DEAR READERS: The new year has arrived, and with it our chance for a new beginning. This is the day we discard destructive old habits for healthy new ones. With that in mind, I am sharing Dear Abby's often-requested list of New Year's resolutions -- which were adapted by my mother, Pauline Phillips, from the original credo of Al-Anon.
JUST FOR TODAY: I will live through this day only. I will not brood about yesterday or obsess about tomorrow. I will not set far-reaching goals or try to overcome all of my problems at once.
I know that I can do something for 24 hours that would overwhelm me if I had to keep it up for a lifetime.
JUST FOR TODAY: I will be happy. I will not dwell on thoughts that depress me. If my mind fills with clouds, I will chase them away and fill it with sunshine.
JUST FOR TODAY: I will accept what is. I will face reality. I will correct those things I can correct and accept those I cannot.
JUST FOR TODAY: I will improve my mind. I will read something that requires effort, thought and concentration. I will not be a mental loafer.
JUST FOR TODAY: I will make a conscious effort to be agreeable. I will be kind and courteous to those who cross my path, and I'll not speak ill of others. I will improve my appearance, speak softly, and not interrupt when someone else is talking.
Just for today, I will refrain from improving anybody but myself.
JUST FOR TODAY: I will do something positive to improve my health. If I'm a smoker, I'll quit. If I am overweight, I will eat healthfully -- if only just for today. And not only that, I will get off the couch and take a brisk walk, even if it's only around the block.
JUST FOR TODAY: I will gather the courage to do what is right and take responsibility for my own actions.
And now, Dear Readers, I would like to share an item that was sent to me by I.J. Bhatia, a reader who lives in New Delhi, India:
DEAR ABBY: This year, no resolutions, only some guidelines. The Holy Vedas say: "Man has subjected himself to thousands of self-inflicted bondages. Wisdom comes to a man who lives according to the true eternal laws of nature."
The following prayer of Saint Francis contains a powerful message:
"Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
"Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
"Where there is injury, pardon;
"Where there is doubt, faith;
"Where there is despair, hope;
"Where there is darkness, light;
"Where there is sadness, joy;
"O Divine Master, grant that I may not as much seek to be consoled as to console;
"To be loved as to love.
"For it is in giving that we are pardoned;
"It is in dying that we are born to eternal life."
And so, Dear Readers, may this New Year bring with it peace and joy. -- LOVE, ABBY
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 1/01/2008 01:31:00 PM
Monday, December 31, 2007
Sunday, December 30, 2007
On the Internet as of sometime this afternoon, Fred Thompson’s closing argument to the people of Iowa.
Whereas Romney is saturating the airwaves with attack ads, Thompson pays the voters the courtesy of speaking calmly, and in detail—the video runs to just over 15 minutes. Why should the good Republicans of Iowa support Thompson? Because, the candidate argues, he can win.
I believe I am the only candidate in this race who can bring our party to victory in the fall. First, because of the firmness of my principles and the trust that that engenders. Secondly, because of the detailed program I’ve put before the people. Third, because I've been tried and tested — and I’m a known quantity in public life.
But, most of all, I think I know how to talk to the American people about the opposition and the danger their victory would pose to the principles we hold dear.
In the passage I found the most striking, Thompson does something no other Republican contender has attempted: appeal to Democrats.
You know, when I'm asked which of the current group of Democratic candidates I prefer to run against, I always say it really doesn't matter…These days all those candidates, all the Democratic leaders, are one and the same. They’re all NEA-MoveOn.org-ACLU-Michael Moore Democrats. They’ve allowed these radicals to take control of their party and dictate their course.
So this election is important not just to enact our conservative principles. This election is important to salvage a once-great political party from the grip of extremism and shake it back to its senses. It's time to give not just Republicans but independents, and, yes, good Democrats a chance to call a halt to the leftward lurch of the once-proud party of working people.
So in seeking the nomination of my own party, I want to say something a little unusual. I am asking my fellow Republicans to vote for me not only for what I have to say to them, but for what I have to say to the members of the other party—the millions of Democrats who haven't left the Democratic party so much as their party's national leadership has left them.
This is reminiscent of Reagan’s talk to the people of North Carolina in 1976. Simple, straightforward, modest production values—just the candidate in front of an American flag and an Iowa flag—but (to use the word again) compelling. Reagan’s 1976 talk enabled him to recover after a string of primary defeats, winning in North Carolina, then going on to come within a handful of delegates of wresting the nomination from Ford. Will Thompson’s talk move voters in Iowa? Does his campaign have the money to get it on the air? Throughout the state? Or even in a few of the most important markets? Beats me. But we have here a serious man, making a serious case—and doing so in the context of a campaign that has otherwise descended into mere caterwauling.
