Monday, April 30, 2007

Director David Lynch has Plan to End School Violence

Kooky David Lynch, of "Twin Peaks" (loved it), "Mulholland Drive" (hated it) "Blue Velvet" (never saw it) and cult classic "Eraserhead" ( comment) fame, has a foundation "for Consciousness-Based Education and World peace"! His David Lynch Foundation apparently has a plan to end violence in our schools:
Teach one million students around the world to meditate to transform schools from breeding grounds of stress and violence into centers of creativity and peace. The David Lynch Foundation has already provided nearly $5 million to support in-school Transcendental Meditation programs for thousands of students in public and private schools in the United States and around the world to learn to meditate.

Now, before you scoff at the idea, I meditate (not TM), and I credit my daily practice for many positive changes in my life. There have been numerous studies about the positive affects of meditation on both mind, body and spirit. It has been used, very successfully, with prison inmates, and children, and if people like Lynch are willing to donate millions to help meditation become more accessible to children, then that's wonderful. It certainly can't do any harm, and if it helps alleviate, somewhat, the horrors of childhood (and we've all been there, at least I have), then why not?

Congratulations, David, for giving back to the community!

Is there still hope? Turks protest Islamic led government

The Turks are protesting, in huge numbers, again:

AP: Benjamin Harvey

ISTANBUL, Turkey -- Some 700,000 Turks waving the red national flag flooded central Istanbul on Sunday to demand the resignation of the government, saying the Islamic roots of Turkey's leaders threatened to destroy the country's modern foundations.

Interesting to note that secularism was introduced to Turkey after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in the 1920s (after WW I), when Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (founder and 1st President of Turkey) imposed sweeping reforms in an effort to modernize his country. Islamic courts were closed, the office of the Caliphate was abolished along with Islamic Law, Islamic dress was banned, women's rights were established, a Turkish alphabet replaced the Arabic one, amongst other changes.

What I find even more interesting is that the Turks, the fathers of Islamic imperialism (in the guise of the Ottoman Empire), were the first to discard that whole mind-set in favour of modernizing their country and, therefore, becoming more westernized. They didn't abolish their religion, just the dark-age trappings. So, understandably, the secular Turks don't want to take a giant step backwards in history. "They want to drag Turkey to the dark ages," said 63-year-old Ahmet Yurdakul, a retired government employee who attended the protest." The people are adamant about separation of mosque and state, and retaining the secular laws that Ataturk established.

More than doubling a similar protest 2 weeks ago in Ankara, it looks like there might be some hope after all, depending upon the outcome of these protests. If Islamic countries like Turkey can somehow manage to survive and thrive as secular entities, then perhaps other middle-eastern countries will follow suit.

I wish them luck!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Cut and Run Democrats- Sending the wrong message

Whether out of stupidity or politics (or a combination of both), the liberal factions in our Senate and Congress are sending a terrible and very dangerous message to our friends and foes abroad when they call for a withdrawal of troops from Iraq. Every single Presidential candidate pledged as much, during the recent Democratic debate, and they undoubtedly will, if they are elected.

No matter how often we are vilified, our flag burned or told how much we are hated, the world still looks to the U.S. for support during times of trouble. Our uncompromising, unflinching belief in freedom and democracy is a beacon of light in regions that are subjected to oppressive darkness. They expect our help, like an older brother coming to the aid of younger siblings being bullied. So what happens when that "older" brother just walks away, leaving them to fend for themselves? How would you feel? Abandoned, helpless, angry, and very reluctant to trust that 'brother' again. I realize we shouldn't have to police Iraq (or anywhere else, for that matter), and the Iraqis should make a concerted effort to take on that task themselves, but they're not ready. Yet! You don't remove a cake from an oven when it's half baked. So we shouldn't be walking away simply because the American people don't have the stomach for war or sufficient enough resolve to finish the job. By 'walking away' we will lose the trust and faith of all our friends.

But even more troubling, is the message we're sending to all the 'bullies' of the world: the insurgents, the terrorists, the despotic leaders. We will, in effect be telling them that we are weak, that we don't have the will or courage to stay the course and that all they have to do is wait it out a while, and eventually we'll give up, cry 'uncle', pack our bags and leave. As we have in the past.

Australia's Prime Minister John Howard said that Congress' recent vote to withdraw U.S. troops was "probably not helpful to the general situation in Iraq. I think it is wrong, and I don't think it is doing anything other than giving great comfort and encouragement to Al-Qaeda and the insurgency in Iraq. They are looking at all this, they read newspapers, they see it on television and they say, 'The American domestic resolve is weakening, therefore we should maintain our resolve.' If there is a perception of an America defeat in Iraq, that will leave the whole of the Middle East in great turmoil and will be an enormous victory for terrorism."

This is one Iraqi's fear re. the consequences of pulling out too soon: "I said it before and I say it again; this war must be won. If it is not the world as you in the United States know it today (and as we here in Iraq dream for it to become) will exist only in books of history. The forces of extremism that we confront today are more determined, more resourceful, and more barbaric than the Nazi or the communists of the past. Add to that the weapons they can improvise or acquire through their unholy alliance with rogue regimes, combined with their fluid structure and mobility… well, they can be more deadly than any forces we have faced in the past. Much more."

Pelosi with her "screw you Bush" look, in her lovely head scarf on her recent visit to Syria.

With the likes of Reid and Pelosi (and their politically motivated antics), they're not only undermining any progress there might be in Iraq, but they are also alerting our enemies to the fact that we are a nation severely divided. And you know the quip... 'United we stand, Divided we fall.' Reid's irresponsible declaration that: "The War is lost", only serves to embolden our enemies. What more do they need to hear? Jackson Simpson, in The National Ledger, says of Reid: "In a speech today he continued his defeatism and blamed President Bush by saying, "70% of Iraqi children are suffering from trauma like nightmares, bed wetting, stuttering and fear -- that some say could paralyze an entire generation that we had been counting on to harvest the seeds of democracy." You can't make this stuff up. He then went the predictable route of comparing Iraq to Vietnam saying, "The Philosopher George Santayana once wrote, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

Yes, Harry, but you need to go a little further back in history than the Vietnam War for Santayana's quote to have any relevance, whatsoever.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

More Pig prejudice in Europe

Here we go again. Pigs take center stage at a school in Amsterdam.

AMSTERDAM, 27/04/07 - A school in Amsterdam has halted lessons on rural life because the Islamic children refused to talk about pigs. Reporting this, Alderman Lodewijk Asscher said he wants to take “tough measures.” Subsidies for all kinds of dubious groups must stop and parents of unruly children penalised financially. Asscher told newspaper De Volkskrant: “A primary school in Amsterdam-Noord has decided no longer to teach about living on a farm. Various pupils began to demolish the classroom when the pig came up for discussion. Apparently it has gone that far. These children, 9, 10 years old, have not been given even the most elementary rules at home about why they must go to school.”
What next, slaughter all the pigs and dogs in the world, because they offend Muslims? Oink!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

1st Democratic Debate or let's bash Bush on MSNBC cos we have no answers

So, the Dems had their first debate, tonight, and I was totally underwhelmed. Not one candidate I could like, let alone trust.

