Thursday, November 20, 2008

My worst person in the world

MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, host of "Countdown," is on vacation so I am stepping into the breach for his signature feature, "Worst Persons."
My nominee comes courtesy of Newsweek, as reported by Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post:
"Obama triggers such fear in the hearts of America's millennialist Christians. Mat Staver, dean of Liberty University's law school, says he does not believe Obama is the Antichrist, but he can see how others might. Obama's own use of religious rhetoric belies his liberal positions on abortion and traditional marriage, Staver says, positions that 'religious conservatives believe will threaten their freedom.' The people who believe Obama is the Antichrist are perhaps jumping to conclusions, but they're not nuts: 'They are expressing a concern and a fear that is widely shared,' Staver says."

You must remember that Liberty University is the spawn of the late Jerry Falwell and teaches accordingly. However, such religious bigotry and stupidity is being passed along to students who might actually believe such bullshit!
And turn them into society as ... LAWYERS?!?!?!?
However, Mr. Staver is definitely wrong about something - if you hold such a twisted belief, YOU ARE NUTS!
Mat Staver, dean of fools, today's WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Auto industry NEEDS the bailout

While the U.S. auto industry has monumental problems, not the least of which is the fickleness of the American consumer who demands change far faster than the system (design, retooling, construction, sales) allows,
There is also a major piece of hypocrisy at work. AIG was originally slotted for a whopping $115 BILLION in its bailout (for reasons far FAR shaadier than the Big 3), but two weeks ago, it was announced (without ANY public reaction or outrage) that the Treasury Dept. was upping the amount to ... $140 BILLION - equal to that $25 billion sought by the automakers.
AND ... AIG executives were STILL spending high six-figures on outings and confabs at luxury spas and resorts. If AIG is SO broke, why such flaunting and thumbing of noses at the taxpayer? Why aren't these goddamn people in jail?
Bashing people who work making cars for a living seems to be fashionable. Personally, I'd rather have bailout/loan/assisstance funds go to working families (union or NOT) than to selfish, uncaring executives who are ripping off the U.S. public. You can flog the auto management all you wish; I'll toss in a lash or two. But ... in the end, NOT helping will only hurt middle class families and is NOT a good thing for this nation's economy.
Which is STILL the bottom line.
By the way, the Southern Republican senators (notably Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions) voicing the loudest opposition have alterior motives - to move the jobs from the Midwest to places like Alabama. It is a subtle version of pork, at the expense of an entire region of the U.S.
I guess if you couldn't win the Civil War one way, just wait until you bankrupt that part of the country for your own economic benefit. Screw those people who want to let Detroit and the Midwest just rot. Next hurriance, fend for your own selves.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The auto industry deserves equal treatment

Since more jobs and families' lives depend on the auto industry, and related/supportive businesses (dealerships, parts, etc.) than, say, AIG, the same offer of help should be extended by the federal government.
It is interesting that the Bush administration's Treasury Dept. INCREASED the bailout of AIG by $25 billion ... without blinking an eyelash ... or much discussion. YET people are up in arms about ... THE SAME AMOUNT going to help the Big 3. What gives?!?
The auto assistance would help MORE MIDDLE CLASS families than anything to AIG, whose brain-dead executives have been openly flaunting their lavish spending at spas, resorts, etc. with their "let them eat cake" attitude. Why these people aren't headed to jail is a mystery rivaling "Who Shot J.R.?"
I would ask anyone who disagrees with the auto assistance (I refrian from using the term "bailout;" it is a LOAN) to reconcile the AIG fiasco, including the $25 billiob unexplained add-on, with an industry that affects some 1.2 MILLION workers and families.
Which ONE is really more important to the nation's economic health?
Full disclosure: As a native Detroiter, I grew up soaked in what the Big 3 meant to everyone in that city, state and region. Remember, it's just NOT Detroit on the line here but scores of towns with auto assembly factories OR who make auto-related items (mufflers, window glass, tires, engine parts, and brake pads ... and not just Callahan Brake Pads) or who sell and repair them ...
AND for all you NASCAR fans, watch to see if there isn't a MAJOR cutback/dropoff in participation in that sport. A left turn isn't the only "turn" drivers and teams will have to face; welcome to the reality of the DOWNTURN.

