Saturday, June 28, 2008

Amy and Nelson: Together At Last

My favorite, Amy Winehouse, made it out of the hospital and one of her regular health scares to perform last night in London. I'm glad to see she is doing better. I'm also thrilled that Nelson Mandela has reached the ripe old age of 90. As I wrote about back in 1999 and 2000, if it was up to Dick Cheney, Mandella would still be in jail. If you are not familiar with the history check it out. As I warned then, for Dick Cheney to go out on a limb and stand nearly alone in voting against a Congressional condemnation of Mandela imprisonment, showed me (correctly I might add), that Dick Cheney is an inherently mean spirited man, unworthy of public office. Ooops. Too late. Anyway good for Amy for making it to yesterday and good for Mandela for overcoming the closed minded hatemongers in his own country, and in ours.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The McCain Sermon

This is a very interesting piece talking about the religion of John McCain. The reporter had an extensive discussion with him about it back in 1996. Seems that McCain is far from the Christian fundamentalist that characterizes our current Commander-In-Chief. In fact, he seems down right indifferent to the view of Christianity that has dominated the political landscape recently. That's just my opinion. Read it for yourself and decide. Here is an excerpt from a sermon McCain said he gave while a POW in Vietnam.

One day I talked about the parable of when they asked Christ whether they should pay taxes and he held up a coin and said, “Render unto Caesar, etc.” My point was and still is that when we were flying in combat, we weren’t doing God’s work. We were doing Caesar’s work. So for us to go to prison and then ask God to get us out was not fair to God, to our religion, to our beliefs and to ourselves. It wasn’t a miracle that sent a SAM [surface-to-air missile] to hit my airplane. It was a guy, a technician at a SAM site.

Bearing arms (with restrictions)

I applaud this decision. The constitution clearly gives citizen the right to bear arms, but practicality calls for the ability to control this right. Today's decision adequately addresses both realities:
"Although we do not undertake an exhaustive historical analysis today of the full scope of the Second Amendment, nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms."

As far as the slim 1 vote margin, I think it would be a mistake to assume that an alternative position would have automatically meant an across the board ban on guns or unreasonable restrictions. The difference, as seen in the dissent, are less stark than one might initially assume and has more to do with allowing elected official determine the confines of restrictions of gun ownership by their citizens:

The Court would have us believe that over 200 years ago, the Framers made a choice to limit the tools available to elected officials wishing to regulate civilian uses of weapons, and to authorize this Court to use the common-law process of case-by-case judicial lawmaking to define the contours of acceptable gun control policy. Absent compelling evidence that is nowhere to be found in the Court’s opinion, I could not possibly conclude that the Framers made such a choice.

I would have probably been inclined to sympathize with the dissenting opinion, but unlike some who pick and choose which opinions to follow (re: Guantanamo detainees), I think everyone should accept the decision and move on. That shouldn't be a problem. I have long thought that the "gun" argument in contemporary politics was simply one of the many straw men built up by the right wing. They scared some people into thinking that liberals were coming in the middle of the night to take their guns. As someone who spends a lot of time with liberals (from the far left to center/left) I can assure you all that very, very few people want all or even most guns removed from the USA and none have any interest in coming to your home to get them. Not only is it impractical, but as the Court ruled today, it would be unconstitutional. I only hope that the self-proclaimed Patriots, who demand absolutely no control on weaponry will also accept this decision.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Tainted Red For Years To Come

In the news this week is the confirmation that the Justice Department ... OUR Justice Department (you know, the government agency responsible for making sure we are a nation of laws) was filled with political hacks who's main qualifications for the job of protecting justice in the USA were being loyal "conservative" solders. For years to come we will feel the repercussions of a system of Justice that, for eight years, worked only as a method to destroy the rule of law that differentiates us for rogue nations.
Scores of highly credentialed young lawyers and law students were denied interviews for coveted positions at the Justice Department because of an illegal screening process that took political and ideological views and affiliations into account rather than merit, Justice Department investigators concluded in a report released Tuesday.

