Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Awful Layout Design

I got to part B of the paper today and was startled to see this picture and headline.

These two stories just should not be placed together.  A picture of five family members matches the five people around the table above.  Someone wasn't paying attention.  I don't know enough about how the stories are laid out, but I know this is just wrong.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Heavy Early Voting Yesterday

I finally made it to vote early yesterday over on Gambell.  I got there about 1:30 pm.

I've never seen the early voting so crowded.  There were about eight people in line in front of me and all the voting booths were full.

People working there said last Monday (the first day of early voting) they had about 800 or 900 and they thought yesterday was going at the same pace.  That's about 100 voters per hour.  This is the main early voting spot in Anchorage, so there are people from all precincts.  And maybe I was there at a particularly crowded moment.  But candidates are trying to get their supporters to vote absentee or early.  

You can check the hours this week - through Sunday - at this link. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Big Outside Sullivan Backer Also Supports LGBT Rights, Immigration, Role Of Government

Things get curiouser and curiouser as Alice said.   As I was following the tracks on Paul Singer, a major donor to the Dan Sullivan campaign, identified as the money behind Opportunity PAC which is funding letters to folks in Anchorage that list their neighbors and their voting records, I discovered a much more complex man than the standard image of Rich White Republican Billionaire. 

Singer, according to this article has been a major backer of same-sex marriage.  He's also far more nuanced on the relationship between government and business - calling for regulation of financial sector.  He also has been a big supporter of immigration reform.  Here are some excerpts from the Washington Post article titled:
Meet the wealthy donor who’s trying to get Republicans to support gay marriage
. . .   Since 2010, Singer has spent more than $10 million trying to get states to legalize gay marriage and get Republicans to join the battle.
 He's not completely opposed to government regulation of the financial sector:
In April 2009, he wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal stating, "conservative opposition to any expanded role for government is a mistake. There is an urgent need for a new global regulatory initiative that addresses the primary cause of the financial collapse: highly leveraged and concentrated positions."
And on immigration:
"He also favors immigration reform, and gave a six-figure donation to the National Immigration Forum last year. "
It says he also gave a modest amount to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth - that highly deceitful ads that helped sink John Kerry's presidential bid.

He seems to be a competitor, into winning.  That's a mindset that reduces life to a game that often overlooks the damage that results.   The article says that as a hedge fund manager he's best known for distressed debt investments  (though the company does less of that now).  The article says:
In the summer of 2013, Singer told Institutional Investor's Alpha Magazine that forcing debt payment is a Singer-flavored form of activism. "We've made the point over and over again that sovereigns that could pay their debts and choose not to may be attempting to save some money but are harming their people and their economies by making investing in their countries more risky and more problematic and by discouraging foreign investment." In Singer's view, he isn't just forcing indebted companies and countries to pay up. He's trying to create a world where distressed debt doesn't exist.
Depending on your own views, that makes Singer an activist investor, or a "vulture capitalist."
I mention this in part because it displays the attitude to debt that David Graeber attacks in his book Debt: The First 5000 Years.  Graeber takes an historical view of the moral and business history of the idea that it's morally important to pay one's debts, especially third world countries whose debts were often obligated by dictators  who deposited most of the money in their foreign bank accounts.  The people who end up paying the debts are the struggling citizens who never would have approved the debt and who find foreigners prescribing the dismantling of what meager infrastructure and social supports the country has to pay wealthy first world banks and their rich investors. 

This is loansharking at the international level and how Singer apparently got the money he is now using to play power broker in American politics.

And why is supporting same-sex marriage?  According to the Washington Post article, that was
"first inspired by his son, who was married to his husband in Massachusetts — the first state to offer same-sex marriage."
But in politics, candidates rarely look too carefully at where their money comes from.  But I wonder how many of Sullivan's supporters know their candidate is getting lots of money from someone who helped to make same-sex marriage a reality in the US.   What does a Senator say to someone who's donated hundreds of thousands to his campaign.  I would imagine his door is always open and he's more than willing to help him get legislation that he wants.  OK, this is true for every politician who gets big donations.  But I don't think very many get such significant help from individuals.  Before Citizens United it was illegal.  You can compare Begich and Sullivan contributions at Open Secrets.  Singer's company is Elliot Management and he also was a big donor to Club For Growth.  And these seem to not include all the contributions to PACs that support the candidates. 

