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Remember the guys from those infamous Budweiser commercials saying “Wassup” more times than we EVER wanted to hear? Well here they are facing the unpleasant “Wassup” realities in 2008.  This is truly a fantastic video–kudos to 60frames! Vote, people, vote!

And for those who missed the Wassup guys the first go-round (yes, it WAS that annoying ;)), here ya go.

Truly “MUST SEE TV” was to be had on NBC’s Meet the Press  today, as Colin Powell did as many were murmuring he would: he officially endorsed Barack Obama for President of the United States of America, over his fellow Republican and friend, John McCain.  I don’t think I have been as captivated by a speaker as I was while watching Powell, in a very long time, perhaps since Obama’s stirring keynote speech in 2004 (video) at the Democratic National Convention.  While that speech by Obama made me stand up and take notice of this newcomer, mostly by mere virtue of having no clue who this charismatic speaker was, in Powell’s case today it was the sheer common sense and eloquent, calm, measured way in which he put forth his thoughts (including concern of John McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate and possible future president) and my wondering what the outcome would be that had my eyes and ears glued to the set.  Truly, nearly twenty-five minutes of not wanting to even take a breath for fear of missing something momentous.  Terribly sad that I have to categorize common sense as momentous, but the way this election campaign has gone–toward the unbelievably negative, ridiculous, racist and bigoted side–has me grabbing onto any and all shreds of common sense as if they were bits of fresh air amongst the putrid stagnation of negativity and hate.

While I have had intense misgivings about the role Mr. Powell had in our involvement in the horrific continuing disaster known as the Iraq war, I have always continued to harbor feelings of respect for most everything else he has done, especially on the charitable front.  This is a highly intelligent, compassionate man, with foreign policy and military experience matched by few, so to discount anything he might say by mere fact of my disgust with the hand he had in our involvement in Iraq would be shortsighted.  I am hoping that others who will vehemently disagree with the stance Powell took today, will not be shortsighted as well (not holding my breath), and will see that the points he laid out to explain his decision are points that bode well for our country, and for the drastic, immediate change we need at home AND abroad.

Below is a video clip (just over 7 minutes) of the lead up to Colin’s endorsement of Barack on Meet the Press, but I would also highly suggest reading this article on Huffington Post which discusses Powell’s endorsement, and has video of Powell speaking with reporters after the Meet the Press show.

And lastly, I’m sure it’s not just me, but did anyone else sorely miss Tim Russert being the one sitting in that Meet the Press chair and being the one to land this momentous interview?  What a lasting impact Tim has had on so many of us who never knew the man personally, but who miss his gentle, intelligent, and persistent style of being America’s truth-seeker and cheerleader for our political process.  You are sorely missed, Mr. Russert.

Today’s email from the Human Rights Campaign:

 
  Take  action against hate crimes  
 

The hate crimes bill has been derailed.

But we’re not giving up.

We’ve made huge progress already, and we’ll work tirelessly to get this legislation through in 2008.

Dear *****,

As I write this, I am filled with both deep disappointment and gratitude. I am disappointed because our fight for a hate crimes bill has been derailed, but grateful for the historic advances that we were able to achieve this year.

As you all know, we have made momentous advancements this year by moving the federal hate crimes legislation the closest it has ever been to becoming law. For the first time ever, in one year we were able to pass the fully-inclusive legislation through both chambers of Congress – a truly historic feat.

If you recall, the Matthew Shepard Act first passed the House of Representatives back in May as a stand-alone piece of legislation. It then moved to the Senate, where it passed 60 to 39 in September as an amendment to the Department of Defense Authorization bill. Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Senator Gordon Smith (R-OR) attached the Matthew Shepard Act to the Department of Defense Authorization bill because President Bush had announced that he would veto a free-standing hate crimes bill. By amending hate crimes to this larger bill, Senators Kennedy and Smith thought that we had a better chance of getting the president’s signature. After all, Bush would have to veto the entire piece of legislation – hate crimes AND programs for his war in Iraq – to reject hate crimes protections.

But in a frustrating move yesterday, during the very last legislative step – a conference committee working out the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill – we received word that the Matthew Shepard Act would be dropped from the final version of the bill. The hate crimes veto threat issued by the White House and organized opposition by House Republican Leadership cost significant numbers of votes on the right. Iraq-related provisions, which many progressive Democrats opposed, cost votes on the left. Moderate Democrats, many of whom voted for the hate crimes bill in May, did not want to test the President’s veto threat and risk a delay in increased pay for military personnel. All of these factors resulted in insufficient votes to secure passage of the bill with the hate crimes provision.

