Sunday, June 29, 2008
City Vehicles Vandalized With Political MessagesORLANDO, Fla. -- Racial slurs targeting Barack Obama were discovered spray painted tonight on dozens of city vehicles in Orlando.The vandalism happened in a City of Orlando parking lot on the corner of south and orange.Phrases including “Obmama smokes crack” and others phrases with racial slurs were written in blue spray paint on the white city cars and trucks.Other vehicles appeared to have had their gas tanks tampered with.Along with the paint, hundreds of business cards were left on windshields.The cards contain criticism of Obama on one side, and support for Hillary Clinton and her family on the other side.The same cards were left on channel nine vehicles in Daytona Beach several weeks ago.The vandalism happened the same night the Obama campaign kicked off its Florida organization with parties across the state.Local representatives with the Obama campaign told channel nine they weren't aware of any similar incidents.Orlando police are investigating the incident.
The vandal or vandals appear to have political intentions; most of the vehicles were spray painted with anti Obama sayings, with ‘Obama’ misspelled several times. Some of their vehicles had their gas caps removed.
Officials said that gas caps were removed from several of the vehicles and they aren’t sure if gas was stolen or if something could have been added to the tanks that will damage the engines.
The person or persons left a business card with political ramblings and other phrases such as ‘How ‘Bout them Gators’ and ‘Legalize Marijuana/ Stop Building Prisons’.
Friday, June 27, 2008
Oguchi was crossing the street when he was struck by a car Thursday. He was rushed to a hospital but died of excessive bleeding early Friday, said Yuken Yagasaki of Osuwa Daiko, the group in Nagano prefecture (state) in northern Japan that Oguchi had led.
Oguchi helped found top U.S. taiko groups, including San Francisco Taiko Dojo, which has performed in Hollywood movies and on international tours since its founding 40 years ago.
A former jazz musician, Oguchi was one of the first to elevate the traditional folk sounds of taiko to modern music played in concert halls, not just festivals and shrines.
He led and starred in the performance of drumming and dance at the closing ceremony of the 1998 Nagano Olympics.
"Your heart is a taiko. All people listen to a taiko rhythm 'dontsuku-dontsuku' in their mother's womb," Oguchi told The Associated Press at that time. "It's instinct to be drawn to taiko drumming."
Then 74, he appeared in U.S. magazine advertisements for the Games that read: "Get ready to rock 'n' roll."
Charming, fiery and vivacious, Oguchi had been scheduled to perform with Kodo, a well known taiko group, later this year, although he was in failing health in recent years.
Roy Hirabayashi, executive director of San Jose Taiko in California, said his group would not exist without Oguchi.
"It is a sad day for the taiko community throughout the world," he said in an e-mail. "His legacy will reverberate to future generations of taiko players."
Along with Kabuki theater and "ukiyoe" woodblock prints, taiko is one of Japan's most popular — and respected — art forms in the West. Part dance and part athletics, modern taiko can be dazzlingly visual and acrobatically physical.
Japanese used to grow up hearing taiko the same way Americans did with the blues or jazz. But until the arrival of Oguchi, taiko had given way in Japan to Western music, including rock and pop.
Taiko drums, especially the big ones that tower over the drummers, make dramatic booming sounds. A taiko drum is made from a single hollowed out tree trunk with cowhide strapped tightly across it.
"In taiko, man becomes the sound. In taiko, you can hear the sound through your skin," is the way Oguchi described it in the AP interview.
Thanks partly to Oguchi and his followers' efforts, hundreds of taiko groups, both professional and amateur, have sprung up not only throughout Japan but also in the U.S., Brazil, Europe and other nations.
"We have lost a big shining star — the man who was the pillar of postwar Japanese taiko," said Yoichi Watanabe, leader of Tokyo-based taiko group Amanojaku, which has often shared the stage with Oguchi's ensemble.
"We had so much more to learn from him," Watanabe said. "He possessed a unique expressive style. And he has left a powerful message in taiko to the younger generation."
Oguchi also was one of the first composers of modern taiko, writing catchy tunes based on historical themes, such as samurai storming on horses.
