Why is Palin in the race???

I really wanted to give Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin a chance a month ago when she got into the limelight at first. A lot of her opponents were taking shots at her family and her looks. For some reason I was actually taken by her charisma and what seemed like at the time a good record on reform.

But her most recent interview with CBS anchor Kate Couric really did a 180 for me. She is what some people like politico Paul Begala would call a “high functioning moron.”

I think foreign policy wonk Fareed Zakaria said it best.

From CNN:

CNN: What did you initially think when Sarah Palin was announced as the Republican vice presidential nominee?

Zakaria: I was a bit surprised -- as I think most people were. But I was willing to give her a chance. And I thought her speech at the convention was clever and funny. But once she began answering questions about economics and foreign policy, it became clear that she has simply never thought about these subjects before and is dangerously ignorant and unprepared for the job of vice president, let alone president.

CNN: You don't think she is qualified?

Zakaria: No. Gov. Palin has been given a set of talking points by campaign advisers, simple ideological mantras that she repeats and repeats as long as she can. But if forced off those rehearsed lines, what she has to say is often, quite frankly -- nonsense. Just listen to her response to Katie Couric's question about the bailout. It's gibberish -- an emptying out of catchphrases about economics that have nothing to do with the question or the topic. It's scary to think that this person could be running the country.

Here is their exchange:

Katie Couric: Why isn't it better, Gov. Palin, to spend $700 billion helping middle-class families who are struggling with health care, housing, gas and groceries; allow them to spend more and put more money into the economy instead of helping these big financial institutions that played a role in creating this mess?

Gov. Sarah Palin: That's why I say I, like every American I'm speaking with, we're ill about this position that we have been put in where it is the taxpayers looking to bail out. But ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health-care reform that is needed to help shore up our economy, helping the -- it's got to be all about job creation, too, shoring up our economy and putting it back on the right track. So health-care reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions and tax relief for Americans. And trade, we've got to see trade as opportunity, not as a competitive, scary thing. But one in five jobs being created in the trade sector today, we've got to look at that as more opportunity. All those things under the umbrella of job creation. This bailout is a part of that.

CNN: But Dan Quayle wasn't very qualified and that didn't seem to matter, did it?
Zakaria: This is way beyond Dan Quayle. Quayle was a lightweight who was prone to scramble his words, or say things that sounded weird, but you almost always knew what he meant. One of his most famous miscues was to the United Negro College Fund when he said, "What a terrible thing to have lost one's mind. Or not to have a mind at all." Now he was trying to play off a famous ad that the group used to run, "A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste." And he screwed it up in a funny way. But read

Gov. Palin's answers and it does appear that she doesn't have any understanding about the topic under discussion.

CNN: But she has a lot of supporters.

Zakaria: Look, I'm not saying that she is not a feisty, charismatic politician who has done some good things in Alaska. It is just we are talking about a person who should be ready to lead the United States at a moment's notice. She has never spent a day thinking about any important national or international issue, and this is a hell of a time to start.

CNN: Does it make you concerned about Sen. McCain as a president?

Zakaria: Yes, and I say this with sadness because I greatly admire John McCain, a man of intelligence, honor and enormous personal and political courage. However, for him to choose Sara Palin to be his running mate is fundamentally irresponsible. He did not put the country first with this decision. Whether it is appropriate or not, considering Sen. McCain's age most people expected to have a vice presidential candidate who would be ready to step in at a moment's notice. The actuarial odds of that happening are significant, something like a one-in-five chance.

I used to have some respect for McCain, but know I feel embarrassed for both him and Palin, and I am not even a Republican. Thursday's vice presidential debate will be pure comedy.

Labels: , ,


Twitter, journalism and ethics

Let’s just get this out of the way:

Never send a ‘tweet’ while attending a funeral. It’s just plain disrespectful.

