Saturday, February 23, 2008

Mike Huckabee on Saturday Night Live

Just watched Mike Huckabee on Saturday Night Live explaining why he was still running in the Republican race. He has a great sense of humor, something McCain really needs and is lacking. As a coda to his appearance, he would not leave the segment, much like he won’t leave the GOP primary race.

Funny stuff. I only wish Huckabee wasn’t so right wing, he is a likable guy.

Friday, February 22, 2008

McCain And His Lobbyist "Friends"

Friends of John McCain! Watch it.

Bush Library Going Up At SMU

I drove by the area where ground is being prepared for the George W. Bush Presidential Library. It was a walled off piece of land on a back road at SMU. I suspect there had been nice little homes there prior to the demolition. Perhaps there were even almost middle class people living in them, though in University Park that term “Middle Class” is somewhat misleading. I am delighted that it will be relatively inaccessible from any direction I travel. Hidden behind a large concrete wall off Central Expressway US75, and out of my sight until it rises above a couple of floors is just fine with me.

The idea of building a presidential library for a person a secretive as Bush is silly. Might as well just dig a hole and bury everything in it, because he will never allow anything to be made public. Why? I can only speculate that what he has actually done makes what we as the public see pale in comparison. The real purpose of the building will be his foundation, another right-wing think tank. Just what our world needs!

Bush will likely retire here to Dallas, and clutter up our lives locally with lots of security and needless motorcades. I can’t wait!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Hillary Takes A Cheap Shot During Debate - Looks Really Bad!

I was watching the CNN Democratic Debate tonight wondering if Hillary or Barack would stumble, and I just saw Hillary trip big time! In discussion of the “controversy” over Obama’s alleged plagiarism, Hillary took a hard swipe at him by saying he was offering not “change you can believe in but change you could Xerox”. Reporters and Obama moaned at that remark, and well he should have. Until that point the discourse had been civil.

Hillary’s comment was trite and a cheap shot, and it made her look nasty and lowbrow. That can only play into the hands of people who would characterize her as “shrill” and “strident” both code words for the “B” word. She did herself no service with that cheap shot.

Change To WIn - Endorses Obama - More Labor Unions Move to Obama Camp!

Barack Obama now has another endorsement from labor. The organization Change to Win, a partnership of seven unions representing the Service Employees International Union, UNITE HERE, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Laborers' International Union of North America, Unite Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America and United Farm Workers of America has endorsed Senator Obama for the Democratic Party presidential nominee.

This endorsement and that of the Teamsters yesterday give Obama important allies for the primaries in Texas and Ohio. Labor, once considered Hillary Clintons base, seems to be shifting to Obama.

McCain Protesteth Too Much?

Though John McCain denies any wrongdoing, one of his closes aids until he left the campaign last year, John Weaver has a different story. (Washington Post has more.) Seems he met with Vicki Iseman at the Center Cafe at Union Station and urged her to stay away from McCain. His fear was that the close association between them would not play well for a candidate who claimed opponent of special interests.

Since the New York Times broke the story, McCain’s relationship with the attractive lobbyist has been on the front burner of the media stove. In a side note, here profile has been removed from her company’s website. Seems there is an effort to blunt or just plain cover up what may have happened. More as it develops.

World Feast - How We Eat

I first began understanding the bounty we are blessed with several years ago when I attended a World Feast, where ten people out of the hundred attendning were seated at a head table and served a sumptous banquet. The rest of us ate a bowl of white rice and water.

The point was to show how the vast majority of the world eats and how much food we in the developed nations consume and waste.

I received these pictures and notes from a good freind in an email. I sincerely hope I am not violating any copyrights by reprinting theme here and even more sincerely hope my readers will get the point!
__________________________________________________
Italy: The Manzo family of Sicily
Food expenditure for one week: 214.36 Euros or $260.11


Germany: The Melander family of Bargteheide
Food expenditure for one week: 375.39 Euros or $500.07


United States: The Revis family of North Carolina (Sure hope most AmericanFamilies eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and less junk food than this family.)
Food expenditure for one week $341.98

Mexico: The Casales family of Cuernavaca
Food expenditure for one week: 1,862.78 Mexican Pesos or $189.09



Ecuador: The Ayme family of Tingo
Food expenditure for one week: $31.55


Chad: The Aboubakar family of Breidjing Camp
Food expenditure for one week: 685 CFA Francs or $1.

