The Ties That Bind

President-elect Barack Obama told us that none of the members of his staff had any contact with Illinois Gov. Blagojevich regarding the selling of his U.S. Senate seat. He told us that he launched an internal investigation and he re-assured us that nothing inappropriate occurred.

How many times does Rahm Emanuel have to speak to the governor before Barack Obama admits his Chief of Staff did, in fact, speak to the governor, and even urged the governor to choose Mr. Obama’s pick for the job?

Mr. Emanuel submitted a list of names to the governor. The list included the names of candidates Mr. Obama found suitable for the job.

There are reports that Mr. Emanuel had 21 different conversations with the governor or his staff.

None of these facts prove that any wrongdoing took place, but you have to wonder why Mr. Obama’s chief of staff contacted the governor more than 20 times within a month. You have to wonder why a list of “suitable” replacements was supplied by Mr. Obama’s staff. You have to wonder whether Mr. Obama was lying when he said he was confident that none of the members of his staff had contacted Gov. Blagojevich.

It’s apparent something was discussed. It’s pretty clear that some sort of deal was being discussed, or at the very least, implied. While some prominent members of the Republican party are telling people to back off and leave Mr. Obama alone, I think it’s high time that our President-elect starts explaining the actions and circumstances that led to those 21 conversations.

And don’t you skeptics worry. Rahm Emanuel is not the only Obama appointee that has strong ties to Gov. Blagojevich. It seems Mr. Obama’s choice for Attorney General, Eric Holder, “forgot” about his connection to the governor.

Eric Holder and the governor held a news conference together in 2004 where Mr. Blagojvich announced Mr. Holder’s role as a special investigator. This information was left out of a 47-page response to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Whether or not anyone on Mr. Obama’s staff participated in Gov. Blagojevich’s scheme, it seems some of them have ties so deep it probably won’t even matter.

Eyes Are Opening

For the past year, Barack Obama promised to bring change to Washington, D.C. He promised to bring hope to American families across the country. He inspired people to turn out on election day and it worked. The majority of citizens in the United States believed him and they elected him the 44th President of the United States. Now, after one of the most prolonged and vicious election cycles in our nation’s history, people’s eyes are beginning to open, albeit a tad bit late.

When the news broke that Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was trying to “make a deal” or sell Barack Obama’s soon to be vacant Senate seat to the highest bidder, Mr. Obama re-assured the American people that he had nothing to do with the scandal that was unfolding in Chicago. He said he was absolutely certain that no one close to him was involved in the alleged plot by the governor.

Mainstream media was quick to jump on the Blagojevich story, bringing all of that Chicago corruption to the forefront and into the living rooms of millions of American families.

When it comes to the media, there is nothing as juicy as a scandal, especially when corrupt Chicago politicians are involved, and they just couldn’t wait to get people’s minds off of the economy, the possibility of an automaker bailout, and the constant reminders that our nation was in the midst of a deep recession.

They turned all of their attention to the developing scandal, but they never banked on the possibility that their chosen one, Barack Obama, just might not be telling the truth.

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The Exception To The Rule

The men who have served as President of the United States worked hard to establish a legacy for themselves during their time in office. Whether they are remembered as one of our best presidents or one of the worst, I bet you can recall more information about their accomplishments and failures while they were serving in the Oval Office than anything they did after they left it.

We all remember what Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton did while they were in office, but can you recall what Lyndon B. Johnson did after leaving the White House? What about Herbert Hoover, Gerald Ford, or George H. W. Bush? The truth is, very few former presidents are remembered for their works after leaving the presidency.

The exception to that rule is Jimmy Carter.

It’s no secret that Jimmy Carter is not your average former U.S. President, that point should be obvious because he wasn’t your average U.S. President at the time he was elected either. While few people can recall anything he did while serving as president, he is dead set to make sure we all remember exactly what he did after leaving the White House, and I am not talking about his work with Habitat for Humanity.

Mr. Carter has gone out of his way to make sure the writers of history remember him as an ambassador to the entire world and a friend to terrorists everywhere.

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You Shouldn’t Compromise Your Principles

When the U.S. House of Representatives passed their version of the $15 billion automaker bailout earlier this week, I was disappointed, but not nearly as disappointed as I was that Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI) voted for the bailout. To say I was shocked is an understatement.

Before I get too far into this post, let me make a few statements. I understand that Thaddeus McCotter is from Michigan, a state that has been hit hard by this economic downturn because of their ties to the automotive industry. I understand he is an elected representative, whose job is to represent the constituents who live in his district. And, I understand that many of his constituents probably support the bailout effort and demand that he do so as well.

Rep. McCotter has made no secret of his support of this bailout, yet he adamantly fought against other bailout efforts in the past. Apparently, supporting taxpayer funded programs to prop up failing U.S. businesses is only correct if it happens to involve businesses that have a direct impact on your own district. It’s a shame too, because unlike many other members of Congress, I really didn’t think Rep. McCotter was a hypocrite. I thought he was one of those elected officials we could believe in. You know, someone who we could actually trust and who would stand up on their principles and do the right thing for our country.

It seems I, like many other people, was mistaken.

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Healing The Hole In Our Hearts

Nine months ago we said goodbye to our devoted friend and family member, Flash.

We vowed that it would be a very long time before we even thought of bringing another puppy into this house, because the pain of losing Flash was just too strong. The last thing we wanted to do was bring another dog into the house to “replace” Flash. He, like all beloved family members, was irreplaceable.

We decided to wait as long as it took. Flash was close to all three of our kids, and they still get sappy thinking about him, so we figured it would be best to wait until they were ready, in their hearts, to welcome another family member into our home.

From the moment we brought Flash home from the breeder, we knew he was hardheaded, but he also had a lot of personality quirks that made us laugh all the time.

He loved to suck thumbs. Not suckle, but actually suck thumbs. He loved to play with feet, all the time. He wouldn’t chew or gnaw at them, but he would prance up to your feet and start pawing at them.

When he would lay down he would stretch one leg out straight behind him, all the time, and when you took him for a walk, he would get part of the leash in his mouth and walk himself. He was quirky, to say the least.

When we lost Flash to bone cancer, we knew we would never have another dog like him. If and when we brought a new dog home he would have some big paws to fill so we just didn’t look. We weren’t ready. The kids weren’t ready.

Then came Chuck.

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Remembering Pearl Harbor

At dawn on December 7, 1941, Japanese planes attacked the United States Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor In Hawaii.

Anxious to maintain their military and economic power in the region the Japanese planned to cripple the U.S. fleet which would then allow them to attack the Philippines and Indo-China without opposition and acquire the raw materials they needed to maintain their position.

Several ships were sunk or damaged, the U.S.S. Oklahoma capsized, and the U.S.S. Arizona was completely destroyed. More than 2,300 Americans died in the attack.

The next day President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed a joint session of Congress, which declared war against Japan, and the United States officially entered World War II. The Japanese had no idea they were awakening a sleeping giant. December 7th, 1941 truly was a date which would live in infamy.

Take a moment today to remember all of those who died on that December morning in 1941.

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