Monday, April 30, 2007

Interesting Article

I had a great but busy weekend, so no time to post anything of any real value.

Here is a lengthy, yet very interesting article on China, I think most will find it worth a look.

Check it out, when you get a chance.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Another Blast From The Past

When MTV first started making it's big splash in the music world, it was widely thought that radio (at that time) was on the doorstep of death. Since that time, we all have found that thinking to be erroneous. In addition to this proving out to be a fallacy, MTV has been relegated to to putting on sophomoric shows that I find to have little (if any at all) cultural value.

MTV premiered on August 1, 1981 at 12:01AM with this video, Video Killed The Radio Star by The Buggles:

As MTV progressed and gained in popularity, it's far-reaching influence inspired a well-known band known as Queen, to write a song that gave words of encouragement to what was then perceived to be a dying musical medium. Here is one of the last great performances with the late Freddie Mercury; it was at Live Aid in 1985, and titled Radio Ga Ga:

I was able to see Queen in 1982, before this song was released. They were pretty damned phenomenal, to say the least.


Friday, April 27, 2007

Desperate And Behind, Ségolène Royal Plays The America Card

Socialist candidate Ségolène Royal has pulled out all the stops in an effort to close the gap between her and the front runner for the May 6 presidential runoff, Nicolas Sarkozy. She is now telling the people of France that Mr. Sarkozy has done something very unthinkable, for a French president to do.

From the NY Times comes this article.

Ségolène Royal, the Socialist candidate in the French presidential election on May 6, accused Nicolas Sarkozy, her conservative opponent, on Wednesday of having “apologized” to President Bush for France’s decision not to back the United States militarily in Iraq.

Mr. Sarkozy’s campaign team called her words “lies.”

“I am not for a Europe that aligns with the U.S.,” Ms. Royal said on France 2 television. “I have never been, and will never, go apologize to President Bush for the position of France on the issue of refusing to send our troops to Iraq.”

Although this is not surprising in the least, Madame Royal gives the appearance of being desperate in choosing this course. Still, she must know something that I have strongly suspected for a long time and yet is vehemently denied in some circles: the majority of the French people have a strong disdain for the United States.

Whether it's fear or jealousy, there is something to this or else why would she say something so extreme despite the evidence to the contrary?

Note the interviewer's response to her comment:

The interviewer noted that Mr. Sarkozy’s official position was that he had supported President Jacques Chirac’s opposition to the war and to French participation in military operations in Iraq.

But she would have none of it, and still refused to back down:

“Yes, well, listen,” Ms. Royal responded. “He still did this.”

Some questions for the thinking people of France to ask themselves here:

Was she there? I do not remember hearing this in the American media, is this some secret that only French people have heard? I know the meeting that took place between Bush and Sarkozy drew much speculation and criticism from the anti-American sector of the French population, but does anyone have proof of this?

Why is she coming out with this now so late in the game?

How is this different than when Nancy Pelosi visited the Syrian President and made her own foreign policy with him? Or how about Sego when she snuggled up to Hezbollah, a recognized terror organization?

If this approach works and this represents a turning point in the election, it will confirm my suspicions that most of France wants more of an adversarial relationship with the U.S., not less.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

More Campaign Briefs

From the desk of Barack Obama comes this brilliant statement:

“We are one signature away from ending the Iraq War. President Bush must listen to the will of the American people and sign this bill so that our troops can come home.”

Wrong, false, not true.

This is a myth. Despite the fact that's what Sen. Obama wants us all to believe, nothing could be further from the truth. Fact is, on the very day the last US soldier leaves Iraq, the war will just be beginning.

“I opposed this war from the start. I said then that it would distract us from pursuing those who attacked us and would entangle us in an occupation of undetermined length, cost and consequences. This war has no military solution, and the Iraqi people need to take responsibility for their own future.”

I know many people that are like the Senator.

They opposed the war from the start, they said it would distract us, and they said war was not the answer. They said what they said, and believed what they believed, sincerely (as is their right). But I am noticing that a few are starting to say that that we made this mess and now we should be forced to see it through. (SEE: Michael Ware)


Because they aren't running for President. They aren't trying to speak unto us, smooth things, because that's what they think we want to hear. They aren't trying to get elected to anything, therefore they are free to talk sense without groups like MoveOn.Org condemning them, and running a candidate against them.

Private jets were used by Dem candidates to get to this evening's debate.

A flock of small jets took flight from Washington Thursday, each carrying a Democratic presidential candidate to South Carolina for the first debate of the political season.

For Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama, Chris Dodd and Joe Biden, it was wheels up shortly after they voted in favor of legislation requiring that U.S. troops begin returning home from Iraq in the fall.

No one jet pooled, no one took commercial flights to save money, fuel or emissions.

Not one, no one. Nada, nil, none, zero, zilch. All played the lone wolf, tonight. Yet somehow, I am sure that all of them embrace the lion's share of the global warming philosophy, put forth by Guru Al and his merry band of environmentalists.

Now tell me, how can I respect someone that talks the talk, but doesn't walk the walk?

Campaign Briefs

Short on time right now, here's a few things to ponder.

DNC Chairman Dean wants debates without the media present.

The head of the Democratic Party said Wednesday that the best way to get presidential candidates to talk frankly about issues is to lock out the media.

During the Mortgage Bankers Association conference, a banker expressed frustration with candidates who only talk in sound bites and wondered how that could be changed. Howard Dean, once a presidential candidate, offered a simple solution.

"I suggest you have candidates in to meetings like this and bar the press," Dean said.

As critical as I can be of the media (and they do deserve it sometimes), this is not a good idea. If there is no one asking the tough questions and scrutinizing the answers, how could we ever learn anything about the candidates? If there was no media, how would any of us know what the candidates said during their little chat?

Once again, Howard talks from his posterior and very few seem to notice.

Giuliani says that if a Democrat is elected President in 2008, there will be a new 9/11. Or at least that's how the Politico interpreted his remarks.

Rudy Giuliani said if a Democrat is elected president in 2008, America will be at risk for another terrorist attack on the scale of Sept. 11, 2001.

1. If a Dem is elected, it tells al-Qaida that we will be more vulnerable and that would be the right time to hit. Maybe this is true, maybe not. But it's not a good idea to broadcast this, so that it ends up on al-Jazeera and into the ears and minds of jihadis, for encouragement.

2. If a Republican is elected and we are hit, there goes any credibility ever earned. This can backfire greatly. To campaign on the premise that is, if Dems were in the White House it would happen and if the GOPwere it wouldn't, is foolish.

3. If the GOP wants to have credibility when they criticize the Dems for politicizing this issue, they too must not politicize it.

