Sunday, November 30, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
The Pakistani government has long had a complicated relationship with the militants within its borders. They have pretty much allowed them to exist as long as they didn't attack the government but now these militants have grown to nearly rival the government and the Pakistanis can hardly keep them in check anymore. The new Pakistani government needs to work with the new Obama administration to take a harder line against these terrorists and finally crush them and take away their funding. Because if terrorists somehow topple the government then they would have their hands on nuclear weapons--the nightmare scenario for everyone. They wouldn't hesitate to launch them toward Afghanistan to kill our soldiers and to kill Indians in India.
Pakistan must get serious or else they will lose control of their control and possibly face an international intervention within their territory. I think a possible Asian summit might be beneficial to bring the international community into the solution. It's difficult though to stop this kind of attack because you can't shut down every hotel in India on a permanent basis. In an open and free society its difficult to be everywhere at all times. It is also hard to prevent because this kind of attack didn't take much but a few machine guns and some grenades.
Barack Obama is looking quite wise in keeping Bob Gates at the Defense department during the transition between the two administrations. This provides a seamless transition to maintain the utmost level of security during a time of change in American government.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
On Thursday, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin appeared in Wasilla in order to pardon a local turkey in anticipation of Thanksgiving. This proved to be a slightly absurd but ultimately unremarkable event. But what came next was positively surreal. After the pardon Palin proceeded to do an interview with a local TV station while the turkeys were being SLAUGHTERED in the background!! Seemingly oblivious to the gruesomeness going on over her shoulder, she carries on talking for over three minutes. Watch the video below to see for yourself. Be warned, it's kind of gruesome.
This kind of slaughter is a major reason why I (and many others) are vegetarians. But Sarah Palin fits right in with the slaughterers with her orders to kill wolves on sight whether babies or not. She's a ruthless politician I've heard, which fits her attitude toward animals. At least the turkey's suffering is shorter than the suffering that we have to endure listening to Sarah Palin for the next 4 years as one commenter said on Huffington Post.
This ironically occurred while yesterday another hidden video caught workers at a turkey farm throwing the animals against the floor, kicking them and abusing them in other ways. I hardly even remember what Palin said during the video it was that disturbing. A reporter asked Palin if she was okay with the backdrop. The Alaskan Governor answered, "no worries." As the bird's head was removed, the man looked over his shoulder at the governor and reporters and flashed a toothy grin.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008; Page A06
The Environmental Protection Agency is finalizing new air-quality rules that would make it easier to build coal-fired power plants, oil refineries and other major polluters near national parks and wilderness areas, even though half of the EPA's 10 regional administrators formally dissented from the decision and four others criticized the move in writing. The proposal would change the practice of measuring pollution levels near national parks, which is currently done over three-hour and 24-hour increments to capture emission spikes during periods of peak energy demand; instead, the levels would be averaged over a year. Under this system, spikes in pollution would no longer violate the law. "It's going in the wrong direction for our efforts to try to improve air quality in the parks."
TPJ: This is a sneaky move by the Bush administration as they are doing it at the 11th hour before his presidency expires. I grew up in the west where vast tracts of wilderness are all around. I live in Colorado at the base of a national park and our city relies a lot upon spending from tourists who come to visit the pristine area. These unspoiled places are refuges for endangered animals and other animals, which call the parks home. These places are also refuges for people to get away from the dirty cities and enjoy nature as it once was from coast to coast.
I know that there are many Republicans who would drill for oil, coal and mine for minerals in all of these national parks if they had the chance. So here you have the Bush administration trying to pull this stunt off despite Bush supposedly admiring Teddy Roosevelt who started the national park system!! There is no such thing as a "true" Republican anymore. The traditional Republican party members have become Independents or conservative Democrats and all that is left in the current "Republican party" are neo-conservative religious radicals.
I have to think that President Obama will change the relaxing of these restrictions on pollution since the environment was an important issue for him on the campaign trail. Many voted for him for exactly that committment to green energy, reducing global warming and environmental degredation.
PHOTO: Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, USA near the town where I live.
Friday, November 14, 2008
The successful reintegration of returning service members is an issue that will have a long-lasting impact on American society, and may become the single defining struggle facing this new generation of veterans. Survivor Corps and its partners are determined to avoid the mistakes made when veterans returned from Vietnam, which resulted in tens of thousands of post-war suicides and over 200,000 men and women living on the streets.
To head off this tragic outcome, Survivor Corps will build peer support programs at the community level that will bring service members and veterans together for mutual support and encourage both individual responsibility and collective action to help others in need.
