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I believe a person's character can be found in their answer to this question: If you could go back in time to the begining of Civilization with 3 books, which 3 would you choose?

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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

C-SPAN Health Care Reform - would you watch?

While not exactly being entertaining television, C-SPAN is a network all the same. So I thought to include this, but you can respond at the more politically oriented VASS if you prefer.

The questions at hand are transparency, health care, and the word of the President. All of these are issues that cause the politically tunnel-visioned to fume. But the issues still remain.

President Obama campaigned on a pledge to pass Health Care Reform, and to do so while the public was watching on C-SPAN. Now, there is a final Bill being worked on and Bill Lamb, CEO of C-SPAN, has requested to place the entire debate on the final Bill live on television.

"C-SPAN CEO Brian Lamb wrote [in part], ``Now that the process moves to the critical stage of reconciliation between the chambers, we respectfully request that you allow the public full access, through television, to legislation that will affect the lives of every single American."

The response from the White House has been

I don't feel that was an answer. In fact I beleive that at 1:00 - 1:12 on the video the reporter was threatened.

So the questions come down to these 2 things:

  • Has the Obama Administration lived up to it's promise of transparency?

  • If C-SPAN was allowed to provide live coverage (assuming Nancy pelosi and Harry Reid took the Bill from closed door meetings) would you watch it?

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  • Monday, January 04, 2010

    The new voice of the news

    When it comes to gravitas, there are few entertainers that even can be considered on the list. When it comes to being an icon of entertainment, the list gets smaller.

    Just think about it. What are the voices that you can always recognize, even without seeing a face? James Earl Jones, Orson Welles, Walter Cronkite, William Shatner, top the list of course. They are men that without question are immediately recognized. But, as much as I was sure that Darth Vader had to be Black (I was very disappointed when he wasn't), as much as I respect Cronkite for his reporting, I don't imagine those men with the reserved dignity and impact of one other voice.

    Morgan Freeman.

    Perhaps it is the fact that this one actor has such a voice, a voice that just seems to fit as a stand-in for God or Presidents, that CBS has decided to use it for it's news program. It is perhaps the one voice that can replace the heralded Cronkite as a voice of familiarity and trust when it comes to the news of the day.

    It's quite the move for a man that most my age remember initially as Easy Reader (from the original Electric Company on PBS). Freeman has gone from Mississippi to the heights of Hollywood. He is respected and sought after. And his voice compels the audience to just listen.

    At 72, Freeman is possibly one of the most momentus actors of several generations. Which is interesting as his movie career didn't start until he was 43, and didn't take off until he was 50. He is more in demand now than most actors are in their 20's, or ever.

    Something that CBS news viewers might not know, Morgan Freeman can dance, which he did for the 1964 World's Fair. He can sing, as he did as a memeber of the Opera Ring in San Franscico. And like many men of the past, he served in the military - the Air Force.

    Considering that back in 1937 when Freeman was born African Americans were not accepted on radio and only in movies as caricatures of people (there was no television), and now he is the voice and image of trust, sobriety, gravitas, and the sanctified. It's a thought that is both warming to me and inspiring.

    Bravo Mr. Freeman, and bravo to CBS for their good taste.

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    Wednesday, November 18, 2009

    Is Newsweek sexist?

    The big question of late is all about Sarah Palin. Her book, if she will run in 2012, if she can win. And then there are the controversies.

    Newsweek really set things aflame with their cover of Mrs. Palin. And the claims of the cover photo being sexist and insulting have been raised. But are they right?

    Well the best way to answer the question seemed obvious to me. Compare the cover photo (taken from an image used by a running magazine some time ago) to a similar photo of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Or Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

    Except that no such photos seems to exist. None.

    I searched through 500 images of Hillary Clinton on Google looking for a single legitimate image of her with exposed legs. Couldn't find any. In fact I was hard pressed to find photos of Secretary Clinton in a dress. I know hardcore lesbians that show more cleavage and legs than Clinton has over the decades. (As for Speaker Pelosi, I'm sure there might be a photo somewhere that shows off her legs, but I'm too scared to see it)

    So it would seem that compared to her the general media is sexist. They have directly sought to make her an image that is more of a tart than a political figure. And I have to wonder why any woman would allow that without complaint.

    Basically isn't Newsweek saying that a mother and independant woman is worthless if she is cute and/or doesn't agree with the editor's views. They are saying that a woman who has achieved success in business and politics - she did run a major State after all - is about as important as a bikini model. Which I would think Secretary of State Clinton might find insulting. (And don't expect N.O.W. to stand up for a woman that exemplifies many of the ideals they are supposed to support)

    Newsweek says the image is fair. Ok, then show me a similar photo that was on their cover of Nancy Pelosi, or Hillary Clinton. I couldn't find one. How about Michelle Obama? Why don't they have an image of Michelle Obama in a bikini on the cover while the story in the magazine is about say healthcare. Would anyone find that sexist?

    I know, how dare I use examples of the First Lady and Secretary of State (and the Speaker of the House). They are Liberals and Democrats after all. It's a taboo to speak of them as anything but powerful women that are political leaders. Yet, Mrs Palin IS a political leader too. So what's the difference?

    If it isn't sexism, then all that is left is a political bullying that says you better think the way we want you to think or else. Is that what we have come to expect from the media? That the ideas they like are the only ones we should have? That the only people we should vote for or listen to are the ones they approve of?

    I recall another time when the media told people what to believe. They told people directly to buy only the versions of songs that Elvis sang and not the Black original versions. They said that African Americans didn't need to vote, or to sit in diners, or enter buildings through the front door. I recall when the media claimed that all Japanese in America were spies and traitors. I recall when the media was so afraid of politicians that McCarthy had everyone looking over their shoulder in case they were called a Communist and would be blackballed from their careers.

    I thought we were past the days of yellow journalism. But it would seem, as Newsweek has proven, that we haven't moved forward at all.

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    Tuesday, October 20, 2009

    Dr. Marc Lamont Hill - at Fox News no more

    Well I missed some rather upsetting news the other day. If you have ever watched Bill O'Reilly on Fox News, whether you would admit it or not in public, you probably have seen Dr. Marc Lamont Hill. He was a Liberal speaker on the show. I say was, because Dr. Hill is no longer employed by Fox News. Which is what I find upsetting and surprising that I missed.

    The earliest news of this change was on Oct 16th, though it was somewhat dubious at the time. It is now very confirmed. Though no information about this has yet to appear on his site -

    I admit that I had many differences with Dr. Hill. Politically we are on opposite sides of the spectrum. I often critiqued the views and ideas that he defended on the O'Reilly Factor, in my posts and video blogs. But that is not to say I did not respect him.

    For all the faults that I found with Dr. Hill, he is an intelligent and passionate Liberal. He is willing to stand in front of millions and express views that many disagree with. He has placed his name and reputation on ideas that he believes in and that deserves respect. Especially when it comes to blogs, often run or commented on by individuals unwilling to attribute their name to what they say.

