Thursday, January 31, 2008

NFL Draft Bible Football Friday Podcast

The NFL Draft Bible's Football Friday Podcast crew Welcome in Zennie Abraham and Mike Ingram Live from Arizona with our Superbowl XLII(42) Preview Show. We will get you up to speed on all the Football news this week plus other special guests. Besides podcasting LIVE on Blog Talk Radio, the show is now available on iTunes as well.
We air Live at 6:30 EST every Friday...

Bill Clinton Sells Out American Human Rights Interests For A Buck - Big Scandal In NYT

Bill Clinton Sells Out American Human Rights Interest For A Buck - Big Scandal In NYT

It seems that in 2007 former President Bill Clinton was so interested in scoring a big donation for The Clinton Foundation that he overlooked human right violations in the home country of the donor, Kazakhstan, just to score $31 million. What's the take away? Simple. It seems former President Clinton use the White House and the taxpayer to forge deals that run counter to American human rights interests; this is the most recent example and he may do it again. And does a person who falls asleep during a Martin Luther King day speech by none other than MLK III really care about human rights, anyway? Read the whole New York Times story below:

An Ex-President, a Mining Deal and a Big Donor

By JO BECKER and DON VAN NATTA Jr. - New York Times

Late on Sept. 6, 2005, a private plane carrying the Canadian mining financier Frank Giustra touched down in Almaty, a ruggedly picturesque city in southeast Kazakhstan. Several hundred miles to the west a fortune awaited: highly coveted deposits of uranium that could fuel nuclear reactors around the world. And Mr. Giustra was in hot pursuit of an exclusive deal to tap them.

Unlike more established competitors, Mr. Giustra was a newcomer to uranium mining in Kazakhstan, a former Soviet republic. But what his fledgling company lacked in experience, it made up for in connections. Accompanying Mr. Giustra on his luxuriously appointed MD-87 jet that day was a former president of the United States, Bill Clinton.

Upon landing on the first stop of a three-country philanthropic tour, the two men were whisked off to share a sumptuous midnight banquet with Kazakhstan’s president, Nursultan A. Nazarbayev, whose 19-year stranglehold on the country has all but quashed political dissent.

Mr. Nazarbayev walked away from the table with a propaganda coup, after Mr. Clinton expressed enthusiastic support for the Kazakh leader’s bid to head an international organization that monitors elections and supports democracy. Mr. Clinton’s public declaration undercut both American foreign policy and sharp criticism of Kazakhstan’s poor human rights record by, among others, Mr. Clinton’s wife, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York.

Within two days, corporate records show that Mr. Giustra also came up a winner when his company signed preliminary agreements giving it the right to buy into three uranium projects controlled by Kazakhstan’s state-owned uranium agency, Kazatomprom.

The monster deal stunned the mining industry, turning an unknown shell company into one of the world’s largest uranium producers in a transaction ultimately worth tens of millions of dollars to Mr. Giustra, analysts said.

Just months after the Kazakh pact was finalized, Mr. Clinton’s charitable foundation received its own windfall: a $31.3 million donation from Mr. Giustra that had remained a secret until he acknowledged it last month. The gift, combined with Mr. Giustra’s more recent and public pledge to give the William J. Clinton Foundation an additional $100 million, secured Mr. Giustra a place in Mr. Clinton’s inner circle, an exclusive club of wealthy entrepreneurs in which friendship with the former president has its privileges.

Mr. Giustra was invited to accompany the former president to Almaty just as the financier was trying to seal a deal he had been negotiating for months.

In separate written responses, both men said Mr. Giustra traveled with Mr. Clinton to Kazakhstan, India and China to see first-hand the philanthropic work done by his foundation.

A spokesman for Mr. Clinton said the former president knew that Mr. Giustra had mining interests in Kazakhstan but was unaware of “any particular efforts” and did nothing to help. Mr. Giustra said he was there as an “observer only” and there was “no discussion” of the deal with Mr. Nazarbayev or Mr. Clinton.

But Moukhtar Dzhakishev, president of Kazatomprom, said in an interview that Mr. Giustra did discuss it, directly with the Kazakh president, and that his friendship with Mr. Clinton “of course made an impression.” Mr. Dzhakishev added that Kazatomprom chose to form a partnership with Mr. Giustra’s company based solely on the merits of its offer.

After The Times told Mr. Giustra that others said he had discussed the deal with Mr. Nazarbayev, Mr. Giustra responded that he “may well have mentioned my general interest in the Kazakhstan mining business to him, but I did not discuss the ongoing” efforts.

As Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign has intensified, Mr. Clinton has begun severing financial ties with Ronald W. Burkle, the supermarket magnate, and Vinod Gupta, the chairman of InfoUSA, to avoid any conflicts of interest. Those two men have harnessed the former president’s clout to expand their businesses while making the Clintons rich through partnership and consulting arrangements.

Mr. Clinton has vowed to continue raising money for his foundation if Mrs. Clinton is elected president, maintaining his connections with a wide network of philanthropic partners.

Mr. Giustra said that while his friendship with the former president “may have elevated my profile in the news media, it has not directly affected any of my business transactions.”

Mining colleagues and analysts agree it has not hurt. Neil MacDonald, the chief executive of a Canadian merchant bank that specializes in mining deals, said Mr. Giustra’s financial success was partly due to a “fantastic network” crowned by Mr. Clinton. “That’s a very solid relationship for him,” Mr. MacDonald said. “I’m sure it’s very much a two-way relationship because that’s the way Frank operates.”

Foreseeing Opportunities

Mr. Giustra made his fortune in mining ventures as a broker on the Vancouver Stock Exchange, raising billions of dollars and developing a loyal following of investors. Just as the mining sector collapsed, Mr. Giustra, a lifelong film buff, founded the Lion’s Gate Entertainment Corporation in 1997. But he sold the studio in 2003 and returned to mining.

Mr. Giustra foresaw a bull market in gold and began investing in mines in Argentina, Australia and Mexico. He turned a $20 million shell company into a powerhouse that, after a $2.4 billion merger with Goldcorp Inc., became Canada’s second-largest gold company.

With a net worth estimated in the hundreds of millions of dollars, Mr. Giustra began looking for ways to put his wealth to good use. Meeting Mr. Clinton, and learning about the work his foundation was doing on issues like AIDS treatment in poor countries, “changed my life,” Mr. Giustra told The Vancouver Sun.

The two men were introduced in June 2005 at a fund-raiser for tsunami victims at Mr. Giustra’s Vancouver home and hit it off right away. They share a love of history, geopolitics and music — Mr. Giustra plays the trumpet to Mr. Clinton’s saxophone. Soon the dapper Canadian was a regular at Mr. Clinton’s side, as they flew around the world aboard Mr. Giustra’s plane.

Philanthropy may have become his passion, but Mr. Giustra, now 50, was still hunting for ways to make money.

Exploding demand for energy had helped revitalize the nuclear power industry, and uranium, the raw material for reactor fuel, was about to become a hot commodity. In late 2004, Mr. Giustra began talking to investors, and put together a company that would eventually be called UrAsia Energy Ltd.

Kazakhstan, which has about one-fifth of the world’s uranium reserves, was the place to be. But with plenty of suitors, Kazatomprom could be picky about its partners.

“Everyone was asking Kazatomprom to the dance,” said Fadi Shadid, a senior stock analyst covering the uranium industry for Friedman Billings Ramsey, an investment bank. “A second-tier junior player like UrAsia — you’d need all the help you could get.”

The Cameco Corporation, the world’s largest uranium producer, was already a partner of Kazatomprom. But when Cameco expressed interest in the properties Mr. Giustra was already eying, the government’s response was lukewarm. “The signals we were getting was, you’ve got your hands full,” said Gerald W. Grandey, Cameco president.

For Cameco, it took five years to “build the right connections” in Kazakhstan, Mr. Grandey said. UrAsia did not have that luxury. Profitability depended on striking before the price of uranium soared.

“Timing was everything,” said Sergey Kurzin, a Russian-born businessman whose London-based company was brought into the deal by UrAsia because of his connections in Kazakhstan. Even with those connections, Mr. Kurzin said, it took four months to arrange a meeting with Kazatomprom.

In August 2005, records show, the company sent an engineering consultant to Kazakhstan to assess the uranium properties. Less than four weeks later, Mr. Giustra arrived with Mr. Clinton.

