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Archive for August 2008

Quotabull

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This represents the final bodies from Katrina, the last unknown victim of Katrina. This represents the pain and suffering.

— New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin; Laura Maggi of The Times-Picayune reported that “[s]even people who died during Hurricane Katrina were interred Friday morning in one of six mausoleums created to hold the remains of those who were not identified after the storm or whose families did not claim them; Aug. 29.

People are bringing five or six suitcases. We want to carry more people and less luggage.

— St. Charles Parish Emergency Preparedness Director Tab Troxler as residents of New Orleans and surrounding parishes begin evacuation of the Gulf Coast as Hurricane Gustav approaches; Aug. 30.
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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

August 30, 2008 at 2:40 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Want a better Congress? Develop measures of competence

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As entertaining a diversion from the demise of the American dream the presidential contest between Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain has become, what with thousands of mass media hairpieces focused intently on their every vague utterance, let’s keep in sight this equally entertaining sideshow: A third of the seats in the U.S. Senate and all of the seats in the House of Representatives are available for the public’s inspection, validation or rejection in November.

The percentage of respondents in national polls who believe Congress is doing a good job is buried in the teens, even lower than approval ratings for President Bush, now trending in the mid- to high-20s. The re-election rate for House members in 2006 was 94 percent (down from 98 percent in ’04); the rate for senators was 79 percent in 2006 (down from 96 percent in ’04), according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Incumbency rules. Many voters might argue that collectively, members of Congress are greedheads mired in the trappings of power wrapped tightly around them by corporate lobbyists paid millions of dollars to either extract largesse from the Hill or prevent lawmaking or regulatory rule-writing that would be bad for business. But
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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

August 25, 2008 at 1:24 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Quotabull

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Young man, you have the gift of gab. Keep it up and some day you’ll be President of the United States.

— an old Republican to a young Warren G. Harding after his first political speech, according to a New York Times obituary of President Harding; Aug. 3, 1923.

I predicted that New Orleans would come back as a stronger and better city. That’s the prediction I made. I also pledged that we’d help. And $126 billion later, three years after the storm — we’ve helped deliver $126 billion of U.S. taxpayers’ money. (Applause.) And I thank you for applauding on that statement, but I know you’re applauding the American taxpayer. A lot of people around the country care deeply about the people down here. And so it was — you know, it was money that we were happy to spend.

— President Bush, speaking at the historic Jackson Barracks in New Orleans on the recovery of the Gulf Coast region three years after Hurricane Katrina; Aug. 20.
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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

August 22, 2008 at 6:22 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Gannett to whack 1,000 jobs: Wall Street wins; public loses

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If you’re a CEO whose company has shorted its customers on quality and safety, you’re breathing a little easier today.

If you’re a politician who has traded favors with the über-rich in exchange for campaign cash, you’re relieved.

If you’re a government official who has allowed ideology or bribes rather than dedication to public service to shape your decision-making, you’re home free.

That’s because there will be fewer journalists nosing around on your turf.

Gannett Co. is eliminating 1,000 jobs across its newspaper operations, including 600 layoffs. That includes 84 dailies such as The Arizona Republic and the Detroit Free Press as well as nearly 900 non-daily publications but not USA Today, reports the Chicago Tribune. That means fewer journalists available to defend the public’s interest.
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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

August 15, 2008 at 3:17 pm

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Quotabull

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In China, size matters. People want to have a car that shows off their status in society. No one wants to buy small.

— Zhang Linsen, the 44-year-old founder of a media and graphic design company in Songjiang, China; he owns a black Hummer H2; July 28; emphasis added.

It’s a cultural thing. When the kids are hungry, they go to their mother, not their father. And when there is less food, women are the first to eat less.

— Herve Kone, director of a group that promotes development, social justice and human rights in Burkina Faso, quoted in the Washington Post Foreign Service’s Kevin Sullivan story about the impacts of the African food crisis on women and children; July 20.
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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

August 15, 2008 at 1:40 pm

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Vote now on my congressman’s fix Washington gimmick. (Really!)

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My favorite political reality game show — my congressman’s “Fix Washington Project” — has entered the voting stage.

S&R readers might recall that Rep. John R. “Randy” Kuhl, R-N.Y., in June sent me and his other constituents a franked, four-color mailer announcing his latest scheme for improving government (you know, the task that taxpayers pay him and his 434 House confreres $169,000 a year each to accomplish).

His gimmick: Voters should send him their ideas for “fixing Washington”; he and his staff would select the top five and put them up for a vote on his House Web site. After “voting” ends Sept. 12, the winner, as Rep. Kuhl wrote in his monthly e-mailed newsletter, the Kuhl Khronicle, “will be introduced on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. I am thrilled to see my constituents getting directly involved in the legislative process.”

The continuing unconscionable abdication of independent, intelligent thought by my representative in Congress leaves me dumbfounded.
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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

August 13, 2008 at 3:39 pm

Posted in Uncategorized