LIST OF CANDIDATES: (not in order of any preference, obviously)

Sen. Hillary Clinton, NY
Sen. Barack Obama, IL
Fmr. Sen. John Edwards, NC
Sen. Joe Biden, DE
Gov. Bill Richardson, NM
Fmr. Sen. Robert Mike Gravel, Alaska
Rep. Dennis Kucinich, OH
Sen. Chris Dodd, CT

The candidates, a smorgasbord of the loony left, took full advantage (any chance they had) of bashing Bush and the current administration, from the war in Iraq to domestic policy. In fact, they spent more time censuring GW and his policies, than responding to the various questions asked, and most found ways to avoid answering questions directly, particularly those "let's make 'em squirm" assortment of questions. Then again, politicians are masters at evasion, so what else did we expect?!

Not surprisingly, all of them said they would bring the troops home immediately if they were elected President. But, the overt need to discuss the issue, even when asked unrelated questions, just demonstrates how politically expedient it is to be 'anti-war', at this stage in the game. Okay, we get that you all want 'out' of this war because you think that's what the American people want, and you'll say anything to win. We get that. But do you have to be so obvious about it?

The front-runners (or the ones with the largest war chests): La Hillary 'I am woman hear me roar!' Clinton and Barry, I mean Barack 'who am I?' Obama were the most eloquent, but as trustworthy as an ex-con in Tiffany's. Hillary kept her composure, for the most part, standing there in her pant suit trying to look every bit as butch as the rest of 'em, and succeeding quite nicely. There's a harshness to her demeanour that never disappears, which is not a good thing. They both waffled on many of the issues, in a concerted effort to appeal to everyone. Also not a good thing. As for our southern pretty boy, Edwards, there's something too slick and disingenuous about him. He tried his damnedest to appeal to the middle class working shlub (in spite of his $400.00 haircuts, and multi-million dollar mansion) by trying to convince us of his working class roots, with a story about a humiliating experience, as a kid, when his family had to leave a restaurant because his Dad couldn't afford the prices. I didn't buy it.

As for the others, they're all non-contenders, in my humble opinion. Non-descript Biden and Dodd, and blustery Richardson were all pretty much unmemorable, but who on earth is Mike Gravel, and how the heck did he ever get elected Senator???? I thought Dennis Kucinich was nuts but Gravel is wacko. (They both get added to my Idiots Hall of Shame, alongside Jimmy Carter.) Kucinich babbled on about how there is no global war on terror, it simply "doesn't exist", and was the only one who raised his hand when asked if anyone thought Cheney should be impeached. But Gravel takes the crown for being the King of the Loons, he believes we have no enemies. I have no idea what planet he came from. The poor fool needs to go back and stick his head in the sand. Or snow. Or whatever. (I don't think there's sand in Alaska.) Thankfully, he wasn't asked many questions, much to his chagrin, but from the few he was asked: Gravel is a loose canon, that I would fear having as President. (Though there are some fellow wackos who loved Kucinich and Gravel on the MSNBC message boards.)

Of all the candidates, Kucinich and Gravel were the most vocal about their rabidly anti-Iraq War stance, with Gravel emphatically stating, at one point, that "This war was lost the day that George Bush invaded Iraq on a fraudulent basis!" Kucinich concurred, claiming the war was based on lies. There might have been others who mentioned that, as well, I don't recall, but how many times do we have to listen to that crap? I am so totally sick of that argument. Please, something new!

Next week we have the Republican debate. It will be interesting to see what they have to say.

In the meantime, I draw comfort from the fact that no running senator has ever won the presidency, since Kennedy in 1960, and I'm praying it remains that way!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

British Journalist Union calls for boycott of Israeli goods

As a protest against the "savage, pre-planned attack on Lebanon by Israel" last year, the British 'National Union of Journalists' (NUJ) voted 66-54 in favour of boycotting Israeli goods, "similar to those boycotts in the struggles against apartheid South Africa led by trade unions," and called for the Brit Trade Union Congress to demand "sanctions be imposed on Israel by the British government and the United Nations." And although many of the 40,000 members were not in agreement:
"former Guardian reporter and Yahoo Europe news director Lloyd Shepherd quipped that he now looked "forward to similar boycotts of Saudi oil (abuse of women and human rights), Turkish desserts (limits to freedom of speech) and, of course, the immediate replacement of all stationery in the NUJ's offices which has been made or assembled in China",
the fact that it passed, at all, is a disgrace, considering there are countries far worthier of boycotting than Israel. And why are journalists calling for a boycott of goods in the first place? They're journalists, right? Wouldn't they be better served to call for a boycott of countries that censor their press? Like Russia, that has just demanded, of the Russian News Service, that at least 50% of all news about Russia be "positive" and that "opposition leaders could not be mentioned on the air and the United States was to be portrayed as an enemy." What about China? And most, if not all, countries in the Middle-East? In that region, Israel stands out as an oasis of democracy in a wasteland of intolerance; bereft of both personal and press freedom. Why are they singling out Israel?! The NUJ also condemned the "slaughter of civilians in Gaza" in recent years," and "the motion condemning Israel's "savage" behavior toward Palestinian civilians in the wake of "the defeat of its army" by Hizbullah passed by a wide margin." What about all the carnage that the Palestinians, Hizbullah etc. have been perpetrating on the Israeli people, for decades? Does that not count, too? And what about the fact that those terrorist groups use civilians as shields, so if there are civilian casualties it is often a direct result of those vile and cowardly tactics?!

In response to the NUJ vote, Chas Newkey-Burden writes a blistering critique of British Journalism and its blatant hatred of Israel saying:

"The BBC refuses to describe suicide bombers who blow up buses full of schoolchildren as "terrorists" and one of its correspondents told a Hamas rally that he and his colleagues were “waging the campaign shoulder-to-shoulder with the Palestinian people”

Criticized by fellow journalists for a trip to Israel, he relates how, upon his return, he

"met up with some journalists for some drinks in the West End of London. I was again abused for my trip. Their hatred of Israel was matched only by their adoration of the Palestinians. One of them gushed: “Boy, those suicide bombers have got guts. I wish more people in the world had their courage.” Another of them erupted when I told him that most people in Israel wanted a peaceful settlement to the conflict. “So why,” he asked, “did they murder their most peaceful Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu?" Well, I guess if you’re going to get your facts wrong you might as well get them spectacularly wrong – I wonder if anyone else has ever got Netanyahu confused with Yitzhak Rabin?"

It looks like Britain is going to slip, very easily, into the hands of radical Islam (and without as much as a fight), when their own 'western' journalists glorify suicide bombers as "courageous." Whether any of this has to do with the fact that BBC correspondent Alan Johnston was kidnapped 5 weeks ago, by Palestinian gunmen, is up for debate.

