Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Humanity, at our Best and our Worst...

Foggy Castle
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
The good and the bad in the news...

First, my thoughts and prayers are extended to the families of those who lost loved ones when the military airplane crashed this week in San Diego. In the midst of his obvious suffering (he lost his beloved wife and two babies), Mr. Dong Yun expressed concern for the pilot of the plane:

"Please pray for him not to suffer from this accident," a distraught Dong Yun Yoon told reporters gathered near the site of Monday's crash of an F/A-18D jet in San Diego's University City community.

"He is one of our treasures for the country," Yoon said in accented English punctuated by long pauses while he tried to maintain his composure.

"I don't blame him. I don't have any hard feelings. I know he did everything he could," said Yoon, flanked by members of San Diego's Korean community, relatives and members from the family's church.

wow. What grace, what compassion. My heart breaks for his loss. Let's keep this man and his family in our prayers, along with all involved.

Now, as to the more ugly side of the news, we have the story of Illinois Governor Blagojevich (Dem).

I don't too often devote much space here to specific instances of bad behavior by politicians. It's sort of expected, unfortunately, and not really news, in that it happens with such frequency. But the Governor Blagojevich arrest this week provides details that are just astonishing in raw ugly greed.

If you have not heard, the Democrat Governor of Illinois was arrested this week, charged with trying to "sell" the apointment of the Senate seat vacated by President-elect Obama. AP reports:

Prosecutors stepped in and had the governor arrested because he was on "what can only be called a political corruption crime spree," Fitzgerald said....

According to court papers, the governor tried to make it known through emissaries, including union officials and fundraisers, that the seat could be had for the right price. Blagojevich allegedly had a salary in mind — $250,000 to $300,000 a year — and spoke of collecting half-million and million-dollar political contributions.

"I've got this thing and it's (expletive) golden," prosecutors quoted Blagojevich as saying about the Senate appointment on federal bugs in his campaign office and wiretaps on his home telephone, "and I'm just not giving it up for (expletive) nothing. I'm not gonna do it."

Chicago FBI chief Robert Grant said even seasoned investigators were stunned by what they heard, particularly since the governor had known for at least three years that he was under investigation for alleged hiring fraud and clearly realized agents might be listening in.

Besides scheming to swap or sell the Senate seat, Blagojevich — a former congressman, state lawmaker and prosecutor — was accused of trying to strong-arm the Chicago Tribune into firing editorial writers who had called for his impeachment. He also was accused of using the governor's power over state business to raise campaign funds...

Nothing in the court papers suggested Obama had any part in the discussions about selling the Senate seat or even knew of them. In fact, Blagojevich was overheard complaining at one point that Obama's people are "not going to give me anything except appreciation." He added: "(Expletive) them."

What a jerk!


Michael Westmoreland-White said...

On the plus side: Obama's push for a better ethics bill for IL (calling and urging legislators to overturn the governor's veto, which they did) caused Gov. Blago to hurry up his pay for play efforts before the new rules took effect, hastening his capture. Also, it seems that Rep. Rahm Immanuel, Obama's new Chief of Staff, may have been approached by Blago and, far from being tempted, seems to have tipped the FBI and U.S. Attorney Fitzgerald to what was happening--leading to the wiretaps.

Negatively, "candidate # 5," who seems to have agreed to pay Blago for the senate seat, appears to be Rep. Jesse Jackson. Jr. (D-IL) who had made his desire for this seat known to all the media and who was co-chair of Obama's campaign. He may be in deep legal trouble, soon, and can kiss this seat goodbye.

Teresa said...


Excellent post. Very thoughtful,and touching.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Michael Westmoreland-White said...

Well, it appears that Jesse Jackson,Jr. IS candidate 5, but may have not done anything wrong. Blago's interpretations are quite skewed after all. Still, this probably kills any senate hopes for JJJr. (If he had been appointed, I thought he could visit downstate IL enough to win on his own in 2010, but not in a special election. Right now, outside Chicago, he's just known as someone with the same name as a controversial preacher. So, sadly, Obama's seat probably won't go to an African-American, bringing us back to an all-white Senate again. Sigh.

Edwin Drood said...

"I don't too often devote much space here to specific instances of bad behavior by politicians."

Ha ha ha ha, correction: you don't often spend too much time on bad behavior by democrat politicians.

