Saturday, July 25, 2009


No, it's not the start of a dirty joke, it's real. And, call me the King of schadenfreude, but there is something very amusing and somewhat pleasing to me about the FBI arrests in New Jersey recently. Actually it was three mayors, a council president, three state assemblymen, numerous other lesser public officials and five rabbis, charged with money laundering, corruption and even a little organ selling. And I bet they all either ran on anti-crime platforms, or sermonized about morals and integrity. You gotta' love New Jersey. The shock is it took the FBI ten years to catch them.


OK, so you are looking out your window at your neighbors house, and you spot two men trying to forcibly open the front door. When that doesn't work, you see them checking windows and going around to the back. Do you (a) let it go, and go back to watching Judge Judy, (b) call the police, or (c) determine your response by the color of the skin of the two men trying to gain entry into the house.
OK, question number two. You are a policeman on a call of two men trying to enter a house through windows, and going to the back of the house. Do you (a) let it go, and go back to eating donuts, (b) arrest the two men who were witnessed trying to gain entry into the house (who are now inside), or (c) determine your actions based on the color of their skin.
OK, question number three. You lost your keys, came home and started looking for a window, or back door to gain entry into your home, when the police are called to the scene and start to ask you questions. Do you (a) realize if you actually had your keys this would not be happening at all, and they are just responding to a call of men trying to break into a house, (b) be offended that they are asking you questions based on the fact that you had to attempt a key less entry, or (c) determine that if you were a white man, the neighbor would not have called the police, and even if they had, the police would just give you the secret white mans handshake and go on their way.
OK, question number four. You are the President and you are asked about the incident. Do you (a) stand by the police, who responded to the call and were just doing their jobs, (b) stand by the homeowner who had to answer questions about why he had to look for an open window or door to gain entry into his house, or (c) determine your response based on the color of the homeowners and police officers skin.
If you answered (c) to any or all of the questions, you are a blatant bigot, and your actions are furthering the racial divide in this country and are in fact...acting "stupidly." If you are an Ivy league graduate, and cannot summon up the gray matter necessary to see the events clearly enough without bringing in race into the issue, I don't know what to say for you.
If you are the President, go after the police officers at a televised news conference, and say they acted "stupidly," then attempt to back track your actions by saying,
"What I'd like to do then is make sure that everybody steps back for a moment, recognizes that these are two decent people, not extrapolate too much from the facts--but as I said at the news conference, be mindful of the fact that because of our history, because of the difficulties of the past, you know, African Americans are sensitive to these issues," then invite all parties to the White House for a beer, then you sir, are a racist moron, and desperately need to attend the Joe Biden School of Public Speaking.
What possible message are you sending out, sir? You, who prides himself on staying "cool" under pressure, and using your command of the English language to accurately and succently convey your thoughts and feelings. Mr. President, you'd better get a grip on your horses, sir. You have taken a small local issue, and purposely turned it into a national debate, one which will absorb a weeks worth of news cycles, at a time when you need to focus on much larger issues.
And that is the world.....The World According to Kimba. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


