Archive for December, 2009

Obama lifts bailout caps on Freddie Mae and Freddie Mac

December 30, 2009

Christmas Eve 2009

Obama now wants no cap at all, which means that he has plans to spend a lot more money on inflating a housing bubble that still needs deflating.  That will once again start the cycle of price escalation, speculation, and eventually another collapse of the bubble.  The pattern is utterly predictable, as is the damage it will inflict on the economy.


Obama places US Constitutional Rights on US soil under International Law

December 25, 2009

Well, this is disturbing. While we were all distracted by the Senate passing the health care reform , Obama signed an executive order that might surprise you.  Obama is sworn to defend the US Constitution. It seems he just broke his oath. He basically has given Interpol, the international agency that enforces international laws, an exemption from having to submit to US law.  Yup. It is exempt from search and seizure on US lands. It is above the CIA, FBI, all government agencies. Interpol is also outside our democratic process.

Go to

Maybe Obama will use it to spy on Americans.  So creative and much more clever than Bush.  Bush was  heavily criticized for the Patriot Act . He straight up  asked Americans to endure the  necessary tension created by simultaneously defending our individual rights and collective security, but left international bodies out of it. We got mad at Bush for asking us to do hard things so we voted in Obama in protest. Obama is so much easier for us to take. He gets us! He slips these things in, through this nifty new loophole,  or should I say poophole.

See – I can be clever too!

Afghan women visit NBA teams

December 21, 2009

Khaliullah Khalili

December 21, 2009

In every state, the Heart is my support:

In this kingdom of existence,

it is my sovereign.

When I tire of the treachery of

Reason –

God knows I am grateful to my


“Yes, we can” meets “No, I won’t”

December 20, 2009

  In this photo, it looks like the Chinese Premier has Obama right where he wants him. Obama seems to really be struggling to make his point, to justify his position. He seems so sincere, and if he were talking to his daughter, my heart just might go out to him. He seems very willing here to make a compromise, to go for a ‘win-win’.

  Obama and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao at the climate change conference in Copenhagen.

Interpretations? Captions?

This is a photo from Obama’s own Flickr site, so it presents Obama as Obama’s people want him to be seen. Obsequious? Abasing? Or steady and serious in a difficult process of persuasion?

(Above photo and italics from Ann Althouse blog.)
     Well Ann, I’d say he looks like a clown in this context, however serious he may feel himself to be.
     Negotiation expert Jim Camp weighs in on the dangers of win-win/compromise negotiation strategies  during an interview:
First – a definition of win-win:

What is win-win negotiation?

It is born of collective bargaining. It is an invention utilizing compromise and assumption as its foundation. It forces the user to craft compromise to please the other side. Very seldom will the user get the full price in a win-win negotiation. Fear of failure, loss of the deal, reduced margin of profit, even going out of business can be the byproduct of win-win negotiations.

In your negotiation training book “Start with No®” you say win-win negotiation is the worst way to do business. Why?

I can’t tell you how many times I have sat down with a team of negotiators and asked them to list the first 3 things they must do to prepare for a negotiation. In almost every case, the list included figuring out how much discount they should offer to make the other side happy. Before the negotiation even begins, they are giving up precious profit out of fear of not making the other side happy. Win-win negotiators believe they “know” what the other side is thinking and what will make them “happy.” It is sad that so much is given away for no reason.

Camp is discussing business, but the principles he teaches apply to all negotiations.  Even if you totally agree with Obama, this photo ought to disturb you. He needs to have his game face on, and he does not.   He ought to be the one  asking the questions and learning something about his respected opponent, to coin Camp’s term. What pain does China see coming out of agreements in Copenhagen? Does Obama really know?  Does he have a mission and purpose that sees and solves both that pain and other pain that China may not have considered? If  Obama saw such pain and the solutions, he’d be calmly and carefully drawing out Chinese premier out to have a look at the negotiation landscape with him, not making a sales pitch with his eyes to the floor.  


Going’s on – 12/20 Sunday

December 20, 2009

Most Diddly readers probably already know but I’ll mention it anyways. We (Reena, Josie and I) are going to China to get Clara Rose. We have our tickets – leaving New Year’s Day and returning on the 15th. We’ll go to Beijing for a night, then travel by train to Tianjin where the orphanage is. It is only an hour or two from Beijing, on the coast.  We’ll be there about a week and then go to Guangzhou where the adoption will be finalized. Tianjin will be cold but Guangzhou is warm. This trip will be totally different from the first as we will have Josie and be in a cold climate much of the time. With Josie we were in a warm climate while we had her so we could comfortably do more touristy stuff. We’ll see how it goes. We are all excited and hope you follow our blog:

Snow still accumulating here in RI. We went out briefly with Josie, she was all giggly but didn’t last long. The dog seems to love running around in it. I shoveled some pathways to the cars but I’ll hold off with more shoveling until it slows down some.

I am pretty much finished wrapping Christmas presents. We went to Wal-Mart and got some stuff for our trip and final Christmas stuff.

So now like most we are kind of stuck but at least we are not having to sweat being behind on shopping, although I need to grocery shop for the week.

We are going to visit my Grandmother at the nursing home with all the kids on Tuesday. We were told she would not likely be well enough to leave the nursing home. I haven’t seen her since July 4th.

So I think I’ll do some vacuuming since I am housebound anyways. I also have to tend to the toilet – it needs a new wax ring underneath. Hopefully once I replace it there will be less clogging. It is hard to unclog so I sometimes get calls when I am on the road to come and do some man strength plunging.

