Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ron Paul is not a racist

I think this ad provides the world with a real glimpse into Ron Paul's character:

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Understanding Ron Paul's foreign policy philosophy

Though the CT GOP primary is on April 24, with the GOP primary season fast approaching. I encourage you to watch this video before you vote. Rather than the usual sound bites offered on TV, including in the debates, this 13 minutes video provides some very important context regarding Ron Paul's foreign policy views:Having said that, like most GOP primary voters I have concerns about Ron Paul's world view. For instance, I'm gravely concerned about the possibility of Iran getting a nuclear weapon. Then what happens if the Iranian government falls and the "lone wolf" gets control of a nuke?

But frankly, that issue gives me graver concerns with other candidates. Specifically, Pakistan has nuclear weapons. And which country is more likely to have a failed government: Iran or Pakistan? Well, Iran has been stable -- albeit hostile toward the US -- since 1979. At the same time, Pakistan has had assassinations and coups galore.

Pakistan is a bigger risk for America than Iran. Yet some GOP candidates and many elected Republicans insist on continued funding for Pakistan, despite the reality that they harbored bin Laden! There's too much focus on a preemptive strike against Iran. That makes no sense to me whatsoever. I give Newt credit. He was right to say the national discussion should include Pakistan.

Anyway, I haven't heard Ron Paul's thoughts on the lone wolf scenario. That's one concern I have with his foreign policy, but what is Ron Paul's primary motivator for running?

Ron Paul's not running primarily because he wants to end the wars. And he's not running because he wants to be powerful and feel important. Nope. Not at all.

Ron Paul's running because he wants to force the Congress to do its job. In other words:

If we go to war, the Congress must declare it. Ron Paul would not partake in wars without being directed to do so by Congress.

If we print money, the Congress must enact it. Ron Paul would fight to end the Fed and stop the Congress' outsourcing of monetary policy.

If we spend money, the Congress must adopt it. Ron Paul would veto these ridiculous continuing resolutions that occur at the 11th hour under the cover of darkness.

In my opinion, Ron Paul is not running to end the wars. Ron Paul is running to demand the Congress do its job. As such, he would not have a weak foreign policy in the least bit. Rather, he'd simply be rebalancing the power between the Executive and the Legislative branches. Not-so-coincidentally, forcing the members of Congress to cast votes would have the added benefit of allowing voters to better judge our Senators and Representatives!

He's said this time and time again, the Congress must declare a war. If so, he'll forcefully execute the will of the people as it is voiced through their members of Congress.

I think the notion that Ron Paul is weak on defense is offbase. In order to fully understand his foreign policy philosophy, we should:

1) have a better understanding of the context in which he speaks (see the above video); and

2) recognize that his top priorities is not to end wars or avoid wars, but to require the Congress to do its job.

Tim White

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A day in the life: Traveling the Haitian highway

Haiti is fairly well-known for poverty. But poverty isn't just malnourished children and a non-existent public education system. The poverty can also be seen in the lack of infrastructure. Addressing the poor infrastructure was one of the reasons I decided to come here. I knew that I'd be involved in house construction and last Saturday I made a visit to about ten houses in an area called Fond Rouge Dayere.

A funny thing happened on the way to the houses though. I realized I was traveling the Haitian highway system. And I also noticed how beautiful it is as I followed my fantastic guide, Luc Anel. He's a health agent for us and he's also a community leader. I never would've been able to go where we went without his help.

We started off at the end of the road near the top of a mountain where it was relatively flat:As we began the obvious descent, Luc Anel broke the news to me. He pointed to the bottom of the valley and told me that's where we were headed. Ugh! You can see here how narrow the Haitian highway got. It was only one lane:Eventually we found a passing lane. Too bad it also doubled as a perfect example of poverty begatting poverty. The lack of money and infrastructure requires people to use wood for cooking. And so we see here a classic example of deforestation:And here's a better look at the piled wood before it gets turned into charcoal... which is the Haitian staple for cooking:It was around this point on our journey that I really started to get tired. Then I remembered that there was no elevator to bring me back up the mountain. Ummm... I think little Timmy has a problem! Haha... I knew I was in for a looonnnggg day!

Soon enough we reached the valley. And wouldn't ya know it? There was a whole community here! I guess running water does that... attracts people. :)

This was our destination... the homestead of our most recently finished house in Mauvette. It was filled with earthquake migrants who had been displaced from Port-au-Prince. This is the "caye ancien" or old house:And here's the new house, including the wee ones:And no, this isn't four girls. That's what I originally thought. Then I noticed one was a boy:But that's what economic poverty does. You take whatever clothes you can get. As for running around with no pants, he's a little kid. But at several houses where I took photos, while the kids were running around bare-bottom when I arrived... as soon as the camera came out, the kids were shuffled inside and dressed. It was actually really nice to see the great pride they take in themselves and their new homes. And no, their homes aren't McMansions. But they are home. And that means everything to all the people I met on this short journey. It felt good to see so much good come of the earthquake donations.

After seeing the one house in the river valley, we started our return journey. And nope... I didn't take many photos. I was too busy telling Luc Anel that he was supposed to carry me back up the mountain! But for some reason, he said that wasn't true. Not fair! Haha...Eventually we finished our road trip on the Haitian highway. It took about five or six hours. And yes, it's winter. But it's the Caribbean. It's still hot here. haha... I asked for it!