Obama WIns 11th Primary - Democrats Abroad Vote

Make that 11 wins in a row for Barack Obama in the Democratic Primary race. He won the “Democrats Abroad Global Primary" Thursday. This is a vote by the over 20,000 American’s living abroad and is conducted by mail, in-person and online. Obama won 65% of the votes which were collected between Feb. 5 and Feb. 12.

Though the win only gives him a handful of delegates now he can expect more during the Democrats Abroad convention in Vancouver Canada in April. The GOP has no such provision for party members living outside the country.

Johnny Walker "L" Word Ad - Why Not Show It In US?

This ad really is great. Though I am not a fan of Johnny Walker, it's a positive ad that treats the subject of same-sex marriage with taste and sentiment.

US Army Blocks Access To Public Documents On-Line

The Internet has provided unprecedented access for millions of Americans. Through web sites and data bases, our government has made official records and documents available to everyone. For those who have never experienced it, the Library of Congress has a site that allows visitors to browse their extensive collections of photographs, documents and other media. It is a great research tool and a stirring experience for anyone interested in history.

Likewise the US Army had posted its printed documents, manuals and other unclassified materials for the use of the public and researchers. The collection is vast and its publication online was a great public service. Now that resource has disappeared.

The Reimer Public Library collection, a trove of documents that are all declassified and are approved for public release have been locked behind a password protected firewall. (http://atiam.train.army.mil/)
This is a troubling step by an administration whose preoccupation with secrecy borders on a fetish. Why should documents paid for by the American people whose contents have been cleared for public distribution, now be made “secret”.

Historians and researchers are upset as are open-government advocates. All Americans should be upset as well. The troubling trend toward secrecy by this administration hides the real workings of the government behind a veil. This kind of cloaking goes against the very principles on which our country was founded and that should sent an urgent message to everyone.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Thousands Attend Obama Rally in Dallas - Thousands Turned Away - Arena Filled To Capacity

My partner and I figured arriving aty Reunion Arena in downtown Dallas around 9:00am would be plenty early for a political rally that was scheduled at noon. For just about any other politician, that might have been true, but this rally was for Barack Obama and as we approached the area from the train station we saw that a few other people had the same idea, about 17000 of them.

We walked for 6 or 7 blocks through the snaking lines before finding the “end” where we took our place among the throng. Spirits were very high and the political chatter was intense. Most impressive was the crowd itself. I stood next to a man from Garland who had been an Obama supporter for a long time, next to him was a young white man still in college. This was his second election and he was stoked. Nearby were a couple of African American women who had ridden on the train with us, and beside them was an older white couple with a homemade sign reading “Ready for Change”.

The crowd was multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, all ages and incomes. It was truly a cross section of America and that is what I found so encouraging. We waited standing for almost 3 hours before the lines even started to move, and yet everyone was cheerful and excited. Few complained, even when the crowd pushed forward toward the narrow entrance of Reunion Arena.

Apparently the Secret Service was overwhelmed by the size of the crowds. They had set up screenings, but by the time our group made it to the door they were already packing their equipment. I suspect the campaign encouraged them to withdraw to allow the huge volume of humanity into the hall before the speeches started. According to news reports several thousand people who arrived late were turned away as the arena was filled to capacity.

We found seats on the upper deck in what would have been the end-zone for a sporting event. The view was good, if a little far from the action. As the speeches began, and former Mayor, Ron Kirk welcomed the crowd, people continued to stream into the arena. Almost every seat was filled by the time Senator Obama appeared. He was preceded by a rousing endorsement by former Cowboy Emmet Smith who got the crowd whipped into a frenzy.

When Obama finally did appear the standing ovation lasted for several minutes. The crowd seemed more like they were at a rock concert than a political rally. Enthusiasm was the mood of the day as Obama spoke about his plans for America. Much of his speech was from his standard stump speech, but several points were in direct response to attacks by Hillary Clinton and John McCain. He specifically addressed the criticism that his campaign is big on talk but not ideas. His proposed programs to improve education, health care and stem the outsourcing of US jobs were met with standing cheers. The biggest ovation came when he outlined a plan to provide an education to all Americans, even through college. The costs would be offset by a specified number of hours in public service from the students in exchange for their education. Cheers rung through the arena on that suggestion, and mostly from young people who would be affected by it. That is encouraging. It means that these young American’s are willing to serve their country in exchange for an education and that means they are motivated.