Survivor Corps is offering an alternative “treatment” that can be made readily available in all communities, regardless of proximity to traditional military or govern¬ment centers of support. Our approach is nimble enough to address the needs of individual survivors, while still broad enough to build a coalition of survivors and service providers working to effect long-term positive change. This new program will help the recovery and reintegration of hundreds of thousands of returning U.S. service members at a critical time for them and their country.
TPJ: We owe everything to our troops and I know that the Obama administration will take better care of our veterans than Bush has with the Walter Reid fiasco. Our soldiers should be given the gold member treatment in this country. How can we have people appointed to high position jobs in our government simply based on politically loyalty who are being paid more than our soldiers? It's very wrong in my opinion. It's easy to be patriotic from the comfort of your own home and be more than willing to send the troops into war and wave the flags but then ignore our soldiers once then come home and have ongoing needs. Especially when it comes to mental illness and trauma from war. The mental illness stigma must be shattered and help extended to all our brave young men and women. As someone who comes up against that mental illness stigma everday I can see how damaging it is to be ignored because you don't have "visible wounds."
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Keith Olbermann's Special Comment on Proposition 8. Plus Reasons Why Gays Shouldn't be Allowed to Marry.
eyeglasses, polyester, and birth control.
9. Heterosexual marriage has been around a
long time and hasn't changed at all; women are
property, blacks can't marry whites, and
divorce is illegal.
8. Gay marriage should be decided by the
people, not the courts, because majority-elected
legislatures, not courts, have historically
protected the rights of the minorities.
7. Gay marriage is not supported by religion.
In a theocracy like ours, the values of one
religion are imposed on the entire country. That's why
we have only one religion in America.
6. Legalizing gay marriage will open the door
to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even
wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal
standing and can sign a marriage contract.
5. Children can never succeed without a male
and a female role model at home. That's why
single parents are forbidden to raise children.
4. Gay marriage will change the foundation of
society. Heterosexual marriage has been
around for a long time, and we could never adapt to
new social norms because we haven't adapted to
things like cars or longer life spans.
3. Heterosexual marriages are valid because
they produce children. Infertile couples and old
people can't legally get married because the
world needs more children.
2. Civil unions, providing most of the same
benefits as marriage with a different name are
better, because a "seperate but equal"
institution is always constitutional. Separate
schools for African-Americans worked just as
well as separate marriages for gays and lesbians
1. Obviously, gay parents will raise gay
children, since straight parents only raise
---End of Transmission---
Monday, November 10, 2008
Saturday, November 08, 2008
Preserving Traditional Marriage and Strengthening Families
In March 2000 California voters overwhelmingly approved a state law providing that “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” The California Supreme Court recently reversed this vote of the people. On November 4, 2 008, Californians will vote on a proposed amendment to the California state constitution that will now restore the March 2000 definition of marriage approved by the voters.
The Church’s teachings and position on this moral issue are unequivocal. Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God, and the formation of families is central to the Creator’s plan for His children. Children are entitled to be born within this bond of marriage.
A broad-based coalition of churches and other organizations placed the proposed amendment on the ballot. The Church will participate with this coalition in seeking its passage. Local Church leaders will provide information about how you may become involved in this important cause.
We ask that you do all you can to support the proposed constitutional amendment by donating of your means and time to assure that marriage in California is legally defined as being between a man and a woman. Our best efforts are required to preserve the sacred institution of marriage.
And: As mentioned in the broadcast, the coalition approached the Church about getting involved. With a mere difference of 400,000 votes, I am certain had the Church not been involved this proposition would not have passed...TPJ: So tell me how this doesn't violate their tax exempt status? This link below also guides you on how to file a complaint with the IRS:
Section 501(c)(3) of US Code Title 26, which governs tax-exempt organizations, reads (emphasis added):
(3) Corporations, and any community chest, fund, or foundation, organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, testing for public safety, literary, or educational purposes, or to foster national or international amateur sports competition (but only if no part of its activities involve the provision of athletic facilities or equipment), or for the prevention of cruelty to children or animals, no part of the net earnings of which inures to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual, no substantial part of the activities of which is carrying on propaganda, or otherwise attempting, to influence legislation (except as otherwise provided in subsection (h)), and which does not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.
