Saturday, July 05, 2008

"Mission Accomplished" For Bin Laden!

So who is really winning the "war on Terror"? Looking at the score card, I would say Osama bin Laden pretty much has the most numbers in the win column. The folks at Think Progress came up with a great statistic that really should give anyone who supports the Bush cabal pause.

Back in 1998, Bin Laden ranted that oil, then priced at %11 a barrel should go for $144 a barrel. One of his big beefs against the west was that he claimed we had"stolen $36 trillion from Muslims" in the Middle-East buying oil at cheap prices. At the time of the 9-11 attacks oil was six times cheaper than now.

Now considering that Bin Laden, the planner of the attacks is still at large and our country is out BILLIONS of dollars and THOUSANDS of lives, who is winning this alleged war?

A Personal Rant - Death, Newspapers & HIV

OK, I just looked at the last three entries on my blog and I sound like my grandmother. Seems all I have been talking about its who died. I guess I have been reading the internet equivalent of the obituaries in the newspaper. You remember newspapers don't you? Those things that were published daiuly and got ink all over your fingers.

Speaking of newspapers, my column in the Dallas Voice is about a very serious issue in the gay community. HIV infection rates are up 12% among young gay men. This means all the work and education we did during the 1980's has been forgotten or is no longer working. Time for another gearing up of the message, and despite what the drug companies would tell you, HIV/AIDS is NOT just a chronic condition like diabetes. It is mostly fatal and costs millions in medical expenses and drug bill per year.

Don't believe the advertising that all you have to do is takle a simple pill once a day. Bullshit! That simple pill, first of all will cost you sometimes over $1000 per month and without the really good insurance, you just get sick and waste away. Sorry to be so crass, but it's time we stopped sugar coating this epidemic. Want to see what AIDS does, look at the pictures of African patients.

For more of this rant, read my column in the Dallas Voice.

Kermit Love Dead At 91

The man who created Big Bird with Jim Henson is dead, long live Big Bird!.. Damn. People I knew in my early career in TV are dropping like flies!

Kermit whose white flowing beard garnered him lots of "Santa Clause" jokes was a timeless man. His wit and humor endeared him to everyone. His genius will live on in his characters and his work on film and TV.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Mr. Bozo, Larry Harmon Dies At 83

My first paying job in television was playing Professor Tweedy Foofer on the local Bozo TV show here in Dallas. At that time it was live TV and on Channel 39 the first UHF station in the area.

During my stint as the Professor and in my other job as cameraman at the station I got to meet and work with Larry Harmon, the man behind the Bozo franchise. Larry lived, slept, and breathed Bozo. He was the first "Type A" personality I distinctly remember meeting.

Though he didn't invent the character, Larry made Bozo a household word. The late Pinto Colvig created the voice, he's the same man who did Goofy for Disney. He recorded the Bozo series for Capitol Records under the creative talents of Alan Livingston the creator of the character.

Larry bought the Bozo concept from Capitol and rolled it into a national phenomenon. He franchised Bozo's in TV stations across the country and before long the clown was entertaining thousands of children every day both live in the studios and on TV.

Our little show in Dallas became so well organized that Larry began using us as the Bozo University to trian clowns for shows across the country. The talents of Paul Osborne, who played the Ringmaster as well as did all the graphics for the show and Doug Lytton who was Bozo himself helped train dozens of Bozos over the years. Part of that training was the Bozo voice.

Larry could never reproduce Pinto Colvig's trademark characterization and so he changed Bozo's voice to a more easily mimicked voice with a foggy quality to it. My favorite thing to do was to torment Larry by doing my impression of Pinto Colvig, who I can almost duplicate, and watch Larry grow speechless. That was a rare thing for Harmon, who was rarely at a loss for words.

Larry was a tireless entrepreneur and pitchman and the world will be a little less bouncy because of his loss. Harmon died at 83. My best wishes and sympathy to his family and friends.
Even though I haven't seen Larry in many years, I will miss him.

Biggot, Homophobe, Ex-Senator Jesse Helms - Dead At 86

Unrepentant racist and enemy to the entire LGBT community Jesse Helms has finally left the building. The former Republican Senator from North Carolina died today.

I am sure the GOP will start with their lofty praise for this mean old fart, but as for me, I can't celebrate the life of anyone so downright nasty. Here is a sample of Helm's quotes:

In a response to a fictional character in one of his newspaper clumns Helms wrote, "To rob the Negro of his reputation of thinking through a problem in his own fashion is about the same as trying to pretend that he doesn't have a natural instinct for rhythm and for singing and dancing."

As far as AIDS was concerned, "
"There is not one single case of AIDS in this country that cannot be traced in origin to sodomy."

I could go on but I would lose my appetite for the 4th of July hot dogs I am about to cook. has many more.

Happy July 4th!