I also found out in my googling that Dermot Cole reported much of this back in February.

". . . mere birdsong in the bushes of things"

They’re looking at the name on a portrait in an old book,  and she wonders to herself, who was he? 
“Who was he, who was he?  Did he labour under the whip of his father, or was he treated with gentleness and respect?  Names, names, all passed away, forgotten, mere birdsong in the bushes of things.”
What an image to characterize the ephemeral existence of a human being - "mere birdsong in the bushes of things."   Such word magic caused me to sit up in bed and wonder in awe - both at the meaning of the image and at the mind of the writer.   

Roseanne McNulty lives in an Irish asylum.  She thinks she may be 100.  Sebastian Barry's The Secret Scripture paints her portrait using peripheral vision,  with shadows and reflections, with the movement of curtains in the wind, with the ripples on the water.   

Barry sees Roseanne and the people around her in ultra slow motion capturing the signals, invisible to most people observing at normal speeds, that, like pieces of bone to archeologists, reveal their souls.  It’s so slow.  So powerful.  So unlike the superficial flash we’re used to. 

Writing, through the eyes of Roseanne, about Dr. Greene, who looks after the patients in the asylum . . .
Then he sat there in his own version of silence for a long while.  He sat so long he was almost an inmate of the room!  As if he lived there himself, as if he had nowhere to go to, nothing to do, no one to attend. 

He sat in the chill light.  The river, drowned in its own water, and drowned a second time in the rains of February, was not in a position to throw its light.  The window-glass was severely itself.  Only the still grass of winter lent it a slight besmirch of green.  His eyes, now much clearer somehow and more distinct without the beard, were looking forwards as if at an object about a yard away, that stare that faces have in portraits.  I sat on the bed and without the slightest embarrassment watched him, because he wasn’t watching me at all.  He was looking into that strange place, the middle distance, the most mysterious, human, and rich of all distances.  And from his eyes came slowly tears, immaculate human tears, before the world touches them.  River, window and eyes.
Wow!  "[T]hat stare that faces have in portraits."  "[T]he most mysterious, human, and rich of all distances."  Barry sees the invisible. How much of life am I missing?

Over and over again he daubs images onto the page and I think, where did that come from and what’s it doing here?  And then he pulls it all together - “River, window and eyes.”

Here's another one. Roseanne reflects about her husband who fished for salmon.
Most of the time, he stood by the lake, watching the dark waters.  If he saw a salmon jumping, he went home.  If you see a salmon, you will never catch one that day.  But the art of not seeing a salmon is very dark too, you must stare and stare at the known sections where salmon are sometimes got, and imagine them down there, feel them there, sense them with some seventh sense.  My husband Tom fished for ten years for salmon in that way.  As a matter of record he never caught a salmon.  So if you saw a salmon it seems you would not catch one, and if you did not see a salmon you would not catch one.  So how would you catch one?  By some third mystery of luck and instinct, that Tom did not have.
Dark waters.  Barry paints with dark waters.  With "some third mystery of luck and instinct."  Where is this going, I’m thinking, and then I read on:
But that was how Dr. Greene struck me today, as he sat in silence in my little quarters, his neat form stretched out on the chair, saying nothing, not exactly watching me with his eyes, but watching me with his luck and instincts, like a fisherman beside dark water. 

Oh, yes, like a salmon I felt, right enough, and stilled myself in the deep water, very conscious of him, and his rod, and his fly, and his hook. 
The patient's view of the doctor!  It’s with these tiny brush strokes that Barry paints his portraits.  I’m not reading a book as much as watching a painter starting with a blank canvas.  He mixes his paints, he draws some lines on the canvas.  Slowly daubs marks here and there.  Slowly, slowly the thin pencil lines gain dark color and richness and the souls of people are revealed. 

This isn’t a book for everybody.  It's too slow.  We aren't use to paying painfully slow attention to amorphous signs.  To looking without looking.  I’d once recommended Yasunari Kawabata’s Snow Country  to a good friend.  He couldn’t finish the short novel.  His verdict, “Nothing happens.”  It’s inside that nothing that everything happens.  The same in The Secret Scriptures.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

My Voting Report Card - And Other Political Fliers

We were only gone from Sunday to Friday, but here's what was in our mail when it was delivered Saturday.   Up til now Alaska's never been a critical state.  Our outcomes were generally not close, nor would they impact the balance of the Senate.  It's not that much mail, about two pieces per day. 

