Sunday, November 23, 2008

Have A Happy Thanksgiving!


........and save me a drumstick.

This blog will resume a somewhat normal schedule in about a week.

I'm outta here!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Rutgers v The Star-Ledger; When Is A Scandal A Scandal?


In the interest of full disclosure, I have been a season ticket holder for Rutgers football for 19 years, and of women's basketball for the last 10. I also try to attend several men's basketball games at RU, time and finances permitting.

So if you feel my opinion is biased, so be it...its my blog, and I'm the captain of this ship. At one time I was an avid letter writer to opinion pages of THE STAR-LEDGER and The Home News Tribune..

I stopped writing letters to the editor when a staffer at one of the papers took out a paragraph in one of my pieces; it destroyed the balance of the piece, and made me look like a vengeful lunatic.

So I became a mere semi-lunatic blogger.

Now that the niceties and the disclaimers have been taken care of, let's get on to what's bugging me.

And here it is....when is a scandal a scandal?

Well, according to New Jersey's largest daily newspaper, The Star-Ledger of Newark, a scandal is a scandal because they say it is.

In today's (Nov 21, 2008) editorial page an opinion was given regarding the lack of oversight of the university, and its president, Dr. Richard McCormick, of the spending of the athletic department, and athletic director Bob Mulcahy.

Below, the first few paragraphs of the editorial.

The scandals in the Rutgers University athletic department revolve around big-money contracts -- up to $2 million a year -- for the football coach, Greg Schiano, who has limped to a 5-5 record so far this year, after a less-than-$2-million-worthy 1-5 start.

Schiano's side deals included one that obligates Rutgers to enlarge its stadium on his timetable. In addition, Rutgers agreed to filter $250,000 of Schiano's salary through a $1 million-plus no-bid contract with a sports marketing firm -- that just happened to hire the son of athletic director Robert Mulcahy, the architect of the contracts.



The question hanging over the mess is just how much president Richard McCormick and the Rutgers governing board knew about these matters that went on under the public radar.

Ignorance is never an excuse for those who are supposed to be in charge, but was the dealing the sole province of an out-of-control athletic director?

Or did the leadership wink and nod, or turn its back with conscious intent, in hopes that Mulcahy, the former CEO of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, could spend the school's football team into the big time?



Interestingly, some of the criticism found in the editorial is contradicted in a story published the previous day by Ted Sherman and Josh Margolin, concerning the oversight investigative commission




A separate side letter with Schiano gave him an escape clause to walk away from his contract without penalty if the stadium expansion was not completed.

After that story, Mulcahy said the buyout clause was discussed but never executed. However, the review committee said Mulcahy had signed the contract amendment, and had told McCormick it had been signed. McCormick had assumed the buyout was contractually binding when later asked about it by The Star-Ledger. Only after reporters questioned the deal did McCormick learn Schiano had not signed the document, the report said.



In other words...the part about stadium expansion being done on Greg Schiano's timetable wasn't factual. Though it was implimented by Mulcahy, Schiano never signed off on the arrangement.

But there's more....also from Sherman and Margolin (11/20/08)


The report also found there was no formal notice by Mulcahy of his son's employment with Nelligan. It said there was "no basis to conclude Mr. Mulcahy acted in a way that he knew to be improper or not in the best interests of the university." Still, the panel said there was the appearance of a possible conflict and that Mulcahy should have disclosed his son's employment.



And still more....

The overall conclusion from a panel of business leaders, judges, lawyers and Rutgers officials was that the state university was ill-prepared to handle its push into big-time football.

"The university operated with inadequate internal controls, insufficient inter-departmental...communications, an uninformed board on some specific important issues and limited presidential leadership," the report said.

The report found no wrongdoing on Mulcahy's part.


And.......
Much of the report cited The Star-Ledger stories, including the contract with Schiano and the agreement with Nelligan Sports Marketing, which handles some $4 million in sponsorship revenues for Rutgers.



Agreed...Bob Mulcahy should have known that his sons employment by Nelligan would have been questioned by some. But the investigating commission found "no wrongdoing on Mulcahy's part". Those are the words of Josh Margolin and Ted Sherman, not mine.

Lets bottom line some of this.

When Bob Mulcahy took over the athletics program at Rutgers it was, to be charitable, a mess. Rather than rehash history in a short space, he inherited what was probably the worst football team in a BCS conference, one that played in a 42,000 seat stadium that was regularly half filled at best, and at times had more visiting fans than Rutgers supporters in the stands. Novembers became a gathering of fans on a first name basis...and we were given free tickets and were told to bring a friend.. And as for bowl games....there was one in Rutgers history, a 1978 appearance in the defunct GARDEN STATE BOWL.

Mulcahy was given a mandate to turn it around. That began when he hired Greg Schiano in the winter of 2000. There were 4 losing years....and then there were three winning years, three bowl appearances, and two bowl victories, there was excitement....and there were fans, paying customers going to Rutgers games. There is a waiting list of more than 12,000 fans for season tickets, waiting on the completion of stadium expansion.

Schiano and Mulcahy changed the moribund culture of Rutgers football.

And in gratitude for creating something positive in a state that for too many years has been a joke, our largest daily newspaper wants the head of the State University's athletic department.

Yes, there needs to be oversight of RU athletics, now more than ever in these deep and troubling economic times. But The Star-Ledger, which was in danger of folding earlier this year because of falling revenues and rising costs, is not the authority to be telling others how they should run their business. The irony of their editorial tirades regarding "RU millions" fell over a two day period where the Dow fell below 8,000, and lost $1.2 trillion...and the heads of the Not So Big Three automakers begging Congress for $25 billion to keep the American auto industry from going the way of the Pony Express.