Monday, November 10, 2008

New agenda for America: buy local, sell local

There is no fear in my household of the telephone ringing in the early hours of any morning, with someone from the Obama Transition team on the line, asking me for advice on turning the economy around. The soon-to-be president has plenty of brilliant minds locked in several rooms, contemplating just such actions.
However, if it were to happen, there are a few pearls of wisdom I’d love to share with them, and you: launch a nationwide campaign to buy American products – first and foremost – and to SELL American products – first and foremost. It’s time for this nation to begin supporting companies making products in the United States, selling those products in their stores and encouraging industries, long ago shipped away to foreign lands because of ridiculously cheap labor forces, to reignite their factories to make them here.
If I were President Obama, I’d call a summit meeting of the nation’s largest retailers, led by Wal-Mart Corpora­tion in Bentonville, Ark., and cheerleader of this disturbing trend. I’d strongly seek a return to “America FIRST” manufacturing and retailing as a major spoke in the economic recovery wheel.
I would insist on a full-blown media blitz, led by those retailers and manufacturers, to saturate the country with the “Shop Local, Buy Local, Make Local” message. President Obama can only do so much from his bully pulpit; it needs to come from the people involved in the retailing-manufacturing process.
Why Wal-Mart, the symbol of middle America? Precisely because it IS that very icon. Once upon a time, Wal-Mart used to pride itself (and advertise in a boastful manner) about ALL the things it sold “made in the USA.” Now, you can hardly find anything within its walls with that label (Wal-Mart was a frontrunner of the job loss stampede).
The American consumer must also bear plenty of responsibility for its insatiable “cheap is better” thirst. With price becoming the overriding consideration, little concern was given to the residual effects of “made in (Fill in the Blank);” the biggest being a near evaporation of the American manufacturing sector.
The United States, sadly, has become a nation of warehouses and distribution centers, storing cheap items pro­duced elsewhere. The main jobs offered are working the loading docks and driving the forklifts to pile things that should be made on these shores.
It’s been happening for some time now; it didn’t appear overnight. In the 1990s, the growth industry in many parts of the U.S. (notably Texas) was the construction of prisons (private and state-operated). Cities engaged in cut­throat campaigning for such facilities, often to replace and another dismal, dwindling sector – military bases which have been closed by the score for three decades.
And what exactly does it say about our society, our priorities and our future?
Americans must display some fortitude and endure some measure of self-sacrifice in order to restore our eco­no­my. We must steer away from the low end, ask/demand American-made products when buying anything, and loudly in­sist on that requirement at local retail outlets.
The results will be greatly beneficial for everyone, including the consumer in ways not always realized. Ask any small-town chamber of commerce and you’ll discover a single dollar spent with a local business is turned over 5-8 times within that one community – going toward payroll, toward rent, toward groceries, toward meals, toward other local businesses. Circulating dollars is the cornerstone of any stimulus package and doesn’t require the government to go deeper in debt.
If you believe such a campaign would be impossible to achieve, just ask yourself one simple question: what is the current price of gasoline?
Finally, a turnaround in American manufacturing would also revive a most important attribute seemingly lacking lately – pride. We need to remember what it feels like to wear something with the label, “Made in the USA,” or make something with American hands, mindpower and muscle. We DO have the best workforce in the world, but it isn’t being allowed to function at any kind of percentage close to normal.
When ALL Americans unite in a common purpose to buy American-made products, and sell those products (including the phone they use to call me) and many more, the U.S. will actually return to its rightful place as the number one economic power in the world.
And truly mean it!

