A more open government?

December 14, 2009 We’re either on the verge of a new era in transparency in the federal government — or we’re not.On just his first full day in office, Jan. 21, President Barack Obama pledged that the public would have more and easier access to official records and information in his presidency, saying federal agencies should live up to the Freedom of Information Act by presuming records open unless there’s good reason to close them.

Christmas — not just for kids

December 14, 2009 I don’t understand why kids have to grow up so fast.It seems every generation learns and knows more at a much earlier age than the previous and I know a lot of it has to do with technology or the fact that these times call for children to grow up faster.Whatever the reason it saddens me, especially this time of year. Is it me or do children stop believing in Santa Claus at a much younger age than 20, 30, 40, 50 years ago?

Visitors to ancient America

December 11, 2009 It’s just coincidence that my fellow researcher Myron Paine of Martinez, Calif., and I both have articles in the current issue of Ancient American magazine. The subtitle of the magazine is “Archaeology of the Americas Before Columbus.”Dr. Paine’s article is titled “Lenni Lenape Were Christians.” Lenni Lenape is the name the Delaware Indians called themselves. During Paine’s research, he learned artist John White had painted 18 pictures of the Indians before Ralph Lane, the commander of  the first English survey trip to the Roanoke, Va., area, arrived in 1585.

Taxpayers on strike

December 10, 2009 As a sign of the end of the Great Recession or as the heralding of the roots of the next one Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s investment bank are set to hand out 30 billion in combined bonuses to employees this year. The companies are referring to them as earned but let’s call it what it is.

Question: Who does AARP really serve?

December 9, 2009 The AARP used to be known as the American Association of Retired Persons. For years it has presented itself as advocacy group dedicated to the best interests of America’s senior citizens.We have to wonder, though, just whom the organization really serves.

Wolf turned out to sheep pen

December 9, 2009 “On some level Huckabee knows this. He’s a smart man; and all the psychological neutralization in the world doesn’t change the fact his pen stroke became homicidal gunshots. Alone at night, just before sleep, he knows.” 

Transformation of man

December 8, 2009 The end of the year is upon us — a fine time for a fellow to dwell on the larger matters.Such as this: Why are men turning into a bunch of softies?I’ve been following this transformation for some time.In the late ’90s, the covers of men’s magazines began producing headlines nearly identical to women’s magazines: “Ten tips to remove that flab and win her attention!”In 2003, I reported on the emergence of the “metrosexual” male — “straight urban men who are willing, even eager, to embrace their feminine sides,” said The New York Times.

Holiday idea tips

December 8, 2009 I have no idea where most of 2009 went. It’s rather hard to believe there are 17 days to Christmas, but then again I say that year after year. Since Christmas is the same day each year, no one can really say it snuck up on us. I’m always looking for a few time-saving tips for the holidays, and here are a few I thought I’d share with all of you:• My mom uses her lunch hour to run Christmas shopping errands. She also brings all her wrapping paper, tape, tags, etc., to her office so on the days she’s not out shopping, she can wrap gifts and doesn’t fall behind.

In need of a ‘Makeover’?

December 7, 2009 After six years ABC’s “Extreme Makeover Home Edition” looks like it’s the one in need of a makeover. The Dr. Brian Wofford family of California is one of many families at risk of losing their homes since being helped by the TV show that finds a “deserving” family and replaces their old home with a new one. Their story was featured last week as one of Yahoo.com’s top stories.