Obviously the financial expertise being extolled by the Ledger's editorial board is being wasted- they seem to know something about oversight. Well, at least they say they do.

But they certainly know very little about football. A 1-5 team that is now 5-5 as I type this ( and should be 6-5 and bowl eligible-again- by this time tomorrow night) is not "limping" anymore. In fact, Rutgers is one of the hottest teams in the country, and finishing strong....and are one of the better second half of the season stories of 2008.

To the editorial board....try watching a few games before publishing an uninformed opinion. In your own words..."Ignorance is never an excuse for those who are supposed to be in charge."

I'm almost done...but one more thing needs to be addressed. Its about some of the more personalized- and judgmental- attacks from the pages of The Star-Ledger

Here's an example...

It is incredible that things involving the athletic department would fly under his radar. Then again, McCormick's previous job was president at the University of Washington when that institution was reeling from its own athletic department scandals.

Back then, McCormick may have been distracted by his personal problems -- an affair with a university employee that certainly played a role in his leaving his old job.


Just one lone blogger's opinion.....but maybe its time to just sell the old LEDGER to NEWSCORP. Because the "Murdochization" of the paper seems to be part of this metamorphosis. To bring up President McCormick's personal history is something worthy of ...dare I say....an old Australian's London tabloids.

The great Jerry Izenberg retired just in time.

Burning Bush in Baghdad


In the very square where Iraqis pulled down a statue of Saddam Hussein five years ago, President George W. Bush was burned in effigy by followers of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

Thousands of protesters demonstrated against a pact between the United States and Iraq that would allow American forces to stay in Iraq another three years.

The full story from the Associated Press may be found here.

Palin Talks Turkey!


Just when you think its safe to come out........she draws you right back in!

Gov. Sarah Palin went to a turkey farm in Wasilla to give a pardon one of the gobblers. Part of her proclamation declared that she was "a friend " to all living things.

So following the pardoning, the Guv had a press conference...and in the background turkeys were having their little ol' heads lopped off.



OK, its an old story by now....

But what kind of day would it be if there wasn't a Sarah Palin story to amaze, dazzle, or confound us?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Stephen Colbert Plugs His Christmas Special


Hello Nation....Stephen Colbert hits the airwaves to promote A Colbert Christmas; The Greatest Gift of All.

Here he visits Good Morning America with Diane Sawyer on ABC.



Next, with Harry Smith on The Early Show on CBS.

Letter To The Editor- "Where's Lee Iacocca?"

A very timely letter to the editor from the Grand Rapids Press asking this question of the Big Three automakers- "Where's Lee Iacocca?"

Read the whole letter here.

If there ever was a time for a new Iacocca, this is it.

R Dumb Downd So-Ciett-y- "Obama is a Muslim"

From the Spirit One Christian Center's billboard in Wichita, Kansas.....

"America We Have A Muslim President This Is A Sin Against The Lord! Ex. 20:3

Seein' is believin'.....at least to the rational ones among us....here's the vid from CNN, anchored by Rick Sanchez.




A couple of things...as most of us non crazies know, Barack Obama is NOT a Muslim.

The Old Testament Book of Exodus (cited on the billboard) was allegedly written by Moses more than 1,000 years before the birth of Islam, and 2,000 years before the creation of the United States. So how did Moses become aware of this prohibition against a religion that had yet to be created, and its relationship to a nation that exists on a continent that was UNKNOWN to the ancient peoples of the Middle East? Was Nostradamus in the room with him?

And to all of the millions of good peace loving Muslims worldwide....this billboard is a slur directed to each and everyone of them.

Its simply amazing that such rampant hatred and downright stupidity exists.

Incredible.

The Docket; John McCain v Jackson Browne


Here's some of the latest in the lawsuit singer/songwriter Jackson Browne filed against John McCain for his use of Browne's composition Running on Empty during McCain's presidential run....the full article (from Reuters) is on Comcast.net Music.

Browne's website may be accessed here.

McCain's attorney has filed a motion to dismiss, and also claims that Browne has tried to interfere with McCain's rights of free speech.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Just Shut Up and....Well, Just Shut Up!


Joe the Plumber, Rep. Michelle Bachmann, Elliot Spitzer's "friend", Ashley Dupree...and of course, Alaska's Governor Sarah Palin.....

What do they all have in common?

In the words of the late Morton Downey, Jr....they need to zip it!

Here's a vid from MSNBC, with David Shuster subbing for Keith Olbermann on Countdown.





FiveThirtyEight.com's Silver Interviews Ziegler



As a followup to the previous entry, FiveThirtyEight.com's Nate Silver interviews former radio talk show host John Ziegler (pictured) about his commissioned Zogby "push poll" of Obama voters, and questions Ziegler about his tactics, motives, and opinions about President-elect Barack Obama.

Below is an excerpt. Warning! Contains adult language.

NS: What is Barack Obama’s religion?
JZ: You'll have to ask him. But I do know that he never claimed to be a Christian until he met Reverend Wright. And I do believe -- and I’ve never held this against him -- that it would have been highly unlikely for him not to have been registered as a Muslim as a child in Indonesia but who cares. He did change his website based on that reality –- he was far more ambiguous about that issue on Fight The Smears. I’m an agnostic so I couldn't care less what his religion is. I just care that he lied about it.

NS: When do you think Obama was a Muslim?
JZ: I think he was likely -- registered as a Muslim between the ages of 6 and 10 while he was going to school in Indonesia. It would have been highly unusual for him not to be.

NS: But would you personally consider Obama a Muslim?
JZ: No, because he was a child. We're talking about two totally different things. There's what religion you're born into and there's what religion you become because of your own decisions

NS: Would you consider Obama a Christian?
JZ: You'd have to ask him. There was never any evidence that he was a Christian until he decided to join the church of a racist hate-monger for political purposes.

