Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., will announce this afternoon that he is switching to the Democratic Party. In a written statement today, Specter wrote, "Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right."
"Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats. I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans. When I supported the stimulus package, I knew that it would not be popular with the Republican Party. But, I saw the stimulus as necessary to lessen the risk of a far more serious recession than we are now experiencing," Specter wrote.
Assuming Al Franken takes the Minnesota Senate seat, Democrats will have that magic number of 60 Senate votes necessary to pass any piece of legislation, and override any filibuster.
More from Spector, "My change in party affiliation does not mean that I will be a party-line voter any more for the Democrats that I have been for the Republicans. Unlike Senator Jeffords’ switch which changed party control, I will not be an automatic 60th vote for cloture. For example, my position on Employees Free Choice (Card Check) will not change."
Arlen Spector is a dinosaur. A legendary, gravel voiced Senator who votes his mind. If any five senators actually read an individual bill up for consideration, Arlen Spector would be one of them.
You can't guarantee which side of an issue Spector would take, that is what Senate whip counts are for. But he has always been someone the opposition could reach across the aisle towards with the confidence that he would reach back with something other than a hand full of fish hooks.
So while the math says 60, the vote may well be 58 (Leiberman as well). And that is OK with the democratic party. We respect people who vote their conscience, people who can spell public service without a dollar sign.
For the record, Arlen Spector is not leaving the Republican party....they left him. They left him eight years ago; in practice, in attitude, in demeanor and in actions. He just couldn't keep holding his nose anymore.
So for tomorrow the news will be that a major Republican senator has decided his party has become too extreme for him, and we hope others will reassess their party afflictions as well. The truth is, the Spector defection has less to do with Arlen Spector than it does the Republican party itself. The Republican party today is completely adrift in a moral and ideological abyss desperately seeking a leader (Steel ain't it, skin color not withstanding), and a platform they can announce without holding their noses. They will just have to figure it out with one less heavyweight.

Monday, April 27, 2009


If you are like me (and hopefully you are much smarter), your journey began with what a pandemic actually is. A pandemic is an epidemic of infectious disease that spreads through populations across a large region; for instance a continent, or even worldwide. This is opposed to an epidemic, which just means outbreaks of an illness exceed normal expectations. An epidemic can be, and usually is highly localized. A pandemic is wide spread and capable of taking over large areas; entire countries, continents or the world. That is what we are talking about.
The CDC reports that the symptoms and transmission of the swine flu from human to human is much like seasonal flu, commonly fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing. Some people with swine flu also have reported runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. It is believed to be spread between humans through coughing or sneezing of infected people and touching something with the virus on it and then touching their own nose or mouth. Swine flu cannot be spread by pork products, since the virus is not transmitted through food. The swine flu in humans is most contagious during the first five days of the illness although some people, most commonly children, can remain contagious for up to ten days.
The swine flu is very treatable. The swine flu is susceptible to two drugs licensed in the United States, oseltamivir and zanamivir. There is no danger of a shortage of these drugs. The national stockpile of antiviral drugs are being activated and should be fully deployed by May 3.
So, what should we do?
1. Wash your hands often, in hot soapy water, and for the amount of time it takes you to sing "Happy Birthday" twice (15-20 seconds).
2. Get enough sleep. This means slightly different things to different people, but try to get 8 hours of good rest each night to keep your immune system in top flu-fighting shape.
3. Keep hydrated with 8-10 8-oz. glasses of water each day to flush toxins from your system and maintain good moisture and mucous production in your sinuses.
4. Be vigilant of surfaces. This is as much a mindfulness exercise as anything else. Be aware of what public surfaces you touch, when you've shaken hands with someone, or when you're using something like a pen that others have recently used--and don't touch your face until you've had a chance to wash your hands.
5. Know when to get help. Swine flu can look like regular flu, so don't feel like you necessarily are infected if you're exhibiting flu-like symptoms. But do go to your doctor if you live in an area where there are documented cases, or if your symptoms are severe.

