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On the lighter side of life... 

#1445: Tommy, Riposa in Pace

requiescat in pace


Trump & The Mob



"Give me your tired, your poor

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore

Send these, the homeless, tempest-toss'd to me

I lift my lamp beside the Golden Door."


Hundreds of Oregon Corporations Escape the Minimum Tax


Half of the US Is Broke


The myth of the Christian country


“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”

FDR, 2nd Inaugural Address, Jan 20, 1937


A Just Peace


SIP contract online


Middle East friendship chart


Corporations enriching shareholders


- Intel tax abatements

- INTEL, come clean!

- Leashing INTEL  

- Free to Be Hungry


Facts not fiction on universal gun background checks



"Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere"

Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963

Martin Luther King, Jr.

The GOP - Not One of US.

Wall Street, our new criminal class...       

   Business in the USA is sitting on $2 trillion dollars refusing to invest their own funds in expanding and hiring workers.  

   When one adds to this the reserves that banks, equity firms and hedge funds have - the picture is clear - "capitalism in the USA is on strike." 

   The engine of our economy - the spirit of entrepreneurship is not in evidence today.  So much for business being dynamic and risk taking. 

   They hire K- Street lobbyists and their ilk at the state level because they are averse to risk taking - pleading for tax breaks, tax credits and endless loopholes. 

   The "business of business" in America today is not about job creation, it's about wealth hoarding and redistribution from the middle class to the top 1%. 

   So for those who claim government doesn't create jobs, my response is that business doesn't either until given "corporate welfare" by government.  The fact is that the private and public sector are highly integrated, something the anti-tax, anti-government Tea Party types don't understand. 

   Job creation requires public/private partnerships but the benefits of such collaboration should go to the 99% not just the 1%.  





  • An Independent View

Oregon Outpost

  • A Middle East View      

Rami G. Khouri

  • RealClearPolitics:


  • Jim Hightower:

  • Robert Reich:

Robert Reich

  • Thomas Friedman: 

Friedman Column

  • Nicholas Kristof: 

Kristof Column

Oregon's Motto: 

She flies with her own wings! 

Hard Times in Oregon: 


The Oregon story - the rich get richer, the poor and middle class lose ground.  Check this front page Oregonian article out. 

Oregon wage gap widens

Homelessness in Oregon - a call to action

Chuck Currie The crisis of homelessness


      Oregon's coming 34th out of 41 states in the Obama "Race to the Top" illustrates the failure of leadership from Governor Kitzhaber and his predecessors as they have built an educational bridge to nowhere called high stakes testing.

   Instead of being in a race to the top we seem to be dumpster diving to the bottom despite doing education reform since 1991.  Insanity is termed doing the same thing over and over again.  When can we put a fork in this stupidity? 

   To confuse matters more the Oregonian's editorial board has pontificated that this was a lost opportunity to get federal funding for innovation.  How firing principals and teachers equals innovation is a mystery to me.   

   The way to reform schools is to reduce class sizes, to encourage teacher collaboration and to support their continued education.  High stakes testing and performance based assessment of teachers are NOT the answer!    

   If you want students to succeed you first have to resolve the issues they confront before they come to school.  Children who face poverty, hunger, homelessness, health care issues and family instability require wrap around services for them and their families, 24/7.   

   Every child needs a safe home of their own and parents who know how to be good parents.   

There is only one way to address this impending crisis.  Schools must have a stable source of funding. Until that happens - we will limp from crisis to crisis.   




    Why does the richest nation in the world have the moral blight of homeless people?

Invisible People


    Connecting the dots between homelessness & hunger in Oregon and Washington County: 


•    The faces of the homeless are families with children, single men and women, vets, and many who are impaired. It is estimated that in Washington County up to 56% of homelessness occurs to families.


•    Hunger is highest among single mother households (10%) and poor families (15%) as well as renters, unemployed workers and minority households. 

     In Washington County, Oregon's "economic engine," the divide between the affluent and the working poor continues.  We have a 19,000 unit gap in affordable low income rental housing.  County political and business leaders are indifferent to this crisis...   

A RAD rhetorical question - Were Madison & Marx "Marxists"?  


"History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments."   

- James Madison


"Philosophers have only interpreted the world in different ways. The point is, however, to change it. 

- Karl Marx










































RAD Lines

See my FACEBOOK for addition fodder.....




SB 1533 passes!


