Monday, December 31, 2007

Billick fired after 9 seasons in Baltimore

December 31, 2007

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) -- Brian Billick was fired as coach of the Baltimore Ravens on Monday, less than a day after his team concluded a disappointing 5-11 season.

Players were told of the dismissal as they packed up their lockers at the team's practice facility.

Billick won the 2001 Super Bowl in his second season with the Ravens, and led the team to a franchise-best 13-3 record in 2006. But Baltimore lost a team-record nine consecutive games this season before ending the skid Sunday with a 27-21 win over Pittsburgh.

"This is the reality of our business," cornerback Samari Rolle said.

Billick's nine seasons with Baltimore was tied for third with Philadelphia's Andy Reid as the third-longest current run with the same team. He took the Ravens to the playoffs in 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2006, but Baltimore won only one postseason game since its Super Bowl run after the 2000 season.

"Sometimes the message can get repetitive after a while," 12-year offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden said.
Ogden said this month that Billick had informed the team he would be returning in 2008. But owner Steve Bisciotti evidently changed his mind.

The Ravens expected to compete for a world championship this season after bringing back almost every starter from last year's AFC North champions. But injuries and a turnover-prone offense contributed to a complete collapse after a 4-2 start, and Baltimore finished last in the division.

"This year the injury bug not only hit us, (it) hit our prime-time players," linebacker Bart Scott said.

Billick, 53, was hired as Baltimore's second head coach in January 1999, succeeding Ted Marchibroda. In Billick's first season, the Ravens reached .500 (8-8) for the first time. Then he led Baltimore to a 12-4 record and a berth in the Super Bowl, where the Ravens beat the New York Giants 34-7.

Billick was 80-64 as Baltimore's coach. He was the offensive coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings before being coming to the Ravens.

"I'm not saying I agree with it," kicker Matt Stover said of Billick's dismissal, "but sometimes things have to change."

Ted Strickland - Clinton Backer Slams Iowa Caucuses As Undemocratic -

Senator Clinton seems to have a habit of attracting political supporters who can't seem to say the right thing, or more to the point, they say the wrong thing at the wrong time. It's three days until the Iowa Caucuses, yet Ohio Governor Ted Strickland can't help but slam the Iowa Caucus process as undemocratic. Like his comments are going to make them so? Read the rest below!

Strickland, stumping for Clinton, gets a chilly reception in Iowa
Sunday, December 30, 2007 11:12 PM
By Joe Hallett
The Columbus Dispatch

DES MOINES —Gov. Ted Strickland's viewpoint that Iowa is the wrong place to begin the presidential nominating process caused some angst today in the campaign of Hillary Clinton and drew the ire of some voters here.
Despite saying that Iowa does not deserve its first-in-the-nation status, Strickland has made three trips to the state on behalf of the Democratic New York senator, showing up again Saturday, with no advance notice, to join Clinton for several campaign rallies in eastern Iowa.

As governor of arguably the most important battleground state in the 2008 general election, Strickland's mission was to assure audiences that Clinton can win Ohio and help ease fears by some Democrats about the senator's electability.

In an interview with The Dispatch last week, Strickland said the Iowa caucuses make "no sense." He called the GOP and Democratic caucuses "hugely undemocratic," because the process "excludes so many people." Anyone who happens to be working or is sick or too old to get out for a few hours Thursday night won't be able to participate, Strickland said.

"I'd like to see both parties say, 'We're going to bring this to an end,'" Strickland said, adding that he has no problem with the New Hampshire primary Jan. 8, because "at least it's an election."

Since endorsing Clinton in September, Strickland has campaigned for her three times in Iowa, including what was to be a quick trip Dec. 9 that turned into "the trip to hell and back," Strickland said. He expected to return to Columbus via Chicago early that Sunday night but was waylaid by bad weather, getting home at 6 a.m. Monday — via Las Vegas.

"Iowa is not an attractive place to be in the wintertime," Strickland said, adding that Iowa "is not a representative state and the caucus is not a fair way to register public opinion, in my judgment."

The Clinton campaign today sought some distance from the governor's comments.

"Sen. Clinton believes that Iowa and New Hampshire play a unique and special role in the nominating process, and that process should be protected," spokesman Issac Baker said. "We're proud to have Gov. Strickland's support, but on this issue they disagree."

A half-dozen Iowans who were asked about Strickland's comments today all disagreed with him. Kent Balduchi, a Des Moines lawyer attending a rally for New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, said Strickland was "sadly mistaken."

"The process here leads to a lot closer contact with the candidates and you get to put them to the test," Balduchi said. "You get to ask them questions and then judge for yourself whether they give you straight and honest answers."

Jerry Stewart, a woodworker from West Des Moines also attending the Richardson rally, said Strickland "doesn't seem to be paying attention when he's in Iowa, because in some ways it's the most democratic process you can have. We get an opportunity to really decide what the candidates are made of, and if you don't have an Iowa or New Hampshire, the national media do that for you."

Stupid - My Samsung New Years World For 2008

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Eric Volz Out Of Jail (!) In Nicaragua But In Hiding Due To Death Threats

On December 21st, the Family of Eric Volz annouced that he was released from a Nicaraguan Prison yet is in hidding as ...well, here's what the website reports:

DECEMBER 21, 2007
Statement from the family of Eric Volz – Friday, December 21, 2007 – 8:30pm Central
“Eric Volz was released from a Nicaraguan prison hospital earlier today and will be in hiding, due to reports of threats against him.
We have reason to believe he is being followed and are taking every precaution to assure his safety.

Our family is overwhelmed by the incredible outpouring of support of Eric’s innocence over the past year. In the center of an impossible situation, we have experienced the most abundant love from friends and total strangers, and we thank you.

We are grateful to the courageous individuals in the Nicaraguan government who fought for truth and justice to prevail in this case as well to those in the US government who provided assistance in securing Eric’s release.

This ordeal has taken an incredible physical and emotional toll on all of us, especially Eric. We thank you in advance for respecting our privacy and allowing our family to recover.”

Thank GOD he's out of there! See this CNN video.

Patriots Go 16 and 0, With Anger | On Winning Ugly

I'll write more about this soon, but as you know, the New England Patriots went 16 and 0. but they did it in such a fashion that no one seems realy happy about it. I'm happy for Randy Moss, but even he could not enjoy that record and his own touchdown catch record (23 for this year beats Jerry Rice) without taking a vicious shot at the media. Moss stated that he was happy not about breaking the record, but about "shutting up you guys", talking about the media.

It seems that America's waiting with chained emotions for the Pats to be knocked out of the playoffs.

CloverField A Remake Of "Beast From 20,000 Fathoms"?

Is J.J. Abrams upcoming Cloverfield movie really a remake of the 1953 "Beast from 20,000 Fathoms"? Blogger Adam Polselli sure thinks so and he gives seven very good reasons why. All of them neatly tie together the Cloverfield story.

Whatever the case, it's going to be a hell of a movie.

Miley Cyrus Kissing Photos Latest Internet Voyeur Craze

As we close out 2007. we do so with this report on singer Miley Cyrus, who has photos of her being friendly with her female friend. To that, I say, so what.

I mean it is really nothing to get excited about in my view. I just can't see what all the fuss is about. Can you? I think too many Laure Manadou posts have left me chilled.

You can go over to Perez Hilton's website to see the picts, but to me the photo I have here is much better and plus, she's a teenager! Geez, people. What's wrong with you???

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Speed Racer Trailer & Movie Review | Speed Racer Review

Speed Racer was my favorite cartoon as a little boy. I was looking forward to this movie, but the Matrix creators messed it up by forgetting about the Mach 5. Here's the trailer for the new movie and my review.