    I am unaware of why Dr. Hill is no longer with Fox News. While I have found fault with his beliefs, he has always been informative and a great foil against the far more conservative views of Bill O'Reilly and others on that show. To my knowledge there has been no incident, personal or professional, that would call for his removal.

    The loss of Dr. Hill upsets me not only because I believe that a Liberal counter is needed for the Fox commentators, but also because he is Black. There are very few voices that make it to the news media, no matter which network you choose to watch. The loss of a well known voice is a major blow to our visibility and ability to introduce concerns and issues that we hold.

    The fact might be best seen in the fact that on Fox alone, Dr. Hill was often asked to comment on arenas far away from his own field of expertise. I do not believe that there were no other Black voices available for such discussions. I do believe that many of those that are qualified for these diverse commentaries are under severe pressure from the White House and on a local level to not appear on Fox News. Which again only amplifies the problem.

    Without further justification provided I find the actions of Fox News to have been detrimental overall. It is not enough to stop my viewership, but it is enough to cause this post.

    To Dr. Marc Lamont Hill I will say directly that I hope you find continued success and are not deprived of sharing your voice with the public for too long. While I do not agree on several facets of your publicly stated opinions, my respect for your voice stands far above my own personal views. I can think of no better compliment I could give any commentator.

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    Friday, October 16, 2009

    6 months after tragedy in Binghamton, NY

    You know what I hate? Well among other things, the hit and run nature of the major media. It's something that really has always annoyed me. The way they swoop in and get a few headlines but never really get the full story, or follow-up. Its a bad change from just a decade or so ago.

    Take for example the Civic Center shooting in Binghamton, New York. It was a dark day for the city and tragic. I recall getting a call and a text from friends concerned about me when they heard the news. That's how I found out what was happening 6 blocks from my house. And of course I went to cover the breaking news.

    It was a cold rainy day. I spent hours getting photos and finding out whatever I could. The number of rumors that day was incredible. Many thought it might have been a terrorist attack early on. But as I continued to seek out facts the situation became more clear. It was the deranged actions of a single troubled man.

    There was of course lots of news media around. They traveled from Ithaca, Syracuse, and I recall a few from New York City in the day or so afterwards. But it was just a day or so before they were all gone, moving on to other stories. Which would be fine, except it nagged me that in all the stories almost none of the media bothered to find out what Binghamton was like before the shooting.

    I let it go, expecting that at some point there would be some kind of follow-up. Yet it has never happened. Binghamton was marked as a place with a potential danger or some kind of scarlet letter. And while most people in the nation may not thnk of Binghamton's shooting, when the name comes up it has been something they recall. Which I can't abide.

    So I have sought out to tell a bit of the real nature of Binghamton. The city that I have called my home for 5 years now. A city that is small but filled with a diversity of people from across the nation, and more than a few countries. Its a place that is perhaps the safest place I have ever lived, and generally filled with good people.

    Part of my desire is to set the record straight. Part of it is as a minor member of the press (I'm no CNN) I believe that the positive side of Binghamton deserves to be shown. And of course part of it is the fact this is where I call home.

    Thus I start my ongoing coverage with a 15 minute interview with Mayor Matt Ryan. We discussed some of the events of that day. The difficulties that the local authorities had, and how they were resolved. We discussed what has changed in Binghamton, and more importantly what has not. Overall we spoke about the strength of a community and the ability of its people to overcome adversity.

    Thus I present my interview with Mayor Matt Ryan of Binghamton, NY

    I hope that this helps complete the part of the news cycle that never got finished back in April. I will have more on this soon.

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    Wednesday, October 14, 2009

    President Obama vs. Fox News - bias or not?

    So the White House is upset with Fox News. The President just doesn't like the coverage he gets there. Because they must be less than legitamite since they criticize his Administration. Are they serious?

    Now I have no problem with anyone that wants to critique the major news media. There are multiple issues I have, ranging from the disproportionate representation of people of color in television shows to the subliminal reinforcement of stereotypes in news coverage and advertisements. I write about it often. But to be realistic, there is no one major media outlet that is far and away worse than all the others.

    Of course when we focus only on the news media I begin to see the situation. Considering that virtually all the news media fawns over President Obama, Fox News actually doing there jobs must be a pain in the ass. They are the one place that reality sinks in, and rockstars prefer groupies to critics.

    Think about it. ACORN has abused the system, promoting criminal activities and corrupting votes across the country. It took over a week and a preponderance of evidence before the rest of the media even noticed there was a story there. Hmm, political corruption on a national level. Sounds like a job that the news media is supposed to do.

    What about officials in the Government. Besides telling the public about people in positions of power that have less than reputable backgrounds (Van Jones is a great and obvious choice) isn't it the job of the news media to mention the problems (like failing to pay taxes - which almost everyone in or proposed to be in the Obama Administration has failed to do) in our Government? Isn't that what most of the media did non-stop against President Bush?

    And those are just 2 examples of many. The fact that a President is a rockstar does not mean they are above critique or observation. It's part of the job. And President Obama has had many things to critique, just check my political blog VASS to see what I mean.

    When President Bush was in office, didn't he get hammered with tough questions every time he spoke to the press? Wasn't MSNBC treating President Bush even worse than Fox is accused of treating President Obama?

    The media is not perfect. They all have agendas and preferences. But for the White House to attack one organization for doing its job - that smacks of abuse of power. How dare anyone question President Obama. How dare anyone question obvious flaws in policy. They have to be solely stooges for political adversaries and racists. Except that would be a lie to say.

    Notice that the White House has not stated any materially important facts that were wrongly reported or commented (ie correcting the name of the city of an upcoming Olympics is not materially important). Notice that there is nothing that wasn't true. They didn't like it, but that does not mean it was false.

    No, the White House would prefer that the public either drools with excitement (like some at MSNBC seem to do) if President Obama speaks, or completely ignores the news of the day. It's much easier to pass legislation that no one has read if no one pays attention.

    Fox News is not perfect. I have had issue with some of the statements and coverage it has presented over the years. I have disagreed, strongly at times, with the opinions of Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, and Sheppard Smith. Yet I watch the channel every day because even when I disagree, the quality of the news and commentary is consistently far superior to other channels. And it is because I watch everyday that the silly internet bashers that misquote, and the bullying of the White House stand out for what they are.

    Simply put, if an Administration is hell bent to make sure you don't see something it stands to reason that you should pay attention. Put another way, if this was President Bush telling you not to watch a news channel many would flock to see what he disliked and why. The fact that President Obama is Black and a rockstar politician doesn't change that reasoning.

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    Friday, September 25, 2009

    Potential seen in HIV/AIDS fight

    In some of the best news since the world first became aware of HIV and AIDS, a glimmer of hope has arisen. While the most recent results of a study in Thailand are not fully understood yet, one thing is speculated - a vaccine might be possible.

    More than 16,000 volunteers in Thailand were involved in a multi-year study using for the first time 2 seperate AIDS vaccines in combination. While results of each of the vaccines seperately were disappointing and ineffective, this recent combination has shown some positive effect.

