The following was submitted anonymously for the purposes of identity protection. I assure you that I know the author and can attest to veracity of what happened. Below the fold is a summary of the author's experience with Directv.
Have you had a similar problem with Directv or any other merchant? How was the problem eventually solved?
I have been a Directv customer since 2000. However, an event has occurred that I believe should serve as a warning for others subscribing to their service.
In May ‘07, I had a service call from Directv because of bad satellite reception. A technician solved the problem by installing a new receiver and access card. He took the old receiver and card with him when he left. He did not leave me with a copy of any invoice.
Flash forward to November 6, 2008, the date I opened my latest Directv billing statement (dated October 27, 2008) and discovered a number of charges had been made using my former access card. These charges covered a five-month period of time—from May ‘08 through October ‘08. Included in the list was an item concerning a receiver that had been disconnected.
A call to Customer Service served only to get me the address of Directv’s Billing Disputes Office, located in Colorado. The following day I mailed that office a copy of the October statement along with a cover letter notifying them of the situation. Meanwhile, further calls to Customer Service revealed that my former access card was still active under my name and there was no record of the former receiver ever having been turned in. I call I made directly to the installer’s toll-free number revealed only that my account could not be located.
On November 20th, a representative from the Billing Disputes Office contacted me by phone. I was told that Directv would credit my account as “one-time courtesy” but that in the future I would be held responsible for any further charges. When I protested yet again that these were not my charges, the representative simply suggested that the next time equipment was replaced and removed from my home I should contact Directv myself to see if it had indeed been turned in.
Directv contracts much of its technical work out to other companies but appears to exercise little oversight vis-a-vis technicians and equipment. Thus Directv’s customers must shoulder the burden in this area.
I hope my experience will prevent other Directv customers from enduring a similar ordeal.
Our guest at the top of the hour is Warren — blogger, webmaster, and tech adviser extraordinaire. Topic of discussion: the insidious creep of leftism from political, historical, and cultural perspectives.
At the bottom of the hour, our second guest, graphic artist Hanther of Tandra, will discuss with us his latest work and the West's suicidal political correctness toward Islam. His bio is HERE, and his latest work is HERE.
Listen to the November 28, 2008 edition of The Gathering Storm Radio Show, live or later by CLICKING HERE.
Abraham Lincoln was our first President to make Thanksgiving Day a national holiday. He probably set the observance in late November so as to correlate the holiday with the date of the Mayflower's anchoring (November 21, 1620, by the modern Gregorian calendar but November 11, 1620, by the Julian calendar used by the Pilgrims).
Abraham Lincoln's 1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation reads as follows:
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years, with large increase of freedom.
No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.
It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the city of Washington, this third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.
In keeping with above words of President Lincoln, who was in 1863 going through a troubled time with the burdens of civil war and the responsibilities of leadership, let us meditate upon our blessings, too numerous to count — no matter how many difficulties 2008 has brought to our lives.
May this Thanksgiving be a special time for each and every one of you!
This year, my extended family has come to the decision of curbing the exchange of Christmas gifts. For one thing, all of us are having financial difficulties. In addition, at this point in our lives, we're suffocating in our possessions.
We will make a few exceptions in our adherence to this moratorium, for one, giving presents to my ninety-three-year-old aunt, the last survivor of her generation in our extended family. Although not wealthy, she certainly has almost everything that she needs and wants, in part because she grew up during the Great Depression and learned to make it last, fix it, and use it up. As usual, Mr. AOW and I will give her a new engagement calendar for 2008 and a gift with chocolate as an ingredient, and her granddaughter order flowers delivered as the grand old dame of the family takes great pleasure in the sight and fragrance of blooms, especially in the dead of winter. My aunt used to enjoy receiving magazine subscriptions and other reading materials; the ravages of glaucoma, however, have put an end to her being able to read standard type without a magnifying class.
Most of all, more than receiving any gifts, my aunt looks forward to the family gathering for a simple meal on Christmas Eve and the after-dinner caroling around the piano. This Christmas, we will celebrate the simple pleasures and the fellowship of getting together as a family — two benefits of an economic downturn. In fact, we gain a better perspective when we stop trying to meet the requirements of obligatory generosity. And I predict that we'll enjoy this Christmas as much as any previous ones, maybe more.
In the past, everyone in my family has enjoyed receiving gift cards. In fact, most of us have grown to prefer those cards so that we can go out to buy what we want, specifically, clothing that fits both our bodies and our style preferences. This year, however, giving gift cards is fraught with the uncertainty that many merchants might not still be up and running a few weeks from now.