From Boston Phoenix:

Some background: on September 4, Francis Hernandez, a 23-year-old illegal immigrant from Guatemala, broadsided a truck in Aurora, Colorado. The truck and Hernandez’s vehicle then careened into a Baskin-Robbins, killing the truck’s two occupants and Kudlis, who was in the ice-cream store with his mother. The tragedy quickly became fodder for anti-illegal-immigrant activists, such as former Republican presidential candidate Tom Tancredo, who accused Colorado’s Democratic governor and Denver’s mayor of having “blood on their hands.” (Hernandez had been arrested for traffic violations in the past but had never been reported to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a federal agency that could have had him deported.)

Rocky Mountain News reporter Berny Morson used Twitter, a microblogging tool, to report live from Kudlis’ funeral. And here are some of his tweets:

people again are sobbing. rabbi again asks god to givemarten everlasting
life.09:46 AM September 10, 2008 from txt

pallbearers carry out coffin followed by mourners.09:48 AM September 10,
2008 from txt

cars queueing up to follow hearse09:59 AM September 10, 2008 from

procession begins10:01 AM September 10, 2008 from txt

people gathering at graveside10:14 AM September 10, 2008 from txt

coffin lowered into ground10:18 AM September 10, 2008 from txt

With the advent of new media contributing to the demise of print journalism, reporters are looking for new ways to tell their stories, while staying competitive in the news game. Social networking tools like Twitter and others are great because they put all media outlets, no matter how big or small, on the small level playing field. But sometimes common sense is let go just because an editor wants to be the first one to get a story.

Labels: ,


Zimbabwe after Mbeki

Thabo Mbeki resigned as South Africa’s president this week, and many wonder if the week-old Zimbabwean power-sharing deal between Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai is in jeopardy.

From Mail & Guardian:

"Considering that Mbeki was the sole mediator in the Zimbabwe agreement,
Zimbabweans are now asking what the future of the country holds," the coalition
said in a statement."Zimbabweans from all walks of life were banking on the
settlement to rescue the country from the socioeconomic and political abyss it
is entrenched in."MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa insisted that Mbeki's
departure, effective on Thursday, would not spell disaster for the Zimbabwe
deal."There is no danger posed to the agreement by President Mbeki's departure,"
said Chamisa…

…John Makumbe, a political scientist at the
University of Zimbabwe, said power-sharing might collapse without Mbeki."He was
able to apply pressure here and there and get them to sign the agreement.
Without him I think each group is going to stick to its guns and that would be
unhealthy ... the whole agreement could remain strictly on paper, he said.

As much as I don’t like Mbeki (as he has been too much of a cheerleader for Mugabe), this could be a step backwards for all Zimbabweans.



Somali press freedom on Facebook

Somalia is one of the most dangerous countries in the world to work as a journalist. According to reports, the Somali press is targeted by hired killers and face discrimination from transitional President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed’s administration. Press freedom group Reporters without Borders’ 2008 annual report shows that journalists are under siege. “Eight dead, four injured, some 50 journalists in exile, and others holed up at home after abandoning their work in fear. To this terrible toll, must be added 53 journalists arrested while doing their job either in southern Somalia, where the capital Mogadishu is sited, in semi-autonomous Puntland in the north or in the self-proclaimed state of Somaliland in the north-west.” But now Somali journalists are fighting back online.

The Somali Journalists Rights Agency (SOJRA) recent started a Facebook group to update press freedom supporters worldwide about what they say are abuses against reporters in its country. So far the organization has posted its press releases and are encouraging supporters to spread the world about their cause.

Labels: ,


BOMA Member?

I just might have to join the newly formed group BOMA – Bail Out My Ass.

Congress is preparing an enormous $700 billion bailout in hopes of stablizing the financial markets' downward turn. I am not totally against bailouts, but Congress should also consider including homeowner rescue provisions and stricter lending regulations in any aid package for Wall Street.

