Thursday, October 30, 2008

Generation Hope

Young activist people with passion and understanding is a powerful force. It seems we haven't seen this force for a long time. I remember the hippies who rebelled against the monied status quo, civil injustices, and the war of their time. What happened to their children, was it the Me Generation and Gen X? What happened?
The young folks born between 1980 and 2000 are the Millenials or Generation We. They know that us Baby Boomers blew it big time and are acting to restore the promise of America.

My friend Alex posted this inspiring video and how she feels as a teacher to be a part of their lives. It's a good thing for those young people too, believe me.

And, these young folks, I've seen them and marveled at them too. They make me feel better when I see so many of their peers who are lost.

This Generation We understood right away the "change" Obama meant. Not the change McCain glommed onto that's for sure. It's not only about Washington D.C.
The transformational change these young people are seeking and fighting for goes far, far deeper than that. I've talked to them and seen them in action during this campaign and thank God for them because what Barack wants to do and what they are determined to do will take energy and stamina and guts. The status quo will not go gently. These kids are fighting for their lives and we need to have their backs.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Monsters Among Us

Chicago police, Jennifer Hudson and other family members have positively identified the body of the young child found in a white SUV, as Julian King, the 7 year old son of Jennifer Hudson's sister Julia. This ended all hope for Julian's safe return and began a horrific addition to the family's grief.
Julian died like his grandmother Darnell and uncle Jason, from multiple gunshot wounds.

Julian's teachers describe him as a sweet, joyful child.

The perpetrator of this crime is a monster.
Yes, there are monsters among us.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Tragedy in Chicago

Monica and I send our sincerest condolences to Jennifer Hudson and her family on the loss of her mother and brother. I can't imagine this unbelievably tragic situation along with not knowing the whereabouts of Jennifer's 7 year old nephew Julian King, who is thought to have been abducted from the family home. Jennifer was particularly close to her nephew. I am so close to my nephews I can't even conceive of breathing during such a sad and stressfull time. My heart is breaking for Jennifer and her family.

An Amber Alert is out for Julian King. Amber Alerts really work miracles. We hope Julian is safe and will be returned home soon.

Chicago area readers, police are looking for a
1994 white Suburban truck with the license plate X584859.

Julian is described as 4-foot-11 and weighing 130 pounds. He has brown eyes and black hair and was last seen wearing a striped polo shirt and khaki pants.

If you have any leads, see this vehicle or Julian please call the authorities.

Again we send prayers and strength to the Hudson family and to Mr. Hudson a physical ed teacher and friend who worked with Monica at her school. They are truly a beautiful family.

Friday, October 24, 2008

McCain, The Opportunist

I don't like being fooled. John McCain fooled me into liking him so much that I was glad he entered the race for prez. But I've been reading and reading about this guy and I now realize he's not the man I thought he was at all. We never really know these folks much other than their public persona. I know that.

Sure, I'd like to think public officials I support are nice, but I care more that they at least stand for what they say they do. I am all for growing and changing, in fact I don't trust people who stick to decisions or views even when they know better or situations change. I see nothing wrong really, with jumping on the occasional band wagon. But, when your entire life is spent jumping from wagon to wagon and changing principles like your suit, using and saying anything to get what you want, I consider this being dishonest and opportunistic.

This opportunistic behaviour seems to be the M O used to build Senator John McCain's entire facade. If you read Rolling Stone's October 16th cover story Make Believe Maverick much of which quotes directly from McCain's book Faith of My Fathers, you will see this pattern that explains the man we see in this campaign. It is a fascinating read and clears up succinctly who John McCain is. Everything falls into place and makes sense for me.

McCain knows he was a spoiled Navy brat who got into Annapolis through nepotism and was allowed to finish school (894 out of 899) due to nepotism. He knows and admits he got assignments in the Navy because of his dad and only kept his wings because of his dad and granddad. He goofed off At Annapolis and admits he paid little attention in flight school. He crashed a couple planes, bogarded his way out of waiting in holding patterns to land because he didn't want to wait his turn in line. He was reckless in planes, no top gun this John Sidney McCain III. His dad and grandfather were both Navy Admirals, so there ya go. The article goes into his war/POW years which he saw as "a good story to sell..", womanizing and general treatment of women, his marriages, gambling, war mongering attitude, his horrible scary temperament, Keating connection and more. Also the article breaks down some of McCain's opportunistic view changes. Just click on Double Talk Express in the article or here.
Can you believe Senator McCain was once for gay marrige? I never heard of anyone progressing backwards.