Mr. Dzhakishev, the Kazatomprom chief, said an aide to Mr. Nazarbayev informed him that Mr. Giustra talked with Mr. Nazarbayev about the deal during the visit. “And when our president asked Giustra, ‘What do you do?’ he said, ‘I’m trying to do business with Kazatomprom,’ ” Mr. Dzhakishev said. He added that Mr. Nazarbayev replied, “Very good, go to it.”

Mr. Clinton’s Kazakhstan visit, the only one of his post-presidency, appears to have been arranged hastily. The United States Embassy got last-minute notice that the president would be making “a private visit,” said a State Department official, who said he was not authorized to speak on the record.

The publicly stated reason for the visit was to announce a Clinton Foundation agreement that enabled the government to buy discounted AIDS drugs. But during a news conference, Mr. Clinton wandered into delicate territory by commending Mr. Nazarbayev for “opening up the social and political life of your country.”

In a statement Kazakhstan would highlight in news releases, Mr. Clinton declared that he hoped it would achieve a top objective: leading the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which would confer legitimacy on Mr. Nazarbayev’s government.

“I think it’s time for that to happen, it’s an important step, and I’m glad you’re willing to undertake it,” Mr. Clinton said.

A Speedy Process

Mr. Clinton’s praise was odd, given that the United States did not support Mr. Nazarbayev’s bid. (Late last year, Kazakhstan finally won the chance to lead the security organization for one year, despite concerns raised by the Bush administration.) Moreover, Mr. Clinton’s wife, who sits on a Congressional commission with oversight of such matters, had also voiced skepticism.

Eleven months before Mr. Clinton’s statement, Mrs. Clinton co-signed a commission letter to the State Department that sounded “alarm bells” about the prospect that Kazakhstan might head the group. The letter stated that Kazakhstan’s bid “would not be acceptable,” citing “serious corruption,” canceled elections and government control of the news media.

In a written statement to The Times, Mr. Clinton’s spokesman said the former president saw “no contradiction” between his statements in Kazakhstan and the position of Mrs. Clinton, who said through a spokeswoman, “Senator Clinton’s position on Kazakhstan remains unchanged.”

Noting that the former president also met with opposition leaders in Almaty, Mr. Clinton’s spokesman said he was only “seeking to suggest that a commitment to political openness and to fair elections would reflect well on Kazakhstan’s efforts to chair the O.S.C.E.”

But Robert Herman, who worked for the State Department in the Clinton administration and is now at Freedom House, a human rights group, said the former president’s statement amounted to an endorsement of Kazakhstan’s readiness to lead the group, a position he called “patently absurd.”

“He was either going off his brief or he was sadly mistaken,” Mr. Herman said. “There was nothing in the record to suggest that they really wanted to move forward on democratic reform.”

Indeed, in December 2005, Mr. Nazarbayev won another election, which the security organization itself said was marred by an “atmosphere of intimidation” and “ballot-box stuffing.”

After Mr. Nazarbayev won with 91 percent of the vote, Mr. Clinton sent his congratulations. “Recognizing that your work has received an excellent grade is one of the most important rewards in life,” Mr. Clinton wrote in a letter released by the Kazakh embassy. Last September, just weeks after Kazakhstan held an election that once again failed to meet international standards, Mr. Clinton honored Mr. Nazarbayev by inviting him to his annual philanthropic conference.

Within 48 hours of Mr. Clinton’s departure from Almaty on Sept. 7, Mr. Giustra got his deal. UrAsia signed two memorandums of understanding that paved the way for the company to become partners with Kazatomprom in three mines.

The cost to UrAsia was more than $450 million, money the company did not have in hand and had only weeks to come up with. The transaction was finalized in November, after UrAsia raised the money through the largest initial public offering in the history of Canada’s Venture Exchange.

Mr. Giustra challenged the notion that UrAsia needed to court Kazatomprom’s favor to seal the deal, contending that the government agency’s approval was not required.

But Mr. Dzhakishev, analysts and Mr. Kurzin, one of Mr. Giustra’s own investors, said that approval was necessary. Mr. Dzhakishev, who said that the deal was almost done when Mr. Clinton arrived, said that Kazatomprom was impressed with the sum Mr. Giustra was willing to pay and his record of attracting investors. He said Mr. Nazarbayev himself ultimately signed off on the transaction.

Longtime market watchers were confounded. Kazatomprom’s choice of UrAsia was a “mystery,” said Gene Clark, the chief executive of Trade Tech, a uranium industry newsletter.

“UrAsia was able to jump-start the whole process somehow,” Mr. Clark said. The company became a “major uranium producer when it didn’t even exist before.”

A Profitable Sale

Records show that Mr. Giustra donated the $31.3 million to the Clinton Foundation in the months that followed in 2006, but neither he nor a spokesman for Mr. Clinton would say exactly when.

In September 2006, Mr. Giustra co-produced a gala 60th birthday for Mr. Clinton that featured stars like Jon Bon Jovi and raised about $21 million for the Clinton Foundation.

In February 2007, a company called Uranium One agreed to pay $3.1 billion to acquire UrAsia. Mr. Giustra, a director and major shareholder in UrAsia, would be paid $7.05 per share for a company that just two years earlier was trading at 10 cents per share.

That same month, Mr. Dzhakishev, the Kazatomprom chief, said he traveled to Chappaqua, N.Y., to meet with Mr. Clinton at his home. Mr. Dzhakishev said Mr. Giustra arranged the three-hour meeting. Mr. Dzhakishev said he wanted to discuss Kazakhstan’s intention — not publicly known at the time — to buy a 10 percent stake in Westinghouse, a United States supplier of nuclear technology.

Nearly a year earlier, Mr. Clinton had advised Dubai on how to handle the political furor after one of that nation’s companies attempted to take over several American ports. Mrs. Clinton was among those on Capitol Hill who raised the national security concerns that helped kill the deal.

Mr. Dzhakishev said he was worried the proposed Westinghouse investment could face similar objections. Mr. Clinton told him that he would not lobby for him, but Mr. Dzhakishev came away pleased by the chance to promote his nation’s proposal to a former president.

Mr. Clinton “said this was very important for America,” said Mr. Dzhakishev, who added that Mr. Giustra was present at Mr. Clinton’s home.

Both Mr. Clinton and Mr. Giustra at first denied that any such meeting occurred. Mr. Giustra also denied ever arranging for Kazakh officials to meet with Mr. Clinton. Wednesday, after The Times told them that others said a meeting, in Mr. Clinton’s home, had in fact taken place, both men acknowledged it.

“You are correct that I asked the president to meet with the head of Kazatomprom,” Mr. Giustra said. “Mr. Dzhakishev asked me in February 2007 to set up a meeting with former President Clinton to discuss the future of the nuclear energy industry.” Mr. Giustra said the meeting “escaped my memory until you raised it.”

Wednesday, Mr. Clinton’s spokesman, Ben Yarrow, issued what he called a “correction,” saying: “Today, Mr. Giustra told our office that in February 2007, he brought Mr. Dzhakishev from Kazatomprom to meet with President Clinton to discuss the future of nuclear energy.”

Mr. Yarrow said his earlier denial was based on the former president’s records, which he said “show a Feb. 27 meeting with Mr. Giustra; no other attendees are listed.”

Mr. Dzhakishev said he had a vivid memory of his Chappaqua visit, and a souvenir to prove it: a photograph of himself with the former president.

“I hung up the photograph of us and people ask me if I met with Clinton and I say, Yes, I met with Clinton,” he said, smiling proudly.

David L. Stern and Margot Williams contributed reporting.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

"Obama Snub / Clinton Snub" - AP Reporter LAURIE KELLMAN's Fixed Story Covers Up Truth

"Obama Snub / Clinton Snub" - AP Reporter LAURIE KELLMAN's Fixed Story Covers Up Truth

There's a photo going around that if you're in, or interested in politics, you've seen by now. It's this one on the left taken at Monday's State Of The Union Adress and appears to show Senator Barack Obama turning his back on Senator Clinton as she's shaking Senator Kennedy's hand. Now that photo was taken by J. Scott Applewhite of the Associated Press and was used as the focus of a "story" written by LAURIE KELLMAN of the same AP. The photos been copied again and again, and Obama accused of snubbing Hillary Clinton.

Well, there's two main problems. First, that's not the only photo and there's one with a different angle -- in fact several and all by Getty Images and not the Associated Press.

