Saturday, January 31, 2009


On February 3, the Indian government will unveil a $10 educational laptop intended to bring computing to the masses, reports the Times of India. Like a lot of cheap PCs, the device will sport 2GB of RAM, Wi-Fi and expandable hardware, and operate on a modest two watts of power. The current prototype can be produced for about $20, according to India's Secretary for Higher Education, R.P. Agarwal. Large-scale production runs should cut that price in half, he said, resulting in the $10 figure the government is touting. According to the Times of India, the $10 laptop is a direct response to the MIT-developed nonprofit One Laptop Per Child program, that was viewed as grossly expensive in India.
India's ultra-cheap laptop is part of a tersely-named initiative called the National Mission on Education Through Information and Communication Technology. That mission also extends to a connectivity initiative meant to get students and textbooks all over India online. India's education ministry has reportedly made deals with four publishers (Macmillan, Tata McGraw Hill, Prentice-Hall and Vikas Publishing) to provide digital textbooks and content on the $10 laptops, some of which will be accessible for free.
The Indian government also hasn't announced whether it will be selling the $10 notebook commercially, after it goes in to production this summer. If it does, it may not be for a long time; the ministry of education will have enough work to do distributing these notebooks and expanding connectivity in the nation's 18,000 colleges.

Friday, January 30, 2009


This may not be much for you, but for people like me, this is about as cool as it gets. An entire season of watching every stinkin' game we can coming to an absolute crescendo. Dissecting each game, each player, defensive and offensive strategies, the works. And it's about to come to the end. The Super Bowl of football.
So lets get real. If you got invited to our homes for the game, nine times out of ten, our wives invited you. We don't need company, just two teams, six refs and two people announcing the game. We are into it. If you aren't, stay out in the friggin' kitchen. Make us some hors d'oeurves, you manly man. That's rule number one. Here are some more....
2. Don't spill anything on my leather couch, especially if it was spilled when you saw something during the game that made you jump up and squeal like a little fucking girl.
3. Absolutely no Styrofoam fingers, pom poms, or any thing with a bobble head, and that includes your worthless piece of shit children.
4. Nothing.....nothin looks dumber than a fat guy in a football jersey and sweat pants. Anyone who wears a jersey should be at least able to tie their own shoes for gawd sakes.
5. Don't try to bullshit us. Don't tell us you were the starting guard for Bumfuck University in 1996, because I have google, and B.U. has a web site, fool.
6. Do not, repeat, do not bring your girlfriend / wife unless she is absolutely smoking fucking hot. This is a guy thing. We want football and cheerleaders and beer and ribs. Anything else is a distraction. If you do bring your girlfriend, she better come complete with a stripper pole for halftime.
7. Shut the fuck up. If we wanted to talk all fucking day, we would still be married.
8. Bring what you drink. What are you fucking diabetic?
9. Do not tell me about your fucking fantasy football league, baseball card files or your comic book collection. They are all queer to me. No that is not bias against homosexuals. Hell, even Andy Dick thinks your fantasy football league is gay.
10. Be a man....hold your fucking liquor. There are three things I do not want to clean up from you during your visit, spilled beer, BBQ sauce on my couch, and your puke.
11. Unless you know the crowd really, really well, never root against the hosts favorite team. Come into my house and root for USC and I will key your car, do your wife, and tell your son you are worried because he will find out you are not his real father.
Enjoy the Game!!! Steelers 31 Cardinals 23
Oh shit....I almost fucking forgot...Here is what I do not want to hear immediately after halftime and the start of the third quarter.....your fucking reviews of the commercials so far, or anything about the half time show unless it involved full frontal nudity. Ready? Break.


Sweeping aside six years of scandal and crippling political infighting with a historic impeachment vote, the state Senate on Thursday ousted one governor for abusing his power and anointed another who built his political career around having no power at all.Senators voted 59-0 to remove Rod Blagojevich, who walked out of the silent chamber after delivering an impassioned plea for mercy.
Covertly recorded audio -- and transcripts --
of the governor, as presented at his impeachment trial

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


President Barack Obama gave his first formal television interview as president to an Arabic cable TV network, saying that when it comes to Middle East matters "all too often the United States starts by dictating." Obama taped the interview with the Dubai-based Al-Arabiya network, just prior to special envoy George Mitchell's first official trip abroad.
Noting that he has lived in Muslim countries and has Muslim family members, Obama said: "My job to the Muslim world is to communicate that the American's are not your enemy." He urged Muslims to judge him by his actions, pointing to the decision to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center, where detainees in the U.S. war on terror are held. He said he also would begin to implement his pledge to draw down troops in Iraq.
Obama reiterated that America was prepared to extend a hand of peace to Iran if it "unclenched its fist." Americans are not your enemy." "It is important for us to be willing to talk to Iran, to express very clearly where our differences are, but (also) where there are potential avenues for progress.

Monday, January 26, 2009


Anyone who knows me knows I hate........well I "hate" a lot of things.........odd things, like people who wear sunglasses indoors, men who suck on a straw (men gulp, women suck), tattoos, men wearing shorts with colored socks, human feet, sweat pants with writing across the rear, the list goes on and on. Most of all, I hate people who continually wear their blue tooth earphone 24/7 which makes them look like a bad Mr. Spock wanna-be.
There is nothing more irritating than someone engaging in a blue tooth phone conversation within ear shot. If you assume they are talking to you, you look the fool. If you assume they are on the phone (which is the correct assumption since they have that blue tooth piece of crap in their ears) when they are speaking and ignore them, you are rude. It is a no win situation.
And so it is my sincerest apologies that I announce that my boss just bought me a Blackberry.

