February 2008


William F. Buckley Jr. dies at 82

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From NEW YORK, William F. Buckley Jr., the erudite Ivy Leaguer and conservative herald who showered huge and scornful words on liberalism as he observed, abetted and cheered on the right’s post~World War II rise from the fringes to the White House, died Wednesday. He was 82.

His assistant Linda Bridges said Buckley was found dead by his cook at his home in Stamford, Conn. The cause of death was unknown, but he had been ill with emphysema, she said.

Editor, columnist, novelist, debater, TV talk show star of “Firing Line,” harpsichordist, trans~oceanic sailor and even a good natured loser in a New York mayor’s race, Buckley worked at a daunting pace, taking as little as 20 minutes to write a column for his magazine, the National Review.

Yet on the platform he was all handsome, reptilian languor, flexing his imposing vocabulary ever so slowly, accenting each point with an arched brow or rolling tongue and savoring an opponent’s discomfort with wide eyed glee.

“I am, I fully grant, a phenomenon, but not because of any speed in composition,” he wrote in The New York Times Book Review in 1986. “I asked myself the other day, `Who else, on so many issues, has been so right so much of the time?’ I couldn’t think of anyone.”

Buckley had for years been withdrawing from public life, starting in 1990 when he stepped down as top editor of the National Review. In December 1999, he closed down “Firing Line” after a 23 year run, when guests ranged from Richard Nixon to Allen Ginsberg. “You’ve got to end sometime and I’d just as soon not die onstage,” he told the audience.

“For people of my generation, Bill Buckley was pretty much the first intelligent, witty, well educated conservative one saw on television,” fellow conservative William Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard, said at the time the show ended. “He legitimized conservatism as an intellectual movement and therefore as a political movement.”

Fifty years earlier, few could have imagined such a triumph. Conservatives had been marginalized by a generation of discredited stands, from opposing Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal to the isolationism which preceded the U.S. entry into World War II. Liberals so dominated intellectual thought that the critic Lionel Trilling claimed there were “no conservative or reactionary ideas in general circulation.”

Buckley founded the biweekly magazine National Review in 1955, declaring that he proposed to stand “athwart history, yelling ‘Stop’ at a time when no one is inclined to do so, or to have much patience with those who urge it.” Not only did he help revive conservative ideology, especially unbending anti~Communism and free market economics, his persona was a dynamic break from such dour right wing predecessors as Sen. Robert Taft.

Although it perpetually lost money, the National Review built its circulation from 16,000 in 1957 to 125,000 in 1964, the year conservative Sen. Barry Goldwater was the Republican presidential candidate. The magazine claimed a circulation of 155,000 when Buckley relinquished control in 2004, citing concerns about his mortality, and over the years the National Review attracted numerous young writers, some who remained conservative (George Will, David Brooks), and some who didn’t (Joan Didion, Garry Wills).

“I was very fond of him,” Didion said Wednesday. “Everyone was, even if they didn’t agree with him.”

Born Nov. 24, 1925, in New York City, William Frank Buckley Jr. was the sixth of 10 children of a a multimillionaire with oil holdings in seven countries. The son spent his early childhood in France and England, in exclusive Roman Catholic schools.

His prominent family also included his brother James, who became a one term senator from New York in the 1970s; his socialite wife, Pat, who died in April 2007; and their son, Christopher, a noted author and satirist (“Thank You for Smoking”).

A precocious controversialist, William was but 8 years old when he wrote to the king of England, demanding payment of the British war debt.

After graduating with honors from Yale in 1950, Buckley married Patricia Alden Austin Taylor, spent a “hedonistic summer” and then excoriated his alma mater for what he regarded as its anti religious and collectivist leanings in “God and Man at Yale,” published in 1951.

Buckley spent a year as a low level agent for the Central Intelligence Agency in Mexico, work he later dismissed as boring.

With his brother~in~law, L. Brent Bozell, Buckley wrote a defense of Sen. Joseph McCarthy in 1954, “McCarthy and His Enemies.” While condemning some of the senator’s anti~communist excesses, the book praised a “movement around which men of good will and stern morality can close ranks.”

In 1960, Buckley helped found Young Americans for Freedom, and in 1961, he was among the founders of the Conservative Party in New York. Buckley was the party’s candidate for mayor of New York in 1965, waging a campaign that was in part a lark, he proposed an elevated bikeway on Second Avenue, but that also reflected a deep distaste for the liberal Republicanism of Mayor John V. Lindsay. Asked what he would do if he won, Buckley said, “I’d demand a recount.”