NS: Would you not believe Barack Obama if he told you he was a Christian?
JZ: Does he believe that Jesus Christ was the son of God who died and was raised from the dead later?

NS: Do you think he’s a believer in Jesus Christ?
JZ: I have no way of knowing that. I don't think there's any evidence that he is, either.

NS: Do you have doubts about Barack Obama's birth certificate?
JZ: I couldn’t care less about that. I accept he was born in Hawaii.

NS: Would you consider yourself well-informed
JZ: I’d consider myself extremely well-informed.

NS: Who are the two senators from South Dakota
JZ: Thune and, uh, Johnson.

NS: Very good. South Carolina?
JZ: Go fuck yourself. I'm done with this interview if you're going to ask me stupid questions like that. Obviously I know who Lindsay Graham is.



Read the rest the complete John Ziegler interview on FiveThirtyEight.com by clicking here.

Zogby Commisioned by Right Wing Website

According to FiveThirtyEight.com pollsters Zogby International has been hired to do a "push poll" of Obama voters for a new conservative website, with the aim to discredit the intelligence of those who voted for President-elect Barack Obama. Below an excerpt from the article.

The conservative website HowObamaGotElected.com reports that it has commissioned Zogby International to conduct a poll of 512 Barack Obama voters as part of what can best be described as a viral marketing effort to discredit the intelligence of Obama supporters.

The website, created by former radio talk show host John Ziegler to promote a forthcoming documentary, features a YouTube clip of interviews with 12 Obama voters who "were chosen for their apparent intelligence/verbal abilities and willingness to express their opinions to a large audience". The clip portrays the Obama supporters as giving "incorrect" answers to political questions such as "which candidate said his policies would likely bankrupt the coal industry and make energy rates skyrocket". Of the 12 Obama supporters interviewed for the clip, 7 (58%) are black; nationwide, about 23% of Obama supporters were black according to the national exit poll.


The complete article may be found here.

Carla Bruni Speaks



I'll admit it; I was just waiting for an opportunity to lighten it up a bit on these pages and include a few words (and video) featuring the beautiful First Lady of France.

Here the Italian born wife of Frances's president, Nicholas Sarkozy, sits down on the Today show on NBC with Matt Lauer. The former model and recording artist discusses several topics, including the personal side of her music with Lauer.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Cardinal Criticizes Obama on Choice

James Cardinal Stafford, former archbishop of Denver and now the Major Penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary, has stated that President elect Barack Obama is "aggressive,disruptive and apocalyptic" because of his views on reproductive rights and choice.

An article and a by Andrew Sullivan contains a link to a video with the Cardinal speaking.

“For the next few years, Gethsemane will not be marginal. We will know that garden,” Stafford said, comparing America’s future with Obama as president to Jesus’ agony in the garden. “On November 4, 2008, America suffered a cultural earthquake.”

Cardinal Stafford said Catholics must deal with the “hot, angry tears of betrayal” by beginning a new sentiment where one is “with Jesus, sick because of love.”



This Catholic responds to the Cardinal....what about the betrayal the Church engaged in for decades, when children were sexually assaulted by pedophile priests. and the hierarchy's answer was....protect the Church at all costs- pay "hush money", do what you need to do? Hate the sin, love the sinner....and cover up his dark dirty deeds.

Maybe when the Church can regain its very shaky moral authority, just maybe then they, and those in positions of authority, can wag a finger at the elected officials of sovereign nations.

Your Eminence, forgive me....but the hypocrisy I detect is more than a little unsettling.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Morning Joe- On Giving Aid To The Big Three Automakers

On Monday's Morning Joe on MSNBC, hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski mixed it up with the guests regarding government assistance to the ailing auto industry.

Guests include Dr. Jeffrey Sachs and Pat Buchanan.

A nice dust up before breakfast. Maybe if the Republicans had a few more REASONABLE guys like Joe Scarborough involved in the decision making, their party wouldn't be the train wreck its become.

Check out the vid.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Quick Hits - November 16, 2008


OK.....I've been away for a few days, and if you haven't noticed by now this blog is a solo effort...and sometimes "effort" is the operative word.

Its been a busy weekend, I took a much needed break from the wonderful and zany world of political discourse for some family stuff. And here's my report to my meager readership, in my own bizarre, rambling "stream of conscious" semi-ranting.

(1) Leading off...I went to the Rutgers-St.Joe's women's basketball game on Friday night. Epiphanny Prince (pictured), starting guard for the #5/3 Scarlet Knights, had 26 points and seven steals, and freshman Brooklyn Pope had 10 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 steals in only ten minutes on the court. RU blew out St.Joe's, 86-59. Rutgers was a National Finalist two years ago, made the Elite Eight a year ago.....and I think this group of veterans and very talented freshman could possibly make it back to the Final Four this year.

(2 and 3) For the record, the Rutgers men's basketball team made it two in a row to open the season with wins over Marist on Friday and Delaware today. In the 63-61 Marist win RU, lead by Hamady Ndiaye's 8 blocks, Greg Echenique's 15 rebounds, and star in the making Mike Rosario's 17 points, looked good at times, disjointed in others, but got high marks overall for getting a win with so much youth on the court. Ndiaye erupted for 26 points on Sunday in a 85-77 road win at Delaware.