As we got back to the car we passed someone standing by the side of the road. It kind of puzzled me that someone would be standing there by himself. Then I got the explanation. He was the Mayor of Fond Rouge Dayere! Love it! We chatted for a few minutes. He was nice and he was doing his job. He took the Saturday for "office hours" and to make himself available. And that's important here because my understanding is the local "casaks" have a vast amount of authority. So it's that much more important to be aware of what's happening.

Tim White

Monday, December 12, 2011

Unlike others, Ron Paul doesn't profit from power

Wow. This new Ron Paul ad is strong:

I'll be proudly voting for Ron Paul, but this ad almost makes me long for Romney. Ouch!

As for whether Ron Paul can beat Obama, he consistently polls better among independents than the other GOP candidates. And the latest poll results continue to reveal this trend:

A new American Research Group poll of likely Iowa caucus goers released today shows GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul tied for second place with 17 percent of the vote and within 5 points of Newt Gingrich, who garnered 22 percent of the vote. Of note, Congressman Paul wins 39 percent of the vote among independents, more than twice that of the nearest competitor.

Tim White

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Early morning visit to St Pierre School

Although the new President of Haiti is trying institute public primary education, there is effectively no public education at this moment. Nor has there been for a while, if ever.

As a result of the lack of public education, NGOs have picked up much of the slack. And this is one of the forms of outreach in which I'm fortunate enough to participate. We work with the St. Pierre School. It's a school for the truly needy. Many children who attend St. Pierre have no other option for school. If they didn't attend St. Pierre, they'd be working and doing household chores. And these are little kids.

Anyway, since telephone service can be problematic here -- and I wanted to set up a meeting with the school principal asap -- I did something unusual and headed to St. Pierre just before school started.

This is what I encountered... a hallway I could barely pass because it was filled with kids:A stairway that got filled with kids who wanted to see the blanc:And a large foyer packed to the gills with little ones hamming it up:They flocked to me, the blanc. And they loved having their picture taken. It was not only adorable, it was also pretty cute seeing the reactions of these little kids when I showed them the photos of themselves. Next time I visit, I'll try to remember to bring some candy. They'll love that even more than the photos!

And if you happen to have heard of St. Pierre School before, the Herald's John Rook reported on the St. Bridget / St. Pierre sister school relationship last February.

Tim White

Thursday, December 01, 2011

What is Obama thinking?

On October 29th, Fox News reported:

It was here at the courthouse in Benghazi where the first spark of the Libyan revolution ignited. It’s the symbolic seat of the revolution; post-Gaddafi Libya’s equivalent of Egypt’s Tahrir Square. And it was here, in the tumultuous months of civil war, that the ragtag rebel forces established their provisional government and primitive, yet effective, media center from which to tell foreign journalists about their “fight for freedom.”

But according to multiple eyewitnesses—myself included—one can now see both the Libyan rebel flag and the flag of al Qaeda fluttering atop Benghazi’s courthouse.

And today, Yahoo News is reporting:

U.S. citizens are legitimate military targets when they take up arms with al-Qaida, top national security lawyers in the Obama administration said Thursday.

I can't help wondering... have Obama's lawyers seriously considered their argument??

Tim White

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Ron Paul is authentic and consistent

I really wasn't sure where Newt was on TARP. For me, supporting TARP is unforgivable. Heck, I was thrilled to hear about the chants "TARP, TARP, TARP..." as Senator Bob Bennett (R-UT) went down in flames during his 2010 GOP convention.

It was a non-starter to me in September 2008. And it's still a dealbreaker.

Anyway, the RP ad includes a quote that led me to this excerpt from a September 29, 2008 ABCNews piece:

ABC News’ Teddy Davis Reports: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich reversed course on Monday, issuing a statement saying that if he were still in office he would "reluctantly and sadly" support the $700 billion Wall Street bailout bill.

Gingrich, who led the charge against the bailout last week, explained his change in position by saying that the House Republicans, "reinforced by John McCain," have improved the bill "significantly" so it is "less bad" than the original proposal offered by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.

The rest of the article places Newt in a somewhat improved light. But ultimately, he publicly supported TARP when America needed real leadership to oppose what Newt knew would come to be... increased corruption. No thank you.

We need a complete cleansing of The Swamp.

Tim White

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Haitians don't have a lot, but they use what they have

Haitians don't have a many material things. But they do have their fair share of coconuts. And the "coco-ay" makes it into many dishes:And as I said, they don't have many material things, including things like graters. So take a look at this grater a bit more closely:Haitians recycle a lot! Graters tend to be made from recycled spray cans. They'll chop off both ends, split the tube from end to end with one cut, flatten it to a rectangular shape, then punch holes throughout the flat piece of metal.

Voila... a free homemade grater!

As for the pot, it was probably made in Haiti from melted aluminum soda cans.

Whether it's Haiti, Vietnam or other poor places I've been, I find that people tend to get very creative when they have very little.

