Tuesday, February 26, 2008


I'm going to Puerto Rico for a little break. I'll be back in a week and a half and will check in then.

Meanwhile, check out Adam's latest project, MyKidsLibrary.com, especially if you read to kids. I admire his follow-through, which is why I would place him in my Cabinet immediately, should I be elected President of the USA.

Thanks for keeping up.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Conspiracy Theory and Aubergine House Fun

Somehow today the subject came up at work at the museum, of conspiracy theory, and I found myself wondering out loud: "The more dope smoked, the bigger the conspiracy?" There you go, Beth; it's in my blog, as requested.

This subject related directly to something I'd been thinking about the blog already, after my comment on the most recent post last night, and other recent posts: Am I beginning to sound like a conspiracy theorist? Am I just another bitter American who feels disenfranchised, griping online to anyone who will complain with me? Have I forgotten the message to be sent the world over through Aubergine House?

No, certainly not! I'm back. If Obama is not your guy, write me in. If he is, more power to us all; I'll run next time around, 2012, the year the Mayans chose to end their long calendar, the year popularly believed will be the end of the world, the return of the plumed serpent Quetzalcoatl (an Aztec deity), and according to Daniel Pinchbeck in 2012: Return of Quetzalcoatl: “The global capitalist system that is currently devouring your planetary resources will soon self-destruct, leaving many of you bereft.” (http://www.reason.com/news/show/116784.html) I've already got the perfect campaign slogan: "We survived; vote for me."

Speaking of Obama, before I close in hopes of seeing the total eclipse of the Wolf Moon (not looking promising here right now), I finally heard someone say on the radio today what I keep thinking when people talk about Obama and his rhetoric and lack of talk of policy detail. At this point, that stuff is irrelevant, and folks, if you were taught in Civics class, remember that Presidents aren't here to make solid policy all the time anyway. (They're Executors.) As the political commentator reminded us on Talk of the Nation this afternoon, Presidents are supposed to have ideas and bring these things to the legislature. Yes, it's true, despite what the current administration has somewhat successfully, it seems, beaten into many of our minds: the President is an inspiration, a leader, an initiator, and a- ahem- decider, but not necessarily a nuts and bolts -um- Legislator.

Can you even believe that while campaigning before yesterday's primaries, Hillary took time to tell the American public: "As President, I will fully fund our food safety system so that our inspectors have the resources and manpower they need to do their jobs. I will create a single food safety agency to replace the patchwork of regulation we have now. I will implement an effective recall system so that potentially tainted food immediately comes off grocery store shelves and families receive instant notification. I will strictly enforce safety rules and impose stiff criminal and civil penalties on violators. And I will crack down on the slaughter of sick or injured cows, a practice which poses health risks to families and children"? (http://www.allamericanpatriots.com/48743088_hillary-clinton-statement-beef-recall)

Ok, imagine this now: She puts that much effort into every single issue that comes before her. Uhuh, nope, that's not the way it is. Hillary, I have a great idea: Stick with the Senate. It suits you just fine.

I'm done. What about that question way up at the top re: dope smoking and conspiracy, anyway?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Judge Orders Wikileaks Web Site Shut

From today's NYT:


Whattaya think of this?

(Dag, either something is wrong with my computer or internet service, or these folks work fast.)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Brains or Bombs?

Acknowledging government as necessary to some degree, in the public interest, the next practical step is to decide what the public interest is. I'm not concerned here with approaching the question of who gets to decide that, and all the complications involved in answering that dilemma. Let's just assume that we have agreed that 1) government is necessary to some degree to act in the public interest; 2) we must pay taxes to insure that the government carries out those actions in the public interest; and 3) the public is interested in an educated citizenry aka workforce. (We can make this assumption at some level because we have a postsecondary education system in place and business and government sectors that strongly support a skilled and educated workforce that can compete in a global economy- at least both voice this notion.)

Therein lies the problem. Neither the government (let's talk federal level, and venture into state level, too), nor the profit sector walks the talk.

(For the purpose of this exercise, Dave, you need not even put aside your request to have your tax dollars returned to you in their entirety; we will address both public and private education, briefly.)

According to the American Council on Education (ACE), since the early 1990s, the percentage of students who borrow money to finance their college educations has increased because of changes in eligibility requirements. In the decade between 1993 and 2003, the number of student loans doubled to 10.8 million per year. Volume increased dramatically as well, from $19.8 billion to $50.5 billion. This amount is far less than the budget appropriated for the war in Iraq, yet individuals who borrow a certain sum of money in the thousands of dollars to cover their postsecondary educations must pay that amount back with interest in monthly payments that are felt coming from their paychecks.

ACE reported that in the aforementioned decade, the median amount borrowed by those seeking Associates degrees rose by 70%, to almost $5,900; over 60% of Bachelors degree candidates graduated with federal student loan debt the median amount of which was $14,671 in 2003; and Masters degree recipients saw the largest increase in median amount of debt, by 41% in a 4 year span to $26,119 in 2003-2004; all in PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS of higher education.