The following is a partial list of merchants that we already know will be undergoing changes, yet many of these merchants are still selling the cards through the holidays even though the cards may well be of no worth whatsoever on January 1 (thanks to my best friend of some 40 years).
Circuit City (filed Chapter 11)
Ann Taylor - 117 stores nationwide closing
Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug, and Catherine's - closing 150 stores nationwide
Eddie Bauer - closing 27 stores and more after January
Cache - closing all stores
Talbots - closing specialty stores
J. Jill (owned by Talbots) - closing all stores
Pacific Sunwear (owned by Talbots) - closing all cores
The GAP - closing 85 stores
Footlocker - closing 140 stores; more to close after January
Wickes Furniture - closing all stores
Levitz - closing remaining stores
Bombay - closing remaining stores
Zales - closing 82 stores now and 105 after January
Whitehall - closing all stores
Piercing Pagoda - closing all stores
Disney - closing 98 stores now and will close more after January.
Home Depot - closing 15 stores, 1 in NJ (New Brunswick )
Macys - closing 9 stores after January
Linens and Things - closing all stores
Movie Gallery - closing all stores
Pep Boys - closing 33 stores
Sprint/Nextel - closing 133 stores
JC Penney - closing a number of stores after January
Ethan Allen - closing 12 stores
Wilson Leather - closing all stores
Sharper Image - closing all stores
KB Toys - closing 356 stores
Loews - closing some stores
Dillard's - closing some stores
Even if a particular merchant is not closing all stores, the inconvenience factor for the location of the remaining stores should be considered. Remember that the facility of returning and exchanging received gifts will also be affected.
It's not my business to tell my readers what to do about gift-giving this Christmas. But this family isn't grieving over our cutback. Not at all. In fact, we've all said, "It's about time!" and we're avoiding giving any gift cards whatsoever.
No doubt, you have by now heard of the information in this article, which appeared in the BBC News on November 18, 2008, as well as in other news media:
A statement purporting to be from the second-in-command of Islamic militant network al-Qaeda has called on Muslims to harm "criminal" America.
In the message, Ayman al-Zawahiri is heard accusing President-elect Barack Obama of betraying his Muslim roots.
He also likens him to a "house slave" - who had chosen to align himself with the "enemies" of Islam.
Zawahiri also criticised Mr Obama - whose father is Muslim - for betraying the Islamic world.
"You were born to a Muslim father, but you chose to stand in the ranks of the enemies of the Muslims, and pray the prayer of the Jews, although you claim to be Christian, in order to climb the rungs of leadership in America," he said.
Mr Obama was not an "honourable black American" like Malcolm X, he said, but an "abeed al-beit" - a word that translates as house slave but was rendered "house negro" in the message's English subtitles....
Of course, Al Qaeda is notorius for such saber rattling, this time blatantly illustrating the low esteem in which Arab Moslems hold blacks, who have traditionally been viewed in Islam as slaves by dint of race (i.e., not Arabs). Nothing new there. Al-Zawahiri's statement also adds fuel to the question as to whether or nor Barack Hussein Obama, once a Moslem because of his father's having been born into Islam, is a Moslem by default or even a secret Moslem who is falsely claiming to be a Christian. Not that Al Qaeda isn't capable of waging a propaganda war.
Does the message have more significance?
----------- Dr. Walid Phares, terrorism expert and the author of Future Jihad: Terrorist Strategies against America, The War of Ideas, and The Confrontation: Winning the War against Future Jihad, obviously thinks so and shares his analysis al-Zawahiri's message with the following listed points, each one with elaboration here:
1. The election of Obama is a Defeat to the United States in Iraq and a Victory to the Jihadists.
2. A Warning to Obama: Don’t Send Additional Troops to Afghanistan
3. The Same U.S. Aggression Remains
4. You’re Not Real [referring to Obama]
5. The War Must Continue…
6. Until You Surrender…
The elaboration under Point 6 is particularly interesting:
Zawahiri’s response to the election seems to re-frame the results of the election, an election seen around the world as one of change. To Al Qaeda there is no altering of direction in their struggle and agenda. In their own logic, either Obama will end America’s presence altogether in the greater Middle East, or nothing will really change on the global battlefield.
Change? Not unless it's Al Qaeda's version of change, meaning that the quest for Islamic supremacism remains the same across fourteen centuries.
In the concluding portion of the essay, Dr. Phares states as follows:
...Of all the points raised by Zawahiri on the audiotape, I believe that the central message is this: Redeploy as you wish and change all the leaders you want, but know that we will continue our global fight against you....