Tim White

The beauty of storm drains & garbage collection

This is the view of the street I normally see in front of my place:

This is the view I had a few days ago:And this is just a few feet up the road:The kid in the photo was shoveling garbage to keep the water flowing. Also, the floods are effectively used as a cleaning mechanism.

Storm drains and garbage collection are a wonderful invention.

Tim White

Monday, November 07, 2011

A day in the life: Helping earthquake victims

I happened to have my camera at work today. One of the earthquake victims stopped by for some assistance. This is one of the big reasons I decided to come here:

He's a good kid who happened to be in Port-au-Prince during the earthquake and you can see what happened. As for his story beyond PAP and connection to us... he lives here in Jeremie. And that's how we got involved. But he periodically travels to a distant town in Haiti to get help with a prosthetic leg. And while other groups have generously helped in providing victims with prosthetic limbs free-of-charge, they cannot cover travel and food. That's where we enter the picture.

As for the guy behind the computer, that's Junior. He's one of the guys who works for me. He's great. Works extremely hard and good at his job.

There are some great people here. I think what I appreciate most is knowing how hard a life it is for some, but they're always smiling.

Tim White

Monday, October 31, 2011

Herman Cain makes Mitt Romney look consistent

We already know that Herman Cain negotiates with terrorists. Oh wait... no. He doesn't.

We already know that Herman Cain is pro-life. Oh wait... no. He believes it's a woman's choice. Oh wait... no. He's pro-life.

We already know that Herman Cain opposes the assassination of American citizens without due process. Oh wait... no. Assassination without due process is fine.

We already know Herman Cain wants to institute a 23% national sales tax. Oh wait... no. He wants "9-9-9, jobs, jobs, jobs."

But a new contradiction really got me annoyed yesterday.

In the midst of his flip-flops on declaring there was "no settlement," then suddenly remembering a settlement... I noticed a comment he made yesterday on Face the Nation that I feel is very important. But first, let's step back a few months.

On May 22, 2011, FoxNews' Chris Wallace interviewed Herman Cain:

WALLACE: We have been at war in Afghanistan for almost 10 years. And yet you say -- and you say it quite proudly -- you have no plan for what to do in Afghanistan. You'd have to wait until you got into office, until you met with the experts, until you met with military officials and then you decided....

CAIN: Chris, let's go back -- let's go back -- let's go back to the fundamental question. We've got to work on the right problem. I think it is disingenuous to tell the American people what I would do when I don't have the intelligence information. I don't have all of the factors that are affecting this particular situation.

I owe the American people a responsible decision and a responsible plan. And I don't think any candidate can responsibly say what they would do if they are elected president.

In effect, he's saying he cannot opine on the direction of war unless he has access to the intelligence information.

Yet just yesterday -- only five months later -- on Face the Nation, Herman Cain was asked to discuss the appropriateness of the Iraq drawdown.

CBS News reports:

Cain disagreed with Obama's approach and... said that a "responsible Commander in Chief" would have consulted military commanders on the ground

CBS News continues:

when pressed, Cain conceded that "It was irresponsible for George Bush to set a date certain" in the first place.

So, if I understand this correctly... Cain says he can't opine on war because he doesn't have the intelligence information. But it's reasonable for Cain to blast both Bush and Obama when they have the intelligence information, but he does not?

At some point, Herman Cain will need to address these charges of sexual harassment. But in the meantime, I don't want to let these seemingly contradictory statements pass into the night.

Can anyone please help me reconcile these two views? I'm at a complete loss... unless this is just another example of his Kerry-esqe campaign slogan of "first I was for it, before I was against it!"

Tim White

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

LOWV Council forum 2011

Livestreaming the Council debate... fun, fun, fun!

I just watched the DISTRICTS starting around 7pm. Thoughts:

David Schrumm -- David is David. He reminds me of Newt at a local level. The best debater out there. And as much as he drives me nuts at times... at times like this, he reminds me how beneficial he can be for the town. He's knowledgable, articulate and makes a good presentation. He explains issues in a succinct manner. I know he has no opponent this year, but he shined favorably on the entire GOP team tonight.

Tom Ruocco -- He's good. I would absolutely vote for him. And as Personnel Chair, he has made important progress this term on town union pension reform by moving from Defined Benefit to Defined Contribution plans for new hires.

Matt Bowman -- I like Matt, but I hope he remains in "private industry." He kinda dropped the ball and stumbled during his closing comments.

Joe Schmitt -- He's very enthusiastic. I absolutely agree with him about priorities. I just don't see why this Council spent so much time discussing and funding recreation projects.

Andy Falvey -- When he commented on priorities, I couldn't really follow. He works hard for the 3rd district though. I know residents who really appreciate his efforts at Mixville.

Steve Carroll -- I thought he did fine. Though nothing in particular jumped out at me.

Peter Talbot -- Did anyone else think he was suggesting that "raise my taxes!" was his campaign slogan? I know the 4th district fairly well. And I know a lot of people who want education well-funded. But I don't know that many people who want higher taxes. That's different from being willing to pay higher taxes.


