Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Leather Event Gets Press From ABC News

Looks like Mid Atlantic Leather has gotten a little unwanted press. No problems, but ABC News makes the story into a comedy piece. I wish the news would take us seriously one of these days.

I guess it's just too easy to make fun of the guys in leather, rather than actually interview any of them.

Y2K9 - Got a Zune? Not Any More!

Well the folks who brought you the "blue screen of death" have done it again. The Zune, Microsoft's poorly thought through answer to the iPod has a small glitch. At 2:00am every 30GB Zune model on the planet crashed at the exact same moment.

No that's what I call a good trick! Apparently when you try to reset them they crash again and again. Apparently the solution is to wipe the hard drive. That is Microsoft's answer to everything!

OK, so now my iPod with the digital rights management looks better and better.

More On The Warren Controversy - Why Invite A Pastor At All?

The kerfuffle over Rick Warren has a new twist. Pundits and observers are postulating whether or not Warren will close his prayer in the traditional Christian way, "in Jesus name". If I had to guess I would say yes, but in reality, who cares? First and foremost having an invocation at a state event seems to go directly against the Constitution, but I understand it is tradition.

As most of you know, I am a Christian, so you might expect I would be OK with Pastor Warren's prayer. Well I am not. I was raised as a Jew, and being Jewish in Dallas, Texas was an interesting experience, especially at my elementary school. Back then, sometime before the dinosaurs died off, we still had each day begin with a prayer. Yup, prayer in public schools, conducted by the principal no less!

I was a nerd, and being skilled in technical things ended up running the school's PA system. Each morning a different student would be selected to give the opening prayer. Most of them closed it with that same phrase, "in Jesus name".

For me it was a slap in my face. I didn't pray "in Jesus name" then and it made me feel like an outcast. The one or two days a year when a Jewish kid would give the prayer were the only times when I felt I could join in and really pray. Kids are pretty literal you know.

I was taught the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag without the words "under God" because that is the way my parents learned it. Those words were added in the mid 1950's to show the world we weren't godless Communists. Thanks Congress! So when I stood up and led the pledge at my Scout meeting I got some really odd stares when I went right past the newly added religious reference.

The point is this. A Pastor, Imam, Rabbi, Priest or Shaman has no place at a governmental event. Whether you know it or not, we are not a Christian nation, we are a secular nation and thank God for that! Otherwise, we would be arguing over the appropriateness of baptism by sprinkling or immersion. And don't get me started on whether you should take communion each week or just once a year!

I sincerely hope someone will actually question the propriety of any religious officials on the dais for the inauguration instead of which one is invited!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

John Bolton Wants To Attack Iran - As A Response To The Crisis In Gaza?

If you ever needed a reason to get John Bolton out of the government, take this one. Yesterday on Hannity and Colmes, he proposed attacking Iran as a rational response to the crisis in Gaza! This guy is our UN Ambassador, no less!

He follows that with the statement that the Arab world would be popping champagne corks if we did it. He is a total moron. First, just to be picky, the Arab world, at least the devout Muslims, don't drink, and second the US is the most hated country in the Middle East. Where does he get this crap?

Let's move the new ambassador to the UN up on the list of things Obama needs to do right away.

Monday, December 29, 2008

More Poison Chinese Stuff - Drywall!

Oh boy! More contaminated crap from China. This time it's drywall! According to a report by WPTV in Florida the drywall was brought in during the building boom in 2004. Apparently US drywall was just not cheap enough?

The contaminated Chinese drywall may be emitting one of several sulfur compounds including sulfur dioxide or hydrogen sulfide. While exposure to fumes from sulfur dioxide can create irritation and breathing disorders, exposure to hydrogen sulfide can be deadly.

Exposure to 50 parts per million of hydrogen sulfide for more than ten minutes can cause extreme irritation. Inhalation of 500 to 1,000 parts per million can cause unconsciousness and death through respiratory paralysis and asphyxiation, according to environmental experts.

Bush Vacations While The Middle East Burns

True to form, President Bush is taking a vacation during a crisis. Actually, several crises. The country's economic system is crashing and in the Middle East, Israel is intent on starting an all out war. And what is our fearless leader, "the decider" doing? Taking a little time off before retirement. Typical and another reason I can't wait until January 20.

Israel Violates Geneva Convention

In an editorial in The Nation magazine today Professor Richard Falk, United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories writes of specific violations of the Geneva Convention perpetrated by Israel on the population of Gaza. These include:

Collective punishment – the entire 1.5 million people who live in the crowded Gaza Strip are being punished for the actions of a few militants.

Targeting civilians – the airstrikes were aimed at civilian areas in one of the most crowded stretches of land in the world, certainly the most densely populated area of the Middle East.

Disproportionate military response – the airstrikes have not only destroyed every police and security office of Gaza's elected government, but have killed and injured hundreds of civilians; at least one strike reportedly hit groups of students attempting to find transportation home from the university.

And the US government says NOTHING? Granted the missiles launched by Hamas acted as the catalyst for the attacks, but the overwhelming disproportionate response is the problem. Read the editorial and if you are not familiar with what is happeining, check this story.

Israel's Defense Minister has promised "war to the bitter end". Does he mean until all the palistinians are wiped from the face of the earth? I believe we call that genocide!

I am sure I will receive lots of flames regarding this, but it's time we really look at our relationship with Israel and how their government is treating this situation.

LGBT Teens More Likely To Commit Suicide

Listening to the radio this morning I was struck by a report on NPR that said a recent study showed that LGBT teenagers are at higher risk of drug abuse and suicide if their parents are unaccepting of their sexuality. I actually uttered the word, "duh"!

We need a study to show that? I can give you example after example of friends who turned to drugs and attempted suicide as teens because their parents and church rejected them. I don't need a stinking study!

The good thing is the study offers more proof that the attitudes toward LGBT teens is a life threatening issue. Clergy who rant against gays and lesbians actually do harm to these kids, and that should be a wake up call.

We already know the whole "ex gay" thing is a fraud and now this report. When will people just learn that LGBT people are a fact of life and should be embraced as another child of God, not someone to be cured?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Video - Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza

Israel and Hamas Intent On Mass Destruction

Watching the escalation in the Israel/Gaza crisis amazes me. I guess as a Western observer I cannot understand the irrational moves by both sides and the intense hatred shown by Israeli's and Palestinians.

Hamas declared the truce over
and began rocket attacks. A few people were injured and some damage from the homemade rockets occurred in Israel according to press reports. As retaliation, Israel started a huge bombing attack on Hamas locations which so far as killed well over 300 people, many of whom are women and children.

Now, Hamas is calling for another intifada and the violence seems to be ratcheting up to another level.

I have to ask the question, how many times has Israel met violence with violence and how well has that worked? From where I stand, I don't see any success in the "eye for an eye" strategy.

I do not excuse Hamas which has caused much death and destruction on their own, and I do not excuse Israel either. Both factions are using no-win tactics and expecting different results. I just don't see how either side can justify the death they are causing.

I guess it is easy for me sitting here in the US to look at this and shake my head in wonder. Of course much of the world has watched us attack Iraq and Afghanistan for actions which were arguably not caused by wither country's government yet we rained down death on them all the same. The result? A shaky puppet government in Iraq and a teetering democracy in Afghanistan with enough death and destruction to go around.

It seems to me that doing anything in the Middle East is doomed to failure. There are irreconcilable differences between the various religious and political groups that is not about to be solved at the end of a gun. So why do we insist on doing it?

I guess before I can call Israel or Hamas crazy I need to get our own country to stop its policy of "preemptive attacks" (the Bush Doctrine) and start going to the negotiating table as a first resort.

As far as Israel and Gaza. I firmly believe we can cajole and barter all we want but we will have on effect until both parties will sit down and talk to each other like adults. Right now they are behaving like dangerous petulant children and worse they are armed.

Perhaps the new year will bring some maturity to our foreign policy and maybe we can set an example on how to settle differences without resorting to bombs and guns.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Israel Attacks Gaza - Hosiptals Cannot Keep Up WIth Casualties

And so Israel in a spirit of good will for the season launches a series of air attacks on Gaza in retaliation for rocket attacks. Targeting Hamas strongholds, the attacks have injured and killed many civilians. According to one report, the hospitals cannot keep up with the casualties.

Merry Christmas to all our friends in the Holy Lands!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Eartha Kitt Dies at 81

I just listened to one of my favorite Christmas songs, "Santa Baby" sung by Eartha Kitt. It's a kitschy, sexy delightful song by a woman who had a style that is unmatched in music. That voice, with it's purring cat-like quality is now silent.