YouTube's Chad Hurley & VC Tim Draper at BizWorld Lunch

I had the pleasure of attending a great lunch event. YouTube Co-Founder Chad Hurley was the featured guest at the luncheon on December 4th, 2007. He was introduced by MySpace Co-Founder Brett Brewer and interviewed by Tim Draper, VC & Managing Director of Draper Fisher Jurvetson.

In the talk, Draper asked Hurley questions surrounding YouTube after its acquisition by Google, and really focused on the changing landscape of the online advertising industry and how YouTube was responding to it. Hurley said that Youtube's success rests in the constantly growing inventory of video content that people want to see.

As for the Google relationship, Hurley commented on their food and the large resource base that they have at their disposal for growth and for legal protection, although he didn't say that directly.

Hurley also pointed to YouTube's new relationships with educational institutions like UC Berkeley and MIT, where students can view class lectures online.

There's more in this 20 minutes video and be sure to visit the website as well. BizWorld teaches entrepreneurial thinking to kids, and Tim Draper's the founder, with Catherine Hutton as its CEO.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Patriots Starting Right Offensive Tackle And Guard Out For Giants Game

This is the unknown blow. And it comes on the heels of the best pass-rush in the NFL.

Kaczur can't tackle practice
He's among three who miss workout

Email|Print| Text size – + By Christopher L. Gasper
Globe Staff / December 28, 2007
FOXBOROUGH - The Patriots may have to face the New York Giants, the NFL leaders in sacks with 52, without starting right tackle Nick Kaczur.

The team released its injury report yesterday and Kaczur (foot) was among three players not participating in practice. The others were tight end Kyle Brady, who missed last Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins with an ankle injury, and fullback Kyle Eckel, who injured his stomach on kickoff coverage during the second quarter of the Patriots' 28-7 win over the Dolphins.

The Patriots have played the last three games, and seven games this season, without right guard Stephen Neal, who has been troubled by a shoulder injury and had limited participation in practice yesterday. But Kaczur has started all 15 games at right tackle.

The options to replace the third-year tackle are second-year tackles Wesley Britt and Ryan O'Callaghan. Britt made his only career start last season, against the Cincinnati Bengals, and O'Callaghan started six of the first seven games last season before ceding to Kaczur, who was recovering from a shoulder injury.

O'Callaghan replaced Kaczur for a series during the Patriots' 48-27 win over the Dallas Cowboys Oct. 14. Kaczur had moved to left tackle to spell an ailing Matt Light. O'Callaghan surrendered a sack to Cowboys Pro Bowl linebacker DeMarcus Ware.

Even with Kaczur in the lineup, the Patriots, who have surrendered 20 sacks, the fifth fewest in the league, are in for a challenge against the Giants, who boast defensive linemen Osi Umenyiora (13 sacks), Justin Tuck (10 sacks), and Michael Strahan (nine sacks). The Giants tied the NFL record for sacks in a game (12) earlier this season against Philadelphia. Umenyiora had six in that game.

Young Voter PAC Helps Iowa Students Get Back For Caucus

I just found this at the Des Moines Register website. It's from the Young Voter PAC. Here's the text:

Students Needing Help
If you are going to school in Iowa and want to come back and caucus, we can help. In order to get gas money and a hotel room just download and fill out this form. Email the form to You MUST complete the form by Dec. 31st.

Youth Caucusing Stories + Press Inquiries
We compiled a Youth Press Corps that includes youth voting experts and young people living in Iowa. Please call Jane Fleming Kleeb at 202-445-5263 or email mail to set up interviews and to find out what groups are doing on the ground in Iowa.

This is great news for college students in Iowa who want to get back home for the Iowa Caucus, Jan 3rd.

Bill Clinton Helped Dubai On Ports Deal In 2006 -

What does this say if on the one hand the Clinton's are helping Dubai, but then opposing the same deal on the political end?

Bill Clinton helped Dubai on ports deal
By Stephanie Kirchgaessner in Washington
Published: March 1 2006 23:50 | Last updated: March 1 2006 23:50

Bill Clinton, former US president, advised top officials from Dubai two weeks ago on how to address growing US concerns over the acquisition of five US container terminals by DP World.

It came even as his wife, Senator Hillary Clinton, was leading efforts to derail the deal.

Mr Clinton, who this week called the United Arab Emirates a “good ally to America”, advised Dubai’s leaders to propose a 45-day delay to allow for an intensive investigation of the acquisition, according to his spokesman.

On Sunday, DP World agreed with the White House to undertake the lengthy review, a move which has assuaged some of the opposition from the US Congress.

However, Mrs Clinton remains a leading voice against the deal, and this week proposed legislation to block it, arguing that the US could not afford to “surrender our port operations to foreign governments”.

Mr Clinton’s spokesman said: “President Clinton is the former president of the US and as such receives many calls from world leaders and leading figures every week. About two weeks ago, the Dubai leaders called him and he suggested that they submit to the full and regular scrutiny process and that they should put maximum safeguards and security into any port proposal.”

He added that Mr Clinton supported his wife’s position on the deal and that “ideally” state-owned companies would not own US port operations.

Mr Clinton’s contact with Dubai on the issue underscores the relationship he has developed with the United Arab Emirates since leaving office. In 2002, he was paid $300,000 (€252,000) to address a summit in Dubai.

The backlash against Dubai’s takeover has seen some lawmakers in Washington highlight the UAE’s alleged role in helping to finance September 11.


Patriots-Giants Concludes Slate Saturday at 8:00 PM ET

Thursday and Saturday Night Football Tops Cable Ratings
For All Games to Date

Viewership among Men 18-49 up 55 Percent for Season

NFL Network’s Thursday and Saturday Night Football games have scored a ratings touchdown this season… before the eagerly anticipated New England Patriots-New York Giants matchup on Saturday at 8:00 PM ET.

After seven contests this season (including Dallas-Carolina on Saturday night), NFL Network games are averaging a 7.1 coverage area rating – up 31 percent from last season at this point (5.4). In addition, Thursday and Saturday Night Football posted a 48 percent increase in average viewers (4.6 million vs. 3.1 million through seven games last year) and is up 55 percent among Men 18-49 (1.7 million vs. 1.1 million).

Saturday night’s game had a 7.5 coverage area rating, continuing the network’s streak of topping the day’s ad-supported cable ratings for all 15 of its Thursday and Saturday Night Football games since November 2006.

Following is a look at NFL Network season-to-date ratings for Thursday and Saturday Night Football:

Season-to-Date Summary
All seven Thursday and Saturday Night Football games topped daily ad-supported cable ratings.
Average coverage rating of 7.1 is up 31 percent from last year at this point (5.4).
Average of 4.6 million viewers is up 48 percent from last year at this point (3.1 million).
According to Nielsen Media Research December 2007 reporting, NFL Network reaches 43 million U.S. households.

Patriots-Giants is the second of three live games in a four-day span on NFL Network. The 2007 Texas Bowl (Houston vs. TCU) airs at 8:00 PM ET on Friday, Dec. 28 on NFL Network and the 2007 Insight Bowl (Indiana vs. Oklahoma State) at 6:00 PM ET on Monday, December 31.

Cam Cameron, Randy Muller, and Joey Porter To Be Out At Miami Dolphins -

If this is true, then Bill Parcells is cleaning house big time. The organization needs a shake-up. I would link to the specific place where this is, but they don't have a standard blog system, so I can't.


A source with knowledge of the situation in South Florida tells us that "sweeping changes" are most likely coming for the Dolphins. And soon.

Coach Cam Cameron? Out. General Manager Randy Mueller? Out as soon as Monday, even though he's been doing research all year for free agency and the draft.