According to a recent poll, the percentage of Americans who favor President Obama's job performance in his first 5 months have dropped down to 57%. The poor man has barely gotten his feet wet in the position, and the spoiled, lazy American electorate are ready to start throwing in the towel on Obama because he couldn't fix things in his first 5 months. Because things got worse before they get better. Because he had to spend money on the right things, because of the direction the economy was going, having spent a fortune on the wrong things. Maybe, it is time for a little history lesson, my friends.
Here is what this poor man got elected into. An administration, and eight years of Congress that spent money like drunken sailors. Practically cornered the market on pork. Wasted tons of cash and got nothing...literally nothing to show for it. Squandered vast sums of money fighting a war we never should have engaged in, and to this day we still can't get an accurate accounting of where it all went.
But here is what we do know...what they told us. "We won't need a lot of troops.....Iraqi oil will pay for the war....After the first year, they will welcome us as liberators.....Things will get better after we get Saddam.....then when we get Saddam's kids......then things would get better after we got Zarkawi......And after a while, the whole mess wouldn't turn into a brutal civil war....and oh, yes...the classic....Mission Accomplished." This is what the Clinton surplus was squandered on, and by who.
But that is not all. Everyone thought the bubble would never burst. Let's keep financing to the hilt, and flip homes, they'll always go up. You can't lose in real estate. It isn't the price, it's the terms. So, real estate and escrow companies flourished...selling new mortgages they knew the buyers couldn't afford, and talking people into crazy loans like no down, interest only........five year adjustables...........just keep writing paper guys, because we make money everything we write paper. Real estate over-valued? Re-finance and pull out equity......your house will never go down. Pull out the equity, finance it at 5% and invest the money in the market, you'll make money. No one makes money off the equity in your's the worst place to put your money...a very poor investment. Let's get greedy.
So, the loans go south. AIG, the largest corporation around, an absolute financial octopus with its tentacles in every financial sector, starts to go belly up. Banks default. The auto dealers start to whine because as the price of gas goes up, so do their inventories of F-150's, SUV's and Hummers. Investment houses go under, or are propped up.
Health care costs continue to rise, medicaid is choking us, social security is getting closer and closer to a baby boomer bust, unemployement is around 8%, productivity is way down, our borrowing is at record highs, our education system is a mess and our infrastructure is literally crumbling. So, let's keep sending our money to the desert. And give a tax cut to the top 3% of American the hopes the money will "trickle down." Did you feel it? The only "trickle" I felt was getting urinated on by the previous administration. And the Clinton surplus is now a record Bush deficit.
So here comes the "Messiah." to fix all our troubles in his first 5 months in office. What an unrealistic and ignorant expectation. 43% actually are unhappy with his performance so far. Like he wasn't catapulted into a world of hurt. So, before his job approval rating slides anymore, can we please give him, and the country a break, take a deep breath and remember where we were just 5 short months ago? Seems to me, this poor man has more people against him, than with him right now. And at a time when the country we claim to love is at stake.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


I believe that we can both afford and mold a health care package for the 50 million uninsured Americans who are desperately in need of one. Although I do not agree with the urgency placed on it by the Obama administration, I believe it is a national imperative. Personally, I believe it could be implemented best by making Medicare available to any American citizen wishing to pay a discounted rate for it.
However, having watched the house committee proceedings for a brain numbing amount of time, it is obvious to me that the house package will be so pork filled with expensive and unnecessary inclusions that it will never be passed in the house, much less prove affordable. In-home visits, nutritional counseling, transportation to medical facilities are three of many ideas that will send this package to doom. Yet every option and every vote goes straight down party lines, and adds to an already bloated 1000 page initiative.
I watched and waited for some sense of common ground, some indication that they could work together to form a viable package worth consideration in the full house. The video shows an amendment by Republican Eric Cantor, someone who is emerging to be one of the modern day leaders of a flailing (and failing) Republican party. Simply put, he objects to the health care bill to include paying for abortions that are not the result of rape, incest, or in an attempt to save the life of the birth mother.
I am as liberal as anyone, but this is a deal breaker for me. I do not want to reverse Roe v. Wade, but I would not / could not ask the American taxpayer to continue to pay for abortions which are not the result of saving the mothers life, or ending a pregnancy caused by rape or incest. I would think that at least one liberal on the committee could see the logic and break ranks and vote for the Cantor amendment to the bill.
Yet, like so many sheep, the committee votes entirely on party line, and they do not take the time to so much as debate on the issues and options offerred. Does everything have to be political on the hill? I honestly don't know why they even meet in committee....their votes are as predictable as the House health care packages' certain death in the full House of Representatives.

Friday, July 17, 2009


While modern day "journalists" seek to incite, he sought to educate. While today's "journalists" slant the news toward their individual political beliefs, he knew the news was the thing, and he sought to stay out of its way. It was, he was, always about the news, and not about his celebrity.
In many ways, he was a comforting, stabilizing voice for many ways he was the voice of America. He rarely editorialized, but when he did, America listened. When he stepped out of character and declared the Vietnam war a stalemate, then President Johnson declared, "when I lost Cronkite, I lost the country."
Walter Cronkite was simply the gold standard for what he did. He transcended what he did....he so defined what he did he became the nation's most trusted newsman, and the first television journalist to be coined an "anchorman." Walter Cronkite, sadly, dead at the age of 92. And that's the way it is.


While the nation mourned the untimely death of Michael Jackson, the ten year anniversary of the death of another American icon slipped quietly by, that of John Kennedy, Jr. Of course, this is the way he would have preferred it, a quiet remembrance; exactly as he tried to live his life, as quietly as possible, which was nearly impossible given his lineage.
While Jackson reached his full potential by every measure, JFK Jr. sadly never did. He published his own magazine, earned his pilots license, and achieved an impressive 6-0 record as a prosecutor for the Manhattan District Attorney, and still it seemed the best was still ahead of him. I have to wonder what would have been ahead of him should he have decided to wait until morning instead of flying to Martha's Vineyard in the dark that fate filled night.

