Thursday, July 31, 2008

Wired in The City

The Internet at the apartment has been down for a couple days. It's back now but I'm not sure for how long. I will get back to regular posting as long as the connection holds. The cable people coming tomorrow to fix it so at least by Friday I will be re-wired

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Rachael Hoffman Update

ABC's news show 20/20 did a story about Rachael Hoffman last week. You can watch it here. I have a feeling that this case will become a huge factor in exposing the farce called the "War on Drugs" as well as the long standing incompetence and abuse of power by the Tallahassee Police Department.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Back to the very heart of it

in old New York.

If I Can Make It There

I fly back to New York today. It's been the best vacation ever. While I'm cruising at 40,000 feet I will be looking out the window. Why? Check out this video.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Got Messiah?

One of the new myths being built by the Republican establishment is that Barack Obama’s followers looking at him as if he was the Messiah. They call it Obamessiah, and Rush Limbaugh and his dittoheads have taken to repeat it like mindless parrots in a cage. Typically, this is not only untrue – but also best describes their own tendencies over the years.

First of all, the Obama supporters I know, have heard or read, look to him to help rescue America from the politics of division and dishonesty. There is no significant or organized attempt to portray him as someone who will save the world or our soul. There is no attempt by the campaign or the Democratic Party to claim that he is a direct messenger from God and no one is elevating him anywhere near the heights that we have seen for Ronald Reagan and, up until recently, George W. Bush. Indeed, when you take a look at the Right, you see that presenting their politicians as “God’s Choice” is pretty darn close to S.O.P for the G.O.P.

Next, let’s look at Ronald Reagan. An untrained observer could easily be lead to believe that Reagan all but walked on water. They claim that he single handedly brought down communism, saved the economy and restored morality to the USA. Not only do Republicans speak of him as if he was a supernatural being, but when they took over Congress they couldn’t name enough things after him!! Everyone now sees all the roads, buildings and other things that now have Reagan’s name plastered on it. If that is not hero worshiping, myth building and yes – Messiah creating – I don’t know what is.

Finally, we all recall the Presidential campaigns for George W. Bush. Not only did he personally appear to believe that God wanted him to be President but, up to a couple years ago, most right wing churches and talking heads also pushed that narrative. Listen to any call in programs and you would have heard George W. Bush either compared to Jesus or described as His modern day successor. In fact, if it wasn’t for the idea that Bush was God’s chosen candidate – he never would have become President at all. Bush Messiah indeed!

For any Republican to criticize Obama as trying to be a Messiah with this sad history is the height of hypocrisy. Yet we must respond no matter how ridiculous the charges.

McCain Flip Flops

Friday, July 25, 2008

One Human Family - Yes We Are!

How nice to see an American Presidential candidate connect with other citizens of the world. While the USA has been dragged down by the "citizens of the far right", who apparently reside on some isolated planet called Limbaugh, Obama hit the perfect tone in his speech yesterday - praising the USA despite our imperfections while acknowledging (gasp!) that all of us in the world are interconnected. video

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Oh My God

HUBRIS! I say. What gall - what arrogance to put an ad like this out. Just who does John McCain think he is? By the look of this poster - God! Look at this thing: John McCain, floating in the clouds, overlooking the world, using his infinite wisdom to bring peace to the planet. Kumbaya and Hallelujah! How offensive - how presumptuous.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The (Pro-McCain) Media Bias

Here we go again. Since at least the time of Ronald Reagan, the Republicans have perpetuated a myth that "the media" is liberally biased against them. Of course, this is complete nonsense designed only to "work the refs" against progressive candidates. John McCain, finding his campaign for President sputtering, has returned to this same refrain. Why? Because it works!

We all know how George W. Bush has gotten a near free pass on his lies and unconstitutional activities over the past 8 years. We all also remember the non-stop persecution of Bill Clinton during the 1990's. The mainstream media clearly has spent at least the last generation bending over backwards to "prove" they are not liberal. That was the plan by Republicans and it works up to this day.