We're told that Parcells already has been working directly with the league office to obtain the appropriate permissions to hire Cowboys V.P. of college and pro scouting Jeff Ireland.

As Peter King of pointed out earlier in the week in his MMQB column, Parcells' contract makes clear that he merely is the overseer of the football operations.

"We set it up so the general manager I hire will have that authority. I want to make it clear: I don't want to be the general manager. I don't want to be the head coach. I told Wayne [Huizenga] that very clearly. I don't think it will be an issue.''

If it is an issue -- if the league concludes that Parcells has final say over personnel -- then the Fins might have trouble finding a G.M. Under league rules, a team is not required to allow a front office employee to leave unless he will have final say in his new job.

So if it's determined that the Tuna has the juice, the only guys he'll be able to hire are guys who are permitted by their teams to leave, or who have contracts that specifically allow a premature departure.

And even if a guy is in the final year of his contract, most front office deals run through the draft.

With all that said, there's a growing sense in some circles that Parcells will get Ireland, and that the pair will work together in reshaping the front office.

Another source tells us that the fates of Mueller and Cameron have been sealed by people telling the Tuna that the current G.M. and coach don't burn the midnight fish oil in South Florida. Parcells, a workaholic, doesn't like the idea of guys not doing all they can to win.

POSTED 9:38 a.m. EST, December 28, 2007


With new Fins football poobah Bill Parcells declaring that he wants no "thugs and hoodlums" in Miami, the immediate reaction in league circles is that linebacker Joey Porter won't be long for South Florida.

Though Porter is primarily a bag of hot air, he was busted earlier in the year for busting up Bengals left tackle Levi Jones.

And Parcells surely means it. The Cowboys, a team primarily built by Parcells, have had no arrests in 2007. Ditto for the Patriots, who are led by a long-time Parcells' lieutenant, and by Parcells' son-in-law. And the Jets, under the leadership of Parcells' protege G.M. Mike Tannenbaum, have had only one incident this year.

Meanwhile, the Dolphins have amassed the most points in our Turd Watch game (which we need to update). Much of the damage was done by defensive tackle Fred Evans and receiver Kelly Campbell, who already are long gone.

The only caveat as to Porter is that the $20 million in guaranteed money that he reportedly received when he signed would hit the cap. Parcells could designate Porter as a post-June 1 cut, taking the bulk of the hit in 2009.

Oakland Raiders' Warren Sapp Was Fined $75,000

NFL docks Raiders' Sapp $75K for penalties in loss to Jaguars - ESPN and AP

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Oakland Raiders defensive tackle Warren Sapp was fined $75,000 on Thursday by the NFL for his confrontation with game officials that led to his ejection last week.

The league said Sapp was punished for "physical and verbal actions toward game officials that drew an unprecedented three unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and ejection from last Sunday's game."

Defensive end Derrick Burgess was also fined $25,000 for verbally abusing an official during the same sequence.

The punishments were announced after the Raiders' media availability on Thursday, so neither player nor coach Lane Kiffin was available to comment. Both Sapp and Kiffin said previously they were not worried about a possible suspension.

The altercation came late in the first half of last Sunday's 49-11 loss at Jacksonville, when the Raiders were called for four unsportsmanlike conduct penalties in one sequence. The dispute began when Jaguars right tackle Tony Pashos was flagged for illegal use of his hands to the face.

Officials initially said the Raiders declined the penalty, and the Jaguars lined up for a 43-yard field goal attempt. Officials then said Oakland would accept the penalty, making it third-and-20 from the Raiders 35.

Jacksonville's offense went back on the field, but a few seconds later, the officials called the first unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Sapp, who said Wednesday he was angry the officials declined the penalty without checking first with the Raiders.

That gave the Jaguars an automatic first down, and Sapp started jawing at officials. Sapp and Burgess were both flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct penalties during the arguments. Sapp kept talking and then drew the third penalty and the ejection. Sapp had to be restrained by teammates and defensive line coach Keith Millard after being kicked out of the game.

Referee Jerome Bogar said after the game that Sapp was ejected for bumping umpire Garth DeFelice. Sapp denied making any contact with an official.

Sapp has had run-ins with officials in the past. Before a game against Washington in 2003, Sapp, then with Tampa Bay, reportedly bumped an official. Four days later he was fined $50,000 for what the league called "repeated violations of abusing officials."

Oakland Raiders' Warren Sapp Was Fined $75,000

NFL docks Raiders' Sapp $75K for penalties in loss to Jaguars - ESPN and AP

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Oakland Raiders defensive tackle Warren Sapp was fined $75,000 on Thursday by the NFL for his confrontation with game officials that led to his ejection last week.

The league said Sapp was punished for "physical and verbal actions toward game officials that drew an unprecedented three unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and ejection from last Sunday's game."

Defensive end Derrick Burgess was also fined $25,000 for verbally abusing an official during the same sequence.

The punishments were announced after the Raiders' media availability on Thursday, so neither player nor coach Lane Kiffin was available to comment. Both Sapp and Kiffin said previously they were not worried about a possible suspension.

The altercation came late in the first half of last Sunday's 49-11 loss at Jacksonville, when the Raiders were called for four unsportsmanlike conduct penalties in one sequence. The dispute began when Jaguars right tackle Tony Pashos was flagged for illegal use of his hands to the face.

Officials initially said the Raiders declined the penalty, and the Jaguars lined up for a 43-yard field goal attempt. Officials then said Oakland would accept the penalty, making it third-and-20 from the Raiders 35.

Jacksonville's offense went back on the field, but a few seconds later, the officials called the first unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Sapp, who said Wednesday he was angry the officials declined the penalty without checking first with the Raiders.

That gave the Jaguars an automatic first down, and Sapp started jawing at officials. Sapp and Burgess were both flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct penalties during the arguments. Sapp kept talking and then drew the third penalty and the ejection. Sapp had to be restrained by teammates and defensive line coach Keith Millard after being kicked out of the game.

Referee Jerome Bogar said after the game that Sapp was ejected for bumping umpire Garth DeFelice. Sapp denied making any contact with an official.

Sapp has had run-ins with officials in the past. Before a game against Washington in 2003, Sapp, then with Tampa Bay, reportedly bumped an official. Four days later he was fined $50,000 for what the league called "repeated violations of abusing officials."

Oakland Raiders Steve Smith Needs Our Help

Oakland Raiders running back Steve Smith needs the help of every Raider and football fan as he battles ALS or "Lou Gehrig's Disease". This video is about his struggle and what you can do to help. Pass it on.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Benazir Bhutto is Murdered; Riots In Pakistan | Nuclear Stockpile Safety At Issue

Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was shockingly assassinated by a gunman who then blew himself up, bring another 22 people to the end of their lives on earth. According to officials the terrorist organization Al Qaeda's claiming responsibility.

As Pakistan has an active nuclear stockpile, there's fear around the world that Radical Islamic Fundamenalists could gain control of those weapons.

Here's the news from CNN and YouTube videos:

(CNN) -- Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated Thursday in Rawalpindi, was the first female prime minister of Pakistan and of any Islamic nation. She led Pakistan from 1988 to 1990 and again from 1993 to 1996.

Benazir Bhutto died Thursday after a suicide bombing at a political rally in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

Bhutto, 54, spent eight years in self-imposed exile in Great Britain and Dubai after President Farooq Leghari dismissed her second administration amid accusations of corruption, intimidation of the judiciary, a breakdown of law and order, and undermining the justice system.

She was found guilty of corruption and sentenced to five years in prison. The conviction was later overturned but she remained in exile until this year.

