Friday, 24 October 2008

Further U.S. Politics - Senator McCain/The Keating 5.

I came across THIS

an article from the Phoenix New Times written 20 years ago about the conflict of financial interest and poor judgement of John McCain in the Keating 5 affair.

It's a long article and well worth the read to illustrate - to me at least - how little has changed in the way John McCain conducts himself in public life.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

More on the U.S Election.

Here's a selection of comments to today's Times article HERE
about some of the choices Obama could make for his cabinet.

"There may be no wealth left to spread if Obama gets elected
We may wish for the 1930s again.
Galt, Philadelphia, USA

Think about this, many financiers such as George Soros have been funding Obama. If Obama becomes president, these funders are going to call in their markiers and Obama will have to start passing out favors. This could get sorta nasty.
gordon, garrison, texas, USA

Why shouldn't the Celebrity Candidate lineup a Celebrity Cabinet? McCain is probably going to pick his cabinet the old-fashioned way based on credebility, commitment and credentials, not celebrity.
Maripo, New York , USA

God save you? Words fail? After 8 years of a President who has brought death & destruction wherever he has turned his fundamentalist eyes? Look up Socialism - this isn't it. You should be grateful Obama can be bothered to be President of a country left in such a shocking state, at home & abroad
Elizabeth, London,

Count down, those the uneducated. Your time is up. 8 years of the incomprehensible reign of terror from those republican nut jobs is over.

The rest of the world can now focus on picking up the pieces from one of the most disgraceful administrations in history.

Shame on anyone voting republican.
Duncan, Melbourne, Australia

This election ISN'T OVER YET!!!
There is no guarantee the Marxist Obama is going to be elected.
I will be voting for McCAIN on Monday (early voting). I encourage everyone on the fence to do the same!
This arrogant Marxist and his Media Cabal must be defeated!
Toby, Dallas, TX

The real scandal is that we're still having an election in the United States. The French fashion designers have spoken, the New York Times has given its full commitment, and Hamas is simply delighted. Why are all those bitter, God-fearing, gun-waving Americans still entitled to have a say? Change...
Richard Blauhaus, Meriden, USA

Susan Rice and John Kerry leading the charge on foriegn policy - say it isn't so. Lord help us.
Greg, Los Angeles, CA, USA

The fact that you might somehow consider this "socialism" explains what's wrong with the USA. This kind of ignorance and simple mindedness is what brought people like Bush to the White House. If you guys make the same mistake again, you deserve what you get. Get your great country back on the map!!
John Harding, Montreal, Canada"

Let's hope most Americans don't see things the way most of these US commentators do.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Jerez outing

I've been so obsessed lately with reading and watching so much about the American presidential race, then clearing up after the worst storm here for 40 years when one of our ngaio trees came down that I jumped at the chance to go to the International Women's Association meeting in Jerez.

It was being held in a renovated Moroccan market in the old quarter of the city. It houses about 25 artists and artisans, mostly women, who sell their handmade wares - jewellery, leatherwork, ceramics, textiles and paintings.

The Association meets every month and starts with a communal breakfast, then a talk (last month it was on spiritual healing) or a tour. It's a good way to meet other women of all nationalities and to get to know more about this part of Spain and its culture.

Below is a little slide show to give you an idea of the architecture, both renovated and crumbling, of the Cathedral, the City wall and the Zoco (market) where we had breakfast followed by a little retail therapy.

Jerez is truly a beautiful city. Surrounded by vines, it's the home of sherry and thousands take the trips round the bodegas to learn about the process, sample their wares and have a little tapas. It's good to go in a party by coach so that a little siesta after too much sampling doesn't go amiss on the way home.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Where the bail-out money goes

Here's an article from a British newspaper which highlights just what taxpayers in USA and UK are concerned about: executives of failing companies rewarding themselves with the bail-out money.

"Bosses of an insurance giant bailed out with £48 billion of U.S. taxpayers' money went on a £250,000 retreat to a posh resort less than a week after the rescue, it has been revealed.

American International Group executives racked up a huge tab during the week-long getaway.

The bill included £13,000 worth of spa treatments for AIG employees at the Tuscan-themed St. Regis resort south of Los Angeles.

But U.S. lawmakers investigating the firm's meltdown were still enraged over cash spent on banquets, golf outings and visits to the resort's spa and salon.

'Average Americans are suffering economically. They're losing their jobs, their homes and their health insurance,' Democratic House Oversight Committee Chairman Henry Waxman said.

'Yet less than one week after the taxpayers rescued AIG, company executives could be found wining and dining at one of the most exclusive resorts in the nation.'

Maryland Democrat Elijah Cummings on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee said: 'They were getting facials, manicures, and massages, while the American people were footing the bill".

OK, a quarter of a million pounds is paltry when billions are bandied about but where was the oversight and control promised when agreeing these bail-out sums?

Friday, 3 October 2008

Sorted books

These wonderful blogs - 60going on16 here,
Random Distractions here
and Musings from a Muddy Island here
have acquainted me with the Sorted Books Project, and it's just up my street....

This is what it's all about

The Sorted Books project began in 1993 years ago and is ongoing. The project has taken place in many different places over the years, ranging form private homes to specialized public book collections. The process is the same in every case: culling through a collection of books, pulling particular titles, and eventually grouping the books into clusters so that the titles can be read in sequence, from top to bottom. The final results are shown either as photographs of the book clusters or as the actual stacks themselves, shown on the shelves of the library they were drawn from. Taken as a whole, the clusters from each sorting aim to examine that particular library's focus, idiosyncrasies, and inconsistencies — a cross-section of that library's holdings. At present, the Sorted Books project comprises more than 130 book clusters.'

Apart from fiction going back to the 1950s, my library overflows with stuff on mental health, therapy and alcohol/drug dependency. This, my first offering, is a typical scenario.

As D says on 60goingon16, a very good exercise for aging brains - and what a marvellous way to mooch around my books on a rainy afternoon.