You know, if I was a Republican and I really thought the media has been liberally biased, then I would be thrilled to death that they are doing it again this year. Why? Because if the media has been left wing - the GOP seems to have benefited. They won the Presidential races in 1980, 1984, 1988, 2000, 2004 and congressional races in 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002 and 2004. All this success with a so-called liberal media scheming against them! Therefore, it seems that having the media against you is a recipe for success! So what are they whining about? (Or is that why they are, in fact, keeping the myth alive?)

Secondly, having John McCain complain about a biased media is like George W. Bush complaining about someone is becoming successful because of their family name. A quick look at the long list of mistakes, misstatement and out right falsehoods by McCain that have gone under reported would make your head spin. Imagine if Barack Obama had mentioned Czechoslovakia numerous time or said that Iraq borders Pakistan. The media, again to prove their fairness, would eviscerate him. Meanwhile McCain get pass after pass after pass.

Here is the latest example. Yesterday John McCain was interviewed by Katie Couric for the liberal CBS News. In that interview he got his facts so wrong about the timeline between the Anbar awakening and the troop surge in Iraq, it should have been Breaking News on every network.

But what did the left wing CBS News do? (This is really shocking) They edited out the false statements and edited in a slam against Obama. Watch the video because it is really stunning to see just how misinformed (I'll be nice and not say "dishonest) McCain is and just how biased toward the GOP candidate the media really is.
UPDATE: Here is CBS News' (non)response.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Free Hugs!

I was talking about this video with the family last night. Seems not everyone is familiar with it. It's pretty cool so check it out!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Reality Bites!

Been really taking it easy since getting to Florida but I do have to comment on the bounty of positive news in the past few days. I say positive because it all reinforces the positions of Barack Obama and those of us who have spent years calling for a reality check. Looks to me that the check is not only in the mail, but also going to nearly every household in the world - yep, even that house at 1600 Pennsylvania avenue.

1. Dialogue with Iran. The Bush Administration, after 7 1/2 years of ineffectively using the stick, has move to trying carrots with Iran. While they deny it, the discussion they are having are contradictory to what the Bush/McCain doctrine has been for years and lines up pretty closely with the Obama position.

2. Troop withdrawal from Iraq. While the Bush Administration hopes that calling the timeline a "time horizon" will fool people, it is apparent that they are looking to remove troops from Iraq and increase the presence in Afghanistan. Hmmm ... where have I heard that before.

3. Iraqi PM agrees with Obama position. His words: "U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama talks about 16 months. That, we think, would be the right time frame for a withdrawal, with the possibility of slight changes," - Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Imagine how the Reds would be jumping on this if Maliki had said "we need troops here indefinitely - please do make any plans to go". He didn't say that.

After 8 (I would say 28) years of falling under the spell of myth making and reality busting politicians - it appears that the American people are breaking free from this hypnotic illusion. The rest of the world, no longer fearing Bush's bombs and sensing the change in the USA (Obama's near nomination having a large part to do with it), are also becoming more free to speak truth to power and more willing to interact with a nation who's people seems to be regaining their sanity.

It is very late in coming - we'll see if it is too late - but I suppose it's better than if it had never come at all.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Safe at Home

After a long and (thankfully) uneventful journey, I made it to South Florida safe and sound. Let the vacationing begin!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Too Far To Walk

Vacation time and I'm heading to the airport to fly down to Miami (follow me: AA 1559). It will be a great week and a half hanging out with the family. I sure am looking forward to it.

HELPFUL: "Cheat Sheets" for major Computer Programs

Thought you all might find some of this useful.
Ever wanted to master the keyboard shortcuts and get more productive on the web? Here is everything you need - 7 quick cheat sheets for some of the most widely used tools on the web. Download, print and stick them somewhere near your desk.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Campaignin' Time

Send a JibJab Sendables® eCard Today!

What a game!