Investigators said they were unable to conclude who gave the orders to start employing a political litmus test, though the report says some of the people interviewed pointed to former Gonzales aide Monica M. Goodling, who resigned last year after acknowledging in sworn testimony that she might have violated the law in evaluating applicants for career positions. Many of the records associated with the interviews were destroyed, the report says.

Now, here is another example of how this political cult operates. The Environmental Protection Agency (OUR environment) was rebuffed by the White House from publicising a Supreme Court mandated (you know the Supreme Court - the ones "conservatives" want to remodel in their own image) because the facts of their report did not mirror the pre-determined facts "conservatives" embrace. The unnecessary dangers that all earth inhabitants now face because of these people is immeasurable. Again, let me stress with urgency and clarity, when I call these "conservatives" anti-American fascists, it is not because I disagree with them and use words that I am unaware of the meaning. It is because they are exactly what I say they are.

The White House in December refused to accept the Environmental Protection Agency’s conclusion that greenhouse gases are pollutants that must be controlled, telling agency officials that an e-mail message containing the document would not be opened, senior E.P.A. officials said last week. The document, which ended up in e-mail limbo, without official status, was the E.P.A.’s answer to a 2007 Supreme Court ruling that required it to determine whether greenhouse gases represent a danger to health or the environment, the officials said.

White House pressure to ignore or edit the E.P.A.’s climate-change findings led to the resignation of one agency official earlier this month: Jason Burnett, the associate deputy administrator. Mr. Burnett, a political appointee with broad authority over climate-change regulations, said in an interview that he had resigned because “no more constructive work could be done” on the agency’s response to the Supreme Court. He added, “The next administration will have to face what this one did not.”

Amazing Building!

This six minute video describes a building currently being construct in Dubai that may revolutionize sky scrapers in the future. Worth a watch.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Friday, June 20, 2008

Happy Friday!

Finally, someone has put to music the REAL reason this nation is going to Hell in a bright pink hand basket!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Alert the Hangman!

"There is no longer any doubt that the current administration committed war crimes. The only question is whether those who ordered torture will be held to account."
U.S. Major Gen. Antonio Taguba

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Off the Charts!

Found a great website HERE. It puts hundreds of songs in graph form. Here are two you might enjoy!
song chart memes
more graph humor and song chart memes
song chart memes
more graph humor and song chart memes

Punching Hal in NYC - Tonight

Funny Stuff. Be there!

Trick Question: What planet is this?

They Hate Us For Our Freedom

One of the most serious dangers to our nation is the so-called "conservative movement". As have argued for years, these people are not really conservatives and, in my view, not really Americans. They are a subculture who have non-Democratic tendencies and advances a belief structure for the sole purpose of misleading and manipulating those who would follow them. They use techniques seen most often with religious cults, to create an alternate reality which (no other word for it) brainwashes their followers. They start with the young and they use familiar indoctrination techniques to advance their strain of anti-Americanism.

By disguising themselves as Americans with "conservative" political opinions, they have been given legitimacy by the media and the American public as a whole. However, in truth, they hate America for it's freedom. They know how they want to live their lives. They believe everyone should live that way. And, they are willing to generate an alternate universe to make their way of life seem consistent with the real world.

I have been following them for a very long time and be forewarned, they are (for now) non-violent domestic terrorists. Mark my words, they will stage a coup or initiate a civil war in the United States in the very near future. They are setting up their followers to live in an alternate universe and they will continue to manipulate the minds of their followers until the day comes when they will be ordered to follow the will of (their conservative movement version of) God and destroy the USA.

So what has got me all worked up now? Something very simple but highly instructive. Everyone is familiar with Wikipedia. It's an online encyclopedia that covers just about everything. Well the "movement" has decided to tell their legions that wikipedia is a liberal menace and have started their own alternative site "Conservapedia". Why would conservatives need their own encyclopedia? Their entry on Barack Obama says it all. Check it all out because you will see exactly how people who have been convinced to ignore the mainstream of human thought are being 'educated'.