HRC coordinated a major final push to protect this bill. 40,000 HRC activists responded to our call and wrote to Congress. We helped organize a coalition effort with 120 national and local organizations. We held 11th-hour meetings with lawmakers.

Despite the anger we all feel that we fell short so close to the finish line, we cannot lose sight of the fact that we did succeed in moving hate crimes legislation the closest it has ever been to hitting the President’s desk for signature. And rest assured, the Human Rights Campaign is not done fighting. We are not giving up on efforts to find another legislative vehicle, in the second half of this Congress, to move the Matthew Shepard Act. Yes, we made historic advancements, but we will not be satisfied until we get a President who will use his or her pen to enshrine into our federal law books that violence against the GLBT community will not be tolerated in this country.

We have been a leader in the fight for hate crimes legislation for over a decade, and we’re not about to let this setback deter us. We will not rest until these protections are law.

We also can’t lose track of the bigger picture for 2008. On top of working to advance this bill and the rest of our equality agenda, we are already mobilizing around the 2008 elections. We are investing major resources to:

  • Elect local pro-equality officials who will be tomorrow’s national leaders,
  • Expand our majority in Congress – so that we will have the votes we need to thwart roadblocks like this – and
  • Elect a leader in the White House who would NEVER veto a bill protecting Americans from hate crimes.

These are the moments when your support counts most. Together, we’ll find the right path to victory. We know it is there.

Warmly,
Joe Solmonese
Joe Solmonese
President

I’ve been meaning to post the video clip below since becoming aware of it about a week or so ago, but this nasty cold has me being on the lazy side. The video is the product of the witty, irreverent, right-on-the-money, and totally talented drag superstar Jackie Beat penning the lyrics to this hilarious parody performed by Rosie O’Donnell and Roseanne Barr opening night (11/6/07) of the New York Comedy Festival.

For those who haven’t heard of Jackie Beat you really DO need to check her out. Mind you, she may not be your cup of tea (not for the faint of heart and definitely not rated G ;)), but I enjoy the daylights out of her ability (technically his ability, Kent Fuher) to create some insane, fantastically funny, and quite often politically-biting lyrics (as is evidenced with the lyrics below and with her thought-provoking blogs on her MySpace page) and belt them out donning some of the most lavish make-up, wigs, and outfits you’ll ever see. I’m hoping to catch the incomparable Ms Beat soon after finally getting my fanny moved up to LA. Enjoy!

Rosie and Roseanne “I Got You Bitch” at Lincoln Center

I GOT YOU BITCH!

lyrics by Jackie Beat

ROSIE: They say we’re nuts and full of crap
Just one false move and we are gonna’ snap!
ROSEANNE: We’re big & loud, well-known and rich
Girl, do the math, to men that equals Bitch

BOTH: Bitch! I got you bitch, I got you bitch

ROSIE: Gay marriage causes such a scare
But you’ve changed husbands more than your underwear
ROSEANNE: If adopting children is so divine
How’s about I give you some of mine?

BOTH: Bitch! I got you bitch, I got you bitch

ROSIE: We need healthcare for everyone
ROEANNE: And to bring home, every daughter and son
ROSIE: When you’re under attack, I will be there so fast
ROSEANNE: Girlfriend I’ve got your back, I’m prepared to kick ass!
ROSIE: And when your voice cannot be heard
Just stand your ground and give them all the bird
ROSEANNE: Cuz what good is a voting booth
If we can’t stand up here and speak the truth?

BOTH: Bitch! I got you bitch, I got you bitch

ROSEANNE: I call you when things ain’t right
ROSIE: But not too late it’s a school night
ROSEANNE: I read you my blog you missed
ROSIE: It’s half past two, my wife is pissed!
ROSEANNE: I needed you, you disappeared
ROSIE: Frankly Roseanne, this is getting weird!
ROSEANNE: There’s no need to be so rude
ROSIE: Here we go, another feud!

BOTH: Not with YOU, bitch!

I’ve always admired Keith Olbermann’s ability to put into words many of the thoughts I am unable to eloquently express. He has outdone himself with this video showcasing the outright lies, hypocrisy, immorality and lunacy of George W. Bush. (Here is the text for this video from 9/4/07).