Second, when I called Laurie Kellman to ask her why she didn't look at photos that show a clapping Senator Obama in communication with Sen. Claire McKaskill, who endorsed him, she didn't return my calls, and I phoned her three times. On top of that, the AP reporter I did talk to seemed to think it was Kellman's right to tell the story the way she did, which is journalistically unprofessional.

Ok, now to the other photo.

This photo on the right shows Senator Obama clapping and looking at Claire McKaskill, who is also obviously turning and looking at Barack Obama, and this is while Senator Kennedy has reached over to Senator Clinton. So it's clear that Senator Obama was indeed distracted by Senator Claire McKaskill while Senator Clinton reached over.

Now, it's also clear that Senator Clinton didn't call to Senator Obama to get his attention, leaving one to wonder if Senator Clinton was actually seeing a chance to set up Senator Obama, an effort that actually proves right in line with other actions Senator Clinton has taken, but that's for another column. Why? Because there's more - yet another photo I want you to see.

This photo shows Senator Obama looking toward his right and our left and clearly at another person just half in and out of the screen -- a person wearing the same red suit and standing in the same area that Senator Clinton was in, and both Obama and the person are obviously engaged in a happy moment because he's grinning ear to ear.

Now, in all of the photos, Senator Clinton's the closest woman wearing red with respect to Senator Obama. She sat next to Senator Joe Biden, and both were only a few feet from Obama and Kennedy.

And in case you question if Barack Obama and Claire McKaskill were really talking, I offer you this photo for view, which also shows Obama, Kennedy, and McKaskill in deep conversation. And remember, both Kennedy and McKaskill have endorsed Obama. Why didn't Senator Clinton shake Claire McKaskill's hand?


I've asked this and I'll ask it again. With all of the well-wishers who came to Senator Obama, why would Kellman -- who was in the chamber -- seek to place the blame of rudeness on Senator Obama? It's a question that Kellman should answer, but she's not talking. Maybe this will draw her out of the shadows.

She has to answer why she ignore the other photos. Saying she didn't know about them is irresponsible to say the least and I'll bet she knew that there were other angles. I also wonder if her editor put her and the photog up to this. I'll lay a bet they cropped the photo to take Sen. Claire McKaskill out of it, thus leaving what looks like Obama just plain turning away.

He wasn't. And LAURIE KELLMAN should be taken to the journalistic woodshed for this unprofessional act. Plus, Senator Clinton also is to blame as she could have just made sure Barack saw her rather than play high school games. But that's Senator Clinton for ya, and she wants to be president.


John Edwards To Drop Out Of Presidential Race At 1 PM EST Today

Wow. On the eve of Super Tuesday and Thursday's Democratic Presidential Debate we have this new bombshell: former Senator John Edwards is reportedly going to annouce that he's dropping out of the Democratic Presidential Race according to the Associated Press and the Washingon Post.

This move comes as a surprise as Edwards vowed to take his effort and his 53 delegates all the way to the Democratic Natonal Convention. It also effectively tosses out the polls taken of how candidates may perform on Super Tuesday and really gives Senator Barack Obama -- the person who's approach and policies were more closely matched with Edwards -- a clear and possible shot at beating Senator Clinton for the nomination.

The next question is this: will Edwards endorse Senator Obama for President? It seems the next logical move. It can also be considered as throwing a total monkey wrench into Senator Clinton's plans, because now there's no candidate to split the full anti-war vote. Obama stands alone.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Kofi Bonner | Lennar's Kofi Bonner Heads SF 49ers Stadium Project

My long-time Cal friend Kofi Bonner 's back in the SF Bay Area and has been working for Lennar Corporation on the matter of bring the San Francisco Bayview Hunter's Point area a new football stadium. Not a better guy to do the job! Kofi Bonner was the one who redeveloped Emeryville.

Monday, January 28, 2008

President Bush Gives Consumer Safety Job to Gail Charnley - Coal Industry Champion

Wow. This is a really controversial appointment. What was President Bush thinking in giving the consumer watchdog job to Gail Charnley, someone who protected firm that employ coal miners?

Clinton Snubs Obama In Greeting Ted Kennedy During State Of The Union

ALERT: AP's Laurie Kellman at center of fixed "snub" story - click here!

After a day which saw Senator Ted Kennedy endorse Senator Barack Obama for president, you'd think Senator Clinton would take time to avoid playing games with Senator Obama.

Not so.

Instead of directly congratulating Senator Obama, Senator Clinton reaches over and calls only to Ted Kennedy as if Barack wasn't even there! Insulted, and forced to give space to Ted Kennedy so he could reach Senator Clinton's hand Barack turned.

Frankly, I don't blame him. Senator Clinton can't be civil at all; she has to be "in-your-face" rude, which she was. Happy Hour At Mooses In SF - editor Owen Thomas graciously invited me to join him at Mooses for his firm's Friday Happy Hour. The star of this show was Laura Goldberg, the noted tech publicist who's currently with, and we were joined by the founder of Lunch 2.0 and some other colorful people.

Fun times!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Montel: Talk About Troups Who Died & Heath Ledger

This is a great moment captured for YouTube. Montel Williams of the Montel show is a guest on Fox News to talk about Heath Ledger and his new book, but he throws Fox a curve by asking that they not talk about Heath Ledger and instead mention the Iraq War soldier who passed on the day before after being killed by a suicide bomber. Montel said that we've lost 28 American solidiers this year already -- that's more than one for each day of the month. Are we becoming too used to this? I'm not, but it seems Fox News is. Watch this video:

Super Bowl XXXII - Tom Brady And New England Patriots Leave for Arizona

After all of the talk about Tom Brady limping and not showing up at Pats practices, here we are with Brady as ESPN reports that he and the New England Patriots prepare to leave for Arizona.

Maybe it was a smoke-screen?

Raiders Owner Al Davis Treating Head Coach Lane Kiffin Like Turd

Ok. You read the title and I'm standing by it. Oakland Raiders Manager of The General Partner Al Davis is reportedly treating his still-newly-hired Head Coach Lane Kiffin like a turd. It's a hard statement but look at the reports.

Apparently this all started because Kiffin wanted to replace Raiders Defensive Coordinator Rex Ryan, who's leaky run defenses have cost the Silver and Black chances to win close games in 2007. But Lane Kiffin's actions were reportedly blocked by Davis himself. When Kiffin complained to Davis, the owner asked him to resign; he did not and for good reason: Kiffin would lose the salary he's due of $2 million annual for the rest of his contract.

More to come on this mess.

Regardless of the real truth, it's clear the Raiders are once again surrounded by soap-opera drama on the scale of a daytime show.

Ted Kennedy To Endorse Barack Obama | Obama, Kennedy Endorsement

Ted Kennedy To Endorse Barack Obama | Obama, Kennedy Endorsement

Sen. Obama with Sen John McCain, Sen. Joe Liberman, and Sen. Ted Kennedy

It's all over the Sunday talk shows. Just after a landslide victory in the South Carolina Primary, Senator Barack Obama scored another win of sorts with the annouced endorsement of Barack Obama for President by the Legendary "Liberal Lion" Ted Kennedy.

According to the Boston Globe, "Kennedy confidantes told the Globe today that the Bay State's senior senator will appear with Obama and Kennedy's niece, Caroline Kennedy, at a morning rally at American University in Washington tomorrow to announce his support."

The endorsement announcement comes right on the heels of Caroline Kennedy's sprited annoucement that after over 20 years of not backing a presidential candidate, she will support Barack Obama.

Senator Ted Kennedy To Endorse Barack Obama

First, it was Caroline Kennedy who declared her endorsement for Obama in a stirring Op-Ed piece in today's New York Times.

''Sometimes it takes a while to recognize that someone has a special ability to get us to believe in ourselves, to tie that belief to our highest ideals and imagine that together we can do great things. In those rare moments, when such a person comes along, we need to put aside our plans and reach for what we know is possible'', said Kennedy.

Now, legendary Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy has made his indication as to who he believes is best to lead the Democratic party. The second most senior member of the Senate and a trailblazer who has represented his state since 1962, Kennedy is the epitomization of experience.

Although he's very close with the Clinton's and has worked tirelessly with Hillary in Washington for years, Kennedy was searching for hope and change, not the politics and polarization of old. If a well- established and respected Senator is endorsing a man who was born a year before he took office, Hillary's assertion of 35 years of experience is null and void.