You should not panic, just be smart about it. You should also know that the U.S. government on Sunday declared the flu strain a public health emergency. No American deaths have been reported and most affected by the virus had light symptoms, and were recovering fast. But it has popped up in New York, Ohio, Kansas, Texas and California as well as Canada and Europe, raising fears of a pandemic.
President Barack Obama said he was monitoring the situation while bad news piled up from southern neighbor Mexico, where up to 149 people have died and more than 1,600 have been infected by the never-before-seen virus. In New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said more than 100 sick students at a high school in Queens were being tested and that 45 were confirmed or likely cases of swine flu. A first case was confirmed in northern California, where a student was found with the virus at a school in a Sacramento suburb. The school was closed. Ten other cases have been confirmed in southern California close to Mexico's border. Texas, meanwhile, confirmed a third case of swine flu near San Antonio. All three cases involve students at the same school, and Texas officials have closed 14 area schools in an attempt to contain it.
Needless to say, precautions should be taken if you live in these states especially, or if you have younger children, older adults at home, or any loved one susceptable to respiratory ailments, or have pre-exsisting respiratory conditions.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Medicare and Medicaid. Our nationalized health care system. Over the past two decades, they have destroyed the budget to unreal proportions. Unfortunately, the worse is yet to come, as baby boomers are becoming of the age where they will need the most critical care of their life spans. It is estimated that a third to a half of ones lifetime health care costs are consumed in the last six months of life.
As Obama seeks to nationalize health care, plus reduce expenses wherever possible, the question becomes.....In an aging population, how do you keep them from blowing up the budget? There is only one answer: rationing.
Accordingly, Britain's National Health Service can deny treatments it deems not cost-effective -- and if you're old and infirm, the cost-effectiveness of treating your illnesses. In Canada, they ration by queuing. You can wait forever for so-called elective procedures like hip replacements.
Rationing is not quite as alien to America as we think. We already ration kidneys and hearts for transplant according to survivability criteria as well as by queuing. A nationalized health-insurance system would ration everything from MRIs to intensive care by myriad similar criteria.
This is the uneasy truth of pure economic survival for any health care program. And as distasteful as this might seem, it makes sense, from a financial standpoint. This is the time where a panel of doctors will completely survey your malady, and actually determine the return they will get on investing health care dollars, quite frankly, on you.
What are the mathematical chances of your survival, and your quality of life should you receive benefit of a procedure. Frankly, the option for many will be to spend precious health care dollars on comforting you the patient, and preparing you for the inevitable. This will especially be true if you have reached the national expected survival expectation.
Think this sounds like a bad movie plot?....don't. The unspoken truth is the insurance companies, and medical community as a whole may (and some say are) already making those unspoken determinations to a certain extent.
With financial resources at a premium, isn't this a near certainty, even if left uncommunicated to the patient in such fiscal terms? Aren't they already?


As the economic "crisis" deepens, many Americans are struggling to keep their heads above water financially. For many, this means a reexamination of their family budgets, seeking cuts in expenditures wherever possible.
For some, this means a resurgence of carpooling, or reducing energy usage, or finding ways to keep their food costs in line, up to and including growing your own food, or buying in larger quantities among multiple families.
For those of us old enough to remember leaner financial periods, these are not new ideas. The multi-family purchase of complete sides of beef, etc. were all the rage in the 60's. I can remember butcher shop plans for buying large quantities of meat, which included the free use of a freezer, and the savings were substantial. This was long before the advent of big box food centers, but it made financial sense.
I can even remember a time where seven families went in together and each made one dinner per week, large enough to feed everyone, and delivered them each afternoon to the houses on our block. Of course this did save energy (although not a concern at the time), but mostly it saved time and effort; as more and more families were responding to the economic challenge with the creation of two income families.
Which brings me to my current observations. As someone in the architectural coatings industry (all right, I sell paint), I try to find new construction or remodeling leads in my region, and as a result of this I have noticed a burgeoning rental vacancy rate, at least in the Southern California market. This didn't make sense to me at a time when many homeowners are losing their houses these days, but when interviewing a large volume rental property owner recently, I realized that many renters are feeling the pinch, and moving in with friends, family or their parents in an effort to save themselves money, as well as their new roommates. This not only saves money on rent, but energy (air conditioning costs out here are enormous), and food bills as well. Not to mention giving all concerned a support system.
And so, I have to ask.....Will this current economic crisis make communal living in vogue once again? We certainly have our share of condominium and town home communities in California, which is, in a way, the creation of a commune in and of itself, with one difference, most are comprised of strangers, but the advantages and potentials are there.
Do we really need these enormous 2500 square foot homes to heat and cool, and landscape and build pools behind? As the worlds resources dwindle, will this mode of living come out of fashion?
Just today, I took my family to the local nursery for some flowers to plant in our front yard, and I sparked a conversation with the manager (as I do), who told me the flower market is staying steady (cheaper than buying at a flower shop for gifts and occasions), but the eatable plant market is booming for him. Potted herbs, tomatoes, vegetable seeds, dwarf fruit trees and the like are all increasing in volume as many are seeing their back yards in a whole new way. Clearly, they are responding to the economic crisis in a very healthy way.
Whether forced by the economy, or as a prudent new found austerity, growing food makes sense. Doing your own laundry rather than dry cleaning wherever possible makes sense. Renting that empty spare bedroom may make sense, and carpooling or taking mass transit certainly makes sense.
Will these economic times force us to rethink the way we live, and spend? Will many see the advantages of a multi-family complex with which to share expenses and as a support community become popular once again? Probably not. we are Americans, and once the economy starts to grow, we will be right back at our own ways, but there is a sort of romance involved in the communes of the sixties. Many families pulling together and sharing expenses and resources to live a better life. Home schooling, community gardens, and a large, nuclear, or extended family.
Communal living could be a remarkably viable means for enriching lives; through sharing and maximizing of resources. Instead of owning many of any one product, you will own less, but share a wider range of items. By pooling the community money, creativity, skills, assets, ideas and resources you may find you could supply everyone's basic needs through communal energies. You might find an abundance of all things available to you, and an optimization in the efficiency of their use.
For example, sharing the use of automobiles, and making a communal dinner each evening. One car can serve numerous people, thus requiring fewer of them; and not only does everyone get a wholesome, nutritious meal each night, but they also only have to cook and cleanup once a week, or less, for example and then only as part of a team.
Does this make sense, or have I seen one to many episodes of "Big Love?" Let me know by clicking on the word comment below. Thanks, as always, for spending time in my world. "The World According to Kimba."