Even at this late hour, I wouldn’t count Fred out.
WASHINGTON -- Fatherhood and ambition.
In Fred Thompson's life, they rise and fall together, a recurring couplet in the nostalgic story of a Tennessee fella who's guided more by life's surprises and others' expectations than he is by any master plan.
The small-town jock who, at 17, upon getting his high school girlfriend pregnant, married her, heeded her politically connected family and made something of himself.
The divorced U.S. senator, lawyer, lobbyist and actor who dropped out of politics when one of his three grown children died from a prescription drug overdose.
The unlikely 65-year-old comeback kid, now remarried with a 4-year-old girl and a 1-year-old boy, who's running for the Republican nomination for president.
On the campaign trail, Thompson treats criticism that he doesn't have enough fire in the belly with a father-knows-best attitude.
"I've had the worst thing that can happen to a father and the best thing that can happen to a father," Thompson told retirees in the fall in South Carolina.
Big on parenting
Two of Thompson's most important experiences played out in the public eye: the Watergate hearings and his 1985 movie debut, Marie. But with voters, he talks about parenting as much as he does about politics and acting.
Seeing daughter Hayden's sonogram strengthened his anti-abortion views, he says. Wanting a stable world for his second family helped nudge him to run.
Thompson has children older than his wife, Jeri, 41, and younger than his grandchildren. His progeny span two generations.
Thompson was born in Alabama and graduated from Memphis State University and Vanderbilt University law school while working and raising children.
He worked on a congressional campaign, as a federal prosecutor and for the re-election of Tennessee Republican Sen. Howard Baker Jr. Baker became a powerful mentor. He gave Thompson job as chief Republican counsel on the committee investigating Watergate.
Thompson got national exposure, a book deal and an anti-corruption reputation that drew clients to his new law practice.
There was a book about the case, then a movie with Sissy Spacek -- Marie -- in which Thompson played himself. That launched his career as an actor even as he kept a hand in on Capitol Hill.
Celebrity eased Thompson's election to an open Senate seat; he replaced Tennessee's Al Gore, who became Bill Clinton's vice president.
Serving from 1994 through 2002, Thompson got mixed reviews. He was a reliable Republican vote, but critics said he lacked the appetite for the long hours and tedium and didn't leave much of a legacy.
In the final year of Thompson's Senate career, his daughter Betsy, who had bipolar disorder, died from what was deemed an accidental overdose of painkillers.
Thompson went back to acting, and making money, as fictional District Attorney Arthur Branch on TV's Law & Order. He also gave up the single life, marrying Jeri, whom he'd met years earlier while grocery shopping.
About that time, Thompson was diagnosed with nonfatal lymphoma, which required chemotherapy.
Appetite for politics
But he had a new appetite for GOP politics. He helped manage Chief Justice John Roberts' confirmation to the Supreme Court in 2005, was chairman of the State Department's International Security Advisory Board and championed President Bush's commutation of White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's prison sentence in the CIA leak case -- all while taping the crime series and working for ABC Radio.
With the encouragement of Jeri, Baker and Rep. Zach Wamp, R-Tenn., Thompson decided to run.Thompson's image and message are selling points, and so is his personal experience of "raising a second family in a different generation than the first," Wamp said.
Born: 1942 in Sheffield, Ala.; raised in Lawrenceburg, Tenn.
Education: Bachelor's degree, Memphis State University, 1964; law degree, Vanderbilt University, 1967
1969-72: Assistant U.S. attorney
1973-74: Minority counsel, Senate Watergate Committee
1975-93: Lobbyist, lawyer
1977: Took on a Tennessee Parole Board case that exposed a cash-for-clemency scheme that toppled the governor
1987-present: Actor; has appeared in 18 films, including The Hunt for Red October, and has played the district attorney on TV's Law & Order since 2002
1994-2002: U.S. senator from Tennessee
2007: Announced candidacy for president
Sources: Draft Fred Thompson President 2008, Internet Movie Database
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Thompson: Too much fire in the belly not good in dangerous world
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON, Iowa (AP) -- Fred Thompson said Saturday he's not consumed with winning the White House and that a president with too much fire in the belly is not necessarily a good thing in a dangerous world.