I guess the auto bailout flew right under your radar. You're very passionate about less gas to power the cars but have no opinion about making the cars, even if its on the tax payers dime.

Democrats want to use billions of tax payer's dollars to build the most gas gussling cars on the planet and you have no opinion. Outstanding.

Dan Trabue said...

Drood, I'm not at all sure what you're talking about. I am opposed to the auto industry bailout, although I understand the sentiment behind it.

I believe what we're facing are some serious economic troubles and the truth is no one knows for sure what to do to fix it. Is letting automakers collapse and hundreds of thousands of jobs go away a good thing? Well, obviously, losing hundreds of thousands (millions?) of jobs is probably not a good thing, but then, neither is bailing out an industry that brought much of this on themselves by promoting an unsustainable solution so that they could get rich while it lasted.

Anyway, I am opposed to the bailout. What's your point? And how is it related to the post here?

As to your assertion about me ignoring democratic misbehavior, I don't believe reality bears that out. I have criticized Bush's war policy a good bit here, and I criticized the McCain/Palin ticket, but I also praised McCain in at least a couple of posts. I have, in fact, criticized the Clintons here. But beyond those presidents and presidential candidates, I don't believe I have too many posts criticizing specific Democrat or GOP misbehavior.

A simple look through my posts will bear that out.

So, I am unclear of your point, unless it is simply that you have the mistaken notion that I only criticize Republicans here.

Dan Trabue said...

Thanks for stopping by, Teresa, and the update on Jackson, Michael.

Michael Westmoreland-White said...

Dan, you are opposed to the bridge loan for Detroit when 3 million jobs depend on it? That's crazy, friend.

I support the survival of the Big 3 but replacing their management (nationalizing their companies) and forcing them ONLY to build fuel-efficient vehicles, hybrid-electrics, etc.--and high-speed trains and other forms of public transportation.

As much as I admire bicycling and the Minus Car movement, I am a realist. We can have bullet trains that criss-cross the country and efficient public transportation in cities and suburbs--but ranchers in Montana and Wheat Farmers in Kansas, etc. will still need private cars--and trucks. So, we need to make them as Green as possible, while taking as many off the street as possible in the cities.

But you don't let an industry on which 10% of the workforce depends die in the middle of a recession that could easily become a global depression. For one thing, the whole Green Tech Revolution that will fight climate change while repowering the nation and restoring us to a manufacturing, output nation (instead of a debtor, consumer nation) depends on a renewed American auto sector for a key component.

Dan Trabue said...

I'll admit that I don't think there are good answers on this. I could well be wrong - I understand the reluctance to do nothing when so many jobs are on the line.

I'm just not at all convinced that bailing out the automakers will solve anything and about the only thing that would concern me more than the automakers already do is having the auto companies being run by the folk that gave us the $400 hammer and $700 toilet seat.

That sounds like a really bad solution to me, Michael. But, I am not dogmatic on this point: I freely admit I have no idea what the best answer is. My uneducated (in the matter of gov't and auto companies in a collapsing society) opinion is that it's a poor idea.

I could be wrong and I'm glad I'm not the one trying to resolve this.

Monk-in-Training said...

I am nervous about the bridge loans (no one is being 'given' money) to the car companies, but for the sake of unionism in the United States, I think it needs to pass.

Lop off the boards of directors and fat cat executives just as it was done with the Chrysler loan of the 70's.

Or conversely BUY the companies and give the stock to the workers, and let THEM decide what to do with it.

Dan Trabue said...

Now, that's an intriguing idea...

Michael Westmoreland-White said...

Since GM Stock is currently $3 per share, the workers could buy it from the govt. I DON'T support running the companies from D.C.--but telling the companies what kind of products they MUST produce. That's what was done during WWII: The companies were still private but produced tanks and trains instead of cars for the national emergency. Well, the current national/global emergency is both ecological and economic: So, we let them remain private (with better management), but order them to produce nothing but green vehicles, high speed trains, monorails, etc. And we pass universal healthcare so that we eliminate the biggest labor cost without killing the unions.

If GM were a Canadian company, even if it had made all the same bad decisions, it would not NEED taxpayer help because the single payer healthcare would have resulted in nearly $22 billion more in profits.

Letting GM & CHrysler fail will put us into a depression, increase illegal immigration (by putting Mexicans out of work), increase the # of Mexicans who turn to the`drug trade, & take us from being dependent on foreign oil to being depedent on foreign battery makers.