Eartha Kitt died today at age 81. Her recordings and films will keep her memory alive for many years to come.

Clean Coal? Ask The Folks In Tennessee!

A massive coal waste spill caused a huge flood in the Tennessee Valley and wiped out many homes and perhaps has polluted the Emory Rover to the point where it may never be the same.

Next time you see one of those "clean coal" ads, remember, IT'S A LIE!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Dallas Hyatt Takes In 400 Homeless This Christmas

The folks at the Hyatt Regency at Reunion in Dallas really have a great Christmas gift for 400 homeless people in Dallas. The have taken in 400 needy folks for Christmas eve. Given them first class rooms, and a big Christmas dinner. It's a terrific idea for a hotel.

They have to be open anyway and room occupancy is minimal, so why not give a nice room and bet to the homeless? Bravo Hyatt Regency!

Merry Christmas

As I prepare to have a wonderful Christmas Eve with my friends and family, I am reminded of one of my favorite scenes in the movie, Auntie Mame. Rosalind Russell sits down with her family and family of choice to exchange gifts. The year has been dismal for her economically, the Wall Street Crash wiped her investments out and so there was very little to share.

Though Mame had nothing to give she was rich in the real gifts of humanity. Her friends and family shared what little they had with her and in the end that Christmas with so little became the best Christmas of all. Later in the film, Patrick Dennis is reminiscing with Auntie Mame and they talk about that Christmas they were "so broke". Of all the days they remember, that one was most special.

Well, I didn't have a bundle in the stock market, and I hardly have a house full of servants like Mame, but this Christmas I find myself lucky. After a year of spotty freelance work, I have a steady gig for now. I have a few remaining family members and a host of family-of-choice to celebrate with. I am still pretty much broke, but at least the bills are getting paid.

I have a wonderful, considerate partner who gladly shares my life and two delightful feline companions to snuggle with on cold winter nights. I have a leather family that extends from coast to coast and beyond. I have a welcoming church with a congregation of active and caring people who live out their faith every day.

So much to be grateful for, and hardly any of it involves buying gifts or wrapping packages. That's what the real spirit of Christmas is, and for that I am truly grateful.

My wish is that you might all have such a wealth of reasons for gratitude during this holiday season!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

FedEx Pulls TV Ads From Super Bowl

FedEx has decided its money would be better spent this year somewhere other than the Super Bowl. As an advertiser since the late 1980's FedEx commercials during the Super Bowl were always memorable. However the company explained that during these tough economic times, when employees were being asked to make sacrifices, the lavish budgets spent during Super Bowl commercials would send the wrong message and be a bad move.

Here's a statement from the company by the Director of Advertising:
As a country, we are in unprecedented economic waters. And as a responsible employer of more than 290,000 employees and contractors worldwide, there is a time to justify such an ad spend and a time to step back.

As FedEx employees, we, like millions of people at other companies, are being asked to do more with less. Our most vital asset is the thousands of FedEx team members who truly enable the world to work, absolutely, positively, every day. In the ultimate medium when where the message is king, being in the game simply sends the wrong message both to employees and other FedEx constituents. A Super Bowl ad buy is not where we should put dollars at this time although, in the past, the value of doing so for FedEx has been indisputable.

I have to agree. FedEx didn't get where they are by being foolish.

Just so you don't forget how memorable these spots were, here's one of my favorites from 2001.

New "Clean Coal" Ad -

This is another great ad by the Reality Coalition folks who are exposing the myth of "Clean Coal".

Monday, December 22, 2008

Want Some TARP Money? Here Is The 2 Page Application!

Want some of that Federal Bailout money? Well go inline and fill out the simple 2 page form and you could get a cash infusion! REALLY.

I was watching Rachel Maddow this evening and she actually showed the form, two pages and very few questions. WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON IN OUR GOVERNMENT?

Here is the form if you want to get a taste of the TARP money yourself.

Bailed Out Banks Refuse To Give Accounting

"Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!" That is what the Great and Powerful Oz says to Dorthy and friends in the perennial classic I watched this weekend for the umteenth time. There is a valuable lesson to be learned in that scene, one that could be applied to the current financial bailout being conducted by our own Wizard of Oz, Secretary of the Treasury, Hank Paulson.

The Wizard turned out to be smoke and mirrors and so it would seem is the bailout. In a recent AP article when JPMorgan Chase was contacted about the $25 billion they got, the declined to give ANY specifics as to where the money is going or has gone!
"We've lent some of it. We've not lent some of it. We've not given any accounting of, 'Here's how we're doing it,'" said Thomas Kelly, a spokesman for JPMorgan Chase, which received $25 billion in emergency bailout money. "We have not disclosed that to the public. We're declining to."
After reading this article I expected to be blinded by a flash of green flame and a puff of smoke.

It is the height of hypocrisy to grill Automakers, (an industry that actually makes something tangible), like a bunch of naughty school children when they come before Congress and ask NOTHING of the banks and investment firms who are swallowing billions on a handshake.

Personally, I think this is the "Golden Parachute" from the Bush administration to pay off the fat cats who supported them and their rise to power. Now that they are exiting in a less-than-graceful fashion, they are trying to take the Treasury with them. Sometimes I get the feeling the GOP has modeled their government style on that of Mexico. There every 6 years it used to be a safe bet that the President would leave with the national treasure safely in his pockets.

Failing Bank Execs Still Take Home Millions!

How about a nice steaming bowl of outrage for breakfast this morning?

Of the 116 banks you and I bailed out recently gave their top tier of executives nearly $1.6 billion in salaries, bonuses and other benefits in 2007, an Associated Press analysis found. So my question is, "why are these banks paying their top executives so much when they are hemorrhaging money?"

Probably because the management of big business, particularly financial institutions has become a "Billionaire Boys Club". Boards packed with rich men predominately, grant big salaries to other rich men who sit on interlocking boards. It's a big Ponzi scheme where we as customers, investors and stakeholders get fleeced by those who are put in charge to prevent that very thing.

Money is moved from one pocket to another and every time some of it sticks to the execs and boards who go home fat and happy.

From an AP story:
Such bonuses amount to a bribe for executives "to get them to do the jobs for which they are well paid in the first place," said Rep. Barney Frank, the Massachusetts Democrat who chairs the House Financial Services committee.

"Most of us sign on to do jobs, and we do them best we can," said Frank. "We're told that some of the most highly paid people in executive positions are different. They need extra money to be motivated!"
Congressman Frank hits the nail on the head again! In the vernacular, the whole thing is Bulls*#t! I remember having a T-Shirt when I was much younger that said "Eat The Rich". I need to find that one again!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Hanukkah

As a child, I remember lighting the Hanukkah candles and saying the prayer so well, I can still remember it today. Mostly I remember getting little bags of gold coin candies filled with waxy chocolate, but when you are a kid that works just fine!

Since my family was a "bi-faith" family, I also got the thrill of having a Christmas tree as well. Best of both worlds for a kid. More presents!

For all my Jewish friends, Happy Hanukkah! Get out your draydels and start spinning!

Friday, December 19, 2008

One Laptop Per Child - The Best Christmas Gift Of All!

This holiday season, who not give a gift that will help change the world. Really!

The organization "One Laptop Per Child" is encouraging people to do just that. With a super low-cost laptop computer that runs on only 4 watts of poser, making it solar-rechargeable, is offering the computers for $199 each. Even better, you can buy one and give one for $399. you get a computer for some child in your life and help change the life of a child in a poorer country.

Check out the cool kid-friendly laptops that work in full sunlight or shade! Perfect Christmas gift for a child you may never meet, but whose life you can change forever!

In Memory Of Majel Barrett Roddenberry, Dec 18, 2008

The Ship's Computer is dead, long live the Ship's Computer. The woman who for years was the voice of the Ship's Computer in Star Trek died yesterday. Actress and producer, Majel Barrett Roddenberry, passed away at her Bel-Air, California home surrounded by her loved ones and family.

Ms Roddenberry played many roles as an actress, but it is her work on the Star Trek series that I will remember most. She was married to the legendary producer Gene Roddenberry and helped keep the Star Trek legacy alive for the past 42 years. I don't think the series would have been the same without her and I along with millions of fans will miss her.

Condolences can be sent via email to or by mail to:
Roddenberry Productions
4400 Coldwater Canyon Avenue, Suite 100
Studio City, CA 91604

Bristol Palin's Future Mother-in-law Arrested On Drug Charges

You can take the family out of the trailer park, but you cant take the trailer park out of the family!

News comes today of a "sordid Lives" moment in Wasilla, Alaska. Sherry L. Johnston, mother of Levi Johnston was arrested on six felony counts of misconduct involving a controlled substance.If you don't remember Levi, he was the spruced up young man who knocked up Sarah Palin's daughter and is scheduled to wed her soon.