(4) And....of course.....there was the Rutgers football win over South Florida yesterday, 49-16. This team started 1-5, and I so much as called them close to death back in September. Well....I was wrong. After a last second missed field goal by UCONN gave Rutgers a 12-10 win a month ago, the offense started to click, and after a four gane winning streak RU is now 5-5, and 4-2 in the Big East, with a home date against Army on Saturday. The Lost Season is lost no more.....one more win and the Scarlet Knights will be bowl eligible. A great turnaround led by qb Mike Teel, wide receiver Kenny Britt, linebackers Kevin Malast and Ryan DiImperio, and safety Courtney Greene.....and a team full of kids with a lot of heart, and smart enough not to listen to talk radio, read newspapers, or read internet blogs fronted by idiots like me. This might be Coach Greg Schiano's best coaching job to date- he never gave up on these kids, and they rewarded his faith.

(5) Two more local sports items... the Jets; the win over the Patriots on Thursday justifies all of the off season acquisitions. And of course, they got Brett Favre just for games like that one. And the Giants? Simply the best team in the NFL...sorry Titans fans. Anyone remember Earth, Wind, and Fire?

(6) Believe it or not.....on Saturday I went to a wedding during halftime of the Rutgers -USF game....and made it back home in time to see about 20 minutes of the second half. BTW...Danny and Lisa, it was a great ceremony, I hope you liked the gift. And I loved the reception at the Triumph Brewing Company in Princeton. Only problem was...the parking REALLY sucks in that town. And if you ever use Municipal Parking in Princeton, DO NOT pay before returning to your car (as instructed by signs in the lobby). I'd explain the whole thing here, but it would just make me irate all over again.

(7) To the radio stations that insist on playing Christmas music starting on November 1st.....will you just cool it? I mean, I love The Twelve Days of Christmas.....but 60 days of hype is tooooooooo much. And no, I am NOT some left winger waging "war on Christmas". But I am waging war on people who commercialize Christmas to the point of rendering it to a meaningless secular thoughtless, soulless buy-a-thon.

(8) The Obamas on 60 MINUTES. They might be the most likable people to move into the White House in my lifetime. The story about Barack and Michelle's first date, with the car that had the hole in the floor...PRICELESS.

(9) Daniel Craig as James Bond. I'm finally getting used to the concept. It is a rebooting of the franchise.

(10) Ben Stein on CBS SUNDAY MORNING was a revelation- a conservative talking head pleading for government assistance to the auto industry. Yes, he's free marketeer, but one who is not so entrenched in political dogma that he won't break with his fellow conservatives in seeing the long term effect of doing nothing (which is something Barack Obama also brought up on 60 MINUTES).


Okay........that's it for now. I'll be back with the more usual menu after a good night's sleep.

Friday, November 14, 2008

South Carolina Priest- Obama Voters Have Sinned


The Rev.Jay Scott Newman of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Greenville, SC, has told parishioners those who have voted for Barack Obama need to commit themselves to the Sacrament of Reconciliation before receiving Holy Communion because of the President-elect's stand on choice.

The story may be found here, courtesy of USA TODAY.

In this Catholic's opinion.....its an example of how good Catholics find themselves evolving into good Episcopalians.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Hillary As Secretary of State?


Several media sources are reporting that Senator Hillary Clinton, President elect Obama's chief rival for the Democratic nomination, is now under consideration as Obama's Secretary of State.

Read the Reuters story here

Dan Quayle's Potatoe: Joe the Plumber Starts Website; Charges for Freedom

Dan Quayle's Potatoe: Joe the Plumber Starts Website; Charges for Freedom

Palintology; Sarah Holds Court in Miami, and Debate on the Future of the GOP


Today Governor Sarah Plain did something unique; she held a press conference.

In a truncated press conference where Sarah Palin stood before a stage backed by several other Republican governors at the Republican Governor's Conference in Miami, Palin took questions from the media until Texas Governor Rick Perry decided it was time to close up shop.

Perry more or less jumped in front of Palin and told the press, "One more question".

Below, Chris Mathews and guests on Hardball have a lively discussion about Palin and the future of the Republican Party.




Below is the Press Conference in its Entirety



Finally Here's Video From The UK: One Brit's Opinion of Alaska's Guv

Everything You Read Here Could Be A Hoax!


So, my friends, you think that using the blogesphere is a reliable source of information.

Well....it ain't so.

Just ask David Shuster and the brass at MSNBC.

It seems that was a little problem with a story involving (the much too media covered and hyped) Governor Sarah Palin in which a a blog was used as the source.

But....you can read all about it here.

The lesson....don't always believe what you read online....or what I post here. Or your lyin' eyes.

And ears.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

No Love For Obama From the "Usual Suspects"




"This is an Obama recession. Might turn into a depression. He hasn't done anything yet but his ideas are killing the economy" Rush Limbaugh


Barack Obama has yet to be sworn in, and already the Right Wing Media Gasbags are sharpening their knives and waiting for their first opportunity to lead the charge. Being the fine, upstanding REAL Americans that they are Limbaugh, Hannity, Coulter, and the rest of the Citizens Brigade seem to have forgotten why American is great.

Something called fair play, and give the other guy a chance.

But that's a concept these self righteous super egos have eighty-sixxed years ago.

Sarah Palin Still Bringing Up Ayres and Obama Relationship

There she goes again.

Just when you think she's on the way out, the media keeps bringing her back in.

Sarah Palin held court again today with any talking head in the Free World, all by herself- something she didn't do any regularity after the Katie Couric Debacle.

Today Wolf Blitzer of CNN sat down with Palin at the Republican Governor's Conference in Miami.

Blitzer asked Palin about the harsh rhetoric of the campaign. Palin, in her reply, spoke about her distress about the "relationship" President-elect Obama allegedly had with former Weatherman Bill Ayres.



She can't seem to let it go away.

So I'm not going to let this go away- Sarah Palin has never been asked, and never spoken to mainstream media, about her husband Todd's membership in the secessionist Alaska Independence Party, or her attendance of the party's convention.

