As promised in my last post, here is a link to Secretary of Defense, Robert M. Gates’s official biography as it appears on the Whitehouse website.
Perhaps the Obama Administration is using all available attention units in dealing with the meltdown in the economy despite the fact that the President was recently quoted as saying that he is capable of doing more than one thing at a time. Of course, that was in the context of answering questions about his planned appearance on the Jay Leno show when the economy is tanking. Be that as it may, the White House has been strangely silent about any progress, or lack therefof, in the wake of former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell’s and former UN Ambassador Richard Holbrook’s visits to the Middle-East as special envoys of SecState, Hillary Clinton.
In fact the only mention of any substantive change in relations between the Israeli’s and Palastinians was this statement, sent to reporters, by the chief Palastinian negotiator Ahmed Qurei, that the peace negotiations with Israel “will be suspended until getting a substantial change in the Israeli policy.” Hardly a very promising development. On the other hand, much of the rhetoric that came out of Ms. Clinton’s visit (see, for example, this article from Scoop World) with Mahmoud Abbas was very positive in tone, if a little short on specifics.
So, the question of whether there is sufficient interest or energy in the U.S. State Dept to address the issue of arms sales to Israel is still open. Nevertheless, Amnesty International is calling for an investigation into Israel’s use of U.S. arms in Gaza and a suspension of arms transfers to Israel.
I realized after switching my blog’s theme to “Grid Focus” (from Andreas 09), it is no longer obvious how to leave a comment. There is no “Comment” link visible anywhere on the page. But it’s actually still easy to do. You just have to click on the post title. For example, to leave a comment to this post, just click on the bold “How to Leave a Comment” heading at the top of this entry and leave your comment in the box on the page that comes up.
I’m really looking forward to hearing from you!
On a whim, I’ve adopted a new theme for The Wacker Files. It’s called “Grid Focus”, and it’s a new WordPress offering for 2009.
How do you like it?
It is already past midnight on the second day of the new year. I promised myself I would dedicate this entry to some of the victories of 2008. The page turned faster than I anticipated, so I need to get started.
WACKER VICTORIES IN 2008
1. Pear Blossom Run. I entered and completed this ten-miler. I thought I reported the results on my fitness blog, but it turns out I didn’t. I’ll fill in the stats later. For now, I just want to say that, my goal was just to use the run for practice and milage. I wasn’t trying to go for a time PR.
2. Leaetta survived an emergency trip to the hospital in the early part of the year. The hospital later forgave the $3,000 bill.
3. Later on, I found that I had worked long enough to qualify for Social Security and also for Medicare coverage. The extra income has made it possible to pay down debts. The medical coverage provided a little more peace of mind.
4. My daughter Linda announced her engagement to Nate Calkins. Wedding in Summer 2009.
5. I increased the revenue of my keyboard sales/service business by about 20% this year despite the downturn in the economy.
6. I survived an audit by the Oregon Dept. of Revenue in better shape than I thought was possible.
7. Linda was hired as a school counselor in St. Helens, which was her dream. The three of us helped her to paint and move into her new office.
8. In October, I took Linda, Nate, Leaetta along on what was my first real vacation since starting work at the piano store. Four days at the Union Creek Inn, near Crater Lake.
9. In December I signed up for CareSource a Medicare Advantage plan that provides better coverage than Medicare alone, does not cost me anything in premiums(!) and will pay half my bill at a local health club.
Ralph Nader made an interesting observation in a Dec 5th online interview with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now. One reason the automakers are meeting such heavy resistance now in Congress is that the current hearings are being conducted in public. Whereas, the earlier bailout talks for the financial “industry” were conducted on “weekends, in secret.”
Same show, Wendy Thompson former President of UAW local 235, Wendy Thompson is helping to organize a UAW caravan to Washington to represent American workers at the table during the bailout hearings. She mentioned the following website for anyone interested in that effort:
Then, Medea Benjamin of Code Pink and Global Exchange encouraged progressives to attend or host anyone of the local policy house parties happening this coming weekend in local areas around the country. Consensus recommendations to be forwarded to the Obama Transition Team. Find one near you at:
Finally, a new book by Antony Lowenstein, I believe, The Blogging Revolution looks interesting to me, as a nascent blogger with a modest history of political activism.