All this drama just prior to Bristol is due to give birth soon. What a wonderful nuclear family they will make. Now that's those good old Republican values at work again. My sincere best wishes to the family and I hope they get through this without any more drama, but knowing their history...I doubt it!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Obama Responds to Critics About Rick Warren

Obama's Choice Of Rick Warren Troubling

I have been holding off criticizing the choice of Rick Warren as the pastor to lead the invocation at the inauguration. I held off because I think I understand the Obama teams reasons for the choice, but my inner activist can stay quiet no longer.

I worked for the Obama campaign. I made calls, worked data bases and showed up to help more than I have on any other candidates campaign. Myself, along with thousands of LGBT people volunteered in this work and while working, I saw no fundamentalist evangelicals sitting beside us at the makeshift campaign offices. I never spoke with a volunteer who espoused a hatred of gays or a vehiment anti-abortion stance. So what gives?

I suspect this is an olive branch to the religious right, but I think it is a mistake. I had no illusions that Obama was a far left liberal like myself, and I did think he was very politically astute. It remains to be seen if this choice which has appalled the LGBT community is a trend.

I will give hinm the benefit of the doubt. I will wait until he is in office before I make any really pointed criticisms, however I am dissappointed by this choice. Billy Graham would have been less contriversial, so now I am waiting and seeing.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Dick Cheney Admits To War Crimes!

So, Dick Cheney admits to authorizing “water-boarding”, that would be torture and that is a war crime which we prosecuted people for after WW2. Cheney told ABC news in an “exit interview” that he gave the go ahead for torture of detainees.

That means a sitting Vice President of the US has admitted to a criminal act that in the past has been punishable by death! This is a huge thing and the press seems to have pretty much ignored it. We need to call an International court to prosecute Mr. Cheney and his flunky George Bush. Seriously!

Write letters to your congresspersons, your mayors, your governors, even the UN and get this criminal cabal we laughingly call our government in jail! Cheney will undoubtedly skip the country after the inauguration to some cozy place like Dubai where torture is standard fare, but before he does he has to be arrested and prosecuted. At least we need a genuine investigation.

This is not just one of my rants, it's the truth and why isn't he under arrest?

Ultra Rich Become Covert Shoppers To Hide Thier High End Purchases

While thousands of folks are looking at their unemployment checks and wondering how long they will hold out, some people are still making forays into high end boutiques for pricey goodies. Take Mrs. Fuld, wife of Lehman Brothers C.E.O. Dick Fuld. She was seen buying a few nick knacks at Hermès boutique on Manhattan’s Madison Avenue.

Mrs Fuld is a regular customer, dropping between $5000, and $10,000 a week at the store, but this holiday season she want's to be a bit lower profile. Not to save money, but just to keep from looking pretentious. Rather than taking the stores signature orange bad with the Hermès logo, she opts for a plain white bag. Like a person stealthily smuggling porno from an adult books store, Mrs, Fuld wants her obscene purchases to be a secret.

She is not alone. According to a report in the Daily Beast, lots of well healed shoppers are opting for plain brown wrappers. Stores like Tiffany's and Bergdorf Goodman are seeing more and more high-end customers asking for plain bags. Why? Some suspect it is guilt. Must be tough.

Speaking of Lehman Brothers, aren't they the ones that are in bankruptcy? Guess that little financial debaucle isn't affecting the top level management if their wives are still burning money on $2500 cashmier throws and baubles?

Wouldn't it be nice if instead of dropping that "10 large" a week at Hermès Mrs. Fuld took half of that and gave it to a charity each week? I have nothing against Hermès, I just hate seeing places like NPR shedding employees and charities running short of food for the winter months. But hey, Christmas is for buying right?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Obama To Arrive In DC Via Train

For folks like me and my partner who like railroads, the latest news concerning the inauguration is really cool. Obama and Biden will arrive in Washington by train. It is a long tradition that has been abandoned in recent years, but the new President will travel by train making stops along the way like presidents of the past.

Bush Thwarts Limits On Executive Pay

You would think a lame duck like Bush would have a limited ability to do too much mischief before he steps down from office. Now I have learned my lesson. Never underestimate the ability of George W. Bush to line the pockets of the already rich and otherwise screw over the little guys, us!

Remember that TARP money intended to buy up troubled assets from financial institutions? Well, it really hasn't been used for that. Instead it had gone to the troubled firms rather than to aquire troubled assets. A small change? Yes but there is method to the madness.

Congress was rightly outraged, or at least the public was, at the multimillion dollar pay corporate executives were getting from the very firms that they drove into the ground. To avoid this in the future, there was a string tied to the TARP money that said the government would have oversight in executive compensation. At least that is how Congress originally wrote it.

Bush in his infinite ability to bend over to corporate fat cats, changed a few words in the bill prior to its passage that specified this oversight was only for firms whose assets the government was buying. A small change, but so far the Treasury has yet to buy any troubled assets. What does it mean?

Well, it means the businesses we, you and I as taxpayers, are helping out can continue to reward their inept executives with eye-popping paychecks unhindered by government regulations. Bush does it again!

January 20 can not get here soon enough!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Farewell Kiss For President Bush - Iraq Style!

The lame duck presidency of George Bush ends with a really incredible visual. As Bush made a surprise visit to Baghdad, speaking at a press conference with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki he was pelted with a pair of shoes thrown by a reporter. The reporter shouted, "this is a farewell kiss, you dog" as his shoes narrowly missed Bush's head.

Needless to say chaos ensued.

The truth is what we are calling a "security agreement" the Iraqi's are calling a "withdrawal agreement". They see us as an occupying army and though Bush and his cronies like to think of us as liberators, most Iraqis think differently. So much for being greeted with flowers and sweets! Watch it and try not to laugh.

A Turd In The Punch Bowl

The recent charges against Rod Blagojevich, Governor of Illinois are not all that surprising, considering the history of Illinois state politics. It is however the "turd in the Punchbowl" prior to the inaugration of Brack Obama, former Junior Senator from Illinois.

Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has repeatedly said Obama is not involved, but some are trying to connect him and his campaign. Contact between Obama and the governor would not be surprising when it came to providing suggested names to replace him, and indeed it seems Rham Emanuel did just that. It's a big leap from that to the seedy payoffs sought by Mr. Blagojevich and that is the problem.

Republicans are trying to throw this mess at the Obama Presidency and see if it sticks. The public doesn't seem to be buying that. Approval polls have not changed for Obama going into his inaguration. The celebration in Washington is still going forward and the festivities will be massive. Contrary to the GOPs fondest wishes, that turd doesn't seem to have flavored the punch too badly.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Why The Republican Party Hates America

Strong words, but it's the conclusion I have come to after watching the acrimonious and pompous debates last night from Washington of Republican Senators shooting the auto rescue bill down in flames. They would rather posture and boast than try to save America's premier industry.

The bill was stalled because the GOP insisted the UAW take more wage cuts. If you will look at the history of recent wage contracts, the UAW has already made big concessions. The problem lies with the inability of the Republicans to realize that they are selling America off piece by piece to foreign bidders.

Once there are no more American car makers, who will manufacture the tanks and trucks should we ever need them for a war? It's national security and they fail to realize it.

Do I sound frustrated? You betcha! January 20 can not come soon enough.

Another reason the GOP is having trouble with thei economic package is this, they are rudderless. Yesterday, according to a report in, in a meeting with Dick Cheney, Senate Republicans were told that if they don't pass the bailout, "it's Herbert hoover time". Strong words from Darth Vader! Still, Cheney was met not with deference, but squabbling. I think the GOP has no clear direction and without that they will only be a hindrance to getting anything positive done for the country....and that's why I think they hate America. because they would rather play ideological chess than save our economy. Herbert Hoover might have been better!


How about naming names? Couple of Dems in this list as well, shame on them! All these Senators want the American auto industry to fail!

Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT)
Sen. Robert Bennett (R-UT)
Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC)
Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK)
Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN)
Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN)
Sen. John Ensign (R-NV)
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH)
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
Sen. Kay Hutchison (R-TX)
Sen. John Isakson (R-GA)
Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ)
Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR)
Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL)
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
Sen. John Thune (R-SD)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Rest In Peace Bettie Page

Bettie Page is dead. Long live Bettie Page!
Los Angeles, December 11, 2008 – Bettie Page, sweet-smiling legendary 1950s pin-up queen with the killer curves and coal-black bangs, died today of pneumonia at a Los Angeles area hospital. She was 85 years old.