One thing is certain: These jihadomaniacs know how to perseverate for lo these nearly fourteen centuries. Such a mindset makes them as dangerous as ever. Yet America snores on, hoping for them to change.
Our guest for the full hour is Robert Spencer, the director of Jihad Watch and the author of two New York Times bestsellers (all titles available at Amazon.com): The Truth About Muhammad and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades). Others of his books include Religion of Peace? Why Christianity Is and Islam Isn't; Islam Unveiled: Disturbing Questions About the World's Fastest Growing Faith; and Onward Muslim Soldiers: How Jihad Still Threatens America and the West. His bio is HERE.
We will discuss with Mr. Spencer his new book, released earlier this month. ------ Listen to the November 21, 2008 edition of The Gathering Storm Radio Show, live or later, by CLICKING HERE.
Now that the intitial weeping and gnashing of teeth following the election has diminished a bit, the conservative blogosphere has a task ahead, that of contrarian dissent. In my view, that dissent shouldn't descend into the lowest of the tactics shown by many of the lefties in the blogosphere and the media. On the other hand, being too refined and too dignified won't likely yield results, with either the electorate or the rebuilding of the Republican Party. Certainly, remaining quiet and sulking will have no outcome.
-------- On January 20, Barack Hussein Obama will take the oath of office and become President of the United States. Like it or not, he will become our President. Certainly, based on what we know about him and his political philosophy, he may lead our nation in a leftist direction, as he attempts to keep even some of his pie-in-the-sky campaign promises. And he will have the partnership of a leftist Congress to help him accomplish his goals. Still, we should also remember that often Presidents govern in a more centrist manner than in the manner in which they campaigned. We'll be finding out soon enough in precisely what direction our new President will lead our nation.
Today's electorate apparently responds to and needs a leader who offers "shock and awe." These same voters also seem to respond more to contrarian dissent and derangement syndrome than to the analysis of political philosophies. Say what you will about the importance of political ideology and integrity, the Democratic Party's campaign was successful. Voters may well suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder and respond to sound bites around which to rally!
In my view, the Right needs to begin anew by offering contrarian dissent — patriotic dissent with just a tinge of Leftist Derangement Syndrome. Appeal to the people may be a logic fallacy, but we've just seen that such an appeal is indeed effective, much like the teachable moment in the classroom. The Right needs to learn and to employ some of the same tactics which the Left used to win the election.
Consider the following video, not only from the perspective of observing the apparent idiocy of those interviewed but also from the perspective of how such an electorate can be moved in a different direction:
Perhaps we truly have entered a new era of voters, ones who need a different kind of appeal from the Right. Based on the above video, we may not have the option of or the time for educating the electorate.
You may recall my posting last month about what happened to No Compromise, when Blog Talk Radio interrupted Tracy's interview of Philip J. Berg, who filed a federal law suit about Barack Obama's citizenship qualifications for the Office of President of the United States. Just a few minutes into the interview, Tracy's show was shut down, her account suspended, and the archives placed on hold, unavailable for listening. In fact, going to the show's web site resulted in the site-not-found message. Now that the election is over, Blog Talk Radio has reinstated No Compromise:
An interesting turn of events occurred: The election is over, so I guess Blog Talk Radio decided it was safe for an outspoken critic of the Obamunist to have her show back. As if I, or anyone else could do any harm to the messiah! If he’s such a messiah why silence his critics? Wow, what a god he must be!...
Perhaps Berg's law suit has no merit. Indeed, a ruling, a dismissal, has already been issued by a federal court, quite an unsatisfactory ruling which did not specifically address the Constitutional questions presented. Berg has now taken his law suit to the United States Supreme Court.
But whatever merit the law suit has or doesn't have isn't the point, particularly with regard to what happened to No Compromise. The point is this: Why the push to silence the discussion, particularly before the election? Also, are Obama's followers so maniacal that they have to silence even the asking of questions? Let's recall these words warning about the supression of free speech, from George Washington:
“If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”
I've been unable to confirm whether or not the Supreme Court of the United States is going to hear Berg's law suit. I have read, however, that Obama, the DNC, and all co-defendants will have to respond to Berg's writ of certiorari by December 1. Wikipedia says the following about writ of certiorari:
A writ of certiorari currently means an order by a higher court directing a lower court to send the record in a given case for review.
But suppose for a minute that Obama is indeed Constitutionally unqualified for the Office of President. Then what? After all, he won the election on November 4.
An excerpt from the cited article in the Wall Street Journal is below the fold here at AOW.