Palin continues to talk about Obama's "terrorist pals", but she never ever mentions that her husband was an AIP member for seven years. And few ever question her directly about it.

So I will. Read all about Sarah Palin's secessionist connection by clicking the link of articles collected on this blog.

If the mainstream media won't ask the question, members of the blogesphere should ask; "Ms. Palin, why did your husband join a political party that advocates breaking away from the United States? And during the seven years he was a member of the ALASKA INDEPENDENCE PARTY, did you ever object to it? Lastly, isn't it hypocritical to attack a political opponent's alleged association with a former radical when you are married to a man who, for seven years, belonged to a party that wanted to remove one of the fifty stars from the American flag and become independent?"

If Sarah Palin, and her gang of surrogates, want to engage in questioning President-elect Obama's past relationships, this blog will continue to ask those unanswered questions regarding Sarah Palin's past.

KKK; Still Deadly in Louisiana

To anyone who believes the ascendancy of Barack Obama to the Presidency of the United States means the end of racism in America, think again.

Near the town of Sun, Louisiana a woman was shot and killed at what was called a Ku Klux Klan initiation. It is alleged that the 44 year old leader of the group, Raymond "Chuck" Foster, shot the woman when a fight broke out stemming from the woman's request to leave the ceremony.




Here is the story from COMCAST.NET and The Associated Press.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Worst Persons- They Just Keep Gettin' Worser

Today on Countdown Keith Olbermann goes worse, worser, and worst with "Billo", blogger John Hinderaker, and Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga.

Veteran's Day- November 11, 2008



Better late than never.......

Thank you all, military veterans, past and present.

And to those who serve in harm's way, be safe....and come home soon.

George Carlin Wins Mark Twain Prize for American Humor



George Carlin was awarded the MARK TWAIN PRIZE for American Humor posthumously Monday night in a star studded show at The Kennedy Center. As quoted in this story from Canada's CBC News George Carlin regarded the TWAIN PRIZE as the only legitimate comedy award.

George Carlin is pictured in the banner of this blog as one of the "Four Horsemen of the Iconoclasts". He said shortly before his death that he thought America was finished. Its too bad he couldn't have stuck around long enough to see an African American elected President of the United States.

I think George is looking down at us- from the heaven he never believed in- and having a good laugh.

Below, some videos of George Carlin though the years, and an interview from about a year ago with Keith Olbermann on COUNTDOWN










Warning! These Videos Contain Some Adult Language

SAVING THE PLANET




A PLACE FOR MY STUFF



The Hippy Dippy Weatherman



George On COUNTDOWN; "The Country Is Finished"

Monday, November 10, 2008

Post Election Ramblings, or I Got Dem Presidential Election Withdrawl Blues, Mama

Gee....two days away from this, and the world is still spinning on its axis.

Simply amazing.

I read an article today about the news media, and how they'll be going through withdrawals with no election to cover. They'll be fine, there's always the transition from the Bush administration to Barack Obama's...and there's always Britney, Paris, and Sarah Palin to cover, ad nauseum.

And the political pundits on the right and the left will always have their targets. Limbaugh will attack Obama; Olbermann will call Limbaugh "The Worst Person In The World". John Bohner and Tom DeLay will continue to make fools of themselves on the public airwaves. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi will find ways to make even the most loyal Democrats shake their heads.

As for this blog, I never intended it to be exclusively political. It just turned that way during the most interesting, involving, and groundbreaking presidential election in my lifetime, if not in the nation's history.

If you go back to the first entries of this blog, I spent time on sports, pop culture, music, and personal observations. And I'm going to do that again. I won't abandon politics and current events; there will always be enough foolishness out there to keep the denizens of the blogesphere buzzing.

I will be covering more topics, like the history of rock, with video and text. Next up will be a history of the Yardbirds and how they evolved into the progenitor of Heavy Metal.

There will be more sports, particularly college football and basketball, both men's women's. This weekend I got a look at the Rutger's Women's Basketball team, and was very impressed by the young freshmen, particularly Brooklyn Pope. And on Saturday I was one of the wet fans who watched the Rutgers football team dismantle a Syracuse team that looks like they are on life support. Rutgers , despite a 1-5 start, are now playing their best football, have won three in a row, and are still alive for a bowl game, even though they more than likely have to run the table to do so.

In short, this blog will become more of a magazine than a partisan political function.

But then again....the management reserves the right to change its mind.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Worst Persons; Joe Who?


From MSNBC

Nov. 7: After Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., became infamous for calling for investigations of anti-Americanism in Congress and Barack Obama in particular, she now speaks as though she's been an Obama supporter all along. Keith Olbermann names her the Worst Person in the World.


Also.....WFAN radio's Mike Francesa, and some guy called "Joe the Plumber".





But Wait! There's More- From those Flaming Liberals at FOX NEWS!!!!



Playing Now! Rush and The Dixie Chicks!



I was watching CNN last night and was intrigued by the reactions of some on the Far Right regarding President-elect Obama's selection of Rahm Emanuel as his White House Chief of Staff. Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner criticized the selection, as previously mentioned on this blog.


Rush Limbaugh was very blunt. He called Emanuel a "thug". But he didn't stop there. He also called the President-elect of the United States a thug.

Having heard that, I was upset. But after waking up this morning I was less angry, and even a little prouder of this country than I was 12 hours earlier, as if that could have been possible.

We are a strong enough nation to survive the rantings of Looney Limbaugh, and we are the better for it. He's called the next President a socialist and a subversive and appears to be trying to reestablish his relevance in the eyes of the conservative movement.

Earth to Rush....there is no Turn Back The Clock Day in American politics. And some on the extreme right are going to soon be reexamining their disbelief in Darwinism.

Because they have become the dinosaurs.