Friday, November 07, 2008
Being ex-Mormons my wife and I received these chain emails from Mormon friends and family saying that if proposition 8 fails then Mormon churches would be forced to marry those evil gays. Even a high ranking leader in the LDS (Mormon) Church fed this lie, "Elder Clayton said the church's support for Prop. 8 did involve concerns over 'the potential loss of religious liberty.'" This so-called "leader" knew that religious liberty was in no way in danger with gay couples marrying in California. "Opponents have emphasized that same-sex marriage being legal does not mean churches are required to perform gay weddings."
While the LDS money to support Prop 8 came from its members the church itself was directly involved in encouraging them to donate and campaign. "The church largely stays out of politics. But in this case, the Salt Lake City-based church has sent letters, held video conferences and in church meetings asked for volunteers to support the campaign."
I think it is way past time that we get serious about yanking the tax exempt status away from these religious organizations that use their influence and status to engage in politics. I get really irritated when religions can't stay within the bounds of their own organization and especially when it comes to legal rights. No one is going to take away their right to marry or not marry whom ever they want and if they do then I will be the first one to defend the right of those religious organizations. So how does the LDS church try and defend using it's organization for political means, which is supposed to be against the law? "As for Proposition 8, "we consider this to be a moral issue," Clayton said." So in other words, it's a "moral issue" not a "political issue." Um, excuse me but most political issues have morals somehow involved. So how can you separate the two?
However, I am incensed that these same religious organizations who only have the right to express their religious freedom thanks to the U.S. Constitution are now working to limit the rights of other people. They claim that they are fighting against marriage because the word marriage is "sacred" (It's just a word people!!!) And is that why half of all marriages end in divorce? If the term marriage should only be used by religious organizations then why don't they try and outlaw marriages performed by a judge or ship captain? I'll tell you why, because one involves homosexuality and one does not.
"In a statement, the LDS Church said it does not object to domestic partnership or civil union legislation "as long as these do not infringe on the integrity of the traditional family or the constitutional rights of churches." As for Proposition 8, "we consider this to be a moral issue," Clayton said. "We're not anti-gay, we're pro marriage between a man and a woman."
"Allegations of bigotry or persecution made against the Church were and are simply wrong. The Church's opposition to same-sex marriage neither constitutes nor condones any kind of hostility toward gays and lesbians."
Well that is some real mental gymnastics because by being only for marriage between a man and a women then you are anti-gay because they don't usually tell you why they think that gays should not be allowed to marry. They consider gays to be immoral and evil so if you think that of someone would you consider that being for someone or against someone? Denying them the same happiness found in marriage is pretty anti-homosexual. Imagine how Mormons would feel if there was a campaign to say that they don't have a right to marry? That would be discriminatory and anti-Mormon. And condemning homosexuals for being who they are is pretty damn hostile.
And the final thing that I find puzzling is that a majority of African-Americans and Latinos voted for the amendment to ban gay marriage. I don't understand one minority group denying rights from another minority group. It wasn't too long ago when inter-racial marriages were illegal.
Thursday, November 06, 2008
The Alaska governor who bragged about being able to see Russia from her home state was pretty uninformed on even the most basic details of the world, it appears. Palin allegedly thought Africa was a country -- not a continent -- and didn't know which countries were a party to the North American Free Trade Agreement. (That would be the US, Mexico and Canada.)
After the Couric interview, Fox News reported, Palin turned nasty with her staff and began to accuse them of mishandling her. Palin would view press clippings of herself in the morning and throw "tantrums" over the negative coverage. There were times when she would be so nasty and angry that her staff was reduced to tears.
TPJ: From my history education perspective I would say that Palin was one of the worst v.p. candidates in U.S. political history. I think that selecting her and then discovering how dangerously uninformed she is was a big reason that McCain lost the election. It was probably one of the worst judgment calls by an American presidential candidate. I just can't imagine how anyone could be selected for that position without knowing basic world geography. Dare I say that she would have been worse than Bush?
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Of course his victory is an historic and almost cathartic event for African-Americans. However, I've been hoping for him to win in part because of what this means to Africa, Africans but especially to Kenyans. One of their own is now arguabley the most powerful leader in the world and I can't help but think that African relations will greatly improve under President Obama. So with this all in mind I've been following the reaction to his election via African news outlets.
I was reading that parties are being planned as of last night to celebrate an Obama victory and I'm sure there will be parties for him in other areas of Africa that will go on for days if not weeks. I say this because when I was in Cote D'Ivoire I had the joy and honor to attend celebrations and parties for ethnic group leaders that went on for hours, days and sometimes weeks. Barack Obama signifies the ultimate African leader as the now soon to be leader of the world basically. In Kenya they are now calling him their "beloved son," how cool is that?!!