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He wrote the first of his successful spy thrillers, “Saving the Queen,” in 1976, introducing Ivy League hero Blackford Oakes. Oakes was permitted a dash of sex, with the Queen of England, no less, and Buckley permitted himself to take positions at odds with conservative orthodoxy. He advocated the decriminalization of marijuana, supported the treaty ceding control of the Panama Canal and came to oppose the Iraq war.

Buckley also took on the archconservative John Birch Society, a growing force in the 1950s and 1960s. “Buckley’s articles cost the Birchers their respectability with conservatives,” Richard Nixon once said. “I couldn’t have accomplished that. Liberals couldn’t have, either.”

Although he boasted he would never debate a Communist “because there isn’t much to say to someone who believes the moon is made of green cheese,” Buckley got on well with political foes. His friends included such liberals as John Kenneth Galbraith and Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., who despised Buckley’s “wrathful conservatism,” but came to admire him for his “wit, his passion for the harpsichord, his human decency, even for his compulsion to epater the liberals.”

Buckley was also capable of deep and genuine dislikes. In a 1968 television debate, when left-wing novelist and critic Gore Vidal called him a “pro~war~crypto~Nazi,” Buckley snarled an anti~gay slur and threatened to “sock you in your … face and you’ll stay plastered.” Their feud continued in print, leading to mutual libel suits that were either dismissed (Vidal’s) or settled out of court (Buckley’s).

The National Review defended the Vietnam War, opposed civil rights legislation and once declared that “the White community in the South is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail.” Buckley also had little use for the music of the counterculture, once calling the Beatles “so unbelievably horrible, so appallingly unmusical, so dogmatically insensitive to the magic of the art, that they qualify as crowned heads of antimusic.”

The National Review could do little to prevent Goldwater’s landslide defeat in 1964, but as conservatives gained influence so did Buckley and his magazine. The long rise would culminate in 1980 when Buckley’s good friend, Ronald Reagan, was elected president. The outsiders were now in, a development Buckley accepted with a touch of rue.

“It’s true. I had much more fun criticizing than praising,” he told the Washington Post in 1985. “I criticize Reagan from time to time, but it’s nothing like Carter or Johnson.”

Buckley’s memoir about Goldwater, “Flying High,” was coming out this spring, and his son said he was working on a book about Reagan.

Buckley so loved a good argument, especially when he won, that he compiled a book of bickering in “Cancel Your Own Goddam Subscription,” published in 2007 and featuring correspondence with the famous (Nixon, Reagan) and the merely annoyed.

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“Mr. Buckley,” one non~fan wrote in 1967, “you are the mouthpiece of that evil rabble that depends on fraud, perjury, dirty tricks, anything at all that suits their purposes. I would trust a snake before I would trust you or anybody you support.”

Responded Buckley: “What would you do if I supported the snake?”
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Thank you AP NEWS and HILLEL ITALIE, AP National Writer
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Even if you did not agree with him…you wanted to read his words.

I think that just about sums it up for William F. Buckley.

He was the true consevative and just as out spoken.

Your words will be missed. R.I.P.

~The Baby Boomer Queen~

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The Buttocks….

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A married couple was in a terrible accident where the Man’s face was severely burned.

The doctor told the Husband that they couldn’t graft any skin from his body Because he was too skinny.

So the wife offered to donate Some of her own skin.

However, the only skin on her body That the doctor felt was suitable would have to comeFrom her buttocks.

The husband and wife agreed that they would tell no one about where the skin came from, and theyrequested that the doctor also honor their secret.

After All, this was a very delicate matter. After the surgery was completed, everyone was astounded at the m an’s new face.

He looked more handsome than he ever had before!

All his Friends and relatives just went on and on about his youthful Beauty!

One day, he was alone with his wife, and he was overcome with emotion at her sacrifice.

He said, ‘Dear,I just want to thank you for everything you did for me. How can I possibly repay you?

”My darling,’ she replied, ‘I get all the thanks I need every time I see your motherkiss you on the cheek.

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Raul Castro Succeeds Fidel as President of Cuba

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From HAVANA, Cuba, Fidel Castro’s brother, Raúl, was named president of Cuba on Sunday, preserving a nearly half century socialist dynasty that brought free schools and health care to all Cubans as well as political repression.

The decision by Cuba’s national assembly formally ends the storied reign of Fidel Castro, 81, who has not appeared in public since stomach surgery 19 months ago and announced Tuesday that he would not seek the presidency. He steps down 49 years after leading a ragtag revolutionary army to victory, launching a career that spanned the Cuban missile crisis, the Bay of Pigs invasion, the fall of the Soviet Union, rhetorical battles with 10 U.S. presidents and a decades long U.S. trade embargo.