Housing Needs in Oregon 




#1445: Tommy, Riposa in Pace

requiescat in pace


"There are men who believe that democracy... is limited or measured by a kind of mystical and artificial fate [and that] tyranny and slavery have become the surging wave of the future..." 

FDR, 3rd Inaugural Address, Jan 20, 1941


Obamacare is working in Oregon!

Oregon's uninsurance rate cut more than half following federal health reforms


Mourning for a Judaism Being Murdered by Israel


Taking on the Pro-Israel Lobby 


Sign the petition ►

Walgreens - pay your fair share of taxes!

"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws." - Mayer Amschel Rothschild

Miguel de Cervantes, from The Duke - "I accuse you of being an idealist, a bad poet and an honest man."  Cervantes' response - "Guilty as charged, I have never had the courage to believe in nothing."   from Man of La Mancha  

Intel failed to report fluoride emissions for almost 30 years   

     Why do Intel employees who are house hunting in Hillsboro, Aloha or Beaverton refer to an area within a 5 mile radius of Intel plants as "the dead zone?"  

      Do they know something we don't?  We couldn't trust banks "too big to fail," so why should we trust Intel?

Professor Kingfield, from the Paper Chase

   "I'm not a teacher: only a fellow traveler of whom you asked the way. I pointed ahead – ahead of myself as well as you." 

- George Bernard Shaw



From the Left Wing:

Paul Krugman

Paul Krugman - The New York Times

Democracy Now

The Daily Kos

Blue Oregon


"Children are made readers on the laps of their parents." 

- Emilie Buchwald 


    "Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this year’s Presidential election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear. It is the Nation’s confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law." 

- Justice John Paul Stevens, Bush v. Gore, 2001

    The state of our union - check out the map, it's a reality check for those who can't figure out why people are so ticked off... 


    Here's Garrison Keillor's rap on the rightwingnuts:   



     Garrison Keillor - "...The Founding Fathers intended the Senate to be a fount of wisdom... but when you consider...  moon-faced Mitch McConnell, your faith in democracy is challenged severely. Any legislative body in which 41 senators from rural states that together represent 10 percent of the population can filibuster you to death is going to be flat-footed, on the verge of paralysis, no matter what. Any time 10 percent of the people can stop 90 percent, it's like driving a bus with a brake pedal for each passenger. That's why Congress has a public approval rating of [11] percent...." 

"Great is the guilt of an unnecessary war"

- John Adams


"Loyalty to country always.  Loyalty to government when it deserves it."  

- Mark Twain  


“Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”  

- George Santayana 


"The love of one's country is a natural thing.  But why should love stop at the border?" 

- Pablo Casals


"Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, the blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned; the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity." 

- William Butler Yeats  


"You see things; and you say, 'Why?' 

But I dream things that never were; and I say, "Why not?"  

- George Bernard Shaw, "Back to Methuselah" (1921) 

"...the most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property. Those who hold and those who are without property have ever formed distinct interests in society...  The regulation of these various and interfering interests forms the principal task of modern legislation, and involves the spirit of party and faction in the necessary and ordinary operations of the government..."  

- James Madison, Federalist Papers #11 


"Why … should we have government? Why not each individual take to himself the whole fruit of his labor, without having any of it taxed away?”   

The legitimate object of government, is to do for the people whatever they need to have done, but which they can not do, at all, or can not do, so well, for themselves – in their separate and individual capacities … There are many such things … roads, bridges and the like; providing for the helpless young and afflicted; common schools … the criminal and civil [justice] departments."  

- Abraham Lincoln 


Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society  

- Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. 


"Parliament is not a congress of ambassadors from different and hostile interests, which interests each must maintain, as an agent and advocate, against other agents and advocates, but Parliament is a deliberative assembly of one nation, with one interest, that of the whole..."  

- Edmund Burke  


“It is a maxim among these lawyers that whatever hath been done before may legally be done again, and therefore they take special care to record all the decisions formerly made against common justice and the general reason of mankind.  These, under the name of precedents, they produce as authorities, to justify the most iniquitous opinions.”  

- Jonathan Swift 


" Every satirist who drew breath has flung pots of ink at this parade of tooting lummoxes and here it is come round again, marching down Main Street, rallying to the cause of William McKinley, hail, hail, the gang’s all here, ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ay."  

