Monday, December 15, 2008

The weekend notepad

* Satirist Harry Shearer, on his NPR program Sunday, was the latest to ask a simple question: If things are going so well in Iraq, why does the president have to make a "surprise" visit? You'll know it's safe there when a presidential journey to Baghdad can be announced in advance.

* Army fired another football coach the other day. They've had a succession of coaches at West Point over the last couple of decades. Army football started going downhill in the '70s. For a variety of reasons that have little to do with football, the academy has not been able to attract enough good players. So what's the brass done? It's hired and fired qualified coaches, creating an unstable program. Is instability the message they want to teach the Cadets?

* On "60 Minutes" last night, in the first segment, I thought I heard Massachussetts Democratic Congressman Barney Frank say the economy will turn around by late 2009. Then, in the second segment, an expert on the housing crisis (sorry, I didn't catch his name) painted a horribly bleaker picture. Do you suppose anybody really knows for sure?

* Speaking of the economy, I made a very unscientific observation yesterday. It occurred to me as I was driving on East Chester Street Bypass towards the town of Ulster shopping district that traffic was extremely light for what should have been a busy day less than two weeks before Christmas. Ordinarily at this time of year, that stretch of road is like the Long Island Expressway at rush hour. Not yesterday. It doesn't say much for the amount of commerce being transacted this holiday season.
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