Monthly Archives: April 2012

ONE Campaign Doing Good in Ghana

Reprinted from

The reason I came to Ghana was to help publicize the introduction of two vaccines to the Ghanaian heath care system: a rotaviral vaccine and a pneumococcal vaccine for newborns.

These vaccines will help stave off infant diarrhea and pneumonia which kill more children under the age of five than malaria and tuberculosis combined.

A quick geography lesson: Ghana is located on the western coast of Africa, sort of. According to the CIA World Factbook it has a population of a little over 25 million of whom nearly 70 percent are Christian. The country is slightly smaller than Oregon.

This is sub-Saharan Africa, located just eight degrees north of the equator, so it is hot just about all the time. The temps have been in the high 80’s every day with a “feels like” temperature of about 104 because of the humidity. This is the beginning of the rainy season but we had only one rain storm, which was a dandy, and it passed in about an hour. Continue reading

Taxpayers Paying for Perpetual Campaigns


President Obama is expected to spend a record-breaking $1 billion on his re-election campaign. That’s a lot of money, but there’s more. There are super PACS and interest groups and party organizations, all of which will spend added millions on his re-election.

There’s another pot of money, however, that should be added to the total–the growing amount of tax dollars being used to fund trips and functions that are classified by the White House as “official government business” but are in reality, purely partisan campaign events.

Speaker John Boehner finally spoke up last week, calling the President’s whirlwind taxpayer funded tour of college campuses “pathetic” and “beneath the dignity” of the White House. The President went to colleges in three battleground states, at taxpayers’ expense, presumably to rally support for a problem that was pretty much solved before Air Force One left the ground.

The college town tour was just one of many diversions of taxpayer funds to the campaign. It’s been going on for nine months, and it’s getting worse. Continue reading

Postal System Politics and Productivity

Reprinted from

Before Ben Franklin revolutionized the delivery of mail in all Thirteen Colonies in North America, in the Southern colonies, postal duties often fell to slaves, who were responsible for carrying the mail from plantation to plantation. Failure to expedite the delivery of the mail cost the plantation owner a hogs head of tobacco under the local rules of the day.

In the northern colonies, most post offices doubled as taverns. Those taverns also doubled as inns (and who knows what else).

Responsibility for delivering the mail fell to merchants, friends or the kindness of strangers, until the localities decided that a more regular process was needed. And for most of the 1600’s, each colony had its own system to deliver the mail.

When Ben Franklin ran the Post Office for the City of Philadelphia, he set about modernizing the service across state lines. He surveyed land, built buildings, set up postal routes and created the first successful communication system between the states. Continue reading

Mothers Who Worked

Reprinted from Loose Change (

“You come along, tearing your shirt, yelling about Jesus. I want to know, what the hell you know about Jesus?”—Carl Sandburg’s “Billy Sunday”

My mom was a single mother at a time when couples simply didn’t get divorced. The only kids without dads lost them in the war. Involuntarily, she went from being a mother at home with three kids to finding an occupation to keep her family’s boat from sinking. She moved in with her mother, who had a large house of female boarders. And she chose teaching school as a way to make a living, all the while worrying about whether child welfare would come and take her kids away.

She worked for 35 years from 7 a.m. until 4 p.m., five days a week. As a child, I remember her coming home right around the time the soap opera Edge of Night was ending. As the TV show “edged” toward its dramatic climax, an always to-be-continued episode, the schmaltzy music and credits rolling signaled her entrance through the front door. Once home, she’d grab the kid baton from grandma, who worked as a seamstress at home and who provided us with no-cost day care, i.e., keeping us fed and out of juvenile detention.

I’ve been listening for decades to the endless opinions about working moms and mothers at home. I recall the sound bites from the women’s liberation screed excoriating mothers at home as mindless automatons. Later, post-lib females wondered aloud if there might actually be some benefit to staying at home with kids, particularly for the kids. I heard countless cases for and against home versus work, single moms versus married, breast versus bottle, two dads-no mom, or dad being mom. Most recently I’ve listened to the ridiculous back and forth around Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen pillorying Ann Romney, mother at home and wife of presidential candidate Mitt Romney, as a “basketball wife.” Continue reading

US Garage Needs Cleaning

Reprinted from

According to two pieces I read over the weekend, the world is coming to an end but I am going to be out-of-town for it.

I am at JFK awaiting a flight to Accra, Ghana to whence I will be traveling on behalf of the ONE Campaign. Ghana is introducing two new vaccines to its medical system and I’ll be there to watch (and write about) the roll-out.


While I’m gone I would appreciated it if you would take some steps to straighten up the national garage. It’s a mess and it would be a good thing if we started tossing out the junk and putting the good stuff in its proper place. Continue reading

Media Miss Real News Again and Again…


Eleven Secret Service agents and 11 members of the Armed Forces got into deep trouble after allegedly paying for and partying with prostitutes in Cartagena, Columbia, prior to the President’s trip there for a Latin American summit.

The secret service scandal has been on the front pages of newspapers and leading the evening newscasts for days. The outcome of the Latin American summit got a one-day of coverage on Page 11 of the Washington Post and little if any coverage on network television.