She suffered a heart attack one week ago and never regained consciousness. Her popularity as an underground, guilty pleasures phenomenon has continued to soar despite the fact that the reclusive Page disappeared almost a half century ago, leading many to believe that one of the most photographed individuals of the 20th century was already dead.
Ms Page was an icon to the BDSM community and will be missed, but her image and influence will live on.

Day Without A Gay? Not So Much

I scanned the news this morning looking for the huge reaction to all the LGBT people calling in sick for the "Day Without a Gay" protest. I found one article on Yahoo news (AP) that said what I figured would happen. Most people had no idea it was even taking place.

Big civil disobedience actions or work stoppages, boycotts, etc. can be effective, but when they are thrown together without enough planning and especially without enough PUBLICITY, they go unnoticed. So it was with the Day Without a Gay.

Given enough time and a whole lot of promotion, the news media would have picked up on the narrative and the story would have a chance to take off. This idea, a good one, was doomed because it was not given enough time to work. Perhaps 6 months from now it could. Maybe sometime around Gay Pride Day it could work given enough media buzz and viral push, but without that it will be a talking point for our opponents. They can now say, "look at what a small impact the LGBT community has on everyday society". And they will seem to be proven right.

Kitchen table activism is my kind of stuff, the AIDS Memorial Quilt started that way and it has done wonders in raising the consciousness of America to the HIV/AIDS crisis. Going off half-cocked with a good idea but poor execution and planning does the opposite. It makes us look weak and disorganized as a movement.

My suggestion to the organizers is, fall back, plan better and get some media allies to start telling the story. The narrative is a good one, "LGBT citizens are vital parts of American life and without them the whole country would be affected". That is the real story, and that is the truth.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

LGBT Group To March In Inaugral Parade For First Time Ever!

WASHINGTON - Today, in keeping with its commitment to hold inaugural events that celebrate our common values and reflects the diversity and history of our great nation, President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden's Inaugural Committee officially extended an offer to the Lesbian and Gay Band Association to march in the 56th Inaugural Parade. Members of that group will join representatives from across the country and our Armed Forces in the historic parade down Pennsylvania Avenue following President-elect Obama's swearing-in ceremony on the steps of the Capitol.

This marks the first time that an openly LGBT group has been invited to participate in an Inaugural Parade.

"I am honored to invite these talented groups and individuals to participate in the Inaugural Parade," said President-elect Obama. "These organizations embody the best of our nation's history, diversity and commitment to service. Vice President-elect Biden and I are proud to have them join us in the parade."

Organizations wishing to participate in the parade submitted an application to the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee (AFIC), which then assisted the Presidential Inaugural Committee in reviewing all of the groups' applications. All told, 1,382 organizations applied to participate, setting a new standard for interest in marching in the parade.

The Lesbian and Gay Band Association is a musical organization comprised of concert and marching bands from cities across America that provides a network of lesbian and gay bands.

The Presidential Inaugural Committee was assisted in its selection process by a group of experienced military musicians, who utilized their expertise to help assess the presentation skills of marching bands, musical acts and drill teams.

All participants in the Inaugural Parade are responsible for paying for their own lodging and transportation to and from Washington, D.C. The Committee has been working closely with area governments and civic organizations to facilitate access to affordable accommodations and would like to encourage citizens from across the country to reach out and help the Lesbian and Gay Band Association raise the necessary resources to participate in this historic event.

If you are interested in finding out more about supporting the Lesbian and Gay Band Association and their participation in the 56th Inaugural Parade, please visit

Obama Selects Nobel Laureate As Energy Secretary

Here's a novel idea...put someone into a government position who actually knows something about the area he or she is in charge of! What a concept!

That is just what it looks like President Elect Obama is going to do in the Department of Energy. Instead of an oilman or industry type who will have no interest but that of the energy businesses at heart he looks to pick Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist.

Wow! Science may be making a comeback, and just in time, too.

From the Houston Chronicle:

Obama also is poised to select Lisa Jackson to head the Environmental Protection Agency, while one-time EPA administrator Carol Browner would serve in the White House as an overall energy "czar." Jackson worked at the EPA during Browner's tenure, and is former administrator of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

The selection of a scientist rather than a Washington insider as energy secretary suggests that in the Obama administration, energy policy will be directed out of the White House rather than the Energy Department.

Barney Music Being Used For Torture

Remember the last time you had a song stuck in your head. The kind of silly tune that you just couldn't get out? The notes from "Crimson and Clover" going over and over in your mind?

Well the CIA, those wonderful folks who brought your waterboarding are using music to torture detainees. Songs such as "I Love You" from the Barney TV show and annoying voices like Britney Spears played at earsplitting volume over and over and over have caused some prisoners to bash their heads against the wall in frustration.

Though it sounds pretty innocuous, it is cruel and psychologically damaging to the prisoners. Needless to say, like most torture the tangible results are minimal and information recovered through these techniques is not admissible in any legitimate legal proceeding.

Now the recording industry and humanitarian groups are fighting back with a petition drive called "ZeroDB". I urge you to sign the petition.

As for the music? Well here is a partial list of songs used as torture, you may or may not agree to their effectiveness.

Barney the Purple Dinosaur - theme tune
• Bee Gees - Stayin' Alive
• Britney Spears
• Bruce Springsteen - Born in the USA
• Christina Aguilera - Dirrty
• David Gray - Babylon
• Deicide - F**k Your God
• Don McLean - American Pie
• Dope - Die MF Die
• Eminem - Slim Shady
• Eminem - White America
• Matchbox Twenty - Gold
• Metallica - Enter Sandman
• Neil Diamond - America
• Nine Inch Nails - March of the Pigs
• Prince - Raspberry Beret
• Queen - We are The Champions
• Saliva - Click Click Boom
• Sesame Street - theme tune
• Tupac - All Eyes on Me

Mike Huckabee, You've Been Served!

Jon Stewart was engaging and cordial with his guest Mike Huckabee last night on The Daily Show, and he dished him up a great big plate of reality as he confronted him on his opposition to LGBT marriage.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Plant Workers Win - Sit-In Worked!

According to a news article in the Chicago Tribune:
Bank of America said Tuesday it is "prepared to" provide a "limited amount" of additional loans to Republic Windows and Doors to help resolve the employee sit-in at the Goose Island factory.

Republic employees are in the fifth day of their sit-in, protesting that they were not properly notified of Republic's closing and that they are owed severance and vacation pay.

Bank of America, which cut off the plant's credit, has yet to issue any new funds, and any loans would be subject to negotiation, a Bank of America spokeswoman said.

The amount of the loans is not being disclosed, the spokeswoman said.

Sally Kerns Husband Now In The News

You will of course remember the dinosaur, Oklahoma legislator Sally Kerns. Well her husband, Pastor Kerns, seems to think the real problem with LGBT Americans is they need to be put into re-education camps. Does anyone else have visions of Nazi Germany in their heads?

In a quote from a recorded phone interview, Pastor Kerns said:
"We have to get rid of that and start curing those sinners. It’s past time that this nation stopped placating sin and start putting them in education programs. Courts can force drug offenders into treatment centers and violent people into anger management. There’s no reason our courts can’t do that with homos."
That should send shivers up any American's spine. I have to wonder what God Pastor Kern prays to? Maybe it was the same one who said Hitler was just purifying the Germanic race?

Court Says Larry Craig Is Still Guilty

The old Saturday Night Live joke delivered by Chevy Chase, "this just in, Generalissimo Franco is still dead", is similar to the verdict delivered by the Minnesota Court of Appeals when they told Larry Craig, "you are still guilty!"

Craig was seeking to withdraw his guilty plea in the Minneapolis Airport bathroom sex sting case, saying his civil rights were violated. The court didn't buy it.

Craig as you remember said he would resign from the Senate, yet there he is, serving out the remainder of his term. I guess that was just another case of him "misspeaking".

Monday, December 08, 2008

Call In Gay Day!

About 25 years ago some friends of mine started stamping all their cash with a red stamp that said "Gay Money". The idea was to demonstrate how much we as LGBT people contributed to the economy. It was a clever idea, but unfortunately it got stopped by the federal government that warned they were defacing money. Perhaps it was a bogus charge, but still it was an idea that sounded good but just didn't get thought through.

I have posted information about "Call In Gay" day (actually a "Day Without a Gay") because I feel it deserves a chance of working. The planning is a bit fast for a real concerted effort. Doing something with another month or two of publicity would be better, but I suppose the idea is to hit during the Christmas shopping rush and to coincide with Human Rights Day.