And, once again, the asinine comparison to Israel as an apartheid state is brought to the fore, with the call for a boycott. The following video sets the record straight in terms of what truly constitutes "Apartheid":

For more on press censorship go to Reporters Without Borders.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Liberal Idiocy- Sheryl Crow and her 1 "square" per

Sheryl Crow is the talk of the radio talk shows with her oh-so innovative ways to help curb the impending global warming crisis. Sheryl and Laurie David (whoever the heck she is) are on a 2 week "global warming college tour", scaring the doodoo out of impressionable young minds, and blogging their way across America in their bio-diesel bus. In her own words:

"I have spent the better part of this tour trying to come up with easy ways for us all to become a part of the solution to global warming. Although my ideas are in the earliest stages of development, they are, in my mind, worth investigating. One of my favorites is in the area of conserving trees which we heavily rely on for oxygen. I propose a limitation be put on how many sqares {sic} of toilet paper can be used in any one sitting. Now, I don't want to rob any law-abiding American of his or her God-given rights, but I think we are an industrious enough people that we can make it work with only one square per restroom visit, except, of course, on those pesky occasions where 2 to 3 could be required. "

Yup, that's right. 1 piece 'o "t.p." per person, except for those special "pesky" occasions. One square, that's about the size of the palm of my hand. I don't even want to think about the health implications of one square. I'm taking rubber gloves when I go to public restrooms!

She does now, however, claim it was all a joke. Uhuh! That's what Keith Richards said about snorting his Dad, several days after people balked at that comment! Who knows what she was snorting when she wrote that, but I have a nasty suspicion she more than likely meant what she said. Which just re-affirms how loony the left can be. Her brother ( whose judgement she trusts completely) took it one step further by saying: "how bout just washing the one square out." If anyone was joking it was him. At least I hope to God, he was, because that's certifiable.

Not only is she loony, she (like many libs) is a major hypocrite. Even though she's riding a diesel bus for this particular tour, her normal tour transportation consists of 3 tractor trailers, 4 buses and 6 cars! This is the problem with most of these celebs who cry "global warming", they say one thing and do another. And although many of them drive energy efficient cars at home, they have no qualms about flying their private jets around the world, including John Travolta (who has 5 planes), Julia Roberts, George Clooney, Brad Pitt and many others. One trip abroad uses the same amount of fuel that you'd need to run a Hummer for a year. I won't even get into Al Gore's use of more than 20 times the amount of electricity that the average citizen uses in a year.

So that's the poop on Crow. For another interesting earth-saving idea check out her blog. She has a great design idea for detachable "dining" sleeves, to save on paper napkins!

P.S. I googled Laurie David... as many of you probably already know, she's Queen of the Global Warming activists and producer of Gore's "AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH". Who knew.

P.P.S. My Dad says we should grow more corn, use the kernels for ethanol gas and the cobs for... well, you know....., but, I think I'll pass. I'm grabbing my Charmin and using however many squares I darn well choose, thank you very much.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Religion of "Peace" at it again, Part 2: 12 year old beheads militant denounced as American spy

Only in Islam would a young child be encouraged to behead a man, in God's name.

Denouncing the victim, Ghulam Nabi, as an American spy (in a videotape making the rounds in Pakistan), a 12 year old Pakistani boy:

"hacks off the captive's head to cries of "God is great!" and hoists it in triumph by the hair", then "a continuous 2 1/2-minute shot shows the victim lying on his side on a patch of rubble-strewn ground. A man holds Nabi by his beard while the boy, wearing a camouflage military jacket and oversized white sneakers, cuts into the throat. Other men and boys call out "Allahu akbar!" -- "God is great!" -- as blood spurts from the wound.The film, overlain with jihadi songs, then shows the boy hacking and slashing at the man's neck until the head is severed."
This is what the children of Islam are exposed to: despicable, barbarous acts of violence. Both as participants and observers. What hope is there for them, when they are taught, at such a young age, that killing is good and justified and ultimately rewardable in heaven.

And even though the victim was a Taliban fighter, militant himself (so no loss there), it still does not mitigate the horror of the fact that a mere child was the brutal executioner.

Friday, April 20, 2007

I know It's Hard to Believe But- by Edward L. Daley

Some interesting observations by Edward L. Daley of The Daley-Times Post. Most are very valid.

I Know It's Hard to Believe But...

There are some people in the United States of America who think that George W. Bush orchestrated the atrocities of 09/11/01

......and that Democrats are more responsible with our tax dollars than Republicans

......and that Rosie O'Donnell is a patriot

......and that suspected terrorists captured during armed conflict in a foreign country deserve the same habeas corpus rights as domestic criminal suspects

......and that tax increases actually promote economic growth

......and that spanking a child equates to abuse, but having sex with one doesn't

......and that the "mainstream" media is politically unbiased

......and that our country is an imperialist nation

......and that public education is generally superior to private education

......and that Israel is an aggressor nation, but Saddam Hussein's regime was completely innocent

......and that Islamic terrorists are really freedom fighters

......and that the United Nations is genuinely concerned with world peace

......and that racial intolerance is more common in this country today than it has ever been before

......and that Al Gore's movie 'An Inconvenient Truth' is an accurate, scientific depiction of global climatological trends

......and that worshiping God is a more objectionable practice than sodomy

......and that Marxism is a viable socio-political - and even economic - ideology

......and that Bill Clinton was impeached for having an affair

......and that the federal government is the benefactor of our individual rights

......and that calling a wealthy, left-wing, Hollywood actor a 'Limousine Liberal' is hateful, but calling a conservative black person an 'Uncle Tom' isn't

......and that cutting down trees is more egregious than piercing the heart or brain of an unborn baby with a sharp metal object.

Considering the wholly preposterous nature of these opinions, one has to wonder how many of the folks who've adopted them watch ABC's 'The View' on a regular basis.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Yusuf Islam-the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens


"Now I've been crying lately, thinking about the world as it is
Why must we go on hating, why can't we live in bliss
Cause out on the edge of darkness, there rides a peace train
Oh peace train take this country, come take me home again."

Remember Cat Stevens, or should I say the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens? Some of you might be too young to remember him. His career, albeit wonderfully prolific, was short-lived. Unfortunately. A mere 12 years. But his music lived on, thankfully, in spite of a request to record companies to stop distributing it. I adored Cat Stevens. Bought most of his albums, when those things still existed. I have them socked away somewhere, probably gathering mold and dust. But he has always been one of my favorite vocal artists. His mellow, folksy often spirited sound touched a chord with most people, in those days, who connected with the spiritual, everyman aspect of his lyrics.

I think I loved the film "Harold and Maude" (one of my faves), first and foremost, because of its appealing soundtrack, which prominently featured Steven's wonderful music. He truly was a musical genius, writing most of his songs in his late teens and early 20s. But a year-long bout with tuberculosis in 1968 and then a near-death drowning experience in 1975 led him on a spiritual quest that ended with his eventual conversion to Islam in 1977, his final performance in 1979 and a 28 year absence from the secular musical spotlight. Cat Stevens, figuratively speaking, 'died' in 1978 and re-emerged as Yusuf Islam. He spent the next several decades dedicating himself to educational and humanitarian endeavours relative to Islam.