While the entire video is incredible, it’s the last thirty seconds which especially touch upon the outrage I, and countless other Americans, feel toward this entire Iraq situation; Keith gives a voice to our concerns–our demands. It’s in this last half-minute of time that I can’t help but be reminded of a definite “must see” movie I didn’t think I’d like at all, but found myself loving, “V for Vendetta.” I can see legions of citizens fed up with GWB and his regime’s status quo, figuratively standing alongside Keith Olbermann during this video, as were the thousands of masked citizens in the final scenes of “V for Vendetta” fed up with the fascist “Norsefire” party. Could someone please hand me a Guy Hawkes Keith Olbermann mask, please?

Keith Olbermann Special Comment from 9/4/07

Found out about this little gem via a MoveOn.org email I just received. Dick, Dick, Dick, Dick, Dick, where on earth did the apparent common sense, common decency, and intelligence you obviously had shades of in 1994 disappear to come the GWB regime? How different the world would be today, and how many thousands upon thousands of lives on both sides of this disgusting war would not be shattered due to death and injuries, if ONLY you had retained some of your correct thoughts from 1994. Shame on you for losing your way, thereby leading others to lose their lives.

Cheney in 1994 on Iraq

Anyone else feel like the past several AGONIZING years of the Bush administration has been one continuous tweaking of a con artist shell game? Under shell #1 is ANY legitimate concern by Americans (and the rest of the world, too!) regarding anything from the mishandling of Iraq, to the shenanigans Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez and crew have been doing in the Justice Department. As soon as there is building interest in shell #1, Bush and crew attempt to throw the unsuspecting victims of this con game off with some fancy sleight of hand, and this time it’s Michael Moore’s trip to Cuba with 10 first responders to the WTC on 9/11, who are now suffering debilitating medical ailments. (Keep in mind the trip was taken in March, yet the letter from the government to Mr. Moore telling him of the investigation was dated May 2, 2007, a mere few weeks prior to his new movie, SiCKO being released…hmmm.) I’m sure shell #3 will probably be some “heightened terror alert” since we haven’t seen that lovely rainbow colored item pulled out of the mothballs for awhile. And it’s always been a favorite of this administration, since it’s so easy to pull the strings of the marionette public and create an artificial sense of fear and panic at the drop of a hat.

Let it be known at the outset that I am a fan of Michael Moore, and applaud what he has done to bring issues to light and have everyone engage in discussions pertinent to the welfare of ALL Americans (health care, our government and its falsehoods, outsourcing, gun control, and many more). That being said, I may not always agree with every move he makes (heck, I don’t even agree with every move I make! ;)), but this is a man who I strongly believe has the best interests of America at heart. Personally I’m pretty fed up with either being chastised or made to feel “unpatriotic” just because I strongly disagree with just about everything the current administration has done, so I can only imagine how Michael Moore must feel having such an enormous spotlight on him 24/7. And yes, I realize he brings it upon himself, but that just makes me appreciate his dedication even more. To put yourself up to the possibility of such scrutiny, ridicule, and hate, shows devotion and dedication to your beliefs. And yes, I even feel that way about those with whom I wholeheartedly disagree. Have strength in your convictions, but also show respect for differing viewpoints. Fine line, I know, but one we all really do need to try and walk–sometimes unsuccessfully.

Another reason I’m a fan of Michael’s is because of what he did for my alma mater, California State University, San Marcos. In October of 2003, Mr. Moore was scheduled to be a speaker at one of our CSUSM Arts & Lectures Series events. Due to the horrific wildfires in our area at the time, the engagement was postponed. By the time it was rescheduled it was close to the 2004 election and Karen Haynes, President of CSUSM, refused to allow Michael to speak saying that there wouldn’t be adequate time to schedule another speaker with an opposing political viewpoint. Thankfully students and community members would NOT let President Haynes control everything, and raised enough funds to have Mr. Moore speak at an off-campus area (Del Mar Fairgrounds) to approximately 10,000 of us (yes, I was there! ;)). Here is one story about the entire flap and subsequent venue change.

While hearing Michael speak in front of so many people with such fervor and determination was exciting enough, it was actually a HUGE surprise he shared with us all that really made the evening spectacular. (And mind you, this is an evening that had Joan Baez as a surprise performer!) The fantastic news that Michael shared with the crowd was that he was creating a “Freedom of Speech” scholarship at CSUSM to give $5,000 to a student who stood up to the administration the most. Due to the number of applicants Mr. Moore found outstanding, he ended up increasing the scholarship amount to $15,000, which was divided between 6 students. Here is a news article about his appearance that night and the impending scholarship.