All Star games can often be very boring affairs. That certainly was not the case last night. I watched all the festivities and every one of the 15 innings from the comfort of my bedroom just a mile or so from the Stadium. It was great to see the old baseball greats and it was touching to see George Steinbrenner come out at the end. The game was really exciting. Even though it was about 5 hours long - the game itself moved t a brisk pace - it just lasted 15 innings. When the AL finally won I cheered and went to sleep. I can only hope now that the Yankees get to the World Series to get to take advantage of the home field advantage. Last night also made me even more excited about the very last regular season game at the Stadium in September. It will certainly be a bitter sweet night saying goodbye to The House That Ruth Built.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Friday, July 11, 2008

Happy Friday!

Stop-motion filmmaker known as "Pes" turns candy corn into flames and bubble wrap into boiling water in his latest short, "Western Spaghetti." Pes takes everyday objects like Post-it Notes, a Rubik's Cube and dollar bills and morphs them into key ingredients for a very unconventional meal in the clip.(source)

Happy Birthday Zach ! ! ! !

Happy Birthday Zach!

I can't wait to see you next week. I hope you have a great birthday.

Love you,

Uncle Mark

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Passing (on) the plate

Barack and Hillary have been in the city for a joint fundraiser. Obama eventually got around to asking his supporters to think about giving a little to Clinton. I am not sure I'll take him up on that offer. I'm open to change my mind but right now I can't see giving my money to pay for a campaign that I think was unnecessarily ugly and personal. A lot of that debt came in even after it was obvious she couldn't win - I'm not paying for that!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Iraq to USA: Get Out!

They don't want us in their country anymore.
Prime Minister Nouri Maliki proposed Monday that negotiators include a timetable for the departure of U.S. troops in any agreement to continue the American presence in Iraq beyond the end of the year. ... The Iraqi leader also recognizes that American opinion has turned against the war and believes his country should not wait for a decision to be made in Washington to pull out troops, according to lawmakers from his Islamic Dawa Party. source

So that makes the list of people who want the US out of Iraq: The Iraqi people, the Iraqi government, Liberals, Moderates, "real" Conservatives and the world community. The list of those who want us to stay: George W. Bush, John McCain and the conservative media. Easy solution here. Those who want us to stay - go to Iraq. Those who want us to come home - return home. The Iraqi people and government can figure what they want with the Fox Newsers and National Review tough guys once they get there.

Yes We Can? No You Can't ! (Wear an Obama T-Shirt on Today)

Saturday on the Today show, Hot Dog eating Champion Joey Chestnut was shown during a tease wearing an "Obama/Chestnut 2008 shirt." When the interview took place nine minutes later, he had put on a blue Today show shirt over the Obama T. (source - mediabistro)

61 Year Old Asks: "Why is this offensive"?

Monday, July 7, 2008

Great Commercial!

Potential Running Mates

Some possible vice-presidential picks for the Democratic and Republican tickets

Mile High Obama

NBC News has a new embed feature for their videos. Here is my favorite political pundit, Chuck Todd, from Today's Today show.

FOX News

The Unseemly Adoration of Jesse Helms

I found a summary of the Right Wings gushing response to the death of Jesse Helms. As I'm sure everyone knows, Helms fought racial integration up until his dying breath, was an foreign policy extremist and prevented social progress every step of his career. Frankly, he was a hateful, selfish man who came to make the conservative movement reflect his distasteful personality and misguided priorities. The meanness and backwards thinking he brought to the political table probably retarded America's progress by 50 years. He was an extremist - outside the mainstream of humanity. He represented many people, that's what democracy is all about, but I think it would be easy to look back and admit that it would have been better to change those peoples mind rather than pander to them. Not so. Helms and the Conservative movement is not about doing what's right - it is about power. Get it any way you can and hurting anyone you have to. Jesse Helms certainly had the power and her certainly gained it at the expense of the weakest among us.

