Friday, August 26, 2005

Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again...

Yes, folks, it is raining very hard over here, or at least it was the last time I was outside. It's good for the summer-long drought we had but bad for those of us who continually have to walk across the campus...all year long.

The Chabad honors a champion in quest for sacred texts.
"These are more than just words on documents," said U.S. Senator Norm Coleman of Minnesota. "There is a very powerful and special meaning that they have. That’s why I’m so devoted to the cause of returning the Schneerson documents from Russia."

The Senator was speaking at an event honoring his leadership in the ongoing effort to regain the sacred Schneerson Collection. Senator Coleman addressed a group of 150 Chabad rabbis and students who had gathered in S. Paul’s Adath Israel Synagogue last week.

During the event, the Senator was presented with a replica of the encased mezuzah that is affixed to the entrance of the western wall of Jerusalem. The award came from Rabbi Moshe Feller, Director of Chabad Lubavitch of Minnesota, and Rabbi Boruch Shlomo Cunin, Director of the West Coast Chabad Lubavitch. Rabbi Feller is a longtime friend of the Senator and involved him in the struggle for the Schneerson Collection at the suggestion of Rabbi Cunin, who is part of the delegation appointed by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, to recover the sacred texts.

"Chabad has been blessed to find many good friends in the Senate since the Rebbe sent us to launch our high-profile political and legal efforts to regain the Collection," said Rabbi Chaim Cunin, who joined Rabbi Yosef Cunin in representing their father at the event. "Over time, leaders from both parties on Capitol Hill have emerged as supporters of this important cause -- from Bob Dole, to Al Gore, to Joe Lieberman, to Claiborne Pell. And now, Senator Coleman has picked up the torch and carried it forward, and we are deeply grateful for his courage and determination."
Recovering the texts is a cause that I believe in, even if I am a Conservative Jew who is moderate-to-liberal when it comes to politics.

Congressman Ben Chandler has no pleasure in the hiring scandals and offers little sympathy to current Governor Ernie Fletcher. Chandler ran for Governor in 2003. I'd like to see him or Jonathan run for the position myself, but preferably Jonathan.
If Fletcher aides broke the state merit law by firing Democrats and hiring Republicans on the basis of politics, the governor should take responsibility for that, try to resolve it and move on before his administration is wrecked, Chandler said.

"You ought to have better things to do. There are more important issues to be dealing with on behalf of the public," said Chandler, a Democrat who represents Central Kentucky's 6th Congressional District.

Chandler said he was saddened and puzzled to learn that dozens of state employees were targeted by Fletcher aides for firing, demotions or other penalties because of their connections to him.

Handwritten notes and a so-called "hit list" seized by Attorney General Greg Stumbo's agents from the offices of Fletcher aides suggest that state employees who had the word "Chandler" written next to their names were going to suffer for it.

Chandler said he wonders why the Fletcher administration appears so obsessed with an election that Fletcher won decisively two years ago.

"I scratch my head about that," he said. "I don't remember ever criticizing anyone in the administration once the race was over. And quite frankly, I was always taught that when you win an election, you put out an olive branch to the people who were on the other side, and that helps you build up your support even greater."

Instead of taking responsibility for what happened on his watch, Fletcher seems less than forthcoming, Chandler said. The governor, who has been subpoenaed to testify Tuesday before a grand jury, has not ruled out invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

"I feel sorry for the citizens of Kentucky, because they don't want this kind of petty behavior," Chandler said.

"I'm convinced that 90 percent of Kentuckians don't care if somebody is a Democrat or a Republican. And they don't care who somebody supported in the last election," Chandler said. "It isn't the way an administration ought to behave. Their minds ought to be on the business of the people."

Fletcher spokeswoman Carla Blanton dismissed Chandler's remarks.

"It's a sad development, and it just shows how political this issue has become," Blanton said.
It is a shame that taxpayer money is going towards defending the Fletcher administration rather than supporting our transportation and educational problems.
Under no circumstances should Fletcher pardon his nine current or former aides who are under indictment, Chandler said. The governor has said he leaves that option open.

As attorney general from 1996 to 2004, Chandler prosecuted aides to then-Gov. Paul Patton for alleged campaign-finance violations, and Chandler was angry when Patton pardoned them before trial.