Professor Hired for Outreach to Muslims Delivers a Jolt Islamic Theologian's Theory: It's Likely the Prophet Muhammad Never Existed
Contributing last year to a book on Islam, he weighed the odds and called Muhammad's existence "more probable than not." By early this year, though, his thinking had shifted. "The more I read, the historical person at the root of the whole thing became more and more improbable," he says.
He has doubts, too, about the Quran....
The professor says he's more determined than ever to keep probing his faith. He is finishing a book to explain his thoughts. It's in English instead of German because he wants to make a bigger impact. "I'm convinced that what I'm doing is necessary. There must be a free discussion of Islam," he says.
Good luck with that, Professor. I note that you're now forbidden by the university from teaching future teachers about Islam. And what you're doing could ignite the ummah even more than the Danish cartoons and Fitna did.
Additional reading:CLICK HERE to read excerpts from "Islamic Theology Without the Historic Muhammad -- Comments on the Challenges of the Historical-Critical Method for Islamic Thinking" by Professor Kalisch.
I haven't yet opened my copy of Time Magazine, dated November 24, 2008. You can read that edition online HERE. So as not to assail your eyeballs on this Sunday morning, the cover of that edition is below the fold:
I wonder what cover design Time will use for the Christmas edition?
Addendum, from Fireside Chat to YouTube chat, complete with his special title of "President-elect":
We can rant all we want, but BHO is going to be a force to reckon with. He knows how to play to the people.
The present design of the memorial in not a fitting design for those brave individuals who refused to let United Flight 93 be used as a deadly missile, as were the other flights which reached their targets on 9/11.
Does 9/11 matter so little now that we are going to sit back and allow this atrocity of a memorial to become a reality, without even raising our voices in outrage? Do we care so little about the passengers and legitimate flight crew, all of whose lives were sacrificed so as to prevent the airliner from reaching its destination, that we just say "Oh, well"?
Friday, November 14 (60 minutes): Our guest, beginning at the top of the hour, is Rosine Ghawji, who unknowingly married and had two children with a man who, through his family and acquaintances, was involved in international terrorism. ------ Listen to the November 14, 2008 edition of The Gathering Storm Radio Show, live or later, by CLICKING HERE.
Do you know her name? Maybe, maybe not. If not, please read this and this for background.
On this edition of The Gathering Storm Radio Show on Blog Talk Radio, WC and I interviewed this brave lady, who unknowingly married and had two children with a man who, through his family and acquaintances, was involved in international terrorism.
I thought I was prepared to hear what she had to say. I wasn't. I kept having to turn off my mic so as to prevent my gasps from going out over the air.
If you're the type that likes to put a face to a voice, watch the following 2007 videos, both of which cover some, but not all, of the same material that WC and I discussed with Rosine on The Gathering Storm:
Now Barack Obama is being claimed by not one but as many as 8,000 Beduin tribesmen in northern Israel.
Although the spokesman for the lost tribe of Obama has yet to reveal the documentary evidence that he says he possesses to support his claim, people are flocking from across the region to pay their respects to the “Beduin Obama”, whose social standing has gone through the roof.
Read it all at the above link. And there's a video too.
Talk about too many cousins jumping on the bandwagon!
What's That? Hamas Met With Obama Aides Before The Election?
Surprise, surprise. NOT!
With a hat-tip to my friend C.R.:
The Arab daily Al-Hayat on Tuesday quoted a senior Hamas official as saying that United States President-elect Barack Obama's advisors met with members of the Palestinian militant group before the U.S. presidential election.
Ahmed Yusuf, a political advisor to Hamas' Gaza leader Ismail Haniyeh, reportedly told the London-based paper that, "The connection was made via email and after that we met with them in Gaza."
Al-Hayat reported that Yusuf also said the relations were maintained after Obama's electoral victory last Tuesday. He saidthe president-elect's advisors requested that the relations be kept secret so as not to aid his rival, Senator John McCain....
PHILADELPHIA - U.S. Senator Barack Obama on Wednesday criticized former U.S. President Jimmy Carter for meeting with leaders of the Islamic terrorist group Hamas as he tried to reassure Jewish voters that his presidential candidacy is not a threat to them or U.S. support for Israel....
Ah, politicians! Well, nobody ever said they were consistent. But this contradiction is, as the phrase goes, "something else." You decide what the "something" is.
Note: Two posts today. Please scroll down for the other one.
RALEIGH — Democrats in the U.S. House have been conducting hearings onproposals to confiscate workers’ personal retirement accounts — including 401(k)s and IRAs — and convert them to accounts managed by the Social Security Administration.