Conservatives, that's what they call themselves, are not good at much, but they do know how to make heroes out of their own. Myth building is one of the few real talents of these dillusionists. So read this summary of comments (two posted below) and see how the political right maintains a deep loyalty to the man and his ideas irregardless of the damage it did to the country they ridiculously claim to love. (more)

"Conservatives are taking a line that I might have regarded as an unfair smear just a week ago, and saying that Helms is a brilliant exemplar of the American conservative movement.

And if that's what the Heritage Foundation and National Review and the other key pillars of American conservatism want me to believe, then I'm happy to believe it. But it reflects just absolutely horribly on them and their movement that this is how they want to be seen -- as best exemplified by bigotry, lunatic notions about foreign policy, and tobacco subsidies."


"Some of my conservative friends often complain about the difficulty of constructing a "usable history" out of the movement's recent past, and I sympathize with their plight. When leading exemplars of your political tradition were trying to preserve segregation less than four decades ago, it's a bit hard to argue that your party, which is now electorally based in the American South, is really rooted in a cautious empiricism and an acute concern for the deadweight losses associated with taxation. That project would really benefit, however, if more of them would step forward and say that Helms marred the history of their movement and left decent people ashamed to call themselves conservative. The attempt to subsume his primary political legacy beneath a lot of pabulum about "limited government and individual liberty" (which did not apparently include the liberty of blacks to work amongst whites or mingle with other races) is embarrassing. But if it goes unchallenged, what are those of us outside the conservative movement to think?"

A Great Night at the Stadium

For more years than I care to count, I have watched the New York Yankees on television - cheering them on as they played in "The House That Ruth Built". Last night I saw those Yanks beat the dreaded Red Sox in extra innings. It was a great night at the Stadium.

I have been to dozens of Yankee games now over the past three seasons and I always find myself stopping to pause and think how lucky I am to be able to do that. Sunday night though, the halfway point of the final season at the Stadium, an overwhelming feeling of nostalgia really took me over. As I crossed the Macomb Dams Bridge watching The Stadium grow closer with every step, I realized that this may be the last night game and the last game against the Red Sox that I would see at the original Yankee Stadium.

I hang out with a group of people at my regular seats: Sarah, Jason, Chris, Josh, Rich and others who are always there for the Sunday games. Last night, I walked over to The Stadium on my own as everyone else was running late. I go almost exclusively to afternoon games, so it was an unusual treat to stride toward Yankee Stadium in the twilight. I got there a half hour early which is about 60 minutes before I usually get there, thanks to those I know who are part of the 90% of people who just can't get anywhere on time. (Really, when did being punctual become extraordinary?).

As I took my seat before the game, I slowly scanned the stadium as if it was the first time - or maybe the last time - taking in every chair, every sign, all the field and even every light on the monstrous bank of floodlights that I have seen on television all my life. With no one around me engaging in pre-game banter, in the early evening darkness - it was nice to sit alone and drink in the atmosphere and think about how many Red Sox/Yankee Sunday night games I had watched on TV over the years, never dreaming I would get to see one in person.

It was a classic game, the lead going back and forth and electricity in the sold out stands at a fever pitch. As with any TV game, they do drag on because of all the commercial breaks, but I didn't mind at all. By the time the game moved into the 10th inning, all my friends who had arrived in the 2nd, had left to go home, understandable with them having to work on Monday. So I sat nearly alone during the 8th, 9th & 10th, taking in, once again, all the wonder of the evening and the joy of an extra inning victory for the Yankees.

In a way, I was a little bit disappointed that we won so quickly. If there was any time, I was ready, willing, able and WANTING to sit around for countless hours, it was last night. With tomorrow off and the feeling of nostalgia that had solidly set in me, I was willing to be the last guy in the stands watching the 22nd inning at 4 in the morning.