And now I Kimba, constant critic of all things in a world gone mad, will occasionally be seen tooling around L.A. talking to myself , with a $100 piece of crap firmly lodged in my ear, like I am desperately trying to make people think I am something special. Like it or not, I am now a pathetic, card carrying member of the egghead and social strivers club of Los Angeles, first class.

Oh, but you don't even know the worst of it. I have texted (or is it just text?). Two weeks ago I couldn't even get my stubby fingers to differentiate between the ridiculously small alphabet keys on the damn thing. Now I can text with equal skill of anyone over the age of thirty. I am no match for my eleven year old daughter, but I am pretty friggin' proficent for a guy who holds anyone who texts in such high contempt.

So there it is. My mea culpa. My apology, my retraction from previous posts, my deepest regrets, not to mention my complete inability to hover (at least in my mind) above the mindless sheep of the world. I am now a flat lined brain waved drone like the rest of the world. The world has finally beaten me down. I have succumb to it. But, for the record, I am only wearing this as a condition for continued employment, which does at least save me a modicum of self respect, and slightest shred of dignity.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


Any one doubting that our new President has a near genius intellect, would do well to read this recent Obama quote: “You can’t just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done,” he told top GOP leaders, whom he had invited to the White House to discuss his $875 billion stimulus package.
Later the White house clarified: “There are big things that unify Republicans and Democrats. We shouldn’t let partisan politics derail what are very important things that need to get done.” No clarification necessary. If there ever was a pompous, overblown waste of human flesh, it is Rush Limbaugh. Here is yet another wonderful quote from the blithering idiot, Mr. Limbaugh. A man so insane, so anti-American, he hopes the country tanks for the next four years.
"So I’m thinking of replying to the guy, “Okay, I’ll send you a response, but I don’t need 400 words, I need four: I hope he fails.” (interruption) What are you laughing at? See, here’s the point. Everybody thinks it’s outrageous to say. Look, even my staff, “Oh, you can’t do that.” Why not? Why is it any different, what’s new, what is unfair about my saying I hope liberalism fails? Liberalism is our problem. Liberalism is what’s gotten us dangerously close to the precipice here. Why do I want more of it? I don’t care what the Drive-By story is. I would be honored if the Drive-By Media headlined me all day long: “Limbaugh: I Hope Obama Fails.” Somebody’s gotta say it.


I guess it was only a matter of time, American entrepreneurship being what it is. Obama books, musical soundtracks, clothing, even an Obama Chia Pet head. So, Obama soda is not so far fetched, and is destined to be worth more on the souvenir market than Billy Beer someday.
And, like its namesake, even with tremendous agitation, it refuses to lose its pop top. It contains some artificial and some natural ingredients, include tremendous amounts of caffeine, and trace amounts of nicotine, although its manufacturers will deny it to the grave.
Curiously, although the distributors claim the product was born in France, many have disavowed this claim, and responded with numerous federal lawsuits. Wherever it was born, try some Obama soda, a completely new and groundbreaking flavor upon the scene. Is it the "real thing?" Only time will tell, but for now, it has a fresh flavor that has swept the nation. It is available on line (of course), and in some major supermarkets (by reaching across the aisle). Made to be drunk liberally. On sale for $12 a can to the rich, and completely free to the poor.
How does the President like coke? Read his book. He tried it in college, but it didn't do anything for him. Obama cola, you might find it to be just the stimulus the country needs. We swear on it....twice.


You probably never heard of her, but you will. She is a young, folksy, centrist Democrat from rural upstate New York who was just re-elected to her second term in Congress and is now inheriting the Senate seat vacated by Hillary Rodham Clinton. Who is she?
She is Kirsten E. Gillibrand, a 42-year-old lawyer, a relentless campaigner and fund-raiser, a competitive woman whose friends, unprompted, suggest she might someday soon seek the presidency.

She is backed (and funded) by the National Rifle Association, while also being showered with love and dollars by women’s groups like Emily’s List; she favors the English language-only movement as well as abortion rights; she voted in July 2007 to withdraw troops from Iraq and, this fall, against the Wall Street bailout bill. Gay marriage? Not so fast. Although preferring to remain silent on the subject, she is somewhat less than a supporter.

But wait......rumors are she is flipping on the issue; gay rights supporters now claims she has announced Thursday she is now a supporter of gay marriage. Obviously, Gillibrand is now weighing her political future as a high profile female senator in a party looking for an Obama successor in eight years.

She may well be the modern-day Democrat. She has an admirable number of friends and supporters on both sides of the aisle, having once been an intern for former Senator Alfonse M. D’Amato, a Republican who somehow secured the spot above Ms. Gillibrand’s right shoulder among a sea of Democrats at Friday’s announcement. She was a law clerk for a Reagan-appointed conservative federal appellate court judge, Roger J. Miner, who, with his wife, remains among her political backers. And she ardently pursued and gained the support of Mrs. Clinton, whom she supported in the Democratic presidential primaries last year.

While her appointment is far less controversial than that of Roland Burris to replace president Obama, it is somewhat ironic as the NY voters favorite to replace Secretary of State Clinton, AG Andrew Cuomo, was once her boss; Gillibrand having serving as special counsel for the housing and urban development secretary.
Overall, I think Governor Patterson has made a very wise choice with Gillibrand, especially considering the pressure he had from the voters to nominate either the veteran Attorney General Cuomo, or the emotional favorite, Caroline Kennedy. This is the time to reach across the aisle and work together. This is the time for serious thinkers who carefully weigh their opinions and vote their conscience, irrespective of party lines. I think this may be her time, and many in the party agree.

Friday, January 23, 2009


As advertised, the Obama administration has hit the ground running. An obvious result of many hours spent establishing priorities and carefully planning their initial movements, President Obama has announced five executive orders, and established an impressive team at the State department to begin his foreign affairs strategies.