Besides his overseas work, Oguchi helped make taiko a household word in Japan, opening classes in various towns, attracting not only youngsters but also women who welcomed taiko like an aerobics class.
Oguchi also started making more affordable drums in his hometown of Okaya, Nagano, and turned it into a business.
"In taiko, you return to the roots, the beginning of humanity," Oguchi said.
Funeral arrangements were not decided, according to Osuwa Daiko. Oguchi is survived by his wife Saeko and two daughters, both taiko drummers, Chinami Ushioda and Kasumi Oguchi.
"I would like to thank everyone," Kasumi Oguchi said in a telephone interview. "I hope people will keep playing and let my father's taiko sound ring throughout the world."
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Russert. Carlin. Hmmmmm, I wonder which death is more imporant?
Lies allowed on his "show"..
George Carlin - For more funny movies, click hered
Lies allowed on his "show"...
Why say more Dick?? You've done enough...
Rest in peace you old bastard:
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
While a Sunday bombing in Baquba, which killed at least 15 and wounded more than 40, continues the growing trend of guerrilla fighters utilizing women as suicide bombers in Iraq, one element that has been overlooked is the ideological rift this is beginning to represent between insurgents in Iraq and al Qaeda, who the US military and government officials still try to claim are the drivers behind the Sunni insurgency.
Wired's Danger Room blog has covered an argument within al Qaeda over women's roles within the terror network, from women jihadis online, to a CBS news report in which al Qaeda's #2, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, definitively stated in late May that a "a woman's role...is limited to caring for the homes and children of al Qaeda fighters. His speech "created some confusion, because in fact suicide bombings by women seem to be on the rise, at least within the Iraq branch of al Qaeda," and drew responses from women who support al Qaeda such as, "I felt that my heart was about to explode in my chest...I am powerless." Though there are many possible reasons behind the ideological disconnect between al Qaeda and AQI the difference is telling regarding the tactics each is willing to employ.
Still, in his profile for TIME Magazine about a young woman who set off a bomb in Anbar Province last summer, Bobbi Ghosh shows the disdain for these women fighters even among extremists who would exploit their willingness to fight. In a video he acquired of her handlers on the scene of the bombing, one stated, "God is great! The stupid woman did it."
Monday, June 23, 2008
Monday was a historic day for the US military with the nomination of Lieutenant General Ann Dunwoody to the rank of four-star general in the US Army. The appointment, which still needs approval from the Senate, makes Dunwoody the first woman to be selected for the military's highest rank.
Sadly, the timing couldn't be more ironic as the nomination comes on the heels of a New York Times article, which yet again calls into question the military's views on and treatment of women as the paper of record revealed a disproportionate number of women have been forced out of the military due to "don't ask, don't tell."
"While women make up 14 percent of Army personnel, 46 percent of those discharged under the policy last year were women. And while 20 percent of Air Force personnel are women, 49 percent of its discharges under the policy last year were women," writes Thom Shanker.
No reasoning was given for the disproportionate percentages. But, just as distressing as the military's removal of able personnel due to sexual orientation is the fact that, as Megan Carpentier of Jezebel states, "In the meantime, the military has doubled the number of waivers it granted to recruits convicted of violent felonies (including rape)."
So, while Dunwoody's nomination is momentous and will only serve to heighten awareness women's contributions to the military as she makes her way through the approval process, the lack of coverage - by comparison - of the New York Times report shows this is no silver bullet. That respect for the issues military women face still has a great distance to go.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Here is the late, great, Dr. on the Charlie Rose Show. With his death, along with Mr. Russert's, there is very little left to celebrate in the institution of American journalism, or this country's body politic itself.
Friday, June 13, 2008
Tim Russert died today. I'm totally friggin' depressed about this... irrationally so, in fact. Maybe because Meet The Press is one of the only mainstream media shows I can watch without making me want to end it all. Maybe because he was 7 years younger than my own father.
Tim, we will miss you... and your enormous head.
One of my favorite Russert moments.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
So the kicker is that before you finish your checkout you are asked to comment on the product you were purchasing. Well some really kind people decided to do just that and as John Cole over at Balloon Juice state's, "hilarity ensued." Good times!