It has been a tough road for Obama in this primary season and it has affected his health. He was suffering from a cold, and even had to pause to blow his nose. That act even brought a round of applause. When is the last time a politician could say that?

By the end of the speech which lasted almost an hour, the crowd was motivated and ready to win the primary for Senator Obama. In Texas that means not just voting in the primary, but going to the precinct conventions after the polls close to pledge as delegates. It’s a strange system, but hey, this is Texas! This year, since we are a very important state in the run up to the general election, every vote counts. If you are a Texan and you are voting in the primary, ask at the polls where the precinct convention is and attend after the polls close. Without this support it could be possible for the outcome of the election to be “politicked” and that would be a bad thing for Texas and the Obama candidacy.

Clinton Fingerprints All Over Obama Plagiarism Charges

Though the Clinton campaign quickly pointed to the press when charges that Obama had shared lines from speeches of Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick it was the campaign that first posted clips on YouTube to highlight the similarities.

What Clinton Spins: "It's not us making this charge, it's the media," Clinton told Honolulu television station KITV Tuesday. "The media is finally examining my opponent which I think is important. We're trying to pick a president, someone for the toughest job in the world."

Fact Check: The New York Times reported the speech similarities Monday, having looked into them the day before. The Times story said the similarities "were highlighted by a rival campaign that did not want to be identified."

Seems like more of the same tricks Washington is filled with. More at Huffington Post.

Barack Obama In Dallas Today!

I’m on my way to the Obama rally today. Taking the train down to the Reunion Arena since I suspect it will be a madhouse there. Obama speaks at 12:00 noon, but the doors open at 10:30am. My partner Patrick and I plan to be there by 9:30am, it’s gonna be crowded!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Obama Wins Wisconsin!

Barack Obama wins Wisconsin, according to CNN projection with 30% of the votes in. Obama got 56% as of 9:00pm Central Time. Just saw the results on TV.

Blogging Live From Barack Obama Headquarters in Dallas!

Standing in the Barack Obama campaign headquarters in Downtown Dallas feels like going to a grown up high-school prom decoration event. People are everywhere making signs, handmade and sometimes not very well art directed, these signs reflect the genuine grass roots of the campaign. The slick printed signs and bumper stickers are on back order there is so much demand, but that doesn’t stop these people.

The media is here in abundance, interviewing volunteers and capturing the activity. There is a palpable feeling that everyone is doing something to help. Their faces reflect an optimism I haven’t seen in a long time and that is a good sign for America!

Located in the South Side Building on Lamar Street, a place now bustling with young professionals and the new urbanites who live in the lofts above the offices , Obama headquarters occupies a large storefront. It’s devoid of much d├ęcor save for the large posters of Barack and the dozens of laptop computers volunteers have brought for the business of getting out the vote.

I find the location of the place a bit ironic. When I was a child, this building housed a big Sears & Roebucks store and a catalog warehouse. The irony comes from my memories of that place. It was here that I wandered into a “colored only” restroom. Not being able to read at the age of 5, I just followed several boys into what I figured was a restroom. It was, but not nearly as nice as the ones I had been in at the store previously. That experience with segregation and its inequalities stayed with me, and even as a child I delighted in drinking from the black pedestal drinking fountains just because it made grown-ups very uncomfortable. Now that same store houses the headquarters for the man who may well become the first African-American president of the United States.

Sometimes I feel like my grandfather who used to shake his head and marvel at the changes that happened in Dallas over his lifetime. Now I shake my head and feel the same amazement. It’s time for this change, just as it was time for segregation to fade away in my childhood, it’s time for the old power structures to do the same.

Tomorrow I plan on attending the rally and listening to Barack Obama in person. It is my hope that I will be hearing the words of the man who will be president in a few short months!

Undersea Cables Interrupted - Accident or Sabotage?

I always find it interesting when the press fails to connect the dots that seem so clearly laid out. In the case of the undersea cables that have mysteriously been “accidentally” cut in the past few weeks. On cable cut accidentally seems reasonable. Two cut seems a little odd, and 5 would really go against any laws of pure chance!

Finally, someone is taking notice and speculating that the cable breaks could be sabotage. This seems increasingly likely sine all the cable in question serve the Middle East or South Asia. These communications cables carry Internet and high speed communications and are laid deep in the ocean to prevent accidental snags or cutting.