Just over five years ago Natalie Maines, lead singer of The Dixie Chicks told an audience in London that she (and the other Chicks) were ashamed that President Bush was from their home state of Texas. This was shortly after the ill advised Iraq War was started by Dubya and his NeoCon allies, without thought of conduct or consequences.

For their "crime of conscience" the Dixie Chicks saw their music purged by Country Music radio, tour dates cancelled, and death threats were made. The industry did nothing in their defense. And the majority of their fellow artists either remained silent, or attacked them publicly for openly dissenting American policy.

The Dixie Chicks survived the slings and arrows. If it were up to me, they should be part of the entertainment playing at President Obama's inauguration.

Theirs was a voice, though a very tiny one, of dissent when it was not fashionable.

The Limbaughs and the Michael Savages of the world, however, are symptomatic of certain commentators from the Far Right, who need to have division and anger in their repertoire- because its good for business.

Limbaugh, the man who once inferred on the air that a sitting President (Bill Clinton) was involved in the "murder" of aid Vince Foster, and then covered it up, is now calling the next President a thug, a socialist, a demagogue, and a dangerous subversive.

And its all a lie.... and that's the beauty of America. We'll let the liars get away with it for awhile.

But eventually, reasonable people step to the plate and just say NO to the lies.

Below; What Rush Limbaugh Thinks of The American Electorate

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Emanuel Named Chief of Staff- The GOP Responds


Rep.Rahm Emanuel has been announced as the new chief of staff for President-elect Barack Obama. It didn't take long before there was a response from the Republican House leadership.

"This is an ironic choice for a President-elect who has promised to change Washington, make politics more civil, and govern from the center,” said House Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner (R.-Ohio).



WAIT A MINUTE!

Isn't John Boehner the same guy who referred to President-elect Barack Obama as a "chickensh*t" last week in a bar and grill in Oxford, Ohio?

Click here to read all about it.

And Boehner has the audacity to question Obama about partisanship?

Palin Thrown Under The Bus?



Readers of this blog know that I'm not a fan of Sarah Palin by any stretch. I've called her nomination as the Vice Presidential nominee as irresponsible and questioned her qualifications to be a The #2 to a 72 year old John McCain. And check the archives here; I must have double digit video parodies of Palin posted on these pages.

And of course, I voted for, contributed to, and supported the Obama campaign from the inception of this blog.

And now I'm going to say something shocking- so shocking I can hardly believe these words are coming from me.


Sarah Palin is being used as the scapegoat for the defeat of her ticket in the presidential election. There are elements in the Republican Party who are trying to lay the majority of blame on her, as to absolve themselves of any part in the disaster they experienced on Tuesday.

There .....I've said it.

Anonymous sources (from inside the McCain Campaign) leaked yesterday, as reported by Fox News, that Sarah Palin couldn't name the member nations of NAFTA and that Palin thought Africa was a country, not a continent. These reports were first broadcast on a segment anchored by Sheppard Smith, and later were shown The O'Reilly Factor with Bill O'Reilly

I posted the story and video yesterday, with a link to a similar piece authored by conservative commentator Andrew Sullivan.

I never questioned why Fox News, and so far, only FOX (and its sister network SKY NEWS in the UK) went with this story.
CNN and MSNBC and other broadcast and print news organizations went with other leaks of friction in the McCain-Palin camp (see Kate Snow's report on the ABC Website)with only a mention of the FOX story regarding Africa/NAFTA.

But it seemed that FOX NEWS was specifically leaked the juiciest story, the one that would do the most damage among Palin's conservative Republican supporters and fans. Palin The Outsider would now be trashed by the GOP Washington Insiders in the purge that's only just beginning.

One extreme right wing blog layed the blame for the leaks on Mitt Romney's supporters- no facts given, just an accusation thrown at them. Other more credible sources think the "leakers" were professional GOP consultants who threw Palin under the bus to save their own shaky reputations.

In fairness to Palin, Teddy Roosevelt could have run as McCain's running mate and they still would have lost; the country's economy is in the tank, and the nation's voters wanted to vent its anger at the Bush administration.

Sarah Palin, the outsider from Wasilla, may be seen as a threat to the GOP establishment. And discrediting her even more may be the strategy of choice to eliminate a possible threat to the established order.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Sarah Palin Follies- November 5, 2008

And you thought it was all over just because McCain and Palin lost the election?

Welcome back my friends, to the show that never ends........

It appears that Sarah Palin was vetted for the Vice Presidency so quickly and haphazardly, no one picked up on certain.....to be charitable....deficiencies in her intellect and seeming lack of knowledge that an average high school grad has.

Such as.....Sarah Palin didn't know the member nations of NAFTA....and worse, she thought Africa was a country, not a continent.

There were temper tantrums, and outbursts...and

Well....I'll just let those biased liberals at Fox News tell the story.



More Palintology from Andrew Sullivan in his column at The Atlantic website

Greatscat!: Landslide

Greatscat!: Landslide

Keith Olbermann- A Final Campaign Comment

Keith Olbermann presents a video montage of the events of Election Day 2008 on Countdown on MSNBC.

Sherri Shepherd Breaks Down on THE VIEW

On Wednesday's episode of The View, co-host Sherri Shepherd told fellow panelists Whoopi Goldberg,Joy Behar, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, and Barbara Walters of her experience taking her son into the voting booth to vote for Barack Obama.

Our New President; Random Thoughts and Miscellaneous Ramblings




Yesterday I got up, went to vote at 9:00am, and made a decision not to log on to the computer and post on this blog until "The Morning After". I wanted to just follow Election Day on TV, and see the reactions and listen to the words of the commentators. I needed to see the images, and soak it all in as a witness to history. This had to be done without distraction....and now here's more than a few observations about one of the most remarkable events of my lifetime.

