Monthly Archives: August 2008

The Perfect Storm

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Almost undoubtedly John McCain & Co are breathing a sigh of relief after hearing that both George Bush and Dick Cheney will NOT be at the Republican National Convention on Monday because of Hurricane Gustav.

After bungling the government’s response and attention to Katrina in 2005, smiling appearances by B & C at the RNC would be a PR nightmare for Johnny Mac and Sarah Smile.

Pres and his puppet master are likely not going “ta be out choppin’ wood”, hunting fellow hunters- oops I mean- quail; staring at- oops I mean- reading to kids in an elementary school; or even on the red-phone chatting it up with his “Pooty-poot” in Moscow. 

So when Gustav makes landfall on Monday, expect the “brain trust” to be in seclusion.

And McCain has got to be thrilled about every mile between Bush and Minneapolis this week. I’m sure we will get a somber, presidential looking McCain because of Gustav. 

But we all know how the Republican administration has responded to domestic disasters of late, specifically Katrina. Somehow we can have blankets, food, water, and shelter to victims around the world faster than any country; but we all watched in horror as a MAJOR U.S. city turned into a Stephen King movie. We simply refused to effectively assist, rescue or repair our own people and their homes. There was no excuse. There was not any single disaster that showed better the inequities that still exist in this greatest country in the world.

Godspeed New Orleans. Congratulations McCain. 

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Posted in Misc

Friday’s World Music Video

Today (it’s still Friday no matter what that date says) we continue to introduce you to some fabulous world music, by bringing in…. Juanes ft.Negrita – Dove Le Pietre Sono Mine (Minas Piedras).

Even if your Spanish and Italian are rusty, the images should speak universally.

 

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McCain’s VP

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John McCain has attempted to return to his self-loved roots as political maverick by choosing Alaska’s governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. But really, what does this say about his decision making and how he sees the world?

Let’s take a look at Palin. She’s a 44 year old mother of five, with the youngest having been born only 4 months ago with Down Syndrome. And she was back at work 3 days after young “Trig” was born. There’s a great example of maverick family values. 

She’d be a heartbeat away from being president. And as she would be serving under the oldest president in our history that should be looked at closely.

Here’s the 2 year governor of Alaska, a mother of 5 young-ish children (the eldest is a son, “Track”, who joined the army at 18 yrs of age on 9/11/07), with no practical experience in world affairs, and arguably, in the affairs of the contiguous US.

She was born in Idaho, and her family moved to Alaska when she was an infant but returned to attend the University of Idaho.

Idaho and Alaska? And Republicans raise eyebrows when it comes to Obama’s life?

Well, I for one prefer Obama, who has lived in Kansas, Hawaii, Chicago, New York City and Washington; who has attended US universities of Harvard, Columbia and Occidental; who has the perspective and experience to know where the USA fits in the world of nations.

Today I heard Palin exclaim, “My fellow Americans, come join our cause!”

I’m not sure what that cause is but I’ll be watching the RNC next week. Is it more of that graveyard & money pit of Iraq? Is it more of the same embarrassing “leadership” we’ve experienced with Bush and Cheney? More fear mongering and “mission accomplished”?

My initial reaction is that this is a terrible choice for the person that will be a heartbeat away from the Presidency. Especially with McCain’s age. It’s a transparent attempt to win Hillary’s supporters by appealing to the gender issue. It appears the Republican’s feel that women supporting Hillary were not concerned (or aware) of the issues, only that she could join the Red Hat Society.

Is Sarah Palin really the best potential leader that the Republican party has to offer as the Veep? 

Well, she’s definitely “en vogue”.

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The Power

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“The world has always been more impressed with the power of our example rather than the example of our power.”

 – Bill Clinton 8/28/2008 Democratic National Convention

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45 Years Ago Today

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself in exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize an shameful condition.

In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s Capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.

This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check; a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.”

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check- a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism.

Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?”

We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality.

We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities.

We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one.

We can never be satisfied as long as our chlidren are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating “for whites only.”

We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote.

