Sunday, September 28, 2008

McCain Wins Debate even before it begins

I know the New York Times is not a news organization any more, but their report of the McCain campaign releasing a "McCain Wins Debate" ad to the Wall Street Journal eleven hours before the debate began and even before the country knew whether Jumpin John was even going to show up is an astounding act of prescience.

"Mr. McCain’s campaign actually declared victory as early as 10 a.m. Friday, hours before the debate took place and even before he had agreed to take part in it. In what aides said was a mix-up, The Wall Street Journal posted an advertisement on its Web site 12 hours early that showed Mr. McCain proudly looking into the distance. “McCain Wins Debate!” read the text.

A reader of The Washington Post spotted it and alerted one of the paper’s blogs, The Fix, which posted it before the red-faced McCain campaign removed it.

It was an embarrassing, yet telling, false start to the most important battle to shape perceptions of the election year so far . . ." NYT 9/28/08

For a more complete analysis of McCain's week leading up to the debate look at
Frank Rich's "McCain’s Suspension Bridge to Nowhere" also in the Times.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Pioneer Cemetery Workday Reveals Earp Family Stone

The newly formed Prairieland Historical Society had it’s second workday at the Warren County Pioneer Cemetery on Thursday, September 18th. More brush was cleared on the north side of the cemetery, grass was trimmed around some of the visible tombstones, and work was begun to expose some of the stones that have become buried over the years. One interesting stone that was uncovered appeared to be that of the two week old daughter of an uncle of Wyatt Earp.

The cemetery sign is also being refurbished and sometime this fall will be re-located near the stairs that lead up to the historical kiosk.

The Prairieland Historical Association meets regularly on the 2nd Thursday of each month. Memberships are available at a cost of $15 for an individual and $20 for a family. Contact this blogger or Fred Jenks, the current president, at 309-734-2116 for further information.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

More Arts News

If you are interested in the arts on any level, you do need to make sure that your thoughts are communicated to your political representatives. Who are your Illinois state officials? All you need to do is click on: This site will ask you for your zip code and then will get you information on how to contact your state officials by e-mail, by phone, or by regular mail. It is that simple and it is the thing to do right now!

October is Arts and Humanities Month. Activities will be held across the state of Illinois, bringing people together to engage with the arts and humanities through plays, musical performances, lecture series, film screenings, poetry readings, and more. Check it all out. at any of the links below.
• Visit the official AH! Month calendar to find public events in your area
• Submit an arts or humanities event to the AH! Calendar
• Request AH! Month Promotional Tie-ins and become an AH! Ambassador
• Join the official AH! Month Facebook Group
• Learn about National Arts & Humanities Month
Where do the presidential candidates stand on the arts? Try this website to start your research.

Does your town or city have an official “Cultural Plan” to show to prospective business investors or new residents? Fort Collins, CO does and you can read about it here.

And finally,

Some time ago I recommended a web site where you could get regular information on what is opening, closing, selling out, and available at the discount tickets booth in New York. e.g. This past week they noted that the Broadway musical Rent, winner of the 1996 Tony for Best Musical, played its final performance (7 Sep 2008) at the Nederlander Theatre. It will have done 16 previews and 5,124 regular performances, which makes it the seventh longest running show in Broadway history with a gross of over $280 million. There was also a story on the Broadway revival of David Mamet's archetypal Chicago play, American Buffalo, directed by Robert Falls, and starring Cedric the Entertainer, John Leguizamo and Haley Joel Osment. It opens on November 17th. To get your own free e-mail copy of the New York Theatre Guide on a weekly basis go to and click on the left hand panel labeled Newsletter.

"It's da Economy Stupid!"

I would like to make lots of money and live happily ever after, but it seems that the big guys who make lots more money are never happy with their already inflated share of the pie.

As Paul Wilmott said in the NYT on 9/18 "As long as people are compensated hugely for taking risks with other people’s money, and do not suffer equally on the downside, then those risks will inevitably become outrageous. Whether markets are efficient or not I don’t know for sure, but I do know that if there’s a way for someone to make money at another’s expense, he will."

We are a long way from the eighties, but apparently greed is still good and the tax payers will pay the freight.

IRONY CHECK! The party that has claimed pay as you go fiscal conservatism for these oh so many years has given us the biggest deficit in history and an ongoing ten billion dollars a month going out in a sewer called Iraq. The latest round of bailouts is so huge that it has completely overpowered the giant sucking sound of the war.

This same party, whose deregulation champions McCain and Graham, are now sounding the panic bell to put a brake on the rapacious free market capitalism that they fostered, is lookng more like the government control "tax and spend" opposition every minute. Good folks all over there, with the possible exception of the VP choice who thinks that "creationism" is teachable science, that foreign policy experience is being able to see Russia across the water, and that Roe v Wade should be ditched in favor of abstinence only sex education.

I am not sure that anyone will be able to extricate us rapidly from the mess that Bush has made, but it seems probable to me that Obama has a better chance of getting started on it than "Maverick Man."

Just my thoughts this morning. jdy

Saturday, September 13, 2008

McCain Continues to Disappoint St. Petersburg Times has an article that begins: "This nation is facing real challenges on the economy, health care, jobs and the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. There are significant differences between how Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain would address them. But McCain's recent campaign ads suggest the most vital issues are whether Obama wanted to teach sex education to kindergarten children and whether he derided the Republican's running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, by talking about lipstick on a pig. McCain's straight talk has become a toxic mix of lies and double-speak. It is leaving a permanent stain on his reputation for integrity, and it is a short-term strategy that eventually will backfire with the very types of independent-thinking voters that were so attracted to him."

