Saturday, September 27, 2008


Have you noticed that the most scary people in the world have last names that end with IN?


Of course, they are all scary for different reasons, but scary just the same.

You were WRONG!

From The Huffington Post

John McCain is running a new campaign ad that actually attacks Barack Obama for agreeing with John McCain. This has to be the first time in history that a candidate ever went negative on his opponent for being too agreeable.

If the ad had a lighthearted, funny tone I think it could work. But instead, it is angry and sneering, just like John McCain.

[video removed so as not to give McSame too much of this blog's space.]

Aside from the tone, the ad's problem is that it reinforces Obama's message that he is willing to work across party lines. Why in the world would a campaign put up an ad that says that the opposing candidate only cares about doing the right thing, not about winning the political battle.

Basically, McCain is accusing Obama of being a decent guy.

Moreover, everybody knows that Barack Obama has serious disagreements with John McCain, starting with Iraq -- where John McCain was unequivocally wrong:

As Putin rears his head ...

Source: Joan Walsh, Salon.com

Racism in New Mexico

A Republican official in the US has resigned over comments he made to the BBC that "Hispanics consider themselves above blacks".

Fernando de Baca, the chairman of the Republican Party in Bernalillo County, New Mexico, also said Hispanics "won't vote for a black president."

Mr de Baca spoke last week but resisted calls from his own party to resign, saying he was quoted out of context.

He said he decided to step down because of the "media circus" that developed.

Mr de Baca had been approached by the BBC's Jon Kelly for comments on the presidential election campaign at the New Mexico State Fair in Albuquerque, part of Bernalillo County.

He was explaining why he thought John McCain would do well in the state, which has large population of Hispanics.

"The truth is that Hispanics came here as conquerors. African-Americans came here as slaves."

He said the Latino emphasis on hard work and family values and the Catholic Church's opposition to abortion made the community naturally conservative.

Full Story

Bill Maher this week

I'm not sure I'm going to watch all of Bill Maher tonight. It is on right now, and Ralph the Crater is on. I just cannot stand him.

Don't get me wrong, I think Ralph Nader has done a great service to this country in protecting the consumer, but I think he needs to get out of politics and ruining the results of elections.

If he is the cause of Obama losing this election, I just might 'hire a couple of good ole boys to go and beat the shit out of him.' (thanks to Dolly Parton for that last line from the movie 9 to 5)

Talking Heads

I'm sitting here waiting for the 1:00 showing of Bill Maher on HBO. The TV is on MSNBC and I'm just listening to the talking heads.

The debate IMHO was dull and uninspiring. Of course, I know who I'm going to vote for .. with much conviction .. so I truly believe these debates are for those in the USA who have not been keeping watch of the primaries and are now trying to decide for whom they are going to vote.

I did not watch the debates, but I heard every word. I guess I should have watched, as I am told by the "talking heads" that McSame never looked at Obama. Cowards and bullies never do.

I am, however, looking for a good comedy... I think the Biden/Palin debate should be much more intriguing for my time and viewing pleasure.

City Of Ember

Coming in October, this interesting movie was advertised just before and after the debate. For movie trailer and synopsis, go to cityofember.com.

This Tom Hanks produced film stars Tim Robbins, Bill Murray and Martin Landau. The movie's website is luscious and informative. Below is the ad that ran Friday Night.

Friday, September 26, 2008

A really large number?

Iraqi Gay Activist Murdered in Baghdad

A coordinator of an Iraqi LGBT advocacy group was assassinated Thursday. The 27-year-old university student, known only as Bashar, was assassinated in a barbershop in Baghdad.

Militia members burst into the barbershop and "sprayed his body with bullets at point blank range," Peter Tatchell of the U.K gay advocacy OutRage! told the Guardian newspaper.

Full Story from The Advocate.

US Presidential Debates to Air on BBC America

For the first time ever, BBC AMERCA will air all four Presidential and Vice-Presidential debates in their entirety, followed by distinctive and comprehensive analysis of the candidates' performance on the issues. The newscasts will air live from 9/8c to 11/10c on BBC America and BBC World News.

On Friday, September 26th, Washington Correspondent Katty Kay anchors the program live from the first debate between Presidential hopefuls John McCain and Barack Obama in Oxford, Mississippi. Matt Frei will anchor the Vice Presidential debate on Thursday, October 2nd, as well as the following two Presidential debates on Tuesday, October 7th, and Wednesday, October 15th.