Jim McKenney -- He kept hammering away at the $30,000,000 sewer plant upgrade. I was about to vote for the project until he explained the possibility of the state walking away from funding the $6,000,000 de-phosphorous component. He explained that passing the referendum would reduce Cheshire's leverage with state funding. That's concerning. But since maintenance of the plant is mandated, I can't fully appreciate his argument. Regardless, this funding issue -- that Mike O'Donnell and Sylvia Nichols also mentioned -- seems important. McKenney also hammered home the point about the millions of dollars worth of no-bid contracts given out by the WPCA. I was under the impression that the no-bid nonsense had ended with this Council. Perhaps not? Or perhaps, unlike before when no contracts were put out to bid, now some contracts are being bid? Based on what I heard, Jim was the only person to properly answer the question "What one thing would you do to save money?" The rest of the responses sounded like non-responses to me. Overall, I thought Jim did really well. Still an uphill battle though as a non-major party candidate. As PBC Chair, I didn't care for his approach to work. I never thought he was particularly receptive to the Energy Commission and the obvious value they could offer building projects. But as a rank'n'file member of the Council, he might be a good addition. I doubt he'd be a rubber stamp for the Town Manager!

Bob Behrer -- I like Bob. He was fairly reserved tonight. But I do now know that he supports the turf and the pool. And speaking of Bob, I've been emailing with him the past few days. His company sources beeswax from around the world (geographic diversity is important for the business continuity plans of many manufacturers), but do not yet have any sources here in Haiti. So he reached out to me and we're hoping to help generate some money & jobs for some of the poor of Haiti. Regardless of the business-driven, profit-motive, I appreciate Bob for contacting me. Thinking outside-the-box could be good for the Council. Unfortunately, you'd still need five votes to direct action on outside-the-box thinking. One Council member alone cannot effect change. Change requires five hands in the air.

Mike O'Donnell -- I think Mike would be a good addition to the Council. I've known him since I first ran for the Council ten years ago. The great thing about him is that he's a straight-shooter. He's very direct. He's never minced words with me or told me what he thought I wanted to hear. He's always respectful, yet plainly tells me if he agrees or disagrees with me.

Patti Flynn-Harris -- Among the at-large candidates, she had the best performance. She has the best presentation and she does her homework. In fact, just today I got an email from a Republican saying that she's the Council member most involved with the concept of a townwide energy conservation plan. That basically relates to her desire to understand how a performance contract works. I have never served with her, but it sounds like she does her homework. And that's important. I suspect that PFH will be the highest vote-getter on November 8th.

Tim Slocum -- He alluded to the teachers' union concesssions. That was a big win for the town. He also deserves credit for town pension reform because despite town management footdragging, Tim helped closed the door on defined benefit pension plans for future hires. That was another big win. But then he mentioned a future goal of the Council: shared services between the Town and Schools. That sounds great and I appreciated his usual candor. But he made clear that this Council decided to spend the past year figuring out what to do with the pool bubble, rather working to reduce waste and duplicate services in government. I just don't see how or why anyone would campaign on that. Sounds like a poor choice to me. I also had to chuckle when he mentioned that this Council directed the Town Manager to save money anyway he can. I guess that may be true, but there obviously wasn't very strong accountability backing it. I mean, we got fleeced for $150,000 on the Norton boiler fiasco, including probably $50,000 to $60,000 being spent by this Council. How is that saving money? And we saw the money wasted when we had to pay to repave Rosemary Lane only two years after we had just repaved it. How much did that stupidity cost? And we saw Jim McKenney tonight. He kept hammering home the no-bid contracts at the WPCA. Anyone know the common denominator among these three issues? It's what I said two years ago... the Council needs to deal with the failed management of the Public Works Department. But since that's a function of the Town Manager, the Council needs to deal with the TM. Yet I see no indication that they have done so. Instead it's seems as though they live in The Land of Make Believe... where everything is perfect and town government has done no wrong for the past two years. That's absurd. And it's a major disappointment to me. As I said during the last Council, I hope the voters can identify five people who are willing to direct the Town Manager to stop the waste & mismanagement in town government, particularly in the DPW. I hope we can find five people who are willing to direct the TM when he is wrong -- and he is wrong sometimes -- and not simply back down when he starts getting visibly angry and jumping up out of his seat (and no, he doesn't do that on TV... he always very controlled there... but get him off camera...).

Jimmy Sima -- He started his comments by mentioning that he sometimes leaves Council meetings frustrated. Well, between all the unnecessary time and money spent on recreation projects... and the lack of accountability in Town Hall... I can venture a guess as to why Jimmy gets frustrated at times. He also mentioned his general opposition to hiring consultants. I'll be voting for Jimmy. He's my top choice for Council. I hope he's your top choice too!

Mike Ecke -- He offered a nice opening statement. But he proceeded to say that we're "stuck with the bubble." Au contraire. The new bubble was a conscious decision. He also mentioned the $500,000 for the locker room that has gone unspent. Initially, I thought that was an important point. But Tim Slocum rightly said that spending requests begin with the BOE. And if the BOE hasn't asked for the money, that's not the fault of the Council for failing to spend the money. I like Mike. But I have to challenge his point about being willing to work with all elected officials. I agree with him that he's willing to listen and take input. He worked with me several times. I recall one time when he delayed (for one year) hiring a consultant for an update to the strategic plan. I very much appreciated him listening to me on that. So his assertion was true. But I can't ignore my previous conclusion that when push comes to shove... his preference -- as is the preference of most Council Chairs -- is to defer to the Town Manager, not to other elected officials. And I just think that is so wrong. It reminds me of these Republicans running for POTUS. When asked about war, too many of them say "I'll defer to my commanders." Huh? Then why'd we elect you?! We have elections for a reason! The bureaucrats will virtually always want to spend more money and have less accountability. I want Council leadership that will make the decisions. And no, I don't have to agree with the Council decision. But I want to know that their decisions are their decisions... not a decision made by unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats.