She returned to Pakistan in October after President Pervez Musharraf signed an amnesty lifting corruption charges. Watch political history of Bhutto »

In a September 26 interview on CNN's "The Situation Room," Bhutto said she expected threats against her life as she prepared to lead a push for the restoration of democracy in Pakistan.

"After military dictatorship an anarchic situation developed, which the terrorists and Osama (bin Laden) have exploited," she told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "They don't want democracy, they don't want me back, and they don't believe in women governing nations, so they will try to plot against me.

"But these are risks that must be taken. I'm prepared to take them," she said.

Bhutto narrowly escaped injury on October 18 when a suicide bombing near her convoy in Karachi killed 126 people.

"Soon thereafter, I was asked by authorities not to travel in cars with tinted windows -- which protected me from identification by terrorists -- or travel with privately armed guards," she wrote for in November.

"I began to feel the net was being tightened around me when police security outside my home in Karachi was reduced, even as I was told that other assassination plots were in the offing."

"I decided not to be holed up in my home, a virtual prisoner," she wrote. "I went to my ancestral village of Larkana to pray at my father's grave. Everywhere, the people rallied around me in a frenzy of joy. I feel humbled by their love and trust."

Musharraf declared a state of emergency and placed Bhutto under house arrest twice in November as anti-government rallies grew in Rawalpindi. The arrest warrant was lifted November 16.

She filed a nomination paper for a parliamentary seat on November 25 and appeared headed for a power showdown with Musharraf before she was assassinated Thursday. See a timeline of Bhutto's political career »

Bhutto was the daughter of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, former president and prime minister of Pakistan, who was hanged in 1979 for the murder of a political opponent two years after he was ousted as prime minister in a military coup. Benazir Bhutto was the de facto leader of her father's Pakistan People's Party.

Her brother, Murtaza, was killed along with six others in a 1996 shootout with police at his home. Another brother, Shahnawaz, died mysteriously in France in 1985.

"I know the past is tragic, but I'm an optimist by nature," Bhutto told Blitzer in September. "I put my faith in the people of Pakistan, I put my faith in God. I feel that what I am doing is for a good cause, for a right cause -- to save Pakistan from extremists and militants and to build regional security.

"I know the danger is out there, but I'm prepared to take those risks."

Benazir Bhutto earned degrees from Radcliffe College and Oxford University and received an honorary degree from Harvard University in 1989.

She leaves her husband of 20 years, Asif Ali Zardari, two daughters and a son.


Benazir Bhutto's last moments...

What are the implications for the US? We'll have more focusing on that question in what is a big, big mess.

Barack Obama "Our Moment Is Now" Speech In Des Moines Iowa

Today, in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S. Senator Barack Obama gave what many have said -- including Time Magazine -- is the best speech of the presidential campaign. I also remind all that it was Senator Obama who stated months ago that our focus should be not in Iraq, but in Pakistan, where Prime Minister Butto was assassinated today.

Iowa Obama Supporter Victim Of Hate Crime But Police Say It's Not A Hate Crime? WTF?

You've got to read this; it will make your blood boil! How in heck can this not be a hate crime?

Local Obama supporter victim of vandalism, theft
POSTED: December 27, 2007
Save | Print | Email | Read comments | Post a comment
For most, the backlash for supporting one presidential candidate over another is usually nothing more than a random, unappreciative comment — if that.

But one Marshalltown family woke up on Christmas Eve having to deal with much more than baking pies and wrapping a few additional presents.

Supporters of Barack Obama living on 25th Street reported a number of racial slurs and derogatory comments had been spray painted on their property. Further, the family’s Christmas presents were all stolen from a vehicle and a garage.

Chief Lon Walker confirms the police received the report Monday morning.

“We found vandalism to the house. When we got there, we found some racial things regarding presidential candidate Barack Obama,” he said.

Marie Ortiz has been working as a volunteer for the Obama campaign locally. She has volunteered her time in the office, going door to door, and has signs supporting Obama in her yard.

She has two children, ages 11 and 2.

But Christmas was not completely ruined for the youngsters. Campaign workers at the local Obama office came by on Christmas Eve with presents.

A neighbor also gave the family some money to replace some of the things that were lost.

“They were really a godsend,” Ortiz said.

Walker reported he considers the case somewhat unusual because there has been no other reports of such severe backlash for those outwardly supporting presidential candidates. Even among Obama backers, no other crime of this degree has been reported.

“We are treating it right now as if the derogatory racial comments were aimed toward Obama,” the chief said. “We’re not treating it as a hate crime because it does not appear as if the victims were the intended recipient of the racial slurs.”

The couple living at the home comes from a minority heritage.

However, Ortiz has a different opinion on the matter.

“A hate crime is a hate crime. I think it was probably racially motivated,” she said.

At this point, the police have little to go on. Some footprints were found in the snow and photographed, but a canvas of the neighborhood turned up no significant information.

“If anyone saw anything or knows of anything, we’d sure love to hear from them,” Walker said.

The Marshalltown Police Department can be contacted at 641-754-5725.


Contact Ken Black at 641-753-6611 or

NFL DRAFT BIBLE moves Football Friday Podcast to

Well we have just outdone it this time. We will begin "live streaming"
our weekly shows in just a little over two weeks!

Our Page is

The Perfect Bowl - NFL Lets NBC and CBS Show Game For Free -

Leave it to Mike Florio to get the scoop on the deal allowing the Pats / Giants game to be shown on NBC and CBS


Well, we've done some sleuthing regarding the NFL's decision to simulcast the Pats-Giants game on Saturday night. And a source with knowledge of the situation tells us that NBC and CBS are paying a whopping . . . nothing . . . for the rights to the game.

Plus, the networks get to sell their own commercials.


"NBC is the exclusive carrier of prime time 'over the air' NFL football," the source said, "which means if the game was moving to an 'over the air' station it had to be NBC."

But since NBC already has a game for the week (Tennessee at Indianapolis), the Pats-Giants game was partially owned by CBS as well, since CBS would have aired the game on Sunday afternoon, given that the AFC team in the interconference contest is the visitor.

Said the source: "Both parties had to agree to a simulcast or agree not to do it."

Another source tells us that ESPN, which pays the NFL $1.1 billion per year for the rights to Monday Night Football, wasn't even included in the discussions -- which officially confirms the four-letter network's status as the NFL's biatch.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Paris Hilton's Grandfather Barron Gives 97 Percent Of Wealth To Charity

The Internet is buzzing over the news that Barron Hilton's pledging 97 percent of his wealth to charity. But in their silly frenzy to trash Paris over the idea that she's not going to be rich, they forgot one little detail: who's going to manage all that money?

Barron's currently the chairman of the foundation, but he could easily hand that role over to Paris.

Not so fast, folks.

Laure Manaudou Nude Photos Scandal Still Tops Technorati List


After over a week, the Laure Manadou Nude Photos scandal continues to rank as the number one search on Technorati and has captured the conversation of sports journalists around the World.

Meanwhile, The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the swimmer has barely eaten or slept since the posting of the photos. Plus, she now points the finger at Luca Martin, who has denied responsibility for putting them up for view online. But you woud think she'd know who took the photos as the person was aiming the camera while she was posing!

Without the scandal, Manadou is under a level of pressure not known to swimmers in the U.S. It seems as if every part of her life is under a microscope. Take this translated account:

In one season when are frays sporting life and private life for better and for worse, Laure Manaudou decided to keep it… worse. During a maintenance diffused Sunday December 23 on Stage 2, the champion it even qualified her year of catastrophic. For its last competition of the season (Interclubs of Montpellier) it appeared tired carrying out average times. She has also to undergo the pressure of the photographers, obliging it to cover her head with a towel when she had patience at the edge of the basin. ANTOINE BOURIAT/DSS

Stll, it seems that even after over a week, there's still considerable hunger for her image. The reasons for this are worth careful study.