    Of the over 8,000 heterosexuals men and women aged 18 - 30 that were in the blind test group receiving the combo drug, 51 became infected. This compares to an equivalent group receiving a placebo in which 74 became infected. Sadly 2 of those infected have died.

    But the difference is 31%. Considering how rampant HIV has been in Thailand, this new potential and use of comdoms and other measures of protection give the first signs of progress in the 26 year fight. There are still many questions facing researchers at this time though.

  • Does this combination of drugs work for other groups?
  • Why did it only help some of the volunteers?
  • Are there other combinations of previously ineffective drugs that might work even better?

    While the world may never be free of HIV and AIDS, the fact that there is a chance to lower the odds against this killer disease is heart-warming. But no one should think this is a cause for a limited group of people.

    HIV/AIDS is still infecting 7,500 people each day across the globe. In 2007 alone there were 2 million (2,000,000) deaths that were confirmed from the disease. The victims of this disease are men, women, heterosexuals, gays, IV drug users, children, and of every religion, race, ethnicity and nationality on the planet. Those at risk of contracting HIV/AIDS remain every human being on the planet.

    While the U.S. media has stopped paying as close attention to this disease as they once did, it has not gone away. The cure still remains to be found though that day may be just that much closer. So please take precautions. Don't have unprotected sex, get tested on a regular basis - even if you are not in a high risk category, don't use IV drugs.

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  • Thursday, September 17, 2009

    Is TIME hypocritical, or is Glenn Beck the problem?

    In as much as politics is entertainment these days, I want to discuss news commentators and the news media. I was motivated to do so by an article in TIME online. They were discussing Glenn Beck. Yeah, that guy.

    For those that hate FOX News, and/or anything to the right, I ask you to keep reading and not zone out. For those that hate the left, do the same.

    I’ve written about Glenn Beck before. On my political blog site. I have differences with many of his views, but at the same time he must be given credit for being dead-on with several issues. Van Jones was one, so is the current and growing ACORN situation. TIME notes both of these things.

    But TIME meanders eventually to the question of if Beck is just there for the money, and playing both sides against the middle? Which is an important question, but not just for Beck.

    Right now, politics and cable news coverage are huge business. Unlike years past where it was something more centralized to election cycles, or newspaper subscriptions, today politics is divided to channels available 24/7. Which is definitely helping to divide the nation, and occasionally inform.

    Whether Glenn Beck is independent, or to the right does not matter. Whether FOX is right of center or just right of the rest of the media does not matter. They are all in it for the money. Which TIME is in it for as well. So to question the financial success of ANYONE in the media is stupid. None of us, including me (you did click on my advertisers or checked out my store, right?), do this simply for the good of our hearts. We want to be paid as well.

    That is the American way.

    The bigger question though is if the money is the goal or the means. Yes I want to make money, but I don’t write with that in mind. I write what I believe, and I think most pundits do the same. But in reading the TIME article you would think they are the only ones in the media that do it just to give away every dime. Which is laughable.

    Let’s look at things as they are. We have a President that is not what he campaigned as (love or hate him for that as you will). We have an economy that is sour, and not likely to improve anytime soon. We have massive amounts of corruption in both Parties in Government. And the concerns of Joe Average seem the most far removed from politicians in my life (41 years).

    Keith Olbermann, Beck, Bill O’Reilly, Chris Matthews and a host of others make millions because of this environment. But is that the goal? Or is it that each of them has a strong belief in what they say, and have no problem making a living from that conviction?

    TIME seems to think that it’s all about the money. At least mostly so for Beck. Though they don’t mention their own revenues. Thus making their article useless, except for a subtle bashing of Beck, who has coincidentally scooped them and the rest of the media on several critical issues.

    TIME mentions in the article that polls show America has the least trust in the media than perhaps ever before. And there is good reason for it. The Obama Stimulus was passed without being read and the majority of the media let it go. Van Jones made multiple radical accusations, after gaining a high political office, and the majority of the media didn’t blink. The President has made a health care policy that has no definition, and the majority of the media has not asked for details. And most recently, >ACORN has been exposed via the work of 2 amateurs and the majority of the media is just paying attention that this might be serious (a week after the fact).

    Do I have a problem with the media, in particular news commentators like myself, focusing on issues they most agree with? Not at all. Do I have a problem with the same people getting paid for it? Obviously not. And of course I may be biased on this.

    But I have a massive problem with the major media ignoring issues that are blatantly incidents that deserve national attention. I have a problem with anyone being paid for a job, reporting the news or commenting on it, and then not doing that job. Or worse being hypocritical.

    I have yet to see coverage in TIME about the systemic bias in the legal system that continues to exist today. There was no coverage of the Megan Williams case, Oscar Grant, ACORN - the recent trouble garnered 1 article after the Senate vote but focused on past voter registration problems - and so on. For the life of me I cannot imagine why.

    So TIME may wax and wane on the success of conservative pundits (with minor comments on Liberal pundits), but their job is to cover the news. Not Glenn Beck and his success, but the national news. He is doing his job – like it or not. TIME needs to do theirs.

    No wonder so many find the news media to be so useless. It’s not just politically polarized, it’s stuck its head in the sand to the issues that are the core of its existence.

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    Thursday, September 10, 2009

    Johannes Mehserle may still face justice in Oscar Grant murder

    Following up on the news of a story that the national news media has avoided like the plague since it happened, I will discuss the latest events in the Oscar Grant murder case.

    As long-time readers are aware, I started covering this case back in January shortly after former BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle shot and I believe purposefully killed Oscar Grant while he laid face down (and I believe handcuffed behind his back) on the ground with another police officer kneeling on his neck. It was an outrageous display of police overreaction, violence and abuse. And it was all caught on video by at least 4 sources I am aware of.

    Many people still are completely unaware of the events that happened on January 1st at 2am. That’s because the national news media has never covered even 30 seconds of this news story. In fact the media made it obvious that they were willfully concealing this news story when national coverage of riots in Oakland, California – directly the result of the apparent attempted police cover-up of this murder – failed to mention this case or any of the people involved.

    But I have followed the case. Including the sudden attempt by Mehserle to avoid investigation by resigning from the police, the extended timeframe required for the D.A. to press charges – after serious local pressure, the long-term denial by prosecutors and defense (and the news media) of multiple recordings of the entire murder, and the more recent changing excuses and blatant lies by police officers at the scene of the murder.

    I am doing this because Justice needs to prevail. And I truly believe that if we do not continue to watch this case, and scream at the top of our lungs for justice, Johannes Mehserle will walk away from this without so much as a slap on the wrists.

    Thus I reported that the preliminary trial in June of 2009 found that there was a wealth of evidence to go to trial. That trial date was November 2, 2009. But all has not been quiet in this case.

    Johannes Mehserle, who is out of jail on bail – something you and I would likely not have the ability to do based on the nature of this crime and the video evidence – and his lawyers have tried to get the entire case thrown out of Court. Their argument is that Alameda County Superior Court Judge C. Don Clay unfairly allowed evidence into the hearing. They claim the ruling to go to trial is “arbitrary, capricious and patently absurd”.