Executive producer Rome Hartman said: “BBC World News America will take viewers out of the spin room and into the real world. While our competitors spend time listening to campaign surrogates spouting pre-cooked claims of 'victory' for their candidate, we'll travel around the world to get real reaction from real people who've just watched the debate and made judgments for themselves.”

Bailout in chaos, feds seize WaMu

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A rescue for the U.S. financial system unraveled on Thursday amid accusations Republican presidential candidate John McCain scuppered the deal, and Washington Mutual was closed by U.S. authorities and its assets sold in America's biggest ever bank failure.

As negotiations over an unprecedented $700 billion bailout to restore credit markets degenerated into chaos, the largest U.S. savings and loan bank was taken over by authorities and its deposits auctioned off. U.S. stock futures fell by more than 1 percent.

The third-largest U.S. bank JPMorgan Chase & Co said it bought the deposits of Washington Mutual Inc, which has seen its stock price virtually wiped out because of massive amounts of bad mortgages. The government said there would be no impact on WaMu's depositors and customers. JPMorgan said it would be business as usual on Friday morning.

Had a bailout deal been reached in Congress, it may have helped the savings and loan, founded in Seattle in 1889. Efforts to find a suitor to buy WaMu faltered in recent days over concerns about whether the government would reach a deal to buy its toxic mortgages.

Full Story

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Bosnia's first gay rights festival

Clashes at gay rights festival

At least eight people were hurt after opponents clashed with police at Bosnia's first gay rights festival.

Helen Fawkes reports from Sarajevo. — BBC Video Report

Politics | NPR

Morning News Report from NPR:

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


The FDA is NOT removing China dairy products from American grocery shelves. Read labels before you purchase China food products.

Melamine has been found in milk and products made with milk from China. Melamine is a plastic used chiefly for laminated coatings, made by copolymerizing this compound with formaldehyde.

See news released today from the AP:

Obama's Response

Barack Obama conducts a press avail in Clearwater, Florida on 9/24/08.

Smuggled case cash 'totalled $5m'

An alleged plot to smuggle election funds from Venezuela to Argentina may have involved as much as $5m, a court in the US city of Miami has heard.

A Florida-based businessman was stopped at Buenos Aires airport last year with $800,000 (£430,000) in a suitcase.

In court the man, now a prosecution witness, said another case with $4.2m may have breached Argentine customs.

The trial centres on a Venezuelan man accused of being an illegal agent of Venezuela's government in the US.

US prosecutors say the cash was sent by Venezuela to fund the presidential election campaign of Argentina's then First Lady, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who was elected last October.

Full BBC Story

McCain Asks To Postpone Friday Debate Due To Economic Crisis

NEW YORK — Barack Obama's campaign says he is inclined to go ahead with Friday's presidential debate, even though rival John McCain is calling for a delay. McCain said Wednesday that he wants to stop all campaigning tomorrow and postpone the debate so they can work together on the financial crisis.

But Obama campaign officials say the senator is inclined to move ahead.

McCain said the Bush administration's plan seemed headed for defeat and a bipartisan solution was urgently needed.

What Else Would President McCain Postpone in a Crisis?

So now John McCain wants to suspend his campaign and postpone Friday's debate so he can go to Washington and work on the financial crisis -- as if his vast economic expertise is what's missing in all of this.

After years of being the Senate's champion of deregulation, and an admitted economic lightweight, John McCain suddenly wants to pretend he's our knight in shining armor? But wait -- wasn't it McCain's own party and policies that created this crisis? Wasn't it his own economic advisor, Phil Gramm, who called Americans "whiners" in a "mental recession?" Didn't McCain recently praise the fundamentals of our economy and call himself a "fundamentally a deregulator?"

Come to think of it, the last thing America needs is for John McCain to go back to Washington. Because that's exactly where he and his cronies created this financial mess.

Lincoln ran for office during the Civil War. Reagan ran at the height of the Cold War. Bush ran with two wars raging in Afghanistan and Iraq. But McCain can't run during a crisis on Wall Street?

News Story
Full Opinion from quote

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Bid to keep kilt-making in check

From the BBC:

SCOTLAND | Some of the country's leading kilt-makers are meeting in Perth to determine exactly what is, and what is not, a Scottish kilt.

The organisers hope by outlining the skills needed to make a genuine kilt, they will be better able to protect the craft from cheap imitations.