Of course, the amounts for those who chose to pursue their education at private schools were significantly higher. And that may be OK; if one has the money and inclination to study at such an institution, then one can expect to pay more. In a "public" college or university, though?

So, should federal student loan debt be forgiven for all? Maybe. I still have to consider this question. It's an awful lot of money if we go all out; certainly there is a place for programs like those that relieve people working with the disadvantaged of debt over time.

I would support a policy that saw postsecondary education much more accessible to all willing to pursue their studies at a public institution of higher learning. What about a program similar to the Hathaway Scholarship recently instituted in Wyoming? Students could enter college on a scholarship or grant, and providing they maintained a certain respectable standing, would be eligible for renewal each semester or year. If the government and industry, purportedly the people of this nation themselves, want an educated, economically competitive global workforce, then isn't this a reasonable way to support building that? And if we have to resort to student loans, why should banks that make so much profit from the interest paid by borrowers profit so heavily from students who simply want to engage in the system these enterprises say they encourage? Beats me.

That's all I have to say right now, except who wants to bring up the stupid 1998 Higher Education Act ban on student loans for those who have criminal records? Let's not encourage people to do better. (Like Rob to FISA, shakes fist at sky, not for the first time.)

Time for someone else to speak.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Congress Strikes Out Again

I have not been informed that Major League Baseball is a branch of Our Federal Government, requiring a check from Our Legislative Branch. To my knowledge, it is still an organization that demonstrates Our National Pastime in action, and why Congress continues to waste precious time with an oversight committee questioning Roger Clemens and company about steroid use is far, far beyond my comprehension- especially when important matters like FISA, mortgage screw-up bailouts and the President's tax refund scheme to boost the economy are at hand. Can someone help me out with this? What have I been missing?

Saw Spencer Bohren, a Casper, WY, native musician now based in New Orleans, perform on campus tonight before a small audience. I recommend him, especially if you dig steel guitar. Now I'm exhausted, but I'd like to acknowledge, before heading to bed, that I have received a request to clarify my position on whether the government should absolve people of student loan debt. I intend to craft a thoughtful response soon, when I have my head about me and can make it make sense. Maybe even tomorrow. Promise.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


From the NYT, "Senate Moves to Shield Phone Companies on Eavesdropping."


I can barely even come up with words to respond to the Senate finally passing a bill that not only broadens the Executive Branch's surveillance powers, but also grants immunity to the telecomm companies that cooperated with the White House's warrantless wiretapping program. This last part, to paraphrase a caller on Mario Solis-Marich's show on AM 760, Denver's progressive talk radio, goes beyond the phone companies and really serves to make the President and his crew immune. Another caller asked, if these people were following the law and did nothing wrong, then why do they need immunity? Indeed.

Is it really "patriotism," as some who voted "yea" claim, to pass such a measure? Are the people we have voted into Congress and the White House speaking and acting for the people who voted them in? If I were President, at least one would be.

p.s. I am a bigger fan of Senator Chris Dodd (D- CT) now, even with that hair and those eyebrows.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Nickie and the US Campaign for Burma

I just heard from my dear old friend and roommate Nickie Sekera, who is currently Northeast Regional Director for the US Campaign for Burma. Nickie is a heroine to me; she remains driven and focused, knows her heart and follows it. (And she claims this job is like being in school, she's learning so much, without the classes. She also gets to travel to Hollywood and do fundraisers with celebrities- a definite perk.) Nickie says, "Damn- I love your blog! I just went to the Democratic caucus here in Fryeburg today, but I may change my mind and vote for you!!!" Check out the Campaign for Burma website. (See Links.)

Education: Student Loans

Jason turned me on to a Facebook group I recently joined, as it is right in line with my stance on educational policy. The group is called: If We Can Spend 1.6 Trillion On War, ALL Student Loans Should Be Forgiven.

As I check out the discussions and associated blogs, I will report back. Right now, got to take a shower and get to Girls Night.

Photo Opp: Aubergine House

Here it is, the first attempt to envision Aubergine House. The lawn ornaments: Will they serve to make us all feel a little closer to our Executive Branch?

Thanks for your continued support and commitment to civic responsibility, Rob RohrTM.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Aubergine House

The second comment about my campaign for President of the USA was a request by my boss, Tim, that a new color for the White House be chosen quickly because he was having trouble saying "_____ House." I am pleased to report that the contest has ended. (Not only have I proven my ability to inspire people to rise to action- there were three entries within hours- but to listen and respond to the public, two traits that I believe are pretty handy for a President to possess- though we may have forgotten over the last several years.)