"If elected, Obama would be the first Affirmative Action President," - Conservapedia.

While I have no problem with people criticizing politicians, when an entire movement deliberately separates themselves intellectually from the rest of the world, it is nothing short of a cult. This cult, like many others, believe in the end of times and that they hold the Supreme Truth. America gives people the right to be stupid and mentally lazy. But once again, I urge you to heed my warning - these people are determined to destroy the United States! [I also want to make sure everyone understands that I believe people can be religious and conservative and not be a part of this subversive movement. But I strongly believe that to underestimate the power, influence and sinister intentions of this cult would be foolish and dangerous.]

You're Out!

Two big New York baseball Stories:

Willie Randolph, the former Yankee player, has been fired as manager of the Mets. I like Willie so it is a bit sad. Everyone likes Willie. Willie is a likable guy and that was probably what doomed him. Randolph comes across as a mellow, easy going, introverted person. That's wonderful for many jobs, but not as baseball manager - especially in New York City. It was probably a good move to let him go because after their meltdown last year and slow start this year the Mets need a jolt to get back going. Willie Randolph is not a "jolt" kind of guy. Look for him to join Joe Torre in LA where they can sit, side by side, all droopy eyed and drowsy.

The other story really burns me. The Yankees starting pitcher Chien-Ming Wang was severely injured running the bases during an Inter league game and will miss up to 2 months. Now in the American League, where the Yankees play, a pitcher does not bat or run the bases - we use a pitch hitter. But the National League, where the Astros live and where the Yankees were playing, do have their pitchers hit. Because we were playing in their park, Major League Baseball says we have to play by their rules. What a waste. Admittedly, this is a convenient time for me to bring this up now and it's definitely closing the barn door after the horse has escaped, but MLB ought to consider using pinch hitters in Inter league games. It is really worth losing one of the leagues premiere players just for the novelty of seeing him hit? I don't think so.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Monday Roundup

Anyone who knows me knows that I hate to wait. If I see a line that looks too long or seems to be moving too slowly I will walk out of an establishment. Whether or not I have the time is not the issue, I just don't have the patience. So you can imagine my frustration at spending all day today trying in vain to buy All-Star Game tickets. I don't know if it is Ticketmaster, the Yankees or Major League baseball - but what a freakin' mess. Hours worth of effort and I couldn't even get a CHANCE to buy any tickets. And I'm supposedly a "preferred" customer. Arrrrrrrrgg. I just got an e mail from the Yankees apologizing for the problem which they claim was "beyond their control" Oh, they are sold out now too.

I got a Bluetooth for my phone and of course could not set it up. A few people at work tried to help me but it still didn't work. So I walked across the street to get the people who sold it to me yesterday to help. They would be happy to - for $15!!! One of the skills I have developed in New York is being the loud and angry customer. If you want something in this city you have to speak up to get it. After about 5 minutes of a loud temper tantrum one guy hooked it up for me (he said). It seems to be working now.

I still haven't gone back to Dunkin Donuts yet even though they built one (amazingly fast I might add) RIGHT next to my subway station. Bastards!

Got my tickets to go to Miami. I will look into getting Marlin tickets in the next couple of days. I will be in contact with those of you who said they were interested in going. Anyone else wanting to go let me know. I bet it will be easier to see the fish than the All Stars. Also, our seatmates for the regular season Yankee games are selling their "Final Game Ever" tickets for $350 each. Good price but I would want more. Much more. My e mail is located at the top left of this page.