As previously noted, Wednesday will mark the first 100 days of the Obama administration, a mere 5 months since the American voters soundly rejected the conservative platform, and its leaders. Five months since electing a Democratic House, a Democratic Senate, and a Democratic executive branch.
Surely this week every news outlet and Internet blog will feature in one fashion or another, a report card of the Obama administration at the 100 day benchmark, but what of the G.O.P., don't they deserve the same report card and scrutiny as the current administration?
From day one, the Obama administration has sought to reach across the aisle and make the current government more inclusive and less partisan. These efforts have largely gone down as a complete failure. Although certainly more of a publicity bound stooge than a party leader, Rush Limbaugh stated the conservative viewpoint better than most when he stated, "I hope he fails."
And that is the crushing blow to any bi-partisan endeavors President Obama may undertake. They hope he fails, and in doing so, they hope the country fails. Oh they say it is a hope that socialism and liberalism fails, ideologies that are the antithesis of the Democratic agenda. To be sure, if these methods prove successful, they will leave the Republican party with an uncertain future to say the least.
So they just say no. When the administration sought input on bailouts for mega institutions like AIG, whose tentacles reach far into our countries financial institutions, they just said no. When Obama sought input on governmental bailouts for financial sectors of the country, such as the banking industry, they just said no. When the administration suggested the repeal of the tax breaks for the countries wealthiest citizens as one solution to increase revenue, they just said no.
They knew if the banking industry failed, if AIG failed, the economy would fold like a house of cards, but their only input was "no." And they know the auto industry is in dire straits financially, and they are just saying no.
They know that the past eight years of the Bush administration has dealt our standing and morale perception in the world a severe blow. Yet, when our newly elected leader does so much as shake another leaders hand, or accepts a book from him, they scream "no"!!
When the administration so much as questions the adverse effect of pumping our atmosphere with pollutants, and suggests this practice may have a long term negative effect on the planet, they scream "no."
When Obama seeks more clarity and transparency in our government, including the release of memos on the origins of the Bush administrations torture definitions and practices, they just said no. They say it weakens the countries defenses, despite merely proving what the American people already knew, we torture enemy combatants, whether by our own hands, or when shipped to secret prisons we have establish throughout the world. They say Bush / Cheney did not lie when they said we do not torture, based on a John Yoo definition and memo. This is as insulting as it was ignorant, similar to when Clinton tried in vain to redefine "sexual relations." But they kept saying no despite overwhelming concrete evidence. Yet they keep saying no.
Their strategy is obvious. Go running into the night before they vote, or support any liberal attempt to improve the country, and hope like hell he fails. Then they can run on a platform that the liberal agenda and efforts have not, and will not work. It is their only hope for political success in the future. The same calls for change used by the liberals to unseat the conservatives can be used against the dems if the country does not improve.
Battle lines have been drawn, and the first 100 days have proven that the Obama administration is not afraid to act, with or without conservative support or positive input. He has the votes for the most part, to push his agenda exactly as he sees it, and he is not afraid to take responsibility for them.
He has shown he will not take "no" for an answer, and neither should the American people, because we have an inclusionary government and process. We welcome opposing views and public discourse to shape our policies, and never so much as during the Obama administration. President Obama has publically stated that he welcomes all opinions and ideas, except one....the status quo. Because those who refuse to help, those who want the status quo despite its failures, those who wish further harm to this republic, those who wish the country to continue to slide, and those whose only answer is to say no, are the failures. And when they come up for reelection, despite whatever the current condition of the state of the union, the American electorate will have only one alternative...to say "no."