"That's an abuse of power, to pardon your own cronies," Chandler said. "I called for Patton to resign because of it."

He denied ignoring violations of the merit law by Patton's Democratic administration, an accusation made in recent weeks by some Republican critics. Nobody came forward with a mountain of evidence the way Doug Doerting, a whistle-blower in the Transportation Cabinet, did for Stumbo in May, he said.

"I don't recall ever having any kind of -- let's put it this way, we were never presented with a 270-page stack of documents outlining merit system abuses," he said. "But we were investigating everything else in the world."

Aside from prosecuting Patton's aides on campaign-finance charges, Chandler also sued Patton's Economic Development Cabinet to open records in its tax-incentive program, and he prosecuted a high-ranking state House aide, popular among Democratic legislators, who ran a gambling and sex business out of his Capitol office.

"I went after members of my own party more often than I went after Republicans," he said.
As to Congressman Ben Chandler declaring a run for Governor in 2007:
"It would take something remarkable, something I frankly can't envision at this time, to make me do anything but stay in this office for as long as the people of Central Kentucky will have me," he said.
The Blues Brothers to be aired in 83 theatres nationally before it's release on DVD.

Former President Jimmy Carter is the target of a smear attack. President Carter was attacked for lobbying to save a base in Connecticut. The base would shift 3,000 plus jobs to Georgia if it closed. Carter used to serve at the base in Connecticut.
In his letter to the base closure panel, Carter said he feared that closing the Groton base would result in "a loss of some of the proud submariners heritage of our historic association with service and training in New London."

"I don't profess to speak for other active and retired submariners, but I believe that, overwhelmingly, the consensus would be that transferring the submarine forces from New London would be militarily deleterious," he wrote.

Connecticut officials were understandably overjoyed.

"I want to express my sincere appreciation to President Carter," said Sen. Chris Dodd. "As far as I know, it is entirely unprecedented in the 17 years of the BRAC process for a former commander-in-chief to write to save a particular military base from closure."

Fellow Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman added: "We are thrilled that he has lent his support to our efforts to save the base."

The 80-year-old Carter, a former Georgia governor who still lives in rural Plains, didn't make his opinions known before visiting Kings Bay two weeks ago to dive in the new submarine USS Jimmy Carter. The sub was built at Groton's Electric Boat shipyards and commissioned at the Groton base. The sub ride came just days before Carter sent his letter to the panel.

"He was a great president and everything, but it's just pretty bizarre he would say that, being from Georgia," said Karen Landry, executive assistant at the Camden-Kings Bay Chamber of Commerce.
In a bad move yesterday, the federal base-closing commission decided to close the Walter Reed Army Medical Center
The federal base-closing commission voted yesterday to close the storied Walter Reed Army Medical Center and move more than 20,000 defense jobs from leased office space in Northern Virginia to military bases.

The closure of Walter Reed carries considerable emotional freight in the District, and the Virginia office moves could bring tremendous change to the region's economy, traffic, pollution and lifestyles as thousands of workers relocate from transit-friendly sites in Arlington and Alexandria onto bases in outer suburbs.

"I don't know if it is possible or appropriate to move all employees of the Department of Defense onto DoD facilities," said Anthony J. Principi, the commission's chairman. "At the same time, I think the [defense] secretary should have the management ability to manage his people."

Virginia officials, who accused the commission of exceeding its legal mandate in considering the office shifts, expressed disappointment in a decision that could leave acres of vacant commercial space in Arlington.

"We continue to feel leased space was improperly targeted at the start of this process, and we will continue to work with our Congressional and local partners to explore our options," Gov. Mark R. Warner (D) said in a statement.

But he and others said they were pleased that the panel chose to leave two sets of valued military researchers in place in Arlington: the Office of Naval Research and the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, which represent about 1,700 jobs and are the linchpin for as many as 4,000 private consulting jobs.

"That's the intellectual engine," said Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.) "These are the areas that are generating the ideas. DARPA, for heaven's sake, invented the Internet."
A sad, sad day to see Walter Reed close.

In other news, it appears that the United Kingdom, otherwise known as home of the some of the greatest musicians in history, will soon be airing The Daily Show with Jon Stewart in days to come. This a great move in my opinion.

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