- Garrison Keillor 

















































    The debate over the war in Iraq is heating up on the Democratic Party campaign trail as noted in this article written by Jeff Zeleny & Marc Santora, for the New York Times Online, August 12, 2007.  But the silence on the GOP side is deafening!  It's also heating up here in Portland as witnessed in the roughing up of staunchly anti-war US Senator Ron Wyden (Dem, Oregon) at a Town Hall at PSU last week. A majority of Americans want to bring the troops home ASAP. However, the military logistics and political consequences of doing this pose some very high risks. Here's the article with RAD commentary:
iraq600.jpg    Z&S: DES MOINES, Aug. 11 — Even as they call for an end to the war and pledge to bring the troops home, the Democratic presidential candidates are setting out positions that could leave the United States engaged in Iraq for years.
    John Edwards, the former North Carolina senator, would keep troops in the region to intervene in an Iraqi genocide and be prepared for military action if violence spills into other countries. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York would leave residual forces to fight terrorism and to stabilize the Kurdish region in the north. And Senator Barack Obama of Illinois would leave a military presence of as-yet unspecified size in Iraq to provide security for American personnel, fight terrorism and train Iraqis.
    RAD: These positions seem counter to the facts on the ground in Iraq. The presence of our troops has increased sectarian "genocide" already. The "surge" has simply moved the terrorist sphere of action beyond Baghdad into formerly secure areas. Terrorists may be evil, but they are not dumb. Like our own Revolutionary War heroes they don't fight fairly! Why is it our responsibility to protect the other nations of the region from spill over violence?  Obama would move the field of battle to Afghanistan. So much for bringing the troops home now!  Hillary - how could the use of "residual" forces fight terrorism or stabilize Kurdish territory?  The pre-invasion no fly zone set up did this! 
    Z&S: These positions and those of some rivals suggest that the Democratic bumper-sticker message of a quick end to the conflict — however much it appeals to primary voters — oversimplifies the problems likely to be inherited by the next commander in chief. Antiwar advocates have raised little challenge to such positions by Democrats.
    Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico stands apart, having suggested that he would even leave some military equipment behind to expedite the troop withdrawal. In a forum at a gathering of bloggers last week, he declared: “I have a one-point plan to get out of Iraq: Get out! Get out!”
    On the other side of the spectrum is Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, who has proposed setting up separate regions for the three major ethnic and religious groups in Iraq until a stable central government is established before removing most American troops.
    RAD:  Richardson is right on - "Get out! Get out!"  Biden's concept of dividing up the country in three regions made sense 2 or 3 years ago. But that time has come and gone. The government in Green Zone was supposed to be that "stable central govenment" but it ain't working!  So we create another one?  And who would impose and enforce a 3 region partition?  That seems like a formula for an extended and even more complex American deployment - for decades!  No thanks Joe! 
    Z&S: Still, many Democrats are increasingly taking the position, in televised debates and in sessions with voters across the country, that ending a war can be as complicated as starting one.
    “We’ve got to be prepared to control a civil war if it starts to spill outside the borders of Iraq,” Mr. Edwards, who has run hard against the war, said at a Democratic debate in Chicago this week. “And we have to be prepared for the worst possibility that you never hear anyone talking about, which is the possibility that genocide breaks out and the Shi’a try to systematically eliminate the Sunni. As president of the United States, I would plan and prepare for all those possibilities.”
    Most of the Democratic candidates mention the significant military and logistical difficulties in bringing out American troops, which even optimistic experts say would take at least a year. The candidates are not only trying to retain flexibility for themselves in the event they become president, aides said, but are also hoping to tamp down any expectation that the war would abruptly end if they were elected. Most have not proposed specific troop levels or particular rules of engagement for a continued presence in Iraq, saying the conditions more than a year from now remain too uncertain.
    RAD: Yes, the logistics of a complete withdrawal will take months if not a year or longer. But a "civil war" and "genocide" already exist Mr. Edwards!  And to the degree that Syria and Iran are involved through their surrogates on the ground in Iraq the war has already morphed itself beyond Iraq's borders. But why is this a uniquely American responsibility? Iraq is not an American colony except in a de facto sense - so why must we bear this burden?  Isn't this a regional responsibility of other nations of the Middle East who we arm to the teeth in many cases? They have armies - why not use them as "peacekeepers" instead of US troops?
    Z&S: In political terms, their strategies are a balancing act. In her public appearances, Mrs. Clinton often says, “If this president does not end this war before he leaves office, when I am president, I will.”  But she has affirmed in recent months remarks she made to The New York Times in March, when she said that there were “remaining vital national security interests in Iraq” that would require a continuing deployment of American troops. The United States’ security, she said then, would be undermined if part of Iraq turned into a failed state” that serves as a Petri dish for insurgents and Al Qaeda.”
    RAD:  Tragically Iraq is already a "failed state" serving as a "Petri dish for insurgents and Al Qaeda" - Queen Hillary! And how do you reconcile saying you will end the war and yet claim there are vital national interests at stake which implies staying the course?  What "security" interests are at stake in Iraq?  The politics of oil, keeping Iran or Syria at bay?  What?  The Bush policy has already made Iraq a haven for jihadists of all types. Why not disengage totally - turn over the keys to the kingdom to Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran, Egypt et al? 
    Hillary please parce what "end this war" means to you?  Or are we at another Clinton moment where it all depends on what the meaning of "is, is" or in this case what "end is?" 
    Z&S: So while the senators’ views expressed on the campaign trail do not conflict with their votes in Congress, particularly to set a deadline for withdrawal, they are grappling as candidates with the possibility of a sustained military presence in Iraq, addressing questions about America’s responsibility to Iraqi civilians as well as guarding against the terrorism threat in the region.
    Among the challenges the next president could face in Iraq, three seem to be resonating the most: What to do if there is a genocide? What to do if chaos in Iraq threatens to engulf the region in a wider war? And what to do if Iraq descends into further lawlessness and becomes the staging ground for terrorist attacks elsewhere, including in the United States?