But don’t expect two Senators to even show up for the vote…

From Politico:

Sen. John McCain (R- Ariz.) has no plans to return to Washington this week, even though on Monday he expressed discomfort with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s trillion-dollar bailout plan and has offered his own rescue proposal.

“Sen. McCain is monitoring the situation closely,” said campaign co-manager Steve Schmidt on a conference call Monday. “We will see how this unfolds this week.”

McCain “retains his rights to evaluate it as it goes along and make a final decision,” said co-manager Rick Davis.

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) also looks like a no-show.

Senior Obama strategist Robert Gibbs said the campaign would be monitoring the process as it unfolds this week, but as of Monday, the campaign would not commit to Obama making the trip back to Washington – even though the bailout proposal has taken a central role in Obama’s stump speeches.

“It’s safe to say people will know where we are,” Gibbs said.

No, I don’t know where the f**k your candidate or McCain stands on this issue!!!

Monitoring the situation? What is there to monitor?

Believe or not, this amount will be more money than what has been spent on the Iraq War so far. Congress is about to commit American taxpayers to yet another boondoggle, and the two men who want to be the next leaders of this country can’t even show up to do the duties of the positions they are currently in?

I am sick of our politicians playing games with the lives of the American people. The two candidates don’t want to take a position on this issue because they don’t want their decision to be used against them in the future.

This is the reason Americans have lost confidence in their public officials.

Labels: ,


Global Wire hearts Wyclef Jean!

And, no, I am not getting paid to by him to blog about his work, but it does warm me up to hear about him keeping it real. As we have mentioned here before, our favorite Haitian musical genius is one of the few celebrities who sincerely take on causes he cares about.

This time around he was in Haiti earlier this week to shed light on the trauma left behind following the various hurricanes that have wreaked havoc in his homeland.

From New York Daily News:

Teaming with the Pan American Development Foundation and the World Food Program, Yelé Haiti is planning for a massive emergency food delivery to begin within the next few days.

"My country is facing a serious catastrophe at the moment, and we urgently require assistance," Jean said. "But the long-term catastrophe is that we have less than 2 percent tree cover, and without restoring our forests, we will always be susceptible to mudslides and flash floods from storms and hurricanes."

To hear a interview with him about what he saw in Haiti, click here. Learn more about his organization, Yele Haiti Foundation.



Reproductive health highlighted on YouTube

Reproductive health and specifically abortion are highly controversial topics in most countries around the world. Last June the Bush administration used a loophole in the 2008 Foreign Operations Appropriations bill to withhold all $40 million that Congress allocated to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the world’s largest provider for women’s health. According to UNFPA advocates, the financial withholdings undermines much need reproductive health needs, especially for women in the developing world. Since 2002 the United States has withheld US$235 million from UNFPA, which advocates say could have prevented 294,000 maternal deaths and could have allowed 82 million women to delay their first or next pregnancy. Now advocates are bringing there message to cyberspace.

The “34 Million Friends” campaign is a grass-roots movement created in July 2002 by Americans Lois Abraham and Jane Roberts, with the goal is to find 34 million friends to help UNFPA. The women are using YouTube and an email campaign to get the word out about their cause. So far, over 100,000 donors have contributed over $3 million. Roberts and Abraham were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize as part of the 1000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize 2005 project under the patronage of the Swiss Commission for UNESCO.

“Unfortunately we are no where close to $34 million but a significant amount of money with more coming in every week, is sending a positive message to the world from the American people,” Roberts said in a recent article. “We need an Administration which respects and supports women. Frankly, we haven’t had one for 8 years. We need an Administration which will join 180 other countries in supporting the humanitarian work of the United Nations Population Fund. We need change.”

Labels: ,


Raining all over Wall Street

And when it rains, it pours…

From CNN Money:

Wall Street was a vastly different world Monday from what it looked like just days earlier, following one of the most harrowing days in the history of U.S. financial industry.