Sometimes it's good to go back and really understand why our country came to exist. I took a few minutes to read the Declaration of Independence this morning and I wanted to share it with you. Don't get discouraged that it isn't a snappy little paragraph, but take time and really read it. Then try to remember it when you vote in November.

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

AFA Wants To Boycott McDonald's - Another Good Reason To Order A Big Mac!

I am no fan of McDonald's Hamburgers. That said, since hearing the American Family Association has launched a boycott of the fast-food chair, I will try my best to stop in to Mickey-D's for coffee whenever possible.

The new McCafe that just opened near my house has pretty good coffee and free WiFi wo hey, whats not to like?

The AFA is boycotting McDonald's because of, you guessed it, the gay thing! Their reason? Seems McDonald's Vice President of Communications Richard Ellis will serve on the Board of Directors of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC). To the God Fearing and Homo-Fearing folks at the AFA that is tantamount to joining NAMBLA.

So to all my gay readers and friends, stop into Mickey-D's for a Happy Meal today. To the right-wing wackos at the AFA, get over it!

Rove Now In Control Of McCain Campaign

The folks at called it. They quote an article by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune when discussing the elevation of Steve Schmidt to McCain campaign head as follows:

"The elevation of Steve Schmidt -- who worked closely with Karl Rove -- at McCain's headquarters represented a sharp diminishment of the responsibilities of Rick Davis, who has been McCain's campaign manager since the last shake-up nearly a year ago.

The move is the latest sign of increasing influence of veterans of Rove's shop in the McCain operation. Nicolle Wallace, who was communications director for Bush in the 2004 campaign (and in his White House) has joined the campaign as a senior adviser, and will travel with McCain every other week. Greg Jenkins, another veteran of Rove's operation who is a former Fox News producer and director of presidential advance in the Bush White House, was hired by Schmidt last week after a series of what McCain's advisers acknowledged were poorly executed campaign events."

So for all those folks who though McCain was anything but a George Bush clone, think again. Looks like Karl Rove will be guiding the campaign from behind the scenes as well as an on-camera figure on FOX. Look for dirty politics, racial slurs and buisness as usual from the GOP.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

McCain Campaign Staff Shake Up!

McCain has had a major shake up in his staff. Rick Davis is being booted and replaced by Karl Rove acolyte, Steve Schmidt. Though the McCain campaign says it isn't a shake up, it seems strange that Davis who was hired less than a year ago is being moved from such a critical positino at this time.

Schmidt will take over day to day operations of the campaign. This seems to be a shift on strategy and I would look for lots of Rove style dirty tricks!

Bush Stimulus Checks Stimulate Porn Biz

I really love the "law of unexpected consequences". An interesting statistic was released today by the Adult Internet Market Research Company. These are the folk that track trends in the erotic and adult film industries. They discovered a bump of 20 to 30% since the economic stimulus checks started going out! Glad to see someone is profiting from Bush's lame brained plan.

Think this is a fluke? Well according to the research group, “thirty two percent of respondents referenced the recent stimulus package as part of their decision to either become a new member, or renew an existing membership.”

Face it, America loves porn!

Right Wing Talk Show Host Says McCain Would Be Just More Bush!

Things in "Right Wing World" must be getting pretty bad when even conservative talk show hosts are telling the truth! Yesterday far-right talker Michael Smerconish was sitting in for Bill O'Reilly. He opened a segment by saying, “I’m going to tell you something else many of you are not going to want to hear."

"We’ve squandered resources in Iraq."

Then, he went on to detail why John McCain would be just acontinuation of the failed Bush presidency.

"To the extent that John McCain is representative of a continuation of the current Bush policy, I think it’s a huge impediment to his campaign for President of the United States. And I told him so. My feelings about this issue are so strenuous, are so strong, that it may represent a break point between yours truly and the Republican party in terms of the candidate on the top of the ticket. … I have never voted for a Democrat for President. I could do it on the strength of this issue alone because of my disagreement with the Administration and my fear that John McCain represents more of the same."

Think Progress has more and a video clip. Watch it and just imagine a talk show host saying this a few years ago. Unthinkable.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Tesla Motors To Build New Electric Car In Bay Area

I've been watching Tesla Motors for a few years. Their all-electric cars have shaken the auto industry who have long claimed electric cars were slow, impractical and always something "just a few years away". Tesla created a hand built sports car with the power and performance even a Ferrari can't match. Their all electric 2008 Tesla Roadster is a hot car, but the $109,000 price tag makes it inaccessible for all but the ultra-rich.

Now Tesla has announced they are building a plant in the San Francisco Bay Area to produce a lower cost vehicle. Still not a bargain car by any means the $60,000 five-passenger electric sports sedan will put more of these zero emission vehicles on the streets.

Tesla announced plans for the new factory yesterday
with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in attendance. The plant had been planned for New Mexico, but the state of California gave some hefty tax incentives to attract the new industry.

"We want these cutting edge companies not just to start in California and do their research and development here. We want them to build in California," siad Gov. Schwarzenegger.