    RAD: We have the moral responsibility to bring Iraqi citizens who have befriended us to this country. The fact we haven't done this to any degree is a stain on us. Shame, shame! But again - genocide, chaos, lawlessness and Iraq being a wasteland for terrorists already exists with our presence. So how is staying there going to stop that devolution into further mayhem? Answer - our staying there just becomes a continuing cause of these problems.
    Terrorism in it's many manifestations is going to be a part of life in the 21st century and no amount of resolve in Iraq is going to change that fact.  Our being in country simply provides the oxygen for the terrorists.  We'd be wiser to get our ASAP and then focus on homeland security.  If the oil barons and sheiks of the Middle East can't contain their own people, who are we to think we can play that role?  Have we learned nothing for since 9/11? 
    Z&S: “While the overwhelming majority of Americans want to bring the troops home, the question is what is the plan beyond that?” said Gov. Chet Culver of Iowa, a Democrat. “The first candidate running for president, I think on either side, who can best articulate that will win.”
    Four years after the last presidential race featured early signs of war protest, particularly in the candidacy of Howard Dean, a new phase of the debate seems to be unfolding, with antiwar groups giving the Democrats latitude to take positions short of a full and immediate withdrawal. Neither nor its affiliated group, Americans Against Escalation in Iraq, have sought to press Democrats here in Iowa to suggest anything short of ending the war immediately.
    “Of course we would like to get them out right now. That sounds wonderful,” said Sue Dinsdale, who leads the Iowa chapter of Americans Against Escalation in Iraq and has seen nearly all of the Democratic candidates. “I don’t think that people realize what their specific plans are and what they are saying about it, but just that they are working to end the war.”
    RAD:   The position of et al is simply another version of "don't ask, don't tell." They are shamefully pandering to the political establishment of the Democratic Party in typical insider fashion. RAD recalls Richard Nixon had a secret "peace plan" for Vietnam in '68. But something happened to that plan once he was elected! It ended in the humiliating exit from Saigon in 1975. This positioning is the politics of "trust me" in an era where no candidate on either side deserve our trust!
    Z&S: The leading Republican candidates have largely chosen not to wrestle publicly with Iraq policy questions, instead deferring to President Bush and waiting until Gen. David H. Petraeus delivers a progress report next month on the troop buildup this year.
    While the Democrats talk exhaustively about Iraq, a review of the remarks they have made during campaign stops over the last six months leaves little ambiguity in their message: If the president refuses to end the war, they will.
    To accomplish that goal, they all discuss a mix of vigorous diplomacy in the region, intensified pressure on the Iraqi government and a phased withdrawal of troops to begin as soon as possible. But their statements in campaign settings are often silent on the problems of how to disengage and what tradeoffs might be necessary.
    RAD: It's time the candidates and the public faced the hard truths of this misguided war - there is no easy or safe way out of this war. Any form of phased withdrawal is going to open up a pandoras box of events - more genocide, more chaos and the risks of a wider regional war. There is NOTHING we can do about this, period!  Look at your history books. When the Brits gave India their independence in 1947 nothing could stop the eventual partition of India and Pakistan and the killing of millions of innocent people!  It's about time Americans learned the limits of our power as the Brits did. 
    Z&S: “It is time to bring our troops home because it has made us less safe,” Mr. Obama said to a throng of supporters, cheering wildly despite the pouring rain, at a campaign stop in New Hampshire last month.
    Mrs. Clinton has been equally vocal in making “bringing the troops home” a central theme. In February, she said her message to the Iraqi government would be simple: “I would say ‘I’m sorry, it’s over. We are not going to baby-sit a civil war.’ ”
    Both candidates, in interviews or debates, have said that they would not support intervening in a genocidal war should the majority Shiites slaughter Sunnis — and Sunnis retaliate — on a much greater scale than now takes place.
    Mr. Edwards, who has suggested that he would intervene in a genocide, has tried to position himself as the more forceful antiwar candidate by criticizing both Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama for not pushing hard enough in the Senate to bring the troops home.
    “There are differences between us,” Mr. Edwards said in a June debate. “I think there is a difference between making very clear when the crucial moment comes, on Congress ending this war, what your position is and standing quiet.”
    Senator Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut has called for the United States military to “begin redeploying immediately.” In a debate this week in Chicago, he said: “We can do so with two and a half divisions coming out each month, done safely and reasonably well.”
    RAD:  Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are talking out of both sides of their mouths here. You can't reconcile keeping some type of military presence in Iraq or focusing on Afghanistan with the statements above. How would Edwards intervene in genocide while exiting - do a Bill Clinton strategy as in Bosnia by bombing the hell out of the nation using Amercan air power?
    The only strategy which makes sense as we de-Americanize the war is to use diplomatic efforts under the UN to bring regional powers to fill the vacuum of a US withdrawal and hope for the best!  But there is no silver bullet here.  But you can't be half pregnant here too - you can't withdraw and hover around on the edges!  Chris Dodd has the best plan. 
    Z&S: Americans Against Escalation in Iraq has created its “Iraq Summer” campaign to persuade members of Congress to support legislation changing course in Iraq. While the group is focusing on Republicans across the country, including deploying a blimp to fly above the Iowa straw poll on Saturday, it has not weighed in on the Democratic side of the presidential race and the fact that several Democratic candidates call for an extended but limited military commitment in Iraq. “We are in a good position when leaders are debating the best way to bring our troops home,” said Moira Mack, a group spokeswoman, “rather than whether or not to bring them home.”
    RAD: Bringing the troops home cannot be reconciled with a "call for an extended but limited military commitment in Iraq." The only way to bring the troops home is to do it - ASAP... Our strategy should be to begin demobilization now while protecting American troops as they withdraw and to bring our Iraqi friends with us.  While doing this - we should establish a regional force under UN auspices to replace US troops. But if the region's nation won't step up to their responsibilities - then they will inherit the hell that Iraq is now and they will become down the road!
    We've done our bit, it's time to go! 3600 plus American deaths is enough . $12 billion per month is too high a price!  Let's declare Victory and leave! 



