Sunday, October 31, 2010

KEEPING FEAR ALIVE!! - a poem by Stephen Colbert

Colbert's poem
presented by Sam Waterston

                       Are you sure?
copyright 2010 by the reverend Sir Dr. Stephen T. Colbert, DFA

Did you hear that?
You're probably going deaf.
It's your kids back home cooking up some crystal meth.

Did you turn off the oven?
Did you set the alarm?
They still haven't caught the man with one arm.

Look around at these people. How safe do you feel?
Your car when you parked -- did you lock it?
Thinking reasonably now what are the odds 
That nobody here's a pick pocket.

That guy who just coughed on your neck, 
Could he have an infection?
The restaurant where you went to brunch,
Did it fail its health inspection?

A madman could set loose a virus for which there isn't a cure.
And while these things may be unlikely
Ask yourself, are you sure?

And can you be sure that you won't get Ebola
From a tainted diet cola.
Toxic waste or getting chased by a bearded Ayatollah.

Funnel clouds and hail, anthrax in the mail.
Your lover will discover your vestigial tail.

Someone's robbing your house.
I can see through your blouse.
Your mother was right, you chose the wrong spouse.
Unlabeled Drano tornados torpedoes,
The horrible sites of some Guido’s in speedos.

STDs PCBs SUVs UV light.
A giant pimple on your face.
You have a date tonight.

Choking on a biscotti,
Being wacked by John Gotti
Getting trapped overnight
In a full port-o-potty.

And I’ve one final fear to drop in your bucket
About a friend of a friend of the man from Nantucket...

There once was a man from Eau Claire, who no one was able to scare.
He wouldn't join panics about the Hispanics
And later he was killed by a bear.

True story.

Jon Stewart Closing Remarks

Jon Stewart's Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear Closing Remarks:

“I can’t control what people think this was. I can only tell you my intentions. This was not a rally to ridicule people of faith or people of activism or to look down our noses at the heartland or passionate argument or to suggest that times are not difficult and that we have nothing to fear. They are and we do. But we live now in hard times, not end times. And we can have animus and not be enemies.

But unfortunately one of our main tools in delineating the two broke. The country’s 24 hour political pundit perpetual panic conflictinator did not cause our problems but its existence makes solving them that much harder. The press can hold its magnifying up to our problems bringing them into focus, illuminating issues heretofore unseen or they can use that magnifying glass to light ants on fire and then perhaps host a week of shows on the sudden, unexpected dangerous flaming ant epidemic.

If we amplify everything we hear nothing. There are terrorists and racists and Stalinists and theocrats but those are titles that must be earned. You must have the resume. Not being able to distinguish between real racists and Tea Partiers or real bigots and Juan Williams and Rick Sanchez is an insult, not only to those people but to the racists themselves who have put in the exhausting effort it takes to hate--just as the inability to distinguish terrorists from Muslims makes us less safe not more. The press is our immune system. If we overreact to everything we actually get sicker--and perhaps eczema.

And yet, with that being said, I feel good—strangely, calmly good. Because the image of Americans that is reflected back to us by our political and media process is false. It is us through a fun house mirror, and not the good kind that makes you look slim in the waist and maybe taller, but the kind where you have a giant forehead and an ass shaped like a month old pumpkin and one eyeball.

So, why would we work together? Why would you reach across the aisle to a pumpkin assed forehead eyeball monster? If the picture of us were true, of course, our inability to solve problems would actually be quite sane and reasonable. Why would you work with Marxists actively subverting our Constitution or racists and homophobes who see no one’s humanity but their own? We hear every damn day about how fragile our country is—on the brink of catastrophe—torn by polarizing hate and how it’s a shame that we can’t work together to get things done, but the truth is we do. We work together to get things done every damn day!

The only place we don’t is here or on cable TV. But Americans don’t live here or on cable TV. Where we live our values and principles form the foundations that sustains us while we get things done, not the barriers that prevent us from getting things done. Most Americans don’t live their lives solely as Democrats, Republicans, liberals or conservatives. Americans live their lives more as people that are just a little bit late for something they have to do—often something that they do not want to do—but they do it--impossible things every day that are only made possible by the little reasonable compromises that we all make.

Look on the screen. This is where we are. This is who we are. (points to the Jumbotron screen which show traffic merging into a tunnel). These cars—that’s a schoolteacher who probably thinks his taxes are too high. He’s going to work. There’s another car-a woman with two small kids who can’t really think about anything else right now. There’s another car, swinging, I don’t even know if you can see it—the lady’s in the NRA and she loves Oprah. There’s another car—an investment banker, gay, also likes Oprah. Another car’s a Latino carpenter. Another car a fundamentalist vacuum salesman. Atheist obstetrician. Mormon Jay-Z fan. But this is us. Every one of the cars that you see is filled with individuals of strong belief and principles they hold dear—often principles and beliefs in direct opposition to their fellow travelers.