Caroline and Ted Kennedy's endorsements of Barack Obama will inject a profound and vibrant life into the political race and ultimately transcend what takes place on Super Tuesday in all twenty-two states.

Andrew Sullivan's Moving Take On Barack Obama

I generally enjoy Andrew Sullivan's blog, even when I dont' agree with him. But this one in particular was very not usual. He wrote in a moving prose about Senator Barack Obama's candidacy and how it impacted him, especially after the South Carolina win. Sullivan wrote:

Because America still means something, and every now and again, a person captures it: the restless, liberal hope for a better future, under the sober constraints of a conservative constitution. That was Kennedy. It was also Reagan, as Bill Bennett gracefully recognized tonight. It's real. You can feel it. And who wants to win the presidency by defeating it?

Sometimes, things come together. Watching a black man win the South Carolina primary in a landslide by transcending race: I can't help be moved and inspired. Like so many of my generation and many, many more younger than me, Obama makes me believe in America again, after seven years of brutal, painful, searing disillusionment. I won't let that go. Neither, I have a feeling, will the American people.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Christian Brando Passes Away At 49 Of Pneumonia

Christian Brando passed on today.

On the heals of Heath Ledger's passing, this too is a shocker, but only because Brando had pneumonia. I wonder what the heck happened that he would be fell by pneumonia?

Brando died way too young.

Caroline Kennedy Endorses Barack Obama For President

"A President Like My Father"

The lengendary Caroline Kennedy stepped forward from an over-20-year silence in presidential endorsements -- her last being Senator Edward Kennedy in 1980 -- to back Senator Barack Obama for President.

Kennedy chose an op-ed in the New York Times to do this, which is interesting to me, as the same "Grey Lady" for some reason annouced the backing of Senator Clinton last week. Thus, the uninformed could see the NY Times itself as endorsing Obama!

Here's part of what Kennedy wrote:

"OVER the years, I’ve been deeply moved by the people who’ve told me they wished they could feel inspired and hopeful about America the way people did when my father was president. This sense is even more profound today. That is why I am supporting a presidential candidate in the Democratic primaries, Barack Obama.

My reasons are patriotic, political and personal, and the three are intertwined. All my life, people have told me that my father changed their lives, that they got involved in public service or politics because he asked them to. And the generation he inspired has passed that spirit on to its children. I meet young people who were born long after John F. Kennedy was president, yet who ask me how to live out his ideals.

Sometimes it takes a while to recognize that someone has a special ability to get us to believe in ourselves, to tie that belief to our highest ideals and imagine that together we can do great things. In those rare moments, when such a person comes along, we need to put aside our plans and reach for what we know is possible.

We have that kind of opportunity with Senator Obama."

Barack Obama Scores Big Win In South Carolina Primary

After a brusing, tough, hard-fought week of campaigning that seemed to split the Democratic Party, Senator Barack Obama scored a big victory in taking the South Carolina Primary.

Senator Obama's win was absolute. He took 51 percent of the total votes, with the other half divided between Senator Clinton and Senator Edwards. It also comes as Senator Obama's scoring a huge number of endorsements in a single day.

Here's Senator Obama's rousing victory speech:

Senator Obama scored "a beat down" according to CNN's Roland Martin:

Here's a video from the victory party:

Barack Obama Scores Endorsement of Chicago Tribune, St. Louis Post Dispatch, and Philadelphia Enquirer

Wow, just after the SF Chroncle and San Jose Mercury News' endorsement annoucements, we learn that Obama has scored -- let's see -- the Chicago Tribune, St. Louis Post Dispatch, and Philadelphia Enquirer, and all on the same day that Obama won South Carolina! Talk about momentum!

According to the Huffington Post,

The Philadelphia Inquirer, the largest daily newspaper in Pennsylvania, and the Chicago Tribune, the largest paper in the Midwest, are both endorsing Barack Obama and John McCain in their parties' respective presidential primaries.

Although voters in The Keystone State don't go to the polls until April 22, the Inquirer also has a substantial readership base in southern New Jersey -- where voters cast their ballots as part of the Feb. 5 Super Tuesday round of primaries.

Illinois voters also go to the polls on Feb. 5. The Trib is Obama's hometown paper.

The Inquirer writes that:

BARACK OBAMA is the best Democrat to lead this nation past the nasty, partisan, Washington-as-usual politics that have blocked consensus on Iraq; politics that never blinked at the greedy, subprime mortgage schemes that could spawn a recession; politics that have greatly diminished our country's stature in the world.
Obama inspires people to action. And while inspiration alone isn't enough to get a job done, it's a necessary ingredient to begin the hard work.

Obama's appeal to Americans to have the audacity to hope, even in the face of tragedies such as 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, has fallen on fertile ground. Americans want desperately to believe they can overcome any difficulty - given the right leadership.

So it seems the New York Times is major-league outnumbered!

Senator Barack Obama Wins SF Chronicle & San Jose Mercury News Endorsement, Guardian Too

After a great appearance before the Editorial Board of the San Francisco Chronicle, Senator Barack Obama won the endorsement of the San Franciso Chronicle and backed that with the "thumbs-up" of the San Jose Mercury News in the South Bay, effectively blunting the New York Times' endorsement of Senator Hillary Clinton of one week ago, and adding to a long string of newspapers backing Obama's run for president.

The SF Chronicle wrote a sprited explaination, highlighted by this paragraph:

He radiated the sense of possibility that has attracted the votes of independents and tapped into the idealism of young people during this campaign. He exuded the aura of a 46-year-old leader who could once again persuade the best and the brightest to forestall or pause their grand professional goals to serve in his administration.
Of all the candidates who talk about change, Barack Obama has made the case most forcefully and most convincingly. He gets our endorsement for the Democratic nomination.

The Chronicle's Editorial Board, paced by Opinion Page Editor John Diaz, Executive Editor Phil Bronstein, and Political Editor Carla Marinucci, asked tough questions of Senator Obama, and he came back with honest, thoughful answers. The Chronicle pointed to that in their account:

In a Jan. 17 meeting with our editorial board, Obama demonstrated an impressive command of a wide variety of issues. He listened intently to the questions. He responded with substance. He did not control a format without a stopwatch on answers or constraints on follow-up questions, yet he flourished in it.

The San Jose Mercury news also sits as the major information organ for Silicon Valley. Senator Obama's call for change was particularly attractive:

Obama would dramatically change the nation's approach to foreign policy and domestic issues. While the substance might not differ substantially from Clinton's in many areas, he would have more cross-over appeal to independents and Republicans, whose support will be needed to bring about significant change.
Obama is the only candidate who opposed the Iraq war from the outset. His ethnic background and his upbringing give him a unique world view. He has the best chance to change how the world looks at the United States and restore the respect it has squandered during the past eight years.
While Clinton has a deep understanding of health care issues, her failed attempt to reform the system during her husband's first term dogs her steps. She chose experts with similar views and did not broadly engage stakeholders, which made her end result easy to shoot down. Obama can start fresh, and seems to understand the urgency.

But beyond the Chronicle endorsement, Senator Obama also scored the support of the normally contrarian San Francisco Bay Guardian, long seen as the Bay Area's voice of the young. In short, Obama has scored a "hat trick" with three of the four major newspapers backing him, and with the Oakland Tribune still silent as of this writing.

Emma Thompson @ Davos Forum replies to (My) Zennie62 Video On Racism

Readers of The Zeitgeist may remember the video I submitted to the Davos Forum in Switerland and as part of "The Davos Question" where YouTubers were asked to make videos that responded to the question: "What one thing do you think that countries, companies or individuals must do to make the world a better place in 2008?" The process set up by YouTube at Davos allows attendees to make video responses to the questions submitted.

Well, I got my video response to the Davos question in right under the time wire, but the effort was more than worth it! On Friday, January 25th award-winning actress Emma Thompson took time at Davos to make a video answering my own. Thompson said "I really loved your video...One of the greatest problems that we have is in receiving and tolerating anyone who is different from ourselves, and we have so many boundaries in the World. And I think the only way that we can melt those boundaries is in talking to each other. We need to listen to each others stories. I think art and culture can help a great deal and we need to encourage businesses and politicians to listen in a slightly different way."

She ends the video by saying that she hears my message and that one action all of us can take every day is to turn around the talk to someoe who is different from ourselves.