The best way to handle this is by not using fear to win. State your goals and promise to do everything you can to prevent it. But do not use it for political advantage in such a generalized fashion, or it may come back to bite you.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Springtime In Israel

Once again the weather is warmer, birds are singing, flowers are blooming, and the rockets are being fired at targets within its borders.

Hamas militants fired a barrage of rockets and mortar shells toward Israel on Tuesday and said they considered a five-month truce with Israel to have ended.

The rockets fell after nine Palestinians were killed in fighting with Israel over the weekend. Most of the dead were militants, but Palestinians said at least two civilians, including a 17-year-old girl, were killed.

There's always innocents killed when Israel strikes back, because the militants choose to operate in areas where civilians live and work. They launch their strikes from those areas, so as to invite retaliation, whereby innocents can and will be killed for propaganda purposes. No real surprise here.

A spokesman for Hamas' armed wing said the group considered the truce to have ended.

"The cease-fire has been over for a long time, and Israel is responsible for that," the spokesman, Abu Obeida, told the Voice of Palestine radio station.

Once again, Hamas breaks the truce, but somehow it's all Israel's fault. Israel sent rockets into Gaza completely undetected by a hostile world media? Now, the "peace loving" people that comprise the terror group Hamas want us all to believe that they were defending themselves, again? How can the anti-israel lobbies reconcile this?

If you read the rest of the article, you may reach the same conclusion on this situation, as me. Infighting among the Palestinians is usually best settled by drumming up a crisis with Israel. Fire rockets, invite an almost guaranteed response, and blame Israel more, that is the formula so often used by Islamic terror groups. It keeps the attention diverted from the real problems the Palestinians face, daily.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Breaking: Prison Riot In Indiana

From comes this announcement, details are sketchy right now. This continues to develop.

This facility has recently started accepting inmates from Arizona. Those inmates are kept separate from the Indiana inmates. It is being reported that it is the AZ offenders that are involved.

Fires are burning, it has also been confirmed that two prison employees have been hurt.

State Police are being mobilized. I am sure the E-Squads from around the state are in route.

More as it develops (and I have time to cover it).


Here is a write-up in the Chicago Tribune that explains the situation, as it stands now, with a little more background on this facility.

Right now, it seems that things are dying out. But there are still inmates that are not in their areas, therefore the facility is not under control. This facility is not run by the Indiana DOC, but a company called GEO. They run facilities worldwide.


State Police have announced that the situation is in the process of being stabilized. As usual the press wants more. This appears to have started as a feud between the IN prisoners and the AZ prisoners.


Doesn't take long to hit the internet, does it? Here is the video of the event, at its height.

UPDATE Last One:

Well, things are slowly getting back to normal. The local media is trying to imply it too long to get things under control. Anyone with a basic knowledge of criminology, knows that you cannot storm a facility without knowing the situation, fully. There was no report of hostages, no reason to storm the place with guns a blazing. But I bet if they had, they'd be the first to condemn the use of excessive force.

That's the media for you. Now, you know why I they leave such a sour taste in my mouth.

Is Hillary Fighting Too Close To The Ropes?

Yesterday, I posted a piece on the prospects of Gore getting into the race. In the comment section I linked to this latest Rasmussen poll, which shows Hillary and Obama tied for support. According to this poll, both are currently at 32%. What was once a double digit lead has now evaporated, in just a few short weeks.

I suspect that transparency has been and will continue to be a problem for Sen. Clinton. Part of this may be because she creates the perception of being a chameleon. Her words and the way she says those words are as fake as a diamond from Wal-Mart.

For example, Hillary has never had a southern accent. Despite that fact, she seems to find one, each and every time she appears before a group of blacks. One was awhile back down in Selma, but this one was in front of the National Action Network, a civil rights group founded by Rev. Al Sharpton.

Now let's get one thing clear here. I have known many black people from NYC over the years, and I have to tell you, not one of them had a southern accent. If they had any accent at all it was African or Brooklynese. So, either Hillary has been receiving bad advice from her handlers or she reads the NY Times, specifically this article right here.

Only a few months ago, the vast majority of black elected officials in New York were expected to support the presidential candidacy of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. But no longer.

The officials described themselves as impressed with the strength of Mr. Obama’s campaign in recent weeks, saying it reflected a grass-roots enthusiasm for Mr. Obama that many noticed among black voters in their own districts. And that could signal trouble for Mrs. Clinton, forcing her to devote precious attention to her home state, where blacks made up 20 percent of the Democratic primary vote in 2004, just as she has had to scramble to keep black support nationwide.

Note the second paragraph. Anytime a politician has to concentrate on his/her home state, there is trouble for that candidate. In the 1992 election we saw that play out, when Dan Quayle spent and inordinate amount of time in his home state of Indiana.

This has to be disheartening for Clinton supporters. She has waited patiently for her chance. And with the administration's numbers looking like they are right now, one would have to figure this is the best chance the Dems will have to recapture the White House. But from the sounds of things, she is going to have a real primary fight on her hands.

As a person that has been involved with campaigns before, one thing should sound clear to Hillary (and all politicians for that matter):

Do not repeat the mistakes of those that failed before you.

Both Kerry and Gore blew their chances to solidify the support of the common people, because they both were champions at vacillation and condescending speeches that ultimately end up alienating common sense people.

In short, the chameleon strategy does not work. You cannot be all things to all people, therefore to try only insults the intelligence of those you need to win over. And right now, she is insulting the intelligence of many blacks, by trying to sound like she is a "down home" kind of gal.

By the latest polls shown and the the tone of the NYT article, it very well could be that she will blow her one and only opportunity to be the first woman President. If she wants to have any chance at all, she needs to stay away from the ropes, so that she can stick and move more effectively. Not everyone can be a Muhammed Ali and use ropa-dopa as a strategy. At times, it may work for a boxer. But it almost never works for a politician.

Sarkozy, Royal Woo Bayrou Voters

The siren is calling. Encase thy sword and follow the distant cry that says, "come to me, come to me, lay down and I will comfort thee". Madame Royal has made her move towards the center, in an effort to pick up the disenchanted Bayrou voters; and she is willing to triangulate somewhat, mainly because she has the most ground to make up, against the front-runner. has the details:

Conservative Nicolas Sarkozy and Socialist Segolene Royal jumped into their presidential run-off campaign Monday by wooing voters who deserted them for a farmer's son who championed the political middle.

Centrist Francois Bayrou didn't make the runoff, but his strong third-place showing in Sunday's first round of balloting could make him a kingmaker if he throws his support behind the law-and-order former interior minister or to the leftist with a chance of being France's first woman president.

Sarkozy wants to be a kinder, gentler kind of politician. Apparently, he can be a little gruff around the edges:

Sarkozy, who courted the far right during his campaign and is criticized by many for abrasive language, sought to soften his image as he appealed to voters in the middle, casting himself as "the candidate of openness."