My VP picks are already looking shaky. Democrat Mark Warner has said he is taking himself out of contention to run for Senate. He could change his mind, but with so many good possibilities on the Democratic side, it hardly seems worthwhile to try to convince him otherwise. My GOP pick, Bobby Jindal, has gotten an endorsement for the position by none other than Newt Gingrich. Not sure if that will help or be the kiss of death.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Russert Death as Breaking News

Like anyone else who follows politics closely, I was shocked and saddened to hear about the death of Tim Russert. Rather than try to repeat all the accolades you can find on television right now, I want to mention HOW I learned of this sad news. Since Russert was a newsman, he would probably appreciate just how fast the news got out and how much detail was made available to the public.

Russert died around 3pm. I had the day off and was listening to the radio - staying away from the TV and computer for the day. However, I am signed up for "Breaking News" from CNN and MSNBC with Twitter. Whenever news breaks, I get a text. Of course I love that. Anyway .. less than 20 minutes after Russert died I got a text informing me of the news. Less than 20 minutes!!!

I turned on the TV and starting watching the coverage, expecting the details to begin slowly trickle in. Not the case. Immediately we learned the details about when the heart attack struck, what he was doing, how CPR was tried, an ambulance came and when he was pronounced dead. A lot of details, very quickly. Most amazing, when I checked MSNBC at 7:30 ( I turned the TV off after seeing Keith Olberman boo-hooing - I'm not much into watching that) I was amazed to see Russert's doctor on the air talking, in great and graphic detail, about the autopsy he has already completed! Astounding. They were not leaving anything out. By 8:30 pm, I was already burned out by the coverage.

I mention this because it all seems so fast to me. For me to get a text even before (literally) the body got cold still amazes me. The fact that ALL the details of is death were made public immediately also was surprising. The fact that an autopsy was done with a couple hours of his death and the findings explained to the public before the news really sunk in was, frankly, a bit surreal. And the fact that within 4 or 5 hours of his passing away I was already over saturated by the news also demonstrates the times we live in.

I'm not criticizing the coverage at all. In fact, I am writing about this becomes I am impressed. For news junkie, to learn about what happened so quickly and in so much detail is really what we want. In his career Tim Russert was respected for his ability to get to the facts as directly and accurately as possible. The coverage of his death, as suffocating as it was, was in many ways an appropriate tribute to this true newsman.

Amazing Photo: Iowa Tornado

This is one of the most amazing pictures of a tornado I have ever seen.
A huge tornado funnel cloud touches down in Orchard, Iowa, Tuesday, June 10, 2008 at 9:04 p.m. The Globe Gazette and Mitchell County Press News reported that Lori Mehmen of Orchard, took the photo from outside her front door

Monday, June 9, 2008

PREDICTIONS: The Vice Presidential Picks

"Veepstakes".. it's the parlour game all political junkies are playing at this time - trying to guess who the Democratic and Republican nominees will be. For the most part, those high paid pundits on TV and radio are hedging their bets - giving only a short list - at best. Since, I doubt either candidate will make their final choice for many weeks, it takes a brave person to jump ahead of these guys and boldly predict exactly what they will do before they even know it themselves. I am that brave person.

I have been trying to get into the mind of Barack Obama and John McCain to determine how they would go about choosing a running mate. What factors would they think were important, how do they make decisions, what messages are they trying to send, what electoral advantage are they jockeying to get .. all these factors went into me predicting what they nominees will do. Here goes..

I predict that Barack Obama will make a very good choice by selecting Mark Warner of Virginia as his running mate.

There will be a lot of reasons for this choice. Mark Warner is young, a former governor and from Virginia, a swing state in this election. He’s a family man with a strong Christian background. He is very smart and was a capable and popular chief executive of his state. He is respected by the activists as well as the old standard bearers of the Democratic party. He also connected well with many Republicans and Independents in his state and did well with voters in the Appalachian Mountain region where Obama will need some help. These are all excellent qualifications for Warner to be Obama's VP choice. However, the most important reason he will get the nod, in my opinion, is Barack Obama insistence on a “no drama” operation. Warner is a cool cat, very serious, smart and talented. He is post-partisan and rejects the divisive politics that Obama has been running against. His personality and his politics blend perfectly with that of Barack Obama making him the best choice as his running mate.

