September 17, 2008

September 17, 2008
Happy Hump Day!

Welcome to another day in my life. We have made it half way through another work week. And what a busy week it has been.

First thing this morning, I received a call from a representative of River Region about a health fair they are having tomorrow. Unfortunately, I will be unable to have a table at their health fair due to previous obligations. I already had the patient advisory board and project meeting scheduled for tomorrow during the time River Region is having their health fair. So if you live in Jacksonville and read this entry in time, stop by River Region in Riverside tomorrow between 10am - 2pm. I am sure they will have a great event. I did agree to collect some of our HIV/AIDS awareness, education and prevention materials for them to hand out during the health fair. Hopefully the next time they have a health fair, we will be able to sponsor a table for them.

I also sent out an email about the visit Senator Obama is paying Jacksonville this coming Saturday. I will be attending a meeting with Senator Obama with some of our other AARP/Divided We Fail advocates to cover the issues. Then there will be a public event where Senator Obama will speak to the crowd. It will probably be very similar to the event Senator McCain had this past Monday. At least, Senator Obama is finally having a public event here in Jacksonville. Some citizens were beginning to wonder if the Senator had written off Florida due to the happenings during the Democratic primary. So it will be another very interesting weekend for me and I am looking forward to hearing the answers Senator Obama has for our questions.

Speaking about the presidential race, a huge new development has formed. GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is effectively turning over questions about her record as Alaska's governor to John McCain's political campaign, part of an ambitious Republican strategy to limit any embarrassing disclosures and carefully shape her image for voters in the rest of the country. Republican efforts include dispatching a former top U.S. terrorism prosecutor from New York, Ed O'Callaghan, to assist Palin's personal lawyer working to derail or delay a pending ethics investigation in Alaska. The probe, known as "Troopergate," is examining whether the governor abused her power by trying to remove her former brother-in-law as a state trooper. O'Callaghan is just part of a cadre of high-powered operatives patrolling Alaska as reporters and Democrats scrutinize every detail of Palin's tenure in government, plus her family and friends. One strategy: Carefully coordinate any information that's released. The McCain campaign is demanding that it becomes the de facto source for answers about the operations of Alaska's government during the past 20 months. Palin's normal press secretary, for example, now turns away inquiries from any reporter who isn't permanently based in Alaska, referring questions to the presidential campaign. Trouble is, some of McCain operatives only recently have arrived in Alaska and struggle to explain Palin's positions on arcane state issues. When a reporter for The Associated Press asked the state's Department of Health and Social Services about lawsuits involving state health policies, he was directed to call Meg Stapleton, a former spokeswoman for Palin now working for McCain. O'Callaghan, who helped prosecute terrorism and national security cases for the Justice Department until a few weeks ago, was sent to Alaska to handle "legal issues that are affecting the political dynamic of the campaign," said Taylor Griffin, a former Treasury Department spokesman in the Bush administration. O'Callaghan is expected to leave after this week.

Translation: O'Callaghan is helping ratchet up the heat on the Troopergate investigation, a probe with which Palin once promised to cooperate. O'Callaghan was the one who threw down the gauntlet during a news conference this week: Palin herself was unlikely to talk to the Alaska Legislature's investigator. McCain's campaign has sent at least one dozen researchers and lawyers to Alaska to pore over Palin's background, ready to respond to questions about her tenure as governor and mayor of Wasilla, a small town outside Anchorage. Griffin has been leading the team in Alaska, which includes operatives of the Republican National Committee. Republicans are rebutting what they describe as smears against Palin. Last week, McCain's campaign formed a "truth squad," which includes current and former GOP politicians who agree to speak with reporters. Heading up the effort from Arlington, Va., are Mark Paoletta and O'Callaghan, both Republican lawyers, and Brian Jones, a former communications director for McCain. Democrats, meanwhile, are relying on Palin's homegrown critics in Alaska. They call themselves "Alaska Mythbusters," a nod to the popular television show. The team is made up mostly of elected officials who have opposed or know Palin and who criticize her work, such as the mayor of tiny Ketchikan, Bob Weinstein. Ketchikan was involved in Alaska's infamous "Bridge to Nowhere," a construction project that Palin initially supported but now says she opposed as an example of wasteful spending. So yet again, the skeletons start crawling out of the closets. My question is what does the McCain camp have to fear in such a manner? Inquiring minds want to know.

I also received a ton of correspondence in the past couple of days that I am trying to catch up on answering. If you have emailed or called in the past couple of days, I am trying to return messages as quickly as possible. Please remember we are an all volunteer organization with no government funding so sometimes it takes me a few days to get back to people. No disrespect is meant. But I am just one person so it is very easy for me to get behind because of the volume of calls and emails.

This evening, Heather and I had the bi-monthly session of our men's HIV support group. Tonight we were treated to a performance by the Playback Theater. Walter, who is also on our board of directors, is over the acting group. He has been a playwright and actor for many years and is extremely talented. Gary was hoping to make it to their last meeting this past Sunday but the friend who was going to go with him canceled at the last minute. Plus it is always great to see Walter since he is an old friend of mine. The members of our group were requested to bring a covered dish for the event. Since I am not a good cook, I made a big dish of veggies to take with me. Heather picked me up around 4pm and we headed back to Lutheran Social Services with the food for the potluck. Then I left in her car to go get Gary from work and ran into horrible traffic. We barely got back to LSS before the meeting was scheduled to start. There were a few new people tonight with almost twenty people attending. The members of our group were allowed to bring a guest since the Playback Theater was doing their performance for us. After we ate it was time for their performance. They do improv based upon the stories submitted by the people watching and I must say it turned out great. I would highly recommend having them perform for your group as it was a dynamic experience.

There was some shocking news I read online after I got home this evening. I did not have time to watch CNN or CNBC today so I was amazed when I saw the headline: Another nightmare on Wall Street: Dow down 450. The stock market took another nosedive Wednesday as the American banking system appeared even shakier and investors worried that the financial crisis is spinning so far out of control that even government rescues can't stop it. The Dow Jones industrial average, which only two days earlier had suffered its steepest drop since the days after the Sept. 11 attacks, lost another 450 points. About $700 billion in investments vanished. So for anyone who was still doubting that our country's economy is in serious trouble. I hope this was a wake up call for you. I am just so thankful neither my dad or I have stock accounts right now. Nothing worse than seeing your money go up in flames.

I am now getting ready to rush off to bed. I have to be up early for another busy day tomorrow. My schedule is full of several meetings and I will not be getting home until around 8pm tomorrow night. Luckily, I only have one thing scheduled for Friday so far.

Hope you had a great day also.

Wishing you health, hope and happiness.

Big bear hug,

Daddy Dab