While five executive orders in the first 72 hours of an administration may or may not be a record, it certainly bodes well for the leadership skills of our new President. The focus of his first executive orders quickly, and clearly established his intentions in the area of civil rights and foreign affairs; which included a review of our detention policies, steps to ensure lawful interrogations, as well as the establishment of ethics commitments by executive branch personnel.

Most controversial was his executive order to "review and determine disposition of all individuals detained at Guantanamo Bay Naval base, and the closure of detention facilities," to be accomplished in one year from the execution of the executive order. President Obama has made it clear that he wants to close Guantanamo, and if warranted, try them in American courts for their crimes. This was one of his campaign promises, and he has delivered on it.

While these executive orders are commendable, his most admirable action in his first seventy-two hours was announced yesterday at the State Department. Not only were two seasoned diplomatic experts named to head our diplomatic efforts in the Middle East, for the first time in recent memory the President and Vice president attended the announcements by our Secretary of State Clinton.

Former Assistant Secretary of State Holcomb was named as special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan, possibly the most daunting assignment in the world today. Also named as special envoy to the Middle East, with an eye towards normalization and diplomacy between Israel and Palestine (through the securing of two separate homelands), and between Israel and its Arab neighbors; was a veteran of the Senate, State department, and arguably one of the giants of American politics, George Mitchell.

How Clinton and Obama convinced Mitchell to take the post is a story in and of itself; Mitchell has already established a legendary career of public service, including heading up the successful attempt to end the 800 year "troubles" between Ireland and England. Clearly, between Holcomb, Mitchell and Clinton, President Obama has built another "dream team" which has seemingly unlimited potential in the most vexing and daunting assignments he has to assign.
The first seventy-two hours of the Obama administration? I would give him an "A' to an "A+." And he is just getting started. Something tells me he will be working this weekend. He seems to a
definite game plan, and as promised, was indeed ready on "day one."

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Number six: He was so presidential
pictured spanking Olympic volleyball girls

Number five: He was a dork
Number four: The battle he waged with the English language despite graduating from Yale

Number three: He actually tried to catch the first shoe, rather than ducking
Number two: unlike Clinton, he had his affairs out in the open
Number one: He was Americas second most favorite drunk
(he finished just behind Otis of Mayberry)


A Boston-area company plans to begin flight tests this year of a two-seater airplane that moonlights as a car. The aptly named Transition takes a stab at bridging the gap between automobiles and airplanes. Some people call it a flying car. The company designing and selling the vehicle prefers the term "roadable aircraft."
Either way, it boils down to this: You sit down behind the steering wheel, drive to the runway, unfold two wings and take off. You can fly 500 miles on a tank of gas -- regular unleaded -- and when you land, you simply fold up the wings and drive where you want to go. At the end of the day, you fly back, drive home and park inside your garage. Terrafugia, of Woburn, Mass., is not the first firm to attempt what may be the ultimate hybrid.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


As mentioned in a comment from a previous post, after the inauguration, there were "man on the street" interviews being conducted. One such interview was a thirtyish black mother, who claimed that "on the day after the election I woke my children up and told them that, while they were sleeping, Martin Luther King's dream came true!"
Did Dr. King's dream truly come true? Not to put a pin prick to the celebratory balloons of joy over the election of a Black man to the U.S. presidency, but Dr. King's dream had more to do with injustice, inclusion, and harmony than one man's admission into the White House. Here are my thoughts on the suggestion that Dr. King's dream had, in fact, come true.
King wrote in his "I have a dream" speech that he was hoping to...."hew out of a mountain of despair, a stone of hope."And that is what the election of Obama is...just a stone of hope. Yes, the mountain of despair has eroded somewhat since 1963 when he had a dream, or in 1968 when he had been to the mountaintop, but it is still a mountain to climb.
In 1968 King said that "a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote, and a Negro in New York has nothing for which to vote." And for this brief moment, they could vote and had someone for which to vote on the same day. And for this, they have a right to rejoice and be glad in it.
Unfortunately after the joy of inauguration Tuesday comes the reality of Wednesday. Will this begin a new chapter in American politics? Not as long as there is only one Black Senator in Washington, and he had to be appointed in, at that. Not as long as there are Obama death threats, and hatred, and discrimination, and all of the rest of it.
No, clearly the election of Barack Obama has done little to realize his dream of the end of injustice, and the "transformation of the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood."
It may not have been a symphony, but it was a pretty cool song.
Let the music play on. God bless America.
For the entire texts of King's speeches, they are linked here:


Set to Bolero, this shows all 44 presidents morphing into each other. Well worth the 4 minutes of time it takes to watch. Turn up the volume, and enjoy!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Those who expected to be wowed off from their seats with the Obama inauguration speech may have been left wanting today, as Obama gave the usual platitudes and some reconstituted stump speech materials in many parts of his speech. However these were interspersed with some interesting references to the dichotomies that separate the right and the left, as well as some very curious references. I have quoted some passages from Obama's speech today in black, and my opinion to them in blue. For example, a very interesting and carefully measured change from the usual "My fellow Americans".......
"my fellow citizens" vs. "my fellow Americans"
(a very interesting way to begin...perhaps in response to the many law suits filed claiming Obama is not a native born American?)
rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace
vs. gathering clouds and raging storms
(we are in a crisis, and this is going to take time)
"war against a far-reaching network
of violence and hatred" vs. "we will extend a hand
if you are willing to unclench your fist"
(the era of diplomacy is upon us, and hear me now...I symbolize a new beginning)
"we have chosen hope over (vs.) fear"
"unity of purpose" vs. "conflict and discord"
(I am in charge, and Bush is out)
"the time has come to set aside childish things" vs. "an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas"
(a slam on Congressional partisan politics)
"men and women (who have) struggled
and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw"
vs. "those who prefer leisure over work,
or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame."
(I will be a man of the people, the hard working blue collar Americans...."trickle down" failed)
"not whether our government is too big or too small"
vs. "whether it works"
(my government will get bigger to solve our issues, and it will work)
"who manage the publics' knowledge will be held to account, to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day" vs. "a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also the failure to make the hard choices"
(unfettered free market systems have failed.....a renewed call on transparency in government, and certainly the second proposed stimulus package)
"The success of our economy has always depended on the reach of our prosperity; on the ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart" vs. "the nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous"
(a little socialism and egalitarianism is not a bad programs are not a bad thing)
"know that America is a friend of each nation
and every man, woman and child who seeks
a future of peace and dignity" vs.
"power cannot protect us
nor does it entitle us to do as we please"
(the Bush doctrine is dead....diplomacy over bully pulpits)
All in all, what I feared would end up being a media circus and public Lincoln & Kennedy love affair, turned into a very well orchestrated effort, carefully planned, and seemingly well executed. Yes, there were spots I cringed, like during the opening prayer and the benediction, and that unfortunate train ride, but over all, the ceremonies met, and in the case of the concert, exceeded my expectations. They are obviously off on the right track, and seem to be the ones ready from "day one." Which, by the way, starts tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Monday, January 19, 2009