I had no idea he had ventured back into the musical field until I saw a recent video of "PEACE TRAIN", and a BBC interview where he discusses his life and his come-back, both on You Tube. It took him all these years to finally come to terms with the idea that his music and Islam could peacefully co-exist. There are factions in Islam that consider music and instruments haram (forbidden).

Yusuf considers himself a moderate Muslim, although there was some criticism of him when, in response to media questions about the fatwa against Salman Rushdie, he agreed that blasphemy was a capital offense. He contends, however, that he did not condone the execution of Rushdie. Gray area, but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.

In the interview with Alan Yentob, he says of Islam that "Peace...... that is the heart and soul of the religion. Alot... the majority just want to live a happy life and be at peace with the rest of the world. That's the reality." I wish I could believe that, but what I see every single day on TV and in the papers and on videos and on blogs indicates, in no uncertain terms, that it is the antithesis of what he says. Maybe they want to live a happy life, but they don't seem to want peace amongst themselves, let alone the rest of the world. And it's ironic that when he sings "PEACE TRAIN" now, the words "why must we go on hating", ring hollow. Hatred is the catchword for that religion. They hate each other, they hate the west, they hate anything non-Muslim.

Perhaps Yusuf Islam can influence, through his music and his actions, his fellow Muslims to follow a more enlightened, tolerant path, but it seems unlikely. It will be interesting to see what kind of music he does create, after all these years. He finally released a new album of original pop songs, in 2006, but I've only heard one song. I found something missing in his recent performances, some spark of life lacking. Maybe he just needs more time to get his bearings back. Time will tell.

The following is a new rendition of "PEACE TRAIN".

This is the Cat Stevens I remember and loved, also singing "PEACE TRAIN"

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

David Hicks- or taking responsibility for your actions

It seems that although David Hicks is somewhat old news, people are still harping on about the injustice of it all, ad nauseum, including on a recent unrelated post of mine (see comments.) I had been meaning to write something about Mr. Hicks (aka Abu Muslim al-Austraili and Muhammed Dawoodin) in response to his meagre 9 month sentence, but never got around to it. But, in light of some contentious remarks, here goes:

David Matthew Hicks, poster child for trouble and Australian Muslim convert, embarked on a life of militancy in 1999 (at age 24) when he joined the Kosovo Liberation Army, fighting alongside ethnic Albanians in their battle against the Serbs during the Kosovo War. 2 months later he was back in Australia where he converted to Islam. After being rejected by the Australian Army, for lack of a formal education (he was kicked out of school at 14), he went to Pakistan to study Islam, and shortly thereafter plunged into a life of Islamic extremism. His initial indoctrination into this culture of violence began with Lashkar-e-Toiba, where he learned all the various methods of guerrilla warfare, and ended with training at al-Qaeda's al-Farouq camp near Kandahar. He spoke to his parents in November 2001 telling them he was ".... going off to Kabul to defend it against the Northern Alliance." He was captured, a month later by a Northern Alliance warlord and eventually handed over to US special forces.

In a documentary entitled Peace, Propaganda and the Promised Land, David's father, Terry Hicks, read from some of David's letters where he explains that his training, in both Pakistan and Afghanistan, was a means to guarantee that "the Western-Jewish domination is finished, so we live under Muslim law again". He has even acknowledged that he met with Bin Laden many times.

Though people like to make him out as an innocent, David Matthew Hicks was not a tourist on a vacation that turned into a nightmare, caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was in Afghanistan post 9/11, of his own volition, fighting with al-Qaeda and the Taliban against the Northern Alliance and coalition forces. That is called aiding and abetting a terrorist organization, which makes you a terrorist, and therefore an enemy combatant. No ifs ands or buts. There are a whole different set of rules with this kind of war. And as for claims of torture, of course they are going to say whatever they have to, to try and save their proverbial butts, and get themselves out of Guantanamo, which I'm sure has far better conditions than the caves they lived in prior to being captured. They know how soft the world is on claims of torture.

But the bottom line is: David Hicks made choices in life. He chose to convert to Islam, he chose to align himself with terrorist groups and launch into a life of militant extremism and violence. He chose to be in Afghanistan post 9/11. No-one forced him to do any of those things, and yet choose he did. So, where's the accountability? If you choose to do something criminal and you are caught, then you suffer the consequences. People need to take responsibility for their actions. Hicks is unwilling to take any responsibility for all the wrong choices he has made in life. And there are far too many people who feel he has been wronged. The irony of it all, is that Hicks probably loathes all those western, liberal bleeding hearts who support him because they are not Muslim.

I hope he turns his life around, but it's unlikely, particularly if he remains a Muslim. His life has been fraught with wrong turns since childhood, and it will probably continue down that road. I wouldn't be surprised if, once released, he sets off for Iraq to join his Muslim brethren there, to continue the fight to kill the roots of democracy. There have been other Guantanamo detainees who, upon being released, have returned to fight another day: Abdullah Mehsud and these Afghans and these, so why not David Mitchell Hicks aka Abu Muslim al-Austraili aka Muhammed Dawoodin?

There are still heroes

There are still heroes in this world. In this messed up, crazy, me-oriented, violent, little world of ours. Individuals who, without hesitation, are willing to lay down their own lives, for others.

Liviu Librescu was one such person. Israeli citizen of Romanian descent. Holocaust survivor. 76 year old Professor of Engineering at Virginia Tech, Prof. Librescu used his body to barricade the door to his classroom against one crazed, lone-gunman, intent on entering the lecture hall to continue his killing spree. Holding Cho Seung-hui, 23, at bay long enough to allow his students to jump out of the windows to safety, he was gunned down and killed, ironically, on Holocaust Remembrance Day. Librescu's wife received emails from some of those students describing how, in a selfless act of bravery, the Professor told them to flee, all the while struggling to keep Cho from entering through the door.

Not many are willing to sacrifice themselves, most aren't even inclined to step in to help someone else in need if it portends even the slightest amount of danger or trouble. Omar Wellington, a Canadian teen was viciously beaten to death, while people stood by and did absolutely nothing. For 9 months, no-one was even willing to come forward with information regarding the attack. There has finally been a major breakthrough in the case, and 6 teens were charged, but no-one is sharing details. And remember Kitty Genovese? The young New York woman who was raped and repeatedly stabbed to death, in 1964, while at least a dozen or more of her neighbours witnessed portions of the multiple attacks (that lasted 30 minutes), and felt it wasn't important enough to even bother calling the police? It wasn't until a few minutes after the final attack that witness Karl Ross bothered phoning the authorities. An unidentified neighbour, who finally got Ross to act, summed it up:

"I didn't want to get involved."

So, Rest in Peace, Liviu Librescu. Bless your courage and sacrifice! Bless you for getting involved.