Fidel, who remains a member of the national assembly, did not appear Sunday when delegates selected his brother as president and named Jose Ramon Machado, 77, a hard line communist who fought alongside the Castros during the revolution, as first vice president. The choice of Machado surprised some here who expected a new generation of younger leaders to rise.

Ricardo Alarcon, one of Cuba’s most ardent critics of the U.S. trade embargo, was reelected as president of the assembly.

Clouds of cigar smoke scented the lobby in Havana’s convention center as nearly 600 assembly members filed into a hallway to vote in white-curtained booths. Raúl Castro, who entered the 28,000 square foot assembly chamber to sustained applause, waved briefly and smiled before taking a front row seat. During nearly five decades as defense minister, Raúl Castro, 76, was almost always seen in military uniforms. But Sunday, as he prepared to formally rise to Cuba’s highest civilian post, he opted for a blue suit and gray tie.

“In my opinion, Raúúl is the only option,” Luis Felipe Simon Cabreza, an assembly member from the eastern city of Holguin, said in an interview before voting. “He will continue the Cuban revolution. The future of our country, of our revolution, is assured.”

At 10 a.m. Sunday, María Esther Reus González, Cuba’s justice minister, began a roll call of assembly members by calling out “Fidel Castro Ruz.” Lawmakers, including army officers with medals on their chests and rural representatives in white guayaberas, rose in unison and clapped rhythmically.

Even though Fidel Castro has decided to step down as president, he remains the head of the communist party and many here still consider him the country’s true leader. Before the vote, Reus González held aloft a sealed envelope that she said contained Fidel Castro’s vote for president. She reminded assembly members that “El Comandante” had urged them to make a unanimous selection.

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In a statement before the vote Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged Cuba to “begin a process of peaceful, democratic change by releasing all political prisoners, respecting human rights, and creating a clear pathway towards free and fair elections.”

There was little doubt that Raúl Castro, his brother’s handpicked successor, would be named president by a national assembly that critics say is nothing more than a rubber stamp for them. Assembly members interviewed during breaks said they were free to vote for whomever they pleased, but some said Raúl Castro was the only candidate on the ballot.

“This is a historic day,” Ana Ramona Martin, 39, a first-time assembly member from Sancti Spiritus, said in an interview. “We are seeing evidence of our democracy today. I’m a simple campesina, and look what I am getting to do.”

Raúl Castro has long favored opening Cuba’s economy to more foreign investment, and some observers believe that he is likely to increase opportunities for Cubans to become independent businesspeople, rather than work for the state. Currently, between 100,000 and 150,000 have licenses to run private businesses, less than 3 percent of the working age population.

But the talk outside the legislative chamber Sunday was not about change, it was about preserving Fidel Castro’s policies.

“Our political project must stay the same,” said assembly member Nieves Lopez, who was 9 years old when Fidel took power at the head of a rebel army. “Our system is well defined, and it will not change.”

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Thank you Washington Post Foreign and Manuel Roig~Franzia
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Well, Baby Boomers…how long do you think we will have to wait to see if anythign is going to change or happen with the new regime?

~The Baby Boomer Queen~

Cannibal Food

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Two cannibals meet one day. The first cannibal says, “You know, I just can’t seem to get a tender missionary.

I’ve baked ‘em,

I’ve roasted ‘em, I’ve stewed ‘em,

I’ve barbequed ‘em,

I’ve even tried every sort of marinade.

I just cannot seem to get them tender.”

The second cannibal asks, “What kind of missionary do you use?”

The other replied, “You know, the ones that hang out at that place at the bend of the river. They have those brown cloaks with a rope around the waist and their sort of bald on top with a funny ring of hair on their heads.”

“Ah ha!” he replies. “No wonder.. those are friars!”

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Male assertiveness

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A mild~mannered man was tired of being bossed around by his wife so he went to a psychiatrist.

The psychiatrist said he needed to build his self-esteem, and so gave him a book on assertiveness, which he read on the way home.

He had finished the book by the time he reached his house.

The man stormed into the house and walked up to his wife.

Pointing a finger in her face, he said, “From now on, I want you to know that I am the man of this house, and my word is law! I want you to prepare me a gourmet meal tonight, and when I’m finished eating my meal, I expect a sumptuous dessert afterward. Then, after dinner, you’re going to draw me my bath so I can relax. And when I’m finished with my bath, guess who’s going to dress me and comb my hair?”

“The funeral director,” said his wife.