    RAD has been out of blogger circulation this week, golfing 'till he drops with the Canadian Connection.  However, some of the headline news has not escaped me.
    With the recalls of tainted food, toys and other items, like baby bibs, all made in China the marvels of economic globalism appear to be problematic at best.  RAD is not one for turning the clock back by creating "Fortress America" and erecting tariff barriers - "America First" and their like.
    But the recent incidents illustrate that trading and working in a global marketplace, where working conditions, wage rates, environmental standards and child labor laws very greatly, are more complex than Slick Willie and The Newt said they were when they got NAFTA through the Congress.
    Free trade can only work best if workers and industry are on the same playing field across the globe.  In the absence of such, free trade in reality becomes a race to the bottom and we've now found out that this "bottom line" is hazardous to the health of America's kids and many others in the world!
    And do we really think products only made in China put us at risk?  Come on - wake up and smell the putrid odor of Third World sweat shops which would make Malthus, Marx and Smith roll over in their graves!                                              
    It also illustrates that de-regulation from Reagan to Clinton has allowed the economic foxes to get into the chicken house, so to speak.  And it's our little "chicks" who are at risk.  To paraphrase Abe Lincoln - government is necessary to do those things for people they can't do by themselves.
    Where are the New Deal alphabet soup agencies like the FDA et al when we need them?   Until the government gets it's act together it's "buyer beware" - as it was in the 1920s.  Why does the new century seem more like the early part of the 20th century?
    Here's another example of our national security being at risk.  This time it's not terrorism which is putting us in harms way but the architects of laissez faire globalism - the freakish offspring of neo-cons like Milton Friedmann and the Chicago school!
    Welcome to the Brave New World of the 21st century from Baghdad to Beijing!