Wild celebrations woke the sleepy village, people hugged each other as others ran aimlessly in the muddy streets after spending a chilly night glued to a giant screen watching results unfold on the US networks. The residents had braved a heavy downpour and deafening thunderbolts overnight, dancing and singing to choruses belted out by a live band at a local dispensary. Children and youths gyrated to the songs, the lights of an army of international TV crews casting shadows on the tarpaulin tents. School children danced around the tents before heading to school as police officers kept watch.
In a brief press conference following the speech, Abango [Barack's half-brother] told journalists the family wants to express "extreme gratitude and appreciation of the American people. This "gratitude" is evident outside the homestead as well. American flags, stars-and-stripes-themed clothing and slogans praising America are highly visible today."I am very happy, I have not slept the whole night, even my wife slept alone as I waited for the results," said Joseph Otieno, a jubilant Kogelo resident.
(TPJ: I remember seeing a lot of American flag stuff in Cote D'Ivoire when I was there in the Clinton years and I'm glad to see that support again. It is an early sign of how hopefully America will be seen as a more humble and accepting country of other cultures and countries again).
The Obama family's life in Kenya will be different from here out. Beyond being the center of international media attention, the family will have new responsibilities in their village. "Things are going to change [for us]... We have projects... We have to provide for our people," Abango said. As for the rumors of a Kenyan-style Obama homecoming to Kogelo, Abango said: "I know right now that if you check his appointment book, I bet you he'll get here as soon as he can." The Kenyan government has declared a national holiday this week in honor of Obama.
TPJ: Imagine the celebration should Obama return to his home village. Wow, I hope he makes it back there again. I was also very, proud and honored to vote for Barack first because of his ideas, character, judgment, temperment and charisma but also being a white person as a solidarity vote. I wanted to make up for all the horror that has happened by the hands of white people in the past toward the African-American community. My great-grandmother grew up on a plantation in Tennessee that had slaves and while my grandmother said that they were treated, "well" (which is hard to imagine what "well" meant for slaves because there is nothing "well" or positive about slavery) I wanted to vote in part to make up in some small way for the slavery that stains my family history. And speaking of my beloved Cote D'Ivoire, here is a reaction from the West African country:
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Politics uses sports analogies way too much but I'm going to use one anyway in regards to American football playoff games. Often the team (McCain) who wins their game (primary) first and has more rest ends up losing to the other team (Obama) that has been running full speed, in top form right into their next match up (the general election). The idea being that too much rest makes a team rusty, over-confident and lazy. I don't think that McCain used all the time he had before the kick-off of the general campaign to do as much as he could to set up solid bases and ground games in swing-states.
Monday, November 03, 2008
TPJ: My heart sank deep into my stomach upon hearing this because I knew how close that he was with her but mostly because she died within one day of most likely seeing her grandson become the first African-American President of the United States of America. I'm glad though that Barack saw her before she died. I want to see him win even more now to honor her memory in the most powerful way possible. Either way her impact on him and by extension us has been profound.
Sunday, November 02, 2008
This is the same Dick Cheney who allowed the oil companies to basically write the energy bill and allowed them to continue to receive huge tax breaks despite making record profits every year. John McCain wants to like Cheney keep those tax breaks in place. He like Cheney thinks that we can drill our way out of our oil addiction. There isn't enough oil in America to keep our energy needs fulfilled on any long term basis. This is the same Dick Cheney who worked to expand the powers of the Vice-President, which is something that McCain's V.P. choice Sarah Palin showed that she wanted to continue in the debate and in interviews.
Saturday, November 01, 2008
Yet radical Christians like herself often say that there shouldn't be a religious test for political office and for judicial nominations. They love the double-standard. They love to only focus on the second half of this section in the first amendment to the Constitution highlighted. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. Their defense of this double standard is usually something like this, "Well Christianity is the truth!!" And yet no one can in no empirical or legal way prove this to be so.
TPJ: In other news: Another conservative adds his name to the long list of other conservatives backing/voting for Barack Obama:
(CNN) — Former Reagan chief of staff Ken Duberstein told CNN's Fareed Zakaria this week he intends to vote for Democrat Barack Obama on Tuesday.
Duberstein said he was influenced by another prominent Reagan official - Colin Powell - in his decision.
"Well let's put it this way - I think Colin Powell's decision is in fact the good housekeeping seal of approval on Barack Obama."
---End of Transmission---