"Openness of spirit is being able to take into consideration the positions of others, the ability to think that others might be right," he said at a rally in an eastern city, Dijon.

I'm sorry. But I do not recall DeGaulle being soft or gentle. And the last time I checked, he was still a hero. So what this has to do with running a country, I will never know.

But be that as it may, Bayrou is in a good position for both the short and the long-term. He can greatly influence this election in the short and with his new found name recognition (if he is smart), he can parlay this into a force or maybe even a movement, in the long-term scheme of things. But for now, the moment to be kingmaker has arrived. He holds the keys to the kingdom right now, and do not think for one minute that both Sego and Sarko do not know it. Just who will be giving the most, will be revealed in the coming days.

From the sounds of things, it may be a bit harder for Royal, even though some of Bayrou's support came from some of those disenchanted on the left:

Royal, who previously dismissed calls for an alliance with Bayrou, reached out to him Monday, saying she was available for a public dialogue.

"It is my responsibility to make this overture," she told supporters in the southern city of Valence. "I'm awaiting a response."

It's not good to turn your back on someone you may need later. I am sure that in hindsight, this now looks like a miscalculation on her part. Worse yet, she sounds like she knows she may still not get it. Note the emphasis on "I am awaiting a response". Like, Bayrou owes her something? It should be understood that not much context is given here, other than what we see. We cannot hear tone inflections in the print media, so I would caution against drawing the conclusion based solely on this. But, in the print media, it could be interpreted that she really expects something here. She will need to watch how she words things, from here on out.

That's one thing, but we have to consider other things as well. This thing may not only turn out to be a love-fest towards Bayrou, but may get to be a personality contest between the two remaining candidates:

Political analyst Dominique Moisi agreed: "There are very few 'extra troops' so to speak for Segolene Royal. The only thing she can dream for is to turn this election into a referendum against the personality of Nicolas Sarkozy."

That sounds like one thing the French election process has in common with it's American counterpart. When you cannot win the free exchange of ideas, you get personal. But what Sego needs to realize is, there are people that would be willing to complain about her management style too. In her campaign early on, her reputation suffered somewhat due to some problems along this line. Rumors have circulated on occasions that she is a micromanaging autocrat, as is her opponent.

So, I guess this should come as no surprise that both would have to tread lightly on making this an issue, at this late point in the game. If it didn't matter before, it's not going to matter now. But, if things start to go south for either candidate, I wouldn't be surprised if the gloves came off a bit.

But for now, it appears it's all about "establisment types" kissing someone's derrière. And that would be a "non-establishment type" someone named Francois Bayrou.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Boris Yeltsin Dead At 76

It has been announced that Boris Yeltsin had died at the age of 76. Much will be said about his tenure as the head of the Russian Republic, status post, Soviet Union. But a good review of his bio, can be found here. What he meant to the Russian people and the part he played in the world theater will be played out in editorials everywhere the next few days, worldwide.

I will be interested to see how the funeral and the eulogies will treat him. I would think they should be complimentary, despite not all that he did was worthy of the compliments. If we watch closely, we may be able to better gauge where Russia is really headed, based on what we hear the next few days.

Sarkozy, Royal To Face Off In French Presidential Runoff

Yesterday was round one of the French presidential election process, with the two establishment candidates making the cut for the second round. For awhile, it was beginning to look like there might be some real drama in this race, when an up and coming, self-styled centrist named Francois Bayrou gained some serious ground. But in the end, the challenge was beaten back. And today, things are somewhat back to normal in the republique with the top two candidates back in the status quo.

If you are a follower of French politics, you'll know that in the last election, there was an anomaly of sorts. Far-Right candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen won enough support in the opening round to shut out the Socialist candidate. But that's as far as he could get. You see, Le Pen is France's Pat Buchanan, who as most Americans know is a very divisive figure. Both can make sense at times, but both are incredibly anti-semitic and considered by many to be racist towards other groups, as well. Having Le Pen in the second round made Chirac, the winner by default.

But this time, we see things as most French seem to like it: Gaullist vs. Socialist, Right vs. Left. In a sense, we can see France's political scene as a reflection of the way politics have evolved here, in America. Sarkozy represents the more conservative (if that's possible) portion of the French electorate, with the obvious representative of the liberal portion being led by Royal. Both represent very different visions and goals for France.

Now, the shoring up of support from the candidates that didn't make it, becomes the biggest obstacle for either candidate. Here are the latest numbers from the election, you can take your pick as to where you want to read them: SuperFrenchie or the French Election Blog.

For the moment we'll go with the numbers used by th AFP (which is what Boz at the FEB is using):

Sarkozy 31.11%

Royal 25.84%

Bayrou 18.55%

Le Pen 10.5%.

These are the top four vote-getters. As I said earlier, the goal is now to get support from those that supported the other candidates, which may sound easy but isn't always.

In any political situation like this, a politician may endorse another. But that may or may not translate into votes. If Bayrou supported Royal tomorrow, Royal would hope that the votes would follow. But realistically, it doesn't always happen that way. Not all of the 18% would automatically swing over and vote for her (or Sarkozy, if he were to support him). Bayrou represents the swing vote and that vote, like here in America, usually gets split. Which way it gets split and by what margin, may very well determine the election.

But there's still a bit of a fly in the ointment here, in that Le Pen's supporters were at 10 %. What this means is not as clear as it may appear. Le Pen has little love for Sarko. So if one would automatically assume that Le Pen's supporters would go for Sarko, they may want to rethink. It's highly doubtful that Le Pen's base would even consider supporting a socialist, so that's out. The only other viable alternatives would be to vote Sarko or stay home and not vote at all.

Sarko would welcome half of Bayrou's followers, which would add another 9% to get him up to 40%. Le Pen's supporters would give him 50%. That would put him more into the driver's seat than Royal, if this scenario were to play out. But there are two weeks for the French to make up their minds. Two weeks for those that didn't vote for Sarko or Royal to decide whether they can find it in the hearts to support either of them, now.

Basically what it will come down to is whether or not Royal or Sarkozy can sell their vision of France to the "rank and file" French people. Who will avoid gaffes/blunders and who will close the deal, will be determined by these final two weeks of campaigning and a head to head debate.


Here is a well-written analysis about the results of the election.

Addendum II:

Just got back from Amerloque's place. He too has a well-written piece of analysis on the election.

Don't Bet Against Gore.

The speculation seems to be growing. The suspense must be nerve-wracking.All is not well in Clintonville, right now. Hillary is not blowing people away.