Monday, April 16, 2007

ETHICS and LIBERAL HYPOCRISY- Dianne Feinstein resigns from Military Construction Appropriations subcommittee

Not that you're going to see this in the mainstream media, for now at least, but it looks like Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif, resigned from her post as Chair of the Military Construction Appropriations subcommittee (MILCON), which she has held for the past 6 years. Why? It appears that her hubby Richard C. Blum's two companies (Perini Corp. and URS Corp.) have benefited, quite amply thank you very much, from wifey's position. Talk about major conflict of interest. Halliburton sound familiar? But the difference in coverage between the two is very obvious. And we all know why.

Her decision seems to have been prompted by a searing expose' by Peter Byrne of Metro newspapers, a conglomerate of leftist-leaning (of all things), Northern California alternative weeklies, which exposed the billions awarded to her husband's companies, over the years, with her express knowledge:

Each year, MILCON's members decide which military construction projects will be funded from a roster proposed by the Department of Defense. Contracts to build these specific projects are subsequently awarded to such major defense contractors as Halliburton, Fluor, Parsons, Louis Berger, URS Corporation and Perini Corporation. From 1997 through the end of 2005, with Feinstein's knowledge, Blum was a majority owner of both URS Corp. and Perini Corp.

And, it seems she actually lobbied for many of those contracts:

At a March 30, 2004, MILCON hearing, Feinstein grilled Maj. Gen. Dean Fox about whether or not the Pentagon intended to prioritize funding the construction of "beddown" maintenance facilities for its new airlifter, the C-17 Globemaster. After being reassured by Fox that these funds would soon be flowing, Feinstein said, "Good, that's what I really wanted to hear. Thank you very much. Appreciate it very much, General." Two years later, URS announced a $42 million award to build a beddown maintenance facility for the C-17 at Hickam Air Base in Hawaii as part of a multibillion dollar contract with the Air Force. Under Feinstein's leadership, MILCON approved the Hickam project.

MILCON also has jurisdiction over medical treatment of veterans and Byrne heaped further criticism upon Feinstein saying "You would think that, considering all the money Feinstein's family has pocketed by waging global warfare while ignoring the plight of wounded American soldiers."

The MILCON subcommittee is not only in charge of supervising military construction, it also oversees "quality of life" issues for veterans, which includes building housing for military families and operating hospitals and clinics for wounded soldiers. Perhaps Feinstein is trying to disassociate herself from MILCON's incredible failure to provide decent medical care for wounded soldiers. Two years ago, before the Washington Post became belatedly involved, the online magazine exposed the horrors of deficient medical care for Iraq war veterans. While leading MILCON, Feinstein had ample warning of the medical-care meltdown. But she was not proactive on veteran's affairs.

So, my liberal friends, the Republican Party does not claim ownership to unethical behavior, no matter how much you would like to think that it does. It is equally shared with the Democrats!

It would be nice, however, if they would ALL clean up their acts.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Only 3 more to go- then it's homeward bound

This is the part I hate the most, well, hate is a rather strong word, so perhaps 'dislike' would be more apropos: having to pack while still performing. Living out of bags and and boxes. Your mind half here and half home. But this is what we do each time we work out of town. And it never gets easier.

I've packed the few adornments that I always take with me to make each place a little more like home, so the apartment is sad-looking and empty. The place is a also mess with bags and suitcases strewn about, ready to go. Our building is downtown, in a semi-questionable area, so I don't want people to see me packing the car, yet, so it will have to wait until Monday when I set off for home. So, in between packing and cleaning we have the shows. A minor inconvenience. 2 today and 1 tomorrow, and that's it. Adieu, adios, bye-bye. Until next time, you hope.

Then it's back to pounding the proverbial pavement, as they say in our biz. Calling the agents and letting them know you're back and available. Sending copies of the reviews (the good ones, that is) to all your contacts: directors, casting directors, artistic directors. Applying for unemployment, if you qualify. And then it's playing the wait and see game.

So another one bites the dust, gets added to the resume' and onward and upward. Until the next one, if there is one.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Caught in the crossfire: Revenge and its path of destruction

They say revenge is sweet, and scientists have actually conducted brain studies proving that, indeed, it is. For many. But what makes people seek revenge on others? What innate, deep-rooted need is there to personally mete out some form of 'payback' by exacting revenge on others for some perceived wrong. The need for retribution goes back to the beginning of time, with biblical references to it in Exodus 21:23–27: "An eye for an eye". And though revenge may be sweet for the perpetrator (or perpetrators), it is momentary and accomplishes absolutely nothing.

Revenge can manifest itself in many different forms, from mudslinging and slander, to revenge killings, to most of the sectarian violence in the Middle and Far East. But what exactly does one gain, other than creating a never-ending cycle of violence, a cycle of retaliation that keeps perpetuating more vengeance, ad infinitum? Not a thing. And if you analyze most of the reasons for revenge, you will find that the bulk of them are cruel and unwarranted. At least at the outset.

For some, a vendetta against one person turns into a vicious game of how many people affiliated with that particular person can they 'bring down'. Innocents caught in the crossfire. Like a cluster bomb, that not only damages the actual target, but others within the projected target area. They are so consumed with rage and hatred that they will do anything to make themselves feel better, to partake of that sweet taste of revenge, regardless of the consequences or how many innocent people they harm. And regardless of whether they are justified or not. Ronald L. Shanabarger killed his 7 month-old son Tyler because his wife had refused to cut short her vacation cruise (prior to their marriage) to console him when his father died. "Shanabarger said he planned to make Amy feel the way he did when his father died. He married her, got her pregnant, allowed time for her to bond with the child, and then took his [boy's] life." So, in seeking revenge against his wife, he devastated not only her life and that of her extended family, but destroyed his own flesh and blood in the process. Then you have the 72 year old Czech man who shot and killed the Nigerian Consul (injuring the receptionist), because he had fallen victim to one of those Nigerian 419-scams. So, even though the Consul (and receptionist) were in no way involved in the scam, the Czech man felt entitled to seek retribution from innocents, because they so happened to be Nigerian. And what about all the people who have 'gone postal' , what morbid satisfaction do they derive by killing innocent bystanders? Then you have the pointless sectarian violence in the Middle East, where Muslims keep killing each other because they happen to be from a different sect. How meaningless and unjustified is that?

And slander and mudslinging can be just as destructive as revenge killings, by destroying people's lives through poisonous lies. The Duke Lacrosse players are just one of a plethora of examples. And even though most religions counsel against such things, people continue on that path of destruction, on a daily basis. Judaism says it best: "Slander kills three people: the speaker, the listener, and the subject," and is considered one of the most severe transgressions of all. As it should.

What most of these revenge-seekers don't seem to realize, is that whilst they are so busy trying to ruin other people's lives, they are destroying their own in the process, because for every action, in this world, there is a re-action. As you sow, so shall you reap. What goes around comes around. It is a law of nature.

There is an old Chinese Proverb that pretty much sums it all up: "When seeking revenge, bring 2 shovels".