The testimony of Teresa Ghilarducci, professor of economic policy analysis at the New School for Social Research in New York, in hearings Oct. 7 drew the most attention and criticism. Testifying for the House Committee on Education and Labor, Ghilarducci proposed that the government eliminate tax breaks for 401(k) and similar retirement accounts, such as IRAs, and confiscate workers’ retirement plan accounts and convert them to universal Guaranteed Retirement Accounts (GRAs) managed by the Social Security Administration.
The current retirement system, Ghilarducci said, “exacerbates income and wealth inequalities” because tax breaks for voluntary retirement accounts are “skewed to the wealthy because it is easier for them to save, and because they receive bigger tax breaks when they do.”
HERE is a pdf file from the Agenda for Shared Prosperity, where other topics are also covered. For a full picture of what the left has in mind, hunker down and do some reading of the site.
The following comes from the site's home page:
The American people need an economic agenda that will spur growth, reduce insecurity, and provide broadly shared prosperity....
From each according to his hard-earned assets to each who doesn't have the same amount in assets? Such a leveling-out plan is what wealth redistribution attempts to accomplish, dragging down everyone to the same low standard.
The following is taken from this link on the sidebar at the Agenda for Shared Prosperity:
Election shows the center has shifted in economic thinking
Commenting on the historic election of Barack Obama to the presidency, Economic Policy Institute President Lawrence Mishel writes that U.S. economic thinking has undergone a dramatic shift, and that Americans are increasingly open to careful and effective government intervention. "We can declare with confidence and relief that the conservative era is over," Mishel said in a statement issued Wednesday morning. "It is now possible to build an economy with widely shared prosperity."
Change America! Americans have voted in change!
What's next? Forcing a homeowner to share what he receives when he sells his home, the other primary "bank" for retirement?
All this proposed sharing of wealth will come as a shock to the Kool-aid drinkers who waited in line on November 4, 2008, and gleefully cast their ballots for change.
Not much hope, though, for those who work hard, pay their own way, provide for their golden years, and should rightfully benefit from the fruits of their labor.
Thursday, November 13, at 8:00 P.M. Phoenix time, WCandI will host "Voices of Freedom," a one-hour weekly show on KFNX 1100. See this time-zone chart (Refresh the page!) if you are in a different time zone than Phoenix, Arizona; click directly on the word "PHOENIX" to get a world map of time zones.
Our scheduled guest is Cassandra, USA, author of Escape! From an Arab Marriage: Horror Stories of Women Who Fled From Abusive Muslim Husbands and Thirty-Three Secrets Arab Men Never Tell American Women: A Dissection of How Muslims Treat Women and Infidels. ------ Tune in if you can! In addition to AM air time at the scheduled hour, KFNX offers live streaming at the station's web site.
VOICES OF FREEDOM: THE SHOW THAT MAKES JIHADISTS CRY.
"The Things That Make a Soldier Great" by Edgar Guest (1881-1959): The things that make a soldier great and send him out to die, To face the flaming cannon's mouth nor ever question why, Are lilacs by a little porch, the row of tulips red, The peonies and pansies, too, the old petunia bed, The grass plot where his children play, the roses on the wall: 'Tis these that make a soldier great. He's fighting for them all.
'Tis not the pomp and pride of kings that make a soldier brave; 'Tis not allegiance to the flag that over him may wave; For soldiers never fight so well on land or on the foam As when behind the cause they see the little place called home. Endanger but that humble street whereon his children run, You make a soldier of the man who never bore a gun. What is it through the battle smoke the valiant soldier sees?
The little garden far away, the budding apple trees, The little patch of ground back there, the children at their play, Perhaps a tiny mound behind the simple church of gray. The golden thread of courage isn't linked to castle dome But to the spot, where'er it be — the humblest spot called home. And now the lilacs bud again and all is lovely there And homesick soldiers far away know spring is in the air; The tulips come to bloom again, the grass once more is green, And every man can see the spot where all his joys have been.
He sees his children smile at him, he hears the bugle call, And only death can stop him now -- he's fighting for them all.
The following sonnet was written by then tenth-grade homeschool student "A.M." The photo of soldiers in the United States Army was taken in Afghanistan in 2005. These four soldiers are home now!
A Soldier’s Farewell
Belovéd, do not weep for me today, Nor sigh on the morrow when I depart. For though I am from thine eyes far away, My thoughts dwell on thee as the battles start. Death’s cold embrace might appear a relief From this hellish battlefield’s roiling sand, Yet then I dream my death writ on a leaf And with renewed spirit protect my land. I shirk not my duty to my country And will strive to bring liberty to all; When peace and hope shine through the night ‘round me, Homeward shall my steps delightedly fall. For one’s heartstrings in his own country lie And calls him with more force than battle’s cry. --Contributed by A.M.