In fact, she was stiffed for a prime photo-op and this wasn't just any old "daily grind" kind of thing, either. This was the Rutgers women's basketball team. Her handlers were trying to get some mileage on this story; and she probably would have pulled it off, if it hadn't been for the VT story. Suddenly, the Imus thing doesn't seem to be important anymore. Suddenly, she appears weaker.

Obama has raised as much money as Hillary, but yet, she still has more money in the till than he does. However significant that fact may or may not be, the one thing that stands out about this is, money does not necessarily mean a translation into votes. Obama is not going to go away easily, that's for sure.

If we look at the current poll numbers, we can see some other things that have to be troubling to Hillary and her campaign. First of all, Hillary has trended down a bit and Obama has trended up about twice as much, as she has gone down. The small dips and spikes are consistent with someone that is actively campaigning, but the overall trend tells the bigger story. But that's not all that can be troubling Sen. Clinton and I believe her people know it. (Note how she has started playing the "Bill" card, so soon.)

"I can't think of a better cheerleader for America than Bill Clinton, can you?" the Democratic senator from New York asked a crowd jammed into a junior high school gymnasium. "He has said he would do anything I asked him to do. I would put him to work."

People are not flocking to her in droves. Some are singing her praises, but there are many that will not forgive her for her war vote. In addition, there is a certain sector of people that just cannot, do not, and will not trust her. That has to weigh heavy on the minds of the Dems, if they want to have a realistic chance at this. They have to ask the question, can this candidate win? (If there is doubt, there is uncertainty.)

But, let's be clear about something here. There is one thing that can certainly stop the Hillary machine, before she gets stopped in the November election and the Dems have to regroup again in another four years. There is something that she or her campaign will not be so happy to see, much more so than a further trend up in Obama's numbers.

If you refer
back to the polling data, you'll see that Al Gore has trended up almost four percentage points during this same time. And this he has done despite the fact, he is not a declared candidate yet. So with all of the setbacks (as minor as they may be), it's no wonder that someone is throwing out the possibility that Gore will run.

Here, the Telegraph is reporting that Gore is secretly assembling a team, before he throws his hat in the ring.

Friends of Al Gore have secretly started assembling a campaign team in preparation for the former American vice-president to make a fresh bid for the White House.

Is it wishful thinking, or do they have an "in" with someone that is in the know, and that person(s) wants to stick a toe in the water? Maybe that person wants to plant a seed or two and see if something sprouts up?

I know some of you think I don't know a damned thing about anything, and that's fine. But I firmly believe that Gore may very well run and win the nomination. In the end, I might be wrong. But if I had to bet, I wouldn't bet against it.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Another Blast From The Past

Generally when an old rock fan thinks of two great rock keyboard players, invariably two will consistently show up on the lists. Rick Wakeman of Yes is one that will get mentioned.

Wakeman was ahead of his time. However once he was convinced he was the star of the band, he had to buy new hats. His ego caused to leave the band for a while, for a solo career that didn't do so well. He finally made it back, but somewhat humbled. But all of this does not take away from his talent, one iota. Here is a live version of their first and best known hit, Roundabout:

The second keyboardist that will pop up, most assuredly would be Keith Emerson, of ELP. Keith's style was a little more cosmopolitan and jazzy, than Rick's. Rick was more classical. But both captured an art form in rock music. Whereas rock was primarily a blues-based genre with the central instrument being the guitar, both Yes and ELP took a calculated risk and fused a unique style with the keys prominent, or more prominent than the strings. It was like having two lead guitarists, only one was playing the keyboards.

Here is KarnEvil #9 - Live:


Friday, April 20, 2007

Has The World Gone Mad?

Here is the article.

At least two Buddhist monks were injured Friday in a street clash in Cambodia's capital between two opposing groups of monks during a protest against Vietnam, which some monks accuse of suppressing religious freedom.

Historically, Buddhists have taught peace, love, serenity, etc. But as we can see from this, human nature has its limitations. In all religions and cultures, there are those that allow their anger to fuel rage and the rage, violence. This isn't just an American thing, although we bear our share. It's a global thing.

It's a mankind thing.

You can see the pics here.

Must Read Essay

Folks, you simply must give this piece a read. It is a scathing indictment on the MSM, written by a non-Islamist Muslim that has served in the the U.S. Military and actively works to draw a marked distinction between radical elements and moderates. His name is M. Zuhdi Jasser and here are a couple of the more pointed remarks, he makes in this essay:

The PBS/CPB censorship of Islam vs. Islamists exemplifies the dire need to begin to educate many in the MSM of the ideological realities of the Islamists. They may protect Islamists blindly out of ignorance, fear, infiltration, or minority politics. But, at the end of the day, if the MSM editors understood the type of society the protected Islamists would create if they became a majority, their support would vanish. Feminists, social liberals, and those that would separate religion from government would be entirely ignored under Islamist control. Just ask the feminists what type of equality they have in many Islamist controlled mosques around the country.


Borrowing on the old cliché of a tree falling in a forest, if Muslims speak out against Islamists but remain unheard (in the PBS forest), did they speak out at all? Without regular opportunities in the media and government for anti-Islamist Muslims to speak out, America will never know that they ever did. Without being heard the moderate voices will be as if they never existed. Without hearing the moderate voice, it is so much the easier for Islamists to continue toward their goal of political domination and demagoguery of the Muslim community and, ultimately, of America itself.

Pretty poignant, if you ask me. I recommend reading the entire piece.

(Part Of) LA's America

Note - I cannot, nor will I, attempt to paint an exhaustive picture of what America is or isn't in this post. All I want to do is give a brief synopsis of what my America has been like, mainly for my European readers that have not been to America (and anyone else who gives a rat's derriere). I do it only to help give a better understanding of America, based on some experiences of this American. I may post more experiences from other places I have lived (Hawaii, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Kansas, Alabama, and the former Federal Republic Of Germany, but that doesn't count). But as for this one, two will be enough.

My early years were spent in California, both north and south. I was born in Lancaster, immediately north of the San Gabriel Mountains, in the desert. Living in the LA area as a boy, running across an occasional star or two every now and then, just wasn't much of a big deal. They put their pants on like anyone else.

Angelinos have always been a distant, but yet, very different bunch of personalities with much of it due to it being such a large aggregate of so many diverse groups of people. It is about as far from a homogenous society as you can get. Rich, poor, educated or not, LA has always attracted an adventuresome kind of spirit, chasing some kind of pipe dream. With them came some real kooks too. I remember a lot of crime in some areas and lived there during the Manson days.

I look back at those days with a certain fondness, for those were some of the happiest as a kid. And despite the madness that was there at that time, it was a special place at a special time. What keeps me connected to that time and place is listening to some of the music from that era.