NY Times Slams Hillary Clinton's "Experience" Claims

Well, it's about time. Today's NY Times really took Senator Clinton to the woodshed over her claims of experience, accusing her of speaking in broad generalities and not specifics about her time as First Lady, and in the process damaging the view that she's the most experienced presidential candidate. A must read.

The Long Run
The Résumé Factor: Those 8 Years as First Lady

As first lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton jaw-boned the authoritarian president of Uzbekistan to leave his car and shake hands with people. She argued with the Czech prime minister about democracy. She cajoled Roman Catholic and Protestant women to talk to one another in Northern Ireland. She traveled to 79 countries in total, little of it leisure; one meeting with mutilated Rwandan refugees so unsettled her that she threw up afterward.

But during those two terms in the White House, Mrs. Clinton did not hold a security clearance. She did not attend National Security Council meetings. She was not given a copy of the president’s daily intelligence briefing. She did not assert herself on the crises in Somalia, Haiti and Rwanda.

And during one of President Bill Clinton’s major tests on terrorism, whether to bomb Afghanistan and Sudan in 1998, Mrs. Clinton was barely speaking to her husband, let alone advising him, as the Lewinsky scandal sizzled.

In seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, Mrs. Clinton lays claim to two traits nearly every day: strength and experience. But as the junior senator from New York, she has few significant legislative accomplishments to her name. She has cast herself, instead, as a first lady like no other: a full partner to her husband in his administration, and, she says, all the stronger and more experienced for her “eight years with a front-row seat on history.”

Her rivals scoff at the idea that her background gives her any special qualifications for the presidency. Senator Barack Obama has especially questioned “what experiences she’s claiming” as first lady, noting that the job is not the same as being a cabinet member, much less president.

And late last week, Mr. Obama suggested that more foreign policy experts from the Clinton administration were supporting his candidacy than hers; his campaign released a list naming about 45 of them, and said that others were not ready to go public. Mrs. Clinton quickly put out a list of 80 who were supporting her, and plans to release another 75 names on Wednesday.

Mrs. Clinton’s role in her most high-profile assignment as first lady, the failed health care initiative of the early 1990s, has been well documented. Yet little has been made public about her involvement in foreign policy and national security as first lady. Documents about her work remain classified at the National Archives. Mrs. Clinton has declined to divulge the private advice she gave her husband.

An interview with Mrs. Clinton, conversations with 35 Clinton administration officials and a review of books about her White House years suggest that she was more of a sounding board than a policy maker, who learned through osmosis rather than decision-making, and who grew gradually more comfortable with the use of military power.

Her time in the White House was a period of transition in foreign policy and national security, with the cold war over and the threat of Islamic terrorism still emerging. As a result, while in the White House, she was never fully a part of either the old school that had been focused on the Soviet Union and the possibility of nuclear war or the more recent strain of national security thinking defined by issues like nonstate threats and the proliferation of nuclear technology.

Associates from that time said that she was aware of Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden and what her husband has in recent years characterized as his intense focus on them, but that she made no aggressive independent effort to shape policy or gather information about the threat of terrorism.

She did not wrestle directly with many of the other challenges the next president will face, including managing a large-scale deployment — or withdrawal — of troops abroad, an overhaul of the intelligence agencies or the effort to halt the spread of nuclear weapons technology. Most of her exposure to the military has come since she left the White House through her seat on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

When it came to the regional conflicts in the Balkans, she, along with many officials, was cautious at first about supporting American military intervention, though she later backed air strikes against the Serbs and the NATO-led peacekeeping mission in Kosovo.

Her role mostly involved what diplomats call “soft power” — converting cold war foes into friends, supporting nonprofit work and good-will endeavors, and pressing her agenda on women’s rights, human trafficking and the expanded use of microcredits, tiny loans to help individuals in poor countries start small businesses.

Asked to name three major foreign policy decisions where she played a decisive role as first lady, Mrs. Clinton responded in generalities more than specifics, describing her strategic roles on trips to Bosnia, Kosovo, Northern Ireland, India, Africa and Latin America.

Asked to cite a significant foreign policy object lesson from the 1990s, Mrs. Clinton also replied with broad observations. “There are a lot of them,” she said. “The whole unfortunate experience we’ve had with the Bush administration, where they haven’t done what we’ve needed to do to reach out to the rest of the world, reinforces my experience in the 1990s that public diplomacy, showing respect and understanding of people’s different perspectives — it’s more likely to at least create the conditions where we can exercise our values and pursue our interests.”

Crisis at Home and Terror Afar

There were times, though, when Mrs. Clinton did not appear deeply involved in some of Mr. Clinton’s hardest moments on national security. He faced a major one in 1998 — the bombings of the United States Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and subsequently whether to bomb Afghanistan and Sudan. Just days after he acknowledged to his wife, the public and a grand jury that he had had a relationship with Monica Lewinsky, Mr. Clinton ordered cruise missile strikes on targets suspected to be a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan and a chemical weapons factory in Sudan.

“It was the height of Monica, and they were barely talking to each other, if at all,” said one senior national security official who spoke with both Clintons during that time.

Asked if she talked to the president about the military choices or advised him, regardless of their personal problems, Mrs. Clinton was elliptical.

“I was very proud of him, he did what he thought he was supposed to do as president based on the best intelligence he had,” she said. “And he was well aware that there would be those that would certainly criticize him for it.”

Friends of Mrs. Clinton say that she acted as adviser, analyst, devil’s advocate, problem-solver and gut check for her husband, and that she has an intuitive sense of how brutal the job can be. What is clear, she and others say, is that Mr. Clinton often consulted her, and that Mrs. Clinton gained experience that Mr. Obama, John Edwards and every other candidate lack — indeed, that most incoming presidents did not have.

“In the end, she was the last court of appeal for him when he was making a decision,” said Mickey Kantor, a close Clinton friend who served as trade representative and commerce secretary. “I would be surprised if there was any major decision he made that she didn’t weigh in on.” (Mr. Clinton declined an interview request.)

But other administration officials, as well as opponents of Mrs. Clinton, are skeptical that the couple’s conversations and her 79 trips add up to unique experience that voters should reward. She was not independently judging intelligence, for the most part, or mediating the data, egos and agendas of a national security team. And, in the end, she did not feel or process the weight of responsibility.

Susan Rice, a National Security Council senior aide and State Department official under Mr. Clinton who now advises Mr. Obama, said Mrs. Clinton was not involved in “the heavy lifting of foreign policy.” Ms. Rice also took issue with a recent comment by a Clinton campaign official that Mrs. Clinton was “the face of the administration in foreign affairs.”

“Making tough decisions, responding to crises, making the bureaucracy implement decisions that they may not want to implement — that’s the hard part of foreign policy,” Ms. Rice said. “That’s not what Mrs. Clinton was asked or expected to do as first lady.”

Not Overstepping Her Bounds

Mrs. Clinton said in the interview that she was careful not to overstep her bounds on national security, relying instead on informal access. During the preinaugural transition, for instance, she sat in on some meetings about presidential appointments at the invitation of Warren Christopher, who directed the transition and became secretary of state in the first Clinton term. Participants recalled that she would mostly speak when Mr. Christopher called on her, and tended to make points about placing more women, minority members and allies in key jobs.

She said she did not attend National Security Council meetings, nor did she have a security clearance — though she was briefed on classified intelligence before going on some important diplomatic trips.