Saturday, April 25, 2009


As the first 100 days of the Obama administration are nearing an end, news organisations will be giving the administration a report card of their progress thus far. Since the first days of FDR, it has been repeatedly stated that the initial 100 days are the most important in any administration, and certainly the Obama administration has felt the pressure more than any other administration since.
Despite a primary and election season that touted his lack of experience in almost every area, I personally think he hit the ground running in a manner I have ever witnessed in my lifetime. He has built an admirable team of rivals (although having some vetting issues with some of his political appointees, to be sure).
He has provided more access to the Presidency and the government than we have seen in a long, long time. From his numerous press conferences to the release of the torture memos, he has shown his awareness that he does work for the people of this country.
He has also made himself visible, along with his family. They have set an example of a cohesive family unit, and allowed the press to peek inside their personal lives, up to and including the selection of a dog for their children. He has brought back a humanness to the top spot largely lacking in the past five presidential administrations. He has staged public events, and even gone on the Tonight Show, although that appearance may have been best left off his social calendar.
He has reached out across the aisle in an attempt to achieve bi-partisan support for his initial actions (largely unsuccessful), and has included the other side in his cabinet and advisers.
He has reached out to leaders of the world in a way that no other President has done, by listening and admitting our past mistakes. For his lack of hubris and arrogance, he is the anti-Bush. And other leaders have responded thus far. You may not like the caliber of leaders he has spoken to, but this is not of our choosing. He has shown a willingness to end the cold war mentality of the previous administration, and for this alone, he should be commended.
He has begun to chip away at some of the ridiculous policies of the past, such as our relationship (or lack of) with our neighbor, Cuba. He has softened our restrictions on Cuban Americans, and the financial support they can give to their relatives back in their home land. I believe he will work further to end the embargo and begin to open up dialogues with Castro in an attempt towards normalcy again. He realizes our arrogance towards their lack of human rights in their country and our denial of our own is hypocritical at best.
He has taken swift action towards stopping our financial landslides, and job losses. The results are mixed so far, but I am optimistic that he and his advisers (if they can stay awake) are on the right path.
He has carried himself with a confidence and awareness that if he cannot cure most of the countries ills, he will be a one term President. He has also made public admissions when he has "screwed up."
An Associated Press poll shows that most people in the U.S. consider their new president to be a strong, ethical leader who is working for change as he promised in his campaign. Obama's job approval rating stands at a healthy 64 percent. For the first time in years, more people than not say the country is headed in the right direction, the poll says.
What is next? Hopefully a continued agenda at adopting issues from his platform. We need to look at our economic progress, the creation of jobs (green or otherwise), the re-establishment of permanent bans on assault weapons, the beginning of Iraqi troop withdrawals, talks with leaders foreign to us (Cuba and Venezuela would be a terrific start), the current education system and the teacher layoffs we are seeing across the nation, a softening on the war on drugs, and a good hard look at the non-violent offenders currently sucking the life (and finances) of our penal system, and much, much more.
Overall, despite the fact that I was, and continue to be a huge Clinton supporter, I am pleasantly surprised at the Obama administration in it's initial days. Overall score? I would give them a solid "B," and a tremendous potential for elevating that grade within the 6 month benchmark. Is every thing perfect? Of course not. But the man is not Merlin the magician. When you are given a country full of compost, you can't expect a bed of roses within 100 days. Given time, I think he will maintain his approval rating and more, as long as he stays humble, and keeps listening.
And that is the world....."The World According to Kimba"....as always, thanks for reading.

