Friday, January 09, 2004

Ex-Treasury Secretary O'Neill blasts Bush 

How I hate seeing a news headline that reads "So-and-so blasts President Bush!" Like today, when I opened Yahoo, there it was:
"Ex-Treasury Secretary O'Neill blasts Bush"
I am reluctant to read those news articles. In cases like this, the reporting of news drifts dangerously toward communicating and promoting opinions. But I had to see what this fellow O'Neill had to say.

The article tells about a release of a book written by former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill about the circumstances surrounding his being ousted and his time spent as part of the administration. The article focuses on O’Neill’s characterization of the president as disengaged. Here is an excerpt from the article:
Speaking of his first meeting with the president, O'Neill said, "I went in with a long list of things to talk about and, I thought, to engage (Bush) on. ... I was surprised it turned out me talking and the president just listening. It was mostly a monologue."

Is he faulting the president for being a good listener? It seems presumptuous of him to suggest that the president is disengaged just because he doesn't speak. Does O'Neill suppose his agenda was the same as the president's? Or that his agenda was more important? I would be inclined to think the president is bombarded with information from many fronts. If he were truly listening to what his advisors were telling him, then he really wouldn't have much to say, at least not right away. He may have been thoughtfully formulating a plan based on what he was being told. Did O'Neill have the power of clairvoyance? He must if he was able to label the president as “disengaged”.

O'Neill isn't the first, and won't be the last, disgruntled employee to take out his frustrations on his former employer. I just hope there aren't too many "undecideds" out there who see it O'Neill's way.

I am glad I read the article and glad to be informed about the upcoming book. It sounded like it was meant to instill doubt in those with a wavering opinion of our president. I don't have a wavering opinion, so the effect of the article on me was to encourage me to spend more effort getting President Bush re-elected.

Missing Her 

She’d been blessed and happy
Hearing laughter of her children
Hopelessly in love
With one she’d met so long ago

Then, having found a lump,
There was misery and exhaustion
Knowing the end was near
Having to say good bye

Each day, each hour, each minute
Great suffering, then utter stillness
She took her last breath
And faded into the past

She was still and peaceful
Our hearts broken, energy spent
Her misery was over
Ours had just begun

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

High Today in the Single Digits 

The high today should be in the single digits Fahrenheit, but it will feel like –25 to –30 with the wind chill. Ahhh, it’s January in Minne-so-cold!

Getting into and starting a car that has been parked outside all night is a bit of a thrill. You never know if it’s going to give you trouble. When you hear that wrrr-woo-wrrr-woo of the starter, you hold your breath until it turns over. Then you hold your breath for the first few miles to avoid getting frost on the inside of the windows while the heater gets going. On days like today, you get to work when the car is finally warm enough to turn the fan on higher than the lowest setting.

All I could think the whole time I was walking in from my car this morning was how improperly I was dressed. I didn’t have my head covered and wasn’t wearing my scarf. I do have the correct equipment, I was just stupid enough not to bring it with me.

A couple of people walking ahead of me stopped at the receptionist’s desk. They said they were from San Diego. The receptionist apologized to them for the weather, “the coldest day so far this year,” she said.

Is it strange to be proud of living in a natural icebox? It’s the way the receptionist talked and the way I felt about braving the cold. Are we stark raving mad? Do we know there are places where we could live where your garage can’t serve as extra refrigerator space during several months of the year? Where you can’t drive your car on the lakes?

Not many people braved the cold for lunch today, so the cafeteria was pretty full. We talked about having a company meeting in February or March in a warm location or on a cruise ship. We sat inside dreaming of warm weather. I think we’re lucky to have the unbearable cold—it makes the warm seem that much better.

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