And yet these millions of cars must somehow find a way to squeeze one by one into a mile long 30 foot wide tunnel carved underneath a mighty river. Carved, by the way, by people who I’m sure had their differences. And they do it. Concession by conscession. You go. Then I’ll go. You go. Then I’ll go. You go then I’ll go. Oh my God, is that an NRA sticker on your car? Is that an Obama sticker on your car? Well, that’s okay—you go and then I’ll go.

And sure, at some point there will be a selfish jerk who zips up the shoulder and cuts in at the last minute, but that individual is rare and he is scorned and not hired as an analyst.

Because we know instinctively as a people that if we are to get through the darkness and back into the light we have to work together. And the truth is, there will always be darkness. And sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t the promised land. Sometimes it’s just New Jersey. But we do it anyway, together.

If you want to know why I’m here and want I want from you, I can only assure you this: you have already given it to me. Your presence was what I wanted.

Sanity will always be and has always been in the eye of the beholder. To see you here today and the kind of people that you are has restored mine. Thank you."

Video of closing speech:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Don't tread on my head.

In Lexington, KY, volunteer, Lauren Valle was assaulted by a Rand Paul worker.   Prior to the rally there was a crowd of people protesting, including Valle.  Paul's car pulled up, he got out and, someone wearing a 'Don't tread on me' button wrestled Lauren Valle to the ground.  A man later identified as Tim Prophet (Burbon county coordinator for the Paul campaign) walked up and stomped on her head.

During an interview with  Keith Olberman, Ms. Valle explained she had been working on a satirical project about a fictional company called Repulicorp, a conglomerate merger between corporate America and the Republican party.  As a part of the project she dresses as an executive, goes to Republican rallies and tries to have a piece of the fictional company somewhere in the same photo as the candidate. 
Prior to the incident Valle was identified by the campaign so they knew who she was and why she was there.  She said "It was premeditated.  Before it all started my partner heard someone say  'we are here to do crowd control and we may need to take someone out.' "  She told Keith that "after the car pulled up they formed a blockade around me."  She tried to go around them so they chased her around the car, grabbed her, pulled her down and someone stomped on her head. 

In the midst of the struggle you can hear a voice saying "get the police, get the cops!"  And when Mr. Prophet had his foot on her head someone else off camera can be heard saying 'No, no, no, no, come on.'  as if to tell Tim to stop.

When asked to comment on the issue, candidate Paul called the incident 'unfortunate'. He said he wanted everyone to be civil and that the campaign should be about the issues. "When we arrived we saw there was enormous passion on both sides."
Was that an apology?

Alleged head stompper, Tim Prophet was quoted as saying "it [wasn't] as bad as it looked . . . the video made it seem worse than it was."  Personally, I don't know about that.  Her body sunk when he pressed his foot down and her face seemed to scrape the sidewalk.

Lauren Valle went to the hospital and is perusing charges.   There has been a summons issued and a court date set.  Olberman pointed out it was ironic the man pulling her down appeared to be wearing a 'don't tread on me' button.

Head stomp video


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Married Gay Man to be Deported

from The Daily Beast 

Henry Valendia and Josh Vandiver legally married earlier this year in Connecticut—one of the states to allow gay marriages. It seems they still aren’t receiving equal protection under the law, however, as the Defense of Marriage Act will not allow Vandiver to sponsor the residency of his husband, who is a Venezuelan immigrant. Velandia is scheduled to go before an immigration judge in November; he and Vandiver are hoping that his deportation will be delayed until the Supreme Court rules on the Defense of Marriage Act, which a lower court has called unconstitutional.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

How to buy an election.

During the 2008 election primaries a group called Citizens United created a movie/documentary about Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.  'Hillary: The Movie' was a right-wing, scathing criticism of Mrs. Clinton and starred people such as:

Hillary: The Movie
Gary Aldrich - "a driving force in the 1998 impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton." - website for Hillary: The Movie
Dick Armey - Co-Founder of the conservative 'Freedom Works'  
Michael Barone - Conservative columnest for the Washington Examiner and frequent guest on Fox News. 
Ann Coulter - Controversial writer who is quoted as saying, among other things "I wouldn't kill an abortionist myself, but I wouldn't want to impose my moral values on others."
And many others including Barack Obama during the primary campaign.