This is a great idea. John Kerry was wrong for not fighting back on the swift boat ads, and I am glad Obama will not be making the same mistakes.
So we're looking at produce when this security guard, who's dressed like he works for Homeland Security mind you, approaches Heather and tells her she's been "red flagged" for "stuffing things into her bag". So I joking call her a terrorist and of course the security guard fails to see my humor but he's serious! So Heather politely tells the guard that she is in fact holding a shopping bag but he hears none of it.
Apparently, Whole Foods was being ripped off by people not taking everything out of their bags at checkout and their solution was to eliminate bringing your own shopping bags into the store. So obviously we walked out and will not return to give Whole Foods any of our money but the whole thing stayed with me for awhile.
The only solution Whole Foods could come up with to stop theft was to stop allowing people who care about the environment to use their own shopping bags? At every other grocery store in L.A. they actually give you a discount(albeit 5 cents) for bringing your own bag to shop but Whole Foods "red flags" you! How is it that Whole Foods is losing so much money to theft and no other grocery store in the city seems to be plagued by these crimes enough to halt people from being a little Eco-friendly?
I now hate Whole Foods more than I would ever have imagined after this retarded episode. It's somehow impossible for Whole Foods employees to actually make people empty their shopping bags at checkout, so too bad environment, bring on more plastic baggies. Why does Whole Foods need huge security guards armed with pepper spray? This country is fucking insane.
On a side note, Heather "accidentally" forgot to remove a Serrano pepper from the bag before we left. Suck it Whole Foods!
P.S. I won a $20 buy-in poker tournament last night worth $365 so the day kind of evened out. Thank you poker Gods...
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Do any of you think this type of ad will work? I am not sure if celebrities play into the entire Middle American fear of liberal Hollywood and thus the point is lost. I don't know...Thoughts?
Sen. Obama may be facing the specter of a 100 million dollar June. This is due to him finally securing the nomination and benefiting from a wave of Hillary Clinton supporters, Democrats that were on the fence waiting until there was a nominee before they donated to anyone, and the fact that individuals can give the $2,300 for the primary and another $2,300 for the general election.
Conversely, Sen. McCain has decided to forgo the majority of this process and accept the 85 million in federal funds. This poses a great dilemma for the Obama campaign. In a piece that deals with these issues, Bill Lambrecht writes:
Obama's campaign has not said whether he will follow up on an earlier assertion that it would "aggressively pursue" an agreement with McCain to take public financing, which would provide about $85 million for each candidate from September through the Nov. 4 election. Candidates who agree to accept the public money are then bound by spending limits, which have yet to be set. That would not prevent spending by the national committees and others. Obama spokesman Bill Burton said the campaign would decide "soon" on general election financing. He noted that the broad participation the Obama campaign has generated is a goal of campaign finance reform....Anthony Corrado, a fundraising expert and a professor at Colby College in Maine, said he expects Obama to have a significant fundraising advantage. But he added that McCain will still have plenty of money.
Corrado said each campaign likely will have about $50 million to $60 million for operating until the political conventions in late August and early September. Beyond the $85 million in public financing, McCain could raise $10 million to cover legal and accounting expenses, then spend another $19 million in coordination with the RNC. The Republican effort could total a respectable $250 million this fall, he said. For Obama, deciding to take the federal money also could limit his campaign's ability to control its message. Asking his supporters to direct their contributions to the national Democratic Party would complicate advertising and other facets of an Obama operation that so far has been tightly and frugally run. Corrado is among those who expect Obama to be a realist rather than a reformer. "The practical reality of wanting to win is going to trump any desire to abide by public funding for the sake of abiding by public funding," he said. Public finance advocates argue that while Obama's grass-roots fundraising has reduced the prevalence of big-money contributors, he could impede broader reform if he chooses to become the first presidential candidate in more than a generation to run solely on private contributions. Advocates like Craig Holman, a campaign finance expert for the nonprofit Public Citizen, say Obama could send a damaging message. "He's still raising money from donors who want favors from the Obama administration," Holman said, adding that self-described reformers should "not be the ones presiding over the selling of the White House this time around."