The Beatles were at the Magical Mystery Tour and Sgt. Pepper phase of their phenomenal career. And whenever I hear On The Road Again, Sunshine Of Your Love, and Summertime Blues played on the radio, I can still remember watching Canned Heat, Cream, and Blue Cheer on a Saturday afternoon TV staple, called Boss City. After school, the show Groovy with Michael Blodgett was a favorite as it was for every pre- or peri-pubescent male. Because not only did they have good music, they had a bikini contest.

Now please understand that I didn't see all of the glitter and pomp, every day. I didn't live in Beverly Hills, Bel Air, or Brentwood. I lived in San Bernardino (or San Berdoo as it was called by some of the locals). We lived like many others that worked and ran daily lives, just like anywhere else. Sure there was a lot to see and do, still is. But doing what normal people did, we couldn't live the high life that many believe exists in all sectors. Like many others my age, we played baseball, basketball, and just generally hung out talking about whatever.

One time in SB, I had returned from the store down the street as an assignment from my parents( I rode my bike). I brought in the goods obtained and my parents told me straight off that my younger brother needed to see me immediately. He wouldn't tell them why, just that it had to be me. So, when I found him in his room, he immediately took me outside to show me something that I just "had to see". Needless to say, what was usually a short walk became a long one.

The driveway led to the garage that was at the back corner of the house. Between the garage and the wall that separated us from property next to us, was about 4 feet of space. It was well-lined with unused wire mesh fencing. For whatever earthly reason, I don't know. But it was there for a long time and it led to the back yard. When we got there, we found a drunk passed out in shabby-looking "drunk" clothes. I shook him and asked if he was okay, all he did was moan like there was a hell of a hangover coming on.

Not having any luck, I quickly went to my parents (who called the cops). So they arrested him and took him to jail just like the good policemen of Adam-12 would have done. And later after the fact, we learned that he was a millionaire and he had, get this, a Cadillac parked right around the corner.

One time a few years ago, when I took my children back to see where I was born, lived, and played, I took them on the "back-lot" tour at Universal Studios. I cannot tell you how many times people (mostly younger kids and some young adults) remarked how neat it would be to just be able to work the cameras or build the sets, where movies were made. But I think I ruined the dream for them when I told them that these people you see all around here, still hit the snooze button on their alarm clocks and have to pry themselves out of bed (or be sand-blasted out by another party), just like everyone else.

As an adult with two small children, I lived in an old railroad town on the Wabash River known as Terre Haute, Indiana. For those of you that know some American history, you may remember this name: Eugene V. Debs. You may also remember that he ran on the Socialist Party Of America ticket for President five times. Well, he lived most of his life in TH and his spirit is still alive and well there, to this day. It certainly was, when I was there.

I have never seen a more government dependent population, in such a small area. Drive through many neighborhoods in the morning, and you will see very little activity. But by noon, drive through those same neighborhoods again. You will see the inhabitants getting up and sitting on their front porch, greeting the day, watching for the mailman to bring them their government checks, and maybe selling a little meth. (The checks supplement the meth business.)

TH is in a stretch of corridor that runs north and south along the Wabash River. At one time, this area was saturated with meth labs, the rate was one of the nation's highest. New Indiana law, forcing the sale of pseudoephedrine to be more tightly regulated, has made a significant dent in the manufacture of of the drug. But it's not gone, yet.

Sounds like a depressing place, doesn't it? Were it not for Indiana State University being located there, the town would be dead. They have lost large plants over the years, much of it due to labor disputes. You see, the unions have chased many large factories out of town or shut them down all together. Eugene V. Debs has left a long-lasting mark on this town, to be sure. It's socialist roots have been alive and well. When I first moved there, I saw pickets of a drug store. The union wanted in, they were not allowed in, and the union sent a sandwich board person to picket every single (what was then) Hooks Drug Store.

Today, the area is still populated with union supporters. But the business has left. That is, the manufacturing base that it once was has turned into a service-industry economy, like anywhere else. Since coal is rarely used anymore, the mining jobs are still shrinking. The railroad is used only a fraction of what it once was. CBS Records left years ago, J.I Case lost a major contract to a Libyan firm in the 80s, it's gone. Those were two huge plants right there. But the university has been the anchor through it all and still is the biggest employer of the city.

While it is true that America is a very unique place. Lifestyles, tastes, and attitudes are very different based on what we all grew up with and came to know as we got older. Like wine or beer, each area of America has its own distinctive flavor. Much of it is derived from the history and personality of the area. There is no typical American anymore than there is a typical European. But there are things that unite us and make us countrymen. One of those things is our ability to bounce back from tragedy and adversity.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Parents And Sister Of VT Killer Silent; Grandfather Speaks

As new details are revealed about the deranged shooter, we have learned that he had a specific plan. This was not a reaction to any one specific incident, it was not an uncontrolled rage that led the depraved individual to strike down innocents. No one set him off. Quietly, he planned this with pinpoint accuracy and carried out the plan in a chillingly, determined and methodical manner. Many that lived to tell, have said that he looked professional.

Today, psychological experts everywhere will continue their efforts to explain why a person would do what he did. But, just how close are we to truly understanding what was in the mind of the killer and his motives? And how much does it really matter?

I do not know much about the parents of this deranged man except to note that the media has reported they were hospitalized with shock, not for suicide attempts as was first reported. Beyond this, there hasn't been much on them. But today, the Telegraph has published more information about the family life of the killer, with an interesting (yet more than likely, entirely irrelevant) twist to this tragic event.

THE sister of the gunman responsible for the deadliest shooting rampage in modern US history works as a contractor for a State Department office that oversees billions of dollars in American aid for Iraq.

Interesting, but this little plot sidetrack probably has little or no bearing on why this tragedy took place. And because the immediate family has made the decision to remove themselves from the limelight (and understandingly so), all that can be learned at this point is what can be pieced together. Ironically, his grandfather (who is far removed from the situation geographically because he lives in Korea) is the only one that has been quoted in this, so far.

Kim, 81, who lives in Kyonggi province outside Seoul, said he has had little contact with his daughter – the mother of the shooter – after they arrived in the United States.

Cho's parents ran a used-book shop in Seoul until they left for the United States.

"They bought the tiny shop with the money my son-in-law made in Saudi Arabia before he got married," Kim said.

The critical thinking side of me is wondering how this money was made, in Saudi Arabia. But before you deem me to be a paranoid right-winger, let me say there is no reason to go into this examination with any preconceived theories, based on one vague report. But in the interim period, I think that if we want to get any kind of understanding of this, we have to ask some pointed questions here. We need to learn more about everything involved here (at some point when the grieving process has advanced a little further). And while I strongly caution against getting stirred up over this particular bit of information, all info that comes up, needs to be looked at closely when the dust settles more.

As I said earlier, it's probably nothing. Right?