Then there was this one.  My voting report card.

What?  Someone's grading my voting?  Well, someone was checking how often I vote.  I knew that campaigns do that, because they particularly target the people who vote all the time.  Do I didn't think too much about it until I saw this post at Immoral Minority that was citing a report at KTUU about letters to people telling them how often their neighbors vote - by name!   That's takes this a step further.  This one comes from America Votes, what appears to be a liberal PAC.   The letter with the neighbors' names and voting records apparently comes from The Opportunity Alliance PAC, conservative group.  At their website - Alaska Votes - you can plug in your address and see how often your neighbors vote.  KTUU cites the letter:
“This year, we’re taking a new approach,” ASVP members wrote. “We’re sending this mailing to you, your friends, your neighbors, your colleagues at work, and your community members to publicize who does and does not vote.”
It's not clear to me how long the organization has existed and thus whether the 'this year' is misleading or not.

The KTUU piece talks about people's outrage over their voting record being circulated like this.  This is public information, though it's tricky for members of the public to get it.  I know parties and candidates pay for lists of people's voting records.  I'm trying to think about reasons why people's voting record (whether they voted, not how they voted) should be kept secret or made public like this.  Would more people vote if this information was readily available?  I'm guessing they would.

But then this led to the backers of Opportunity Alliance PAC - mainly Paul Singer.  Now, he's an interesting person and I'll focus on that in another post soon. 

The Boot

A year ago I wrote about exercises I was doing in hopes of healing my heel and being able to run again.

Since then, despite the exercises, my heel's still a problem.  Most of the time I can walk without any more than a slight pressure that reminds me not to run.  I've substituted biking for running, but it's just not the same.

Once in a while the heel gets inflamed and becomes a serious hassle.  So I finally went back to the podiatrist.

He wasn't encouraging.  I'd done all the physical therapy exercises and it hadn't improved things. They were supposed to strengthen the calf muscles to take pressure off the Achilles tendon.  There's also a bone spur that the exercises weren't going to help and might be irritating the tendon. Well, he says surgery will fix it, probably, but no guarantees.  Naturally, I'm not too excited about that option and reminded him that he'd said a boot was the next step.  He doesn't hold out much hope for the boot, but it could help.  Since it's not urgent and I don't really see a good time in the near future for recovery, and since I need to do more research, I opted to try the boot.  This one is a product of Iceland.  Lots of velcro and the blue ball is a pump to tighten it more with air.

I took it with me to LA in September and did short term tests.  I could walk on it ok, but after a few days my knee hurt.  When you change your gait radically, other parts have to compensate.

So I started my four weeks for real not quite two weeks ago.  I thought I had a month at home to do this.  Did expect this last short trip to see my mom.  It started with six days of a corticosteroid.  I can't find anything online that explains exactly what the med was supposed to do. What I recall the doctor saying was it makes the muscle more pliable.  The boot is supposed to keep my heel from moving and it is pretty snug.  The boot's on all day except for the shower and driving - since it's my right foot.  And I'm not biking during this period.

Two weeks into full time boot and so far so good.  The test period was a good warning to be aware of how I'm compensating and this time there's been no knee problem or other issues.  TSA wasn't happy with my boot. When they rubbed the chemical tester on the boot, it tested positive.  Coming home, I just took it off and put it on the conveyor belt and walked very gently through the scanner.  I must have looked pitiful because the TSA guy asked if I could lift my arms for the scanner.

When I take it off at night, my foot feels good.  And I look at all the people around me who walk around without thinking how amazing it is to be able to walk.  They just take it for granted, as I have all my life.  And that's how it should be.  But it is a blessing that you realize only when you lose it. I wrote a post on that two years ago. 

 And I'm still very appreciative that my problem is relatively minor.  It could be a lot worse.  But I still have lots of research to do before I consent to surgery if this doesn't work. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Real Alaska - New Book You Probably Won't See In Your Local Bookstore

Image from email from Thanachart
Unless you live in Thailand.  But maybe we can convince a few Anchorage stores to stock it.