So, in essence, Obama can spend all the primary funds he wants to until the convention in August. Then, if he takes the public money, he could have used much of the funds he has raised now to help define McCain during the summer.
The problem is that the most money is needed at the end of the campaign, when the undecided 10% of the electorate are making up their minds. Obama would then be on even par with McCain when he could have, at minimum, a 2-1 currency advantage. However, he has said in the past that he would try to work with the Republican nominee to take the public funds. The reason for this is twofold, when you take people's money you owe them something, therefore, the reform and cleansing of the process should trump personal ambition. Furthermore, these remarks were made when it looked like we would likely have a Rudy-Hillary contest. He was not thinking that McCain would be the nominee and, in truth, call his bluff.
I think he should take the public funds. There is enough "soft" money that can go to outside advocacy groups and the Democratic party itself that could be used in some of the same ways Obama would have used it, sort of. One of the often overlooked aspects of Obama's campaign has been his ability to use his money on a solid ground game (ie local offices, flyer's, ect), and this could be effected. Then there is the issue of Obama's credibility and as importantly, his creditability, which is what so many of those 100,000,000 donors were drawn to in the first place. Besides, is it not completely absurd that a candidate can run a campaign on the issue of fixing the economy while having shattered all fund raising and spending records? Perhaps the message to take from that would be that people are all strapped for money because they gave it all to Obama.
In sum, it is very much my opinion that Obama should get as much money and spending in now, and then in the fall take the public funding.
And now for some Cash:
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
As many of you are by now aware, Fox's E.D. Hill recently suggested that Barack and Michelle Obama's "fist bump" last Tuesday might have been a "terrorist fist jab." This stirred the ire of hipsters, suburban youth, and people of thought everywhere, the later group most upset that she ever got a job anywhere to begin with. Just the very possibility of her existence, let alone employability, serves as a painful verification that some terrible wind is currently blowing through the national skies. And make no mistake, I am not just upset that she got a job doing "news", rather, I am angry that she was able to get a job at all. She should be a drain on our economy. She should be a third wife living somewhere in the desert with some messiah racing dirt bikes, deluded by thoughts that they're trapped in the movie Tron...But I digress...
Earlier today, Ms. Hill issued the following statement:
Then a few hours later, her show got canceled. This is a small victory for thought itself and I am happy about it. I am not sure if there will be any long term benefit of her departure, as I am sure they will replace her with a comparable model, but I will take it, for every victory should be cherished in an election year...
This is going to kick ass. With Hollywood putting out clunker after clunker trying to remake everything under the sun, The Smurfs are finally getting their due. A live action/CG movie is in the works. I wonder if I can get my cat some work playing Azrael? Who's gonna play Gargamel? I nominate Vince Vaughn. La, lah, lalala, lah, la, la, la, la, lah...
This is a recent interview he did for Antiwar.com.* Check it out:
I agree with his observation that Congress is so used to screwing us over right out in the open because they know the majority of us are not paying attention. Remember, even if your choices are turds, it is always important to vote, for that is the only way your representative government has of knowing that you are paying attention...
I also dig his observation about Bush and 9/11.
*- If the video is slow loading, pause it for a moment and then give it a shot.
Sunday, June 8, 2008
I wonder if right wing talk radio, whose listeners love to hump their misconception of the idea that free markets should dictate every aspect of reality, will be able to afford to drive the cars they use to listen to Rush and Sean in the coming days and weeks, or if they cannot afford to do so already.
The reality that we need to nationalize the oil and airline industries is becoming more and more apparent to me. And yet, I think we as a country are going to end up like that family that prays for their cancer to go away instead of seeking medical treatment, but I digress...
What I do know is that soon I will not be able to afford to drive to that protest nobody is starting (including yours truly) and showing up for. Then again, how would or should one go about protesting $4.43 9/10 a gallon for gas?
Anyhow, here is a map that shows you what people are paying throughout the country...
Hold on, it is only going to get worse.
Friday, June 6, 2008
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Before I begin, I also want to mention that I know some have been receiving provocative e-mails that have been circulating throughout Jewish communities across the country. A few of you may have gotten them. They’re filled with tall tales and dire warnings about a certain candidate for president. And all I want to say is — let me know if you see this guy named Barack Obama, because he sounds pretty scary.