“I don’t recall attending anything formal like the National Security Council,” she said, “because I had direct access to all of the principals. I spent a lot of time with the national security adviser, the secretary of state, other officials on the security team for the president. I thought that was both more appropriate, but also more efficient.”

Mrs. Clinton declined to say if she ever read the President’s Daily Brief, a rundown of the latest intelligence and threats to national security provided to the president each day. “I would put that in the category of I-never-talk-about-what-I-talk-to-my-husband-about,” she said. But she indicated, and other administration officials confirmed, that Mr. Clinton would sometimes talk to her about contents of the briefing.

“Let me say generally, I’m very aware of and familiar with what the P.D.B.’s actually are, how they work, what they include,” she said. “And it wasn’t always through the Clinton administration — when I went to Bosnia, for example, I had a full briefing from the military commanders there about what the situation was like.”

Mrs. Clinton said she was “only tangentially involved” in Mr. Clinton’s first major overseas test, whether to send American soldiers after the Somali warlord Mohammed Farah Aidid and his forces, a raid that ended in 18 American deaths. Asked if she had pressed for an invasion, she said she had acted “more as a sounding board” for Mr. Clinton.

The same was true during the military confrontation in Haiti in 1994, over restoring the exiled president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, which she favored and drew lessons from about joint command of American armed forces.

Asked about her role in Somalia and Haiti, Mr. Christopher said in an interview, “She wasn’t at any of the meetings in the Oval Office or cabinet room, and didn’t take any formal role that I saw.” Mr. Christopher is supporting Mrs. Clinton for president.

Nor was Mrs. Clinton a memorable player on Rwanda. Former White House officials say that no one — not the national security team, not the president, not the first lady — was seriously pushing for American military intervention to stop or slow the unfolding genocide there; the administration’s focus was on confronting the ethnic bloodshed in the Balkans. Mrs. Clinton declined to comment on Rwanda.

A Stand for Women’s Rights

The foreign policy achievement most often credited to Mrs. Clinton came in 1995, with her speech to the United Nations conference on women in Beijing, where she declared that “human rights are women’s rights, and women’s rights are human rights.” She also tangled with Chinese officials, she said, and refused to bow to pressure to soften her remarks.

“She had a good balance of being firm on these issues, even if they clearly covered Chinese sins, but also understanding the need for good relations with China,” said Winston Lord, then the assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, who briefed and accompanied her on the trip.

In visits to Bosnia and Kosovo after the American-led bombing of Serbia, she entered war zones before officials believed it was safe for her husband to go and acted as a spokeswoman for American interests rather than as a negotiator. Mrs. Clinton had become a champion of the bombing campaign, and many officials — including Madeleine K. Albright and Richard Holbrooke in the administration and Tony Blair, then Britain’s prime minister — turned to her at times to stiffen Mr. Clinton’s resolve to take on Serbia.

“Bill, you’re the president,” was a refrain that several administration officials said she used when Mr. Clinton was torn between his advisers.

Mrs. Clinton has disagreed with Mr. Obama’s support for presidential-level talks with leaders of nations like Iran and North Korea, but she said that the Balkans had taught her another lesson: know your enemy. She praised Gen. Wesley K. Clark, then the NATO commander, and Mr. Holbrooke, the administration’s envoy on the Balkans, for socializing and drinking with Serbia’s leader, Slobodan Milosevic, as a means of gauging his strengths.

“He’s there — you don’t learn something about him by pointing at him across the ocean,” she said. “If you do have to engage in a bombing campaign, you’re going to have a much better idea of how much pressure it’s going to take to finally break him.”

Her personal interests also drew her to Northern Ireland, where she believed she could help foster peace as a female leader bringing together women split by the sectarian divide. She played host to a memorable meeting, one of the first of its kind, of Catholic and Protestant women in Belfast. “It gave everybody a safe place to come together and start talking about what they had in common,” Mrs. Clinton said.

As she prepared to run for the Senate, Mrs. Clinton took increasing interest in Israel and Middle East peace, touchstones for Jewish voters, among others, in New York. She was not at the Camp David talks in the summer of 2000, but she did pepper the Middle East peace envoy, Dennis Ross, with questions, like whether the Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat was too much the revolutionary to ever make peace, Mr. Ross recalled.

The Middle East situation led to Mrs. Clinton’s first big foreign policy-related problem as a candidate. In 1999, she sat silently, but with apparent discomfort, through an event on the West Bank as Suha Arafat, the wife of Mr. Arafat, accused Israel of poisoning Palestinian women and children with toxic gases.

Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani of New York, who at that point seemed likely to be her Republican opponent in the 2000 Senate race, sharply criticized Mrs. Clinton for not confronting Mrs. Arafat over her remarks and for kissing her goodbye afterward; the incident also led some Jewish groups to be critical of the first lady.

Mrs. Clinton has often said that she learned from the experience and would not make the same mistake again.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

On Wearing My "Obama 08" Cap and News Media Thoughts

I made this quick video while in the Denver Airport on the way to Atlanta. I am reporting on wearing my Obama 08 Cap and some observations on how the media mis-portrays America.

Merry Christmas!

Just a Merry Christmas I'm having, and I hope you are too! And a Happy New Year's coming up!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Obama Ahead of Clinton and Edwards In Iowa Legislative Endorsements - Iowa Independent

The Iowa Independent reports that Senator Obama's ahead of Clinton and Edwards in endorsements by Iowa law-makers in the legislature, 20 to 19. Obama gained the backing of Wayne Ford on Sunday.

Roger Clemens Video Stating He Did Not Use Steroids

Roger Clemens made this video stating "No. I did not use steroids, human growth hormones, or anything". He states that he's angry and will sit down with Mike Wallace at 60 Minutes and "Do the whole thing over again."

I too am angry over the witch hunt that's taken place regarding this issue. At some point, there will be a major legal backlash.

Brian O'Neill's Crusade Against Hillary Clinton For President

Wow. There are a lot of anti-Clinton trolls out there. Here's one man by the name of Brian O'Neill, who's been spooking the Clinton website for awhile now...

"The Spank Dance" At Grand Sierra Resort, Reno, Nevada

This is a crazy dance that's done to celebrate one's birthday at the Grand Sierra Resort Hotel in Reno, Nevada. The folks from the band Clear Blue 22 were in on the act and acting at MCs' too.

If you're wondering what I was doing here, I was on layover and on the way to Mom's for Christmas in Georgia!

Hillary Clinton Asks Iowa To Vote On Jan 14th, not Jan 3rd | BIG MISTAKE

Clinton talks about experience, but what about judgement? Whatever terrible judgement led to this big error, it's done, this is a big Iowa error. Now the Clinton people are rushing to cover it up.

Clinton urges Iowa voters to caucus on wrong day! (Reuters)

DES MOINES (Reuters) - Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton may have shot herself in the foot trying to get Iowa voters to pledge support to her -- she is encouraging them to caucus on January 14, 11 days too late.

At a rally featuring her husband, former President Bill Clinton on Saturday, campaign workers asked supporters to sign and mail cards that said "Yes! I'm an Iowan for Hillary" with their contact information as well as other supportive friends.

One small problem. In the upper right-hand corner of the card, it says "I, _____, pledge to support Hillary Clinton at my precinct caucus on January 14, 2008."

Unfortunately, that's 11 days too late. The Iowa caucuses are January 3 and organization is key to getting voters to go to the events and support their preferred candidate.

The, an Internet site that specializes in politics and first reported the mistake, said at Bill Clinton's second event on Saturday the cards had the wrong date crossed out and replaced with the correct date.