Sylvia Nichols -- She's nice. I like her, but not much jumped out at me.

Dan Nowak -- He started off on the wrong foot as his mic wasn't working. And I wasn't too thrilled when he seemed to be advocating expanding services... does he want a water polo team? But I know him a smidge. He lives in the 4th district! I think he may have been a bit nervous tonight. Nonetheless, he -- like all others -- could offer the Council some good.

Overall, I think what surprised me most was how many candidates are uncertain how they will vote on the $30,000,000 wastewater treatment plant upgrade. Per Jim McKenney, there's obviously new information (post-capital budget vote) that's now in the public forum. So it's somewhat understandable. Frankly though, going back to my POTUS analogy... I get pretty annoyed when I hear Herman Cain tell us that he won't answer a question (i.e. the way forward in Afghanistan or naming a Fed Chairman) because he's not President yet. You know what Herman? I don't want another "unknown" like Obama. I want to know where you stand on the issues. And while volunteering for the Council is different, I still want candidates to be clear on the issues.

That's it... goodnight!

Tim White

Monday, October 17, 2011

Ron Paul tackles spending in clear terms

As both Politico and the WSJ are reporting, Congressman Ron Paul is announcing his detailed economic plan this week. From what I see, I like it. Here are some highlights:

1) Reduce the size of government: Education, Commerce, Energy, Interior and Housing and Urban Development, including a total 10% reduction in the federal labor pool.

2) Repeal major regulations: Obamacare, Dodd / Frank and Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX)*

3) Increase transparency: Audit the Federal Reserve

4) Share the sacrifice: As POTUS, he would not accept the $400,000 annual salary that Obama takes. Ron Paul would accept only America’s median annual income, $39,336.

5) Keep America’s promise to veterans and seniors: No changes to funding for programs such as Social Security and Medicare for current participants.

Detailed, yet simple. And no, it’s not as simple as “9-9-9, jobs, jobs, jobs,” but then it seems that Herman Cain doesn’t have any substance to that sound bite. I think Newt’s response – that “9-9-9” sounds interesting, but how will it play in New Hampshire (where there is no sales tax) – pretty much says it all to me.

The other nice thing about Ron Paul’s plan is that it seems to be more focused on the spending side, rather than the tax side. And we all know that it’s the spending side – not the tax side – that drives our unsustainable debt.

Tim White

* I’ve experienced SOX first hand. It could easily – and appropriately – be replaced with enforcement of anti-fraud laws.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Herman Cain is already misleading the American people

Herman Cain is a card-carrying member of America's largest counterfeiting operation, the Federal Reserve system. And although he's no longer officially involved, he has spent much of his run for POTUS as an apologist for the counterfeiters.

Much of his role as an apologist had been ignored to this point in the race. But he made a really big mistake during tonight's debate. While he's great with the sound bite, his fast talk got the better of him.

When Ron Paul called him out as The Federal Reserve's cheerleader, Cain talked too fast. Herman Cain was not only intentionally misleading in answering Ron Paul's question, he also demonstrated his astoundingly poor judgment by continuing his cheerleading for Alan Greenspan's arrogance and his 24/7 printing presses.

HuffPost is already documenting Cain's lack of truthfulness:

As you can see, Cain said people want to audit the Fed because "they don't know enough about it." To which Ron Paul properly rephrased and used the word "ignorant."By definition, Ron Paul's use was correct.

Herman Cain thinks that his slick talk can walk him thru this GOP primary. I certainly hope not. Particularly on issues as important as monetary policy and transparency, Cain needs to be forthright and not just keep repeating "9-9-9." It's getting annoying.

Cain also owes Ron Paul and the American people an apology for intentionally misleading us with regard to his true feelings toward his beloved Bankster Buddies.

Tim White

Herman Cain's role in the Federal Reserve system

My #1 concern in the GOP primary is monetary policy. Monetary policy is controlled by the Federal Reserve, specifically the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC). The FOMC consists of:

1) The Federal Reserve Board of Governors -- it has seven permanent seats on the FOMC; and

2) The 12 regional Federal Reserve banks -- each with a Fed Bank President, five of whom serve on the FOMC on a rotating basis.

Each of the 12 regional Federal Reserve bank Presidents reports to his/her own Board for that particular bank. An example of one of these regional Federal Reserve banks is New York City. Tim Geithner was the President of the NYC Federal Reserve bank at the time of the bailout in September 2008.

Another example of one of these regional Federal Reserve banks is Kansas City. In the early to mid-90s, Herman Cain was the Chairman of the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank. So he wasn't the KC President who sat on the FOMC, but he was obviously intimately involved in the Federal Reserve system.

IMO, this is a terrible stain on Herman Cain's resume.