(1) First, it was a great win for President-elect Barack Obama. As I type this North Carolina is still being counted, and the electoral count stands at 349 Obama to 173 McCain. Indiana was supposed to be a "red state", but pundits said that if it was even close for Obama it would be a long night for John McCain. Obama won Indiana....and Florida, Ohio ,Nevada, Virginia and Colorado, which all went Republican in 2004.

(2) The polls on the national popular vote proved true....as I type this Obama leads by about 6%. Most polls put his national lead at 4% to 8%.

(3) The "Youth of America" made this possible more than any other age demographic. This was a generational change in our electorate. Some say it is the end of "The Age of Reagan". Others say it was the end of the culture wars from the Vietnam Era. Tom Brokaw said today on MSNBC that the division that came about culturally in the late 1960's weren't a factor to those under 45 years of age. Incidentally, those under 45 were Obama's biggest demographic.

(4) With that thought of voters under the age of 45....they were born in 1963. That was the year JFK was assassinated, and the Beatles began their conquest of the world. And that was when the universe began to change, for better or for worse.

(5) The election wasn't about race. And in it not being about race, it became about race. Because part of Martin Luther King's Dream came true...Barack Obama was elected because of the quality of his character, and not the color of his skin.

(6) As for being "the First", I can't help but think of Obama's parallel to
Jackie Robinson. When urged to fight back after the onslaught of distortions of the McCain/Palin camp, he remained calm and didn't get involved in an idiotic partisan food fight. He stayed above it, and remained dignified. Like Robinson using restraint in combatting racism when he integrated Major League Baseball, Obama showed himself to be the perfect "First One".

(7). The scene in Grant Park was amazing, something I'll never forget. Jesse Jackson and Oprah Winfrey with tears in their eyes. And the sight of the new first family, Barack, Michelle, Sasha, and Malia waving to the 100,000. Incredible.

(8). And isn't it ironic....Chicago, 1968. Grant Park in Chicago. The Democratic Convention boils over, anti-war demonstrators and "Yippies" clash with the Chicago police. The Democratic Party shatters, and is damaged, to some degree, for the next 4 decades. November 4th, 2008. The Democratic Party is reborn in the same spot it was nearly destroyed 40 years before.

(9) John McCain will most likely be the last Vietnam Vet to run for the presidency. And no Vietnam combat vet has ever won the presidency. McCain, John Kerry, and Al Gore all served in combat during the Vietnam War. They go "oh for three" in the presidential election.

(10).As far as combat vets, add Bob Dole and George H.W. Bush (WW II vets) to the this list..... no combat vet has won election to the Presidency since Bush 41 in 1988.

(11) John McCain gave the most eloquent speech of his campaign in his concession to Obama. This was the John McCain that most of us, Democrats included, grew to like and respect over the years. Its a shame. Had he gone this route rather than the uncomfortable "attack dog" strategy who knows what could have been? God bless you, John McCain. I didn't vote for you, but last night you demonstrated why you are a hero to so many.

(12) And the "what if's". What if McCain picked Tom Ridge instead of Sarah Palin? Would he have won Ohio and Pennsylvania? And the anchor known as Sarah Palin wouldn't have dragged him down. Or if the economy held for another two months....who knows?

(13) Then again, to paraphrase, the late Tim Russert...this election was all about "Bush, Bush, Bush". In all likelihood the damage done in the Bush Years would have destroyed the candidacy of any Republican.

(14) The Republican Party is in the deepest trouble its been in since post-Watergate. It needs reinvention and inclusion. The Neo-Cons and their fanatical Theo-Con allies have rendered Reagan's Party unrecognizable. And who are their defacto leaders, and what do they stand for? If its all about cultural wars, then they'll be relegated to a regional party in the South and the Great Plains.

15) But the big question, the one all of us have been waiting for. What's going to happen to "Joe The Plumber"?.


In closing, this election was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. In the annals of race relations in the United States, the election of 2008 ranks with The Emancipation Proclamation and the Voting Rights Act of 1964 as events that broke the grip of racism in America. The work is not done yet, it would be naive to say that "racism is dead" in our country. But its moving closer to extinction.

The President-elect spoke of the work ahead. It will be a long and arduous journey. So, let's give him our trust. And take that first step.





Monday, November 3, 2008

Opinion- For Mrs. Dunhams's Grandson



Madelyn Payne Dunham's grandson may make history on Tuesday, November 4th. And she will not be there to see it.

Mrs. Dunham, the beloved grandmother of Barack Obama, passed on only one day before the grandson she raised would go before the American electorate as the presumptive favorite to win the office of President of the United States.

Its sad that she couldn't make it until election day and perhaps see history being made. As an Obama supporter I feel a sense of loss; though I have only read about and heard about "Toot" its easy to feel the bitter sweetness a possible victory will bring. "Toot" did her job well, for win or lose she did raise an extraordinary man.

What very well could happen on Tuesday will be the most historic event that has occurred during my lifetime. America put a man on the moon in 1969, but it was widely assumed by most (including me) that it was only a matter of time before our know how would triumph. There were tragedies in Dallas, and in Oklahoma City, and on September 11th, and in the wake of Katrina, but after weeping and mourning, we as a people rebounded. The Berlin Wall fell and the Soviet Empire collapsed without a shot, but our everyday lives didn't feel a profound impact.

The election of Barack Obama as president would send a loud message to the rest of the world, and show an America that has matured beyond the question of race. For most of us the idea of an African-American President was a fictional device- remember James Earl Jone in The Man, or Dennis Haysbert in 24?

Saying that something "trans formative" could happen might be a cliche, but it is an apt description.