"There's a lot that the president can do using his executive authority without waiting for congressional action, and I think we'll see the president do that," Podesta said. "I think that he feels like he has a real mandate for change. We need to get off the course that the Bush administration has set."
According to this November 6, 2008 article in the Examiner, the following appears in The Plan: Big Ideas for America, a book Rahm Emanuel coauthored:
It's time for a real Patriot Act that brings out the patriot in all of us. We propose universal civilian service for every young American. Under this plan, All Americans between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five will be asked to serve their country by going through three months of basic training, civil defense preparation and community service. ...
Here's how it would work. Young people will know that between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five, the nation will enlist them for three months of civilian service. They'll be asked to report for three months of basic civil defense training in their state or community, where they will learn what to do in the event of biochemical, nuclear or conventional attack; how to assist others in an evacuation; how to respond when a levee breaks or we're hit by a natural disaster. These young people will be available to address their communities' most pressing needs.
Community, community, community!
According to the same article in the Examiner,
Emanuel and co-author Bruce Reed insist "this is not a draft," but go on to write of young men and women, "the nation will enlist them for three months of civilian service." They also warn, "[s]ome Republicans will squeal about individual freedom," ruling out any likelihood that they would let people opt out of universal citizen service.
Of course, as White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel himself cannot put into place such a plan of universal service. But his position on this topic is indicative of one direction the upcoming administration might take. Moreover, Obama has stated his support of fifty hours of government-approved service as a federal requirement for earning a high school diploma.
We also have the following video snippet of Obama:
Age is no barrier! All of us can serve the community! From this page at Change.gov:
The Obama Administration will call on Americans to serve in order to meet the nation’s challenges. President-Elect Obama will expand national service programs like AmeriCorps and Peace Corps and will create a new Classroom Corps to help teachers in underserved schools, as well as a new Health Corps, Clean Energy Corps, and Veterans Corps. Obama will call on citizens of all ages to serve America, by setting a goal that all middle school and high school students do 50 hours of community service a year and by developing a plan so that all college students who conduct 100 hours of community service receive a universal and fully refundable tax credit ensuring that the first $4,000 of their college education is completely free.Obama will encourage retiring Americans to serve by improving programs available for individuals over age 55, while at the same time promoting youth programs such as Youth Build and Head Start.
Quickie link: "Out: Seances. In: Mutts" by Dana Milbank in today's Washington Post. The complete article is in the continuation of this post. Your comments welcome.
As the time grew nearer for Barack Obama's first news conference as president-elect yesterday, aides announced that the start would be delayed by 10 to 15 minutes. Then they announced a five-minute delay. Then another. Finally, the next president finally sauntered onto the stage, a fashionable 23 minutes late.
After eight years of on-time news conferences by President Bush, the nation now has tangible proof: The Democrats are back in charge.
There were other signs of change, too, some refreshing, some less so.
The president-elect, tickled that reporters stood when he entered the room for the first time, forgot the standard "Please be seated."
When asked whether he had conferred with any living ex-presidents, he seemed to dis Ronald Reagan's ailing widow. "I didn't want to get into a Nancy Reagan thing about, you know, doing any seances," he said. (He later called her to apologize.) Even more alarming for those steeped in the protocol of the Beltway, Obama, in Chicago, called on representatives of both local newspapers but -- horrors -- didn't call on The Washington Post.
But aside from those stylistic breaks from his predecessor, the agent of change was a study in caution.
He wore a Bush-blue tie. Over his shoulder loomed Jimmy Carter's Fed chairman. And when he opened his mouth to speak, the first word that came out after "Thank you very much" was: "Uhhhh." (Pause.)
Timing of an economic stimulus? "I want to see a stimulus package sooner rather than later."
How he would respond to a letter from the Iranian president? "I think we've got to think it through."
His presidential appointments? "I want to move with all deliberate haste, but I want to emphasize 'deliberate' as well as 'haste.' "
Even a question about what breed of dog his family would choose as a pet provoked a cagey reply: "Malia is allergic, so it has to be hypoallergenic; there are a number of breeds that are hypoallergenic. On the other hand, our preference would be to get a shelter dog, but, obviously, a lot of shelter dogs are mutts like me. So whether we're going to be able to balance those two things, I think, is a pressing issue on the Obama household."