In remembering John, Uncle Teddy said it best at his funeral (paraphrased).....
"Once, when they asked John what he would do if he went into politics and was elected president, he said: "I guess the first thing is call up Uncle Teddy and gloat." I loved that. It was so like his father. From the first day of his life, John seemed to belong not only to our family, but to the American family. The whole world knew his name before he did.
John was so much more than those long-ago images emblazoned in our minds. He was a boy who grew into a man with a zest for life and a love of adventure. He was a pied piper who brought us all along. He was blessed with a father and mother who never thought anything mattered more than their children.
He had a legacy, and he learned to treasure it. He was part of a legend, and he learned to live with it. Above all, Jackie gave him a place to be himself, to grow up, to laugh and cry, to dream and strive on his own. John learned that lesson well. He had amazing grace. He accepted who he was, but he cared more about what he could and should become. He saw things that could be lost in the glare of the spotlight. And he could laugh at the absurdity of too much pomp and circumstance.
He thought politics should be an integral part of our popular culture, and that popular culture should be an integral part of politics.......and that is how he published his magazine"

Would he have eventually gone into politics? He never ruled it fact he was often quoted as saying politics was something you get into later in life once you have some experience and knowledgeable seasoning to share with the nation. Obviously had he lived, he would have been ready ten years later. Ready perhaps to launch a campaign for the vacated Senate seat of Hillary Clinton, the seat his sister Caroline pursued instead?
I like to think he would have taken the seat over Gillibrand, and brought a little leadership and youthful energy into a senate chamber desperately in need of some. And as he continued to grow into his political career, a leader of the Democratic party would eventually emerge? Sadly, we will never know.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Everyone in the nation knows the state of California is working to come up with solutions to a $26 billion budget gap. While state workers are taking three unpaid furlough days per month and every state department will experience reductions to its revenues, what isn't being talked about enough are the drastic effects these budget reductions will have on the working poor and our educational system, which used to be number one in the nation decades ago.
To balance the books, Schwarzenegger is eyeing the dismantling of the state's CalWorks program, a welfare program which serves more than 500,000 poor families with children, as well as the elimination of Healthy Families, which provides medical coverage to 928,000 children and teens. Mothballing the two programs would save the state about $1.4 billion in the coming fiscal year.
CalGrants, a financial assistance program that offers cash grants to lower- and middle-income college students each year will be stripped as well. The governor's proposal would eliminate the 77,000 new grants awarded each year at a cost of $180 million, but that saving would eventually grow to more than $900 million as students graduated and the program was phased out.
Further reductions in educational funding for K-12 education by $3.0 billion, will force California school districts to lay off thousands of teachers, expand class sizes, close schools, eliminate bus service, cancel summer school programs, and possibly shorten the academic year. California schools now rank at or near the bottom nationally in academic performance, student-teacher ratios in middle and high school, access to guidance counselors and the percentage of seniors who go directly to four-year colleges. In its annual survey this year, Education Week magazine ranked California 47th in per-pupil spending and gave the state a D in academic achievement.
Added to reductions to our K-12 educational system will be $335 million in funding for the University of California and California State University systems along with a phase out of the Cal Grant college aid program for students.
Bottom line?
California’s state budget is facing an enormous $24 billion shortfall. The Governor has already identified cuts estimated to amount to about $16 billion, and these new reductions will add $5.5 billion to the total package, however the state legislature process has broken down, and as a result, we are currently paying our creditors and vendors with IOU's, which banks are refusing to honor. And, we expect to hear another $3 billion in cuts proposed by the end of the week.
Cuts in healthcare could result in more than 1.9 million Californians losing access to coverage. The current budget proposal would reduce state funding for the Medi-Cal program by a billion dollars. The Medi-Cal program provides hundreds of thousands of children, working parents, the elderly, and people with disabilities access to no-cost healthcare.
Funding for schools will be slashed and almost 18,000 teachers in California are looking at possible layoffs. Some inner-city middle and high schools could lose up to 40 percent of their teachers.
The budget cuts would also drastically reduce funding for higher education by $335 million. These cuts would effectively phase out the Cal-Grant college aid program, which provides thousands of students with money for tuition.
And these cuts are in addition to tax hikes after agreeing to $12.8 billion in higher sales, personal income and vehicle taxes earlier this year.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Yes U, Joe Biden.