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In BOLINGBROOK, Illinois, the family of a missing Illinois woman has an “eerie feeling of dread” after a ruling that her husband’s previous wife was a victim of homicide, a spokeswoman said.

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Investigators have said Drew Peterson is a suspect in the disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson.

The October disappearance of Stacy Peterson, the fourth wife of former Bolingbrook police Sgt. Drew Peterson, prompted questions about Kathleen Savio, his third wife.

Savio was found drowned in a bathtub in 2004, with a gash on her head and blood in her hair. Her death was ruled accidental by a coroner’s jury.

Savio’s body was exhumed in November, and a second autopsy was performed by certified forensic pathologist Larry Blum.

“We have been investigating this as a murder since reopening the case in November of last year,” James Glasgow, the state’s attorney in Will County, said in a written statement Thursday. “We now have a scientific basis to formally and publicly classify it as such.”

Drew Peterson, 53, has not been named a suspect in Savio’s death. But authorities have said that he is considered a suspect in Stacy Peterson’s disappearance.

Drew Peterson said that he last spoke to Stacy Peterson on the night of October 28 and that he believes she ran off with another man. She has not been seen since.

The couple had been married four years and had two children. Drew Peterson also has children from a previous marriage.

State police and grand jury investigations continue into Stacy Peterson’s disappearance. Prosecutors have said that both entities are also investigating Savio’s death, so if any criminal charges are warranted, they would probably not be filed until the grand jury completes its investigation and hands up an indictment.

But “it leaves one an eerie feeling of dread,” said Pam Bosco, a spokeswoman for Stacy Peterson’s family, on Thursday night.

“We realize that Kathleen and Stacy had one common denominator, and that was Drew Peterson, so we look forward to this investigation that’s ongoing right now with Kathleen’s death and Stacy’s disappearance.”

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Drew Peterson answered his door Friday and told CNN’s Susan Roesgen, “We are not talking to anybody. You can call my lawyer, Joel Brodsky, in the next couple of days.”

Brodsky appeared Thursday night on CNN Headline News’ “Nancy Grace” and noted that Savio’s autopsy showed a mild thickening of her heart’s mitral valve. He theorized that “from her mitral valve thickening, she has a mild heart infarction [heart attack]. She becomes unconscious, hits her head and drowns in the water.” Watch Nancy Grace discuss Kathleen Savio’s death »

On Friday, Brodsky told CNN affiliate CLTV, “We have a guy who has one wife die of an accident and another one who ran off, which may make him unlucky, but nothing mischievous about either of those two things.”

Drew Peterson and Savio divorced before he married Stacy Peterson. Bosco said family members asked Stacy Peterson whether she believed that Savio drowned accidentally but said the woman defended her husband, saying Savio hit her head and drowned. Bosco said family members liked Drew Peterson and tried to put their suspicions aside.

Savio’s family, however, has said they always believed that her death was not an accident. Melissa Doman, Savio’s niece, said relatives think Drew Peterson stood to gain about $3 million from Savio’s death, based on the couple’s shared business interests in a bar and a printing company, their home and payments from five life insurance policies Savio had on herself.

The new autopsy report has not been released because of the ongoing investigation, and prosecutors won’t say what led Blum to come to the conclusion that Savio’s death was a homicide rather than an accidental drowning.

Blum performed the second autopsy November 13. A third autopsy was performed November 16 by noted pathologist Michael Baden, at the request of Savio’s family, authorities said. The results of the third autopsy were not disclosed because of the ongoing investigation.
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Thank you CNN News
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If anyone has seen Drew Peterson lately…you can see that he does not look like the man you saw on The Today Show…large bags under his eyes and he is starting to look his age.

I still believe that his third wife is exactly where he put her…in a big blue drum! I pray for her family and her children.

~The Baby Boomer Queen~

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Generous lawyer

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“Our research shows that out of a yearly income of at least $500,000, you give not a penny to charity. Wouldn’t you like to give back to the community in some way?”

The lawyer mulled this over for a moment and replied, “First, did your research also show that my mother is dying after a long illness, and has medical bills that are several times her annual income?”

Embarrassed, the United Way rep mumbled, “Um … no.”

The lawyer interrupts, “or that my brother, a disabled veteran, is blind and confined to a wheelchair?”

The stricken United Way rep began to stammer out an apology, but was interrupted again.

“or that my sister’s husband died in a traffic accident,” the lawyer’s voice rising in indignation, “leaving her penniless with three children?!”

The humiliated United Way rep, completely beaten, said simply, “I had no idea…”

On a roll, the lawyer cut him off once again, “So if I don’t give any money to them, why should I give any to you?”

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