UPDATE (4-20-07)

More is coming out from the shooter's family. The Mirror has details.

THE grandfather of Cho Seung-Hui said yesterday: "Son of a bitch. It serves him right he died with his victims."

Sounds like little Cho has brought great grief and dishonor to the family name, back in the old country.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Making Sense Of It All

First of all, I am not sure one can make a lot of sense come out of this. That's what senseless is.

But as could have been predicted, the European press is having a field day with this.

Across the continent on Tuesday, European media rubber-neck at Monday's massacre in the United States. Most seem to agree about one thing: The shooting at Virginia Tech is the result of America's woeful lack of serious gun control laws. In the strongest editorialized image of the day, German cable news broadcaster NTV flashed an image of the former head of the National Rifle Association, the US gun lobby: In other words, blame rifle-wielding Charlton Heston for the 33 dead.

However implicit or explicit you paint this, I do not think this can be pinned on Charlton alone. In fact, I would think that intelligent people could/would recognize it's a combination of factors, with no one thing that can be isolated as the root cause. If anyone is going to make a case against the NRA, they must also make a case against the other things that led us up to this point.

1. The de-sensitizing of of people through: a) Movies that both show and glorify gratuitous violence. b) Video games that do the same thing.

2. The mental state of the shooter. We can blame the gun, which is merely an inanimate object. But when it comes down to the crux of the matter, it was a deranged gunman that chose to pull it's trigger.

3. The lack of an effective tool to deny deranged and law-breaking people access to guns, while allowing sane law-abiding citizens the right to own them.

Papers reserve their sharpest criticism for the 2004 expiration of a 10-year ban on semi-automatic weapons under the then Republican-controlled Congress. Others comment on the pro-gun lobbying activities of Heston's NRA. Some papers also draw analogies between school shootings and Muslim fundamentalist suicide bombers.

Irrelevant. These guns were not semi-automatic weapons. That's completely a separate argument and having this in place would not have prevented this tragedy.

No, there is no easy answer to this.

Many believe that if we had Europe's gun laws, this wouldn't have happened. Maybe, maybe not. No one can prove it with irrefutable solid evidence.

One of PYY's distinguished visitors from time to time is L'Amerloque.

SF's blog, he makes a very poignant statement that is worthy of re-print, here in this instance:

In response to a specific part of SF's post on this:

In fact, I feel safer taking the metro in Washington than in Paris, rarely lock my car wherever I go in town, and often leave my house door unlocked.

Assuming that you don’t deal in drugs and/or live in some very limited neighborhoods, America by and large is a safe place.

Amerloque says:

Amerloque feels the same way about SoCal. (grin)

He has thought about this quite a lot (re: differences in France and the USA (grin)) and has come to a few conclusions.

One is that perception counts for quite a lot. It’s a matter of belief: with a gun, there is no middle ground. If the person facing the gun feels that the person holding the weapon will use it, then the person facing the gun will behave. If the person doesn’t believe, then he/she will do whatver she/he wants. It is then incumbent upon the person holding the weapon to use it. He/she must shoot. There is no middle ground (except, perhaps, shooting to “wound”, which is a bit haphazard, indeed …). That’s why Tasers have equipped many US police departments and “tonfas” and “flashballs” have equipped many French municipal forces: they allow a graduated response, just like a simple “billy club” used to. This is also why the CRS and police in riot situations in France do not pull their guns and not fire. The element of “belief” would be negated. If a French cop pulls a gun out of the holster, he will use it. It is a last resort.

Another conclusion: in Washington, or LA, or Podunk, a burglar or carjacker will hesitate mightily before breaking in or making off with the car, for one very good reason: the supposed “victim” may well be armed and open fire on the criminal. The criminal will be blown away. The plea in court might very well be “self defense”.

The plea may be self-defense, but the shooter may end up dead. Dead men tell no tales. It may be not be a deterrent in all instances. But I would be willing to bet this would be a significant factor, in some people's decisions as whether to commit an act of violence or brazen theft, or not.

Europeans hear of the savagery that sometimes rears its ugly head on this side of the ocean, sometimes in a very skewed way. Images of the wild west era are drawn up by critics, whereby people are packing pistols, holding up the stage coach, riding into town to get drunk and shoot up the town, and other things that conjure up the belief that America is out of control. But despite this active attempt to persuade Euros to believe this inaccurate portrayal, the US does not have the highest murder rate per capita, at least not according to this website. Despite being 24th overall on this list, the fact remains we have more than many of us are willing to accept. Wikipedia bears this out, as well (although the latest stats on this table, shows the US as #22).

Another problem I see is one of culture. The movies and the video games seem to reinforce murder as a sport. Anytime a movie such as Quentin Tarantino's Grindhouse can open up number one at the box office due to pre-release hype on how gory the movie really is, and anytime a video game such as Grand Theft Auto can sell like hotcakes to kids, we must look at the culture issue as a contributing factor. I don't know how well these two things go over in Europe, but they are close to mainstream status here. This may play a small role in explaining why kids are committing more violent crimes.

Again, despite not being in the top twenty, we can take very little solace in that fact. One, in my view, is too many. Each victim has a name, a face, and an identity. Although it's not realistic to expect there will be no murders ever, it's not something many of us are ready are willing to tolerate (at least not after something as heinous and tragic as what occurred Monday in Blacksburg, Virginia). And although our European friends have us beat in this department in the post-modern era, it is estimated that there were 20 murders per 100,000 in medieval times.

The bottom line here is, violence is not going to go away as long as there are those that have little value for human life. That point transcends all nations and all cultures.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Shock And Disbelief

As a parent of a college student and step-parent of another, I have no words to describe the horror that took place yesterday. This could happen anywhere at anytime. No one is immune from this kind of thing. But more than anything, it truly makes no sense whatsoever.

My thoughts and prayers are with the victims, families, and those that will be traumatized by this for the rest of their lives.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The European Paradox

There are those that criticize the U.S. for various faults and deficiencies, many times rightly so. It's not so much the criticism that many Americans find invalid, but it is the source of the criticism that irritates us, at times. Many times it's a clear-cut case of being blind to one's own faults, while demonizing Americans. Much of this kind of criticism results from Europeans, yet, it's becoming more apparent that the Euro stone throwers are living in glass houses.

Take this story for example, it comes from the IHT:

For the second time in two days, the Russian police forcefully dispersed an opposition rally Sunday, beating protesters and arresting their leaders in a chaotic, violent street scene in St. Petersburg.

The two rallies cumulatively drew at most several thousand anti-government protesters and posed little threat to President Vladimir Putin. A loose coalition of opposition figures, including Garry Kasparov, the former world chess champion, organized the events. Kasparov was among those arrested.