Now if we can just get GM and Ford to put their electric vehicles back in production we might have a chance to reveve the sagging US car industry and reduce dependence on foreign oil.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Obama On Patriotism - A Moving And Great Speech

I listened to the speech Barack Obama made in Independence, Missouri today. Once again he delivered a great piece of oratory. It was a great speech for the week of July 4th and an even better one for a candidate that has been wrongly accused of being unpatriotic because he didn't wear a cheezy flag lapel pin.

This is one of my favorite passages from the speech.

I believe those who attack America's flaws without acknowledging the singular greatness of our ideals, and their proven capacity to inspire a better world, do not truly understand America.

Of course, precisely because America isn't perfect, precisely because our ideals constantly demand more from us, patriotism can never be defined as loyalty to any particular leader or government or policy. As Mark Twain, that greatest of American satirists and proud son of Missouri, once wrote, "Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it." We may hope that our leaders and our government stand up for our ideals, and there are many times in our history when that's occurred. But when our laws, our leaders or our government are out of alignment with our ideals, then the dissent of ordinary Americans may prove to be one of the truest expression of patriotism.

Read the entire speech here.

McCain's Lack Of Tech Savvy A Problem

In the 21st Century anyone who thinks a candidate for president can be computer illeterate and still govern our country needs a wake up call. Those are the phone calls hotels used to make instead of expecting you to be able to operate an alarm clock.

John McCain admits he is a "computer illiterate" and "aware of the internet". As a candidate trying to appeal to a country where even the most remote towns and burgs have internet access and Ma and Pa are making a few extra bucks selling antiques on Ebay it sounds like McCain is not exactly up to date.

If the GOP hopes to recapture the youth of America and not just fade away (something I wish they would do), they need to get McCain up to speed and online. Yeah, like that's going to happen!

Is John McCain The Manchurian Candidate?

If I was a sneaky bastard, like the folks spreading the rumors about Barack Obama, I’d make sure everyone saw the movie Manchurian Candidate. In it a former prisoner of war is psychologically programmed to commit an act of treason.

While John McCain was being tortured, was he being programmed? Is there any way to know for sure. We can only take his word for it and if he was programmed, well he would be trained to lie.

See how easy it is to start a rumor? Now it is up to the McCain forces to prove me wrong. Except, they can’t, McCain may be programmed to lie about it so how can you trust him?

So let’s just stop this rumor crap before it becomes a big problem for everyone. Remember, the American people are good, honest and hard working and gullible as can be! Didn’t they buy a war with Iraq and believe Sadaam was responsible for 9/11?

John McCain Home Tour - Elitist?

So, I guess having 10 to 13 homes across the country really doesn't make you an elitist. At least that's the reasoning of the GOP who has been throwing that term at Obama lately. Meanwhile, John McCain and his wife own prime properties in the most exclusive areas of the country.

The Jed Report
made a nice Google Earth tour.

Baptist Scholar Says Wives Bring On Abuse Themselves

Sometimes I just have to marvel at the insipid interpretations of the Bible fundamentalists come up with. They claim they believe in "literal interpretation' of the Bible but when pressed on issues of conflicting stories in the bible, they resort to interpretive meanings.

Beyond that kind of minutia, are the just plain wacko fundamentalists who find verses and justifications in the Bible for anything they want. Take Reverend Bruce Ware of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

From the pulpit in Denton, Texas he gave men who abuse their wives a free pass. He puts the blame squarely on the wives for their abuse.
And husbands on their parts, because they’re sinners, now respond to that threat to their authority either by being abusive, which is of course one of the ways men can respond when their authority is challenged - -or, more commonly, to become passive, acquiescent, and simply not asserting the leadership they ought to as men in their homes and in churches,”
Its good to know that Ware at least acknowledges these men are "sinners", though he gives them a free pass because their wives "made them" do it. Give me that Old Tyme Religion!

Note: I consider myself a liberal Christian. If you want more information of people who follow Jesus and are not intolerant or trying to live in the stone age, check out my church's denomination, the United Church of Christ.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

McCain's Home In Default For 4 Years Of Unpaid Taxes

As the real John McCain becomes more and more evident, the maverick seems more like a scofflaw. Huffington Post has discovered that John McCain has been shirking taxes on his condo in La Jolla, California. He is four years behind in tax payments and the property has gone into default.

I guess it’s understandable that you could forget one home when you own seven of them. Not surprisingly, as Newsweek was about to release the story, McCain suddenly paid the back taxes.’

I guess if you are poor, you just lose your home, but if you are rich you can ignore the law and then jump in at the last minute and try to erase the evidence. In this time when so many people are losing their homes and mortgage companies going belly-up, it’s more than ironic that McCain and his wife are playing games with the real estate holdings. The problem is they have the money and could have kept the taxes current, they just chose not to. Now that’s a maverick!