The website of the protest
has the following:
We are asking everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, to help us fight for basic human rights. In reaction to the devastating and inhumane ‘yes’ on Proposition 8, the LBGT community, is asking all Queers and supporters to “call in gay” for ‘Human Rights Day’ (, the 10th of December. The Queer population has suffered social injustice for too long and now is our chance to show the world how much we matter.

December 10th is a Wednesday and we encourage everyone to do nothing to help the economy. We ask that students skip class, teachers cancel class and business owners shut the financial doors for one day. No matter how important your job may be, please “call in gay” to show support on December 10th. Don’t forget to spread the word to everyone you know!

We will make a difference! We will receive the rights we deserve! And we are an important part of the global economy!
So, if you can, make the call and spend the day doing volunteer work with a local LGBT organization or patronize only LGBT owned businesses. No sense in making our own folk suffer and besides, you might meet some other activists who would be fun to hang out with.

Then take a few minutes and write your congresspeople and demand that LGBT citizens be awarded the full rights of citizenship given to our straight brothers and sisters.

Chicago Tribune Files For Bankruptcy!

Want another sign of a real economic crisis in this country? The venerable Chicago Tribune has filed for bankruptcy. Here is the news straight from the horses mouth:

Chicago Tribune parent Tribune Co. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection today in Delaware so it can restructure its debt.

The Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field, which Tribune Co. has on the auction block, are not part of the filing. The company said it has sufficient cash to continue to operate its media businesses, including publishing its newspapers and running its television stations and interactive properties, without interruption.

Chicago-based Tribune Co. had more than enough cash on hand to make a payment of $70 million due today on money borrowed before Zell's deal, but it was unable to convince lenders to embrace a broader restructuring of its debt.

Much of its debt was incurred last year when real estate magnate Sam Zell took the company private last December. It has repaid about $1 billion of its senior credit facility since then. But the situation at Tribune Co., which has suffered from industry-wide declines in advertising revenue that have eroded its cash flow since the deal was done, is emblematic of the squeeze felt throughout the media business overall, and newspaper companies in particular.

Looneys and The Supreme Court!

The season for lunacy is in high gear, yet luckily our courts have developed a distaste for challenges to US elections much to the dismay of the lunatics.

Looney #1: Leo Donofrio of East Brunswick, N.J. - petitioned the Supreme Court to overturn the Presidential Election because he claims Barack Obama is a British citizen. According to an article in the Washington Post:
Donofrio also contends that two other candidates, Republican John McCain and Socialist Workers candidate Roger Calero, also are not natural-born citizens and thus ineligible to be president.
Looney #2: Philip J. Berg of Lafayette Hill, Pa. who argues that Obama is actually from Kenya, or maybe Indonesia even though both his birth certificate and the Hawaii Secretary of State say otherwise. Federal courts in Pennsylvania have dismissed Berg's lawsuit.

Score two victories for sanity. Now if only it was 2000 again!

"Bomb Mecca" Tancredo Resigns! Buh-Bye.

The man who encouraged the US to "bomb Mecca" has decided to retire. I guess Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) has finally figured out he is a fossil and the world has passed him by. His bombastic voice in the House often targeted illegal immigrants as the root of all evil in the country and his solution to the energy crisis was the old "drill baby drill" mentality.

I for one will be happy to see him go, and though he is making noises about a run for Governor of Colorado, I think he will be "spending more time with his family". In other words, how about a job in the "private sector", Tom?

Sunday, December 07, 2008

A Few Thoughts on Pearl Harbor Day

It was a Sunday morning, Dec. 7, 1941 when Japanese fighters roared across the island of Oahu and delivered their deadly cargo to he American fleet at Pearl Harbor. That "day that would live in infamy" has been the subject of numerous movies and books and is not likely to be forgotten.

I had a chance to visit the Battleship Arizona Memorial in Hawaii a few years ago and was moved by the still leaking oil slick that drifts to the surface of the water. As I browsed the gift shop I came across an odd item. It was a pictorial of the battle and the memorial but translated in to Japanese.

The irony was not lost on me, and it was fascinating that so many Japanese tourists were also visiting the site. I guess for them it was also a turning point in their history. Like Americans visiting Hiroshima, they must wonder like I did the strange flow of time that turned deadly enemies capable of such horrific carnage into friends. For that I am truly grateful.

Have a safe and peaceful Pearl Harbor Day.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Automakers Get Their Bailout!

Just saw on MSNBC Rachael Maddow show that the automaker bailout is going to happen. More later.

Bettie Page Hospitalized

Few people in the civilized world have not seen her image, yet most have no idea who she was. Bettie Page, 1950s pinup and fetish model has suffered a heart attack. The 85-year-old had the heart attack Tuesday and was hospitalized Friday in the Los Angeles area.

Her fame has lasted, though Page became a recluse and vanished from the public sight. She had only recently emerged, selling autographs of her photos through her agent.

Her pictures have become icons for the BDSM/Leather/Fetish community and her styles influenced generations.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

KBR Serves Up Tainted Ice To Our Troops!

KBR the scandal ridden subsidiary of Halliburton, that would be Dick Cheney's former employer, has exposed our troops in Iraq to ice tainted with the remains of bodies and medical waste. Sound gross? Yup, and the lawsuit being brought againts them pulls no punches.

From ThinkProgress:

The lawsuit also accuses KBR of shipping ice in mortuary trucks that “still had traces of body fluids and putrefied remains in them when they were loaded with ice. This ice was served to U.S. forces.”

Eller also accuses KBR of failing to maintain a medical incinerator at Joint Base Balad, which has been confirmed by two surgeons in interviews with Military Times about the Balad burn pit. Instead, according to the lawsuit and the physicians, medical waste, such as needles, amputated body parts and bloody bandages were burned in the open-air pit.

Wild dogs in the area raided the burn pit and carried off human remains,” the lawsuit states. “The wild dogs could be seen roaming the base with body parts in their mouths, to the great distress of the U.S. forces.”

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Franken Ahead By Handful of Votes!

The election in Minnesota is coming down to a handful of votes. Today, Al Franken took the lead by a slim margin of 22 votes.

More from Huffington Post:

Speaking on a conference call with reporters, Franken's chief counsel Marc Elias said the campaign's own internal count showed them up 22 votes, a jump from the 13 vote deficit that they faced on Tuesday.

"We have approximately 138,000 ballots left to count," said Elias. "94.3 percent of the state has now been counted... Obviously that number is going to change, but we are pleased thus far with how things are going."

Jeb Bush Making Noises About Running For Senate

Just when you thought you had seen the last of the Bush Crime Family, we have stirrings that Jeb, Dubbya's other brother, is planning a run at the Senate. Republican Mel Martinez announced his retirement yesterday as part of an orchestrated move to ease Jeb Bush into his seat.

According to
Since Martinez's announcement Tuesday, Bush has received many phone calls and emails from Floridians and national Republicans urging him to run, the source close to him said Tuesday night.

Bush has kept a low-profile since leaving office in 2007, but he retains a strong following among Florida Republicans and would almost certainly clear the Republican field should he decide to run.

But he's in no hurry to decide, said a top adviser, and won't make a decision until after the new year.
In "GOP speak", this means only one thing, he is running! Unfortunately, the fine citizens of Florida may not have sense enough to keep Jeb from getting back on the horse and heading to the Senate. Look for talk of "Jeb 2012" during the next Presidential cycle.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Thai Courts Rule - Prime Minister Resigns!

It is a familiar story, a high court rules and the leadership of a country is changed. Not here for a pleasant change, but in Thailand. There amid the daily protests by citizens, the prime minister and the three ruling parties have been declared illegal by the country's high court. The decision triggered dancing in the streets in some areas.

From the AP:
Thailand's prime minister resigned on Tuesday after weeks of protests that paralyzed his government and closed the capital's airports. Cargo flights resumed and protesters promised to lift their siege by Wednesday.

The resignation of Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat came after the nation's Constitutional Court dissolved Thailand's top three ruling parties for electoral fraud and banned him from politics for five years.

Somchai, who has been forced to govern from the northern city of Chiang Mai since Wednesday, accepted the ruling with equanimity.

"It is not a problem. I was not working for myself. Now I will be a full-time citizen," he told reporters in Chiang Mai.

Let's hope Thailand can return to sanity and peace.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Some Thoughts On World AIDS Day

Twenty years ago at a summit of health ministers from around the world, they decided to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS by declaring December 1 as World AIDS Day. Since that time much progress has been made on AIDS treatment but so far no cure has been found.

That is an important thing to remember. Especially in light of a recent report. The report, released just ahead of World AIDS Day on Monday, found while Massachusetts has had success battling the spread of the disease among injection drug users and heterosexual men and women, it has had less success among gay and bisexual men. More than 50% of new HIV infections between 2004 and 2006 were among gay and bisexual men.