Fashion and textiles body Skillfast-UK wants to create a set of National Occupational Standards.

They want to create a blueprint for the traditional kilt-making industry. The meeting will cover general tailoring skills as well as construction techniques and specialist knowledge of tartan.

Full BBC Story

South Florida Home Crunch

As home values decrease in South Florida, the following story appears in The Miami Herald

A campaign is under way to provide badly needed money to people cheated by rogue mortgage brokers.

The Florida Association of Mortgage Brokers and AARP are pushing for the revival of a special fund that was quietly killed by regulators a decade ago, saying it could help thousands of people who have lost their homes and savings.

''We should never have gotten rid of it,'' said Ritch Workman, president of the FAMB. "We are going to fight to bring it back.''

Workman and AARP spokesman Dave Bruns said their groups will press to reinstate the Mortgage Brokerage Guaranty Fund, which paid up to $20,000 to individual victims before it was shut down in the 1990s.

Though recent federal legislation requires states to provide some protection, there's no requirement to create a victims fund.

The effort to resurrect the program comes as Florida leaders prepare for sweeping changes in state law that governs the mortgage industry, including tougher restrictions on people who apply for broker licenses and stiffer penalties for those who commit fraud and other crimes.

Just last week, a state Cabinet report blasted the state's oversight of the mortgage industry, saying Florida regulators allowed hundreds of people with criminal histories to peddle loans, failed to alert police agencies to rogue mortgage operations, and ignored citizen complaints.

With Florida steeped in the nation's highest level of mortgage fraud, several lawmakers overseeing the home loan industry said they'll support legislation that brings the kinds of protection now being pushed by the two statewide groups.

Full Story

Monday, September 22, 2008

Live from NY... It's Saturday Night!


Al Franken, the former "Saturday Night Live" star now running in a high-profile Senate race in Minnesota, helped craft the opening sketch mocking John McCain that is slated to kick off the NBC comedy show tonight, according to two well-placed sources inside the network.

Franken, who hasn't been a staff writer on the show for 13 years, "phoned in" a spoof of McCain recording campaign ads in an edit booth, said an NBC source. Seth Meyers, the show's current head writer, wrote it, but the sketch was hatched by Franken, a longtime liberal satirist and comedian.

From The Huffington Post

Japanese May Buy Part Of Lehmans

Japanese bank Nomura is in talks to take over Lehman Brothers' European operations.

The move centres on the investment and private equities arms of the collapsed US investment bank.

It comes as Nomura said it had reached a deal to buy the company's Asian operations.

Meanwhile, Barclays has completed its purchase of the US arm of Lehman Brothers.

Full Story

Sunday, September 21, 2008

From Harry Potter to Equus

Daniel Radcliffe, best known for playing the role of Harry Potter, and Richard Griffiths, who play's Potter's Uncle Vernon, are starring in Peter Schaffer's play "Equus."

The play recounts the story of a boy who blinded six horses — a character Radcliffe describes as disturbed.

The production opens at the Broadhurst Theater on Broadway on Thursday, Sept. 25 2008. Listen to NPR's interview with these two actors:

Full Story

Plunkett Street Banana Harvest

Today I harvested bananas from the front yard. D&D will be receiving them this afternoon.

Quiet Biden back to the fore

From the BBC:

Amid the hyper inflated excitement that still follows Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin wherever she goes, it is sometimes easy to forget that she has a rival for the job - Joseph Biden.

This interesting article goes on to say regarding the vice-presidential debate in Missouri on October 2:

Joe Biden and Sarah Palin actually have some things in common.

Both claim to speak the language of the ordinary, hard-working, American family. Both eschew ivy league intellectualism. Both have sons serving in Iraq.

But, of course, it will be the differences everyone will be focusing on.

Joe Biden's task will be to paint his opponent as untried and untested; too risky to place a heartbeat away from the presidency.

But he has to make that case without appearing patronising or demeaning, or in any other way opening himself up to the charge of sexism.

The silver-haired, battle-hardened, Washington insider versus the self-styled hockey mom from the remote reaches of Alaska.

It is one of the most keenly anticipated bouts of the entire election, and perhaps more than any of its predecessors, it could have a real influence on the outcome.

Full BBC Article

Issue #1

Barack Obama outlines the major points of his economic plan.

Blooms of Plunkett

Blooms of Plunkett
A Banana tree in the backyard in full bloom