Tim White

Monday, September 12, 2011

Ron Paul won the CNN / Tea Party debate

How did he win the debate?

Easy! He's the only one who literally changed the debate.

Santorum supports sound money?

Cain wants to audit the Fed?

Perry thinks Bernanke is a traitor? (OTT IMO)

Bachmann's on the band wagon too.

Mitt was the only one who refuses to challenge the unconstitutional supremacy of The Fed. He probably just wants more bailouts for his friends, The Banksters.

But to top it off, Ron Paul didn't even get to answer the question about the Fed! And it was Ron Paul who nearly single-handedly introduced and passed the Audit the Fed amendment in the abomination known as Dodd / Frank.

That's a big reason why I love Ron Paul. He IS a game-changer!

Tim White

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Mychal's Prayer

Lord, take me where You want me to go,
let me meet who You want me to meet,
tell me what You want me to say,
and keep me out of Your way.

- Saint Mychal Judge

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Ron Paul "Trust" and Rick Perry's response

I imagine the Ron Paul / Rick Perry back'n'forth is all over the TV tonight. It started with Ron Paul's new ad:

Then proceeded with Rick Perry publishing a letter in which Ron Paul accused Ronald Reagan of being a big spender.

What I find most interesting about this -- other than the fact that my guy is in it to win it -- is that I'm thinking this is far from a traditional primary spat.

Generally-speaking, many members of each of the two parties dislike primaries because -- in part -- they fear the charges cast during a primary will be used against the nominee in the general election. But here's the thing...

If either Ron Paul or Rick Perry becomes the GOP nominee, I find it relatively unlikely that either of these charges would be used against them in the general.

Tim White

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Town to assist in Irene cleanup

Tom Ruocco suggested I post this:

The Town of Cheshire will be assisting residents with removal of branches downed on their properties by Hurricane Irene.

Residents are asked to leave the branches curbside, without obstructing the roadway, by the morning of September 6, 2011. Branches less than five inches in diameter will be chipped and the chips will be removed. Branches and logs over five inches in diameter will be cut into approximately 18 inch logs and left at curbside for firewood for use by residents. Town staff will not go onto private property to retrieve or cut branches. Public Works crews will make only one pass through town, and will not return for debris that were not place curbside prior to their collection. This program is expected to take at least ten days. Residents can also dispose of this storm-related brush and tree material at the designated drop off areas at Mixville Park parking lot on Notch Road and the Quinnipiac Park parking lot on Cheshire Street at any time until September 14, 2011. This program is restricted to storm-related woody debris only. The Town will not accept loose leaves, yard clippings or trimmings, or any other lumber, garbage, non-woody storm debris or bulky items for collection or drop off.

Along with his ongoing outreach efforts, Tom is a fiscal conservative. Despite being in the minority, he voted in favor of avoiding long-term liabilities more than once this year. When it came to both the pool bubble and turf, Tom voted to avoid future expenses. If I could I would definitely vote for Tom Ruocco in November.

Tim White

Thursday, August 18, 2011

GOP Primary: One man has stood apart

Between work and my studies -- currently Earth Science 101 -- I've been buried. But I finish my summer class this week and just noticed my hero -- an authentic elected official -- just posted a new ad online.

“Ron Paul: The one who will stop the spending, save the dollar, create jobs, bring peace. The one who will restore liberty. Ron Paul: The one who can beat Obama – and restore America now.”

Ron Paul r3VOLution! Legalize the constitution!

Tim White

Saturday, July 23, 2011

She had an amazing voice

Amy Winehouse had an amazing voice.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A day in the life: visiting earthquake houses (#1)

Besides working in the healthcare field, HHF works on a number of other development initiatives. As you could imagine, one of the big issues relates to post-earthquake housing.

Following the EQ, many people left Port-au-Prince for good reason. It's now been more than 18 months and the city still has huge numbers of tent cities and fallen buildings.

As such, housing outside of PAP is needed. And we're working on that.

I just had the opportunity to go on a final review of much of our EQ housing project. Not much of it is located in Jeremie. Rather, the houses are located in the countryside outside of Jeremie. On this excursion, I visited the villages of Moron and Tessier.

Here's one of the houses I visited:And here's a close-up of the proud father with two of his children:After visiting that house and having the grantor (CRS) confirm the EQ-migrant status of the residents, we walked further up the hill to the next house:Here you can see the new house we built (center) and the old house (left) that was crumbling. As for the crumbling, I understand it was unrelated to the EQ:Here's a better view of the old house. You can plainly see how bad it is:And here's a close-up of the reason for the new EQ house. Three of these kids grew up here, but the other three kids are from PAP. They are among the tens of thousands of migrants who moved to the state of Grand Anse because they were displaced by the earthquake:It's unclear to me whether these children were orphaned or simply sent here to live with their relatives because their parents couldn't take care of them in PAP. And that's not a particularly uncommon story, since so many people lost their houses, spouses and so many other critical ingredients for making a home and raising a family.

And this was a going away pic for me. These kids were so happy for their new house with a roof and solid walls. They were adorable. It was nice to see them so happy.

Tim White

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Debt ceiling: pain now or pain later

When a top administration official asked The Big 0 for his approach to garnering support on increasing the nation's credit card, Obomba paraphrased David Farragut's famous words. In fearmongering typical of The Political Class, Obummer said:

Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!