I thought it was a funny and aggressive way to take the issue on head first, but was the speech effective? For starters, lets try and figure out how we got to this point. Ironically, there are some on the left that think Obama is too "pro-Israel". Furthermore, The Jerusalem Post and Haaretz Daily, two reasonable and mainstream Israeli newspapers, have recently published articles debunking these myths. But why did they have to? Why did these myths develop in the first place?
The truth is, I really don't know the answer, and I am actually asking you, the reader, to please explain it to me. Could it be are the above mentioned emails, some of which read as follows, courtesy of JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency), an actively pro-Israel news organization:
The following is an example of an e-mail including fabrications and distortions
about presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) now circulating among
U.S. Jews. The origins of this particular e-mail appear to be in Israel; JTA is
attempting to track it to the original source.--Who is Barack Obama? Very interesting and something that should be considered in your choice. If you do not ever forward anything else, please forward this to all your contacts...this is very scary to think of what lies ahead of us here in our own United States ...better heed this and pray about it and share it.We checked this out on "snopes.com". It is factual. Check for yourself. Who is Barack Obama? Probable U. S. presidential candidate, Barack Hussein Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, to Barack Hussein Obama, Sr., a black MUSLIM from Nyangoma-Kogel, Kenya and Ann Dunham, a white ATHEIST from Wichita, Kansas. Obama's parents met at the University of Hawaii. When Obama was two years old, his parents divorced. His father returned to Kenya . His mother then married Lolo Soetoro, a RADICAL Muslim from Indonesia. When Obama was 6 years old, the family relocate to Indonesia. Obama attended a MUSLIM school in Jakarta . He also spent two years in a Catholic school. Obama takes great care to conceal the fact that he is a Muslim. He is quick to point out that, "He was once a Muslim, but that he also attended Catholic school." Obama's political handlers are attempting to make it appear that that he is not a radical. Obama's introduction to Islam came via his father, and that this influence was temporary at best. In reality, the senior Obama returned to Kenya soon after the divorce, and never again had any direct influence over his son's education. Lolo Soetoro, the second husband of Obama's mother, Ann Dunham, introduced his stepson to Islam. Obama was enrolled in a Wahabi school in Jakarta . Wahabism is the RADICAL teaching that is followed by the Muslim terrorists who are now waging Jihad against the western world. Since it is politically expedient to be a CHRISTIAN when seeking major public office in the United States, Barack Hussein Obama has joined the United Church of Christ in an attempt to downplay his Muslim background. ALSO, keep in mind that when he was sworn into office he DID NOT use the Holy Bible, but instead the Koran. Barack Hussein Obama will NOT recite the Pledge of Allegiance nor will he show any reverence for our flag. While others place their hands over their hearts, Obama turn s his back to the flag and slouches. Let us all remain alert concerning Obama's expected presidential candidacy. The Muslims have said they plan on destroying the US from the inside out, what better way to start than at the highest level - through the President of the United States , one of their own!!!! Please forward to everyone you know. Would you want this man leading our country?...... NOT ME!!
The"facts" of this email have been debunked and are widely known to be untrue. And while we are at it, does anyone still trust an email that begins by stating that you must email it to everyone you know and that it is true because Snopes.com says it is? I doubt that the recipients of the email aren't influenced at all by its contents. I have to think that most people in the Jewish community do not Obama because of an email.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
The speech can be read in its entirety by clicking here.
Here are some of my favorite nuggets from the speech:
-- And maybe if he (McCain) spent some time in the schools of South Carolina or St. Paul or where he spoke tonight in New Orleans, he'd understand that we can't afford to leave the money behind for No Child Left Behind; that we owe it to our children to invest in early childhood education; to recruit an army of new teachers and give them better pay and more support; to finally decide that in this global economy, the chance to get a college education should not be a privilege for the wealthy few, but the birthright of every American. That's the change we need in America. That's why I'm running for president.
-- So it was for that band of patriots who declared in a Philadelphia hall the formation of a more perfect union; and for all those who gave on the fields of Gettysburg and Antietam their last full measure of devotion to save that same union.