(Reporting by Jeremy Pelofsky, editing by Todd Eastham)

Sunday, December 23, 2007

"Mitt Romney Should Not Be The Next President" - Concord Monitor

Wow. This says it all. I agree, too!!

Romney should not be the next president
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Letter to editor

Monitor staff
December 22. 2007 3:00PM

If you were building a Republican presidential candidate from a kit, imagine what pieces you might use: an athletic build, ramrod posture, Reaganesque hair, a charismatic speaking style and a crisp dark suit. You'd add a beautiful wife and family, a wildly successful business career and just enough executive government experience. You'd pour in some old GOP bromides - spending cuts and lower taxes - plus some new positions for 2008: anti-immigrant rhetoric and a focus on faith.

Add it all up and you get Mitt Romney, a disquieting figure who sure looks like the next president and most surely must be stopped.

Romney's main business experience is as a management consultant, a field in which smart, fast-moving specialists often advise corporations on how to reinvent themselves. His memoir is called Turnaround - the story of his successful rescue of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City - but the most stunning turnaround he has engineered is his own political career.

If you followed only his tenure as governor of Massachusetts, you might imagine Romney as a pragmatic moderate with liberal positions on numerous social issues and an ability to work well with Democrats. If you followed only his campaign for president, you'd swear he was a red-meat conservative, pandering to the religious right, whatever the cost. Pay attention to both, and you're left to wonder if there's anything at all at his core.

As a candidate for the U.S. Senate in 1994, he boasted that he would be a stronger advocate of gay rights than his opponent, Ted Kennedy. These days, he makes a point of his opposition to gay marriage and adoption.

There was a time that he said he wanted to make contraception more available - and a time that he vetoed a bill to sell it over-the-counter.

The old Romney assured voters he was pro-choice on abortion. "You will not see me wavering on that," he said in 1994, and he cited the tragedy of a relative's botched illegal abortion as the reason to keep abortions safe and legal. These days, he describes himself as pro-life.

There was a time that he supported stem-cell research and cited his own wife's multiple sclerosis in explaining his thinking; such research, he reasoned, could help families like his. These days, he largely opposes it. As a candidate for governor, Romney dismissed an anti-tax pledge as a gimmick. In this race, he was the first to sign.

People can change, and intransigence is not necessarily a virtue. But Romney has yet to explain this particular set of turnarounds in a way that convinces voters they are based on anything other than his own ambition.

In the 2008 campaign for president, there are numerous issues on which Romney has no record, and so voters must take him at his word. On these issues, those words are often chilling. While other candidates of both parties speak of restoring America's moral leadership in the world, Romney has said he'd like to "double" the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, where inmates have been held for years without formal charge or access to the courts. He dodges the issue of torture - unable to say, simply, that waterboarding is torture and America won't do it.

When New Hampshire partisans are asked to defend the state's first-in-the-nation primary, we talk about our ability to see the candidates up close, ask tough questions and see through the baloney. If a candidate is a phony, we assure ourselves and the rest of the world, we'll know it.

Mitt Romney is such a candidate. New Hampshire Republicans and independents must vote no.

Dallas Morning News Endorses Barack Obama For President

U.S. Senator Barack Obama added another high-profile endorsement to his growing list of them, this one from the Dallas Morning News. Here's what the DMN wrote today:

We Recommend: Barack Obama
Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination
12:00 AM CST on Sunday, December 23, 2007

America is at a historic crossroads as a woman, a Hispanic and an African-American vie for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination. Two of those candidates, Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, were finalists for our recommendation – not because of ethnicity or gender but because they most closely aligned with our positions on major domestic and international issues.

Mr. Obama is our choice because of his consistently solid judgment, poise under pressure and ability to campaign effectively without resorting to the divisive politics of the past.

Race is not an overriding factor for us. But it is undeniable that America has failed to heal its racial wounds, including here in Dallas. We need a motivated leader capable of confronting the problem, and no candidate is better equipped than Mr. Obama. His message isn't about anger and retribution. It's about moving forward.

There's been lots of noise about his lack of experience. It is a legitimate concern, considering he's a 46-year-old first-term senator. But Mr. Obama's experience in elective office matches that of Abraham Lincoln before he became president. And he has served more time on Capitol Hill than four of the past five White House occupants.

If youthful inexperience were such a liability, it has failed to resonate despite his opponents' best efforts. Mrs. Clinton, by contrast, flip-flopped over a plan to give driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. Her campaign accepted donations from questionable sources. When Mr. Obama's support recently surged in early primary states, her campaign tried to smear him over drug use in his youth.

It's a tired ploy that has failed in four previous presidential elections. Bill Clinton twice won election after admitting he'd smoked (but not inhaled) marijuana. George W. Bush won despite an alcohol problem and drunken-driving conviction at age 30.

Mrs. Clinton called Mr. Obama "irresponsible" and "naive" for saying he would talk to leaders of rogue nations like Syria and Iran. Considering the current failed strategy of confrontation and diplomatic isolation, we think Mr. Obama is wise to include direct negotiations among his tools to reduce regional tensions.

Mr. Obama drew criticism for saying he would pursue terrorists, if necessary, by sending troops into Pakistan. The fact is, U.S. troops have been going into Pakistan for years in pursuit of terrorists. All Mr. Obama did, in effect, was to keep that option open for the future. To say otherwise is to declare Pakistan a sanctuary for America's enemies.

Mr. Obama, the son of a white American mother and black Kenyan father, spent part of his childhood in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country.

His life experience gives him a unique perspective and a greater ability to build diplomatic bridges.

We don't always agree with his positions, but we recognize his potential to unite disparate political factions and restore cooperation between the White House and Capitol Hill.

Americans are tired of divisive, hard-edged politics. Democrats would inspire a refreshingly new approach by choosing Mr. Obama as their 2008 candidate.

Barack Obama Ahead of Clinton in NH; McCain Gains On Romney in NH

Just on the heels of a poll that had Clinton ahead of Obama in New Hampshire and which I stated was misleading , USA Today / Gallup has released a new poll that reports Obama is ahead of Clinton 30 percent to 28 percent, according to the Boston Globe.

Meanwhile, John McCain is rising in the same state; he's only behind Mitt Romney by three percent, 28 percent to 25 percent.

On CNN, Jennifer Donahue Blasts Hillary Clinton For Playing "Race Card" On Obama; Clinton Advisor David Gergen Can't Stand Truth

Jennifer Donahue, who's a political pundit and Senior Advisor for Political Affairs at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics, gets my award for a major act of courage.

Thursday night, on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360, Jennifer Donahue blasted the Hillary Clinton campaign for using the race card against Barack Obama in the 2008 Presidential Race. She was on the show with Cooper, Clinton Advisor and Political Consultant David Gergen, and CNN contributor Jeffrey Toobin. Whereas Toobin and Gergen were circumspect in their way of addressing the matter, Donahue was right on.

This seemed to rankle Gergen.

Gergen tried to hide his anger at the mere mention of race and Clinton campaign strategy, but he's angry because deep down he knows they've taken a path of trying to "Willie Horton" Barack Obama. Look, Gergen's a Clinton Advisor -- something Anderson Cooper didn't mention -- and this is the second time in as many weeks he's tried to protect or soften a person's attack of a Clinton campaign tactic, beit Carl Bernstein who claimed the Clinton's were being desperate, or now.

Gergen's openly using the CNN platform to help Hillary Clinton's campaign for president. Thus, he's fair game to be denounced.

The simple fact is that with the Clinton Campaign having both volunteers and paid campaign staffers who worked to launch a race-based smear campaign against Obama, starting with planting the idea that he's Muslim -- a total lie -- they have indeed played the "race card" and Gergen knows it.