As I strolled back home around midnight, I could not wipe the grin from my face that had been there all evening. It was a good win for the Yankees and that made me happy. But, more that that, it was an early appreciation and a first good bye to a historic house that makes me feel like a little kid at Christmas every time I walk inside.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Latency (If I can't do it - nobody should be able to)

I have long believed and written about the concept of "latency" as it relates to peoples political and personal beliefs. While I would not over simplify or overgeneralize, I do believe that often times people who are (over?) enthusiastic advocates for or against something in particular do so based on their own desires. The most common example of this is homosexuality. While I certainly believe that a majority of people who are against gay marriage or anti-homosexual do not fall in this category, I do think that the most vocal and strident anti-homosexual folks are simply fighting off their own demons. There are academic studies and anecdotal evidence to back this up.

I believe that, very subtly and often only semi-consciously, those who are the strongest "family values" types are secretly jealous (yes, that's the right word) that others are getting away with something they secretly want to do. They don't do it themselves for a variety of reasons. They may be frightened or they may genuinely think it is immoral. The reason is unimportant, it is the reaction that I am focusing on. Since they can't or won't be gay (when deep down they want to), they insist that others must not be allowed to be either.

In my case I seem to always fight against greed and corruption. I have admitted before that just below my surface is a jealousy that I wish I were rich or wish that I could get into being greedy. Believe me, this is a struggle with me. I have a lot of persuasive skills, I am a great sales person, I come across as believable and honest - I could so take advantage of people and get their money in my hands. But for ever reason - morals or just the inability to do this (to my great frustration at times) I just do my own thing - honest and above the board. I make my money and sleep well at night. But I see how I could be so much more sucessful in this American life if I were greedy. That's the way modern Capitalism is set up. Let the buyer beware, letter seller take advantage. I see clearly how to take advantage of people. Because I can't get myself to do that (like I say, I often wish I could) I really get burned up when others do so. I think (semi - to fully consciously) that my anti-greed perspective comes from the attitude of - Since, I am unable (again, for whatever reason) to make all this money by taking advantage of people, no one should be allowed to either.

Which brings me to the current Administration in Washington and the contemporary Republican party. I am old enough to remember the Cold War and I clearly recall how the right wingers were the loudest in denouncing evil "Communism" and the powerful state government of the old Soviet bloc. While I didn't see it then, I have noticed something over the past decade that surprised me. I believe that the reason the "conservatives" so vehemently lambasted the Communists in the past is because they were jealous of the power they had. Yep, these folks were latent authoritarians the whole time and ohhh boy, has it ever risen to the surface.

I think it would be difficult to deny that the Bush Administration has seized more power and offered less accountability than any Administration in recent history. No one alive during the Cold War would mistake the eerie similarities between their rhetoric of the Soviets in the 1970's and 80's and that from the Bush Administration today. The strong State-ism, the reliance of cronyism over competence, the mandatory display of symbols to prove patriotism, the dismantling of our civil liberties, the imminent knock on the door (or phone tap) at night, and of course the torture. All these were specific issue railed AGAINST the communists back in the day! Yet today they are embraced with great pride by the Righties. (And don't make me get into what happens to those of us who protest this. Much like the USSR, our patriotism is challenged and we don't get to enjoy any of the spoils of the government provides.)

So there you have it - a self analysis. I am a closet greedy, power hungry Republican. (Honestly, would I like to be overpaid simply because of my connections, have control of the levers of power in this country to advance my narrow beliefs and reward my friends and punish my enemies with wild abandon - HELL YES!) But I don't. So no one else can either.

So there!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Hoffman Update

The attorney for Rachel Hoffman's family said Monday that Tallahassee police "proximately" caused her death through errors that started with their "foolish" plan to have her buy drugs and a gun and ended with their failure to locate her, although she was just minutes away.

"Rachel had no experience with guns," Block said. "She was a 23-year-old college student who smokes marijuana. She wasn't a gun dealer." Hoffman's autopsy has revealed that she died of "multiple gunshot wounds," but police have not said what type of gun was used to kill her. Her body was found in Taylor County on May 8. story