It's any honor to receive a response from Ms. Thompson because her humanitarian efforts have been inspirational, and in fact she received an awards at Davos for her work on that area. Here's the video she made:

I'll make a video that futher outlines my idea for a program to help in this area.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Hillary Clinton and Tony Rezko Photo - Clinton Called Rezko "Slumlord"

At Monday's CNN Democratic Debate in South Carolina, Senator Hillary Clinton managed to get in a retailiatory "dig" at Senator Barack Obama regarding his alledged association with a real estate developer / broker named Tony Rezko, and Clinton referred to Rezko as a "slumlord."

Now, a photo has surfaced that's very embarassing to the Clintons. It has both Bill and Hillary standing with Tony Rezko and it's the pict you see here. Asked about this on the Today Show, Senator Clinton claimed she didn't know and had never met him.

Right. I mean come on. I've stood in lines to have my photo taken with a politician and I know for a fact that you make totally sure that person knows who you are, especially if you're contributing thousands of dollars to that candidate's campaign.

The Chicago Tribune reports , "According to a database of campaign contributions maintained by the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics, Rezko made a $15,000 contribution to the Democratic National Committee in March 2000, the last year of the Clinton presidency. Rezko also made a $1,250 contribution during the Clinton re-election campaign in 1996 to a Democratic party account that funded activities in Illinois to help win the election."

What this shows is that the Clinton's have been associated with so many people in rasing money they really can't cast a stone at Senator Obama. Rezko is a known fundraiser, who has hosted events for many politicians including the current President Bush.

The facts show that Senator Obama has been revealing in discussing his minor-at-best association with Rezko and there was no illegality or wrongdoing. But what's clear is the Clintons have an association with this "slumlord" too!

Obama Up By 16 - Clinton Losing Support to Edwards In South Carolina Poll

According to Taegan Goddard's Political Wire , the latest South Carolina poll shows that Senator Barack Obama is still the favorite, but this time by 16 points over Senator Clinton, 45 percent to 29 percent, with former Senator Edwards at 22 percent. This new poll is the first to reflect a shift of votes from Clinton to Edwards, as Obama remains steady above 40 percent.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Davos: Loic Lemeur Arrives At Davos, Talks Collaboration

Loic Lemeur arrives at Davos, Swizerland for the World Economic Forum and reports that the theme of the gathering this year is "collaborative thinking". Loic gives us a view of what the Forum's all about. Take a look:

Davos: Worldsourcing - Accessing Worldwide Resources

What is Worldsourcing? That's the question I had when I first saw the term and a hot topic at The Davos World Economic Forum. Worldsourcing is combing the world to find a person or thing that does what a corporation wants or needs to produce a something. To me, it seems like a no-brainer activity for a multinational corporation to do, but it seems that this corporation -- called -- is necessary.

We shall see.

Corrupt PA Gov Ed Rendell Backs Ethically-Challenged Hillary Clinton

I thought that was too funny to not report. Ed Rendell, the former, controversial and corrupt Mayor of Philadelphia, who's now for some reason Governor of Pennsylvania has announced he's backing Hillary Clinton, who's not known for ethics either!

Why am I not surprised?! And I'm not the only one who thinks this is funny.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Heath Ledger | "Keith" Ledger Hung Self In Last Movie Roll

I'm not sure where the connection is exactly, but it's too interesting a matter to pass on.

Oh, some people refer to Heath as "Keith" so I thought I'd play along.

It seems that in playing his last movie roll, the uncompleted The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Heath Ledger was to hang himself, as these photos from Just Jared show, and was rescued. I know know if the preparation and execution of that role had anything to do with what happened to him, but it's a fair question to ask, indeed. There are more photos , and this one was the "tamest" of them all. Under the circumstances, I didn't want to post the others.

On the matter of his character, I don't know much, but Wikipedia reports...In the contemporary period, 1,000-year-old Doctor Parnassus (Christopher Plummer) leads a traveling theater troupe and offers audience members a chance to go beyond reality through a magical mirror in his possession.[1] Parnassus had been able to guide the imagination of others through a deal with the Devil (Tom Waits), who now comes to collect on the arrangement,[2] targeting the doctor's daughter (Lily Cole). The troupe, who is joined by a mysterious outsider (Heath Ledger), embark through parallel worlds to rescue the girl.[3]

More on all of this, soon -- now there are reports of drug use.

Obama Lawyer Claims Clinton Nevada Violations -

These series of reports have come hot and heavy in emails and blogs, but this is the first report where a legal representative has gotten involved. According to, Barack Obama's lawyer has sent a letter to the Nevada State Democratic Party head regarding alledged violation of election laws during the Nevada Primary. Brietbart reports ...

The letter to Nevada Democratic Chairwoman Jill Derby from Obama lawyer Robert Bauer lists instances of early door closings, obstruction of voters, and improper handling of voter preference cards. Obama aides said the campaign has received more than 1,600 complaints, including 300 that came in to a hotline at the time of the caucuses.

Bauer said the campaign is not challenging the outcome of the caucuses at the precinct level, but he asked Derby to conduct an inquiry into the Clinton campaign tactics during the caucuses. The campaign offered to provide the names and contact information of the individuals making the complaints as well as unedited copies of their accounts.

The Clinton campaign has also complained about behavior at the caucuses. On Sunday, Clinton senior adviser Dave Barnhart said he witnessed an enormous "gantlet" of Obama supporters at the Mirage casino-hotel caucus site who tried to intimidate Clinton backers.

Attached to the Obama complaint was an instruction sheet that Bauer's letter attributed to the Clinton campaign. The sheet offers guidance on how to persuade caucus goers to caucus for Clinton.

One line states: "It's not illegal unless they tell you so."

"This certainly suggests that, for the Clinton campaign, the operative standard was, simply and only, what it could get away with," Bauer wrote.

The letter complained that the Clinton camp distributed a caucus guide to supporters that said caucus site doors would close at 11:30 a.m. The party's rules stated that caucuses would be called to order at 11:30 a.m. but said attendees had to be signed in by noon.

Wow. From NH to Nevada and on, one pattern emerges: the Clinton's do not play fair.

Amy Winehouse Smokes Crack Gets Drunk On Stage | Heath Ledger Should Be Key To Improvement

Folks, were' watching the complete meltdown of another gifted star, this person is Amy Winehouse and unlike Heath Ledger, she's still with us to kick the habit. But not before she and we see her smoking -- er, cracking -- it up in this video..

Or just plain drunk on stage in this video, below.

I do hope she gets better, before it's too late.

Hillary Clinton Slamed Both Martin Luther King & Gandhi

Hey, I'm not kidding here, folks. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton has managed to insult the two most important leaders of peace in our time during her presidential run.

You're aware of her terrible comments basically de-valuing the impact of Martin Luther King in an effort to make the role of the President seem even more important than what Dr. King did, knowing full well that Presidents almost never act until they have the will of the people, and in this case that was caused by Dr. King's work and suffering.

But did you know Senator Clinton also said this:

During an event here for Senate candidate Nancy Farmer, Clinton introduced a quote from Gandhi by saying, "He ran a gas station down in St. Louis."

After laughter from many in the crowd of at least 200 subsided, the former first lady continued, "No, Mahatma Gandhi was a great leader of the 20th century." In a nod to Farmer's underdog status against Republican Sen. Kit Bond, Clinton quoted the Indian independence leader as saying: "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."

The director of a U.S. center devoted to Gandhi's teachings said the remarks amounted to stereotyping and were insensitive.

The point is that Senator Clinton has a habit of slamming leaders that are important to people outside her circle of interest, either racially or from a gender perspective. Take how she recently referred to Russian President Vladimir Putin; she called him "Souless." Why?

Her judgement is more than questionable. It's nuts.

For those who have not seen my video on Hillary and MLK, it's here:

Kim Kardashian and Reggie Bush Are Engaged?

Well, that's what this online tabloid is reporting. Wow. It seems the sex tape lady's got former USC and now New Orleans Saints Running Back Bush so smitten they're all over the place. Here's an account from :

Is socialite Kim Kardashian ready to tie the knot with boyfriend Reggie Bush?

OK! magazine is claiming that the "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" star, 22, and the NFL great, 27, are engaged.

The two partied together in Miami for New Year's Eve, where she hosted a bash at club Mansion, but she wasn't wearing a ring. And today a source close to Kim denies a report she's engaged.