And yes, I own countless works from Mr. Moore: “Stupid White Men” and “Dude, Where’s My Country?” in my reading library, along with “Fahrenheit 9/11”, “Roger & Me”, “Bowling for Columbine”, and “The Big One” in my media library, and looking forward to catching Michael’s upcoming flick, “Sicko“, as soon as it hits theaters this June 29th. And yes, I realize not everyone shares my opinion of Mr. Moore, but it’s my blog and my opinion, AND I truly believe there are far more folks who agree with Mr. Moore than disagree with him. 🙂 It will be interesting to see how this Michael Moore/Cuba/Bush administration story plays out. Heck, even an online betting site is wagering odds on how far this situation will go!

I’ll leave you with Michael’s open letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary, Henry Paulson. Take care, folks.

Friday, May 11th, 2007
Open Letter from Michael Moore to U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson

Secretary Henry Paulson
Department of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington, DC 20220

May 11, 2007

Secretary Paulson,

I am contacting you in light of the document sent to me dated May 2, 2007, which was received May 7, 2007 indicating that an investigation has been opened up with regards to a trip I took to Cuba with a group of Americans that included some 9/11 heroes in March 2007 related to the filming of my next documentary, on the American Healthcare system. SiCKO, which will be seen in theaters this summer, will expose the health care industry’s greed and control over America’s political processes.

I believe that the decision to conduct this investigation represents the latest example of the Bush Administration abusing the federal government for raw, crass, political purposes. Over the last seven years of the Bush Presidency, we have seen the abuse of government to promote a political agenda designed to benefit the conservative base of the Republican Party, special interests and major financial contributors. From holding secret meetings for the energy industry to re-writing science findings to cooking the books on intelligence to the firing of U.S. Attorneys, this Administration has shown time and time again that it will abuse its power and authority.

There are a number of specific facts that have led me to conclude that politics could very well be driving this Bush Administration investigation of me and my film.

First, the Bush Administration has been aware of this matter for months (since October 2006) and never took any action until less than two weeks before SiCKO is set to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival and a little more than a month before it is scheduled to open in the United States.

Second, the health care and insurance industry, which is exposed in the movie and has expressed concerns about the impact of the movie on their industries, is a major corporate underwriter of President George W. Bush and the Republican Party, having contributed over $13 million to the Bush presidential campaign in 2004 and more than $180 million to Republican candidates over the last two campaign cycles. It is well documented that the industry is very concerned about the impact of SiCKO. They have threatened their employees if they talk to me. They have set up special internal crises lines should I show up at their headquarters. Employees have been warned about the consequences of participating in SiCKO. Despite this, some employees, at great risk to themselves, have gone on camera to tell the American people the truth about the health care industry. I can understand why that industry’s main recipient of its contributions — President Bush — would want to harass, intimidate and potentially prevent this film from having its widest possible audience.

And, third, this investigation is being opened in the wake of misleading attacks on the purpose of the Cuba trip from a possible leading Republican candidate for president, Fred Thompson, a major conservative newspaper, The New York Post, and various right wing blogs.

For five and a half years, the Bush administration has ignored and neglected the heroes of the 9/11 community. These heroic first responders have been left to fend for themselves, without coverage and without care. I understand why the Bush administration is coming after me — I have tried to help the very people they refuse to help, but until George W. Bush outlaws helping your fellow man, I have broken no laws and I have nothing to hide.

I demand that the Bush Administration immediately end this investigation and spend its time and resources trying to support some of the real heroes of 9/11.

Sincerely,

Michael Moore

George W. Bush’s veto has elicited some powerful statements from six US military leaders. You know, the ones that actually SERVED in the military. The ones that have a clue what is going on in Iraq. Service members who are the exact opposite of our “Commander-In-Chief”.

From the blog of our Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi:

Military Leaders Against the President’s Veto

May 2nd, 2007 by Karina

“With this veto, the president has doomed us to repeating a terrible history. President Bush’s current position is hauntingly reminiscent of March 1968 in Vietnam. At that time, both the Secretary of Defense and the President had recognized that the war could not be won militarily – just as our military commanders in Iraq have acknowledged. But not wanting to be tainted with losing a war, President Johnson authorized a surge of 25,000 troops. At that point, there had been 24,000 U.S. troops killed in action. Five years later, when the withdrawal of U.S. troops was complete, we had suffered 34,000 additional combat deaths.”
– Lt. Gen. Robert Gard, USA, Ret.

“By vetoing this bill and failing to initiate an immediate and phased withdrawal, the President has effectively gone AWOL, deserting his duty post, leaving American forces with an impossible mission, suffering wholly unnecessary casualties.”
– Lt. Gen. William E. Odom, USA, Ret.