Barack, are you listening? Here is my "stimulus' package which will require no oversight, or middleman at all. It will increase the federal tax revenue, specifically target the middle income people, and the money will go directly into the economy, which will mean less foreclosures, and lower middle class slippage into the poverty ranks.
It is simple. If you make less than $250,000.00 per year on your 2008 W-2, you will be allowed to take up to 25% of your 401K money without penalty. However, the cap will be $50,000.00, and you must pay 33% taxes immediately. Mortgage their retirement you say? Why the heck not! What good is having money for retirement, and no money for health care for their children or staying in their homes today?
Yes, Fidelity and the 401K investment companies will take a hit. And here is my advise for treating them, and the rest of the financial institutions that just got a piece of the first economic stimulus package, then refused to loan out the money and pump up the economy. Fuck them. Yes, you heard me, fuck them. We should have bought one of those bailout banks and nationalized it anyway. Let them see what real competition is like. When I think of how those corporations treated us with our offers to bail them out for their own stupidity...then they spend it on executive weekends (AIG), or on acquisitions, or other "non-stimulus" initiatives, it makes me want to vomit.
Let the small guys get a hold of one-forth of their money. They won't waste it. Yes, they might pay down debt, and good for them. A lot of them will buy a car, pay their mortgage down and re-finance into the bargain rates that are out there (I just saw a 30 yr. fixed for 4.5%). They might even go out to dinner, take in a movie, buy a new suit, or afford a domestic vacation.
Let them know they could use the cash to solar power their homes, or buy a hybrid and save some tax dollars (through government programs), and now you have a "win-win." But the car and solar power panels have to be domestically manufactured. Let's include energy rated windows for their homes...same deal. Energy rated appliances for their home....where do we sign? Want to buy a two year Rapid Transit pass in advance? Do it, and you will get a 25% discount, thanks for staying off the roads.
It seems to me that the executive and legislative branches of government needs some good old fashioned common sense innovation, some "idea men." What Washington truly needs is some blood coursing into its veins (new or old).
We have elected what seems to be a good man, a fresh face. But I have yet to hear any truly innovative ideas, or thoughts. I hope we do. There is nothing wrong with floating an idea out there and getting some feedback.
Maybe the fault is ours. We are so intolerant of our elected officials that one mistake may well be their last in our eyes. We need to adopt the pragmatic approach corporations do in their think tanks, that no idea is too stupid to be expressed (it has worked for twenty years for Joe Biden). Some of the best ideas have been germinated in the manure of stupidity (I just made that up, and I think it's friggin' brilliant).
Is it too much to ask that Washington does some brain storming on the weekends? Maybe so. What should be our best and brightest often looks like "God's waiting rooms" (Congress members).
And that is the world.....the "World According to Kimba."
Thanks, as always for reading (and putting up with me). Kimba

Sunday, January 18, 2009


We've been through this before, the stump speeches, the promises, the "plans" that will bring our country back on track, all primarily devoted to gain our votes. But Obama was elected based on his promises and his visions for hope and "change." And as much as everyone jumped on the Obama band wagon, no one truly believes he can accomplish much right away.
And the Obama / Biden ticket realizes this, and has responded with there calls for lessened expectations for the immediate future. A CNN poll taken this week shows the country agrees; over half of the respondents expect the Obama led turnaround to take at least two years. Which is a magic number of course, as the Democrats desperately hope to keep, and possibly add to their congressional strongholds.
The only questions are, where does he start, and what achievable benchmarks should, and can we realistically expect? No one expects a full troop withdrawal from Iraq and a surge deployment in Afghanistan in the first year. Obama himself has put the expectation at early 2010 to see an appreciable troop movement. And, as the Iraqi war continues, so does the drain on his available financial resources to stimulate the economy and implement his plans to create jobs in the information and infrastructure projects he has been talking up.
And as the war goes on, as a second costly financial stimulus package is considered, and ultimately implemented, our federal deficits continue to spiral. of course, the damage in this area was created off from Obama's watch. We know he comes into power at one of the worst times in American history, but how long of a honeymoon is the American people willing to extend?
For me, here are my expectations, which I believe are achievable....
Middle of February 2009: passage of a second stimulus package, this time with prudent oversight of where the money goes, and how it is spent (the first stimulus money being largely a complete waste of time / money / faith in our government). This will include an extension of unemployment benefits and other factors that will target the money towards the middle class and lower middle class, who will put the money back into the economy and give us the kick start it needs.
March 2009: the creation of a financial oversight bill which will put safeguards into play from the graft and greed of the investment banks, mortgage industry and the banking community that has sunk our economy at present.
May 2009: a halt to the continuing slide in national job loss, or at minimum, a sharp reduction in job losses.
July 2009: stock market levels at 9,000, as the nation slowly comes around to having a modicum of confidence in the Obama financial plan.
September 2009: A slow, but consistent redeployment of troops from Iraq to Afghanistan.
December 2009: A reduction in our troop levels in Iraq by one-third, and a reestablishment of U.S. good will throughout the free world, and open communications in all non-Muslim countries.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