Friday, April 24, 2009


So, mere blogging isn't enough for you. You want to take it to the next step. No problem. First step is an audio podcast, an embedded recording, which can be played on an MP3, or posted to your blog. Interested? Check out talk shoe. All you will need is to sign in, possess either a computer with a microphone or a mobile phone, and something to say.
Still not enough? You want your face plastered all over the Internet don't you, you narcissistic idiot? YouTube is a good first start. Sign up, record and post. This vehicle is normally reserved for shorter, quick videos. You can post pretty much what ever you would like, a joke, a song, a poetry reading, or a stupid cat trick. Your entry can be easily accessed by anyone with an interest, and can be easily posted on your blog as well.
Not enough? You want your own "show" don't you? You do live in a fantasy world. Well, not any more. Ustream is the free video pod casting platform for you. With UStream you can record your own actual TV show (starring you of course), or set up a 24/7 feed that is accessible to all. One such podcast is a stream of live termites. With Ustream, all you need is a computer with a web cam and a microphone and you are off and running.
You can do a live feed broadcast, and viewers can type in questions or comments during the broadcast. Check out on of the regular amateur shows, by someone named Chris Pirello. Practice up and you might get become as good as Bob Kushell, who broadcasts from his Van Nuys California garage, and actually books stars for his 5 minute "shows."
Pod casting, the social networking platform of the future, available free today.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom has declared his candidacy for Governor of California, hoping to succeed Arnold Schwarzenegger. Newsom, a relatively fresh face on the political scene the past five years, announced his intentions in a very modernistic way...on Twitter. The Mayor will have his share of competitors out there, with the names of no less than Barbara Boxer and Antonio Villaragosa to contend with, although undeclared as of yet. Newsom's platform will include creation of green collar jobs, marriage equality for all, the experience of creating "Healthy San Francisco," an early form of universal health care, and 5 years of balanced budgets for the city of San Francisco. Not only balanced budgets, but the creation of "rainy day reserves" which were set aside for emergencies, such as we are going through now with the current economic situation, which have so far staved off the need to reduce teacher rolls or increase class sizes in S.F. Powerful arguments all.
And, he speaks Spanish...but does he speak union? As the unions go, so do a mass block of voters in the Golden State, the majority of which are Spanish speaking, and a major asset of Villaragosa, should he decide to challenge the Mayor.Not to mention Villaragosa's connection with the Democratic party, and Bill and Hillary Clinton, with a formidable Rolodex of fundraisers.

Youthful, smart, and experienced. Gavin Newsom from San Francisco, an attractive candidate for California Governor indeed, in what is already shaping up to be an interesting campaign season. I am not ready to declare, but I am intrigued at the prospect.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Recent transcripts released by the Obama administration (fulfilling their promise of a more transparent government), includes the following snippets of one of the released memos......
We find that the use of the water board constitutes a threat of imminent death. As you have explained the water board procedure to us, it creates in the subject the physiological sensation that the subject is drowning. Although the procedure will be monitored by personnel with medical training and extensive SERE school experience with this procedure to ensure the subjects mental and physical safety, the subject will be unaware of these precautions. From the vantage point of any reasonable person undergoing this procedure in such circumstances, he would feel as if he were drowning at very moment of the procedure due to the uncontrollable physiological sensations he is experiencing.
Although the water board constitutes a threat of imminent death, prolonged mental harm must nonetheless result to violate the statutory prohibition on infliction of severe mental pain or suffering. We have previously concluded that prolonged mental harm is mental harm of some lasting duration, e.g., mental harm lasting months or years. Based on the foregoing, and based on the facts that you have provided, we conclude that the interrogation procedures that you propose would not: violate Section 2340A, or constitute illegal torture.


As the Internet grows larger and larger, more and more opportunities for us to become involved open up, many of which are absolutely free. Here is a cursory list of the ones I am aware of. Most require little or no time passed the initial sign up stages. Many are entertaining and informative as well.
http://www.blip.tv/: "twitter" for music buffs
http://www.boxee.tv/: a very organized alternative to YouTube
http://www.blogger.com/: a blog publishing platform, and the one that supports this blog
http://www.classmates.com/: a social networking platform for catching up with your former classmates
http://www.facebook.com/: the most popular social networking tool out there
http://www.flicker.com/: a picture posting platform
www.hulu.com: watch videos, episodic television, etc.
http://www.linkedin.com/: a My Space platform for business purposes only
http://www.loopt.com/: a combination social networking platform, and location detector
http://www.myspace.com/: social networking platform, crowded with younger generations
http://www.movabletype.org/: a publishing platform for professionals
http://www.ning.com/: a customizable social platform, especially into creation of "communities"
http://www.power.com/: site that allows you to log in once and post to multiple social networking sites
http://www.qik.com/: stream and post photos from your mobile phone
http://www.shelfari.com/: post your library, and engage in discussions based on your literary preferences
http://www.squarespace.com/: a blog publishing platform
http://www.tripod.lycos.com/: a fee based blog and website publishing platform
http://www.twitter.com/: all the rage, allows you to post quick comments and follow others comments within your social circle, or anyone else with an account
http://www.typepad.com/: fee based blog publishing platform for small businesses
http://www.wikapedia.com/: a reader supported encyclopedia
http://www.wordpress.com/: publishing platform, competitor of blogger
http://www.youtube.com/: post or just watch others videos, including a huge music library
http://www.xanga.com/: a lesser used blog publishing platform
Extra credit for mobile phone users....
http://box.net: a mobile collaboration tool
http://rememberthemilk.com: a task management tool
http://evernote.com: multiple device synchronisation and storage tool