Obama and Republican leaders keep talking up the "catastrophe" that lay ahead for America if the debt ceiling isn't raised. And while I accept their argument that there will be significant problems if the debt ceiling isn't raised, they FAIL to acknowledge the complete picture.

If the debt ceiling is raised, the pain will only be delayed. As I said in my opposition during the runup to the Bush Bailout, it's pain now or pain later.

The pain cannot be avoided indefinitely. Among insiders, it's already widely accepted that the dollar's life as the world's reserve currency is coming to an end. As our special status ends, our standard of living will drop because the dollar will have less and less buying power. So the pain is coming. I think the better solution is to deal with the pain now.

I agree with my favorite Congressman, Dr. Ron Paul:

By the way, Washington's fearmongering includes lies. America has defaulted in the past.

In 1933, FDR defaulted when he refused to pay debts -- as promised -- in gold and converted to "federal reserve notes" for all payments, excluding foreign central banks. And in 1971, Nixon completed FDRs default by refusing to pay foreign central banks in gold. So this would *not* be the first time we defaulted.

This really is classic fearmongering.

Tim White

Friday, June 17, 2011

Happy 50th anniversary!

If you happen to see my parents around town, please wish them a Happy Anniversary!

On June 17th, 1961, my dad convinced my mom to tie the knot. And it was only a few days earlier that he had graduated from Dartmouth College via ROTC... and began getting ready to ship out. And his Dartmouth degree continued paying dividends this week. Since his class graduated fifty years ago, he was among those who were honored guests at Dartmouth's graduation this year... and he got to see -- and enjoyed -- Conan O'Brien's commencement speech:

Tim White

Monday, May 30, 2011

Summer pools being closed nationwide

The Huffington Post's Jeffrey Collins has an interesting article on the closing of public pools across America due to budgetary constraints:

as the Great Recession has drained city budgets across the country, it also has drained public pools for good. From New York City to Sacramento, Calif., pools now considered costly extravagances are being shuttered, taking away a rite of summer for millions.

It's an interesting read. But keep in mind, this is about summer-only pools being closed. It's not about year-round facilities.

Tim White

Sunday, May 29, 2011

A day in the life: some Haitian fruits

There's one particular drawback to living in Haiti that's been a bit concerning to me lately. There's not much in the way of green veggies. Spinach is grown here, but beans are largely canned and imported. And broccoli... not gonna find it at all.

On the other hand, different fruits always seem to be in season. Here are some pix of a few of the fruits currently growing right outside my bedroom window.

I'm not sure what this is. It's not an avocado tree. It's called "zambuk." I think it may be some sort of mango, but I'm not sure.This is called "cashema." The view is from underneath the high-up fruits as I stand on the ground looking upward. When it's ripe, it turns a pinkish-orange color. It's absolutely delicious.Here are a couple pix of either bananas or plantaines. I have no idea how to tell the difference. I just know that I love sweet bananas and have no appetite for dry plantaines. Also, I love the maroun colored leaves that encapsulate the baby fruits until they explode into their well-known banana shapes. Hummingbirds love the banana flowers. I get to see them float in thin air from time to time as they feed.I think we all recognize this as the unofficial symbol of a tropical paradise: the coconut palm.And the last fruit tree bearing fruit at the moment: the breadfruit tree. It's not really much of a fruit. It reminds me of a potato. The tree has enormous leaves that grow upwards of two feet long.The fruit grow to about the size of a cantaloupe.
Tim White

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A day in the life: Tet kale!

Tet kale! is a Haitian saying. It refers to somone working so hard, your hair falls out and you go bald.

It was made greatly popularized during the recent Haitian Presidential campaign. The follicle-challenged candidate, Michel "Sweet Mickey" Martelli, won the election with a mandate -- 67% of the vote -- and a well-suited campaign slogan: Tet kale!

So what does that have to do with me? Not much. But since the rainy season began a few weeks ago, the weather has become close to unbearable. The heat is still here and now it's accompanied by thick humidity. It's tough to stay cool.

But worse than the humidity is the bugs that have accompanied it. It's not just the flying termites, but there's flying ants now too. As I sit here writing this, I hear the first drop of rain falling on the corrugated tin roof. Pitter, patter. Pitter, patter. If it turns to a downpour, then two things will happen:

1) I won't be able to hear a thing. Talking on the phone, and even in person, can become futile.

2) The flying bugs will search out the light... and since we haven't had city power for a few days (I'm one of the few fortunate enough to have any sort of electricity... battery-powered) the bugs find me.

And it was a few days ago that I decided the bugs were overwhelming. As I sat I studying, I felt several land on my head. It was probably at that moment that I realized:

Tet kale!

I've been working so hard, I should have no hair!So I went to the barber today and got my already fairly short hair taken down a notch. Funny thing to me was that I asked to go bald, but he refused. I'm not entirely sure why. As usual, there was something lost in translation. But he seemed to indicate that my ghostly white scalp would get scorched in the Haitian sun.