Why would someone want to cut them? I can think of at least one reason. To limit contact between factions in the Middle East and the rest of the world. That could be a goal of both governmental and terrorist organizations. This story begs more investigation and I hope some in the press will take more notice.

Clinton Camp Looking Desperate

The Clinton camp seems increasingly desperate. They have been circulating material calling Obama supporters “cultish” and “creepy”. That sounds like the kind of tactics a campaign on the ropes would pull. Clinton was expecting to walk away with the votes in the primaries so far and spent a mind blowing $130 million to end up in a neck and neck race. The Obama team is better organized and fired up with the kind of enthusiasm Hillary can’t match.

Clinton is looking more and more like a bully as she tries to seat delegates from Florida and Michigan even though those states broke Democratic Party rules and had their delegates revoked. Candidates eschewed those states, but Hillary’s team made a quiet effort to keep her name on ballots and get voters to the polls.

What dirty trick will she pull next?

MSNBC Slanders Obama With Bin Laden Graphic

MSNBC has once again started smearing Barack Obama by "unintentionally" confusing his name with Osama bin Laden. I put the word "unintentionally" in quotes because this latest smear was in the form of a well executed graphic that appeared over the shoulder of Chris Mathews shoulder while talking about the alleged controversy of plagiarized a speech by Obama. This is old news and was cleared up back in 2007, but the Clinton camp has resurrected it again as they see their lead trailing away.

The graphic was a picture of Osama bin Laden with the title "Word Over Words" below it. Hardly a mistake! Though Mathews apologized for the gaff, it is obvious it was intended to create that imprint of an association between Barack Obama and the Muslim radical.

MSNBC has long had a conservative leaning, but now they are aligning themselves with the yellow journalism of Fox News. At least I now know who to trust and who is willing to lie in the interest of their political agenda.

Monday, February 18, 2008

It's The Gay Penguins Again!

Those darned gay penguins again! Seems the children’s book “And Silo Makes Three” about the real life penguins in New York’s Central Park Zoo is getting banned in Loudoun County, Virginia. The story about two male penguins who began building a nest together and eventually nurtured an abandoned egg through hatching just seems too much like the Gay Agenda to the folks in Virginia.

In spite of winning several national book awards, it has also been restricted in schools in Shiloh, Illinois, and pulled entirely from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school district in North Carolina. Those darned Gay Penguins and their agenda!

Hillary Theme Song Video - OMG!

OK, I guess it had to happen after Obama's super-hit video that is sweeping YouTube. Hillary Clinton's folks made a music video. Here's the problem, it looks like an old "Up With People" routine set to a neo-motown track. My advice? Stick to talking and stop the music!

(In the interest of full disclosure, I am an Obama supporter, but still, puleeze!)


Cab Calloway & The Nicholas Brothers - Great American Entertainers

Taking a break from politics and current events. I was cruising YouTube and ran across a clip of three of my favorite performers, Cab Calloway and the Nicholas Brothers. This clip is from the movie, Stormy Weather, and it shows just how amazing tap dancing can be.

I was lucky enough to see Cab Calloway live once a few years before he died and he was amazing even then. Fred Astair called this number he "greatest dance number ever filmed." Enjoy and appreciate a truly American art form!

Diseased Cattle On The Menu - Another Stunning Meat Recall

The video shows sick cattle, so sick that they cannot stand up being prodded and shoved in one case by a fork lift toward the slaughterhouse. When cattle loose the ability to walk, they are sick, in some cases sick with diseases like Mad Cow Disease that can be transmitted to humans. That is why it is illegal to slaughter what are called in the industry "downer cattle" for consumption. Beyond that, the treatment of the cattle is inhumane.



Was this cruelty and health hazard caught by government inspectors? Nope, by the Humane Society in an undercover sting operation. Now the government has stepped in and is forcibly recalling 143 million pounds of beef much of it bound for school lunch programs. The problem is much of it has already been cooked and served.

The systematic gutting of the country’s food inspection system by the Bush administration may well be one of the most devastating legacies of a horrific presidency. At the bidding of big business, Bush and his cronies have cut back regulations everywhere, even when they are directly protecting the public health of millions. That is almost criminal.

Now another meat packer very well may go bankrupt. Like the now closed Topps Meat Company whose fortunes evaporated when a massive recall was issued because of lax health inspections and poor manufacturing processes, Hallmark Meat Packing will have a tough time weathering this storm. I have to wonder how it helps businesses to let them get in so deep because of lax regulation that they fail.