Monday, April 09, 2007

Execution buses- China's justice system at its best

This is an eye-opening video from Sky News about the 'execution buses' that China has established to facilitate the execution process for death penalty cases. Equipped with lethal injections, they are also set up for easier organ harvesting. As it turns out, China has a "booming organ transplant industry", and with the excessive amount of executions per year (ranging anywhere from 3,500 to 10,000 yearly) there are plenty of organs to be had. In fact, they are so plentiful, one can be arranged with just a few weeks notice. According to the Sky News report, there are more executions in China, per annum, than the rest of the world combined. So it begs the question, are the inordinate amount of executions a direct result of the demand for human body parts?

Unfortunately, as in this country, many people have been unjustly sentenced to death for crimes they did not commit. However, in the U.S., as a result of our slow judicial process, chances are those 'innocents' might eventually be released, as they have been in the past. Not so in China. They are often sentenced, without due process, and executed within a very short period of time. And so the Chinese government continues down the same rosy path.

To view, click here.

Another ending of another show- Parting is such sweet sorrow, or not........

This is our last week. 7 more performances to finally get it right.

It has been a rewarding and interesting ride, as it usually is. But by this time, in the process, all our colorful and varied personalities start to grate on each other. So, you approach the end with a mix of gratitude and dread. Grateful that you had a good run, yet ready to move on. And dread, because the ever present question that haunts every actor's psyche rears its ugly head once more: will I ever work again? It's something we deal with on an ongoing basis, particularly when there are no projects on the horizon.

Stability is not something we signed on for, when choosing a career in the Arts. And some people might not understand the appeal, but there's something to be said for the instability that is part and parcel of the freelance performer's world. I think it's probably why we choose this line of work, as crazy as that might sound. There is something exhilarating about not knowing what's around the corner. What wonderful project might be thrown our way. Those of us who detest the 9-5 routine welcome the 'possibilities' that freelancing brings. I might not have a job today, but tomorrow that cell phone or pager might ring and with it, good news. Some are fortunate enough to have their season booked a year in advance, but that also locks you in to those projects, so that if something better comes along, you are loath to back out. Word travels fast in this very small community, and no-one likes an actor who bails out of a commitment, regardless of how understanding they might seem, at the time. Yeah, this is a business, and most of our union contracts have outs for 'more remunerative pay', but you won't ever work with those people again, believe me. Been there, done that. I was blessed last year to have 2 projects booked in advance, but there were opportunities that I had to turn down because of it. But those are the risks you take. And take them we do. Unfortunately, we have been forced to be less selective in our choices because of changes to our Union Pension, Health and Welfare plan.

Several years ago, our stage Union (Actors Equity Association) increased, substantially, the amount of weeks you have to work in a year to qualify for health insurance. Add to that the decrease in work weeks, because of the lack of funding for the Arts, and we are left to scramble where we can. We take whatever we can get. The average contract for a show used to be 8 weeks, it is now 6. I've had to take shows paying as little as $250.00 per week in order to accrue enough work weeks to qualify. Not a living wage, let me tell you.

Yes, we have chosen the Arts as a profession, so we've learned to take the good with the bad. We also acknowledge that the majority of us in the entertainment industry will never be rich, save for those few stars who make obscene amounts of money. But the rest of us, particularly stage actors, do it because we love it, because we want to entertain, or educate. We want to make you laugh and cry, to open your eyes. To bring some light to your lives, in some small way.

So, who knows what I will be doing in a month or a year. But I embrace the unknown, knowing that I will be led to whatever I am meant to be doing next, whatever that might be.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

The slip slidin' away of secular Islam and the Islamicization of the West:

Photo: El Marco

It has been happening so slowly, almost imperceptibly so, that what actually is occurring is difficult to perceive, at least by those unable to see the truth. People have become so caught up in the political correctness of the war on terror, and the anti-war rhetoric of what they categorize as an immoral and unjust conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan, that they've failed to notice that it goes far beyond simply fighting a bunch of terrorist insurgents (in some far off, Middle Eastern region of the world) who they believe are trying to defend their land from the evil U.S. imperialists. They are unwilling to admit, for fear of being labeled Islamaphobic or because they're just too blind or stupid to notice, that the fine line between terrorists and the conservative Muslim movement has become almost indistinguishable, these days. The extremists, terrorists and conservatives are now one and the same; or so it seems. And the moderates, though not that far-removed from extremist ideology themselves, are joining their ranks in alarming numbers. Since the 1970s when the energy crisis prompted the formation of OPEC, and the Ayatollah Khomeini returned to Persia (Iran ) to establish a fundamentalist Islamic state, there has been an Islamic resurgence, that no-one seems to want to acknowledge.

Prior to the 70s, when Islam remained the somewhat exclusive territory of the Middle East (and certain areas of the Far East), the repressive, intolerant, often violent nature of Islamic Law had very little direct affect on western society; and fortunately some of the countries in that region were (and still are) considered secular, or at least nominally so. However, many of those once secular governments are becoming progressively less so, with greater numbers of conservative Islamists being voted into office. And by whom? The Muslim citizens of those countries, themselves! So the blame for an increasingly fundamentalist Islamic Middle East can't necessarily be placed on the leaders of those lands, because the people are the ones electing those same leaders. Okay, so you make your own bed, you lie in it. If they choose an overwhelmingly Islamist government, then that's their right, right? If they want their lives strictly ruled by Sharia Law, and all it encompasses, that's their choice. I might think it barbaric and backwards, but who am I to judge? As long as all that fundamentalism remains in that area, I have no problem with that. But, with the large influx of Muslim immigrants into Europe and elsewhere, and their unwillingness to integrate into western society, Islamism is being foisted upon the rest of the world, and that I have a problem with. Many people scoff at the idea of a 'clash of cultures or civilizations', but that's exactly where we are headed.

Indonesia, once predominately influenced by Hindu and Buddhist theology, now boasts the world's largest Muslim population. Of the over 220 million people that inhabit the islands of Indonesia, approximately 85 % or 194 million are Muslim, 11% are Christian with 2% Hindu, 1% Buddhist and 1% Other. And though once secular, Indonesia is quickly being overrun by the conservative Muslim movement, and the secular government is hanging on by a very short thread.

While the country's secular president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, may be tough on terrorists, there is little he can do to stop the Islamists from gaining political ground. The winner of the struggle between proponents of a secular state and radical imams calling for a theocracy stands to capture a valuable prize -- one of the world's most strategically important countries. All major shipping routes connecting Europe and East Asia pass through the waters off this island nation. It is precisely here, in this archipelago between the Straits of Malacca and the Celebes Sea, that a new front in the battle of cultures is emerging.
The province of Aceh, in the northwestern tip of Indonesia, has been ruled under Sharia Law since 2001. Conservatism is spreading throughout Indonesia and there seems to be an almost fatalistic attitude amongst the non-religious Muslims there. Izabel Jahja, 30, editor of a magazine entitled A-Plus, at a party of trendsetters, toasted with the following: "Let's enjoy life, as long as our country continues to allow it. We are on the brink of a comprehensive Islamicization of Indonesia." A strict anti-pornography law has been debated in parliament for months. One would think, at first glance, nothing wrong with that. But if the law passes, it will ban not only X-rated films and books, but parties with alcohol, along with kissing in public. 'Lascivious clothing' would be punishable by law. And what would be their definition of 'lascivious'? Anything less than a Chador or Abaya? Again, nothing wrong with a little modesty, but dictated by government, and prison time for immodest clothing? I think not. Apparently, it would also spell the end for the Arts: Theater, films, art and music would no longer be allowed.