Citizens United was told they were not allowed to air it within 30 days of the election because it amounted to a multi-million dollar campaign advertisement.  So they took it to court.

At issue was a provision in the McCain-Feingold bill aka Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) saying it was not lawful for broadcast ads that "name a federal candidate within 30 days of a primary or caucus or 60 days of a general election", and prohibited any ad paid for by a corporation (including non-profit issue organizations) .

United States District Court for the District of Columbia who heard the case upheld the key provisions of the McCain–Feingold Act prohibiting showing the movie.  So they appealed to the US Supreme Court.
The Supreme court 130 S.Ct. 876 (2010)  called the McCain-Feingold's bill.  " outright ban on speech, backed by criminal sanctions. "
Corporations now have the right of free speech.
As a result there are a number of groups popping up as non-profit organizations.  Some are headed by Carl Rove some by Freedom Works.  And since they are non-profit organizations, they don't have to report where they get their donations.  The problem with this is:
1) No one knows who is funding ads nor do we know the intention of that group or person.  

2) Companies that received bail-out money are giving money to organizations funding ads.  So, technically, you are paying for the ad.

3) A single person can fund 25 - 50k ads.  Robert Mercer, a hedge fund adviser, who lives in NYC is funding attack ads against DeFazio in Oregon.  DeFazio was one of the people who helped get wall-street reform to stop allowing the misrepresentation of money going in and out of banks in the form of... hedge funds.

4) While it is not legal for the company/person to coordinate with the candidate, it is legal for them to mention afterward that they were the ones who spent x amount of money to create the ads.  It is also legal for a company to ask if it is okay to donate money shortly before the commercial airs. This buys influence.

So recently there was a bill (H.R.5175 - DISCLOSE Act) submitted to require corporations to, at the very least, say where the money came from.  The stated purpose of the bill is "[t]o amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to prohibit foreign influence in Federal elections, to prohibit government contractors from making expenditures with respect to such elections, and to establish additional disclosure requirements with respect to spending in such election."

This bill passed through the House of Representatives but failed a cloture vote by 1 in the Senate.  Yes, it takes 60 votes to pass anything these days since everything is met with a filibuster.

So, in this election there are some seriously extreme candidates who are getting attack ad support from . . who-knows-where - maybe you in the form of taxes. 



Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A dash-board smart phone?

 I have to admit, I am addicted to my Blackberry. It's never more than an arm's reach from me - even when I am in bed. It has Twitter, Facebook, CNN, Washington Post, and of course texting.  I started using it as my alarm clock when mine broke about 2 years ago.  So, yah, I'm addicted.  But I try not to use it in the car.
Here they recently passed a law against using a hand held phone while driving.  Texting while driving is illegal everywhere, or at least it should be.  It's pretty easy to spot someone who is texting or talking.  6 chances in 7 if someone is swerving they aren't drunk, they're on the phone.

Just recently I saw an article on  "Will your next car be a smartphone?"  They are putting Facebook (voice operated) and twitter and other web applications on a touch screen in the dash of the car.  I have one word for that .  YIKES!  My next word ... gimme :)  (The last one comes from the little tech-child in me.)

According to the article: "Ford, General Motors and several other automakers are pitching the systems as a safer and easier way to let drivers do what many of them are already doing -- using their smart phones while driving."  Apparently, they think they can make it safer.  I think this is a little like making drunk driving safer by putting shot glasses in the steering wheel.

Studies show that talking on cell phones, regardless if it is hands-free or hand-held, reduces speed of information processing.  So, chances are putting it in the dash is not going to make texting any safer - even if it is done by voice.
According to Edgar, Snyder & Associates
  • In 2005, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that 10% of drivers are on handheld or hands free cell phones at any given hour of the day. 
  • 4 out of every 5 accidents (80%) are attributed to distracted drivers. In contrast, drunk drivers account for roughly 1 out of 3 (33%) of all accidents nationally
  • The majority of Americans believe that talking on the phone and texting are two of the most dangerous behaviors that occur behind the wheel. Still, as many as 81% of drivers admit to making phone calls while driving. 
  • Studies have found that texting while driving causes a 400% increase in time spent with eyes off the road. 
"We saw this trend of mobile devices increasing, and we said this is an area where we can offer the customers a safer way to use those in the car," said Ford spokesman Alan Hall.

I'm sure that's exactly what a car company who was barely surviving on the billions of dollars in money from the government was thinking... safety.   Technology is a great thing.  It keeps us in touch, for better or worse, in ways we would not have been before.  It has changed our world. 