John McCain is an entirely different story. His campaign seems at a loss as to how to take the shine off his young, fresh opponent. Therefore, I believe, he will miscalculate and make the poor decision of choosing Bobby Jindal of Louisiana as his GOP Vice Presidential running mate.

So far in this campaign McCain seems to be trying to mimic Obama's strengths in an attempt to weaken his opponents message and image. He has adapted a new slogan “A leader we can believe in” that is a take off on the one Obama has used for over a year “Change we can believe in”. McCain has had his website redesigned to look like Obama's and he portrays himself as much of a change agent as Obama. He seems to be trying to run a "copy cat" campaign.

Keeping with this misguided strategy, McCain will make the foolish choice of Governor Bobby Jindal for his running mate. To be painfully blunt, The biggest reason McCain will make this choice is that Jindal is young (36) and dark skinned - just like Obama! I believe McCain thinks this will peel off some support from Barack. It won't. Not only is McCain's strategy to confuse the differences between the two campaigns ridiculous and doomed to failure, I can think of no voting block that would be more inclined to vote for McCain because of the inclusion of Jindal. It is a plan without a purpose (also, it would be an insult to Jindal to propel him to the VP slot under this scenario). Yes, Jindal is a governor (has been for a few months now) and a strict conservative, but just like when Bob Dole tried to go "young and right" with Jack Kemp, McCain will miss with his attempt to generate excitement with this unorthodox pick.

McCain should actually pick Mike Huckabee. You all know I’m a big fan of his, but from a strictly strategic point of view, Huckabee would be a smart choice. He is the only person I know of that can compete rhetorically with the Obama campaign (which John McCain and Jindal clearly cannot). Huckabee beat McCain in the South even after McCain was all but the presumptive nominee, and he maintains strong support in that region. McCain may feel that the South is already locked up for the GOP but I do not. Huckabee could hold the base that McCain needs to have any chance of winning in November.

Now, Huckabee has said some nutty things over the past months and years, but I’m pretty sure McCain himself will corner the market this Fall on uncomfortable sound bites. As much as I like him, as a Democrat I also fear Mike Huckabee. He is very smart, shrewd and could, with a crafty plan and his sliver tongue, find a way to score an upset in November. A long serving governor, Mike Huckabee, in my opinion, could handle the job of President if he were to have to serve.

So there you have it. It will be Obama/Warner vs. McCain/Jindal. Of course, this far in advance anything can happen and I may have to revise these picks later. Warner is currently running for Senate and would have to be convinced to drop out of that race and Jindal could (and should) take himself out of the picture to focus on the needs of his new job. But unless and until something extraordinary happens I will make this "earliest in the blogosphere" prediction of the candidates choices for running mates.

And they're off!

click graph to enlarge

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Happy 50th Birthday Prince

I have been a Prince fan for a very long time.

Why They Lie

Because it works.

The World's Strangest Animals!

Here are ten of the strangest looking animals on the planet.Proboscis Monkey

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Hillary Didn't Lose. Barack Won.

click to enlarge (source)
Looking closely at the graph you notice that Hillary Clinton started strong and stayed steady throughout the campaign. Barack Obama however, started as a virtual unknown and kept getting stronger. One might have assumed, from watching the weekly primary contests, that the candidates' popularity would have been switching up and down through the months. But actually, Hillary's graph line pretty much starts and ends in the same place and has very few sharp variations whereas Obama's poll numbers go from one corner to the next with a nice jump after the Iowa caucuses. I wonder what that suggests for the election in November. Also, while I am not for selecting Clinton as VP, do these poll numbers argue for or against making her the running mate. Comments?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Talking About My Generation

I have always heard people say that they felt old for the first time when the President of the United States is younger than they are . Barack Obama (thankfully) is older than me - but only by a few months so I guess I have the best of both worlds. First, a Presidential candidate that represents my generation for the first time, but also I can say that I am "younger than the President". It's clear to me that one of the reasons I have supported Obama from the start is that he spoke like I thought. No politician has reflected my perspective so closely and articulated it so clearly probably because they have all been a generation or more older than I am. As we move to the general election it will be in many way a battle of generations: My dad's (who is a few months younger than John McCain) vs. my own generation. This has happened sooner than I expected but then again, George W. Bush has changed the landscape of America and the political world to make it necessary.