And it's not just the poor, ignorant disenfranchised of the world that are flocking to fundamentalist Islam, it is also the educated, middle class. And it's now no longer in predominately Islamic countries that this is occurring. It's happening in almost every country in the world that has a large Muslim population, particularly in Europe.

Islamicization of the western world starts by continuously caving in to their demands, by placating them, by censoring ourselves, by becoming so afraid of offending that we start removing certain historical references like the Holocaust or the Crusades from history lessons in British Schools (see post at Blazing Cat Fur), or changing the Three Little Pigs, to Three Little Puppies. Why a Church school would change the name to 'Puppies' is beyond me, considering they abhor dogs as much as they do pigs. But the more we do this, the more empowered they become, because they know that westerners will do anything to avoid the violence that has become part and parcel of their religion.

Alarmist, maybe. Realist, definitely! At least I will be prepared.

Eating with niqab- the indignity of it all

I'm not sure whether this is for real or not, but it does make one ponder: How do they eat under those tents?!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Who said that?? "Be true to yourself. And stay away from the dark thoughts".

Who said the following, and under what circumstances?

"Be true to yourself. And stay away from the dark thoughts."

Thought I would just go ahead and post the answer, because, well..... google just takes all the fun out of guessing, seeing as the information is immediately within reach in the seconds it takes to copy and paste the info into the search area.

Sooooo...the answer is: Frank Sinatra!

Frankie shared the above pithy remark in the book The Way You Wear Your Hat (subtitled "Frank Sinatra and the Lost Art of Livin',") by Bill Zehme, in response to the question: "What is the most important thing a father can tell his children?" The director of our show also happened to mention that after an award ceremony (he thinks it was The Grammys in 1992), when they were interviewing the winners, someone just out and asked him the secret to life. He said something close to "be thankful every day...and stay away from the dark thoughts."

As dissolute a life as he led, he actually had some very interesting and insightful advice that he imparted, over the years, and though some of it I don't necessarily agree with, this particular one, I do.

Many of us are bombarded, daily, with 'dark' thoughts. Sometimes they are a result of outward influences, but oftentimes they are just random thoughts that appear out of nowhere. They manifest themselves in a myriad of ways, including self-doubt and self-criticism, anger, revenge, feelings of futility. They are destructive and debilitating, and not easy to shake off. But the wonderful thing about the human mind is that change is just a thought away. We have no control over what thoughts come into our mind, but we DO have control over how long they remain in our psyches. If we indulge those thoughts they will remain there, slowly poisoning our mind, spirit and body until we actually believe what those nasty little voices are telling us, whether based on reality or not. On the other hand, if we refuse to entertain any negativity and immediately replace those thoughts with something positive, then they have no chance to take root and strangle us from within. And that's what it feels like. But we, ultimately, have that choice: to listen or not.

The walls in the apartment here are paper thin, and during the second week of performance, the girlfriend of one of the female leads made disparaging remarks about everyone in the show, including my work, and her criticism stayed with me until a few days ago. I couldn't shake it from my mind and although I knew it wasn't true, and that I'm sure she was just trying to pump up her friend's ego, (because one of the great reviews spent 2 or 3 paragraphs on my small part compared to her one line of mention), I allowed it to affect my work. I stupidly made adjustments that never felt comfortable. And in spite of the fact that the director assured me I was not doing what she described me as doing (being cartoonish), and I got wonderful feedback from audience members, I still felt bad. It wasn't until after a dear friend, who saw the show, finally told me that what I was doing was giving this one biased person, total power over how I feel about the job I am doing, and that was all I needed. I'd already allowed the comment to poison me, somewhat, so it still took some work to eventually get over it, but I'm grateful I did. What I should have done was immediately dismiss it, considering the source and circumstances, like I did the one bad review, but I didn't and that was the problem. It was a wonderful lesson, though, and I won't allow that to happen again.

And that's basically what we do when we listen to those 'dark thoughts'. We give power to the negative, which can affect us, adversely, for a very, very long time. So staying away from those thoughts, to begin with, is wonderful advice.
It's just a thought away!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Joke of the Day! What is Islam?

"A shining beacon against the darkness of repression, segregation, intolerance and racism".

Not hardly likely!

The video is actually a very well made whitewash of what the religion truly represents today. Almost makes it appealing, until you remember how repressive, intolerant, segregational (is that a word?) and racist they are. Would they were as tolerant as they claim to be.

I found this on the website of a virulently anti-Israel Palestinian housewife.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Keith Richards snorts Dad's ashes...or snot?!

Keith Richards (of 'The Rolling Stones' fame) snorted his dad Bert's ashes, along with some cocaine. At least that's what he initially told an NME Magazine reporter when asked what was the worst time he'd had on drugs:
" worst time I've had on drugs was... When someone put strychnine in my dope "It was in Switzerland. I was totally comatose, but I was totally awake, I could listen to everyone, and they were like, 'He's dead, he's dead!' waving their fingers and pushing me about, and I was thinking, 'I'm not dead!'. So that's sort of the worst one. But I got out of that, I mean otherwise I wouldn't be talking to you. But yeah, bad shit is bad shit. The strangest thing I've tried to snort? My father. I snorted my father. He was cremated and I couldn't resist grinding him up with a little bit of blow. My dad wouldn't have cared ... It went down pretty well, and I'm still alive."

Of course, he now denies it, saying it was just a joke and he was merely trying to indicate how "tight" he and Bert were, but truth or not: major Ick!! What would possess someone to do that? I understand feeling close, I adore my dad, but ewwwwwww. It's a little akin to cannibalism, and maybe that's why he decided to fess up and clarify. But even if it was a joke, it's creepily NOT funny.

And doesn't he look much older than his 63 years? Maybe the ashes didn't kill him, but along with the blow, looks like they added a few cracks and crevices to his face.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

UPDATE: Mine is bigger than yours: The wasteful election fundraising process

Barack Obama's people announced, today, that in the first 3 months of 2007 he raised 25 million dollars from a mere 100,000 donors!!


9/11 Truther Movement

For all you conspiracy theorists... here's another one for you!!!