This is amazing to me. The gay and bisexual communities have been living with the problems of AIDS for longer than anyone else. We know how to prevent the disease and yet we are still getting infected at a higher rate. What is going wrong?

Well as I have been reading an interesting book on "The Science of Fear" in which the author notes that people make decisions based on either their "gut" or their "head". Our "head" or intellect knows how to protect ourselves, but our "gut" emotions tell us "unprotected sex feels good". Irrationally, we conclude if it feels good it can't be bad and we shut off our brains.

How can we change this? Well it will not be easy, but it worked when the epidemic first started and it can work now. We need to hammer the message home that unprotected sex is not only wrong, but not as much fun. Because our fear of AIDS used to be stronger, unprotected sex felt risky and not as good. Today, with the insane barrage of "bareback" videos and websites, we are being convinced that unprotected sex is "better". We need to de-eroticise it and start eroticizing safer-sex before we fall victim to another wave of AIDS deaths.

Am I a killjoy? Hell no, just someone who wants his friends to be around for a long time so we can grow old together.

Here's my suggestion, start eroticising safer-sex. Next time you choose a video, make sure it's safe sex only. Next time you masturbate, wear a condom. If you do it often enough, you will come to associate the condom with sexual pleasure and half the battle will be won.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Why We Fight? For $100 Hit Men & Honor Killings?

Iraq is a country of contrasts. It is at once a modern emerging Middle Eastern nation and at times a throw back to the Middle Ages. Take the booming business of Honor Killings in Basra. The local authorities say the have no control over these paid assassinations that often target young women.

For as little as $100 you can hire a killer to defend your family's honor by assassinating an unfaithful wife, or a disobedient daughter. So far this year, 81 women in the city have been murdered for allegedly bringing shame on their families. Only five people have been convicted. In some cases the police have even been reported to have congratulated the man hiring the killer!

The story is tragic and really shows the gulf between East and West. It should also give pause to anyone who believes they really understand the situation on the ground in Iraq. I seriously doubt anyone does.

NPR Journalist Escapes Car Bombing In Iraq

One of the great things about NPR reporting is how they go beyond the surface and actually do some "reporting". I especially have liked the stories NPR has brought from Iraq. Behind the PR of the US occupation force and the Iraqi government there are often poignant and disturbing tales of what Iraq is like now.

That "real Iraq" was hammered home to NPR correspondent Ivan Watson and his colleagues yesterday when their armored BMW was destroyed by a "sticky bomb" planted by a terrorist.
Luckily the NPR crew was warned away from the car at the last moment by Iraqi soldiers who had received a tip that the reporters would be targeted.

The car was blown up in Rabiye Street, once a bustling commercial street filled with boutiques and cafes. The crew had been doing an interview with a Kebab shop owner just prior to the explosion.

What this incident does is make abundantly clear that Iraq is still in a state of chaos, despite the years of our occupation and the work by the Iraqi authorities. Life there is far from normal, no matter what Dick Cheney and George Bush say. I also suspect the target of the attack was specifically intended to harm American journalists, reinforcing my belief that our presence is doing more harm than good right now.

I expect we will hear more from Ivan Watson on this incident on NPR soon.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

New FDA Regulation Allows Poison In Infant Formula

How much Melamine is safe for infants? Well back in October the FDA said they didn't know, but now they have set a level of 1 part per million of melamine in formula, provided a related chemical isn't present. No research is cited, no explanation of why it's safe, just a new regulation that is higher than the level previously allow and even higher than regulations in countries like Taiwan.

The chemical that poisoned infants in China is now considered safe in low doses for our kids? How much poison is not all that bad? This is another attempt by the outgoing Bush administration to shove through regulations that are beneficial to business, especially imported goods business, and detrimental to our citizens. Another last minute "F*#k You" on the way out the White House door.

Couldn't we just arrest the guy and his henchmen and charge them with treason now?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Wal-Mart Stampede Ends In Death For Employee

That happy face logo of Wal-Mart's seems pretty ironic today as a throng of suburban New York shoppers crashed through the doors of a Nassau County Wal-Mart and trampled a 34-year-old part-time worker to death. A crowd of 2000 people had already lined up outside the store by 5:00am this morning. People in the real of the crowd began pushing and soon the crowd broke through the glass doors and rushed into the store.

As they did they knocked Jdimytai Damour of Jamaica, Queens to the floor and proceeded to trample him to death in a mad rush for bargains.

Aside from the horrific idea that buying cheap crap at Wal-Mart was more important than a human life, this was an entirely preventable death and that is also shocking. Why the store had insufficient preparations for the crowd, had not given employees training in crowd control and had insufficient security on hand should be the subject of a big fat lawsuit.

I was watching a program on TV last night showing at least 5 scenes of shoppers doing similar things in the past, though no deaths were involved. The videos showed people first crowding and then being pressed forward through too-narrow doors and passageways and some falling. Instead of helping the fallen shoppers to their feet, the crowd simply walked over and around them as though they were simple an inconvenience.

I had remarked to my partner that it was amazing no one had been killed in these "black Friday" sore promotions, and BINGO, my prediction paid off in a tragic way.

Crowds have an energy and mind of their own. even people who are decent and law abiding can turn into an ugly mob in the right circumstances. I would be quick to criticize the shoppers for being inhuman, but their actions are all too human. Whether we like it or not, we still have a certain amount of "herd mentality" in us, and in the worst cases it comes out. The Wal-Mart stampede is just an example of that.

What we can do to prevent this in the future is avoid creating circumstances where this thinking takes over. We could start by making sure anyone who is planning a mass event like this sale, has proper preparation and a permit, much like a Parade Permit for a public event. This might keep greedy retailers from pulling stunts that cause these kinds of accidents.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

President Elect Obama's Thanksgiving Message

Macy's Parade - Guilty Pleasure

Watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade before going to church this morning I remembered why I love Broadway so much. The cast of In the Heights did a wonderful number from the show and the male cast of South Pacific did "There is Nothing Like a Dame". South Pacific hasn't been on Broadway since its first run and it still is filled with the clever lyrics and great music that made it a hit.

For me South Pacific was only a movie, since I was too young to see it in the theater as a kid. Watching this number I remembered not only how great the show was, but how homoerotic the scene was. A whole stage full of shirtless muscular guys talking about what they do without women. No irony that Ray Walston was one of the stars in the movie. Now I guess I am going to have to go to New York and see it live.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Obama's Help Out For Thanksgiving

One of the things I like about Obama is how he can do things that just look ordinary. No hoopla, no big press op, just do it. He was helping hand out food for Thanksgiving to the needy in Chicago today at a church. This is raw video and you can see him and his family helping out. No granted, he just dropped by for a few moments. The Secret Service would not let him just hang out, but it is genuine and it has been so long since we have seen that quality in a President!

Bush Drinking Again? Sure Looks Like It!

It's no secret that I am a recovering addict. I last used drugs and alcohol over 20 years ago and have been clean and sober ever since. I know a lot of recovering alcoholics and I have seen my share of them have slips, so I can tell you with some knowledge that I really believe President Bush has "slipped".

From the pictures of him downing the traditional Peruvian cocktail, a Pisco Sour, to his reclusive and erratic behavior of late Mr Bush looks very much like a drunk who has fallen off the wagon. Slurred speech, (well he always sounds like that) confused and disoriented. Looking very tired and downright unhealthy!

I am not the only one who thinks so either. The problem is having a lame duck president who is soused and liable to do just about anything. I understand why Laura wants to live in Dallas and let him live on the ranch!

Now the question is how do you do an intervention on the President? If he is drinking again, the Secret Service has been enabling him. Worse he has been wandering around world leaders and you know how "handsy" he can get, just ask Angela Merkel.

Maybe he would just like to take a long vacation at the ranch and just let President Elect Obama step in for the news few weeks?

Crazy Straight People Trying To Defend Marriage Again!

It amazes me how crazy fundamentalists get about LGBT people getting married. To hear them talk you would think that because I might marry my partner of 14 years, their marriages would shatter. Say what?

Logic has nothing to do with the arguments against gay marriage, the entire issue is emotional and has no shred of logic to it. Just look at the campaign that has gone online by the Alliance for Marriage Foundation. Their website which is supposedly designed to protect DOMA (The Defense of Marriage Act) is filled with emotional appeals to people about how important their marriages are to them.

I have no argument with the importance of marriage to the married couples. It is important, and it is a sacrament of the church. My problem is the government getting in the sacrament business! Governments should protect the legal rights of couples and the churches should do the marriage. Civil Unions for everyone!