I found most interesting the section that explains how McCain found that being a Maverick and reaching across the isle, as he loves to say, was profitable. He did it once and found it got him so much press and respect that he "wanted more of that". What a guy. Be careful supporting him on any issue because he will do a 180 in a heartbeat.

But, If you only read one part, read "He is Hotheaded" about his temperament. It's quite scary to think this man could be Commander-in-Chief of anything.

Fonzie, Opie, Andy and Barack

Check out Ron Howard, Andy Griffith and Henry Winkler as they get our favorite characters to endorse Obama. Heyyyyyy!

Darius, don't you dare tell me you don't know these guys.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

McCain, Obama, Stand-Up

Just in case you haven't seen McCain and Obama take time off to be comedians at the 63rd annual Alfred E. Smith Dinner the day after the last debate, here it is.

In an election year at the Smith Dinner, it's traditional for the battling candidates to do some stand up aimed at themselves and their opponents. This year in particular this couldn't be more needed to relieve the stress of the campaign not only for the candidates but for the rest of us. There is nothing like humor, especially when it's this funny. It also reminds that even though we have tough challenges right now, we should stop and relax and not take ourselves so seriously that we forget our humanity or forget to laugh.

They were both hilarious but I think John McCain won this one. Both these guys clean up good in their tuxes and both cracked on Hillary Clinton who loved it. Neither candidate shied away from their most contentious campaign topics. They really went for it. So if you only saw clips, take time to watch it all because it's damn hilarious. Also please, take time to watch their closing remarks both of which made me feel damn good.

After you watch this, you'll probably say like I did, thanks, I needed that.

First up Senator John McCain

McCain's touching closing remarks

Now, McCain's hilarious introduction of Barack Obama

Senator Obama gets funny too

Obama closes beautifully

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Live from Michigan Avenue (remix)

I am a member of HydeParkers for Obama and I got this video. Shot in Chitown and Springfield Illinois, it has great lyrics and a beat we can ba-rock to. (sorry)

Crank that vote, yall..

Why Gays should not Marry

Whoopie Goldberg says, "If you don't like gay marriage, don't marry anyone gay."
Other than that, what is the problem? How does it effect you? Well, over at JAMI not That different, I saw 10 reasons to be against gay marriage. Ten really good reasons, some of which I've heard before and some new ones. Feel free to add your own. I especially want to know how my marriage will effect your marriage.

1) Being gay is not natural. Real Americans always reject unnatural things like eyeglasses, polyester, and air conditioning.

2) Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people encourages you to be tall.

3) Gay marriage will change the foundation of society; we could never adapt to new social norms. Just like we haven't adapted to cars, the service-sector economy, or longer life spans.

4) Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn't changed at all; women are still property, blacks still can't marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.

5) Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed; the sanctity of Britney Spears' 55-hour just-for-fun marriage would be destroyed.

6) Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn't be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren't full yet, and the world needs more children.

7) Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.

8) Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That's why we have only one religion in America.

9) Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That's why we in America expressly forbid single parents to raise children.

10) Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even marry their pets because you know dogs have full legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Are We Religulous?

Ridiculous+Religion=Religulous a docu/movie by Bill Maher.

Bill Maher made this film to address his obsession with his views that religious beliefs and dogma suck all the common sense out of people. He has such a problem with how people, especially those who are otherwise smart thinking folks, can believe in such fantasy. It's like how can a doctor who specializes in lung disease, smoke. To him it defies logic. (Ummm yes it does Bill.)

This is not a review, you've got to see it yourself. I'll just say I enjoyed it and will definitely see it again when I can control a pause button because there are tons of discussions here. To say this film is thought provoking doesn't begin to describe it. Maher does not ambush people or try to trip them up. He asks tough, direct, intelligent questions about beliefs, and gets answers or non-answers that raise even more questions. He travels the globe in this film talking to clergy and lay folk of many faiths and really seems genuinly curious.

You'll need that pause button, not only for discussion but for laughter. Just know Religulous is also a very funny movie.

Maher does not really seem anti-God though. He admits he's, "from the church of I don't know". His beef is not with God or really the belief in God, but how peoples of the world use that belief. His fervent quest (which is as passionate as any fundamentalist snake handler) is aimed at a world strongly influenced and run by religions.

There are some people who I'm sure will not go to this movie just as some people walked out on Maher's questions. He seemed to understand that for some, questioning and examining anything about God is scary.
Bill is irreverent as hell, but he really believes his quest is for the betterment of us all. He makes good points about wars and hypocrisies etc. and he's thought about how some religious beliefs impede social progress and fuel divisions.

He does not address how the removal of faith based beliefs would crumble the foundation of most people's lives and even societies.