If Obama's first moves are an indication, he plans not so much a break with the past as a restoration of Democratic mandarins. Among those standing behind him yesterday were many of Bill Clinton's Cabinet officers and top aides: Bill Daley, Bob Reich, Larry Summers, Rahm Emanuel, Bob Rubin and Laura Tyson.
No technique was spared in projecting stability and reassurance. In addition to the economic muckety-mucks who stood silently on stage behind the president-elect, Obama's aides decided to make it an eight-flag news conference. Thus the television screen was a tableau of red, white, blue, and Paul Volcker's belly sticking through his unbuttoned suit jacket. Obama's lectern was adorned with a graphic announcing "THE OFFICE of the PRESIDENT ELECT."
Reading his opening statement carefully, he offered a caution: "Now, the United States has only one government and one president at a time. And until January 20th of next year, that government is the current administration." True, but for the first time, his words carried the weight of president-elect, and Wall Street traders voted with their buy and sell orders.
When Obama began his speech, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 255 points for the day.
The AP's Nedra Pickler asked what economic measures he would take in his first 100 days. He offered boilerplate about how "my transition team is going to be monitoring very closely what happens over the course of the next several months." The Dow's gains shrank to 145 points.
ABC News's Jake Tapper asked how he would respond to a congratulatory letter from Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. "I will be reviewing the letter from President Ahmadinejad, and we will respond appropriately," Obama answered. The Dow's increase on the day had shrunk to 131 points. Only after Obama disappeared behind the curtain did the market resume its advance.
CBS's Chip Reid asked whether he would confront Bush on points of disagreement when they meet next week. "We are gratified by the invitation" to the White House, Obama answered. "I'm not going to anticipate problems."
Vagueness prevailed on matters of appointments ("I'm confident we're going to have an outstanding team"), his replacement in the Senate from Illinois ("This is the governor's decision"), his tax plan ("We're going to be continuing to take a look at the data"), any concerns about U.S. intelligence ("I'm going to skip that") and which Washington school his daughters will attend ("We'll be making a decision about that in the future").
He closed with a final platitude -- "The goal of my plan is to provide tax relief to families that are struggling" -- then called the news conference to a close not quite 20 minutes after he began. Walking off the stage, he called out "bonjour" to a French reporter. That part, at least, was a change we can believe in.
Most of my students desire to get good grades. Probably because they are homeschoolers and taught from an early age to be more concerned about achievement and progress than about evaluation results themselves, the homeschoolers I work with don't obsess about their scores. Still, they naturally prefer a good grade to a bad one.
Last month, after the high-school literature class finished reading Beowulf, I administered a quiz. Sometimes I design my own quiz, sometimes not. For this year's reading of Beowulf, I nabbed an online quiz from SparkNotes because, unfortunately, the site I used to access for multiple-choice quizzes has reduced the number of materials available. I rarely, if ever, use such a popular site to obtain any evaluation materials although my students and I frequently use the web to obtain discussion materials and to read sample essays.
As a tool for also working on the students' listening skills, often a weakness for some homeschoolers, I dictated the multiple-choice quiz. The students, of course, wrote down their answer choice: A, B, C, or D. As quizzes go, I would rate the SparkNotes quiz on Beowulf of medium difficulty.
Immediately after the quizzes were completed, then traded and scored, a student — I'll call her Susan — approached my desk. I have been teaching Susan various classes for some years and her getting out of her seat in the middle of class never happens. "I don't deserve the grade I just got on the quiz," she said.
Had Susan cheated? No, but she believed that she had because, as part of her preparation for the Beowulf quiz, she had taken the online SparkNotes quiz, the same one I used. Susan had earned a 100% on the quiz in class, a 92% when she took the quiz online.
My response to Susan: "I didn't tell the class not to use the SparkNotes quiz as a study tool. Your 100% stands. You didn't cheat. You did earn your A+." In spite of caring very much about her grades in her senior year, Susan protested a bit, then gave up. I'm not the kind of teacher with whom a student will argue for long.
Few students exhibit Susan's integrity, particularly in a situation such as the one I've just described. Not that my students don't have integrity! They do! But Susan showed the epitome of integrity in her voluntary admission. I commend her.
I've been teaching for over thirty-five years now. Like most teachers, I remember many of my students' names, but not all the hundreds and hundreds of names. Faces and names blur over time. I'm sure, however, that I'll remember Susan and her integrity for years to come. That moment of Susan's honesty is one of those things which a teacher never forgets.