In less than a day, Lehman Brothers, one of the nation's oldest investment banks, filed for bankruptcy - the largest ever announced in the United States. And Bank of America executed a bold and swift $50 billion takeover of Merrill Lynch, while the fate of other brand-name financial institutions remained in doubt.

Wall Street has been broken for years, and I have been calling out the corporate world for creating messes that affect everyone forever. But, damn, I can’t believe that I am agreeing with Sarah Palin (or whoever fed this statement to her to say).

From Associated Press:

"Guys and gals, our regulatory system is outdated and needs a complete overhaul. Washington has ignored this. Washington has been asleep at the switch and ineffective, and management on Wall Street has not run these institutions responsibly and has put companies and markets at risk," Palin said during a rally in Golden, Colorado. "They place their own interests first instead of their employees and the shareholders who actually own these companies."



Radical Music Videos: Lisa Stansfield

I love Lisa Stansfield! She is another so-called "blue-eyed soul" singer who had a string of hits back in the 1990s. "Never, Never gonna give you up" is my favorite song.



Blogging about Muslim Life

The tragic events around the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and the July 2005 London bombings, as well as the growing number of Muslims living in Europe and the United States, has brought forth some attempts by many in Western nations to better understand the Islamic faith. Swedish newspaper, Svenska Dagbladet, recently launched Ramadan blog, which is run by three Muslim bloggers who are giving different perspectives on their daily lives throughout the Holy Month.

In recent years, there has been growing tension between Muslim immigrants from Africa and the Middle East and generally progressive Swedes, who lately have turned their attention to right-wing groups that support anti-immigration policies. From religious intolerance to the increasing number of supermarkets selling Halal foods, Ramadan blog gives viewers an alternative window into what it is like to be Muslim today, with the hope of bring peace and reconciliation in the Scandinavian country.

Labels: , ,


Education and Black Youth

Just like in the United States, there are educational disparities among black and Asian youth in Britain, and advocates are looking at ways to close the gap. Recently, it became mandatory to teach black history following a review of the national curriculum.

From The Telegraph:

All pupils aged between 11 and 14 will be taught about the slave trade and the British empire when term begins next month to help them understand modern-day issues such as immigration.

The two subjects, aimed at highlighting the influence of ethnic minorities, will join the two world wars and the Holocaust as periods that must form part of the history syllabus.

Schoolchildren will learn about the roles of William Wilberforce, the MP who campaigned for the abolition of slavery, and Olaudah Equiano, a former slave who drew attention to the horrors of the trade after buying his freedom and writing an autobiography.

They will also be taught about the origins of the empire, with one unit looking at rise and fall of the Mughals in India and the arrival of the British. Another is titled "How was it that, by 1900, Britain controlled nearly a quarter of the world?"

Kevin Brennan, the children's minister, said: "Although we may be ashamed to admit it, the slave trade is an integral part of British history. It is inextricably linked to trade, colonisation, industrialisation and the British Empire.

"It is important that children learn about this and its links to wider world history, such as the American civil rights movement - the repercussions of which are still being felt today. That is why the slave trade will join the British Empire, the two world wars and the Holocaust as compulsory parts of the secondary school history curriculum from this September."

Meanwhile, others advocate for "segregated" schools for blacks.

From The Daily Express:

Lee Jasper, who advised former London Mayor Ken Livingstone on equalities, said it was time the black community ran its own schools, with black teachers and black governors.

He said black schools and colleges could prove to be a "beacon of excellence" for the black community.

Mr Jasper said Jewish, Muslim and Hindu communities already had their own schools. And he accused the "liberal community" of dismissing the idea of black schools, while failing to address "institutional racism" within education.

The comments come after a study suggested that black Caribbean students are less likely to be entered for higher-tier science and maths exams because of low teacher expectations...