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Malaria is a disease caused by the blood parasite Plasmodium, which is transmitted by mosquitoes. Malaria, from the Medieval Italian words mala aria or “bad air,” infects more than 500 million people a year and kills more than a million— one person dies about every 30 seconds.
Malaria is both a preventable and treatable disease. It can be prevented by giving families and individuals insecticide-treated bed nets to sleep under and taking steps to kill mosquitoes where they breed and when they enter houses to feed at night. At the same time, anti-malarial drugs such as artemisinin and other combination therapies that are widely available can treat malaria before it becomes deadly.
Malaria has been brought under control and even eliminated in many parts of Asia, Europe, and the Americas. Yet in Africa, with increasing drug resistance and struggling health systems, malaria infections have actually increased during the last three decades.
Despite the magnitude of the problem, there is a simple and cost-effective solution to prevent malaria deaths. For just $10, we can purchase a bed net, deliver it to a family, and explain its use. Bed nets work by creating a protective barrier against mosquitoes at night, when the vast majority of transmissions occur. A family of four can sleep under an insecticide-treated bed net, safe from malaria, for up to four years. The benefits of bed nets extend even further than the family. When enough nets are used, the insecticide used to deter mosquitoes makes entire communities safer—including even those individuals who do not have nets.
Saving lives ten dollars at a time. Please help.


At the recent Summit for the Americas, President Barack Obama continued to impress the world with his unique level of diplomacy and honest talk. Previously he has admitted our nations faults and blame in our history, and has coupled these mea culpas with honest talk of anti-American sentiments and open hostilities towards us. During the Presidential campaign he suggested he would be willing to talk to any foreign leader without pre-conditions (although the Clinton campaign forced him to roll that back slightly and Obama clarified that he meant sending lower level inter mediators instead). Obama acted on these sentiments by not only talking to, but seeking out and shaking the hand of Venezuela's fiery leftist president, Hugo Chavez. Chavez, a harsh critic of America for a decade, told Obama: "With this same hand I greeted Bush eight years ago. I want to be your friend."

Obama also extended a hand to a leader Ronald Reagan spent years trying to drive from power: Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega. The Sandinista president stepped up and introduced himself, just before delivering a blistering 50-minute speech that denounced capitalism and U.S. imperialism as the root of much hemispheric mischief.

Cuba's Raul Castro, barred from attending the summit, reached out to the newly elected President as well. On Tuesday, Obama ordered an easing of travel and remittance restrictions for Americans with relatives in Cuba. Within hours, Castro — who took over from his ailing brother Fidel a year ago — responded with an offer of talks on "everything" that divides the two countries. meaning an open offer for talks since the Eisenhower administration, saying he's ready to discuss "human rights, freedom of the press, political prisoners — everything."

These recent examples of Barack Obama has signaled a complete shift from the Bush "you're either with us, or against us" diplomacy, and the world is obviously responding. Imagine, all of a sudden, the president -- the president of the United States, mind you -- is telling foreigners that we screw up from time to time. That we've gone our own way much too often. That we've been arrogant!

Now is the time for a paradigm shift in attitude by our nation to the world. It is time to release ourselves from the ignorant shackles of past administrations...a drug war that isn't working, embargo's that only serve to hurt the citizens of the countries embargoed, and a cold war against countries / regimes that has gotten us no where. Now is the time for what Obama has described as a "new beginning." Now is the time, and Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State can, and I think will make it happen. And it needs to start with Cuba and Venezuela. And that is the world....."The World According to Kimba" As always, thanks for reading.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