In the movie it was addressed whether without the ten commandments, would we even know it was wrong to kill. Could we be a civilized society without religious laws to guide us? Is that the point of religion, to control people? Can you think about it?

I wonder if your entire belief system is shaken, and you lose confidence in everything you thought was true, what happens? What would it be replaced with? Can you imagine it? Would you still be a good person? Could you understand, love and appreciate the Bible's wisdom without taking it literally? Can you even discuss that without fear?

I believe in God. Bill Maher's documentary did nothing to shake my faith. I belong to a church that invites questioning. Doubts, discussions, study, etc has enhanced my understanding and relationship with God. I believe God would love for us to do some thinking. That's what this movie is about. I believe God is doing a happy dance for Bill Maher. Maybe he is a tool to get us to use the common sense God gave us and as Bill says, "be Christ like, not Christian like". Maybe God will be overjoyed for us to stop using him for every war, excuse for bigotry, crutch, and Grammy win.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Which One? That One!

As you all know, Senator John McCain referred to Senator Barack Obama as "that one" in the debate Tuesday night. McCain is angry and just can't fit into his reality of how the world goes, that this Black guy could actually be winning this race. I can just feel his anguish. After all, John knows he is the hero and he's white and priviledged and America is set up for HIM. Certainly not for this guy. He wonders what has happened to my America? This shouldn't even be a contest. Gone are the days.....blah blah....Darkys..blah blah blah.

Look John McCain, I'm sure the Clintons felt the same disbelief. How could this happen? Hell, I couldn't believe it myself and I'm just starting to believe that this country will allow it to happen. But, take heart John, there are still plenty of those who will never vote for anyone black. You and Sarah are blessed to have the terrorist fear angle so you don't have to go the racist route (wink, wink). Stir up the nuts until they have blood in their crazy eyes. Say nothing at your rallys in response to increasing shouts of "he's a terroist" and more violent threats that I don't even want to repeat. I had said that I am disapointed in the McCain I though you were, but I am also disgusted by you. Disgusted. You are selfish and racist and your cry "Country First" is such bullshit it makes me sick.

But you will lose because it's bigger than Barack Obama. He (as he's said many times) is just a tool. He didn't just wake up one morning and decide to run for president. While stumping around the nation for other candidates in 2000 and 2004, everywhere he went he was besieged with pleas to run for that office. So much so that he actually started to consider it and the support was so quick and strong and overwhelming and diverse, that it happened. His campaign organization is astounding. I have never met such people from every walk of life imaginable with such substance, brilliance, humor, and spirit. And the thing that you need to know John McCain, is all that is not about that guy named Obama it's about this country. It's way bigger than any one person. It's a grassroots desire to challenge Americans to pay attention, participate, cut the BS out of government and politics, and restore our global standing in the world. I'm just an ordinary person and that's what I want and I'll back anybody who wants that too, no matter who it is. There was only one candidate who even addressed it.

Speaking of cutting the BS. Let's do that. Everyone in this country knows that when John McCain says "that one", he means "that nigger". We all know it, (except maybe Elisabeth Hasselbeck, she's a lost cause).

More about "That"

McCain Says Obama's Actual First Name is 'That'
Andy Borowitz
Posted October 9, 2008

In his latest attempt to raise questions about his Democratic rival for president, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) told a crowd in Ohio today that Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill) has been lying about his name being "Barack" and that his actual first name is "That."

"The Senator from Illinois should stop calling himself 'Barack Obama' when his real name is 'That One,'" Sen. McCain said. "My friends, let's take a deep breath and ask ourselves: what kind of first name is 'That'?"

The Arizona senator made his latest allegation about Sen. Obama in the hopes of fueling doubts among undecided voters who may be uncomfortable voting for a candidate with a foreign-sounding name like "That."

"Where on earth do people name their children 'That'?" Sen. McCain asked, prompting a member of the audience to shout back, "Terrorist places!"

GOP strategist Carol Foyler said that Sen. McCain was "not fear-baiting" by raising the issue of Senator One's unusual first name.

"This is about honesty, not about someone having a weird name," said Ms. Foyler, who worked this year for former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

A CNN/Time poll of likely voters taken today appeared to indicate that Sen. McCain's latest tactic could be working, at least by injecting some confusion into the presidential race.

When asked if they would vote for a presidential candidate named "That," 97% of respondents answered, "What?"

Andy Borowitz is a comedian and writer whose work appears in The New Yorker and The New York Times, and at his award-winning humor site,

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Some Funny Stuff

These are some funny tidbits from some funny folks at Tuesday night's Project A. L. S. benefit at the Waldorf-Astoria.