No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, that one day right down in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exhalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I will go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.

With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning, “My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrims’ pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.”

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado. Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California. But not only that; let freedom ring from the Stone Mountain of Georgia. Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

Posted in Misc

Happy Birthday!

Some folks celebrating August 25th Birthdays include….

Bond (okay, Sean Connery)…

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Kathy Lee’s partner (Reeg, not Frank)…

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Hall of Famer, Rollie Fingers… 

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Mean Gene Simmons…

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Hannah Montana’s Dad (Billy Ray Cyrus)…

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Supermodel Claudia Schiffer…

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And my kid brother, Steve (the bald guy) (um, the bald guy on the right)

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Let’s get ‘er done….

There are huge positive aspects to Barry O. adding JB to this ticket. Having a chance to win being the biggest.

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World Music Video

 

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Today’s video comes from Italy.  He’s Pino Daniele (March 19, 1955, Naples), an Italian pop-blues singer, songwriter and musician. A self-taught guitarist, he began his career as a musician playing for other successful singers of the 1970s.

His striking debut in the Italian music world was in 1977 with the album Terra mia, which proved to be a successful mix of Neapolitan tradition and Blues sounds.

Daniele opened the Bob Marley concert at the San Siro stadium in Milan in 1980.

This song, “Anema e Core”, was first introduced in the Italian movie of the same name, made in 1951. It was sung in that movie by Ferruccio Tagliavini.

It was recorded a number of times in the 1950’s by artists including Dinah Shore, Dean Martin, Perry Como and Connie Francis.

But listening to Pino Daniele perform it, I can’t picture any of them interpreting it quite the same way.

This is more like Italian groove meets Steely Dan.

 

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Politics and Money

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WASHINGTON – Days after he cracked that being rich in the U.S. meant earning at least $5 million a year, Republican presidential candidate John McCain acknowledged that he wasn’t sure how many houses he and his wealthy wife actually own.

“I think – I’ll have my staff get to you,” McCain responded to a question posed by Politico, according to a story Thursday on the publication’s Web site. “It’s condominiums where – I’ll have them get to you.”

Later, the McCain campaign told Politico that McCain and his wife, Cindy, have at least four in three states, Arizona, California and Virginia. Newsweek recently estimated the two owned at least seven properties.

On the campaign trail, McCain doesn’t refer to his wife’s wealth, estimated by some at $100 million and based on her late father’s Arizona beer distributorship.

Democratic rival Barack Obama’s campaign has been trying to make their wealth more widely known to blunt criticism that Obama is an elitist out of touch with ordinary Americans.

According to her 2006 tax returns, Cindy McCain had a total income of $6 million. She has not released her 2007 returns, which she files separately from her husband. McCain’s tax returns showed a total income of $405,409 in 2007.

In a forum last week with the Rev. Rick Warren, McCain was asked to define the word “rich” and to give a figure. After promoting his tax policies, McCain said: “I think if you are just talking about income, how about $5 million?” The audience laughed, and he added: “But seriously, I don’t think you can – I don’t think seriously that – the point is that I’m trying to make here, seriously – and I’m sure that comment will be distorted – but the point is that we want to keep people’s taxes low and increase revenues.”

Obama, asked the same question at the forum, said those making $250,000 and higher are in the top 3 to 4 percent and “doing well.” Obama and his wife, Michelle, reported making $4.2 million in 2007.

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Posted in Misc

9th Verse

 

As I have said before, a teacup can hold a set amount of water.

You can pour in all you like, but it will eventually spill over and much will be lost.

At a certain level you can be satisfied. The water in the cup is all you need.

That which is still in the pot is desires like fame and fortune. Chase it and your cup will spill.

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To keep on filling

is not as good as stopping.

Overfilled, the cupped hands drip,

better to stop pouring.

Sharpen a blade too much

and its edge will soon be lost.

Fill your house with jade and gold

and it brings insecurity.

Puff yourself with honor and pride

and no one can save you from a fall.

Retire when the work is done;

this is the way of heaven.

— Lao-tzu

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