“The rhetoric of Congress not supporting our troops is pure ‘hogwash’. The real non support of our troops is the Presidential Veto. Vetoing this Bill sends a message to our troops, that the President will fund them to fight but is not concerned about returning them to their families.”
– Maj. Gen. Mel Montano, USANG, Ret.

“The President vetoed our troops and the American people. His stubborn commitment to a failed strategy in Iraq is incomprehensible. He committed our great military to a failed strategy in violation of basic principles of war. His failure to mobilize the nation to defeat world wide Islamic extremism is tragic. We deserve more from our commander-in-chief and his administration.”
– Maj. Gen. John Batiste, USA, Ret.

“This administration and the previously Republican controlled legislature have been the most caustic agents against America’s Armed Forces in memory. Less than a year ago, the Republicans imposed great hardship on the Army and Marine Corps by their failure to pass a necessary funding language. This time, the President of the United States is holding our Soldiers hostage to his ego. More than ever apparent, only the Army and the Marine Corps are at war – alone, without their President’s support.”
– Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, USA, Ret.

“Almost 5 years ago, Congress trusted the President enough to give him the power to transform Iraq. Bush violated that trust and deceived us with a misuse of force. Today, the President violated the trust of the American people, our troops, and their families by vetoing this bill and not choosing to do what is right. He has let us down.”
– Brigadier General John Johns, USA, Ret.

Check these out:

VERY powerful video put to John Fogerty’s “Deja Vu”:

CODEPINK

TIMZ

Unfortunately most of us eventually become numb to the news reports and the statistics we hear each day about how many more individuals have lost their lives in Iraq. We never really take the time to find out more about the person behind the headlines. Hopefully a new online memorial, the Iraq Veterans Memorial, will bridge the gap between the statistics and the reality, between the flag-draped coffins and the memories left behind. Please take a few moments to check out this unique way of getting to know some of those who have died in this senseless war.

If you would like to take a more active role in voicing your concerns about this war, one group you may want to check out is MoveOn.org. If you are curious about the staggering losses suffered during the past four years, AntiWar.com has a constantly updated list.

Here’s hoping we will not be meeting again for a 5th anniversary of this horrific mistake.


Wow, if everything else on MADtv is as well written and dead-on (pun not initially intended, but…) then I need to start watching MADtv! Watch this entire video and you’ll see what I mean. Bravo, MADtv!

Those who know me are well aware of my passion for live music of all sorts. That being said, I will admit that while my taste in music would easily be described as eclectic, rap has never really been something I could just pop in the CD player and listen to for hours on end. Give it to me in the infectious, body-moving sounds and beat of Ozomatli, or in the politically infused lyrics and rhythm section of B-Side Players, and I’m fine. Give me rap with nearly-naked women shaking and rubbing their body parts all over the place, and sorry, but no matter how important the rapper’s message might be, you’ve lost me.

Maybe that’s the difference for me: the message and how it is delivered. To that end I’d like to share with you a local talent (San Diego area) who not only has a message to share, but feels strong enough in it to do something I could never do: appear on anything FOX news-related! (UGH!) Tommy Hanna (AKA TIMZ in the music world), is an American-born rapper of Iraqi and Chaldean descent and someone whose music I first ran across due to his Super Chargers 2006 video (yes, I’m still in mourning over my Chargers NOT being in the Super Bowl…sigh). TIMZ recently released his debut album, “Open for Business” and is getting a lot of attention for his video/song “Iraq”. Definitely powerful stuff, definitely a strong message.

I’m including not only the video of “Iraq”, but also his recent appearance on George Bush’s media outlet (AKA FOX news), if you’ve got the stomach to watch Chuck Norris stumble through his attempt at being an interviewer. There’s also a story on the local ABC news affiliate, KGTV 10, and yes, I must also include “Super Chargers 2006″…part of the healing process for Chargers fans everywhere. 😉

In preparation for tonight’s State of the Union, I feel the need to post the link to my previous entry on George W. Bush (Worst joke ever=GWB) which included three videos—one especially powerful and thought-provoking. I would like to think that something in GWB’s speech will have me feeling differently about the man and his politics, but unfortunately I doubt that will happen. I suppose the only way that will occur is if he decided to do the right thing and announce he was stepping down. Hey, a gal can dream, can’t she? Unfortunately it is only in dreams where we can return to life those who have perished in this senseless war.

***Added some post-State of the Union thoughts in the comments below.***

Sniffin’ out the info

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