"If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps life moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of it all. And so today I still have a dream. "
Dr. Martin Luther King The Trumpet of Conscience
Hope is more than emotion. In many ways hope is the life blood we need to survive. Without hope, we lose all perspective. Everything becomes dark and dismal. People lose their perspective. Little things add up to mountainous things, culminating in a mountain of despair.
"Mario" lost his hope today. With an ailing father, and the anticipation of being laid off at work, Mario lost his perspective. At the hospital he worked at about 20 to 30 people had already been laid off in the last few weeks, and some of the gunman's co-workers said there was a rumor he had been laid off that morning or was going to be among a number of people laid off in the next few weeks.
Mario lost all hope. So today, the hospital pharmacy technician went into work and shot his boss, a co-worker, and then put the gun to his temple and killed himself. "We do not know the reason," the Long Beach police chief said. "However, I think this is part of a trend ... probably because of the tension felt in our society." A "trend" puts it mildly.
Within the last week, a man in Washington state killed his five children, in Pennsylvania, a man killed three police officers who came to investigate a supposed "domestic disturbance" he reported, a man opened fire in a nursing home in California killing seven elderly patients, another in New York killed 13 people in an immigrant center, and a California man killed five relatives and himself at a housewarming party.
Murder is not a new concept. This isn't to rationalize murder in any capacity, but these people had no reason to murder the people they did. Finding a reason behind the senseless violence is difficult to do, but a major influence behind the recent fatal activity could be directly related to the state of the economy. It isn't any question that we are dealing with economic turmoil. With companies falling over like dominoes, massive quantities of people are losing their jobs, and with no money to line anyone's pockets, finding ways to feed, clothe and house one's family can become near impossibilities.
Watching CEOs become richer, getting the bailouts they've requested while the everyday working American has been begging for help for decades fosters frustration. It's no wonder that people have gone insane, killing random strangers, the ones they love and themselves. Maybe it's an escape; maybe they think this is the only way out.
Or, maybe they just lost hope.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Occasionally but not often, I as a full blooded member of the bland, white bread variety, will encounter someone who assumes I will tolerate the occasional racist remarks, undertones and comments. Somehow people think being white makes it palatable, or at least the odds will be in their favor.
As gutless as it may seem, for the most part I will either feign objection or let it go completely. People are people, nobody changes, and my making a big stink won't change them anyway (shame on me). Besides, I feel like a spy getting privileged information, and an unbiased look into the world of the truly hateful and ignorant (mostly ignorant).
This week I received an e-mail explaining how Iowans weathered the flooding without hoopla or need of help, while the good people of New Orleans demanded housing, money and charity. This included calls for Sean Penn and Spike lee to go directly up to Iowa to help, or straight down to hell to....well die I suppose. It was a classic white versus black message, or so I thought.
I also heard a disgraceful adjective for people of the Jewish faith from someone who had absolutely no idea I had married a Jewish woman, and have chosen to raise our child Jewish as well. His point being that Jews always demand a lower price than gentiles, and will fight you to the death for it. This came completely out of the blue from someone I thought incapable of it.
What is truly mind boggling is that one of these people (at least) claims to be religious, and the other one is actually a member of a minority group. Ironic to say the least.
Just as the Rockwell depicts (I grew up in the exact small town he lived in for a time), it takes all kinds in the world, and I have had enough. Enough us versus they, right versus left, Americans versus all Muslims, colors versus colors.
I have had enough. Just stop. It isn't funny. It never was.
And to all those I gutlessly failed to defend,
all I can say is I will do better.
I know I can be better. How about you?

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Introducing Bo the Portuguese Water Dog, the latest edition to the Obama household, and the first dog ever in the Obama family. Surprisingly, neither the President or First Lady had a dog when they were children either...yet another area where the President has had little or no experience. Can't wait for the first press photo of the President walking the dogs...and collecting the poop from the White House lawn.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Only 53% of American adults believe capitalism is better than socialism. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 20% disagree and say socialism is better. Twenty-seven percent (27%) are not sure which is better.
Adults under 30 are essentially evenly divided: 37% prefer capitalism, 33% socialism, and 30% are undecided. Thirty-somethings are a bit more supportive of the free-enterprise approach with 49% for capitalism and 26% for socialism. Adults over 40 strongly favor capitalism, and just 13% of those older Americans believe socialism is better.
Investors by a 5-to-1 margin choose capitalism. As for those who do not invest, 40% say capitalism is better while 25% prefer socialism.
There is a partisan gap as well. Republicans - by an 11-to-1 margin - favor capitalism. Democrats are much more closely divided: Just 39% say capitalism is better while 30% prefer socialism. As for those not affiliated with either major political party, 48% say capitalism is best, and 21% opt for socialism.

