Saturday, January 05, 2008

Pat Robertson Says God Told Him Who Will WIn In 2008. Sounds Like Bad News For The GOP!

Pat Robertson, the televangelist, has a direct conduit to God, at least according to him. This week he said in an interview on Hanity & Colmes that God told him who would win the 2008 Election for President. When pressed for the answer he began tap dancing around the issue. However, from what his answers implied, it won't be a Republican. I for one hope he heard right!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Pope Evicts Vatican Observatory

For the past 75 years the Castle Gandolfo, the Popes summer residence has been home to the Vatican observatory. Now, the telescopes and scientists are being evicted. Seems the Pope needs more room to receive diplomats.

Personally I think this marks a milestone in the relationship between science and the church. Formerly, there was a quest for knowledge, even in the orthodoxy of the Catholic Church. Now the new Pope brings his fundamentalist overtones to the Vatican. With that comes the end of intellectual curiosity.

The observatory will still exist, but it is being exiled to a convent far away from the Pope. More than a symbolic move, this just adds fire to the argument that Benedict XVI wants no part of real science. His speech affirming the bogus science of “Intelligent Design” was a big step away from real science.

Pundits See McCains Stunning Loss As Victory?

If you ever wanted a sign the John McCain was a “movement conservative” in disguise, just take a look at what the right wing pundits are saying about his stunning 4th place loss in Iowa.

Fox News’ Greta van Susteren: “I can’t think of anyone happier tonight than Sen. John McCain.”

Politico’s Mike Allen: “Tonight is a fantastic night for John McCain. … He’s one of the biggest winners of the night.”

Newsweek’s Jon Meacham: “To me, the great story about Sen. McCain is, when in doubt, give principle a try.”

Fox News’ Carl Cameron: “Inside Washington, he’s been a real maverick outsider.”

Say what? Huckabee hits a home run with the fundamentalists in Iowa and the story is McCain? Boy this smacks of “talking points”. Why do I get the feeling these guys are getting faxes with the GOP official spin ? I have long believed that the Neocons want McCain in the White House and I really think he made a deal with them. Remember when he was a maverick? Now he totes the party line. What happened? Backroom deal is my guess.

The big news from Iowa was Obama. Record turn out and a sound thrashing of both Edwards and Clinton. Now that’s a story!

Iowa Democrats Swarm To Caucuses - Record Turnout!

The real story in Iowa was the turnout on the Democratic side. Last election 124,000 people showed up for the caucuses but last night a whopping 220,588 appeared. That shows something beyond the appeal of the candidates to me, it shows an energy in the Democratic party and from the statistics it’s a young energy.

I watched the returns and coverage on CNN and the faces of the caucus goers was younger than I have seen in the past. That new energy is what propelled Obama into first place. He is overwhelmingly favored by younger voters and the fact that they turned out gives me hope.

On the Republican side, it was business as usual. Huckabee, playing to the evangelical base won handily over Romney. That will change in New Hampshire where there are fewer fundamentalists, so I feel Huckabee’s victory will be short lived.

That is just as well. The lop sided voter turnout for Democrats in Iowa looks like the country is tired of the GOP machine and is beginning to stand up and make a difference. My hope is that the trend on the Democratic side continues. I also hope that the vision set out by Obama can fire up voters across the nation when the election comes. America has to change direction!

Obama Wins Iowa - Video of Speech

For those of you who missed it. Obama's speech last night was historic. Give it a listen!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Yet Another Heterosexual Pedophile! When Will It Stop?

We have got to stop letting these heterosexuals teach our kids. They are pedophiles and sexual predators!

Yet another heterosexual pedophile, this one a wrestling coach, has been convicted of molesting two teenage girls from Frisco, Texas on a bus trip. He apparently sat between them and put a sleeping bag over their laps to hide the sexual assaults which took place in Kansas and Missouri.

Those of you who detect a note of irony in my post are correct. It seems that people like "Focus on the Family" try to blame all child molestation on gays when in fact the majority of sexual predators are heterosexual. It’s all about trying to set the record straight, (no pun intended) and re-framing the issue!

Wrongly Convicted Man Free After Serving 27 Years

Dallas, my home town, has the unique distinction of being in a county with the most number of wrongfully convicted inmates. In the zeal of our county prosecutors, dozens of men and women have been convicted of crimes they did not commit and were later exonerated through DNA evidence. That is a sad legacy which I suspect is tainted with residual racism from the early part of the 1950’s and 60’s.

The latest wrongfully convicted prisoner is Charles Chatman who spent 27 years in prison for a crime he has always said he didn’t commit. The Innocence Project of Texas and District Judge John Creuzot shepherded the appeal process and Chatman has finally been released. Before the crime is officially cleared from Chatman's record, the appeals court must accept the recommendation or the governor must grant a pardon. Either step is considered a formality after Creuzot's ruling.

He was the 15th inmate from Dallas County since 2001 to be freed by DNA testing and served more time than any of the other inmates. District Attorney Craig Watkins attributes the exonerations to a past culture of overly aggressive prosecutors seeking convictions at any cost. Watkins has started a program in which law students, supervised by the Innocence Project of Texas, are reviewing about 450 cases in which convicts have requested DNA testing to prove their innocence.

We need more public officials like Watkins and Creuzot who are concerned more about doing what is right than what is politically expedient. Thanks guys!