I just hope we don't start putting Internet in the shower. 


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Who is Alvin Green?

When the days are getting shorter and my mood gets darker I turn to my favorite place to read about politics, South Carolina. It's usually a reliable place to go to put a smile on your face. Like comic strips only for real.

Right now, my smile comes from someone named Alvin Green.
Alvin Green
In 2000 Mr. Green earned a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of South Carolina.  After college he served in both the Army and the Air Force but was involuntarily discharged in 2009.  Although he received several medals he also received poor evaluations.  His superiors said he lacked the ability to put his thoughts in order.  He currently is facing criminal charges for showing pornographic pictures to an 18 year old.

Alvin Green decided to put his hat in the ring to run on the Democratic ticket for Senator of South Carolina.

Vic Rawl
Green faced Vic Rawl in the democratic primary for Senate. Rawl was an officer in the SC National Guard for twenty-six years.  He started as an enlisted man but retired a Lt. Colonel.

Rawl was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives four times and served from 1977 to 1978 and from 1980-1986, for a total of eight years. From 1980 to 1986 Rawl worked on the State Reorganization Commission, S. C. Housing Authority, and S.C. Prison Overcrowding Project.
Alvin Green somehow won the primary with 59% of the vote.. So what happened?

Greene hired South Carolina attorney Suzanne Coe as his campaign manager who was struck by his honesty and offered to work for him for free. Green never spent any money at all on the campaign. In fact, there is some question as to where he got the money to put in his application.  Nonetheless, a study by the Pew Research Center released in late July found that Greene's campaign has received the most media attention of all of the 2010 political campaigns.

So, if you are not impressed by all the money being spent this year on advertisements for tea party candidates. If you don't think exposure alone works, well, even though it wasn't tea party money it looks as though it was just that kind of exposure that worked for Mr. Green.

Here is a 1:27 min clip of an interview with Alvin Green.
What was the name of Forest Gump's friend in the army?


Terry Jones gets a car?

Terry Jones
When the odd-ball Terry Jones was planning to burn 100 Qurans on 9/11/2010, a car dealer in Florida named Brad Benson made another one of those craaazzzyy car radio ads.  Only this time in his commercial he said he'd give Jones a free car if he didn't go through with his anti-Muslim Quran burning hate-fire.

Apparently Jones didn't know this until a couple of days ago.  So he had one of his representatives call the car dealership to see if the offer was still good..

2011 Hyundai Accent


Benson was surprised when he got the call .  Jones asked for a 2011 Hyundai Accent, which retails for about  $14,200.

Benson asked for a drivers license to make sure it really was Jones. 

He claims he plans to donate the car to an organization that helps abused Muslim women.  "We are not trying to profit from this. We are not keeping the car for ourselves," Jones said by telephone from California, where he was taping television appearances.

There is no report of what group Jones is exactly donating to or why he wanted this specific car.  I guess we'll see if Terry Jones feels it is a good idea to 'test drive' the car for a while before making the donation.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Leave it to Billingsley

June talking to her son, Beaver
Leave it to Beaver was a conventional middle-class 1950's television show. When I see it I can't believe anyone would think this was anything close to an actual family.   June Cleaver wore pearls and high heals and would greet her husband when he came home with a kiss on the cheek.  She had dinner ready and would tell him of the trouble the kids got into that day. (a broken window or the neighbor was woken up because they were too loud)  Then she and her husband Ward would dispense moralistic advice to their sons.

Actually, the show was rather sweet.  And who didn't want a family like that, even if it was only for half an hour.

It can't have been as easy as that for a budding actress.  After 1 year of junior college, (then) Barbara Combes went to New York.  She was a model and had several small unlisted roles in movies before landing Leave it to Beaver.

After the show was canceled in 1964, she was typecast as a 'sweet as sugar' woman and had difficulty getting other jobs. 

Billingsley spoofed her wholesome image with a brief appearance in the comedy Airplane! (1980), as a passenger who could "speak jive".

There really is no surprise punch here.  She wasn't a closet tigress who threw her weight around.  She was, however, a talented and very hard working woman.  Jerry Mathers (The Beaver) is quoted as saying:
As I say, Barbara was always, though, a true role model for me. She was a great actress. And a lot of people, you know, when they see her talk jive talk, they always go she can do other things besides be a mom on Leave It to Beaver. And I tell them, Airplane!  (1980), she's been a great comedian all her life. And in a lot of ways, just like All in the Family, we kind of stifled her, because her true talent didn't really come out in Leave it To Beaver. She was like the straight woman, but she has an awful lot of talent

She was a strong person with an ability to inspire.  Barbara Billingsley is survived by 2 sons, Drew and Glenn, and 4 grandchildren.
Barbara Billingsley (December 22, 1915  – October 16, 2010)

I am the very model...