Friday, November 07, 2008

The "four bells" of history

After watching MSNBC Tuesday night and seeing the heartfelt reaction to Barack Obama’s election victory (as well as Eugene Robinson’s Washington Post column Thursday on the same subject – when he was was editor of that paper and I worked in the sports department), I flashed back to the days and nights at the Michigan Daily, the student newspaper at the University of Michigan, when we would wait and watch for the world to change … for the better.
On that August night in 1974, but I was there at the Students Publications Building on Maynard Street, when the Associated Press wire machines in the back began to go crazy, announcing the resignation of President Nixon.
Aside from missing the unique sound those machines made, the clickety-clack staccato that often kept us going and alert when the nickel Coca-Cola buzz was fading away, along with the stream of cascading wire copy printout streaming down the back stairs to the composition room, I miss the signal of impending major news sent by AP – the bells.
I remembered that one bell signaled a news bulletin coming over the wires, two bells upped its importance and three bells meant you needed to stop and pay real close attention.
However, FOUR bells was the rarest of happenings – only a chosen few events offered the four bell treatment in our lifetime – JFK’s assassination in Dallas, Neil Armstrong setting foot on the moon. But on that night, the machines were eerily silent for a few moments when the bells began to ring as if Burton Tower was inside the Daily. Some of us rushed from watching the TV in the other end of the second floor and saw the simple bulletin: “Nixon resigns.”
It was, so we thought, a “game changing” event for the world; I guess only to discover that Peter Townsend was right, “Meet the new boss; same as the old boss.”
BUT … on that hot August evening, it was the biggest news story I had ever seen/heard and indirectly involved in as a newspaperman (albeit at such a tender age). Much has happened since, but when 10 p.m. rolled around here in Texas, and David Gregory and Keith Olbermann simultaneously announced Barack Obama had been elected as the 44th President, the first African-American to achieve the loftiest of goals, my head began to ring with those “four bells.”
To this day, I retain my copy of the Daily (the only complete issued I kept from those halcyon days) with the “Nixon resigns” headline in the biggest type Lucien could find. I am trying to collect as many front pages from various friends across the U.S. to preserve for my children and granddaughter – to show her and them that, yes, you CAN become president of the United States IF that is your ambition. Nothing can stop you now.
When Robinson told his 18-year-old son the same thing, yes, it was now the God’s truth, and, in the comfort of my living room, my composure was far less restrained at the sight of John Lewis’ and Jesse Jackson’s emotional responses.
I was just happy and lucky enough to be alive to see it.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Top 10 historical events in MY lifetime

At my age (56), I was thinking that Tuesday's election of Barack Obama as the first African-American president of the U.S. was truly history in the making.
But where would it rank in my mind about my lifetime?
So here is my top 10 list of all -time historical events sicne I was born in 1952 (it won't include Vietnam or the San Francisco earthquake or living through a tornado in Texas in 1994):
10) Hurricane Katrina (changed everything about this nation's most special city and exposed the depth of our nation's governmental insincerity toward its own citizenry)
9) Death of John Lennon (you might this strange but it affected an entire generation more than people realize)
8) Assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy in 1968 (the entire year was bad; these things were the worst - no one knows what our nation would have been had RFK lived and been elected president which he WOULD have)
7) Challenger explosion (I watched it live and it stopped any serious advancement in our space program, whcih has seriously hampered our development and education in math and science)
6) Obama's election (this could, hopefully, change the politics and face of America ...for the better)
5) Assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963 (the total end of innocence in the United States - nothing else was EVER the same)
4) 1967 Detroit race riots (so profound to me, it changed everything, for the worse, about the city in which I was born and raised)
3) Nixon resignation (the biggest scandal in my lifetime and the worst, most divisive political chapter of pour nation)
2) Sept. 11, 2001 (the second loss of innocence, and subsequent loss of liberty, humanity and spirit in the U.S.; we stopped being the beacon of hope and became the isolated revengers)
1) American sets foot on the moon (for the first time, mankind left and then touch another surface; NO achievement has ever equaled this in MY lifetime).

Just when you least expect it ...

I am driving back from my rehab workout at the Medical Center of Plano, along Park Blvd., when a silver Jaguar begins honking at my 1999 Ford Explorer (it was not because both are Ford products).
A woman, blonde, in her 40s and "well tended" as they tend to say in this here the suburbs of 'burbs, pulled along my right side and, after seeing my "TEXANS FOR OBAMA" bumper sticker, flashed a big smile and gave me a huge "thumbs up" - obviously in support of that sentiment.
Normally, I get looks of total scorn and even NASCAR paint scraping from some of the redder of necks in this county. But this was totally unexpected.
Maybe ... just maybe ... things have REALLY changed in America.