That was as of January 2nd and Bush's in the gallery section of her website, too. Stay tuned for a Kim Kardashian and Reggie Bush sex tape that I'm not watching!

Kim Kardashian and Reggie Bush Are Engaged?

Well, that's what this online tabloid is reporting. Wow. It seems the sex tape lady's got former USC and now New Orleans Saints Running Back Bush so smitten they're all over the place. Here's an account from :

Is socialite Kim Kardashian ready to tie the knot with boyfriend Reggie Bush?

OK! magazine is claiming that the "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" star, 22, and the NFL great, 27, are engaged.

The two partied together in Miami for New Year's Eve, where she hosted a bash at club Mansion, but she wasn't wearing a ring. And today a source close to Kim denies a report she's engaged.

That was as of January 2nd and Bush's in the gallery section of her website, too. Stay tuned for a Kim Kardashian and Reggie Bush sex tape that I'm not watching!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Heath Ledger - No Cause Of Death Reported Yet

There's more news regarding the shocking death of actor Heath Ledger, who was found dead, naked in his bed with pills around him (just how many is not known). The pills were over-the-counter sleeping medications and its said in reports that Ledger had a terrible sleeping problem -- he didn't get any sleep. ( And to that, I add a clarification that he had no illegal drugs near him, and according to the NYTimes , he was found on the floor, not the bed. )

The news of the sudden passing of one who became an indelible part of the World Cultural landscape comes as a massive jolt to everyone regardless of the business they're in.

It hits me hard because I was looking forward to seeing this great artist's rendition of one of the greatest comic book character villians in history, The Joker.

But it seems, from what I'm hearing, that his separation from his wife really hit him hard. He wasn't happy, and was reportedly "into partying" a lot in New York City, and it's too bad he didn't have -- it seems -- God as his guide to keep him sane during a hard time.

And one wonders where his friends were. These are the statements of other actors who knew him:

Everyone, celebrity or not, is shocked at the horrible news of Heath Ledger's death. Some stars have already made statements about the tragedy.

"What a tragedy. My heart goes out to his family." — Nicole Kidman

"I had such great hope for him. He was just taking off and to lose his life at such a young age is a tragic loss. My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family." — Mel Gibson

"He is one of my favorite actors. His abilities are rare…it's a tremendous loss. It's hard to be here celebrating Australia under these circumstances." — John Travolta

"It was with great sadness that I have learned of the passing of Heath Ledger. It is tragic that we have lost one of our nation's finest actors in the prime of his life. Heath Ledger's diverse and challenging roles will be remembered as some of the great performances by an Australian actor." — Kevin Rudd, Prime Minister of Australia

"The studio is stunned and devastated by this tragic news. The entertainment community has lost an enormous talent. Heath was a brilliant actor and an exceptional person. Our hearts go out to his family and friends." — Statement by Alan Horn, President and COO of Warner Bros. and Jeff Robinov, President, Warner Bros. Pictures Group

Lindsay Lohan was also seen leaving Le Pain Quotidien visibly crying after hearing the news. The two were linked together in December.

Chicago Tribune Says Clintons Tell Lies

The Chicago Tribune's Eric Zorn tears a new one into the Clintons regarding their lies and mistatements, which are, well, lies. Check out this from Zorn:

Originally posted: January 22, 2008
Why stop short? The Clintons are lying about Obama's remarks on Reagan
(Barack) Obama stopped just short of calling (Hillary) Clinton and her husband liars... from the Swamp's live blog of last night's Democratic debate.

Hmm. I see no reason to stop short. Bill and Hillary Clinton have lied brazenly about Obama's recent statement about Ronald Reagan.

Let's look at the transcripts (emphasis added):

Hillary Clinton, Jan 18:

My leading opponent the other day said that he thought the Republicans had better ideas than Democrats the last 10 to 15 years.

Bill Clinton, Jan 18:

(My wife's) principal opponent said that since 1992, the Republicans have had all the good ideas....I'm not making this up, folks.

Well, yes he is. The key, inflammatory words in the Clintons' quotes are better and good, and I invite you, reader, to find it in these transcripts of what Obama has actually said:

I don’t want to present myself as some sort of singular figure. I think part of what’s different are the times. I do think that for example the 1980's were different.

I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not. He put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it.

I think they felt like with all the excesses of the 1960s and 1970s and government had grown and grown but there wasn’t much sense of accountability in terms of how it was operating. I think people, he just tapped into what people were already feeling, which was we want clarity we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing.

I think Kennedy, twenty years earlier, moved the country in a fundamentally different direction. So I think a lot of it just has to do with the times.

I think we’re in one of those times right now. Where people feel like things as they are going aren’t working. We’re bogged down in the same arguments that we’ve been having, and they’re not useful.

And, you know, the Republican approach, I think, has played itself out.

I think it’s fair to say the Republicans were the party of ideas for a pretty long chunk of time there over the last ten, fifteen years, in the sense that they were challenging conventional wisdom.

Read it all again if you want, you won't find "better" or "good" in there, or synonyms or implications along those lines.

When the Clintons used "better" and "good" in alluding the Obama's remarks, they weren't paraphrasing, they weren't misremembering, they weren't distorting. They were simply lying.

Heath Ledger Reported Dead In New York - Stars As "The Joker" In "The Dark Knight"

This is a developing story and we all hope it's not true. But according to and other sources, materful actor Heath Ledger was reportedly found dead in his New York residence by his housekeeper.

Leadger had completed what appears to be a materful performance in "The Dark Knight" as "The Joker."

Heath also started in the critically aclaimed "Brokeback Mountain". UPDATE on Ledger here.

Need a Lawyer? Robert G. Schock is a great personal injury lawyer.

Clintons First Dis Then Sleep On Martin Luther King

Wow. What can I say except that we're seeing the real Clintons and not the 1990s political version. First, Hillary Clinton's caught giving what sounds like a total dis of the legacy of Martin Luther King about two weeks ago, then on Monday, Martin Luther King's birthday, we have former President Bill Clinton falling to sleep during a rousing speech at the Convent Avenue Baptist Church in Harlem!

And all of this as Barack Obama gives a bring-the-house-down speech on that Sunday!

I can't help but think there's a small problem there, other than the fact that Bill's sleepy. But man, on MLK day?

The Davos Question - My Video Call To End Racism Around The World

YouTube in partnership with The Davos Forum has established a great "contest" although I don't think of it like that. YouTubers are asked to submit a video answering the question "What one thing do you think that countries, companies or individuals must do to make the world a better place in 2008?"

I thought a long time about the question, and then, after approaching Mayor Gavin Newsom to be in the video, then getting caught up against deadlines, I had the answer: to end racism around the World.

I got the video into the YouTube Davos system at the last minute, litterally, before the day of the 21st ended. Then I got the confirmation email, so I guess and hope it makes it.

Here's the video:

Monday, January 21, 2008

Barack Obama Triumphs Over Hillary Clinton In Tonight's Debate

Tonight's contentious and combative debate between a cold and calculated Hillary Clinton and a confident and genuine Barack Obama, will serve as a true indicator of where South Carolinian's and voters nationwide stand on candidate preference.

Clinton regularly harps on the concentrated point that she has been their for ''16 years'' and has the distinct ability to perform on day one in the White House. Reality check, the leadership in Washington has failed miserably and as an individual immersed in that rampant failure, her assertion will resonate negatively with voters across America.

The longer she speaks in partisan terms, the longer she'll witness her poll numbers fall drastically.

Unfortunately, both Clinton and former North Carolina Senator John Edwards ruthlessly attacked Obama on several substantive issues to no avail. As the debate persisted, it became blatantly obvious that Obama's message strongly resonated with South Carolina primary voters. Do you think this can catapult him to victory Saturday? I do.

Hillary Clinton Gets BOOED! Clinton Is Nasty In Behavior

I'm watching the CNN Debate in South Carolina with Senator Obama, Senator Edwards and Senator Clinton. I place Hillary Clinton last because in this debate she came off as a mean and calculating person who does not deserve to be President. She was so nasty toward Senator Obama, that the crowd just booed her.

Hillary Clinton was terrible, and it looked like her entire approach was to bring out any dirt she could think of, but it made her look like the worst person in the World.

For his part, Senator Obama looked presidential, but also really focused on showing the "real Hillary" and he did; she played right along.