Thanachart (Benz)    Siripatrachai first came to Alaska last December (2013) along with his award winning short documentary The Words I Love.  He's a Thai who was finishing film school
in New York City and he stayed with us a few of the days he was in Anchorage.  Here's my post including a video where he declares his love of Alaska.

Then in April 2014 he sent me a copy of his book New York First Time and a link to a video he'd made to promote the book.  It had, at the time over two million hits!  The book went to the top of the Thai best seller list.

Later he sent me another email saying he was coming back to Alaska because his publisher wanted him to do a book on Alaska, because, he said, there aren't many in Thai.  So he was back in Alaska this summer and we got to see him again for a couple of the days he was here. 

So, now the Alaska book is out.  If it's anything like the New York book, it will have lots of photos, chapter titles and headings in English, and the main text will be in Thai.  It will be humorous and the language will be a little spicy.

He said he'll send me a copy when he gets back to New York from Thailand where he's promoting the book at the National Book Fair in Bangkok.

Image from email from Thanachart
I'm going to try to convince him that some of the books should be on sale in Alaska.  I'm sure some people would buy it, even if they can't read it all.  And there's a sizable Thai-Lao community here who can read it.

This page shows the monk at the Thai Buddhist temple on D St just north of Fireweed.  They have lots of Thai readers and I'm sure this is one of the first books to cover their temple.  The money tree in the picture is covered with donations from many different countries.  (Benz didn't get to the temple last December, but I made sure he got there on his summer trip.)

Below is a picture Benz sent me of him signing his books at the Thai Book Fair.  He's sitting in the center in the dark blue shirt.

Image from email from Thanachart

His video for the New York 1st Time book made him something of a celebrity in Thailand, so I suspect this book on Alaska will get a lot more attention than such a book normally would.  I'm pretty sure the title is tongue-in-cheek, but we may see an uptick in Thai visitors to Alaska.

And none of this would have happened without the Anchorage International Film Festival (which will be Dec. 5-14 this year) which got Benz to Alaska for the first time. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

"They can afford 'em, but they can't drive 'em"

That was the announcement on the ferry loudspeaker system.  There had been a series of loud blasts of the deeeep horn and we'd come to a stop.  Then I looked up to see the cause of the noise and the crew's derision.

The sailboat was no longer in danger of being run over by the ferry.   Is public shaming over the ferry loudspeakers a suitable activity for a public entity like the Bainbridge Ferry?  I suspect not, but I suspect it made the announcer feel a little better.  Will it make the little boat's driver change?  I suspect forcing the ferry to stop was embarrassing enough. 

But we enjoyed the warm sunny crossing into Seattle last Sunday after a family visit on a long layover on the way to LA.  Here's a shot of us approaching the dock in Seattle.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Incumbency Is Not Forever: The Difference Between A 'Nobody' And A Congressman Young Is Just Votes

The way labels affect how people treat each other has always fascinated me.  When I was a doctoral student and teaching my first graduate classes, I tried an experiment that was very revealing, though not completely successful at first.

The Experiment 

I was young and I looked younger.  I came to the first class and sat down just like all the other students.  I had arranged for someone to come in and say the instructor asked that the students divide into groups of four and talk about what they expected from a graduate class.  I went off with one of the groups as though I were an MPA student like everyone else.  Which I had been until just a year earlier.

When we got back into the class, there was a discussion led by the students.  My voice was not given any more deference than anyone else's and a few people vigorously disagreed with what I said.  When I tried to transition from the exercise to getting the class to move on, students resisted.  Finally, I went to the front of the class and declared I was the instructor.  Some people laughed.  Others told me to sit down. Slowly, my identification and status in people's heads changed.  I apologized for the deception, but said I couldn't think of a better way to make an important point.   How we treat people is based on all sorts of labels and social instructions we get.  I pointed out I had been a masters degree student not long ago and that I wasn't much different from any of them and that's how they treated me at the beginning of class.  But now that they learned I was the class instructor, they treated me differently and thought about me differently.  In reality, I was the same person.  But in their heads I was a different person. 

Most of the students got the point and took it in the spirit I intended: it was a learning experience about how we know things and treat people.  But one student, who refused to even give her name when I asked everyone to introduce themselves, went to the dean to complain.  She was sure that I would retaliate against her for things she said when she thought I was a student.  Fortunately, the dean knew me and he convinced her my intent was good and to stick with it.  At the end of the semester she invited the whole class to a party at her house.