..."The US has many historically black colleges and universities. They cater for the needs of the African American and they excel. I am not arguing here for a BNP-style 'apartheid education system'. I am talking about black business, parents, schools and our magnificent churches coming together and establishing schools that are open to all and are organised around the behavioural, pastoral, psychological and cultural requirements of black young people growing up in a economic environment that excludes black people."

First, the only thing here is that HBCUs were created at a time when African Americans weren't allowed to attend other schools. Secondly, I am not sure about this argument to racially segregate schools. In the United States, there has been much debate about having schools just for black and Latino boys.

But I am wondering what you think about the state of education for black youth, both in the United States and the UK. Do you think we need to revert to racially segregated schools, and is there a need to have a more culturally relevant curricula?

Labels: ,


Corporate Welfare Sucks

First Bear Stearns, now Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac:

From the Associated Press:

The government's historic bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on Sunday will be good news to homebuyers and some homeowners hoping to refinance if it leads to lower mortgage rates, as experts expect.

But for homeowners already behind on their mortgage payments, or who owe more than their homes are now worth, the plan unveiled Sunday by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson offers little in the way of extra relief.

"The bailout will give the mortgage industry a stability that we haven't had in a couple of years," said Rich Cosner, president of Prudential California Realty. "But frankly no, it won't help (struggling borrowers) to refinance."




Libya back in the fold

Libya is back in Western favor.

Condoleezza Rice arrived in Tripoli today to meet with Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi, the first visit in more than half a century by a U.S. secretary of state to the North African nation.

Apparently, no one told Rice that she is his new boo.

From CNN:

After their meeting, Gadhafi, who once called Rice "Leeza ... my darling black African woman," was hosting a dinner for Rice.

Last year in an interview with Arabic TV station al Jazeera, Gadhafi suggested that Rice ran the Arab world, with which he has sometimes had stark differences.

"I admire and am very proud of the way she leans back and gives orders to the Arab leaders," he said. "I love her very much because she's a black woman of African origin."

Just last week, Italy signed an agreement to pay Libya $5 billion as part of a deal to resolve colonial-era disputes. Libya is the first African country to be compensated by a former colonial country.

From BBC News:

...Berlusconi explained that $200m would be paid annually over the next 25 years through investments in infrastructure projects, the main one being a coastal motorway between the Egyptian and Tunisian borders.

There will also be a colonial-era mine clearing project.

As a goodwill gesture, Italy also returned an ancient statue of Venus, the headless "Venus of Cyrene", which had been taken to Rome in colonial times.

The settlement was a "complete and moral acknowledgement of the damage inflicted on Libya by Italy during the colonial era", the Italian prime minister said.

"In this historic document, Italy apologises for its killing, destruction and repression against Libyans during the colonial rule," Col Gaddafi said for his part...

What a difference an image change makes...

Labels: ,


How the blogosphere took over the U.S. presidential campaign

The controversy surrounding Sarah Palin and her 17-year-old daugther, Bristol, is largely due to the blogosphere, which is showing not only how the line between legitimate news and flat out rumors is blurring, but also how new media is changing the political landscape.

From Digital Journal:

...The first in stance was over the weekend when and Internet rumor started at Daily Kos about Sarah Palin's youngest child, Trig, who was born in April with Downs Syndrome. It became news fodder lighting up the headlines across the world, all using the Kos story as their base, which included a photo DailyKos misrepresented as being from 2008 when in reality it was taken in 2006.

Yesterday again, another rumor based story hit the headline news at ABC and in the New York Times, with a piece based on the word of a woman, who took the rumor told to her by another person and gave it to the New York Times as fact, which in turn, the Times and other media outlets ran with it, none of them bothering to do the simple verification process that would have shown them before they reported, that it was all based in "incorrect" information.

The false story was about Republican vice presidential candidate, Sarah Palin again, this time alleging that she has belonged to the Alaska Independence Party for two years in the 1990’s...

If Palin actually steps down from the candidacy because of the scandals, then this is truly the dawn of a new media revolution.