Another insidious feature of the "protect DOMA" website is that all the quotes are from Hispanic or African-American people. They obviously believed the flawed statistic that African-America Obama supporters overwhelmingly voted for Prop 8 in California.

Look, all you crazy straight fundamentalists, if you want to defend your marriages, don't get divorced. Even better, do a whole lot of soul searching and compatibility work before you get married! That would really defend your marriage.

Meanwhile, I have decided that until I get the full rights of every citizen of this country, including the legal equivallent of marriage, I will refuse to support any politician or official who actively denies me my full rights as a US Citizen. I would stop paying taxes, but I really have a thing about jail time. And for all you crazy straight people, well go work out your sexual insecurity issues somewhere else and leave me alone!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Citi Group Bailout Is A Mess

I was reading about the Citi Group bailout and wondering why this plan went through with not so much as a "pardon me" from Congress, yet the automakers are still scrambling. Granted GM and the other big three didn't come with any kind of plan and they should have been asked what they were going to do with any money, but the Citi mess is silly.

According to Paul Krugman, here is a short summary of the deal:

A bailout was necessary — but this bailout is an outrage: a lousy deal for the taxpayers, no accountability for management, and just to make things perfect, quite possibly inadequate, so that Citi will be back for more.

Amazing how much damage the lame ducks can do in the time remaining.

With the incompetence shown by this administration in the past it is amazing the Congress has not asked for a little accountability with the nation's treasure.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Pardon Time! Bush Breaks Out The Pardon Pen

I can only assume Bush is sitting in the Oval Office sipping Schnapps and chuckling as he spends his final days issuing pardons of thieves and drug dealers. Most of whom I will bet are white and wealthy (just a guess). Here are the 14 he did today. Look for higher profile ones to follow soon.

_Leslie Owen Collier of Charleston, Mo. She was convicted for unauthorized use of a pesticide and violating the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.

_Milton Kirk Cordes of Rapid City, S.D. Cordes was convicted of conspiracy to violate the Lacey Act, which prohibits importation into the country of wildlife taken in violation of conservation laws.

_Richard Micheal Culpepper of Mahomet, Ill., who was convicted of making false statements to the federal government.

_Brenda Jean Dolenz-Helmer of Fort Worth, Texas, for reporting or helping cover up a crime.

_Andrew Foster Harley of Falls Church, Va. Harley was convicted of wrongful use and distribution of marijuana and cocaine.

_Obie Gene Helton of Rossville, Ga., whose offense was unauthorized acquisition of food stamps.

_Carey C. Hice Sr. of Travelers Rest, S.C., who was convicted of income tax evasion.

_Geneva Yvonne Hogg of Jacksonville, Fla., convicted of bank embezzlement.

_William Hoyle McCright Jr. of Midland, Texas, who was sentenced for making false entries, books, reports or statements to a bank.

_Paul Julian McCurdy of Sulphur, Okla., who was sentenced for misapplication of bank funds.

_Robert Earl Mohon Jr. of Grant, Ala., who was convicted of conspiracy to distribute marijuana.

_Ronald Alan Mohrhoff of Los Angeles, who was convicted for unlawful use of a telephone in a narcotics felony.

_Daniel Figh Pue III of Conroe, Texas, convicted of illegal treatment, storage and disposal of a hazardous waste without a permit.

_Orion Lynn Vick of White Hall, Ark., who was convicted of aiding and abetting the theft of government property.

Bush also commuted the prison sentences of John Edward Forte of North Brunswick, N.J., and James Russell Harris of Detroit, Mich. Both were convicted of cocaine offenses.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Dubai Atlantis Resort - Ultimate FIreworks Show!

The economy here may be tight but in Dubai that still have money to burn, literally. The new Atlantis resort opened with a gala celebration that featured what surely must be one of the world's largest fireworks spectaculars ever presented. The event involved the entire "palm island" and could best be seen from space. The video below is a pale comparison to the real thing but it's the best I could do.

Word is the party cost over $22,224,000 and was attended by a host of celebrities, all of which I assume still have lots of cash. Now I know who will live in all those super high dollar high-rises they are building.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Helping Out The America Car Industry

Though GM and the other big 3 showed up in their corporate jets to beg for bailout money from Congress, they really need it. Hundreds of thousands of American jobs are on the line and if you consider the other thousands those jobs support we are talking huge disaster if GM were to shutter its plants.

What the car makers lacked was a real plan for what they are going to do with the cash. If they intend on only using it to plug up the leaks it won't work. They need a real plan of action, albeit preliminary, to show that they actually have a vision of what the American car manufacturing worlds will look like post-recession. Perhaps a real effort to move toward non-internal combustion cars? Or a genuine fuel efficient model that doesn't look cheap and tacky.

The Japanese figured this out long ago and they lead the market in fuel efficiency and style, why can't we take that back? Perhaps because the management of the Big 3 are a bunch of ossified old billionaires who have no idea what their market is anymore.

I sincerely hope they will put their over-paid heads together and come back to Congress with a plan. The US cannot afford to let them fail. Hundreds of thousands of jobs depend on it and that will affect our whole economy. I have already written my representatives and asked them to find a way to help the automakers. We did it once with Chrysler and it worked out pretty well, we can do it again.

Friday, November 21, 2008

One More - Old School Hitler Rap!

OK, couldn't resist just one more Hitler parody. This one is old school by Mel Brooks. It was released with the DVD of "To Be or Not To Be". Enjoy or be horrified!

Rise and Fall of the Mortgage Market! finds really great stuff, especially for a Friday afternoon. Finally, something in the mortgage crisis to laugh about. Ignore that the translation is bogus and enjoy!

Bush Burned In Effigy In Baghdad

Well so much for that "George Bush Square" that Richard Pearle has been holding out for in Baghdad. Today, followers of Muqtada al-Sadr held a rally and prayer vigil where they stomped and burn an effigy of Bush. Apparently they don't like us occupying their country? How unusual?

The protest was to voice their opinion on the recently negotiated pact that would allow US forces to stay in Iraq until 2011. It has yet to be ratified by the Iraqi Congress, but passage is expected soon. To give an idea of how different people see this agreement, in our country it's called a "U.S.-Iraqi security pact" but in Iraq it's called a "withdrawal agreement".

Tomato tom-ah-toe!

Obama's Choices & The Road Ahead

I remember after the primaries that I had spoken with friends who were Hillary supporters. I told them that I thought she would make a great Secretary of State. She has the contacts with foreign leaders. She is a very accomplished politician and diplomat and she can be very tough and formidable when necessary. All of those are good skills for a Secretary of State, especially given our current standing in the world.

The choice of Hillary has been criticized by some in the blogosphere but for me it’s a great fit. I think Obama’s choices for his cabinet so far are sound and he has chosen people who are experienced but not worn out. He has not made the mistake Bush made by inserting the cabinet of his party’s predecessors as his own. The bush cabinet looked like a replay of Bush Sr.!

Now it’s time to put the network of individuals to work, those supporters of Obama who are now wired up in his network. So far he has encouraged people to help out inn the wildfire relief in California, and that is a good start. The network of supporters will form the basis of a new American activist movement, motivated people who are willing to respond at the ring of a text message to pull together for the good of our country.

My hope is that all of us who are part of that network are as willing to work as we were to vote!

Transgender Day of Rememberance

I missed the date, but the sentiment is still valid. Yesterday was Transgender Day of Rememberance. The Transgender Day of Remembrance was set aside to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice.

I count a lot of Transgender folk in my group of friends and I know from their stories the challenges they face. My hope is that their struggle as well as the struggle of all queer people will make great strides in the coming years.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Detroit Shows Up For A Handout

So Detroit showed up in Washington today with their hands out and their private jets waiting on the runways. OK, so that is a slightly unfair thing to say, but it was a bad image to give for their poor-house story.

Detroit is suffering from lots of problems, most of which are a lack of imagination and poor management. Granted there are expenses for wages, pensions and health care, but the biggest problem is that they don’t make cars people want. The big 3 have continued to make big gas guzzlers when America wants small efficient cars like the Toyota Prius. Detroit makes small cars, but in general they suck. They feel cheap and drive crummy and look worse.

There is a lot of hope and fortune tied up in the Chevy Volt, but if it premiers at $40,000 it won’t go anywhere. A luxury price for an electric car is silly. For the rich who want an electric car, there already is the Tesla. For the common man, a reasonably priced electric is the answer. Why Detroit can’t figure out how to do that is a mystery. Fewer moving parts, less assembly, what’s the problem?