I know, I know, I've been putting up a lot of You Tube videos.. but this one I can't help.


Friday, October 15, 2010

Keep hope alive. Don't let temporary pain to make a permanent mark.

 It takes time to heal a nation.  Can we hold on to hope in a dark and difficult time?  Can we move forward regardless of the struggle?  Can we look in the face of doubt and say  'we know who we are' and 'we will succeed!' ?


The original speech


Monday, October 11, 2010

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The North American Union and the Amero

xenophobia - an unreasonable fear or hatred of foreigners or strangers or of that which is foreign or strange.

Conspiracy Theory - any fringe theory which explains a historical or current event as the result of a secret plot by conspirators of almost superhuman power and cunning.

Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America - was a region-level dialogue with the stated purpose of providing greater cooperation on security and economic issues.

The following is a video made by people who beilieve that there is a plot by world leaders to create a one-unified world government where we are all tagged and followed like sheep.  So, therefore, you should be afraid of foreigners and the government.  Also, fashion and either iPods or dancing dark shadow people against a green background.

Maybe the reason you haven't heard of the North American Union is because the governments of 3 countries are keeping it secret.  Or maybe because it isn't actually happening...

One of the main proponents of this theory recently left CNN as a new anchor saying "he would seek new ways to advocate his often inflammatory views."

"Some leaders in media, politics and business have been urging me to go beyond the role here at CNN," Dobbs told viewers, "and to engage in constructive problem-solving, as well as to contribute positively to a better understanding of the great issues of our day."

Yes, Lou Dobbs is thinking of running for office.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

On the 9th anniversary

Nine years ago today, on October 7th 2001 the US and NATO allies started a war in Afghanistan in response to the attacks on the US on 9/11/2001. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Yet another 'fun' Senate race...

The Delaware  Senate race is not the only wild one out there.  When you tire of finding out that O'donnell is actually NOT a witch and therefore IS you. (I am considering taking up witchcraft), there is always Oklahoma.

It is not difficult to know who would win the generals of the Oklahoma Senate race.  Tom Coburn has been quite popular in his state for many years.  But prior to the general race there is a primary race.  As for the Democrats, the following two people were in the lead for the Democratic primary.

Democratic Primaries 2010

Name: Mark Myles
Education :BA  in Economics
                - President's Leadership Scholar 
                - President of Phi Eta Sigma 
                - Member of OSU Ambassadors
Current Employment: Practices criminal, administrative, and family law 
                - Member of the American, National, Oklahoma, Oklahoma 
  County, Oklahoma Criminal Defense, and Logan County Bar Associations

Past Employment:  IBM Corporation 21 years 
               - provided business solutions to small, medium, and large businesses. As an IBM employee,
                - won numerous awards including multiple Marketing Excellence Awards and the IBM Vice President's Leadership Award


Name: Jim Rogers 

Education: Unknown
Employment: Unknown
Reason for running: Asked, he has no answer
Hobbies: Running for office - ran for president in 2004, 2008; ran for Senate every possible time since the late 90s

One thing that is known about him: not in fact related to Will Rogers or Fred Rogers from Mr. Rogers Neighborhood.

Guess who won the Democratic primary?

a) Jim Rogers
b) Mark Myles
c) I don't know
d) OMG!

Answer: a
      and after finding out then d
Republican Candidate -

Tom Coburn - Incumbent senator and very popular in Colorado.

Currently has a 42 point lead against Mr Rogers

2010 Election activities: Probably, right now, having dinner after spending the day fishing or golfing.  Tomorrow, likely, will start reading the new Bill O'Reilly book, "Pinheads and Patriots: Where You Stand in the Age of Obama"

How does this happen?  Did the Democratic citizens not spend time looking at the candidates?  Are there not enough resources?   Mr Myles believes it is 'Name recognition'.  People think Jim Rogers is related to Will Rogers.  I'm not sure that's the whole story.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

(sort-of) Free Speech

A little over a month ago, Laura Schlessinger left her long tenure as a radio talk show host, citing a loss of her First Amendment rights.  She had dropped the N-bomb 11 times.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Secret... Hold

In 2004 Tom Coburn was an unlikely candidate for Senate.  He had a penchant for 'misspeaking'.  For example, when he said "that schools in southeastern Oklahoma would only let one girl at a time go to the bathroom because of rampant lesbianism"