DOJ Probe Of CIA Tapes To Be Headed By John Durham

So it seems everyone is singing the praises of John Durham, the federal prosecutor chosen by new Attorney General Michael Mukasey to head up the CIA torture tape investigation. He is sited as being tough on crime and his record of pursuing criminals bears this out. He successfully prosecuted FBI agents in Boston and many of New England's Mafia bosses.

His appointment marks a hopeful turn in the CIA torture tape case. My only problem is the possibility of partisanship interfering with any meaningful investigation. Though colleagues say the registered Republican is non-partisan, he was recommended for this post by former boss, Kevin J. O'Connor. O’Connor was the U.S. attorney in Connecticut until he became an assistant to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales shortly before Gonzales resigned last year. It is that connection with Alberto Gonzales that taints his appointment in my eyes.

Everyone knows Gonzales like all Bush appointees valued loyalty over everything else. Should Durham turn out to be a Bush loyalist, he will color his investigation to prevent any damage to the administration. Additionally, Durham has no experience with national security issues and cases involving executive authority. It remains to be seen how doggedly he will pursue leads that might point to the White House.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Writer's Strike Heads Toward Ratings Sweeps!

The Writer’s strike is about to move into really deep territory. As the new year begins the networks are looking at a February sweeps (rating period) with no new programs other than more crappy reality stuff. I suspect they will have to give back to advertisers several billion in revenues de to unfulfilled ratings estimates.

It would seem to me the time to negotiate is now. After all, everyone knows distribution of content is moving toward the web and internet, also known as "new media". Well that is what the strike is over. The writers are not idiots, hey know as well as everyone else that new media will be the preferred distribution of the future, and naturally they want some of the action. It’s only fair! You pay royalties and points to writers for broadcast distribution, why not over the web?

As the inventory of new programs runs out just before the sweeps, I expect the networks and the producers will be more than willing to go back to the table and bargain. In the meantime, the AMPTP folks (producers & networks) are mounting expensive PR campaigns to persuade the public that they are innocent babes. Hah!

Nobody buys that guff, so why not just save the cash and start talking contracts? For me and everyone I know, we stand in solidarity with the WGA!

Jeb Bush Implicated In Latest Florida Financial Mess

No offense to my friends who live in Florida, but your state is really f*#ked up. The latest proof comes in the gathering storm surrounding the money market debacle that involves Lehman Brothers and, (drum roll) Jeb Bush!

Seems George’s brother who as Governor was on the board overseeing Florida's State Board of Administration (SBA) and its $28 billion fund. (Much like a money market fund.) The problem has come from local municipalities staging what amounts to a "run on the bank". So far they have withdrawn $9 billion over fears that the fund has too much bad debt. A majority of this paper was sold to SBA by Lehman Brothers and now that he has left the Governor’s mansion, guess who settled into a consulting job with Lehman in August? Jeb Bush!

Now the fund is frozen and smaller municipalities face a crisis over the locked up funds. According to Forbes Magazine, Edward Siedle, a former Securities and Exchange Commission attorney who investigates money management wrongdoing and has worked on behalf of several Florida public pension funds, thinks this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Questions of when the debt was sold to the state and Bush’s involvement could get ugly. Stay tuned!

Saudi Blogger Held Prisoner WIthout Charges

Our alleged friends, the Saudis, run a tight ship of a country. So tight that the mere mention of dissention can result in detention without charges. Hum? That couldn’t ever happen here could it?

Aside from the ironic aspects of the story, a blogger named Fouad Al-Farhan is being held without charges for "interrogation for violating non-security regulations." So far he has been held incommunicado since December 10. A worldwide movement to free Fouad is starting to gain traction among bloggers but so far the US government has remained mute. No surprise there.

It would be a good idea to point out that most of the September 11 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia, and Osama Bin Laden is himself a Saudi. Funding for radical Islamic causes continues to flow from the kingdom, a place rife with human rights violations. Sounds like the kind of allies we gravitate toward, doesn’t it?

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Pope Says Gays Threaten World Peace?

Once again the Pope who found God’s grace after being a Hitler Youth has used his position to condemn gays and lesbians. Pope Benedict XVI in his first public address of 2008 called same-sex marriage a threat to world peace. His comments in part are directed at Spain which legalized same-sex marriage in 2005.

It seems odd that such a potential powerful force for peace and reconciliation seems bent on causing strife and discrimination.

Impeach Banner Prominent In Rose Parade Coverage on TV

Watching the Tournament of Roses Parade this morning my partner and I were pleasantly surprised to see a few details we might never have been able to see before. We watched the coverage broadcast on HDTN that was the feed from KTLA in Los Angeles. The Rose Parade in high definition is probably better than being there. First we could watch in our pajamas, and secondly we could see details so crisp that they would be invisible from almost any vantage-point on the parade route.

One detail which the cameras got plenty of coverage of, was the numerous signs held up by parade watchers. Directly across from the main camera platform were a group of people holding big banners that read “IMPEACH”. Additionally there were other that gave details, clearly visible in HDTV, stating, “Impeach Bush & Cheney for Crimes Against the United States”.

We saw these not once or twice but throughout the coverage of the parade along with a loyal group holding a Kucinich banner. I can not remember a time when I saw anything like this in previous parades, and I was surprised how prominent these IMPEACH signs were. It made a great start to a new year, and I only hope to see more and more of them in coming months. Even though Bush and Cheney will be out of office in a year, it is still vital to our democracy to hold them accountable for the lies and crimes committed against our country by these unscrupulous men.