with him are alive to see this incredible history take place.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Bring The Inauguration To You

You don't have to be in Washington, D.C. to be part of this historic inauguration. There are plenty of ways to get involved in your own community, from joining the January 19th National Day of Service, to hosting your own Neighborhood Ball. Hear what our President-elect has to say:

Sunday, January 11, 2009

11 Days To Go

He's even beginning to look Presidential!

The Obama family visited the Lincoln Memorial (my personal favorite) on Saturday night.

After riding in a motorcade from their temporary home at the Hay-Adams Hotel, Obama, his wife, Michelle, and daughters Malia and Sasha entered the grounds around the memorial shortly after 7 p.m. Bundled in coats in the near-40 degree weather, they walked up the dozens of steps in a close pack and into the memorial.
Once inside, Obama and his family had the opportunity to gaze at the nearly 20-foot statue of the 16th president and see the carved inscriptions of Abraham Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address and his Gettysburg Address on the walls.
After touring the memorial for about 20 minutes, including the lower part of the memorial that houses some exhibits, the Obamas walked out, facing the reflecting pool and Washington Monument. They waved to some onlookers standing around the memorial's lower steps.
Obama frequently invokes the memory of Lincoln. He announced he was running for president in Springfield, Ill., at the steps of the Old Capitol, where Lincoln was a legislator.
He even plans to use the same Bible at his inauguration that Lincoln used for his swearing in. Obama will be the first president since Lincoln to use that Bible, part of the collection of the Library of Congress.
On Inauguration Day, the luncheon that will be served in Congress's Statuary Hall to Obama, Vice President-elect Joe Biden and their families — as well as congressional leaders, justices of the Supreme Court and pending members of Obama's Cabinet — will include foods that Lincoln enjoyed.
Obama will be back at the Lincoln Memorial soon. He plans to trace the train route that Lincoln took and hold a welcome event at the Lincoln Memorial ahead of his Jan. 20 inauguration.
It's so nice to know that our soon-to-be-sworn in President appreciates the history of our great (and not so, at times) country!
The anticipation is building!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

New Prez Will Get A Brand New Ride

Not this one, silly!
But this one!! A hybrid Prez-mobile! One news agency, noting its 8-inch-thick doors, says the limo can withstand a "direct hit from an asteroid." It will be painted black before it's put into service. For much of the country's history, the Secret Service didn't even drive the president, evidently oblivious to the dangers of asteroids.

In the post-Lincoln horse-and-buggy era, it was customary for a security detail to closely trail the president, according to a Secret Service history.

With the advent of automobiles, the Secret Service acquired a 1907 H. White Steamer to follow Theodore Roosevelt's horse-drawn carriage.

White House chauffeurs drove later presidents, until the Secret Service assumed many of the driving responsibilities after Franklin Roosevelt's death in 1945.

In 1965, Lyndon Johnson was the first president to ride in a bulletproof limo in an inaugural parade, less than two years after his predecessor, John F. Kennedy, was shot and killed while riding in an open car.

The new Prez should expect two seemingly contradictory feelings when riding in the presidential limousine, said Joe Funk, a retired Secret Service agent who was President Bill Clinton's driver during part of his career.
"I think he will be surprised about how when he's in the limo, it's a cocoon," Funk said. "The everyday noises will be gone, and he will be totally isolated in this protective envelope."

"At the same time, I think he will be surprised at the communication capabilities, how the phones, the satellites, the Internet -- everything is at his fingertips," he said. "So at one end, you are totally removed from society. The other side of the coin is that he can have any communications worldwide at a moment's touch."

Funk says presidents sometimes chat with the agents, and sometimes don't.

"Every day is different, just like every person," he said. "Sometimes they get in the car and they have a lot on their mind. They're involved in reading material, they're involved in the newspaper, they're talking to local dignitaries or they are talking to Cabinet-level.

"Other times, they are interested in sporting events, in doing the crossword puzzle, interested in the feedback they get from talking to the agents -- primarily the supervisor that sits in the front seat," Funk said.

While the government spares no expense for the presidential limo, the weight of the car makes it less maneuverable and more sluggish than comparable sport utility vehicles, Funk said. And the door and window frames, which accommodate thick ballistic glass, create large blind spots, he said.

Funk's own experience driving Clinton was uneventful, he says, which is a good thing, considering his line of business.

"I was very lucky. We didn't have any close calls," he says. "Everything was very smooth."
But he still considers the experience a career highlight.

"At the end of the day, if you had a good driving day, you do kind of sit back with a certain amount of pride and say, 'I had the president of the United States in the car with me for an hour, two hours, and I got him from point A to point B safely in conjunction with all the other team members,' " he said. "When it's done, you can sit back and take some pride in knowing that you pulled it off."
But environmentalists may ask, will it be green?

Not likely. Car enthusiasts believe the overweight vehicle burns diesel and will have low mileage. And with diesel costing about $2.40 a gallon Monday, versus $1.67 for gasoline, this new limo can't be called an economy vehicle.