I am supposed to play basketball at 1 pm today but it may be cancelled. We’ll see. Last game before the playoffs. I’ll miss the playoffs, of course.

Jesus and Mohammed

December 18, 2009


I have to say, I really like reading sayings of the Prophet Mohammed. I pulled these from Idries Shah’s Caravan of Dreams.  Though I am not Muslim as my Christian beliefs exclude me from such a claim,  I am not going to deprive myself of the wisdom of his words.

He said one thing that was prophetic:

I am like a man who has lighted a fire, and all the creeping things have rushed to burn themselves in it.

Hmm.. creeping things.. those who follow the baser part of their nature. One can’t help but think of terrorists who kill innocents thinking they are going to heaven. They are going toward something bright alright, but wait ’till they get there.

Another saying:

Anyone reviling a brother for a sin will not himself die before commiting it.

I have reviled people for vile acts they have committed, yet I am quite sure I will not commit those acts. But maybe the sin Mohammed speaks of goes deeper… sins of the heart, as Jesus spoke of: 

 Anyone who lusts in his heart commits adultery.  


Good thoughts are a part of worship.

What to do… if you are going to commit  sin before your death,

Mohammed said:

 Die before your death.

How?  In Christianity, St Paul says the flesh must die.

While we are of the flesh, if we are too kill it, what are we to do.

Mohemmed again:

Treat this world as I do, like a wayfarer; like a horseman who stops in the shade of a tree for awhile, and then moves on.

 Our hopes and expectations for anything permament in this world, those are the sins of the flesh. What led the people we revile to sin anyways…hope and expectation.  What hopes did we have for the person who we  now hate because they dashed those hopes. Do we give up hope then? Hope and expectation is not a luxury available to the wayfarer.

What then do we do if not hope.  Faith in God:


Trust in God…but tie your camel first.

But lest you become obsessed and uptight about  that camel,


Whoever has no kindness has no faith.  

Mohammed again:

My poverty is my pride.  What he lacks is his pride – his open hands – his freedom.


Blessed are the poor


On a journey, the Lord of a people is their servant.


The least among you will be the greatest…

Gabrielle’s Holiday Concert

December 18, 2009


 I saw Gabrielle’s concert last night. 8th graders are a little more polished than 6th graders. G had a substitute chorus teacher, Mr. Reynolds,  who really has most of his experience with band, so she was missing her regular chorus teacher who everyone loves. G’s chorus won awards last year.  Nonetheless, Mr. Reynolds must know something because they sounded great.

Song list:

Christmas Medley

Al Shlo Sha  (Hebrew

Carol of the Bells

Circle of Life – all the songs from the movie with soloists

G’s favorite is Carol of the Bells. She said, “It’s dark, not really dark, but not so la la like other Christmas songs. It’s different. We sound good all together.”

Saturday Night Live did a spoof of this song on a dysfunctional family Christmas and I’d sing it to Mom when she was getting frantic trying to make our holiday PERFECT.

Leave me a alone /I’m doing fine/ Get away from me


Here are the actual lyrics followed by some history of the song:

Carol Of The Bells

Hark! how the bells
Sweet silver bells
All seem to say,
“Throw cares away.”
Christmas is here
Bringing good cheer
To young and old
Meek and the bold

Ding, dong, ding, dong
That is their song
With joyful ring
All caroling
One seems to hear
Words of good cheer
From ev’rywhere
Filling the air

Oh how they pound,
Raising the sound,
O’er hill and dale,
Telling their tale,
Gaily they ring
While people sing
Songs of good cheer
Christmas is here
Merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas
Merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas

On, on they send
On without end
Their joyful tone
To ev’ry home

Ding, dong, ding, dong.

Composed by Mykola Dmytrovych Leontovych (1877-1921) in 1916. Originally titled Shchedryk, this Ukranian folk song is about a sparrow and the bountiful year that awaits a family. It was first performed in the Ukraine on the night of January 13, 1916, on the Julian calendar this is considered New Year’s Eve. In the United States the song was first performed on October 5, 1921 at Carnegie Hall.

Carol of the Bells, also known as the Ukrainian Carol, was adapted from Shchedryk by Mykola Leontovych (1877-1921), which was first performed in December 1916 by students at Kiev University. The original Ukrainian song is based on an old Slavic legend that every bell in the world rang in honour of Jesus on the night of his birth.

For anyone who has been a parent, or had them

December 17, 2009

I think this is a remarkable post from one of my favorite bloggers  – the Anchoress. She is conservative and Roman Catholic and even though many associate those two groupings with intolerance and judgement, her words are full of mercy and promise. Beginning with a quote from Pope Benedict that more than a little surprised me with its simple eloquence,  it spoke to my heart as a man who is father to two children who have to live with my divorce from their mother, and also as a man who has become a father to more children through adoption. Her words touched both my grief and heartfelt gratitude for the many blessings I have received in this life, and the urgent need for mercy in this world. Mercy is not pity ….. it is loving and valuing . Mercy serves. Mercy glorifies.

Xavier’s percussion debut

December 17, 2009

I was really proud of my son Tuesday night watching him at his holiday concert. He played bass drum on 3 songs, tympani  on the 4th and crash cymbals on the 5th. He was the man!

He played sax last year so this was his first time playing percussion in a concert. He seems to have  trust in himself and that of his teacher.

He lost his drumsticks ‘awhile ago Dad – i forgot about it’, so he didn’t play snare drum at all, but it seems to have opened up other options for him.

I was impressed.

Gabrielle’s concert is tonight.

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