    One of the big Wall Street handicappers - Moody's Investors Service has upgraded the State of Oregon's bond rating largely because the legislature passed a rainy day fund.  Oregon moves from what might be considered a "C" grade to a "B" grade.  However the rating service cited the "kicker" and Oregon's reliance on the income tax as negatives.  So while progress has been made, which will result in the savings of millions in debt service, there is still much to be done.  This underscores the need for fundamental tax reform in the 2009 session.  Hopefully, once the dust settles in all the changing of the guard going on in the legislature, serious attention will be focused on long term but harder fixes than just a rainy day fund.  It's time the governor, legislative leadership and private sector leaders stepped up to the plate. 



    From  Karl Rove, the architect of President Bush's two national campaigns and his most prominent adviser through 6-1/2 tumultuous years in the White House, will resign at month's end and leave politics, a White House spokeswoman said this morning.
karl-rove-mug.jpg     For all the Rove haters out there (including RAD) - this is good news.  However, it's too bad, actually a disgrace, that Rove is leaving under his own steam not on the heals of being indicted by the special prosecutor for his role in the Plame Affair. 
    Now with Rove gone, Dick Cheney will assume even more power over the affairs of the Bush White House.  That's the bad news.  It's also another compelling reason why articles of impeachment MUST be pursued by the Congress against him and Dubya. 
    It's time for the Dems showed some courage and do the right thing, not act like cowardly lions.  What's the risk factor here, with the president's approval ratings now at 25%?  Answer - there is NO risk.  Even if the clock runs out given the impending '08 election, impeachment will keep the GOP on the defensive. 
    But for now we can all light up our virtual cigars and celebrate the exit of one of the most negative forces in recent American politics.  Karl Rove can now join the GOP rogues gallery of celebrated "hormonal" political psychopaths from the Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon, Oliver North, Roger Ailes et al. 



    Los Angeles:  The power of the Gay Rights movement was illustrated by a forum held in LA on Thursday where Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton along with most of the also runs in the Democratic race for president discussed the merits of gay marriage relative to domestic partnerships or civil unions.  As Barack noted this may be more about semantics than reality.  Or to put it more directly, it may be a test of whether the gay community wants to be politically correct or politically realistic.  If the gay community is politically sophisticated it will steer the discussion away from "gay marriage" to the less volatile options of domestic partnerships and/or civil unions.  If not, they risk awakening the slumbering but discouraged "family values" social conservative base of the GOP which made the difference in the 2004 election.  Getting gay and lesbians full legal protection and parity with straight couples should not be confused with who has a right to claim the label of "marriage."  It would honor tradition and history if "marriage" was reserved to consummating one's vows in the faith venue of one's choice while the legal compact between consenting adults, straight and gay, was the "civil union" route.  If this road is taken the emotional venom this issue engenders in our political arena could be marginalized.  This election will be a test of whether political pragmatism on the left wins out over the desire to "stick it" to the cultural right. 
    Wall Street:   The down slide of the stock market here and abroad caused by the so-called liquidity crisis has a lot of us worried.  RAD's stock portfolio has lost money over the last two weeks just like other folks in the market.  The experts claim that the genesis of the problem is the weakening of the home realestate market because too many banks have loaned money to those who's ability to pay their loans is in the zero to none range.  And with this a crisis of confidence in the markets has slopped over into other markets as well.  The American economy has been riding a crest of easy credit for decades not merely in the housing sector but also in the rush by banks to grant credit card rights to many, especially young people, who don't have the fiscal discipline or resources to pay off long term debt.  Conventional wisdom is that over the long term the stock market is solid, we weathered storms in the past - the free fall of the peso in the '80s, the dotcom bust in the '90s and 9/11.  The current fall is one from a high of the DOW at 14000 to around 13100 - a small fall so far.  If we had leadership in the West Wing that evinced a culture of competence, the panic might be lessened.  In its absence, one hopes that the FED and its counterparts in the global economy will step up to the challenge.  One is reminded of FDR's famous words "that all we have to fear is fear itself."  The trouble is that nobody will confuse Dubya with FDR.