I tell you this story because we think of people in special positions - teachers, police officers, doctors, elected officials - as somehow specially anointed.   And in their roles, they do have some special authority in certain areas and we are expected to give them deference consistent with those roles.  And they are expected to fill those roles with an appropriate level of dignity and respect. But the special stuff applies only when they are acting in those roles.  The rest of the time, they are just human beings like the rest of us.

Alaska's Congressional Race Between Don Young and Forrest Dunbar

I say all this because Alaska has a Congress Member who has been in that role since 1974.  He's been the Congressman from Alaska for the lifetime of both my kids.  But, he's just a human being, though it appears that he no longer sees a difference between his official role and his private self.  And he doesn't particularly stick to the level of decorum expected of a Congress Member.  In fact, he's a pretty fallible human being as he most recently demonstrated at Wasilla High School.

Yet despite his bizarre behavior over the years, Alaskans have continued to reelect him.

Partly, because he is a pretty smart guy, who has been able to pull himself together when it counted.  When he debated Ethan Berkowitz in the US House race in 2008, for example, he had facts at his finger tips, he was charming and funny, and he handily took the debate, much to many people's surprise.  He wasn't the bumbling clown some expected.

But I also think that voters are dazzled by the pixie dust that transforms incumbents into a special, superior species.  But they are just normal humans, with more power.

This year Young's opponent, Forrest Dunbar, is an extraordinary, ordinary human being.  But a lot of people looking at him might think, well, ok, but he's nobody. How can he transform into "Congressman?"  That just means they haven't done their homework and found out who he is.  After all, there was a time when Don Young was just as 'nobody.'

In fact, all of the next ten presidents of the United States are now alive and many, if not most, are living their lives as relative 'nobodies.'  You could probably set up lunch dates with most of them.  They are just people.  But at some point they will morph from just people into "The President."

 The 'nobody' who is challenging Don Young this year is just like you and me - some guy from Alaska.  And if he were elected, he'd stay a genuine guy, I'm sure.  He's like me in class as a student, before I became, in their eyes, the instructor.

Here's what the Alaska Public Media said about Dunbar:

He spent his pre-school years in the Yukon River town of Eagle, cutting his teeth on caribou while his father worked as a Fish and Game biologist.  After the Exxon Valdez oil spill, the family moved to Cordova, where Dunbar says they had running water for the first time. . . 

Dunbar spent summers working on a commercial fishing boat and was an exchange student in Japan. A high school teacher, Tim Walters, remembers him as determined.
“Forrest was intense. And he was serious,” Walters says.
He says it was obvious, even then, that Dunbar was going places.

“In a teacher’s career, there’s usually a handful of students that really kind of stand out, that ‘Some day,’ you say to yourself, ‘they’re going to be on the cover of Time magazine.’ And Forrest was one of those kids,” Walters says.

Dunbar went on to an East Coast education:  Undergrad at American University in Washington. Harvard for a Master’s in public policy, Yale for law school. He fought wildfires out of Fairbanks for a summer and served in the Peace Corps in Kazakhstan. He was an intern for then-Sen. Frank Murkowski in Washington. He worked for Guam’s delegate to Congress. He worked in the Alaska Office of Public Advocacy. Last year, he joined the Alaska National Guard, as an officer and an attorney — a JAG.
He's a pretty special 'nobody.'

People vote for Young for all their own special reasons.  But if anyone is thinking, "yeah but the other guy's nobody" well I'm writing this to say
  1. Everyone is nobody until they suddenly become somebody - as I was just another student in my class until I became 'the instructor'
  2. Don Young was nobody until he got elected
  3. One day, a nobody will replace Don Young
  4. Forrest Dunbar is one perfect candidate for Alaska's sole US House seat - he was raised in rural and small town Alaska, he was educated in some of the best universities in the US, he's got experience in Washington DC, and he's got international experience.
  5. Dunbar is far, far better prepared to be a Congress member than Young was in 1973
Young has criticized Dunbar as immature.  I think he was referring to his being only being 29.  But I'd point out that Alexander the Great was 32 when he died and Jesus was 33.

Don Young's recent arrogance at Wasilla High School should convince people that he really needs to retire.  'But what's the alternative?" 