Unfastened Coins: Titanic Conspiracy

See the video below. Proof positive that the downing (or is that drowning) of the Titanic, like the Twin Towers, was a government conspiracy. Because surely, just like fire, ice can't destroy metal either!!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Mine is bigger than yours: The wasteful election fundraising process

There is something inherently wrong with a system that allows potential Presidential candidates to raise millions of campaign dollars per candidate, in what seems more like a popularity contest with emphasis on outer appearance rather than inner substance. It's a race to see who can raise (and eventually waste) the most money, in the shortest period of time, in the hopes that the person with the largest campaign kitty, through sheer dollar power, will win the much coveted top-dog position, in the end. It's like seeing who can piss the farthest.

In the first 3 months of 2007, candidates on both sides have already raised well over 90 million dollars, far exceeding the 30.9 million raised in 2004, for that same period of time. And the 90 million tally doesn't include Obama's estimated 20 million.

So far, the Clinton Empire has raised the most with 26 million, but will be pumping an additional 10 mill, into her campaign war chest (from her senate account) for a grand total of 36 million smackeroos. Close second is Mitt Romney with 23 million (which includes a 2.3 mill. loan). Then we have Obama with an estimated 20 million; Giuliani with 17 million (15 mill plus $ from a Dec. fundraising event); Edwards with 14 million; McCain has 12.5 million; Bill Richardson - 6 million; Chris Dodd - 4 million and Joe Biden with a lowly 3 million. And who knows what the others have raised, or will eventually raise.

The 2008 Presidential election is estimated to be the costliest in U.S. history, with a projected 1 billion dollars in campaign funds! And other than paying for travel expenses, political consultants, image makers, private investigators to get the dirt on their opponents, etc. what do they do with that money? They bombard the air waves with ads that might start off civil and somewhat informative but quickly degenerate into what turns into a nasty war of words and eventual vilification of the other candidate/s.

1 billion dollars is an enormous amount of money that would be much better spent funneled into organizations that help the needy. If everyone who donated to political campaigns gave the money, instead, to their favorite charities, or to non-profit arts organizations, then there would be less need for government funding, which so many people complain about.

I have a simple solution: each candidate would have to answer a series of questions with respect to where they stand on all the pertinent issues, along with a bio and personal essay on why they deserve to be Prez. This information, paid with taxpayer money, would then be sent to every eligible voter in the country (and abroad) and that's it! No vicious TV ads, no campaign stumping, although debates would be fine. It should be about what they stand for, not how much money they can accumulate.

For the latest on the race for the White House visit

Monday, April 02, 2007

Will the real Barack (Barry) Hussein Obama (Soetoro) please stand up

In an effort to appear more black (for all those who stupidly think he isn't black enough), Barack Obama (who was known in his younger years as just plain old "Barry") has virtually distanced himself from his white heritage, which seems rather odd, considering he is fully half white. Thinking yourself something doesn't necessarily make it so. So, shunning your white ancestry isn't going to make you any less, well ..... bi-racial. Which makes it even more bizarre, coming from a would-be President who claims he wants to be a catalyst in bridging America's "racial, religious and cultural divides." If he's so inclusive, then why can't he embrace his duality? His black and whiteness? Doesn't he think he could win on a bi-racial ticket? Or is he so enamored with the idea of being considered the first 'black' president, or so afraid he won't get the black vote if he isn't, he's willing to do anything to make his white side disappear, by over-emphasizing his black side? Even though his Kenyan father, Barack, Sr. abandoned the family when Junior was only 2 years old, and he was raised, primarily, by his white maternal grandparents Stanley and Madelyn Dunham (and, for a short time, by his mother and Indonesian stepfather), he still seems to identify exclusively with his black lineage. He even named his 1995 memoir, "Dreams from My Father", even though that father showed little or no interest in his life. In fact, it wasn't until after his dad died in the early 1980s (when Obama was 21) that he even met the Kenyan side of his family. And the only other time he met with his dad, was for a brief visit when he was 10 years old.

Who is the real Barack Obama? The more you read about him, the less you know. At least the truth about who he is. There are, apparently, discrepancies surfacing now regarding stories he has shared concerning his background, specifically his childhood, and how he tried to 'fit in', as a chubby 'black' kid in Hawaii and Indonesia. In his auto-biography, he describes having heated discussions about racism, but interviews with some of his black schoolmates suggest that although they, indeed, had those discussions, Barack (or Barry, at the time) never participated. And as racially diverse as Hawaii is, Obama was not as affected by racial inequalities as he claims to have been. He has also oft described (in his book and elsewhere) a pivotal moment in his life which he believes contributed to his racial awareness:

He is 9 years old, living in Indonesia, where he and his mother moved
with her new husband, Lolo Soetoro, a few years earlier. One day while visiting his mother, who was working at the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, Obama passed time by looking through several issues of Life magazine. He came across an article that he later would describe as feeling like an "ambush attack." The article included photos of a black man who had destroyed his skin with powerful chemical lighteners that promised to make him white. Instead, the chemicals had peeled off much of his skin, leaving him sad and scarred, Obama recalled. "I imagine other black children, then and now, undergoing similar moments of revelation," Obama wrote of the magazine photos in "Dreams."
Trouble is, Life has never published such an article or photos. And when questioned about that particular memory, Obama (in a recent interview) said that perhaps it was a copy of Ebony. But archival research at Ebony produced no such issue, either. Granted, memories from our youth can't totally be trusted, but to fabricate something that never existed to endear yourself to a certain segment of the population seems rather disingenuous. Why are people so afraid of saying "this is who I was and this is who I am", rather than trying to bury the past or making it something it wasn't?

And does the color of our skin, or the blood that courses through our veins dictate who we are? I believe we are more than our outer appearances and/or bloodlines. Who we are, as individuals, is a direct result of how and where we were raised. And whether our next President is Black, White, Asian, Hispanic, Bi-Racial or of any other ethnic mix, they should be judged by their character NOT by what they look like.

There are also questions about Obama's Islamic ties. An email making the rounds, claiming he had attended a Madrassa when he was a child proved to be false, but all his denials about ever being a Muslim (as a child) are also false, according to an article in the LA Times. The fact he was considered a Muslim when he was a child in Indonesia is of no import, what is troubling is his initial denial of the fact.

I feel particularly bad for his maternal grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, who seems to be glaringly missing from the campaign trail spotlight. She is refusing to give interviews, citing poor health. I hope this isn't a ruse to keep her out of sight, because photo ops of Obama and his white grandmama might not be what the Obama camp wants, at this point in time. And the following picture is very telling. Published 8/16/06 with an article about a trip to Kenya in 2004, in the Chicago Suntimes, there's a picture (at least for now) of "Obama with his grandmother (a very black) Madelyn Dunham." I'm not sure whether it was a Sun Times gaffe or not, but it is surprising that none of Obama's people have asked for it to be removed or addressed the issue, considering the photo was supplied by the Obama family.

"Barack Obama with his grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, in Africa in 2004. Courtesy of the Obama family"

Below is the real granny Dunham with grandpa Stanley.

Just be who you are, Barack, and let people vote for you, if they choose to, on the basis of who you are, not the color of your skin! I won't be one of those, but I do know I probably would have voted for Colin Powell, way back when, had he chosen to run.