Kindergarten Assignment

Yesterday, one of my neighbors showed me her son’s kindergarten assignment: he was asked to draw a picture of his family, and to write the names under each picture.
I wondered about the purpose of this little exercise. Is the point of it to “out” children with same-sex parents? To solidify latent bigotry against the children of single mothers? To see if tell-tale names like “Shaun” and “Moira” entitle kids with ethnically neutral last names some special privilege? Or the reverse, to see if there’s a “Moishe” attached somewhere to a “Brown”?

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Thank You, Senator Schumer

The loathesome Chairman of the Federal Reserve is at it again, suggesting that the mortgage finance companies on which so many middle-income families depend, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, reduce their portfolios.
This is one more assault by Greenspan on the middle class, one more chorus in his sychophantic Swan Song.
Greenspan has become the Bush Administration’s financial poet laureate, ensuring that as he approaches retirement, he will retain the favor of the power elite who slaver over the obliteration of the lifestyles of folks like you and me.
Silent on the financial devastation of the Iraq War and the resulting unimaginable Federal deficit, the erosion of the dollar, the ever-worsening balance of trade, Greenspan’s assaults on Social Security and now Fannie and Freddie is, in my view, motivated by nothing more than the self-interest of a too-powerful civil servant who looks forward to reaping obscene rewards as he returns to a grateful private sector.

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It makes me very happy to know that I am not alone in my opinion of John Paul II compared to John XXIII, especially when those opinions are shared by one who is erudite and well-informed on matters concerning the Catholic Church.
A splendid piece by Frances Kissling, the president of Catholics for a Free Choice, was published in under the title “A divider, not a uniter”.
Salon prohibits reproduction of materials from its site, otherwise I would have copied the whole essay here. Believe me, it’s worth clicking through one of their sponsorship ads to read it.

John Paul II

Perhaps because I’m not Catholic, I don’t understand the blinders that so many people have strapped on about the papacy of John Paul II.
Even the so-called liberal press can’t resist the urge to gush about what some of us think was a 26-year-long lost opportunity to strengthen the Church.

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The Next Pope

With the merciful (heaven knows, he suffered ill health far too long) passing of Pope John Paul II, MSNBC has identified the top 21 candidates. In spite of all we’ve heard about the supposed homogeneity of the Catholic Church’s senior hierarchy, some actually sound like they’d be good.
Here are the non-“Conservative” contenders:
Cardinal Godfried Danneels (Belgian) – Liberal – “Intellectual, blunt, well-liked, multilingual”
Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos (Colombia) – Liberal – very popular in his native country, has Vatican experience
Cardinal Walter Kasper (German) – Moderate – “gifted theologian, wants curial reform, friendly”
Cardinal Karl Lehmann (German) – Moderate to Liberal – “pastoral; advocates celibacy changes, remarried Catholics; progressive
Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga (Honduran) – Liberal – “young, intelligent, politically able”
Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez (Dominican) – Liberal – “smart, pastoral, media-savvy”
Cardinal Cristoph Schonborn (Austrian) – Liberal – “young, considered charming, multilingual, reminds people of a young John Paul II”

A problem is an opportunity to own that customer for life

Yesterday, I attended the monthly breakfast meeting of the local technology council, and left with a couple of really good takes on “rules for doing business”.
The title of this post is my favorite.
I really love being a businessperson, and through the years, I’ve read hundreds of articles and dozens of books about entrepreneurism.
But the simple idea that a problem is an opportunity to “own” that customer – for life – is one of the best phrasings of a business philosophy I’ve ever heard.

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I for one am vicariously thrilled about the upcoming marriage of Camilla Parker Bowles and Prince Charles.
I greatly admired the late Princess Diana for many reasons: her devotion to her children; her courage in dealing with the relentlessly vicious Palace infrastructure; her dedication to so many good works, especially her respectful treatment of hospital patients with AIDS.
Her cutting-edge, high style glamour, though, made her an inaccessible public personality, rather like a young Nancy Reagan, albeit one with a heart.

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