    The defense stated

    “Rains said Mehserle shouldn't face murder charges because there's no evidence that he exhibited malice during the two and a half minutes he was on the station's platform before the shooting. He said that at the most, Mehserle should face a lesser charge such as manslaughter.

    But at the end of the hearing, Clay said, "There is no doubt in my mind that Mr. Mehserle intended to shoot Oscar Grant with a gun, not a Taser" because Mehserle had both his hands on his gun when he fired that shot that killed Grant.

    Rains said on Friday that Clay's remark was an error because the defense's Taser expert would have testified that Taser users are trained to use both hands on their stun guns while firing.”

    Judge Thomas Reardon obviously did not agree. Something I am greatful for and was worried about. Because shooting an unarmed man in the back while they lay face down with an police officer on their back and not resisting tends to seem malicious to me. And the testemony of a Taser expert does not change that.

    So the case will again start on November 2. Unless the Mehserle defense team can win on another motion they are presenting. Which is to move the trial out of Alameda County. Which harkens to the move of the Rodney King trial police retirement community of Simi Valley. And we know how that verdict came out. This will be decided on October 2, 2009.

    Keep you fingers crossed and pray the Scales of Justice are not rigged in Johannes Mehserle’s favor by the legal system.

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    Tuesday, June 16, 2009

    Should David Letterman be fired?

    When I first wrote about the inexcusable comment that David Letterman made about the daughters of Gov. Sarah Palin, I was firmly entrenched in the thought that it was political. And an insult to all women. It was more than just a “bad joke”.

    To say it was merely a bad joke is to say that inferring lewd sexual acts between a young woman and a man 2x her age is occasionally good natured. Which I do not agree with. To also have that joke be ambiguous such that it can be related to a 14 year old minor is even worse.

    But that is part of my problem with this whole situation. Letterman continues to insist that the joke is about an 18 year old young woman. As if that excuses the whole thing. As if everyone had understood that he was directing the joke at this young woman, as he now claims, that it would have been ok. No, it does not become ok just because one daughter is of legal age and another is not.

    But the people now calling for Letterman to be fired are solely focused on the 14 year old. Because it adds fire to the flame. Inferring that an 18 year old is fair game. Which I beg to differ on.

    If the calls for Letterman to be fired were solely based on the repulsive nature of the comment, and the fact that it was driven by Letterman’s barely held back hate of Conservatives and Republicans, then I can see its merit. There is little difference in what Letterman said and Don Imus.

    After Don Imus publicly insulted the Rutgers basketball team, I was among those calling for him to be fired. Because he attacked a group of young women, without cause, who were non-public entities. In addition the attack by Imus was the kind of racial commentary that led to lynchings in the (not very distant) past.

    A public figure, lashing out at non-public figures in a manner that is solely meant to denigrate the attacked is always wrong. And I support the removal of that public figure for such actions. It doesn’t matter if that person is White, Black, Hispanic, Male, Female, or whatever. The public airwaves are a sacred ground with protections that only mean something if we enforce them.

    The Palin daughters are not public figures. The Governor of Alaska is. So just in the same way that attacks against the Obama daughters are insanely wrong, or attacks on college teams, or against your family, to attack the Palin’s is the same thing. Something that I find extreme Liberals like Letterman, and much of the major news media, fail to comprehend.

    So that reasoning is worthy of firing Letterman. It is the same reason that Embassy Suites pulled their advertising from his show. Insulting women, because of a political belief of the attacker, just to be cruel and vile is hardly worth defending, or supporting with advertising.

    Thus the focus really should shift from the claim that this was about a minor. This was a political attack and an attack that covered ANY young woman in a manner we would like to believe does not exist in the 21st century.

    So does Letterman deserve to be fired?

    Well this was done on public airwaves. It took a week before enough pressure hit Letterman to force him to make a barely sincere apology. In fact in reading his apology it becomes clear that this is more of a tactic to preserve his job than remorse over what was said, or the motivation for what spurred it.

    Given how well this lines up to the reasons that Don Imus was rightly fired, I would have to say yes. David Letterman deserves to be fired. It is a terrible way to end a 30 year career, but Letterman knew what he was doing, and he didn’t care as long as he got to grandstand his hate of Conservatives and Republicans – especially in the case of Gov. Sarah Palin.

    Will Letterman be fired? I doubt it. He has a huge following. He is a huge political supporter. He has the general support of Hollywood and the media in this political climate. His contempt of Conservative views is lauded across the internet and major media. He will more than likely weather this storm.

    But I say again, David Letterman is the same as Don Imus in this situation. Thus I support the same end result. CBS should fire him now.

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    Wednesday, June 10, 2009

    Will there ever be justice for Oscar Grant?

    Oh my god. Could it actually be that Justice will be served in a case where a police officer shot, and killed, and unarmed young Black male?

    The end of the preliminary trial for ex-BART officer Johannes Mehserle has ended in Oakland, still without the media coverage that such a case deserves to have. This is especially true given the fact that video evidence exists for this case from multiple sources. Add to that the blatant and extreme nature of a police cover-up. Then finally include an astounding revelation from one of the key officers involved with the murder of Oscar Grant

    “I didn't see the hands, so I didn't see a threat," Pirone said. "It didn't pose a threat to me "... or any other officer.” - Officer Anthony Pirone, who was kneeling on the neck of Oscar Grant III as he was shot in the back and killed.

    The facts of this case are so blatant that the Judge presiding over the prelim made the following statement after ruling to allow this case to go forward to trial

    “There is no doubt in my mind that Mr. Mehserle intended to shoot Oscar Grant with a gun and not a Taser.” Alameda County Superior Court Judge C. Don Clay

    Yes, it’s so obvious that a Judge was willing to say that publicly. Of course this will likely cause the trial to be moved. And I’m willing to bet that the new location for the trial will be the equivalent of Simi Valley. And we all know how impartial that kind of jury pool can be.

    Since I first learned of this case in January 2009, days after the murder of Grant, I have seen no reason to doubt the guilt of Mehserle. I have followed this case while the major news media has actively ignored it at every turn. I have questioned what has been done to cover-up the situation, and speculate about the cause of news media disintrest.

    So far we have learned that ex-officer Mehserle initially excused his murder of Grant with a claim of an unseen, non-existent gun. Later, after time with a new lawyer and the quick cover story speculated by the Oakland Police Chief, the story became the accidental use of deadly force.

    We have learned that every officer involved has (in my opinion) perjured themselves with lies of chaos and impending doom. Accusations of angry mobs rushing forward, attacks against officers, and resisting arrest have all been soundly debunked by witnesses and multiple videos of the event.

    How this case has not been subject to a quick plea bargain leads me to one thought. Mehserle believes he can get off scot free.

