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Disturbing news about the coming presidential election came from a recent Associated Press poll showing, what I thought to be alarming, that a percentage of Democrats and Independents would not vote for Sen. Barack Obama because of ill-feelings toward blacks. The poll suggested it could cost Obama up to 6 percentage points in the election.

Along with many -- including at least one letter-writer in recent weeks -- I would like to believe that we have gotten beyond the issue of race in electing a president.

We have better than one month to the election, but some of the most ardent Democrats I know have yet to display an Obama sign, while McCain signs seem to be springing up everywhere.

Before someone accuses me of stoking racism in this regard, I would remind readers that the factor of race in this election has been raised in publications and media outlets all around the world, from Time magazine to National Public Radio. Obama himself has discussed race and explored his own heritage as biracial -- his father was black and his mother white -- in his own book, "Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance."

Interestingly, Colin Powell's book also touches on issue of mixed race. He mentions that he met a young black woman in Philadelphia and, when presenting himself to her folks in Alabama, discovered that her family didn't exactly welcome his lighter shade of black. Powell isn't biracial, but from two black parents from Jamaica.

I'll not vote for Barack Obama, but my reasons are not based on skin color, but his lack of training and experience. The President of the United States is also the Commander in Chief of all the Armed Forces of the United States. Obama wasn't even a Cub Scout.

I appreciate his travels and life experiences, but I wish he knew more about American history. One gaffe was when he tossed off a line that when the financial depression of 1929 happened, Franklin D. Roosevelt stepped in with his New Deal.

The fact is that in 1929 Herbert Hoover, a professional engineer elected in 1928, was President of the United States. FDR was elected in 1932.

Wall Street's fall was Oct. 24, 1929, and two years later the effects hit hard. These were the years that saw World War I veterans marching on Washington and actually setting up camps to protest a promised veterans bonus that was not awarded.

But Obama's gaffe was rivaled by his running mate, Sen. Joe Biden, who said that when the stock market crashed, Franklin D. Roosevelt got on the television and rallied America. Besides the same lapse of time frames as Obama, Biden's comment also has this problem: Television? In 1929?

True, TV had just been invented back then, but the number of people watching it could fit in a 1929 Ford Model A Coupe!

Thinking back on 1929 reminds me that big Montgomery Ward building at the corner of Monroe Street and Washington Boulevard in Baltimore was constructed in 1929. That's what brought my family to the Baltimore area. (Some of my detractors refer to that event as the Great Depression!)

***

A mild depression is coming to Carroll County. The commissioners have announced a hiring freeze and will restrict the use of county-owned vehicles.

Some of us would say it's about time!

Next time you have a chance, ask the commissioners why some county-owned cars don't have government tags? And how an official's car could tally more than 30,000 miles in four years if it's only used for in-county, official business?

While you're at it, ask them if they agree with my prediction that more than one commissioner won't be running for re-election in 2010.

Any bets?


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