I couldn't disagree. So I thanked him, paid him and went on my merry way... glad to have one aspect of personal hygiene requirements reduced in a place where I'm never sure if I'll have electricity or running water.
Tim White

Monday, May 23, 2011

A day in the life: Haitian roommates

A few weeks ago I was introduced to some new roommates. Apparently they usually always stop by for a visit after a heavy rain. And since the past six months have been fairly dry, I hadn't yet met them. They're called "bedzells." And they're also known as flying termites.

Foul. Absolutely disgusting. I was told that after a heavy rain, "the queen flies." Then the termites hatch that night and fly toward the nearest light. And they're guaranteed to get anywhere there's light.

A few weeks ago I tried to fight them with bug spray. And after a while I won. But I used half a can of bug spray and had thousands of wings and carcasses strewn about. Again: absolutely disgusting.

Anyway, after that happened I mentioned it to my boss who gave me some advice. I took the advice when they returned last night.

I turned off the lights and went to bed.

Avoiding them is actually pretty simple. Though turning out the lights and crawling into my bednet isn't so bad at 10pm. I'd probably be a bit annoyed if they invade at 7pm some night. Oh well.

Here are some pictures of another roommate:There's a bunch of these at my place. Generally, I don't mind them. If they eat the other bugs, such as flying termites and malarial mosquitoes, I'm cool with the spiders. I do keep my distance though. I have no idea if they're poisonous.

This guy on the other hand is most likely poisonous. At least, if my guess is correct that he's a scorpion.Having lived most of my life in Cheshire, CT, I don't have much experience with scorpions. The extent of it is limited to three instances:

1) In Vietnam, a friend got bitten by a scorpion a few inches long. His ankle swelled to the size of a softball, but it was nowhere near deadly.

2) In Arizona, a friend bought a house. Before renovating it, he went on a nighttime scorpion expedition. Equipped with a black light, he killed about 20 scorpions in the hour we were talking on the phone. I'm not sure if his flatmates were deadly.

3) In Mexico, a friend and I were visiting some family on a ranch outside of Los Mochis. The rancher explained to me that the big scorpions aren't the really dangerous ones. He said it's the little ones. He proceeded to lift up a rock and show me a scorpion less than an inch long. He pinned it to the ground and pulled out its stinger. He said if he had gotten stung, he would've died.

Anyway, I'm not a fan of scorpions hanging out next to my toilet. Which, btw, I'm not sure why all these creepy crawlers like hanging out with my toilet bowl scrub.

My scorpion started to move. Not knowing anything about my particular bugger, I decided that cohabitating was unacceptable. But I didn't know just how fast these guys were... or if they could jump. So I didn't want to get close.

Lucky me. I had a nice, heavy, flat book nearby.

I offered him some bedtime reading. It was a real tear-jerker.

When he was done, he told me he felt the author's pain. He felt crushed.And perhaps not-so-surprisingly, I've got some furry friends. Not rats. Just mice. But I've also begun dealing with them. No thank you.

Tim White

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A day in the life: It's a Sunday, so there's a parade

No, Haitians don't actually have a parade every Sunday. But they do seem to have "processions" fairly often. This one happened by my place today. It consisted of the Brigade. I'm not sure exactly what the Brigade is. But it's obviously some sort of community group that involves both children and adults, men and women.

Here's the parade marshall with the Haitian flag:I'm guessing these are the Brigade's official flags:And of course, whatever the event -- whether it's a funeral or Carnival -- Haitians love their brass band:As for me, I enjoy the omnipresent brass band. It's become part of my Haitian experience.

Tim White

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A day in the life: getting around

I have about a seven to eight minute, uphill walk to work in the morning. It's similar to the walk up Avon Boulevard. In January, I was sweating bullets by the time I'd get to the Klinik around 7:30am. So although I'd never had a bike in my life, I knew I needed some sort of transportation. I recently got this red Jialing 125:

Tim White

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A day in the life: shopping for dinner, but not MY dinner...

When I was in Port-au-Prince, I stopped by the Marche de Fer... the Iron Market. It took about a year, but this was the first major reconstruction project to be completed in PAP. As for the Digicel umbrellas, it's a telephone company here. It's owned by, I think, an American company.The Marche de Fer isn't just an iron market though. Everything is sold here. You can see what's on tap for dinner:Although it didn't shock me, I collected turtles when I was kid. And I still have a soft place in my heart for them. Seeing them on the dinner menu never makes me happy. But maybe even worse than turtles is... see what's tied to the top of the crate?I lived in Vietnam for three years and the Vietnamese eat pretty much everything. And I mean everything: beef, chicken, pork, pangolin, bear, tiger... it was all for sale in restaurants and in the market.

And imagine a pig roast with a spear thru the pig -- from mouth to tail, legs pointed toward the sky -- over an open pit fire. I once saw a street vendor with such a thing in Ho Chi Minh City, except the pig was a dog, maybe 30 pounds.

At least where I lived (southern Vietnam) though, they didn't eat cat. That was more of a northern thing where feline was considered a delicacy. Anyway, that's Tabby tied to the crate and she won't be eating Fancy Feast for dinner... she'll be Fancy Feast tonight.

Like the turtles, the cat didn't make me happy either. But it's Haiti... not Connecticut.

And as for what's inside the crate... quelque lapins... bunnies.

Tim White