The train has officially left the station in Philadelphia, and with that departure, the Obama inauguration ceremonies have officially begun. Obama will roll into Washington’s Union Station today by train, duplicating part of Lincoln’s railroad journey from Illinois for his swearing in. The four-day inauguration schedule starts this morning in Philadelphia, where Obama boards a train to trace the last segments of Lincoln’s route, stopping in Wilmington, Delaware, to pick up Vice President-elect Joe Biden. The President-elect is to appear at a concert tomorrow at the Lincoln Memorial, and will take the oath of office Tuesday with one hand on the Bible that Lincoln used in 1861. Obama also plans a public event in Baltimore, which Lincoln slipped through in disguise, under cover of darkness, after learning about an assassination plot there.
The 44th president will be sworn in with an 1853 printing of the Bible, bound in burgundy velvet, purchased for Lincoln’s first inauguration in 1861. On Inauguration Day, not only will President-elect Obama be sworn in using the Bible that was used to swear in President Abraham Lincoln, he will dine like Lincoln as well. The luncheon that will be served in Congress's Statuary Hall to the president-elect and vice president-elect and their families -- as well as congressional leaders, justices of the Supreme Court and pending members of the Obama Cabinet -- will be modeled after foods that Lincoln ate and enjoyed. The first course will even be served on replicas of the china picked out by then-first lady Mary Todd Lincoln at the beginning of her husband's term in office. The luncheon's appetizer will be seafood stew in puff pastry -- scallops, shrimp, lobster -- served as a nod to the 16th president's love of stewed and scalloped oysters. The main course -- duck breast with sour-cherry chutney and herb-roasted pheasant served with molasses sweet potatoes and winter vegetables -- is a nod to the root vegetables and wild game that Mr. Lincoln favored growing up on the frontier in Kentucky and Indiana. The apple cinnamon sponge cake dessert is a nod to Mr. Lincoln's love of apples and apple cake.
Lincoln-y enough for you? Obama has invoked the memory, and startling comparisons between himself and Lincoln at almost every stage of his campaign. At a time when the inauguration marks defining moments unique and historically to Obama, he has unselfishly placed the focus on Lincoln. And, the comparisons are striking......
Obama and Lincoln share a state, and almost every president seems to love the "tall, gangly, self-made Springfield lawyer," as Obama once called him. But Obama's affinity for Lincoln goes far beyond the simple issue of common geography and the widespread love of Lincoln generally.
Obama apparently wants to model himself after Lincoln as a unifying national figure—a repairer of the breach. Obama is looking to Lincoln as a brilliant politician who understood the public's mood, the temperaments and desires of friends and foes alike, and when to strike out in bold new directions. Goodwin's overlooked subtitle, "The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln," is a clue to why Obama would be drawn to his 19th-century predecessor.
Like Obama, Lincoln arrived in Washington with scant political experience. But he was able to figure out how to lead in wartime. Obama sees his presidency as an opportunity to overcome a bitterly divided politics that has dominated since at least the 1960s. He has written of his ability to bring people of diverse backgrounds together and expressed his desire to make progress on common challenges instead of descending into the petty bickering of the politics of the recent past.
Just as Lincoln sought to achieve a measure of national redemption and racial reconciliation, Obama has sought, in Lincoln's famous words, "to bind up the nation's wounds." Obama's riff on red America vs. blue America is echoed in Lincoln's earlier refrain about how "a House divided against itself cannot stand."
Indeed, Lincoln stands as perhaps the pre-eminent presidential symbol of reconciliation and unity on a national scale. Obama, who in almost every major address since 2004 emphasizes this theme, clearly wants to follow in Lincoln's steps as an almost redeemer in chief.
Then, of course, there's the issue of the Civil War and race relations. Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on New Year's Day, 1863. He initially said that the war was being waged to preserve the union—not as a struggle to end slavery. During the wars first two years, Lincoln was wary of moving too far too fast and adopted a politically moderate position on the slavery question. "Lincoln...realized that any assault on slavery would have to await a change in public attitudes," Goodwin writes. "All his life, Lincoln had exhibited an exceptionally sensitive grasp of the limits set by public opinion."
Obama wants to imitate that Lincolnesque "sensitive grasp." He has identified a bold and possibly breathtaking reform agenda, ranging from economic recovery to energy independence to universal health care. He cannot undertake all these reforms simultaneously, and he'll have to figure out how and when and how quickly to move on each of these big-ticket agenda items. If Obama gleans anything from Lincoln's presidency, it is likely to be a finer feel for how to balance the forces of political necessity and public opinion against the power of moral conviction and doing what he believes is right for the country.
Finally, Lincoln was also probably our most literary president in terms of both the written and spoken word, and Obama figures to rank somewhere in that group. When Obama assumes the presidency, his first memoir, Dreams From My Father, will become the most eloquent book written by a president in modern times. Obama's aides have repeatedly referred to him as his own best speechwriter (Obama has said the same thing), indicating that like Lincoln, Obama understands the power of presidential oratory.
Just this week, Obama took his family for a surprise visit to the Lincoln Memorial, yet another nod to his mentor of sorts, honest Abe. And the Obama tributes to Lincoln keep on coming. And that is a good thing. A respectful thing. A nod back into history from someone making more history than anyone in recent times. A nod back into history from a leader who represents a heritage whose country did them a barbaric and brutal wrong.
Surprising? Not really. You see for all of the talk about his "community organizer" days, he is first and foremost, a constitutional scholar, and college professor. Thus the looks back into history, and the incorporation of arguably one of our greatest Presidents legacies into his own. Obama is an incredibly smart man, who obviously is a master planner of his actions and in the execution of his visions.
And his first act is to remind the American citizens of a portion of our history, as well as the mistakes we made in the past, so they will never be repeated. And with the Obama inaugural train officially leaving its perch, class is officially in session.
And with any luck, the starting of the Obama legacy will be marked with a change in the most common Google searched words........from Brittany Spears and the World Wrestling Federation, to Abe Lincoln and Barack Obama. Teach on Mr. President, we're listening. And he will. Dollars to donuts, the Obama inauguration speech will come with something special for the nation....a homework assignment.
And that is the world. The World According to Kimba. Thanks for reading.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