When McCain appeared on "The View" last week and was challenged for approving the commercial that falsely accused Obama of supporting sex education for kindergarteners, his response was "You should see what the other guy's are doing!"
That is a logical fallacy known as "You're Another." Don't clean up your act, just holler that the other guy is just as bad or worse. I guess two wrongs make it right. Reminds me of the motorist who was accused of hitting a pedestrian while driving drunk. His defense? Yes, I was drunk your honor, but he was drunk too.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


For the past two days Ms. Sue Black, a storyteller from Naperville, IL has been captivating Monmouth school children with her participatory musical stories. Taking her cue from selected pictures in the exhibit titled “House and Home and Masks” that was brought to the community by the American Association of University Women’s Art Presenter Program, Black told a series of stories that featured activities and animals and lots of action. Most impressively she was able to adapt her program skillfully to age levels that ranged from kindergarten to middle school. All of this has been taking place at the Buchanan Center for the Arts in downtown Monmouth, IL. and the pictures that accompany this article are all you should need to measure Sue's impact on childrn.

The Art Presenter program has been serving area elementary schools for thirty-five years and for this year’s anniversary, Ms. Black was engaged to supplement an exhibition of arts works created by children from some thirty countries around the world. The show was compiled by the World Awareness Children’s Museum in upstate New York and it will be on view at the Buchanan Center until October 11th.

The AAUW Art Presenter program brings the joy of art to 56 classrooms and over 1000 students in area schools during the school year. It is staffed by a corps of dedicated volunteer presenters (parents, grandparents, seniors, and others) who visit classrooms with works of art on a monthly basis. For more information on this exciting program, contact Jan De Young at or Lila Blum at

A Conservative Finds McCain is just too much to Take

Andrew Sullivan | McCain's Integrity
Andrew Sullivan, The Atlantic: "For me, this surreal moment - like the entire surrealism of the past ten days - is not really about Sarah Palin or Barack Obama or pigs or fish or lipstick. It's about John McCain. The one thing I always thought I knew about him is that he is a decent and honest person. So far, he has let us all down. My guess is he will continue to do so." See whole article.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing is Still a Wolf!

There are hundreds of sayings that speak to the fact that you cannot camoflage old ideas with a new coat of paint and call them new. No matter how you dress it up Bush/McCain still means pain.

Brian Rogers, a spokesman for the McCain-Palin campaign, chastised Mr. Obama for trying to blame the media for reporting the lipstick remark, rather than taking responsibility himself.

“Barack Obama can’t campaign with schoolyard insults and then try to claim outrage at the tone of the campaign,” Mr. Rogers said in a statement. “His talk of new politics is as empty as his campaign trail promises.”

Employing an animal reference of his own, he added: “Apparently, the buck never stops with Barack Obama.”

If Obama were into trying to make out of context hay, the last sentence by Mr. Rogers could certainly be used to show how the McCain campaign is deviously playing the "race card." Far fetched! Sure! But then so was the interpretation of the "lipstick on a pig" line.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

A Heartbeat too Close

I am inclined to call myself an independent when it comes to political issues. Though most of my choices in the last four years have had Democrat on their party label, a sign for a Republican Candidate for Regional School Superintendent is displayed proudly in our front yard at the moment. The Democratic governor of Illinois is one of my least favorite politicos and if the Republicans put up a decent candidate for his job next time, I would be more than willing to vote for him or her.

My magnanimity ends, however, with the current Republican ticket for President and VP. The addition of Palin to an already suspect self described "maverick" makes me surer than ever that we stand a better chance of getting intelligent, considered governance from the Obama/Biden ticket. I have no desire to fight with ultra right wing conservatives as long as they are happy to confine their beliefs to their own converts. I don't even mind if they attempt to persuade me to support their positions on reproductive choice, sex education, off-shore drilling, gay rights, etc. But when they begin to sound like folks who believe that their God's voice speaks for me and all other citizens, I begin to get uneasy. I get even more unahppy when they then start trying to legislate their values and impose them on others.

It is also hard to understand why the folks who rightly made an issue of Obama's pastor and church membership history should cry fowl when someone else makes an issue of their candidate's religious affiliations. I offer below a view that makes this point as well as a few others.

t r u t h o u t | 09.09

Steve Weissman | Sarah Palin: "A Gidget for God's Truth"

Thursday, September 04, 2008

OFTA Hosts storyteller SUE BLACK

NOTE OFTA TIME CHANGE THIS MONTH: We will still meet on the 2nd Wednesday, September 10th but at 3:00 pm in the afternoon.

OFTA honors the AAUW Art Presenter Program’s 35th anniversary and features its exhibition (“House and Home” and “Masks”) this month.

Our Speaker is Ms. Susan Black, an award winning storyteller from Naperville, IL.
She will address OFTA and the general public from 3-4 pm on Wed. Sept. 10th as a part of her two day residency in Monmouth. During her stay on Sept. 9th and 10th, she will be doing storytelling presentations to hundreds of elementary school students from throughout Warren County.

You will also be thrilled by the extraordinary exhibit of international children’s art from twenty-nine countries around the world that the ART PRESENTER program has secured from the World Awareness Children’s Museum in Glens Falls, NY. Ms. Black will be highlighting these works in her presentations. The entire exhibit will be on open public display from September 6th-October 11th at the Buchanan Center.

Please join us to welcome Susan Black to our community and to hear how storytelling can “explore our cultural diversity while celebrating the common bonds we share with our brothers and sisters throughout the world.”