"The limousines of yesteryear were designed just well enough to provide protection to get the president out of the situation," says Ken Lucci, CEO of Ambassador Limousine Inc. and owner of two Reagan-era limos. "In today's case, they [the Secret Service] expect a prolonged attack, and they expect an attack that is a lot more violent than [with] a weapon you can hold in you hand."
"It literally is a rolling bunker," he says. "It just happens to have wheels on it."

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

How To Avoid Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

What are the symptoms?
The most common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and confusion. High levels of carbon monoxide ingestion can cause loss of consciousness and death. Unless suspected, carbon monoxide poisoning can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms mimic other illnesses. People who are sleeping or intoxicated can die from carbon monoxide poisoning before ever experiencing symptoms.

How does carbon monoxide poisoning work?
Red blood cells pick up carbon monoxide quicker than they pick up oxygen. If there is a lot of carbon monoxide in the air, the body may replace oxygen in blood with carbon monoxide. This blocks oxygen from getting into the body, which can damage tissues and result in death.

Who is at risk from carbon monoxide poisoning?
All people and animals are at risk for poisoning. Certain groups — unborn babies, infants and people with chronic heart disease, anemia or respiratory problems — are more susceptible to its effects. Each year, more than 500 Americans die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning, and more than 2,000 commit suicide by intentionally poisoning themselves.

How can I prevent poisoning in my home?
• Have your heating system, water heater and any other gas, oil or coal-burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.
• Do not use portable flameless chemical heaters indoors. Although these heaters don't have a flame, they burn gas and can cause carbon monoxide to build up inside your home, cabin or camper.
• Install a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector in your home and check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall.
• Never burn anything in a stove or fireplace that isn’t vented.
• Have your chimney checked or cleaned every year. Chimneys can be blocked by debris. This can cause carbon monoxide to build up inside your home or cabin.
• Never patch a vent pipe with tape, gum or anything else. This kind of patch can make carbon monoxide build up in your home, cabin or camper.

How can I heat my house safely or cook when the power is out? • Never use a gas range or oven for heating. Using a gas range or oven for heating can cause a buildup of carbon monoxide inside your home, cabin or camper.
• Never use a charcoal grill or a barbecue grill indoors. Using a grill indoors will cause a buildup of carbon monoxide inside your home, cabin or camper unless you use it inside a vented fireplace.
• Never burn charcoal indoors. Burning charcoal — red, gray, black or white — gives off carbon monoxide.
• Never use a portable gas camp stove indoors. Using a gas camp stove indoors can cause carbon monoxide to build up inside your home, cabin or camper.
• Never use a generator inside your home, basement, or garage or near a window, door, or vent.

How can I avoid poisoning from my vehicle?
• Have a mechanic check the exhaust system of your car every year. A small leak in your car's exhaust system can lead to a build up of carbon monoxide inside the car.
• Never run a car or truck in the garage with the garage door shut. Carbon monoxide can build up quickly while your car or truck is running in a closed garage. Never run your car or truck inside a garage that is attached to a house and always open the door to any garage to let in fresh air when running a car or truck inside the garage.
• If you drive a vehicle with a tailgate, when you open the tailgate, you also need to open vents or windows to make sure air is moving through your car. If only the tailgate is open carbon monoxide from the exhaust will be pulled into the car.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Travolta's Unimaginable Loss

I heard the news this weekend and thought "not that and not him!"

I know that pretty much all parents love their kids. I also know it's not a given. John Travolta loves and adores his kids and he's never been shy about it. He is one of those guys who wears his heart on his sleeve. I'm not sure if it's because of his religion or his inner confidence, but he's very emotional and I can only imagine the grief that he and his wife Kelly are going through.

I have always felt like I know John Travolta.

I know, it sounds strange, but I have been a fan of his since the "Welcome Back, Kotter" days of the 1970's. I remember telling my mother back then that he was going to be a big star. He had then and still has a 'presence' on the screen, be it big or small, that is rare. He is one of my favorite actors and one of my favorite people. You can tell that he is a nice guy. In interviews he just gushed about his kids, his love so apparent.

So when I heard the news and read the articles on the internet, my heart broke for him, Kelly and their daughter, Ella Bleu.

I don't think that he will ever be the same. He'll recover somewhat, but the light in his eyes will most certainly be dimmed. He has lost Jett, his most beloved son and, sadly, we have lost him as a result.

I will be sending good thoughts their way and I hope that they are able to rebound from this terrible accident and loss.

Mr. Obama Comes To Washington

President-elect Barack Obama leaves Chicago for the last time before becoming President Of The United States.

He arrives in Washington DC and is greeted by members of the Air Force.

The excitement is building. At least in my mind it is.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Countdown Continues - 16 Days To Go

The official Presidential Inaugural Store is now open.

In just 16 days, Barack Obama and Joe Biden will be sworn in as President and Vice President of the United States, opening a new chapter in our shared story.

The Inaugural Store is the only place where you'll find the official merchandise of the Presidential Inaugural Committee - everything from apparel and artwork to glassware emblazoned with the Inaugural seal.

All items are limited edition and available only while supplies last. Don't miss this chance to capture a piece of history.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year

The countdown has begun

19 days to a truly happy new year!