    This is even more likely if the venue is moved. It is backed up by precedence of officers across the nation being absolved of the murders of, and/or violence against, unarmed, innocent, young Black males. It is supported by a news media that has tried to actively maintain doubt, in the most of the few times the case has ever been mentioned. It is reinforced with the persistence of criminals covering their crimes with accusation of imaginary Black assailants that are readily accepted as fact by the media and most of the nation (most recently by a Pennsylvanian woman who was in Disney at the time).

    That is gut-wrenching sickening. That a defendant can be guilty as sin, with more than ample proof, and the odds of gaining justice or even a semblance of punishment are maybe 60 - 40 against is unacceptable in the least. And I still get people advocating the innocence of Mehserle. I still have people that wonder and debate why African Americans across the nation fear and shun police officers. I still hear people deny the imbalance of the legal system and misrepresentation of Justice in America.

    In my opinion, Mehserle is guilty of murder. Yet I still cannot be assured that he will be convicted of this obvious and insanely vicious crime. Because in the end, it was just another young innocent defenseless Black male. And in America that is the same as a deadly weapon in the hands of Osama Bin Laden. Lady Justice is weeping.

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    Tuesday, June 02, 2009

    Liberals blame Bill O'Reilly for Tiller death

    Bill O’Reilly. The name alone is enough to send some liberals screaming. Though just as often the same liberals have never heard a word the man actually has said. The most recent outbreak of liberal fever has come in the form of the death of Dr. George Tiller.

    Dr. George Tiller is noted for having been one of 3 late-term abortion doctors in the entire U.S. And so as to not to confuse the question, late term means after 21 weeks - or the period of time in which virtually everyone agrees is viable for the child. However you feel about that, Dr. Tiller did this for years and reaped huge profits for it.

    Bill O’Reilly was one of a large number of people that felt this type of abortion, at least, was inhumane. The fact that these fetuses could survive outside the womb made this act akin to murder in many of their eyes. There is no question that this form of abortion is the most debated, and the least common in the nation.

    Dr. Tiller was killed on Sunday, in his place of worship. The killer is a maniacal fanatic. That is how I define anyone who would kill another with the only justification being their warped understanding of their religion. There is little difference in this killer’s reasoning, and that of Al Quida when they killed thousands on 9/11.

    Bill O’Reilly had made Dr. Tiller the subject of his focus 29 times over 3 years. Not once in that time did he advocate violence against the man. Not once did he encourage harm against Tiller. While O’Reilly disliked the practice of the doctor, he never gave impetus for anything but the end of his ability to continue these late-term abortions.

    But if you look across the major media, and definitely across the majority of the internet, you will find no end to those blaming O’Reilly and Fox news for this murder. Which is blatantly stupid.

    A fanatic is not motivated by television, they follow their warped beliefs. Which is besides the fact that there was no motivation from television. Bill O’Reilly is not a religious leader. Dr. Tiller was known for years because of his profession among anti-abortion fanatics and organizations. Bill O’Reilly did not suddenly catapult him to fame.

    This idiocy among the liberal media is way over the top. It is beyond reason. But when has that ever stopped them?

    So the extreme liberals are hopping mad. About something only a lunatic can justify. And connections that do not exist are being drawn. Often by people that have never watched a single O’Reilly Factor telecast. Does that not sound like fools chasing greater fools?

    No matter how you feel about abortion, murder is not the answer. In fact the very religion many of these fanatics advocate insists on avoiding murder. But to blame this on a person, or group, that merely voices an opinion is just as wrong in my opinion. For some it’s a cheap attempt at gaining fame and ratings.

    “He [Keith Olbermann of MSNBC] called for people to ask managers to change the channel when Fox News is played in bars, restaurants or waiting rooms, and to explain why they are walking out if they don't.”

    I’m not sure what is more sick. The motivations of the killer, or the grandstanding and attempt to profit of some in the media like Olbermann.

    Either way, the ultimate result is the same. A man was murdered for no reason. Another man is being blamed for it. And liberals are mad.

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    Wednesday, May 27, 2009

    ex-officer Mehserle on trial for Oscar Grant murder - justice undone

    And so it begins. Almost 6 months ago to the day, the year 2009 rang to life. At almost the same time Oscar Grant’s life came to a close with a sharp bang. That bang was a gunshot through his back and into his lung. Oscar Grant was lying on the ground, possibly handcuffed, with one police officer kneeling on his neck with another standing and having shot him.

    This was the cause of riots in Oakland, California. This was the start of yet another cry for justice from the Black community across the nation (a cry the major news media ignored). And it was the target, along with another murder and shooting – all by police, of multiple posts and videos by me. And I’m not done yet.

    On the 26th of May, the defense for former officer Mehserle has claimed that the officers at a BART station on January 1st feared for their lives and were receiving resistance from at least Oscar Grant among 4 men detained that night. One officer has stated that Grant was grabbing her arm shortly before being shot in the back. It was stated that Grant had to be forcibly made to sit down by officers, and that he was being restrained when he was shot in the back.

    Oh, and the major point that everyone has waited for the defense to say: Ex-officer Mehserle thought he had his stun gun out when he shot Oscar Grant in the back while he lay on the ground, defenseless.

    This is bullshit. Not unexpected but crap from start to end.

    While I cannot comment on the actions of Grant or the other men that night from before video was available, I can comment on the video before and during the time he was shot. The video that the earliest news reports denied existed. Video that was available to the world, and I featured in my posts of the event.

    Here are the facts as I saw on the video. Grant was not resisting officers. Grant was on the ground, restrained and under control of an officer who was on his neck. None of the other men being detained moved. There were some 5 or 6 officers on the scene. Not one officer made a move for their guns or stun guns. None were reaching for or had out their mace/pepper spray. While the situation was loud, not one officer was moved against with aggression from the crowd on the scene. Officers did try to confiscate videos being taken of the event.

    Most important is officer Mehserle. After he stands, he is alone from all other groups and officers. He takes out his gun, which is not near his stun gun, just because of this supposed occurrence. He aims for about 2 or 3 seconds, then fires.

    So the actual visual record, from at least 3 video recordings of this event, all show the same thing. The officers did not have to fear for their lives. They may have been uncomfortable, but they were in no apparent danger. They were outnumbered, but they also were in force and not mobbed by a crowd. None felt the situation to be so precarious as to arm themselves.

    Mehserle is the only officer to become armed. He took his time, and acted with purpose. He was seemingly in full control and was unencumbered nor rushed. He is not a rookie, and was supposedly well trained.

    Grant was lying on the ground. His hands are behind his back, likely restrained. Which means this was cold-blooded murder.

    The news media will likely not cover this story, just as it did not cover the initial event. There will probably be no mention of this on the national cable networks. The few stations that do cover this trial will likely take the stance that the police offered immediately after the shooting. That it was a tragic accident. The actual videos of what happened will likely not be mentioned. And the likes of Rev. Al Sharpton and Rev. Jesse Jackson will remain absolutely silent.

    In fact, other than a quote from the family of Grant, the existence of a video was barely mentioned in the news report by the San Fransisco Chronicle

    So the average American, who probably never heard of this murder, and don’t know that video evidence of the actual shooting exists, will think that an officer in fear of his life accidentally shot a kid that was resisting arrest. Which is a lie.