"I like to say that I'm only consumed by very, very few things and politics is not one of them," Thompson said at a town hall meeting in nearby Burlington. "The welfare of my country and my kids and grandkids are one of them. But if people really want in their president a super type-A personality, someone who has gotten up every morning and gone to bed every night thinking about for years how they could achieve the presidency of the United States, someone who could look you straight in the eye and say they enjoy every minute of campaigning - I ain't that guy."
Thompson said some candidates have become too absorbed by the process and have lost sight of the ultimate need to serve the country.
"Nowadays, it's all about fire in the belly," he said. "I'm not sure in the world we live in today it's a terribly good thing that a president has too much fire in his belly."
Burlington attorney Todd Chelf, whose question elicited Thompson's response, said he appreciated the reply. "It's almost refreshing to see that kind of response as opposed to what we get normally," he said. "I think there's a passion there. I think that it's an old-fashioned passion."
"I am not consumed by personal ambition," Thompson said. "I will not be devastated if I don't do it. I'm not particularly interested in running for president." He said others encouraged him to run and he decided it was the right thing to do.
"I approached it from a standpoint ... of kind of a marriage," he said. "You know if one side of the marriage has to be really talked into the marriage, you know it probably ain't going to be a good deal for either one of them. But if you mutually think that this is a good thing - in this case you think it's a good thing for the country - then you have an opportunity to do some wonderful things together. I'm offering myself up. I'm saying that I have the background and capability and the concern to do this."
However, he said people who question his commitment should realize that he dropped lucrative television and radio contracts to run and no longer accepts paid speaking tours to make the run.
"I and my family have made sacrifices for me to be sitting here today," he said. "I haven't had any income for a long time because I'm doing this. I guess a man would have to be a total fool to do all those things and to be leaving his family, which is not a joyful thing at all, if he didn't want to do it."
Thompson said he just wants voters to know what to expect from him.
"I go out of my way to be myself cause I don't want anybody to think they're getting something they're not getting," he said. "I'm not consumed by this process. I'm not consumed with the notion of being president. I'm simply saying I'm willing to do what's necessary to achieve it if I'm in synch with the people and if the people want me or somebody like me."
At his stop in the community of Washington, Thompson joked about Democrat John Edwards, who had an event at the same time just a few blocks away.
"I understand my friend John Edwards is in town. He's over at the library. I hope he learns something while he's over there," Thompson said. "I like our bus better. Go out and check them out."
Thompson was accompanied on his Saturday campaign stops by Iowa Rep. Steve King.
December 30, 2007
Thompson insists he has the desire to win the White House
(CNN) – Republican Fred Thompson Sunday dismissed reports that he had told voters at a weekend campaign event he was “not particularly interested” in running for president, saying his remarks had been taken out of context.
The former Tennessee senator told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that "some in the media take bits and pieces, not you, but some have taken one sentence out of the middle of that and make it sound like something that wasn't intended."
"And if you notice, I put the emphasis on running. I said I'm not particularly interested in running for president," Thompson said in an interview on CNN's Late Edition.
"But then I gave all the reasons why I thought I'd make a good president and what I was sacrificing to be president and my family was doing so and I was concerned about the future of our country and the future of our children and so forth. So when you put it in context, it makes sense."
Thompson has long faced criticism he lacks motivation to be President of the United States, and Saturday’s comments seemed to spark new speculation on that front.
"I'm not particularly interested in running for president," the former senator told voters at a campaign event in Burlington, Iowa when challenged by an audience member over his desire to be commander-in-chief.
"But I think I'd make a good president," Thompson continued. "I have the background, capability, and concern to do this and I'm doing it for the right reasons."
Thompson took heat for not officially jumping into the White House race until September — significantly later than every other candidate — and has since been criticized for his laid-back campaign style and often-times light schedule.
But the former actor has criticized his rivals for launching their presidential bids months ahead of his, and continually touts the fact he hasn't harbored presidential ambitions his whole career.
"I am not consumed by personal ambition," Thompson also said Saturday. "I'm offering myself up."
"I'm only consumed by a few things and politics is not one of them."
But Thompson added the sacrifices he has made to run for president proves he wants the top job.
"To be clean, I had to cut everything off," he said. "I was doing speaking engagements and I had a contract to do a TV show, I had a contract with ABC Radio, like I was talking about earlier, and so forth. I guess a man would have to be a total fool to do all those things and to be leaving his family which is not a joyful thing at all if he didn't want to do it."