Nonetheless, the weekend rallies were dispersed in a flailing of truncheons, marking one of the largest displays of raw police force used against political opposition figures since Putin assumed the presidency seven years ago.

In the U.S., there are frequent protests, with most of them directed at the current administration. Yet, we rarely read that U.S. police use violence to break them up. It's all covered under free speech, something that other countries have yet to grasp. Russia is but one of those countries. The EU so far has been silent on the methods of dealing with unrest, used by the Putin administration. But let this happen here in the USA, and it would very likely be open season in the halls of Brussels.

Another area that Euros would have us all believe is more prevalent in America than anywhere else, is racism. Take this story (also from the IHT), for instance:

Chancellor Angela Merkel is facing a rebellion inside her conservative party after Günther Oettinger, premier of the conservative southern German state of Baden-Württemberg, refused to retract a funeral eulogy in which he praised a disgraced Nazi judge.

Merkel, who until now has managed to maintain some discipline in her Christian Democratic Union party since being elected chancellor in late 2005, will meet senior party leaders Monday in an attempt to prevent the crisis from growing.

The German Jewish community has already asked for the resignation of Oettinger, and the Social Democrats and Greens have also called upon him to retract his praise of Hans Filbinger, a former Nazi judge who issued death sentences during World War II but who concealed the fact for decades.

I'd say we could offer to send Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson to help facilitate Oettinger's demise, but we must remember that it's okay for white people to disparage other white people, and it goes double when it's Jews that are the target of hate speech.

But wait. Here's one that they could jump on without any reservations:

A German army instructor ordered a soldier to envision himself in New York City facing hostile blacks while firing his machine gun, a video that aired Saturday on national television showed.

First of all, what the hell would the German Army be doing fantasizing about being in New York City, conducting any kind of an operation? And then secondly, why would their focus be on blacks? Very telling, wouldn't you say?

It leads me to ask, how much of this is far more pronounced than those in Brussels would have the world believe? They talk a good game, but talking is just words. Words mean little to most intelligent people, for they are not easily persuaded by empty rhetoric like that that comes out of irrelevant institutions. It's easy to sit on some kind of moral judgment seat, pointing fingers at a speck in your neighbor's eye, all the while overlooking the mote in your own. It's not so easy to admit it you have the mote to begin with. But moreover, it is action that counts.

So, don't hold you breath on Al and Jesse making this an issue. They will not be able to win this one, anyway. What's more, they do not care.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

News In Brief (And The Usual Opinionated Commentary)

This week has seen the firestorm of the Imus affair overshadow other significant stories with the potential for more long-term impact on people's lives. I cannot think of a time when a story has gripped the media, activist leaders, and people in general more than other events (that normally would have received top-bill, or at least a far more prominent place in the pecking order of stories, covered by the usual suspects).

While the hypocrites like Al Sharpton were busy turning this into the circus that it eventually became, some other stories were overlooked:

Chavez To Take Control Of Oil Fields By Force

"On May 1 we are going to take control of the oil fields," Chavez said. "I'm sure no transnational company is going to draw a shotgun, but we will go with the armed forces and the people."

If I were the oil companies, I'd be tempted to use a scorched earth policy. Oil companies have invested heavily in this exploration and development. They put up the capital, the time, the labor, and for some thug like Chavez to wrest it by force, is theft. We would see how innovative Hugo would be with no process to make the tar-like crude, usable and ready for sale. Burn it to the ground, I say. They are going to lose it all, anyway.

Exiled Russian Dissident Signs His Own Death Warrant

Exiled tycoon Boris Berezovsky, a onetime Kremlin power broker-turned-fierce critic of Russian President Vladimir V. Putin, in remarks published Friday called for the use of "force" to change Russia's government.

Give credit for some guts. After many of those critical of Putin have mysteriously managed to get dead, he comes right out, announces his wishes and possible intentions. But, if I were him, I would not have said anything to the media, just yet. All that have been meaning to tell Boris they love him, had better do it soon.

A Jihadist Among Us

Gosh, who knew? In fact, don't tell anyone, but I think there may be more.

One Too Many Jihadist In The Iraqi Parliament

Unfortunately, by the time we found this out, he had killed someone and hurt many others.

These stories are the significant ones that will more than likely be overlooked on the weekend talk circuit.

What will we get? More Imus, more Al, more Jesse. More piling on, more over-analyzing, etc.

Right now, the direction some are taking this is not called for. Al is reportedly receiving death threats.

In all cases of controversy, there are death threats. It may be deplorable, but it happens more times than reported. Big stories that get this amount of coverage, always have a way of flushing out kooks and despicable bastards. There is no need to make this some big deal in the press, other than to generate more sympathy for a cause already won. Other than to do what they're doing (which is to increase security and keep a paper trail of all threats), there's not much else you can do. By making this known publicly, they only risk more.

Now that Imus has been fired, now that Imus has met with the ones that have the right to be the maddest, it should be going away. Right? Yet somehow the skeptic in me says that Al may try to keep this going longer, by doing what he does best (by making himself the focus of attention).

If you really want to understand better how jobs like this work, you have to read this article.

This is nothing new. Media Matters is but one watchdog agency that have become a large component in this whole concept, known as the thought police. Now they are targeting others they disagree with. They will not stop until they purge the airwaves of them. So you see? There really is a slippery slope.

There's more, but that's all we have time for right now. Until next time.

Friday, April 13, 2007

More Funny Stuff From Bob and Tom

Anyone that had an older brother will especially appreciate this little ditty (Safe For Work):

The show generally has it's share of callers, here is one from Jerry Jones (May not be safe for work):

Here's one from Larry King (Not safe for work):

Thursday, April 12, 2007

MSNBC Will Replace Imus

Advertisers pulled out and MSNBC had no other choice but to give the I-Man the ax. I expect CBS to follow suit, soon if not before I get this posted.

Now MSBC must find a suitable replacement. And as you may guess, I have a suggestion: The highly touted, highly respected and honored Bob and Tom Show. It has won several Marconi Awards and is syndicated all over the country. You can see here, if they are on station near you.

Here is a short bit during a March broadcast:

This is a piece that got a lot of airplay on this show over the years of this show:

Of course it stands to reason that if you are going to have a song that pokes fun at men, you have to have one that does women too:

I will throw in this bit, just for good measure:

Check these out when you get time, they are not long. This show is the Saturday Night Live of morning radio.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

All Charges Dropped In Duke Rape Case

By now, everybody has heard this. It should come as no surprise to anyone with half an ounce of gray matter between their ears.

When the case first broke, I was concerned that some spoiled brats from rich affluent families could have violated a girl in the manner in which it was presented to us. Only after seeing the details unfold did this begin to reek of a gross injustice. Only then, did I even post on it. Not only does this clearly illustrate the reason why people should not rush to judgment, it demonstrates the kind of outcome that can occur when you allow mob-rule to dictate actions, rather than the rule of law.