Last month, American reporters Laura Ling and Euna Lee were sentenced to 12 years in a labor camp in North Korea after being found guilty of crossing the border illegally and committing "hostilities" against the nation.
In response, the U.S. attempted to use the usual arrogant, bully approach towards the situation, hoping Jong Il Kim would somehow back down in response. At no time did anyone admit to their crime, only the unfairness of the situation. This did nothing. Nothing because what was left unsaid was the obvious....they were guilty. It wasn't as if they were illegally captured in Seoul. The two journalists were reporting a story on human trafficking near (and apparently across) the North Korean border when they were captured. Ling has reported from Haiti, Vietnam, China and Turkey. This was Lee's first international assignment.
Yesterday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton asked North Korea's government to grant amnesty to the two journalists from San Francisco's Current TV imprisoned there, a move analysts say may open the diplomatic door for the journalists' release. Clinton added that "everyone is sorry" for what happened, while one of the journalists, Laura Ling, told a family member in a phone conversation this week that "we broke the law" when they entered North Korea. Hmmm...a contrite apology and admission of guilt.....this may work. Asking for amnesty treats North Korea like a sovereign nation as it craves international recognition, while "very sorry" implies an apology that allows the North Koreans to save face.
Truth is, these two reporters, for all of the outcries from their friends and supporters, have put this nation in a terrible position; of having to go hat in hand for mercy on their behalf in front of one of the worst (and arguably most powerful) dictator in the world at present.
Should these two reporters gain some charity on the behest of the Korean government and gain their releases, I believe the U.S. government should be prepared to carry out their sentences here, with chances for parole after two years served. In this way, the world will see that should this situation happen again in the future, they can count on us to see the criminals will not go free on our soil once they get back, and might consider deportation to the U.S. to serve out their sentences.
And yes, when saying that I am referring to the Amanda Knox "party girl from hell" murder trial currently going on in Italy, a trial where Ms. Knox might get a life sentence for murder without any smoking gun, or testimony from so much as a credible witness. In that trial they have already found the perpetrator guilty, a loser named Rudy Guede, who months after his conviction has now implicated Ms. Knox, necessitating her trial, which is on going.
In any case, the tact taken by Ms. Ling, and the request made by Secretary of State Clinton is the correct one, one of an admission of guilt, and request for leniency by their home country. What a change from the Bush administration, giving us all hope for their release. I hope North Korea takes the chance to gain a little good press to go with the condemnation they have received over their test missile adventures, and I hope all Americans visiting abroad learn a valuable lesson....obey the laws of the countries you are visiting.


Researched through various sources, primarily the Pittsburgh Post Gazette
He has addressed the nation as an American. He has addressed the Muslim world as a former Muslim. And today, he has addressed the African country of Ghana as a black man of African heritage. Today, Barack Obama received a huge welcome from the African country evidenced by posters and billboards stating "welcome home."
Ghana has always been a favorite stop for American Presidents, as their government most resembles American style democracy. During he brief speech, Obama praised their form of government, and promised them the support of America whenever possible.
As important as his visit to Ghana may be (although a brief 22 hours), Obamas most poignant visit will be this afternoon to the former slave holding "factory" of Gold Coast Castle.
Originally built as a fort by the Swedes for their timber and mineral exportation, and then taken over by the Dutch before the English wrestled it away from them, the history of Cape Coast Castle remains the focal point of this coastal city.
The castles exit to the beach, known as the door of no return, for more than 100 years opened to the certainty of a short and brutal life for the millions of Africans that were captured off these shores and sold into slavery, which now opens to the serene and awesome vastness of the Atlantic Ocean.
The beach beyond the notorious exit door at Cape Coast Castle, which was the main British hub of the transatlantic slave trade in West Africa from 1665 to 1807, is now lined with an extensive slum of wooden shacks and colonial-era brick buildings covered with tin roofs.
Its black cannons and mortars are still strategically placed on a concrete deck facing the ocean and on the rooftops of its towers on each side of the three-story main building. The brick courtyard of the castle, which Ghanaians commonly refer to as Cape Coast Dungeon, has two 18-foot water wells and four graves.
The Obamas are expected to enter two of the dungeon's men's chambers at the front of the castle. The first one on the tour is where the strongest men were held together and the last one has a hole in the wall. The hole leads into a deep and dark tunnel system that was used to takes slaves underneath the castle's courtyard, leading them to the "door of no return." The strongest ones were separated during branding, when hot iron rods were used to mark their chests, and then chained and shackled together in the first chamber.
At any given three-month period, the castle held 1,000 men and 300 women. The men were confined in groups of 200 per chamber roughly the size of a 30-by-15-foot holding cell before they were shipped to America, the Caribbean and elsewhere. Any slave who challenged the authorities was thrown into the condemned cell, which held 50 in a room no bigger than most walk-in closets. There, they would die deprived of food, water, light and oxygen, clawing the brick walls and floors as they suffocated.
Clearly, the Obama visit to the castle will have a profound effect on the President, and symbolically, the continent of Africa, as well as the United States, especially its black community. Whether President Obama will address the media after his visit to the castle is unclear, but sufficed to say, his mere presence will speak volumes to the world as the castle represents a regrettable portion of American history to say the very least.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