A US Airways flight from LaGuardia Airport in New York went down in the Hudson River this afternoon with 155 passengers and crew on board, and rescuers moved quickly to remove everyone from the plane as it gradually settled into the frigid water. Authorities said there were no fatalities and that all aboard got off safely. Flight 1549, an Airbus A320, appeared to make a controlled landing in the water shortly after takeoff from New York bound for Charlotte, N.C.
Authorities said the plane appeared to have hit one or more birds on takeoff. Initial accounts indicated the airliner lost both engines.

An Airbus A320 versus a flock of friggin' birds. And the friggin' birds won. As the title of this blog states...the world has completely gone mad. Lightning, mid-air collisions, engine failures? Nah, we went down because of some birds

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Total Cost: estimated at $150,000,000.00+, the most expensive in history.
Purchasing tickets: soon to be illegal (bill in Congress now)
Records: most security (for 4 days, including the Obama / Lincoln train ride in), most bridges closed for security, 5,265 surveillance cameras, most bomb sniffing dogs and most metal detectors. Thousands of extra police (8,164), military troops and law enforcement agents, including plain clothes officers roaming the crowds, will be on hand to handle the potentially 2 million people (which will be a record) who could descend on the nation's capital.
Prohibited items include, but are not limited to:
Firearms and ammunition (either real or simulated)
Explosives of any kind (including fireworks)
Knives, blades, or sharp objects (of any length)
Mace and/or pepper spray
Sticks or poles
Pocket or hand tools
Laser pointers
Animals (other than service animals)
Alcoholic beverages

Schedule of events: Morning Worship Service, Procession to the Capitol, Vice President’s Swearing-In Ceremony, President’s Swearing-In Ceremony, Inaugural Address, Departure of the Outgoing President, Inaugural Luncheon (menu above), Inaugural Parade, and Inaugural balls (8 and counting).

Feel jealous because you can't attend?: Here is a fact to let you appreciate watching it on CNBC in your leather recliner....if all two million people show up that they expect, there will be one porta-potty for every 6,000 people. How does that work?

Monday, January 12, 2009


A license plate that would have become the first in the nation to prominently feature a religious symbol is unlikely to be on the road any time soon after Florida state lawmakers did not include it in a bill last Tuesday. The plate, which included an image of a Christian cross, stained-glass window and the words "I Believe," is not in legislation passed late Tuesday that's now headed to the governor.
Opponents of the plate said approving it would result in a court challenge because it violated the separation of church and state and gave the appearance the state was endorsing a particular religious preference. This is especially interesting when you consider that Florida is home to the third largest Jewish population in the country, and the numbers continue to rise, a population which may take a rather dim view of a state organisation cranking out license plates baring the cross.

It should be noted that this is not Florida's first venture into religious waters in the design of its license plates. Pictured below is a pro-life license plate currently in use. According to the Florida Highway Safety and Department of Motor Vehicles, it was the tenth most popular license plate issued in 2007; coming far behind the most popular versions, The University of Florida, "Protect the Panther," "Save the Manatee," and the ever popular "Help Sea Turtles Survive."

As for the "I Believe" plate, it should be noted that the South Carolina legislature is also considering the same license plate for its drivers, and it won key approval in its state Senate Tuesday.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


"Joy cometh in the morning" scripture says. And as much as we all would like it to be true, we know that we are in for some very tough times ahead. For the American workforce, we may have yet to see its darkest hour.

Statistics released Friday indicates that 524,000 jobs were lost in December, and the unemployment rate is currently at 7.2%, a 16 year high. In 2007, 15 million Americans were out of work at one time or another. But this takes into account people changing jobs, or taking a brief sabbatical before taking a new job. This measures a so call "rolling unemployment." The difference now is that 11.1 million Americans are unemployed at this very moment (50% up from last year), and this number is expected to increase up to a conservative estimate of 8% by mid year.

And as staggering as these numbers are, they barely scratch the surface of the current economic stagnation. The so called "total unemployment" figures takes into account those wishing full time work, but taking part time work because that is what is available. Over 13.5% of the American workforce is officially classified, either voluntarily or not, as a "part time" employee, which by law means they cannot work in excess of 29 hours per week. These workers are not guaranteed any benefits, generally have the worst schedules, the lowest pay scales, and have as a side benefit; very little to no employment security. Clearly, these are the ones to go should additional cuts be deemed necessary.

As corporations struggle to survive in this economic environment, some employers are taking the chance to sever ties with their perceived "bottom performers," and this is a good thing, a good first step. This is a healthy thing for corporations, and American business as a whole. Call it a downsizing, a force reduction, or layoffs, the emphasis is on making the workforce healthier, and this is an ongoing process every year for many well run corporations. These reductions are usually slight, and cause the least amount of employee upheaval within the workforce environment. These reductions are accompanied with management directions to "do more with less" or "work smarter, not harder," colloquialisms meant to justify not replacing the departing employees.