Lives have been ruined over this, but those that rushed to judgment probably will not suffer much. An exception to this may be DA Nifong, who used this as a campaign issue to get the black vote in his re-election bid. But overall, those that used this as a platform to bully him will not have to answer for this; they will likely get their usual pass from the media and the justice system, because of the racial component involved here.

But PYY issues no such passes. Therefore, for whatever it is worth, PYY is issuing the the following condemnations and is calling for the following things to happen:

PYY condemns the woman, Crystal Gail Mangum, who made up this farce for whatever reason she chose to do so. In additon to this, PYY calls for charges to be brought against her for perjury and filing a false police report.

PYY condemns the Prosecutor in this case, Mike Nifong. The reason this was such a circus to begin with, was clearly because this man shirked his sworn duties to uphold the law and apply it fairly to all individuals, regardless of race, creed, or national origin. He failed. In addition, he should step down as DA or be removed, if he refuses to do so. (Future cases will be affected, if this does not happen.) Then, he should be investigated by the NC AG for criminal misconduct. And the families should sue the hell out of him and force him to liquidate everything he owns, for violating these men's constitutional rights.

PYY condemns the all of those in the Duke University academic community that rushed to judgment and calls for each one that spoke publicly about this before the facts were known, to apologize in public. In addition, Duke University administrators should pick up the tab for any future education expenses, whether it's at Duke or not.

PYY condemns Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and the Black Panther Militia for whipping up this frenzy. Realizing there is little legal recourse that can be taken against them, they still bear a great deal of responsibility in the events that have taken place over the last year, in this travesty of American justice. They should publicly apologize, Sharpton should have the three men and their families on his show and allow them to conduct their own inquisition against him, like he did with Imus. I do not know if Jesse has a show or not, but all he has to do is call a press conference and the media will flock to him. (He should also rescind his offer of a scholarship made to the woman, earlier, and in the same breaths that condemned these young men.) Real men with valued principles would do this, but they are the dictionary examples of hypocrisy and I will not hold my breath waiting for it to happen. As for the Militia, they are hatemongers that advance intolerance and create more ill-will than they cure. They too should apologize, and disband.

PYY condemns the feminists and women's groups that, along with the race-baiters, whipped this up into a frenzy. They should do the same thing, being asked of Sharpton, Jackson, and the Militia. But again, it's probably not going to happen.

PYY condemns the mainstream media that presented this in such a biased angle and gave an audience to these aforementioned groups and individuals. Their actions are most deplorable, because without media this case would have stayed local and most likely could have been resolved a long time ago. But with the extra attention it got, Mr. Nifong got drunk on the publicity and the attention that it brought to him personally. And being the quintessential politician that he has proven himself to be, he ate it all up, while he held the cards. The media enabled him to do this. If there is any possible case against those outlets that catalyzed this into the farce that it soon became, I would recommend they start looking at a settlement, now (SEE: Richard Jewell and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

If anything good can come out of this case (and again, I doubt there will), maybe it will be to discover the old concept of letting the justice system work, first, before there is a cry foul. There's nothing wrong with keeping pressure on our elected law enforcement officials, to see that the law is upheld and justice is done. But we, as a society, cannot allow thugs, miscreants, liars, those with a political angle, and the openly biased "dirty laundry" seeking media to prosecute people, while violating their rights. There must be accountability for those that poured fuel on this fire, as well as those that started it.

Using The Imus Factor As A Political Weapon

Sorry to report that the media has saturated itself with this story. What's a blogger to do when looking for inspiration to put up an intelligent thought-provoking post that people will want to read, when the lead-in yesterday (and from the looks of things today) was (is) the Imus situation. And I mean to tell you it was everywhere.

There are other things going on in the world, but the media seems to remain content to put this front and center. All of this is despite the fact, there are certainly more pressing things to consider. But, really now. Who wants to think about anything that could seriously effect people's lives, when you can have one of your own peers for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?

But that's not all there is to it. It's going to get old fast, if we keep re-inventing the wheel. So naturally, there will be a need to have this ripple out into other stories, just to keep this thing alive. It's going to need a little help.

The Boston Globe being the fine beacon of truth and responsibility it is, has chosen to sow more discord by making this a political issue.

With the Rev. Al Sharpton leading calls Monday for radio host Don Imus to be fired over racially insensitive remarks, Senator Barack Obama's presidential campaign avoided the controversy throughout the day.

See? Nice lead-in.

Not until Monday evening, five days after Imus's comments were uttered and hours after CBS Radio and MSNBC announced a two-week suspension for the radio host, did Obama weigh in, saying in a statement: "The comments of Don Imus were divisive, hurtful, and offensive to Americans of all backgrounds." Obama did not address whether he thought Imus should be taken off the air.

Just guessing here, but Obama may have had other things to do? He is a Senator and he is running for President, so it may stand to reason that he has more important things to do than to get involved with a highly controversial figure with severe credibility problems, like Al Sharpton.

The episode is the first test of how Obama -- who is of mixed-race background -- is handling the contentious issue of race in his presidential campaign. Even as polls have shown other Democrats attracting a large share of the black vote, Obama has steered clear of the kind of activism symbolized by Sharpton and the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who were both highly visible in the Imus episode but whose aggressiveness on race issues has alienated some white voters in the past.

Here's what it looks like to me.

Al Sharpton wants to drive the train in the black community. He's clearly said in the past that he is withholding support for Obama, until he sees how Obama is going to act. Al is based in NY, Hillary is based in NY, the NYT (which owns the Boston Globe) is based in NY, Obama hasn't got a chance with this publication to start with. Al wants to be the kingmaker, plain and simple.

But from the looks of things, Obama realizes that it's not in his best interests to get overly worked up over this thing. Sharpton is well recognized by many, as a divider. And Obama wants to see himself as a uniter. His remarks are going to be measured and professional, not easily given over to a mere moment of emotional appeal.

But the big thing in all of this to note is, this is an implicit attempt to plant the question in the minds of those in the black community: Is Obama black enough? Sharpton appears to be headed that way. There's a good chance, he's already made his mind up to support Hillary and believe me, Hillary doesn't like Imus either. He's called her everything in the world, including Satan. For her, it would be a good time to shore up support from Al and stick it to Imus at the same time.

But to do so, would drastically affect credibility. Sharpton is a power-hungry race-baiting troublemaker. And if either candidate is smart, they will rightly condemn the statements made by Imus and move on. After that, the market will decide whether or not to fire Imus. CBS, MSNBC, and the radio station he originates from will make that determination. The last thing any candidate should do, is get in bed with Al. That's for sure.