American International Group announced Thursday that it would pay $2.4 million in bonuses to 40 top executives after a round of bonuses in March outraged the public. The insurance company has been waiting for the federal government’s blessing to give more bonuses with its $180 billion bailout check, even though AIG doesn't officially need permission from Obama's executive compensation czar, Kenneth Feinberg, since the bonuses are delayed from 2008.
An AIG official told The Washington Post the company was reluctant to distribute the cash. “We would want to feel comfortable that the government is comfortable with what we are doing,” he said. In March, it was revealed that AIG paid more than $165 million in retention bonuses to 400 employees in its Financial Products unit, whose derivative contracts almost destroyed the entire company.
Refusing to comment directly on the latest round of bonuses, a Treasury Department spokesman released a statement. “Companies will need to convince Mr. Feinberg that they have struck the right balance to discourage excessive risk taking and reward performance for their top executives,” he said.
Read it at The Washington Post

Saturday, July 4, 2009


Flag etiquette, per U.S.
Flags being displayed indoors other than being flown from a staff: The flag should be displayed flat, whether indoors or out. When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be uppermost and to the flag's own right, that is, to the observer's left.

Palin rules: Wad it up and drape it over a chair and onto a table.

Screw the you think I look hot?


Gymnast Shawn Johnson Put To Sleep After Breaking Leg

Friday, July 3, 2009


Governor Palin announces she will not seek another term as Governor of Alaska, and will transfer power to the Lt. Governor Parnell, ending a "lame duck" period for which she "just isn't wired for."
Can she possibly be so delusional as to think she can turn this into a large enough positive to vault her into a 2012 presidential bid? Could she, in fact be the front runner for the GOP slot? Fact is, there IS no front runner...or even a GOP leader these days. The Conservative party (if you want to call it that--considering their last Prez hopeful was more of a moderate), is in absolute disarray. Some would even say they are in a free fall. And for all of the remembrances of the pathetic VP run last year, which did much to solidify her as an absolute empty headed moron, at least she has not: been caught doing the tango in Buenos Aires (Mark Sanford), or having sex with a staffer (John Ensign) or calling Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor a “racist” (Newt Gingrich) or disappearing to an ambassadorship in China (Jon Huntsman).
In her 6 minute stump speech, which encompassed much more than the state of Alaska, she claims to be able to affect change from the outside better than in her present position. How she plans to do this as a citizen, remains to be seen. But let there be no doubt, day one of the Obama administration marked day one of the Republican presidential run(s).
So what of her chances to overtake the two REAL candidates...Messers Huckabee and Romney? I think Howard Fineman of Newsweek said it best..."To be blunt, the GOP is in such a shambles that in that land of the blind, even this one-eyed woman could become queen. "


“I love the English lifestyle, it’s not as capitalistic as America. People don’t talk about work and money, they talk about interesting things at dinner.
“I like living here because I don’t fit into the bad side of American psychology. The British are much more intelligent and civilized than the Americans.”
Gwyneth Paltrow
I am not sure what makes me madder...the fact that a native born American is slamming us, and our country...or the fact that, by and large, she is dead on the money. I don't mind her expressing her opinion, but she keeps up with the on for more classic Paltrow...
Gwyneth Paltrow says Spain has “became a second home.”
“It is so different from the United States. It seemed to have a history, and the buildings are years and years and years old. Here in the United States an old building is about 17 (years old), and over there it’s from 500 B.C., it’s incredible,” she tells the Associated Press.
“Also, the way people live over there. They seem to enjoy life a little bit more,” she continued. “They aren’t running around as much as in New York. They enjoy time with the family. They don’t always have their BlackBerry on.”