"Change has come to America"

To the following people:
Rush Limbaugh
Sean Hannity
Bill O'Reilly
Lars Larson
Mike Gallagher
Mark Levin
Mark Davis
Bill Cunningham
Glenn Beck
Laura Ingraham
Michael Medved
Dennis Prager
Michael Savage
John Gibson
Hugh Hewitt
Charlie Jones
Eric Harley
Jerry Doyle
G. Gordon Liddy
Bill Bennett
Jeff Bolton
Neal Boortz
Rusty Humphries
and MANY, many other right-wing partisan talk radio vomit yakkers...
May you choke today on all the crow you are forced to consume!
The American PEOPLE, not your robotic listening audience, made history and announced a new direction for this nation last night. YOU people need to listen instead of forcing others to listen to you.
And in the dead of night, I thought of Tim Russert looking down from Heaven, cursing his Buffalo Bills for losing last Sunday and cursing himself for NOT being around to see such a moment in time.
God Bless Barack Obama as he moves forward to lead this nation and God Bless America!

Monday, November 03, 2008

All you need to know about candidates ...

It's Halloween Night and you have children, ready to go trick or treating. What do you do?
If you are Sarah Palin, governor of Alaska and running for vice president of the U.S., you shclepp your youngest daughter in some costume through a strange (to you) Philadelphia suburb, with TV cameras and Secret Service in tow, begging for candy.
You also have your infant daughter, suffering from Down's Symdrome, in costume too (in violation of any clear Halloween rule that a child must be able to walk to a door to get candy) - all for the obvious PR effect.
If you are Barack Obama, senator from Illinois and candidate for President of the U.S., you GO HOME to Chicago, stash away the cameras, take your daughters through THEIR own neighborhood ... as ANY NORMAL FATHER WOULD! Away from the press; just sharing family time together.
Just exactly WHO is showing the proper family values?
And WHY isn't little 7-year-old Piper Palin IN SCHOOL? In Alaska? What kind of parent allows this child to become a campaign PROP??!?? And why is a special needs child, who needs "special" care, constantly hoisted up like she is in "The Lion King" to GOP crowds?
It disgusts me and to think she wants to govern anyone in this nation. Hopefully the people of Alaska will send her packing to Wasilla in two years ... unless she appoints HERSELF to replace Ted Stevens as U.S. Senator (if this cranky felon actually wins re-election tomorrow).
Perhaps it WOULD be a good idea for Alaska to become its own nation ... less corruption for the rest of us.

Sarah Palin is still a DOLT!

Please ... someone outh there ... please tell me what this idiot woman is talking about:
(From CNN Ticker, Nov. 3, 2008)

(Sarah) Palin again accused Barack Obama of wanting to bankrput the coal industry, citing an interview the Democrat gave to the San Francisco Chronicle in January in which he discussed his “aggressive” cap-and-trade proposal to limit carbon and greenhouse gas emissions.
“Just yesterday, revelation, an audiotape surfaces,” Palin argued, despite the fact that the Obama interview has been posted online for nine months. “People are starting to hear in his own words what Sen. Obama’s intention is for the coal industry. You got to hear this tape. You’re going to hear Obama saying it, talking about bankruptcy, bankruptcy there in the coal industry. He’s explaining all this to the San Francisco Chronicle, and he says …”
Palin was interrupted by an audience member who shouted “Liberal!” She continued: “And there must be something about San Francisco and he because it’s like I heard on Fox News today, it’s like a truth serum where when he’s there, he seems to be more candid, and remember it was there that he talked about, there you go, the bitter clingers, the cling-ons, all of us, I guess, you know holding on to religion and guns and, um, so something about he being there in San Francisco.”

What a fool! What a puppet!
The most frightening prospect is her obvious candidacy in 2012 and the number of robotic followers she will have. Never overestimate the intelligence of a large segment of the U.S> population.