The boomers could not let the 1960's go and the Clinton's, Bush's, Rove's and Limbaugh's seemed unable or unwilling to stop fighting the culture wars from that era. They also (especially on the Right) developed a younger generation who, despite having no memory of an era prior to their birth, are filled with the same anger and resentment that had driven their mentors into politics. What that has left us is polarized and blind to the real problems that face the USA. We may be on the verge of this all coming to an end.

In an ironic twist, John McCain is a little too old to be a part of the 60's mess (although he will probably rail against it) and Obama, of course, is too young to have been tainted by all that. So while pundits and some campaign officials will try to reignite the flames of discontent that has defined our politics for the past generation, Barack Obama will move beyond that and John McCain will be unpersuasive about it. It's happened sooner than I thought it would be but it looks like my generation may now get the responsibility to repair the breech of that troubled era.

UPDATE: Found this related commentary in a UK newspaper.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Daytona Beach (Quick) Sand

Daytona Beach is my favorite beach of all times. All those childhood vacations and weekend trips from college have given me a variety of terrific memories. One of my favorite things about Daytona was that you could drive right on the beach! You could park, soak in the sun, get a chili dog, go swimming and then just load the car back up and drive away.

It's been a while since I have been there and I know that they have restricted cars on the beach in recent years. Probably a good idea. I saw this today and found it interesting.
Nearly 100 cars sank and became stuck in unusually soft sand on Daytona Beach, forcing beach patrol officers to close parts of the beach to all vehicles. "I have not seen it this bad in my lifetime," Beach patrol Capt. Tim Cunningham said. "Right now, the sand is like powder. It is just months and months of no rain."

Monday, June 2, 2008

Get Well "Frasier"

Actor Kelsey Grammer is recovering after suffering a mild heart attack Saturday, according to his publicist. "Grammer experienced symptoms Saturday morning after paddle boarding with his wife Camille at their Hawaiian home," Stan Rosenfield said in a statement. "Grammer was immediately taken to an area hospital where it was determined that he had a mild heart attack. He will be released from the hospital early this week," he said. Grammer, 53, is best known for playing radio psychiatrist Dr. Frasier Crane on "Cheers" and its spinoff, "Frasier." source

Bye Bye Bo .. and Thank You

I just heard that Bo Diddley has died. I certainly have fond memories of him not only for his music (video) but for the kindness he extended to me. When I was just starting in radio, I talked the station manager into letting me do a Saturday evening entertainment show. It was a hard sell, mostly because finding entertainment in Tallahassee can be a struggle anyway -trying to make a radio show out of it would be real tough. Well, I got the show and sure enough, on that first Saturday evening, Bo Diddley was in town to do a concert. I tried to get an interview with him for the live 6pm program and he agreed! So here I was a newbie on the radio, with a cell phone the size of a loaf of bread interviewing Bo Diddley for a full hour. He was a great guy, very nice and very cool. He talked to me as if I was a long time pro in the music biz rather than a young-ish new radio guy just trying to make a name for himself. Bo Diddley really helped me look good and undoubtedly advanced my radio career . His agreeing to give me, an unknown person on a tiny AM station in a small town, a live 60 minute interview will always be appreciated.

Screengrab from donut sleeper cell training video surfaces

from BOING BOING (with history of scarf)

Sunday, June 1, 2008


The number of dollars Dunkin Donuts did NOT get from me this week because of them caving to lunatics.
3 cups of coffee - $5
2 muffins - $3
bag of coffee - $8