-- So it was for the greatest generation that conquered fear itself, and liberated a continent from tyranny and made this country home to untold opportunity and prosperity.
-- So it was for the workers who stood out on the picket lines; the women who shattered glass ceilings; the children who braved a Selma bridge for freedom's cause.
-- So it has been for every generation that faced down the greatest challenges and the most improbable odds to leave their children a world that's better, and kinder, and more just.
And so it must be for us.
-- What you won't hear from this campaign or this party is the kind of politics that uses religion as a wedge, and patriotism as a bludgeon—that sees our opponents not as competitors to challenge, but enemies to demonize. Because we may call ourselves Democrats and Republicans, but we are Americans first. We are always Americans first.
And my absolute favorite:
In just a few short months, the Republican Party will arrive in St. Paul with a very different agenda. They will come here to nominate John McCain, a man who has served this country heroically. I honor that service, and I respect his many accomplishments, even if he chooses to deny mine.Another home run. McCain should not be taken lightly....he should not be taken at all. I think Obama smokes him in the fall.
As I write this I await Hillary Clinton's remarks. Her crowd is large, enthusiastic, and dedicated, and I applaud their support of an impressive, albeit often crocked human being. Hell, CNN just reported that she won South Dakota. As Wolf "the Corpse" Blitzer just announced, too little- too late. Even still, her crowd is far more impressive than McCain's sleepy talk he gave in a bizarre green room 30 min ago.
I cannot even report on the speech because I could not follow it. It reminded me of a dull history lesson I saw on ITV when I was in the 3rd grade.
Tonight is an historic night, but Obama needs to close the deal in November for there to be a seismic shift in this country. Otherwise, tonight will be an anecdotal footnote.
I am starting to think that Clinton needs to be his V.P., and so is she...
On May 23 I left the city of San Diego for the Hawaiian Islands. On my way up to L.A., I paid $4.04 9/10 for a gallon of gas around the corner from my abode. Today, June 3, some 11 days later, that same station is selling that same gallon of gas for $4.29 9/10. Gas has gone up over 2 cents a day for each day I was gone. Just yesterday, on the Island of Kauai, I paid $4.15 9/10 for a gallon of gas.
This is intolerable madness. Again I ask, what is our price? What will a gallon of gasoline have to cost before we do something about it?
One observation: I have noticed that most people, myself included, round down the 9/10 of a cent per gallon of gas when discussing prices. Why is that? If a gallon costs $4.29 9/10, why do most of us say the price is $4.29 a gallon, and not $4.30? What other consumer item do we round down when discussing the price? If a pack of gum is 90 cents, would we say that it is free?
More on this soon...
In other news, Obama is, as of this moment (according to MSNBC and CNN) 10 delegates away from clinching the nomination. This is before that polls close in South Dakota and Montana, where 31 delegates will be decided from those 2 states.
Bruce Sterling has an intriguing post over at Wired on the nature of centipedes and political scandal. As he defines them, "'Centipedes' are covert conspiracies meant to drive politicians from power by creating moral panics."
Going through all the necessary elements of a centipede-style character assassination, it's remarkably consistent with what you've seen in the downfalls of Evangelical Pastor Ted Haggard, Florida Representative Mark Foley, or - most recently - former New York Governor Eliott Spitzer. Even in other attempts at character assassination like the most obvious, Bill Clinton in the 90s.
What Sterling doesn't get into quite as much is why certain attempts fail. When you compare former New Jersey Governor James McGreevey to Senator Larry Craig, or Spitzer to Senator David Vitter, well, it's not simply a matter of IOKIYAR. (Although that's a big part of it.)
It's also that there isn't the media and message machine in place on the left that there is on the right to drive the nail in the coffin of Republicans once these sorts of scandals break. Part of this, I would imagine, is that there isn't the same sense of moral outrage on the left that would drive people to make hay over what are, essentially, common moral failings. For example, look at how quickly Senator John McCain's lobbyist love affair faded out of the news versus the research still going on into Spitzer's love life. And so, where he and McGreevey can be driven from office successfully, you still have Craig and Vitter - hypocrites that they are - serving on the Senate floor.