I'm here to assure folks that we have a very viable replacement who would change our lone Congress Member's office from an embarrassment to the state to one that will bring honor to Alaska.

It's all a matter of people getting their head around the idea of what makes a nobody a somebody.

Incumbency Is Not Forever

And that change can happen.  Here's an example from the LA Weekly Voter Guide:
A year ago, Lee Baca was considered a favorite to win re-election to a fifth term as sheriff. Historically, incumbent sheriffs have needed only to be able to fog up a mirror in order to win. And though Baca was beset by scandals in the county jails, it was an open question whether voters would care. How times change. After 18 sheriff’s officials were indicted last December, Baca was forced to resign.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Parnell Still Doesn't Get It - Response To Sandy Parnell's Commentary

9/5/14 Governor Finally Sack Katkus After National Guard Bureau Office of Complex Investigations (OCI) Report On Sexual And Other Abuse

10/4/14 "Governor Says He Responded To Every allegation but was misled by leaders."

10/9/14 What Did He Know And When Did He Know It? Still The Relevant Questions

I've already written too many posts on Sean Parnell's reaction to the National Guard scandal. 

But when I read Sandy Parnell's commentary in today's ADN, I couldn't help but do one more.

Here are some things she says that beg a response.

"I was with my husband, Sean, when he got the call in February with concrete information that called the Alaska guard command into question."
"concrete information"  -  Anyone with concrete information knows you have to act.  But sexual abuse victims and their advocates rarely walk in with concrete information.  It's the nature of the crime that it's done in secret and without witnesses and without much evidence.

The governor is supposed to be a savvy person who can judge people and situations and then can act appropriately.  The governor, in this case for sure, misjudged people and didn't know what to do.

It's like going to the doctor. A good doctor will diagnose the symptoms, do the necessary tests, and get you cured before you go to stage three.  But when the patient came in to see Sean Parnell, he said, "there's no concrete evidence."  He let the cancer in the Guard fester and grow causing far more pain and anguish than had he treated it right away.  He simply didn't know what tests to perform to get the evidence needed, so he said there was none.

Doctors go through hellishly intense schooling.  Politicians just need enough money and backing to get elected.  Fortunately for politicians, there's usually not much concrete evidence of their bad judgments either.  Nor can they be sued for malpractice.  Unfortunately for Parnell, the evidence of his incompetence has been spelled out pretty clearly.  And an upcoming election is the political version of a malpractice suit.

The point here is that when the Guard came to see Dr. Parnell, the Guard was sent home, and presumably didn't even get an aspirin.

"I am thankful that the bureau’s OCI responded so quickly and so professionally when my husband called for this independent, outside investigation."
Yes, too bad Sean Parnell didn't act that quickly and professionally back in 2010.
"The insinuation by some that Sean would not take action is wrong. That is not who my husband is, and that’s not what I have seen him do. He took action, immediately, every time. When he got the facts, he acted. With every specific allegation of assault, he followed up personally.
I believe that Sean and Sandy Parnell believe this.  Unfortunately, the action he took was inadequate and ineffective.  That's why people are upset.  The governor wasn't up to the task and people at the Guard suffered another four years, before real action was taken.  
My husband is committed to protecting the integrity of their mission, and ensuring they can carry out their work for all Alaskans in an atmosphere that is safe, with accountable leadership.
 Again, I believe Sandy believes this.  Again, that's nice, but we need a governor who is as competent as he is committed.  We don't have that.

I realize that it's hard for anyone to admit incompetence.  It's particularly hard for a politician several weeks before an election.  Good intentions aren't enough.  You also need the ability to take timely, decisive, and effective action.

The governor can't blame this on a divided legislature, because it's not divided.  It's full of his fellow Republicans.  And because this was something the governor could have and should have handled all on his own. 

One more comment on that first quote:
"I was with my husband, Sean, when he got the call in February with concrete information that called the Alaska guard command into question."
Allegations of sexual abuse require a high degree of confidentiality.  These aren't things you should share with people not directly responsible for acting, including the First Lady.  Governor Palin was criticized for including Todd in policy issues.   I say this, recognizing that the relationship between a husband and wife is special.  Spouses need counsel from each other.  But if that happens, the spouse's role is to never disclose what he or she knows.  Like in a commentary in the newspaper where she acts as a witness to what her husband learned and when.