    And I’ll even say more on that. It’s a lie because officer Mehserle would not have quit the police force rather than go thru an internal investigation of the shooting if it was an accident. Mehserle would not have left the state prior to charges being placed against him (well over a month after the fact). News organizations would not have omitted the existence of multiple videos of the event, nor would the police have denied all but one source of video (which conveniently had the worst view of the shooting). This is a set-up. It is the means by which a former cop is being protected from the truth of his actions.

    Again I tell you that I have covered this story in detail. You can see all my posts at

    True justice demands that Mehserle gets the death penalty. Justice would be his imprisonment for life, and the awarding of all his possessions and funds to the Grant family (in particular to Grant’s daughter that will never see him again). But this is America. Mehserle was a police officer who killed a young Black man. Odds are that Mehserle will walk away from this with barely community service.

    And people wonder why African Americans are so angry at the police and the legal system. Just imagine the press coverage, and speed this would be happening at – not to mention the ultimate outcome – if this was a Black cop that killed a young White father while he was lying on the ground defenseless. If you can imagine that, you cannot compare it to this mockery. That’s why we are angry.

    But I will continue to follow this, even as the major media avoids it like the televised plague.

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    Friday, May 01, 2009

    The war of the cable news networks

    When you look at the various pundits on cable news these days, you get the feeling that there is a war going on. Not the events in Afghanistan, or Iraq, but in the cable networks themselves. Not a new idea, but recently it went to a new level.

    Recently Sean Hannity, of Fox News, made a statement that he would endure waterboarding for the benefit of U.S. military troops. While this was a statement made somewhat lightheartedly, Hannity is a strong supporter of waterboarding as a means of gaining information from terrorists, it was heard in every newsroom across the airwaves.

    Thus Keith Olbermann, of MSNBC, took it upon himself to make that comment a reality. He has offered an $1000 to be donated for every second that Hannity endures the interrogation technique. And the far-left loved the visage of the event.

    But Olbermann missed something in this. Whether it takes 5 seconds or 5 minutes, Hannity will break. That's not a victory for Olbermann or MSNBC. Nor for the far-left. Because all that proves is that waterboarding is effective.

    As much as the far-left, the major media in general, and President Obama want to state that tough interrogations are ineffective the fact is that they work. Even as the President has refused to reveal any information that he has available to him that proves waterboarding has saved American lives (though he is quick to divulge that it was used among other techniques) the fact remains clear as day.

    This is only a small part of the war being held in the 24-hour news networks everyday. With the lines drawn such that MSNBC is to the furthest left, and Fox News in the center and thus seeming far right. That is not to say that some people on both networks are at different points in the political spectrum, even to extreme. Hannity is hardly a centrist, just as Olbermann is not.

    Still this all leaves me with a big question. Where is the real news?

    When any news organization is actively taking a political position, the overall information being given is inevitably altered. When that news is political and will shape the American life, then there is a problem.

    Take this minor example. MSNBC praises President Obama and the Congress. This has led them to emphasize coverage of the Obama Administration budget on the fact that it has pledged to lower the national debt by 50% in 4 years. But to cover just that portion of the impact of the budget is to lie to the American public.

    The fact is, under the best scenario given by the Obama Administration, the budget will absolutely increase the national debt in 10 years. That is the ultimate outcome of his budget. In fact in the 5th year the deficit will be slightly larger than it is today. That's just 1 year after it would have been whitewashed to look lower for a year. That's polispeak.

    Or how about the New York Times, questioning President Obama about how he feels as President. Not that questions about the economy (none were asked), nukes in Pakistan, the war effort in Afghanistan, or the impending release of Gitmo detainees into America are even slightly more important. Do you really care if President feels elated, if you just lost your job?

    I realize that I am picking on the left in my examples. Other examples of the same kind of insanity from the right exists abundantly across the net. But the examples are real. And the net effect is damage to the public.

    Were it up to me, I'd like to see all the executives at the cable news networks waterboarded. Perhaps that would remind them that the news, and honest critique of politicians (in both Parties), is their job. Not ratings or political agendas. That's what America cares about.

    So if Olbermann wants to cover waterboarding, let him do an expose that covers the pros and cons of the issue. Which means admitting it worked, and explaining its failures. Anything else is just trying to grab a bigger television rating (which MSNBC needs - given). Which is not a benefit to America.

    And by the way, Olbermann, why not just donate several thousand dollars to the families of the troops that are ensuring that you can get on the air and say whatever you believe. Without them you would be like Cuba or China, just reading whatever the Government tells you to.

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    Tuesday, April 21, 2009

    Jackie Chan clarifies his Chinese control statement

    As much as I wanted to jump on the story that Jackie Chan believes Chinese people need to be controlled, I just had to wait. There was no question in my mind that the news story had to have more details than what was first stated back on the 18th. And now it seems there is more to it all.

    It all started when Jackie Chan was speaking at the Boao Forum. He was discussing censorship and restrictions in filmmaking when he stated

    "I'm not sure if it's good to have freedom or not," Chan said. "I'm really confused now. If you're too free, you're like the way Hong Kong is now. It's very chaotic. Taiwan is also chaotic. Chan added: "I'm gradually beginning to feel that we Chinese need to be controlled. If we're not being controlled, we'll just do what we want."

    Now this statement was taken by the AP reporter (William Foreman) to be an affirmation of the communist Chinese Government, or at least that's the tone of his report. And the comments of Chan quoted in that article do tend to support that view, in part. They also go on to make a strong critique of recent debacles in China, like the tainted milk event.

    The whole thing left me confused. Was Chan for less democracy? Were his comments about filmmaking just misinterpeted or misquoted? Was Chan upset with the modern Chinese culture?

    Of course the international response didn't bother to wonder about these things. The international media focused in on the one line they cared about "I'm gradually beginning to feel that we Chinese need to be controlled."

    There was outrage as some took his words as to mean that he was calling Chinese people pets, like Hong Kong pro-democracy legislator Leung Kwok-hung

    "He's insulted the Chinese people. Chinese people aren't pets. Chinese society needs a democratic system to protect human rights and rule of law."

    This of course ignores the harsh denouncement Chan made of the Chinese Government after the Beijing Tiananmen Square event where hundreds of pro-democracy protesters were killed in June 1989.

    So it has come to the final point where Jackie Chan had his spokesman clarify things. And like I wondered at the onset, he was taken out of context as his spokesperson stated

    "Some people with ulterior motives deliberately misinterpreted what he was saying."

    Chan was speaking about the entertainment industry. Just that industry. Which makes sense since that was why he was speaking in the first place, to talk about entertainment. And it makes his comment clearer what he was meaning. But the AP reporter stands by his account and the nature of how he made the quote.

    But while Asia is in an uproar I still have to wonder. Chan has made millions because of the freedoms he has enjoyed. Why would someone who can directly tie his success with freedom be against it, especially for his own people? That just doesn't make sense.

