Election day is right around the corner – thank goodness.  I’m really tired of the political ads and shouting matches.  I did my best to educate myself about the individuals on the ballot before standing in line for an hour and casting my vote.  By Wednesday morning, this will all be over and we can move on!  Well, until a few minutes later when the other guy claims the vote was unfair and the speculation about the potential effectiveness and the blatant criticism of the new yet-to-be-inaugurated administration begins.

If you find yourself just hanging around until Tuesday with nothing much to do, I’d encourage you to check out a little blog I discovered (thanks to Jennifer Cruise’s blog) this week:  Margaret and Helen.  If the set-up can be believed (hey, it’s the Internet – who knows what lurks behind the curtain), Helen is an outspoken 82 year-old woman living in Austin.  Her grandson set up a blog so she could keep in touch with her best friend, Margaret, who moved to Maine.   If you’re a staunch Republican, you may want to skip the link.  But if you have any ability to consider issues from various points of view, give the blog a read.   Helen gets a bit feisty and bashes people around a bit, but among the sharp critiques are some witty (and a few wise) comments.

I have been having some great political discussions at the office — with people who are interested in talking issues instead of bashing individuals.  I don’t care about Palin’s wardrobe (I’d need a new wardrobe if were suddenly put in the national spotlight).  I don’t understand why Senators are expected to have foreign policy experience (I want them doing the job they were elected to do, not flitting about the world at taxpayer expense and poking in places they don’t belong).  Frankly, I don’t know why candidates can’t simply admit that the job is too big for one person, and the smart thing to do is assemble a team of qualified individuals who can provide factual information along with sage advice about his/her area of specialization.  If one candidate had simply admitted that he doesn’t know everything, the debates would have been something more than completely useless drivel.

In any case, I am pleased that the Bush era is nearly over.  I am frustrated that Bush was so successful at making his friends rich at the expense of this country and treating the White House as his own private fiefdom for nearly a decade.  Why do I not like Bush?  Here are a few of my favorite topics to rant about:

  1. Executive Order 13233, which restricts Presidential records from this administration — and prior administrations — at the whim of the sitting president, under the guise of the undefined term national security.  Discussions from SMU and the Society of American Archivists show that there are a number of groups worried about this Executive Order.  If you’re not concerned about this, you aren’t paying attention.  I’m not even sure where the Order stands right now – several attempts have been made to overturn it, but it keeps being resurrected.
  2. The ousting of Archivist of the United States, John Carlin.  The Archivist of the U.S. serves indefinitely and is replaced only upon resignation or by removal of the President – but if removed from the position, the President is required to state a reason for said removal.  Bush replaced Carlin without stating a reason why . . . but we can guess.  (To be fair, Carlin was heavily criticized when he was appointed, but in time proved to be an excellent choice and was doing a great job of tackling some of the difficult issues surrounding preservation of electronic records.)
  3. Weakening FEMA by hiring his friends instead of disaster response professionals.  Even after Katrina, Bush fought Congressional attempts to require that the head of FEMA have some disaster response expertise.
  4. Weakening the EPA by undermining the agency’s regulations.  Bush derailed attempts to enforce clean-air restrictions on utility companies, and still refuses to acknowledge global warming.  (In this article, Bush says that following the Kyoto treaty could damage the US economy.  Ironic, isn’t it?)
  5. Don’t get me started on the U.S. Patriot Act.  Reactionary law seems like a bad idea overall, and making this law permanent doesn’t improve the quality of the legislation.  Of course, the White House says the law is saving American lives, but critics argue the law is too vague and far-reaching.  We’ll never really know (at least during our lifetimes) because all the records are sealed for national security reasons.

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As an update to my previous blog, KXAN has returned to the Time-Warner Cable lineup – not sure when, but yesterday I notcied they were back.  Just in time for KLRU-2 to announce that TWC is dropping the channel from basic cable; it will only be available to subscribers of a tiered digitial cable package.  The original KLRU station will still be available to basic cable subscribers . . . at least until TWC decides otherwise.