Friday, April 10, 2009


A mere week since his video and speech in Turkey reaching out to the Muslim world, including the admission that he was for a short time educated as a Muslim in his early childhood, has gone full circle and hosted the White Houses' first Passover seder to be actually attended by a President. Obama broke new ground Thursday by personally hosting a White House Seder dinner for the Jewish holiday of Passover. Though Seders had been held at the White House before, aides said, they believed this was the first attended by the president.
The Seder served a kosher-style spread including matzo, bitter herbs, a roasted egg and greens in the White House's old family dining room. The event was lauded by at least one Jewish group, the National Jewish Democratic Council."By hosting the first presidential Seder in America's history, President Barack Obama shows the personal and deep relationship he has with the Jewish community," Deputy Executive Director Alexis C. Rice told the Associated Press. "There is no question, Obama is a true friend of the Jewish community."

Sunday, April 5, 2009


Chanting "Whose street? Our street!" hundreds of people rallied on Wall Street Friday to protest the billions of dollars in federal bailout money to big business. The protesters gathered in a steady rain behind police barricades and marched along Broadway and through the narrow streets in downtown Manhattan. They walked past the headquarters of American International Group Inc. and several banks that received federal funds to stay afloat. Some of the companies posted security guards outside their entrances. The march ended in Foley Square, near the federal courthouse. Police said four people who tried to block traffic by walking down the middle of Broadway were charged with disorderly conduct.

Thousands of New York protesters marched for the second day in a row on Wall Street Saturday, calling for an end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and more government aid for struggling working people. The group United for Peace and Justice organized the event. The marching protesters carried signs and puppets and chanted as they went down Broadway, walked past the New York Stock Exchange, and ended up in Battery Park.

They also walked past companies that took federal money, including American International Group (AIG), which drew controversy for giving company executives bonuses after it received federal bailout money. Dubbed "The March on Wall Street: Bail Out The People Not The Banks," the protest attracted huge crowds of on-lookers although it was raining steadily almost the whole afternoon.The protest was co-sponsored by www.bailoutthepeople.org, who is demanding a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures, an end to both wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (bring the troops home now!), full support of the Employee Free Choice Act (union rights to stop layoffs, cutbacks), a moratorium on transit fare hikes, no increases in school tuition, immediate worker and immigrant rights, and single payer health care for all.
They plan additional marches and protests in thirty cities across the country on May 1st as well.

Friday, April 3, 2009


President Barack Obama, spoken at the G20........
"In recent years we've allowed our Alliance to drift. I know that there have been honest disagreements over policy, but we also know that there's something more that has crept into our relationship. In America, there's a failure to appreciate Europe's leading role in the world. Instead of celebrating your dynamic union and seeking to partner with you to meet common challenges, there have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive.
But in Europe, there is an anti-Americanism that is at once casual but can also be insidious. Instead of recognizing the good that America so often does in the world, there have been times where Europeans choose to blame America for much of what's bad.
On both sides of the Atlantic, these attitudes have become all too common. They are not wise. They do not represent the truth. They threaten to widen the divide across the Atlantic and leave us both more isolated. They fail to acknowledge the fundamental truth that America cannot confront the challenges of this century alone, but that Europe cannot confront them without America.
So I've come to Europe this week to renew our partnership, one in which America listens and learns from our friends and allies, but where our friends and allies bear their share of the burden. Together, we must forge common solutions to our common problems.
So let me say this as clearly as I can: America is changing, but it cannot be America alone that changes. We are confronting the greatest economic crisis since World War II. The only way to confront this unprecedented crisis is through unprecedented coordination."
What a change this President is over the last one. He is willing to talk to any country, because nothing good will happen through a cold war mentality. He talks tough, albeit in an intelligent, thoughtful and non-confrontational manner.
But most of all, Obama is willing to look foreign countries in their collective eye and admits our great union is far from perfect. Not a hint of the arrogance and hubris which doomed the Bush II administration. He is willing to admit our mistakes, and ask the world to "unclench their fists" and join him in solving the world's problems.
While as a loyal Hillary Clinton supporter, I had reservations in regards to his complete lack of foreign policy experience, I am beginning to build some trust in his judgement. His approach is refreshing to say the very least. And SOS Clinton and the newly revamped state department is the first triumph of his administration.
I especially respect his tackling problems head on, and without hesitation, or reservation. He might be trying too hard to cure all of our ills in a hurried reckless fashion. His response is that most all of our ills are intertwined and completely dependant on our financial health, and there is no arguing that.
Quickly approaching the 90 day mark, for all of their gaffes and an alarming display of amateurish vetting irregularities in regards to his nominations, I still am extremely positive on his progress, and highly optimistic towards his potential.
Now if he can just get the economic indicators to begin to rise, this country may just fall in love with him again. And a little consumer confidence, and yes, a little Obama nation deja vu is all this republic needs to be on the rebound.