    Though it makes a lot of sense that a reporter might misquote or misinterpet a comment in a foreign language (I presume Chinese is not Foreman's fist language) that would create lots of coverage and promote a certain political view. It's a trend that we have seen in America since roughly October of 2007 with President Obama.

    Even now the media reports on President Obama are short on details, missing the vigorous questioning given to other Administrations, and in some cases blatantly propagandist. Which says nothing of the trend in the mainstream media to become more entertainment oriented as opposed to true journalism.

    Did Jackie Chan intend to insult the Chinese people, and support the Communist Government of mainland China? I think not. But that won't stop him from becoming the scapegoat those opposed to those ideals can use to whip up international outrage at China. If this were to destroy the career of Chan, thouse using his words for their own ends won't care. They just want headlines that get their message across.

    Maybe I am wrong. Maybe I am too much of a Jackie Chan fan. Still I think that this is too odd and suspiciously politically adventageous for certain groups. Too bad there seems to be no transcript of the full speech to make this absolutely clear for everyone.

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    Tuesday, April 14, 2009

    Phil Specter is convicted and America yawns

    Phil Specter was convicted of murder today. And basically no one cares.

    Think about it, an entertainer from decades ago, with an odd lifestyle, brutally murdered his girlfriend, and was engaged in a long-running court battle with high paid lawyers pulling every trick they could manage. Does this sound familiar?

    It should since these are the very things that were used to describe the OJ Simpson trial. A trial that kept the nation on its tiptoes. A trial that created the largest outburst of rage since Jack Johnson won the Heavyweight title.

    But Phil Specter is guilty, and no one cares. In fact few television stations or cable networks covered the story on a regular basis. And everyone should ask why.

    Why is it that the brutal murder of a woman should be so unimportant? Why is there such a difference in the coverage one celebrity trial received as opposed to another? Why is there no cries of national joy with this conviction?

    Because Phil Specter is not Black. It’s just that obvious and blatant. And I am disgusted by it.

    I’m not defending either crime, nor whomever did it. I’m just sickened by the reaction of the nation. Because a Black man accused of a crime must be guilty. And if he escapes justice, the nation must find a way to make him pay. For the rest of his life. I mean that has been the reaction at least among the majority of White America for over a decade with OJ.

    And I can only come to this conclusion by the facts at hand. No 24/7 coverage of the Specter trial. No analysis on cable news networks of the judge, the lawyers, and every piece of evidence. No national outrage as the first trial ended in a mistrial. Yes, that’s right, there have been 2 trials for this same murder. How many knew that before reading this?

    Americans should be disgusted with themselves right now. Our legal system, or more accurately our manipulation of the legal system via the media, is beyond fractured and racially biased. It’s so bad that there is no way to hide it. Instead the media just ignores it, and people assume that it must be right since that’s what TV says.

    There isn’t one good reason that the Phil Specter case did not get 1/10 the coverage of the OJ Simpson case, beyond race. And it’s hardly the only one. The Robert Blake case has come and gone as well, without a whisper. As have other high profile cases.

    The difference is abundantly clear when you think about it. Virtually every Black entertainer and celebrity that has had a problem with the law has been lambasted by the media, and those that are White have been forgiven.

    Lindsey Lohan is apparently a drunk drug addict, but she needs help. Paris Hilton is a forgetful kid going thru a phase to figure out who she is. Britney Spears is under enormous pressure and needs our support. Blake wasn’t discussed.

    Yet Lil Wayne needs to be locked up. TI is going to jail where he will pay for his crimes. And so on. It’s not about the crimes, but the legal system and the media – and the bias they have.

    That’s what the legal system says every day. Ex-Officer Mehserle kills an unarmed, defenseless, co-operating Oscar Grant, and he is without charges for a month (even evading investigation when he resigned from the police). Were it not for the video tape and riots, and more than just a few bloggers spreading the story, Oakland authorities likely would never have pursued the case.

    But the media bent backwards to highlight only some video that made the case questionable. In fact they tried to deny the existence of evidence of the cold-blooded murder, other extended raw video, even though it was simultaneously available on Youtube.

    So is the legal system biased? Oh Yeah. And is the media a willful and decisive tool in ensuring that racial bias is embedded in potential juror’s minds long before any trial? Every day.

    The examples are numerous. I could keep going and going. But just go back to where I started. Phil Specter. And try to recall any detail of the case covered over the past couple of years (yep it’s been going on that long) by the media. Then compare that to your memory of the OJ trial (actually any trial of OJ will do as they all got massive media coverage).

    If you don’t see the bias, I have to believe you don’t want to. Perhaps that’s the only thing worse.

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    Friday, March 13, 2009

    Jon Stewart vs. Jim Cramer: really missing the point

    So Jon Stewart took on Jim Cramer tonight. It was a beat down. It was vicious. It was obvious that Stewart had an ax to grind. And it was wrong on many points, yet true to the feelings of many.

    As a former stockbroker I have had many discussions with people about the markets. I’ve written many things about the economy. And from time to time I have noted points in agreement and disagreement with Jim Cramer. But to attack him, and/or CNBC, as if they were the cause of the current economic crisis is both a fallacy and an attempt to find a scapegoat.

    To be fair CNBC and Cramer failed in their mission to inform the public. Then again, neither ever truly were supposed to do that. Anyone thinking that either was more than an educated high-brow entertainment probably was sniffing glue (or some other like substance) and likely thought they would be made a millionaire by buying internet stocks they never heard of, or knew what they did, during the late 1990’s.

    Is the market a fixed game? No. Is there an unfair advantage for large corporations and wealthy individuals? Absolutely. And are the major brokerage firms the biggest crooks in the industry? I’ve always believed so. Yet not one part of this, or what Stewart was railing about, is any different than it was 50 years ago for the most part.

    What has changed is the greed and work done by small investors. If there is anyone to be upset with, it has to be that.

    Jon Stewart will without doubt gain huge ratings. Jim Cramer may be looked at with harsh eyes in the near future. And CNBC will get the branding of slipshod reporting that they deserve. But it really doesn’t matter.

    I don’t care how many regulations are created to prevent another Bernie Maddoff, or Enron, or Tyco, or AIG, and on an on. Given time there will be another scandal. And another ridiculous bubble in some sector of investing, with a crash that has to happen as well. Because the greed of everyone, at each level of the game, necessitates it.

    I listened tonight as Stewart and Cramer went back and forth saying ‘You seemed to know’, ‘Did you know’, ‘Why weren’t we told’, ‘I was lied to’, and so on. Its wonderful posturing, but you don’t need to be an economist to have seen what was happening. Without following more than the politics of the day, occasional glances at the Dow Jones Index, and reading bits of news over the internet I foresaw the problems of the mortgage crisis. It was blatant, and there was plenty of time to act before the hammers started falling. And while I’m smart, I’m not so smart as to have been the only one to recognize what was going to happen.

    Don’t believe me? Check out what I wrote back in October 2006

    “The economy is better, things have improved. Barring events like 9/11, or Enron, the markets will continue to grow. But hype will never help mom & pop investors. It does help some institutions though, like LEH which was 15.68 around Feb 14, 2000 and continued HIGHER to 78.70 on Oct 16, 2006.