Labels: , ,


Palin's got game - maybe not

And for a moment there, I really did think Sarah Palin was the real deal. But a slap back into reality made me realize that I spoke too soon, and she too is also a typical politician.

Now we have all heard about her 17-year-old daughter, Bristol, getting knocked up, and that she has "decided" to marry to father of the child, which I am still having a hard time believing. Even more perplexing is that John McCain claims he "knew" about the pregnancy, which I also find unbelievable as well. For some reason, if he could go back in time by a couple of weeks, McCain might be thinking that either Romney or Pawlenty would have been better choices for VP.

So now the soap opera gets even better. The Republican National Committee announced today that Bristol's baby daddy will be attending the convention later this week.

What a happy family, indeed! Palin doesn't believe in abortion, but it seem okay that her teenage daughter is have sex outside of marriage. WTF?

Meanwhile, the sh#t just keeps on hitting the fan for Sarah Palin.

From International Herald Tribune:

GOP vice presidential pick Sarah Palin accepted at least $4,500 in campaign
contributions in the same fundraising scheme at the center of a public
corruption scandal that led to the indictment of Sen. Ted Stevens.

The contributions, made during Palin's failed 2002 bid to become
Alaska's lieutenant governor, were not illegal for her to accept. But they show
how Palin, a self-proclaimed reformer who has bucked Stevens and his allies, is
nonetheless a product of a political system in Alaska now under the cloud of an
ongoing FBI investigation...

_Palin sought pork-barrel projects for her city and state, contrary to her
reformist image.

_Her husband once belonged to a fringe political group in Alaska with
some members supporting secession from the United States.

_A private attorney has been authorized to spend $95,000 to defend her
against accusations of abuse of power.

_She has acknowledged smoking marijuana in the past.

Since Palin's nomination last week, these issues also are raising

_In her earlier career as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, Palin hired a lobbyist
to help the tiny town secure at least 14 earmarks, worth $27 million between
2000-2003. McCain has touted Palin as a force in his long battle against

_Her husband, Todd, twice registered as a member of the Alaskan
Independence Party, a fierce states' rights group that wants to turn all federal
lands in Alaska back to the state. Sarah Palin herself never registered as a
member of the party, according to state officials, though party members said she
attended a 1994 convention with her husband.

_The state legislature is investigating whether she had Alaska's public
safety commissioner fired after he refused to dismiss a state trooper who had
divorced Palin's sister. Lawyer Thomas Van Flein said he is representing Palin
both personally and in her official capacity as governor. He can bill the state
up to $95,000.

_Palin opposed the U.S. government's listing of a variety of animals as
endangered, including the polar bear and the beluga whale, both of which inhabit
areas also rich in oil and natural gas.

_Palin previously acknowledged she smoked marijuana but said in a 2006
interview she no
longer used the drug. "I can't claim a Bill Clinton and say that I never
inhaled," she said.

_ Palin's management style has come under scrutiny. When taking over as
mayor of Wasilla, she asked top officials to submit resignation letters,
resulting in several departures, including that of the police chief. The chief
claimed it was because he supported her opponent in the mayor's race.

_Under her leadership this year, Alaska asked for almost $300 per person in
requests for pet projects from Stevens, one of McCain's top adversaries. That's
more than any other state received, per person, from Congress.

Palin has had her share of run-ins with Stevens, including a dustup
earlier this year in which Stevens accused Palin of not being enthusiastic
enough about his efforts to bring federal earmark money to Alaska. She has also
called on Stevens' son, Ben, to resign as national committeeman for the state

I guess Palin will be "stepping down" from her vice presidential candidacy by the end of this week.

Labels: ,


Corporate America Sucks

In case you missed it Friday night, Rolling Stone reporter Matt Taibibi was on Real Time with Bill Maher to discuss corporate America's real agenda in this year's U.S. presidential election and what is the status of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan.

Labels: , ,