Early in my life an African American woman named Rosa Parks refused to give her seat to a white man on a segregated bus, and the Civil Rights Era was born. Around the same time Little Rock, Arkansas saw federal troops escorting students to a high school that had desegregated by court order.

The names and incidents of the Civil Rights Era don't seem quite as distant in the past as they actually were. I remember; James Meredith and Gov Ross Barnett; Gov. George Corley Wallace; murdered Civil Rights workers Schwerner, Goodman, and Chaney; Meridian, Mississippi; Birmingham, Alabama; Lester Maddox; Medgar Evers; Malcom X; A. Philip Randolph; the March on Washington; Freedom Riders; and Dr. Martin Luther King. I remember seeing segregated "whites only" restaurants and motels in the Deep South, and of hearing about petitions in the North (even in my hometown in New Jersey) to keep individuals from selling homes to African-Americans and other minorities.

I am one middle aged white male who thanks God that I have lived long enough to see the possibility that a black man can (and probably will) be elected President of the United States.

In the motion picture PATTON, George C. Scott (as General George Patton) said the following;
When somebody asks you, "what did you do in the war", do you want to say"I shoveled sh*t in Louisiana?"


With this profane statement, Patton asked his troops, "Do you want to watch history, or do you want to make history?"

A vote for Barack Obama is a vote to participate in history.

These words I'm writing are my way of saying to the world that I have not yet done enough for this candidate. I have yet to appeal to the "undecideds" and those in "tossup" states.

In the 2004 Presidential election, if John Kerry would have received 9 more votes per precinct in Ohio Kerry would have defeated George W. Bush. If that's not a compelling statement for the importance of each vote, then I have no other.

There are more arguments for a vote for Barack Obama in the seventy plus articles posted on this blog. Read them at your leisure.

And if you find my thoughts in this piece compelling, please pass them on.

Remember to say a prayer for Mrs. Madelyn Dunham.

And say another one...and vote for.....Mrs. Dunham's grandson.

SNL Spoof of KEITH OLBERMANN

Turnaround is fair play.

And as most readers of this blog know, I am a "KO" fan.

But this is hysterical. Ben Affleck plays Keith Olbermann on Saturday Night Live!.

This is one of the funniest skewering of a political talking head since Dana Carvey channeled John McLaughlin in the early 1990's!

Great stuff!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Bar Room Boehner Calls Barack a Chickens***!


During his presidential run Barack Obama has been called a terrorist,a Marxist, a baby killer, an Arab, a Muslim, a Socialist, and best buds of a Weatherman- and I'm not talking about Al Roker.

The Miami Student reported that House Minority Leader John Boehner (Republican, Ohio) called Obama "chicken***" on Wednesday. The Miami University student newspaper said Boehner made the remark while at the Brick Street Bar and Grill in Oxford, Ohio.

Read the story by clicking this Oxford Press link.

Some Words From My Dad



My father is a retired educator and labor leader who continues to be active in political causes. He writes a monthly column for AFT Retirees of New Jersey. Visit their website by clicking here.


Below you can read his monthly column for November 2008.


We Need More Than Another FDR

Back in my younger days, after l929, we had a Great Depression. Nearly everyone in our neighborhood was hurting financially but we didn't hurt as much as some of our neighbors. My father had a job. He didn't always get paid on time, but we had some money coming in.One of my memories was of seeing the men working on the WPA- the Works Projects Administration. They were maintaining the roads and the bridges. When I was in the seventh grade, one of my classmates joined the CCC- The Civilian Conservation Corps. They were building our national parks and clearing the roads and forests. In the South, there was the TVA- the Tennessee Valley Authority, which brought dams and electricity to the land of Sergeant York and many others who served in World War II.

The Great Depression was worldwide, and in Europe, they were looking for someone to blame. Adolph Hitler and his friend, Benito Mussolini, found millions of scapegoats, and their people, for the most part, bought a "solution" that most of us didn't know about for several years. In the Spring of 1945, we got the rest of the story .Subsequently, the worst of the war criminals were sent to prison, and some were executed.

During World War II,the atmosphere was different. Most of the "free world" realized that we were all in this together. We contributed to the war effort in many ways. We collected scrap metal for the war effort, and we bought "defense stamps' in school which could be converted to
war bonds worth $18.75 when we had the stamp book filled. Ten years later, the bonds were worth $25 , which helped to buy post-war cars, furniture, and whatever else a family needed. We enlisted or were drafted into the armed forces, and by 1945, Congress and the President
had enacted The GI Bill of Rights, which helped many of us through college, and the government also backed low-cost loans that enabled us to buy a house or a business.

Today, we find ourselves confronted with some of the problems that confronted us in 1932. But some of the consumer protection aspects of the FDR Era have survived. Bank accounts, insured by the government up to $100,000 , have just been increased to $250,000. The federal
minimum wage has been updated from time to time,but state minimums have varied significantly. One of the greatest legacies of FDR's New Deal was Social Security, an insurance program that covered deceased and injured workers, their dependents, and also provided for
pensions in retirement .Medicare was enacted during the Johnson Administration. But at least one of the protections enacted in the 1930s has been eroded, the regulations that protected investors in the Stock Market. So, things are not as bad as they were in the 1930s.

We have a new set of problems. I hope that we will do what Tom Brokaw wrote about in his book about The Greatest Generation. We are all in the same boat ,and we face the same national and world problems. Among those problems that come to mind are; global warming,
the war against terrorism, the federal budget, national health insurance, the role of money in politics, the electoral college, the tax structure, the education of our young, immigration, runaway industries, our world image, and the energy crisis, just to name a few. Just as we put our shoulders to the wheel in the 1930s and '40s, we need the same kind of involvement today.
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