Well, electric cars have been around for a while. The EV1 was a hit with consumers but failed for the company since dealers hated it. Not enough service money. Besides it was done at gunpoint for California only. Why couldn’t they just roll out a larger production version? It could be on the market right now!

My hope is the automakers return to Washington with a real plan to save the industry. I feel sure the Senate and House will support them if they come with more than their hands out.

Happy Great American Smokeout!

Today, the Thursday before Thanksgiving is the Great American Smokeout. No it isn't a barbecue, it's the American Lung Association's drive to end smoking in America.

Now as an ex-cigarette smoker, you would think I would be sympathetic to those folks who still continue to sully their lungs with cigarette smoke, but I am not. I am tired of going to a bar and coming home reeking of cigarettes. Getting that smell out of leather is a real bitch!

I will freely admit I have smoked cigars in the past, and though I find the smell of cigar smoke a turn-on, I know many folks do not. So in the interest of the community I have forsaken the stogies and gone smoke-free. Now if Dallas would just pass an anti-smoking ordinance for all public buildings we all could breath more freely.

I understand there are those who claim it will hurt business in bars, but I know folks in San Francisco who tell me that the bars are just as busy as ever several years after a smoking ban. The lure of camaraderie, booze and sex is stringer than nicotine! In fact without the smoke, I might even show up at our local watering holes more often, knowing it wouldn't take a dry cleaners to remove the sediment of the nights visit from my clothing.

So here is to the Great American Smokeout. Good luck to everyone who is trying to quit. My suggestion as someone who did quit is just go cold turkey. Find lots of good books and take up a hobby. You surely can find better things to do with your hands than lift a burning tube of paper and tobacco to your lips every few seconds.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Internet Pirates! 50 Million Individuals Medical Info Stolen

First it was the pirates off the coast of Somalia and now it's on the internet!

If you thought your medical history and prescription information was secure, think again. Express Scripts, one of the nation's largest pharmacy benefits managers, got a nasty little extortion letter which included personal information from 75 Express Scripts clients inlcuding Social Security numbers, dates of birth and, in some cases, information about prescription medications.

According to a story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "the letter demanded money from the company — the amount has not been disclosed — and threatened to use the Internet to reveal personal and medical information about millions of people if the demands were not met."

The company manages information on 50 million workers at 1,600 American companies. That is a very big security breach and the FBI is pressing forward on the case.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Begich Wins Alaska, Ted Stevens Is Out!

The Associated Press just called Alaska's Senatorial race in favor of Mark Begich who will become the first Democratic Senator from Alaska in recent memory. Ted Steven's 40 year career has now ended in a flurry of scandal and his conviction.

Begich has 150,728 votes (47.76 percent) and Stevens has 147,004 (46.58 percent). Under state law, the only time an automatic recount is triggered is in the case of a tie. Stevens can request one, but would have to pay for it himself.

Repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell - Generals & Admirals Petition

From PageOneQ comes the text of a petition signed and calling on the new administration to repeal the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy. Here is the text and the signers of the petition:

We – the undersigned -- respectfully call for the repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. Those of us endorsing this letter have dedicated our lives to defending the rights of our citizens to believe whatever they wish. Scholarly data shows there are approximately one million gay and lesbian veterans in the United States today as well as 65,000 gays and lesbians currently serving in our armed forces. They have served our nation honorably. We support the recent comments of former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General John Shalikashvili, who has concluded that repealing the "don't ask, don't tell" policy would not harm and would indeed help our armed forces. As is the case with Great Britain, Israel, and other nations that allow gays and lesbians to serve openly, our service members are professionals who are able to work together effectively despite differences in race, gender, religion, and sexuality. Such collaboration reflects the strength and the best traditions of our democracy.

Former Secretary of the Army Clifford Alexander
Admiral Charles Larson, USN (ret.)
Lieutenant General Quinn Becker, USA (ret.)
Lieutenant General Henry Emerson, USA (ret.)
Lieutenant General Robert Flowers, USA (ret.)
Lieutenant General Robert Gard, USA (ret.)
Lieutenant General Jerry Hilmes, USA (ret.)
Lieutenant General Claudia Kennedy, USA (ret.)
Lieutenant General Donald Kerrick, USA (ret.)
Lieutenant General Ira Owens, USA (ret.)
Lieutenant General Thomas Rienzi, USA (ret.)
Vice Admiral Harold Koenig, USN (ret.)
Vice Admiral Jack Shanahan, USN (ret.)
Vice Admiral James Zimble, USN (ret.)
Major General Anders Aadland, USA (ret.)
Major General Floyd Baker, USA (ret.)
Major General Harry Brooks Jr., USA (ret.)
Major General Leslie Burger, USA (ret.)
Major General Alexander Burgin, USANG (ret.)
Major General Rosetta Burke, AUS (ret.)
Major General William Burke, USA (ret.)
Major General Michael Conrad, USA (ret.)
Major General Eugene Cromartie, USA (ret.)
Major General James Delk, AUS (ret.)
Major General Oliver Dillard, USA (ret.)
Major General John Faith, USA (ret.)
Major General Jack Farris, USAF (ret.)
Major General Fred Forster, USANG (ret.)
Major General Robert Gamrath, AUS (ret.)
Major General Albert Genetti Jr., USA (ret.)
Major General Luis Gonzales-Vales, AUS (ret.)
Major General David Hale, USA (ret.)
Major General Randy Jayne, USANG (ret.)
Major General Lawrence Johnson, AUS (ret.)
Major General Dennis Laich, USA (ret.)
Major General Frederick Lawson, AUS (ret.)
Major General Thomas Lynch, USA (ret.)
Major General Dennis Malcor, USA (ret.)
Major General John Roth, AUS (ret.)
Major General Henry Rasmussen, USA (ret.)
Major General Alan Salisbury, USA (ret.)
Major General Michael Scotti Jr., USA (ret.)
Major General Harry Sieben, USANG (ret.)
Major General Paul Smith, USA (ret.)
Major General Robert B. Smith, USA (ret.)
Major General Charles Starr Jr., USA (ret.)
Major General Story Stevens, USA (ret.)
Major General Joseph E. Turner, AUS (ret.)
Brigadier General John C. Adams, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Clara Adams-Ender, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Hugh Aitken, USMC (ret.)
Brigadier General John "Joe" Allen, USAF (ret.)
Brigadier General Patricia Anderson, AUS (ret.)
Brigadier General Dale Barber, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General George Baxter, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Robert Baxter, USAF (ret.)
Brigadier General George Blysak, AUS (ret.)
Brigadier General Harold Bowman, USANG (ret.)
Brigadier General Douglas Bradley, AUS (ret.)
Brigadier General Jack Capps, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Richard Carter, AUS (ret.)
Brigadier General Steve Chapplis, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General BG David Cole, AUS (ret.)
Brigadier General William Colvin, USANG (ret.)
Brigadier General Joseph Cutrona, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Tom Daniels, USAF (ret.)
Brigadier General Von DeLoatch, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Robert Dilworth, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General George Eggers Jr., USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Evelyn Foote, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Robert Giffen, USAF (ret.)
Brigadier General Robert Hardy Jr., USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Carlos Hayden, AUS (ret.)
Brigadier General Edwin Heffelfinger, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General James Hunt, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General John H. Johns, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General J.D Johnson, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Keith H. Kerr, CSMR (ret.)
Brigadier General Douglas Kinnard, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Dean Mann, AUS (ret.)
Brigadier General James Martin, USAF (ret.)
Brigadier General William Meehan II, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Harold Miller, AUS (ret.)
Brigadier General Kenneth Newbold, AUS (ret.)
Brigadier General I.R. Obenchain Jr., USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Phil Peay, USANG (ret.)
Brigadier General Dorothy Pocklington, AUS (ret.)
Brigadier General Robert Poirot, AUS (ret.)
Brigadier General Philip Pushkin, USANG (ret.)
Brigadier General Virgil Richard, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General William Richter, AUS (ret.)
Brigadier General Kenneth Rieth, AUS (ret.)
Brigadier General Ernst Roberts, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Murray Sagsveen, AUS (ret.)
Brigadier General Norman Salisbury, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Donald Schenk, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Bettye Simmons, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Theodore Vander Els, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Daniel Wardrop, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Robert Watling, AUS (ret.)
Brigadier General John Weinzettle, USA (ret.)
Rear Admiral James Barnett, USN (ret.)
Rear Admiral Robert Krasner, USN (ret.)
Rear Admiral Charles Rauch, USN (ret.)
Rear Admiral Alan Steinman, USPHS (ret.)

  • AUS is the Army of the United States. **General Scotti passed away in September, 2007. His widow asked that his name remain on this statement.