Step two in troubling times are to cut back, or eliminate employee incentive programs, eliminate yearly bonuses, eliminating overtime, curtailing employee events (picnics, after hour meetings, weekend out of town management functions, and the like), and to freeze hiring and wage increases. All prudent measures, to be sure, and accomplished with little or no fanfare, or employee blow back. However, most corporations are not finding these measures to be adequate in remain financially viable. Many are reclassifying their employees from a full time, guaranteed forty hour status, to a reduced full time status, and cutting their hours. In fact, the average American worker is now averaging only 33.3 hours per week. This too is a positive step, as it spreads the loss over all of your hourly workforce, and may eliminate the need for closures and layoffs.

However, for many corporations, these measures were not enough. Massive store closures and force reductions are so common place they hardly make page one of our local newspapers any more. Clearly, the leadership of these corporations are facing drastic measures in order to remain "healthy." The steps for a business in financial turmoil are as basic as economics 101. They must drain their inventories and reduce payroll, and we are seeing this with many retailers at present. Obviously, in making their corporations healthier (or at least staying alive), there is a devastating effect on the slowing down of the economy. No new jobs are created, corporations are not purchasing for, or anticipating growth, and the American work force tightens its grip on what resources they do have. The phrase 'disposable income" is all but a distant memory for most Americans at present. These lead to further slow downs in production, reductions in overall sales, and increases in unemployment. Our steps to stay afloat individually are proving cataclysmic to the very economic environment we so desperately need to stay financially viable.

And these are just the hard numbers. What also should be discussed is the effect this is having on the employee and management environment and cultures at present. To be clear, any former positive corporate mantra, or business statement has been replaced by six simple words, "at least I have a job." And this is true from the stock rooms, to the board rooms.

Management, formerly the ones responsible for spreading the positive messages and visions of hope and growth for the corporation, are becoming eerily silent. Their minds and attitudes have been stricken by the "emotion contagion" of the times as well. All reports of other corporations demises have created a culture of fear and paranoia among the healthy corporations, which may lead to overly drastic measures.
For management, this means a rapid willingness to commit "corporate anorexia," a sudden and drastic downsizing meant to stay healthy, which could have far reaching effects on the corporation, most of them unhealthy. This is understandable, as in these financial times, no one wants to add any risk to their dinner plates. The irony being that their rush to risk aversion comes at a time when creativity and optimism is needed most in the workplace.

For the workers themselves, most are in desperate fear of unemployment. Nights are spent reassessing their household budgets, and running the numbers involved if the worst happens, and they become one of the statistics as well. And in this climate of fear, their performance at work deteriorates.

The current culture of fear and anxiety creates a cognitive distortion, and hinders their abilities to concentrate and process information. And while their performances erode, the rumor mill flourishes with every cut, actual or anticipated. Paranoia for their personal futures abounds, and any healthy candor in communication quickly fades away. New ideas are quickly squelched, or not offered at all as corporations are loathe to consider investing in any new program, even when it is aimed at increasing revenues.

Clearly, these times call for the American worker to "keep their heads down, don't rock the boat, and stay under the radar," and this is of course, is as understandable as it is inevitable. But when this paradigm shift in attitude infects the board rooms of America, we insure that the financial obstacles of today will last even longer into 2009, and possibly beyond. I have seen the economic enemy, and to a certain extent, it is us.

I for one, do not see the Obama stimulus package doing much to increase economic confidence whatsoever. As much as I would welcome an extra $1500.00 from the government, as much as an extra $300.00 for employer job creation might sound good in total, the cumulative effects will be slight, indeed. What we need is to remember who we are, and what we can accomplish together. We need to get our swagger back, our collective confidences recharged, and move forward. And yes, we need to spend....but not frivolously. Spend.....on things that are necessary, and produced domestically. Spend........our times not living in fear, but with an appreciation for what we do have, and what we can still acquire. And, spend.....our efforts towards helping others, and asking what you can do to help your fellow man. We will get through this, sooner or later. The choice is largely up to us.