Self-promoting political strategist Hillary Rosen made it onto evening news shows and page one of American newspapers for saying Ann Romney hasn’t worked a day in her life. The news outlets made it a point to say that Rosen’s remarks were just a “gaffe” and that she wasn’t speaking for anyone but herself. If that were the case and since few in America know who Hillary Rosen is, why is what she says such big news? Continue reading

Evangelists and the Almighty…Dollar

Reprinted from Loose Change (

For decades TV evangelists have effectively used Jesus to make millions. Thankfully, many have been busted for the petty criminals they are. I remember watching Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker testify to the Lord while simultaneously fleecing their flocks to support Tammy’s growing collection of expensive shoes and their fun-filled “house of worship,” the Heritage USA amusement park. The Reverend Jimmy Swaggart preached the bennies of salvation while separating little old ladies and Southern dullards from their savings accounts in order to fund a steady stream of prostitutes. “Jimmy likes the girls.”

Televangelist Robert Tilton, my favorite sleaze, dressed to the nines in silk suits and gold bling, and employed a convincing camera spiel imploring sick and vulnerable people to write checks for which he would deliver his healing powers of faith through the phone lines.

These good ol’ boys knew how to use a belief system to sell some shit, didn’t they?! Continue reading

Presidential Advance a Different World

Reprinted from

I have no idea what happened, or didn’t happen, in Cartagena last week when at least 11 Secret Service Agents were suddenly sent home and replaced by a different team. You’ve read the headlines: “Agents Procure Prostitutes While Waiting for Obama” or words to a like effect.

A hundred years ago I did a few advance trips for Vice President Quayle. You can argue, and successfully, that the whole notion of putting about 100 people in place up to two weeks ahead of a visit by a President isn’t so much presidential as it is as it is imperial, but that’s a discussion for another day.

This is not something President Obama invented. I’m not sure when it started but it was the Presidential advance staff that arranged events at which Franklin Delano Roosevelt was appearing such that the public couldn’t easily see that he was unable to walk due to having contracted polio. Continue reading

Rosen, Women, and Media Bias


The media coverage of the 2012 political campaigns continues to flood the airwaves, like the Mississippi River in Spring time with inaccuracies, hyperbole, exaggerations, innuendo, and outright falsehoods.

It is too bad the media doesn’t have a that does such an excellent job correcting the same drivel from the campaigns and the candidates. Keeping the media honest is more than Reliable Sources host Howard Kurtz can handle.  There’s too much to cover.

Just this week for example, there was the saga of Hillary B. Rosen, the liberal Democratic strategist and mouthpiece, who criticized Mrs. Romney for being a stay-at-home mom and condemned Mitt Romney for inequality toward women. Here is what she has been quoted as saying: “His (Romney’s) wife has actually never worked a day in her life. She’s never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing in terms of how do we feed our kids, how do we send them to school, and why we worry about their future.”   Continue reading

Presidential Campaign Rules of the Road

Reprinted from

From Great Barrington, MA

Now that we’re deep into the general election campaign – about 72 hours into it – let’s review the rules.

No matter how many times you’ve hear it, it bears repeating that an election for President in the United States are not a national event. It is a collection of 51 separate elections. The number of electoral votes each state gets equals the number of Members of the U.S. House of Representatives plus its two Senators. Thus California gets 55 electoral votes (53 Congressional Districts plus two Senators) while Wyoming (a single Member state) gets three.

The District of Columbia, although it has one non-voting Delegate to the House and no Senators, by virtue of the 23rd Amendment gets three electoral votes which is why there are 535 voting Members of the House and Senate but 538 electoral votes. One half of 538 is 269. Thus, the magic number to be able to take the Oath of Office on January 20, 2013 is 270 – half of the electoral votes plus one.

I took your valuable time to remind you of all that because as you listen to geniuses like me on TV and radio for the next seven months talk about how many women are voting for Obama; how many men are voting for Romney; how many religious conservatives and how many college students will actually turn out to vote you should keep all that in mind. Continue reading

Mitt, Rick, and Newt

Reprinted from

Rick Santorum called it a day yesterday afternoon.

In one of those weird campaign events, Santorum’s folks tried to keep what the event was to be under wraps until about 2pm Eastern. But, the staff got buffaloed into giving up the fact that Santorum would be “suspending” his campaign so, by the time the event started at about 2:20, every person on the planet with a Twitter account was writing about it.

Santorum’s withdrawal from the campaign was a paradox: He had done too well to stay in any longer.

The Pennsylvania primary will be held on April 24. If Santorum were to win (not a foregone conclusion) he would have been locked into the race through May and probably through June.

This is April 10. Santorum is pretty much out of money. The notion of pretending to compete against Mitt Romney for the next 10 weeks was too much to contemplate.

If Santorum were to lose in Pennsylvania (also not a foregone conclusion) then his political career would end with a dull thud. Santorum had no good way to move on, so he got out.

Much has been made about the fact that Santorum didn’t mention Romney in his exit speech, but there is not a great deal of love between the two, so we should give Santorum a pass. Continue reading