U.S. Economy Headed For Depression? Record Consumer Debt Level Points The Way

I've said this for years: the United States Credit System is the shock-absorber to economic fluxuations and when healthy guarantees constant growth in the economy and guards against a long-term recession or worse, a Depression.

But that party's coming to an end, rapidly. Take a look at these indicators presented by US Recession in 2007 - Third Leg of the Bear Market Likely

In 2004 I told Gary Hart, who was considering a presidential run, about this. All he could talk about was changing the tax system. Geez!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

MLK: Barack Obama Gives What TIME's Joe Klein Calls "A Great Speech"

Senator Barack Obama just gave what TIME Magazine's Joe Klein called a "Great Speech", so much so that he shared the entire text of it. Here's that speech in video:

And in text:

The Scripture tells us that when Joshua and the Israelites arrived at the gates of Jericho, they could not enter. The walls of the city were too steep for any one person to climb; too strong to be taken down with brute force. And so they sat for days, unable to pass on through.
But God had a plan for his people. He told them to stand together and march together around the city, and on the seventh day he told them that when they heard the sound of the ram’s horn, they should speak with one voice. And at the chosen hour, when the horn sounded and a chorus of voices cried out together, the mighty walls of Jericho came tumbling down.
There are many lessons to take from this passage, just as there are many lessons to take from this day, just as there are many memories that fill the space of this church. As I was thinking about which ones we need to remember at this hour, my mind went back to the very beginning of the modern Civil Rights Era.
Because before Memphis and the mountaintop; before the bridge in Selma and the march on Washington; before Birmingham and the beatings; the fire hoses and the loss of those four little girls; before there was King the icon and his magnificent dream, there was King the young preacher and a people who found themselves suffering under the yolk of oppression.
And on the eve of the bus boycotts in Montgomery, at a time when many were still doubtful about the possibilities of change, a time when those in the black community mistrusted themselves, and at times mistrusted each other, King inspired with words not of anger, but of an urgency that still speaks to us today:
“Unity is the great need of the hour” is what King said. Unity is how we shall overcome.
What Dr. King understood is that if just one person chose to walk instead of ride the bus, those walls of oppression would not be moved. But maybe if a few more walked, the foundation might start to shake. If a few more women were willing to do what Rosa Parks had done, maybe the cracks would start to show. If teenagers took freedom rides from North to South, maybe a few bricks would come loose. Maybe if white folks marched because they had come to understand that their freedom too was at stake in the impending battle, the wall would begin to sway. And if enough Americans were awakened to the injustice; if they joined together, North and South, rich and poor, Christian and Jew, then perhaps that wall would come tumbling down, and justice would flow like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.
Unity is the great need of the hour – the great need of this hour. Not because it sounds pleasant or because it makes us feel good, but because it’s the only way we can overcome the essential deficit that exists in this country.
I’m not talking about a budget deficit. I’m not talking about a trade deficit. I’m not talking about a deficit of good ideas or new plans.
I’m talking about a moral deficit. I’m talking about an empathy deficit. I’m taking about an inability to recognize ourselves in one another; to understand that we are our brother’s keeper; we are our sister’s keeper; that, in the words of Dr. King, we are all tied together in a single garment of destiny.
We have an empathy deficit when we’re still sending our children down corridors of shame – schools in the forgotten corners of America where the color of your skin still affects the content of your education.
We have a deficit when CEOs are making more in ten minutes than some workers make in ten months; when families lose their homes so that lenders make a profit; when mothers can’t afford a doctor when their children get sick.
We have a deficit in this country when there is Scooter Libby justice for some and Jena justice for others; when our children see nooses hanging from a schoolyard tree today, in the present, in the twenty-first century.
We have a deficit when homeless veterans sleep on the streets of our cities; when innocents are slaughtered in the deserts of Darfur; when young Americans serve tour after tour of duty in a war that should’ve never been authorized and never been waged.
And we have a deficit when it takes a breach in our levees to reveal a breach in our compassion; when it takes a terrible storm to reveal the hungry that God calls on us to feed; the sick He calls on us to care for; the least of these He commands that we treat as our own.
So we have a deficit to close. We have walls – barriers to justice and equality – that must come down. And to do this, we know that unity is the great need of this hour.
Unfortunately, all too often when we talk about unity in this country, we’ve come to believe that it can be purchased on the cheap. We’ve come to believe that racial reconciliation can come easily – that it’s just a matter of a few ignorant people trapped in the prejudices of the past, and that if the demagogues and those who exploit our racial divisions will simply go away, then all our problems would be solved.
All too often, we seek to ignore the profound institutional barriers that stand in the way of ensuring opportunity for all children, or decent jobs for all people, or health care for those who are sick. We long for unity, but are unwilling to pay the price.
But of course, true unity cannot be so easily won. It starts with a change in attitudes – a broadening of our minds, and a broadening of our hearts.
It’s not easy to stand in somebody else’s shoes. It’s not easy to see past our differences. We’ve all encountered this in our own lives. But what makes it even more difficult is that we have a politics in this country that seeks to drive us apart – that puts up walls between us.
We are told that those who differ from us on a few things are different from us on all things; that our problems are the fault of those who don’t think like us or look like us or come from where we do. The welfare queen is taking our tax money. The immigrant is taking our jobs. The believer condemns the non-believer as immoral, and the non-believer chides the believer as intolerant.
For most of this country’s history, we in the African-American community have been at the receiving end of man’s inhumanity to man. And all of us understand intimately the insidious role that race still sometimes plays – on the job, in the schools, in our health care system, and in our criminal justice system.
And yet, if we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that none of our hands are entirely clean. If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll acknowledge that our own community has not always been true to King’s vision of a beloved community.
We have scorned our gay brothers and sisters instead of embracing them. The scourge of anti-Semitism has, at times, revealed itself in our community. For too long, some of us have seen immigrants as competitors for jobs instead of companions in the fight for opportunity.
Every day, our politics fuels and exploits this kind of division across all races and regions; across gender and party. It is played out on television. It is sensationalized by the media. And last week, it even crept into the campaign for President, with charges and counter-charges that served to obscure the issues instead of illuminating the critical choices we face as a nation.
So let us say that on this day of all days, each of us carries with us the task of changing our hearts and minds. The division, the stereotypes, the scape-goating, the ease with which we blame our plight on others – all of this distracts us from the common challenges we face – war and poverty; injustice and inequality. We can no longer afford to build ourselves up by tearing someone else down. We can no longer afford to traffic in lies or fear or hate. It is the poison that we must purge from our politics; the wall that we must tear down before the hour grows too late.
Because if Dr. King could love his jailor; if he could call on the faithful who once sat where you do to forgive those who set dogs and fire hoses upon them, then surely we can look past what divides us in our time, and bind up our wounds, and erase the empathy deficit that exists in our hearts.
But if changing our hearts and minds is the first critical step, we cannot stop there. It is not enough to bemoan the plight of poor children in this country and remain unwilling to push our elected officials to provide the resources to fix our schools. It is not enough to decry the disparities of health care and yet allow the insurance companies and the drug companies to block much-needed reforms. It is not enough for us to abhor the costs of a misguided war, and yet allow ourselves to be driven by a politics of fear that sees the threat of attack as way to scare up votes instead of a call to come together around a common effort.
The Scripture tells us that we are judged not just by word, but by deed. And if we are to truly bring about the unity that is so crucial in this time, we must find it within ourselves to act on what we know; to understand that living up to this country’s ideals and its possibilities will require great effort and resources; sacrifice and stamina.
And that is what is at stake in the great political debate we are having today. The changes that are needed are not just a matter of tinkering at the edges, and they will not come if politicians simply tell us what we want to hear. All of us will be called upon to make some sacrifice. None of us will be exempt from responsibility. We will have to fight to fix our schools, but we will also have to challenge ourselves to be better parents. We will have to confront the biases in our criminal justice system, but we will also have to acknowledge the deep-seated violence that still resides in our own communities and marshal the will to break its grip.
That is how we will bring about the change we seek. That is how Dr. King led this country through the wilderness. He did it with words – words that he spoke not just to the children of slaves, but the children of slave owners. Words that inspired not just black but also white; not just the Christian but the Jew; not just the Southerner but also the Northerner.
He led with words, but he also led with deeds. He also led by example. He led by marching and going to jail and suffering threats and being away from his family. He led by taking a stand against a war, knowing full well that it would diminish his popularity. He led by challenging our economic structures, understanding that it would cause discomfort. Dr. King understood that unity cannot be won on the cheap; that we would have to earn it through great effort and determination.
That is the unity – the hard-earned unity – that we need right now. It is that effort, and that determination, that can transform blind optimism into hope – the hope to imagine, and work for, and fight for what seemed impossible before.
The stories that give me such hope don’t happen in the spotlight. They don’t happen on the presidential stage. They happen in the quiet corners of our lives. They happen in the moments we least expect. Let me give you an example of one of those stories.
There is a young, twenty-three year old white woman named Ashley Baia who organizes for our campaign in Florence, South Carolina. She’s been working to organize a mostly African-American community since the beginning of this campaign, and the other day she was at a roundtable discussion where everyone went around telling their story and why they were there.
And Ashley said that when she was nine years old, her mother got cancer. And because she had to miss days of work, she was let go and lost her health care. They had to file for bankruptcy, and that’s when Ashley decided that she had to do something to help her mom.
She knew that food was one of their most expensive costs, and so Ashley convinced her mother that what she really liked and really wanted to eat more than anything else was mustard and relish sandwiches. Because that was the cheapest way to eat.
She did this for a year until her mom got better, and she told everyone at the roundtable that the reason she joined our campaign was so that she could help the millions of other children in the country who want and need to help their parents too.
So Ashley finishes her story and then goes around the room and asks everyone else why they’re supporting the campaign. They all have different stories and reasons. Many bring up a specific issue. And finally they come to this elderly black man who’s been sitting there quietly the entire time. And Ashley asks him why he’s there. And he does not bring up a specific issue. He does not say health care or the economy. He does not say education or the war. He does not say that he was there because of Barack Obama. He simply says to everyone in the room, “I am here because of Ashley.”
By itself, that single moment of recognition between that young white girl and that old black man is not enough. It is not enough to give health care to the sick, or jobs to the jobless, or education to our children.
But it is where we begin. It is why the walls in that room began to crack and shake.
And if they can shake in that room, they can shake in Atlanta.
And if they can shake in Atlanta, they can shake in Georgia.
And if they can shake in Georgia, they can shake all across America. And if enough of our voices join together; we can bring those walls tumbling down. The walls of Jericho can finally come tumbling down. That is our hope – but only if we pray together, and work together, and march together.
Brothers and sisters, we cannot walk alone.
In the struggle for peace and justice, we cannot walk alone.
In the struggle for opportunity and equality, we cannot walk alone
In the struggle to heal this nation and repair this world, we cannot walk alone.
So I ask you to walk with me, and march with me, and join your voice with mine, and together we will sing the song that tears down the walls that divide us, and lift up an America that is truly indivisible, with liberty, and justice, for all. May God bless the memory of the great pastor of this church, and may God bless the United States of America.