And that is the world...."The World According to Kimba." Thanks, as always, for spending your time........reading my blog.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., called Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich before his arrest to argue against his appointing Democratic Illinois Reps. Jesse Jackson, Jr., or Danny Davis or State Senate President Emil Jones to replace President-elect Barack Obama in the Senate "because he did not believe the three men were "electable". He feared losing the seat to a Republican in a future election." Reid, the Sun-Times report says, favored the appointment of Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs director Tammy Duckworth or Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.
In other (related) news, CNN reports that a Senate aide says that if former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris, Blago's pick to replace Obama in the Senate, "tries to enter the Senate chamber, the Senate doorkeeper will stop Burris. If Burris were to persist, either trying to force his way onto the Senate floor or refusing to leave and causing a scene, U.S. Capitol Police would stop him ... They [police] probably won't arrest him, but they would call the sergeant-at-arms."
As for the reaction from majority leader Reid, he issued the following statement...."Gov. Blagojevich appears to be trying to distract attention from his daunting legal problems and damaged credibility by distorting information about private phone calls between himself and other public officials," Reid said in the statement. "It is regrettable and reprehensible.
"Gov. Blagojevich’s efforts to try to tarnish others while the cloud of suspicion continues to grow over him are shameful, as are his efforts to further betray the public trust and sow seeds of division. As each day passes it becomes increasingly clear that Gov. Blagojevich is not fit to lead, and he should resign. "I will not allow his corruption charges or his antics to distract me from leading the Senate, to drive a wedge in our party."
You will notice he never denied expressing his picks, or who the picks were, merely that they were "distorted."
Which begs the question, why is it that a black man can gain entry into the White House, yet only five have gained entry onto the Senate floor? Five, and two of those five, Revels and Bruce, served in the 1870's (both out of Mississippi). Interestingly, Blanche Bruce was born into slavery, as his mother was a slave, yet most people do not even know his name, I am afraid, but that is a story for another time.
Blacks received the right to vote and serve in the U.S. Congress upon passing of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution. Unfortunately, it took from 1776 to 1865 to receive these rights. In the next ten years, Revels and Bruce managed to gain a Senate key. Revels, the first black man to be properly elected, was unable to be an effective senator because of racism during the time, and only served one tumultuous year. It wasn't much easier for Senator Bruce.
The next elected black senator was not until 1966. A full 81 years separate the two elections. Edward William Brooke III represented Massachusetts and went on to serve as the first black state attorney general and the only black to serve two terms. In 1993, Carol Moseley Braun won her election in Illinois, making her the first black woman in the U.S. Senate. And then comes President-elect Obama.
The blame does not rest fully on the shoulders of blacks. Since there are no states in which blacks hold a majority vote, blacks can only become senators with the assistance of non-black voters. Although there has been a multitude of blacks in the House of Representatives, the same representation is missing in the Senate. Truth is, history has shown a distinct lack of blacks running for a senate seat, as well. While many of the 42 black U.S. representatives are from majority-black districts, contenders for statewide offices must appeal to a more diverse constituency. The result is that they play down racial questions, focusing on taxes, foreign policy, and social programs. And, except for five, this represents the glass ceiling for blacks today.
We now have two possible openings for a black to come onto the Senate floor, the seats of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Two out of fifty represents an undaunting ratio, unless you are the Senate majority leader, according to Governor Blajojevich, and the Chicago Sun Times. To me, this is why Obama's silence on the appointment to fill his seat has been deafening. It is time for him to step up and address the issue. Roland Burris carved the way for Obama and Braun to gain a statewide seat in Illinois. He did the hard work. He blazed the way for them. It's time for one of them, if not both, to clear a path for him now.

Saturday, January 3, 2009


Leaflets signed by the commander of the Israeli military were dropped over northern Gaza this morning, warning residents to "leave the area immediately" to ensure their safety, but the question is: where do 1.5 million Palestinians trapped in Gaza go?
Israeli tanks and troops have massed on the Gaza border, and an Israel Defense Forces spokeswoman said ground forces are prepared to enter Gaza when they receive orders to do so. Whether Israel is actually considering a ground invasion, or just posturing remains to be seen.
The Jerusalem Post reported Saturday that Hamas declared its members foiled an attempt by Israeli forces to move within the Gaza Strip. Hamas claimed the soldiers retreated after they were targeted by mortar shells. Israeli forces, however, claimed the "incident never happened."
A ground invasion could happen soon if international diplomacy fails to broker a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, who have been trading cross-border fire for the past week.
Saturday morning update: Israeli artillery has started firing shells into the Gaza Strip as Israel continues its eighth day of attacks on the territory. The death toll of Palestinians has climbed past 450 and 2,250 have been injured since Israel's aerial bombardment began last week. Many, including President Bush, have called these actions a "proportional response to attacks on Israel from the Gaza."
Saturday afternoon update: Israel forces have entered their so-called "phase two," and entered the Gaza. See video below.

President-elect Barack Obama is expected to meet with congressional leaders Monday to discuss his proposal for the new economic stimulus plan, which leaders are now referring to as an "economy recovery plan," a Senate Democratic leadership aide said Friday. The President-elect will first meet with Democratic leaders of the House and Senate, Reid and Pelosi, then meet with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, and House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio. Congressional Democrats are planning to vote on the "economic recovery plan" in the House next week and hope to have the bill ready for Obama to sign shortly after he takes office January 20. The Obama plan is said to include double the renewable energy production and make public buildings more energy efficient; money to rebuild crumbling roads, bridges and schools; funds to computerize the health care system, modernize classrooms, labs and libraries; money to help states pay their medicare bills; increase unemployment benefits and provide tax breaks to American workers. The main goal of his plan: to create 3 million new jobs. Most would come from the private sector.
AKA: Guess who's coming to dinner? Roland Burris, the self professed (and Gov. Blagojevich appointed) "junior Senator from Illinois," will arrive in Washington on Monday night. Why? He fully intends on going to work Tuesday, in the U.S. Senate. The new Senate will be sworn in Tuesday. Senate Democrats don't want to give Burris the oath of office because he was appointed by Gov. Blagojevich, who is facing federal public corruption charges for trying to sell the Obama seat in a variety of schemes.
Terry Gainer, the Senate sergeant at arms -- the former director of the Illinois State Police who goes back years with Burris from their Springfield days -- said that they are prepared for Burris to come knocking on the Senate door. "I do not believe there will be any physical confrontation. The Senate is not that kind of institution, and Burris is not that type of leader ... there will be a businesslike resolution to what occurs on Tuesday," Gainer said.
Pending final resolution, it's possible Burris will get some office space, a limited staff and maybe even be put on some kind of payroll. Though the senators may allow him on the floor, to hang around in the back, Burris could not vote or sit behind one of the desks in the Senate chamber.
Because it certainly appears that Blago is willing to go the distance with the impeachment hearings, Illinois leaders are rushing through the required steps towards his impending impeachment (currently in a special committee to advise), which appears all but certain now. While impeachment may be the talking point, it seems to me that negotiations should be the order of the day. What does Blago want? I am assuming seating of Burris in the Senate and limited to full immunity towards the federal corruption charges he currently faces would make his departure a slam dunk. This needs to go away, and quickly. Your case against him appears slightly thin, and you cannot afford to let him make you look stupid any more. This could drag out for quite some time. Give him what he wants, and make it go away. Then he can go home and write his best seller.