Friday, November 7 (60 minutes): Our first guest, at the top of the hour, is Mrs. Viola Drath, member of the White House Commission on Remembrance. As part of The Gathering Storm's Veterans Day observance, we'll discuss with her Universal Remembrance. Our guest at the bottom of the hour is licensed counsellor GM Roper of the blog Has Everyone Gone Nuts? He will analyze Tuesday's election results. ------ Listen to the November 7, 2008 edition of The Gathering Storm Radio Show, live or later, by CLICKING HERE.
As we count down to the remaining hours of this election, I urge all readers who have not yet voted to continue listening to what the candidates are saying; feel free to question their rhetoric.
If it is true that most Americans are worried about the economy, then there is no reason to vote for Barack Obama. None. If readers need a quick review, they will find an excellent crib-sheet of the Obama/McCain platforms at Jus’ Sayin'; check it out.
Ultimately, American voters and the Electoral College will make the final decision as to which candidate will serve as our next president. This is not the time to be lulled into accepting false promises and sugar coated solutions to serious challenges. We hope (and pray) Americans will select the one candidate who will best serve the interests of our Nation. Chose wisely, America.
I began blogging in mid-2005, so this year is my first in the blogosphere during the run-up days to a National Election. What a frenzy! It's all about the election, all the time — or nearly so. Perhaps all general elections cause such turmoil on the web and elsewhere, and I simply didn't notice. -------- Last week, a friend of mine in Moline, Illinois, phoned. He wanted to share with me some of the not-so-well-covered information on Barack Obama. This friend of mine — I'll call him Bill — doesn’t use the web at all. Instead, he relies on the mainstream media and word of mouth as his sources. Not unexpectedly, Bill didn’t have any information I didn’t already know. In contrast, because I surf the web every single day, I had some information he had never heard.
For example, I told Bill about the shutting down of Blog Talk Radio’s No Compromise When You’re Right, when Tracy, the show’s host, attempted to interview Phillip Berg, the attorney who brought the now-dismissed law suit with regard to Obama’s citizenship. Bill didn’t know the name “Berg,” but he had heard via word of mouth about the questions related to Obama’s eligibility for the office of President of the United States and asked, “Has Obama produced the proof that he’s eligible? Why is he not producing the proof? What about our Constitution?” The answers to those questions are either unavailable, from Obama himself, or the questions themselves are being disregarded altogether.
Prior to learning about some of the most disturbing facts about Obama – particularly the advocation of wealth redistribution – Bill, the owner of a small business, was undecided as to whether or not to vote for Obama because Bill is one of those independent voters about whom we hear so much. In fact, several months ago, he was going to vote for Obama, for change. Then Bill got a clearer idea of Obama's definition of change.
Bill particularly decried that almost any criticism of Obama is labeled as “racism,” a charge which Bill adamantly repudiates. Indeed, he is one of the most racially unbiased persons I know, ahead of his time in that regard even back in college some forty years ago. Yet, when he casually voices concerns about Obama to longtime friends who have always been open to reason, he faces the accusation of racism.
Like many of us in the blogosphere, Bill is concerned that during this election cycle we are seeing the attempted and the actual silencing of voices, including this recent purge of political reporters from Obama's airplane. Bill asks the same questions that many of us are asking. Whatever happened to a "normal" election and the usual dissension, an American tradition? How corrupt are the media, to show so brazenly their bias in favor of Obama? How much are the media controlling the information reaching the voters? How did so many Americans get to the point of venerating and following Obama as a messiah? Have people completely lost their minds?
By the end of the day on November 4, all ballots will have been cast, and the tallies will be calculated. It remains to be seen if the election results will be immediately finalized, however, thanks in part to the ACORN scandal. If major disputes and significant delays about the election results arise, then we will witness and likely participate in another frenzy in the blogosphere. And, of course, no matter how the election turns out, the media and the blogosphere will engage in Monday morning quarterbacking. Once again, for an indeterminate time, it will be all about the election, all the time.
Bill and I will talk again after the election. And I'll still be blogging — back to normal, whatever normal means on this web site.
No matter the outcome on November 4, we'll have another mid-term election in two years when the entire House of Representatives again comes up for re-election and will, once again according to the wisdom of our Founders, have to answer to the will of the us, We the People.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: Patrons of this Blog are advised that they will be held responsible
for any unlawful, harassing, libelous, abusive, threatening, or
harmful material of any kind or nature posted by their respective ISP.
Patrons are cautioned not to transmit via comments, including links
to any material that encourages conduct that could constitute a
criminal offense, give rise to civil liability, or otherwise violate
any applicable local, state, national or international law or
regulation. Comments here are typically unmoderated and unedited.
The fact that particular comments remain on the site
in no way constitutes the site owner's endorsement of commenters' views.