Tom Cruise Scientology Video | Tom Cruise Shows A Religous Side

This is the Tom Cruise video you may have known about. Actually, there are parts of this video that are really funny, but maybe that's because I don't care what religion he selects, I still like his movies -- well, most of them.

You be the judge!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Mitt Romney Prevails in Nevada

The combustible Republican presidential process took another step towards complexity today as vastly polarized candidate Mitt Romney emerged victorious in the battle ground state of Nevada.

Mitt Romney, boosted by a thunderous injection of Mormon voters, handily defeated prominent rivals John McCain and Mike Huckabee by over a 30% margin. Voters who affiliated themselves as Mormons comprised 50% of the Republican caucus goers.

The former Massachusetts Governor received an overwhelming majority of support of those in every income bracket,age group,by Evangelical Christians, Republicans, military service men and women, and individuals who prioritized the battered economy, illegal immigration, the Iraq war and terrorism as integral issues to be concerned with.

Libertarian Ron Paul, who managed to finish a stellar second, received 51% of the vote from independents. Equipped with victories in Wyoming, Michigan and Nevada, and second place finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire, Romney is in prime position to catapult ahead to the Republican nomination.

Remember, this is a race for delegates and Romney has accrued a substantial amount so far in his quest for the White House.

Clinton and Obama Split Nevada; Hillary Votes, Barack Delegates

After a bitter battle, Senator Hillary Clinton and Senator Barack Obama split Nevada, with Clinton winning the popular vote by a small margin, and Obama winning the deligate count, again, by a small margin.


Here's the totals:

Hillary Clinton 5,355 51% 12
Barack Obama 4,773 45% 13
John Edwards 396 4% 0
Uncommitted 31 0%
Dennis Kucinich 5 0% 0
Bill Richardson 0 0% 0

Note that Obama won the deligate battle. According to MSNBC: But hold on, folks. The Nevada Democratic Party just issued this clarification (emphasis is ours): "No national convention delegates were awarded. That said, if the delegate preferences remain unchanged between now and April 2008, the calculations of national convention delegates being circulated by the Associated Press are correct. We look forward to our county and state conventions where we will choose the delegates for the nominee that Nevadans support."

What does this mean? It looks like the Obama camp's math (as well as the AP's and NBC's) is correct.

Thus, regardless of the Clinton camp's claim , Obama has won the deligate count.

Something else is clear: John Edwards should drop out of the race.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Hillary Clinton Lists Ronald Reagan As One Of Her Favorite Presidents

After bashing Senator Barack Obama for saying that Ronald Reagan's presidency ushered in an era of change in America, and stating that Obama liked Reagan, which Obama did not say, we now find that Senator Clinton's press release dated 12/12/2007 lists Ronald Reagan as one of her favorite presidents.

Wow. The Clinton problem is that she's so busy trying to find weakness she's tripping all over herself. Here's the release below:

Eleven Salmon Press Weekly Newspapers Endorse Hillary Clinton for President

MANCHESTER, NH - The Salmon Press newspapers, which include 11 weekly newspapers published throughout New Hampshire’s Lakes Region and North Country today endorsed Hillary Clinton for President. The Salmon Press is the first newspaper in New Hampshire to endorse a Democrat in the 2008 primary. In their endorsement editorial, the Salmon Press highlighted the "combination of her proven track record and positive vision for America" adding "she’s an engaging personality able to unite people behind a common cause regardless of their political affiliations."
"Every week the Salmon Press newspapers provide a local voice for many New Hampshire communities and I am honored to have their endorsement," said Senator Clinton. "I have enjoyed talking and meeting with voters in New Hampshire and earning their support in my campaign. I believe I am the candidate with the record and experience American families can depend on to make real change happen."
The 11 Salmon Press newspapers include: the Littleton Courier, Coos County Democrat (Lancaster, NH) and Berlin Reporter, the Granite State News (Wolfeboro, NH), Carroll County Independent (Conway, NH), Meredith News, Record Enterprise (Plymouth, NH), Winnisquam Echo (Tilton, NH), Gilford Steamer, Baysider (Alton, NH), and Mountain Ear (Conway, NH). The Salmon Press endorsed Bill Bradley for president in 2000 and Howard Dean in 2004.
The Salmon Press endorsement editorial follows:
Sen. Hillary Clinton
Those that don’t think experience counts in politics haven’t been listening to Sen. Hillary Clinton. The combination of her proven track record and positive vision for America make her our choice in the Democratic primary.
Sen. Clinton earned our admiration as the First Lady and respect as a U.S. senator from New York. Today she’s an engaging personality able to unite people behind a common cause regardless of their political affiliations. She hit the Senate floor on the run and she can do the same thing in the White House.
She is sincere and passionate about restoring fiscal responsibility, providing health care to all Americans, protecting the environment, keeping the tax burden off the middle class and earning the faith and trust of the American people.
But no president can do it alone. She must break recent tradition, cast cronyism aside and fill her cabinet with the best people, not only the best Democrats, but the best Republicans as well.. We’re confident she will do that. Her list of favorite presidents - Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Lincoln, both Roosevelts, Truman, George H.W. Bush and Reagan - demonstrates how she thinks. As expected, Bill Clinton was also included on the aforementioned list.
After all it was during his administration - eight years of peace and prosperity - that Hillary was able to observe, learn and contribute, all at the same time. And though she possesses traits similar to the former president, a great communicator chief among them - the voters of New York State have overwhelmingly validated her abilities - twice.
Sen. Clinton told us she doesn’t want our vote just because she’s a "woman." She wants our vote because she’s the "best." On the Democratic side we agree that she is.