Host Jerry Stiller called Jon Stewart "America's young elder statesman of political comedy" and surmised that on his Comedy Central news, Stewart "can't take sides."

"Oh," said Stewart. "I think it's pretty clear. Neither of them is perfect, but if you, out of nowhere, are going to grab a woman out of the woods and make her your vice presidential candidate, what can I do?

"[Sarah Palin] is like Jodie Foster in the movie 'Nell,' " Stewart continued. "They just found her, and she was speaking her own special language.

"Have you noticed how [Palin's] rallies have begun to take on the characteristics of the last days of the Weimar Republic? In Florida, she asked 'Who is Barack Obama?' Hey, lady, we just met YOU five fucking weeks ago."

The Gala benefit was held the same night as the last debate.

Chris Rock noted, "We're missing the debate right now. Probably McCain is asking Obama, 'Could you go get me my car?'"

"You know, this is a nonprofit," said Stiller, "so we should probably poke fun at Obama, too."

The comics paused for awhile, until Stiller finally said, "I know! Barack Obama has big ears."

These are funny. It's getting way to serious around here in the USA.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The Great Sarah Silverman

Sarah Silverman is one of the funniest people in the universe right now. She was on The View today and mentioned how she is helping to deliver Florida to Barack Obama. See, Sara wisely realized that Florida's older Jewish population, who would never miss voting, also would never vote for Barack. First of all they are old and have old fogie notions. Next, his effed up, Araby sounding name. So Sarah comes up with an ingenius solution to get the seniors to vote for Barack. It's funny and brilliant and it'll work, I'll betcha. (Oops wrong Sarah.)
Ummm warning: Language

Now as Sarah suggested, this great schlep idea is not limited to Jews or for seniors. So, go ahead and start schleppin'.

Should we all start with Elisabeth Hasselbeck? That child is pitiful! That show got real today.

Monday, October 06, 2008

The Real McCain

I liked John McCain. He impressed me as a republican who was not afraid to reach across the aisle, not afraid to change his mind, a strong independent guy. I had said way before Hillary or Barack got in the race that I hoped McCain is the nominee, just in case we get another GOP prez. Where is that man, McCain. I admit I never looked at him closely or checked his record. I just liked that he did not seem to be a lock step politician. Now he is worse than that. Maybe he always was. He is Gimmick Man. Anything Goes Guy. Negative Ad John with slogans galore - Country First, Maverick, Change,(where'd he get that?) Well, he had me fooled. He's not smart, not a patriot, not a man of character, or substance or of good judgement etc. etc. and so on.
I am disappointed in John McCain.
Ken Burns speaks of this in his blog post.

This is Not the John McCain New Hampshire Once Loved
Posted October 5, 2008 04:48 PM (EST)
What happened to John McCain? What happened to the man so many of us in New Hampshire have admired and respected for so long? The fierce bipartisan warrior, the straight talker, the maverick whose ideas nearly everyone found some common ground with now seems missing in action. He seems to have betrayed the very attributes that originally commended him to us and earned our earlier trust and support.

We continue to stand in awe of his heroic service to his country during Vietnam, but now he shamelessly uses those experiences at every opportunity, as if it excuses him from having to answer any really tough questions about the economy or foreign policy. The answer to everything is not to mention his admittedly harrowing POW days. My experience interviewing heroes of war is that most prefer to deflect attention from themselves and let their record speak for itself. McCain seems to think that it buys him a permanent pass. But it is impossible to know how to fight the new wars if you are hopelessly lost in the old ones.

Surrounded and programmed by the lobbyists he once despised, the man who once effortlessly straddled the aisle and spoke from the heart now carefully hews to a prompter-read, soulless far-right agenda.

This is a man who once denounced and purposefully avoided the politics of personal destruction, having felt firsthand its painful consequences in 2000 in South Carolina, but who now wants to win at any cost. By ridiculing his opponent's commitment to public service, he has undermined the very reason we were drawn to McCain in the first place. By trying to steal the mantle of change from the Democrats, he demonstrates only the riskiness of his shoot-from-the-hip style. That may have worked in the Senate and on the campaign trail, but it is hardly presidential. In fact, it is frightening in the extreme and bespeaks an instability difficult to reconcile considering our complicated world and its myriad problems.

More to the point, he continues almost daily to demonstrate that instability and other judgmental and temperamental concerns, issues and complaints that originally brought a slew of challengers into the Republican primary contests. And in the most important decision of his candidacy, he cynically and irresponsibly chose the supremely unqualified Sarah Palin, cheapening the race as if it were some high school popularity contest or the latest "American Idol" competition.