For Gergen to argue otherwise is in itself advancing a lie. For CNN to allow Gergen to do this without revealing that he's a Clinton operative is just aiding and abetting the advance of the same lie.

I noticed that no one bothered to claim that Hillary Clinton was playing the "sex card" when she said the "boys were ganging up" on her.

Geez. David, you should know -- indeed, you do know -- that people make some views of others based on racial stereotypes and that the Clintons have been playing to those stereotypes.

To the woodshed with Gergen! His assertions to the contrary are an outrage! Thankfully, the main stream media, like the Washington Post , is picking up on this terrible approach.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

NY Jets WR Laveranues Coles Placed On IR - ESPN

Coles has a terrific statistical record, but needs to be on a team that knows how to employ his talent.

Ankle injury ends season two games early for Jets receiver Coles

By Len Pasquarelli

Veteran wide receiver Laveranues Coles, who has battled through a high ankle sprain that has affected his productivity for the past month, was placed on injured reserve by the New York Jets on Saturday afternoon, ending his season with two games remaining.

One of the toughest players in the league, and blessed with a high threshold for pain, Coles nonetheless struggled after spraining his left ankle in a Nov. 18 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Despite a noticeable limp at times, one that forced him to miss practice time, Coles stayed in the lineup.

He aggravated the injury last week when he fell off the training table on Saturday night at the team hotel, then attempted to play against the New England Patriots. Coles lasted only one offensive snap before he was forced to the sideline.
Earlier in the season, Coles, 29, suffered a head injury against Buffalo that forced him to miss one contest, snapping a streak of 104 consecutive appearances.
In 12 games this season, Coles, who is regarded as one of the veteran leaders in the New York locker room, had 55 catches for 646 yards and six touchdowns.
A former Florida State star, Coles was selected by the Jets in the third round of the 2000 draft. He signed with Washington as a restricted free agent in 2003, but then after two seasons with the Redskins was traded back to the Jets for wide receiver Santana Moss in a 2005 blockbuster deal.
The eight-year veteran has 561 receptions for 7,245 yards and 37 touchdowns in 121 regular-season games. He has seven straight seasons of 50 catches or more and has notched four seasons with 80-plus receptions and three years with 1,000 yards or more.
Len Pasquarelli covers the NFL for

Friday, December 21, 2007

Family of girl to sue CIGNA over her death- Shameful

This is a classic, yet deadly and tragic case of when greed and financial circumstances clash with life.

Associated Press

The family of a 17-year-old girl who died hours after her health insurer reversed its previous decision and said it would pay for a liver transplant planned to sue CIGNA HealthCare, their attorney said Friday.

Attorney Mark Geragos said he also plans to ask the district attorney to press murder or manslaughter charges against CIGNA HealthCare for the death of Nataline Sarkisyan.

The insurer "maliciously killed her" because it did not want to bear the expense of her transplant and aftercare, Geragos said at a news conference outside his downtown Los Angeles office. He did not say when or in what court he would file the suit.

District Attorney spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons declined to comment on the request for murder or manslaughter charges, saying it would be inappropriate to do so until Geragos submits evidence supporting his request.

Nataline died Thursday at about 6 p.m. at the University of California, Los Angeles, Medical Center. She had been in a vegetative state for weeks before she was taken off life support at 5:20 p.m. with the family's approval.

Nataline had been battling leukemia and received a bone marrow transplant from her brother. She developed a complication, however, that caused her liver to fail.

Doctors at UCLA determined she needed a transplant and sent a letter to CIGNA on Dec. 11. The Philadelphia-based health insurance company denied payment for the transplant, saying the procedure was experimental and outside the scope of coverage.
"They took my daughter away from me," said Nataline's father, Krikor, who appeared at the news conference with his 21-year-old son, Bedros.

About 150 teenagers and nurses had protested outside CIGNA's office in Glendale on Thursday. As the protesters rallied, the company reversed its decision and said it would approve the transplant.

Despite the reversal, CIGNA said in an e-mail statement before she died that there was a lack of medical evidence showing the procedure would work in Nataline's case.

"Our hearts go out to Nataline and her family as they endure this terrible ordeal," the company said. "CIGNA HealthCare has decided to make an exception in this rare and unusual case and we will provide coverage should she proceed with the requested liver transplant."

Asked to respond to the developments at Friday's news conference, CIGNA issued another statement reiterating its sympathy.

"Their loss is immeasurable, and our thoughts and prayers are with them," the statement said. "We deeply hope that the outpouring of concern, care and love that are being expressed for Nataline's family help them at this time."

In their letter, the UCLA doctors said patients in situations similar to Nataline's who undergo transplants have a six-month survival rate of about 65 percent.

One of the doctors, Robert Venick, declined to comment on Nataline's case when reached at his office Friday.

Mitt Romney Tells Lie: Father Did Not March With Martin Luther King - "Fudging" The Truth

Gloves to cover dirty hands of one who fudges the truth

Well, the long string of mistatements, flip-flops, and now an outright lie continues. It turns out, according to The Detroit Free Press, that former Governor and now Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney lied when he said that his father marched with Martin Luther King. So now, can we -- are we free to assume that -- state that his claim that he cried when he listened to the news that the Mormon Church elected to allow Black priests is false?

Romney fields questions on King
Campaign says claim not literal

December 20, 2007


Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has said he watched his father, the late Michigan Gov. George Romney, in a 1960s civil rights march in Michigan with Martin Luther King Jr.
On Wednesday, Romney's campaign said his recollections of watching his father, an ardent civil rights supporter, march with King were meant to be figurative.

"He was speaking figuratively, not literally," Eric Fehrnstrom, spokesman for the Romney campaign, said of the candidate.
The campaign was responding to questions raised by the Free Press and other media after a Boston publication challenged the accuracy of Mitt Romney's account.
In a major speech on faith and politics earlier this month in Texas, Mitt Romney said: "I saw my father march with Martin Luther King."
He made a similar statement Sunday during an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press." He said, "You can see what I believed and what my family believed by looking at our lives. My dad marched with Martin Luther King. My mom was a tireless crusader for civil rights."
Romney's campaign cited various historical articles, as well as a 1967 book written by Stephen Hess and Washington Post political columnist David Broder, as confirmation that George Romney marched with King in Grosse Pointe in 1963.
"He has marched with Martin Luther King through the exclusive Grosse Pointe suburb," Hess and Broder wrote in "The Republican Establishment: The Present and Future of the GOP."
Free Press archives, however, showed no record of King marching in Grosse Pointe in 1963 or of then-Gov. Romney taking part in King's historic march down Woodward Avenue in June of that year.
George Romney told the Free Press at the time that he didn't take part because it was on a Sunday and he avoided public appearances on the Sabbath because of his religion.
Romney did participate in a civil rights march protesting housing bias in Grosse Pointe just six days after the King march. According to the Free Press account, however, King was not there.
Broder could not be reached for comment Wednesday night.
The Boston Phoenix reported Wednesday it could find no evidence that Romney and King ever marched together.
Mitt Romney's older brother, Detroit attorney Scott Romney, said he recalls his father telling him the elder Romney marched with King, possibly in 1963, but he could not remember exactly when the event took place.
Fehrnstrom called the Romney brothers' recollection and the historical materials a "pretty convincing case that George Romney did march with Dr. Martin Luther King and other civil rights leaders in Michigan."
The governor's record was one of supporting civil rights. He helped create the state's first civil rights commission and marched at the head of a protest parade in Detroit days after violence against civil rights marchers in Selma, Ala., in 1965.
Mitt Romney's campaign planned today to further research George Romney's papers for evidence of his march with King.
Free Press Library Director Alice Pepper contributed to this report.