In case Obama loses the race (which he certainly will, should I win), I would like to carry on the message of change that he has used to imbue the American public with a sense of hope for the future- and that other candidates have echoed, knowing full well that the American public really would like to be seen and heard and considered a part of the American population that benefits from the government that is necessary to some degree in order to prevent greedy people from traipsing all over people who are less greedy or malicious in order to further their own gain. After all, we all pay our taxes, right?

We could use an image that the world sees on a regular basis to convey that we, the people of the USA ("U" stands for "united"), intend to require a big change in the behavior of those we elect to represent us, since for the most we part are underrepresented by them; that we are ready to throw out some stale old traditions like primarily letting older white men with a lot of money stand in for us when most of us aren't older white men with a lot of money and we know these older white men with a lot of money have little to no idea what it is really like to be a "regular" American (except that they, like most of us, probably watch far more TV than is necessary, and they probably aren't always tuned in to C-Span.)

(Note that I am employing a Presidential Strategy that, unfortunately I have pretty much always excelled at and ought to drop: rambling in run-on sentences. This is why I will let RobRohrTM be my Aubergine House Spokesman. Or at least my speech writer, though I will insist on editing myself.)

Yes, that's right; the contest has ended, and the initial change that will illustrate the colorful future to come is that the White House recently called ______ House will be painted and renamed accordingly, Aubergine House. (The length of the name makes it sound better to drop the article before, and this will make it immeasurably easier for my foreign students to send me grammatically correct letters and post cards while I reside there.)

There were two entries for Pink House, but I chose to go with Aubergine House for a number of reasons that I will lay out here, being a transparent future President: 1) I thought it might be a bit much for the public to buy a female President living in a house painted a color traditionally seen as female in this country, and that I might appear "weaker"- yes, in 2008! I think we all know there are still some terribly outdated notions in people's heads, even in this century- than I actually am; 2) another outdated notion some people still carry is that "pink" associates with "commie" and "commies" are bad; 3) aubergine is a preferred color for me. Frankly, I would rather live in an Aubergine House than a pink one, and I am the one who will have to live there for at least 4 years. Orlando knows how much I like aubergine, so he wins the contest. Since the night in the Lincoln Bedroom prize is a moot point for him, as he will be First Man, I am happy to let both Cyndie and Barry, the other contestants, have their turn. This is a detail I'm fairly certain I will remember when the time comes.

If you do not like the French connotation of "aubergine," feel free to call the Presidential residence Eggplant House, but I think that sounds a little strange.

Thanks for playing. Wouldn't it be nice if we had a little lighter time in this country, and took care of our people, too?

p.s. If Uncy or RobRohrTM or someone else with creativity, computer savvy- and time- would like to contribute to this blog and the campaign by turning a picture of the White House into one of Aubergine House and sending it to be posted, I'd be grateful.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Alex Katz

Check him out. I became a little enamoured when Orlando and I saw this painting at the Denver Museum of Art this past weekend.

Grassroots Campaign for President of the United States of America

Here's my slogan: Vote for Lisa, cool as the BBC.

(Look; the BBC far surpasses the American media in challenging journalism: in scope, in depth, and in excellent reporter monikers. Do they get to make those up when they're hired?)

Here's my commitment: I will offer a stance on any issue proposed, seriously. And when I get into the White House, which needs a paint job, I will follow through, or place Uncy in my cabinet to do that part. He practically offered last week when he said he would like to go into business with me, that I would be "hellacious and unstoppable." I take that as an endorsement.

(And I will hold a contest to choose the next color of the ____ House. The prize will be a night in the Lincoln Bedroom. Disclaimer: If you win, expect to be filmed.)

Some issues on which I will not deviate, proving I am not wishy-washy, or waffly, or flip-floppy, or whatever else you want to call that trait that those of little principle possess:

1) Whether or not we ought to take care of the inhumanitarianism we ignore in our own nation instead of spending an inordinate amount of time and money on offering our version of freedom to other countries. (Read: It is absolutely inexcusable that we allow for a hungry and homeless population in this country while sending our own citizens off to kill and die in other places.)

2) Whether or not we should make young people and their families, pretty much regardless of income, pay ridiculous sums of money to get college educations so they can better contribute to this economy, then further contribute to those with the cash already by paying back the loans forever and ever, whether or not they actually are able to secure the positions that are supposed to exist for them when they graduate with that degree. (Uh-uh, we should not.)

3) Whether or not we ought to be doing things for and with each other in our own communities, rather than depending on a big government made up of all sorts of people who don't even know us yet claim they do, from a vantage point far far away in more ways than one, to take care of our ills.

Dang, I just shot myself out of a job, didn't I? Well, if I haven't yet, let me add that I am smart, hardworking, energetic, passionate, sociable- enjoy and care about people- and think that with at least four years in the _____ House (which, believe me, and those who know me will corroborate, will likely hurt), I think those of us who care can turn things up on end and make a statement that speaks for more than half the people of this country (even though many of them may not be paying attention.)

And, as you can see, I look good in a tiara, just in case I have to dress up- which would be the most fun part of the deal.