Even the most ardent true-believers among us must be privately shaking in their boots contemplating a heart-beat-away Palin presidency during these difficult times. When Putin acts up, who do you want whispering in your President's ear: Joe Biden or Sarah Palin?

McCain is a man who once championed openness and fairness in government, who now wants to continue the failed policies of the current administration and who increasingly wants to make the crucial decisions of our democracy behind closed doors with the same cronies who got us into this mess in the first place. And he has shown a profound indifference to and often startling ignorance of economic affairs just as our country inches toward depression.

That threatens to make him the next Herbert Hoover if he should win. And his old strong suit, foreign policy, is slipping away too, as gaffe after gaffe displays his fundamental shortcomings. I want my President to know the difference between a Sunni and Shia. John McCain does not.

We in New Hampshire bear some responsibility, I suppose. Thinking we had the old McCain, we gave him a decisive victory in our primary that permitted him to vanquish those challengers. But he betrayed us. If you have to say you're a maverick in your ads, it's clear you're not. The real maverick turns out to be Barack Obama, who bucked his party's establishment and whose once-lonely positions have been adopted by nearly everyone including even the Bush administration. Nearly everyone, that is, except John McCain. So what happened to him?
That's what Granite State citizens have been asking the last few months. The answer is enough to turn us blue.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

The Cubs and Mrs. Jones

The Chicago Cubs are playing for the National league Pennant and a chance to go to the World Series. The Chicago White Sox are playing for the American League Pennant.
Chicago is wild with the thought of a cross town series. But, so far both Cubs and Sox have lost the first two games of their playoffs. To win their perspective pennants now, they must both win three games in a row in the best of five playoffs. The Sox did win the division this year by beating three different teams in three days. It was amazing and would be a miracle if they did it again and won the pennant. Miracles happened like that for the Mike Jordan era Bulls or the Mike Ditka era Bears but not in Chicago baseball especially not for the Cubs. But, we'll see. Maybe this year?

When I was kid we lived in this big third floor apartment where the back porch was shared with the adjacent third floor apartment. Across this huge L shaped porch was our elderly neighbor, Mrs. Jones. Mrs. Jones had lived there for decades. First with her husband, then her brother, then alone. When we moved in Mr. Jones had been long deceased but we did get to know her brother before he passed away. Mrs. Jones was the classic wonderful neighbor. She babysat for me and my sister, made treats for the kids on the porch and let us use her bathroom and gave us water. I don't know if she knew we came to her house because we didn't want to go to our own houses and disturb our own parents and take the chance of getting roped into some chore or having to stay in. The less they see us the better. Anyway, lots of cups of sugar and everything else crossed back and forth on that porch.

Mrs. Jones never left the house without her hat (often with a little veil) and gloves and stockings. I remember as I got into my teens she liked the music we played and liked to watch us dance. She was also feisty, opinionated and no-nonsense. Mrs. Jones and another elderly neighbor, Mrs. Morgan, had a feud going. OMG! We just knew someone would get smacked someday and get into an actual fight. The possibility of broken hips and mangled stockings always scared us.

Mrs. Jones had one huge obsession, the Chicago Cubs. She loved that team with a passion that no one could understand back then in our neighborhood. She tolerated the Sox and went to games with our family or with the Berry's. The Berry family occasionally went to a Cubs game and took Mrs. Jones. Back in those days, Wrigley Field on the North side of Chicago was not really a "Friendly Confines" for Black people to enjoy a game. So, it was a very rare treat for Mrs. Jones to see her beloved Cubs other than on TV. She watched many games at our house. My little nephew would go across the porch and escort her over at game time. He learned the names of every player and was her rooting buddy. The Cubs irked my mother because they always let you down. I remember my mom complaining about the Cubbies blowing a lead, "I knew they wouldn't win, they do it everytime." My mother liked the Cubs too but they frustrated the hell out of her and after a few of those comments, Mrs. Jones would say, "Nolen, get my hat, baby." No amount of apologizing could make her stay until the end of the game. Little Nolen would escort her across the porch home.

Mrs. Jones was right though, there is something about the Chicago Cubs. Something that keeps folks filling the stadium no matter how dismal they are. My mother was right too. The damn Cubs will always break your heart if you get any kind of idea that they are going to go all the way anywhere. They can have the best talent, coaches, record, and fans but something will get in their way. It's inevidable. I am not a superstitious person but I believe the Chicago Cubs are cursed from the heavens for something. I assume you all know about the famous curse of the goat, but I think it's scarier than that. I mean everytime they have a great season and make it to post season play, they seem to forget not only how to play this game but forget what game their playing. Any and everything will get in their way. It's the fate of the Cubs. We need to stop fighting it and get our hats and go home.