    Just keep this stuff in mind as you watch the talking heads spout how great things are in the market. Or you see that ad saying that you should invest on your own.”

    or on December 2007

    “The fact that the mortgage crisis is far closer to its beginning than end. I expect that there are far more homes in danger than has been seen to date. Even with the highly selective mortgage bailout stated by President Bush, many are going to be at risk. Credit card debt can only float for so long. With the added pressure of oil at or above $100 per barrel, which I expect mid-January as I stated above, more will fail even if rates are lowered (less than 2 points).”

    or even January 2008

    “Those that are in trouble, or will be, with their mortgages will not be helped by lower rates as that will not cap increased heating and gasoline prices. Small businesses are not going to be able to get new loans as easily even with lower rates as financials scramble to find cash to absorb the losses they are experiencing. Effectively some degree of pain must happen and is not preventable.

    I say all this for one reason. So that you my readers can be prepared. If I am correct even in part, then this nation will encounter times we have not seen for quite a while. I doubt that we will see the inflation and unemployment that existed in the 1970’s (when I was a child) but I am sure that we will see levels that those under 30 have never experienced.”

    My point is that the current crisis was very visible, if anyone was not bothering to be distracted by hype from the likes of Representative Barney Frank and other Government “watchdogs”, or being entertained by CNBC. All you had to do was read and do the math. Investments are no different than your home, if you don’t keep up with it then don’t be surprised if it falls apart one day.

    But there has to be a bad guy. In America we are conditioned to look out for someone in a black hat if something goes wrong. And today that guy gets to be Jim Cramer with Jon Stewart as our hero. Bull.

    The bad guy is in equal parts the Government, for creating an environment over a decade ago that was little better than a Ponzi scheme. Then there are the corporations, that jumped in on the game looking to ride the wave for as much short-term profit as possible. Add to this mix speculators who looked for ever faster gains with commensurate risk. Throw in cable networks whose goal is ratings above reporting, and then put in a public that didn’t care as long as the paper investments looked better than the Jones’ 15 minutes ago.

    And this complete recipe is virtually exactly what happened with the internet bubble, except this one was bigger and not quite as exhuberant. No one learned then, because no one cared. All that mattered was the immediate gratification being reported on our instantaneous communication devices. But the risk of instant gain is the environment we find ourselves in today.

    It will happen again. No matter the regulations – because most of the factors that caused this meltdown were all legal if not bad business decisions which can’t be regulated. No matter the protests of Government – because their lack of understanding (or overall disdain) feeds these kinds of bubbles and crashes. Without regard to who reports what facts in whatever manner – because most don’t care or bother to pay attention to the details anyway. No matter the pain for the public – because everyone wants to be a millionaire tomorrow without doing the work required, and many believe they deserve such rewards just because they breathe air in America.

    So the indignation of Jon Stewart amuses me. Yes, Cramer and CNBC could have done a better job of reporting. Yes, Congress could have done a far better job of enacting realistic regulations and understanding how those regulations are affecting the market. And a big YES, the public could have paid attention to the facts at hand and did some math. But none of them did these things. Nor do I believe they ever will, to any large or useful degree.

    So I won’t score the big points with the blogosphere with this post. My past comments about the economy and markets went without much fanfare as well. Such is the fate of being right consistently. But let me ask you this…

    Do you really want to feel smug and righteous because some comedian beat up on a quasi-entertainer/commentator, while politicians throw your future earnings down a drain and your retirement funds evaporate?

    Do you know what the Government is doing with trillions of dollars, and how that will affect investments today and in 5 years – with even a slight bit of educated estimates?

    Do you get to save your house, or retire, or pay for whatever any easier because a liberal leaning comdey show host got serious for a minute while you still don’t know how to read a corporate 10Q, understand why a second stimulus plan is already being worked out and how badly that will affect your savings and jobs, and re-elect Congressional leaders that can’t figure out their responsibilities even after 20+ years on the job?

    I’m sure that many of my long-time readers do get all these things. Perhaps even more than a few of my first-time readers will. But for those that don’t, ignore the hype this one program will raise and start paying attention. Your money will depend on it.

    I will now go back to the entertainment news Black Entertainment USA is normally dedicated to.

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    Wednesday, February 25, 2009

    Expecting the worst of MSNBC and Matthews is reaching too high

    You know, it’s not like anyone watching MSNBC (few as they are) believes there is any shred of impartiality on the channel. The bias of this cable news network is obvious, insulting, and questions the descriptor “news”. But what happened yesterday was even worse.

    Chris Matthews not so quietly let out “Oh God” just as Republican Gov. Jindal was about to provide the Republican response to President Obama’s speech. Now it does not matter if you are political or not. The on-mike comment was an insult to the American system of Government. It was bias in the news. It was a slap in the face to millions of Americans that did not vote for President Obama or feel that the current fiscal response is being run by Democrats like a Roman toga party.

    We all know that Chris Matthews is without self-control when it comes to President Obama. He has said as much on air. So there is no doubt that he has the inability to do his job with regard to our nation’s leadership. But to tarnish the comments, before a single word is uttered is even worse. Just imagine the outrage that Matthews, MSNBC, and most of the rest of liberal news media would have had if such an utterance was made just prior to a Democrat response to any Republican Presidential address. They’d lose their minds and plaster the airwaves with the news.

    But nothing will happen to Matthews. And the liberal media will ignore his contemptible bias. Because they share it. Thus living up to the ever more increasing thought that I have said before:

    “Liberals and Democrats love freedom of speech and thought. As long as it matches exactly what they think. Otherwise they will try to remove it completely.”

    The Huffington Post made a poll about the event, asking who the voice (at first unacknowledged as to whom it was) making the utterance was. 32% went with Matthews, 35% went with Keith Olbermann, 18% thought it was a producer. So clearly the visitors at the Huffington Post acknowledge that the on-screen and behind-the-scenes hierarchy of MSNBC, and likely NBC, are corrupt in their reporting. Which means the cable network is incapable of doing its job.

    But the question I really would like to have heard Huffington Post ask was

    Can America be served by a “news” network that has sold-out, effectively blocking free speech and thought?

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    Thursday, February 19, 2009

    A discussion of police, race, America, and what to do

    This will be in 2 parts. I hope you read it all.

    A friend of mine recently contacted me about news of Robbie Tolan. While listening to a NYC sports radio program he learned of the shooting that happened on January 1st of this year. He knew that this is an issue I am deeply concerned about and wanted to make sure I was aware of it.

    I clarified that I was aware of the Robbie Tolan police shooting, as well as of Adolph Grimes and Oscar Grant's murder on the same day. My friend had not heard of the Grimes case, and was vaguely familiar with the Grant case. Which is sad since we are nearly 3 months after the facts, but the blame for that I place on the major news media.

    Now my friend informed me about the radio broadcast. He told me how the radio DJ reamed a caller who blatantly took the side of the police in this matter, on the basis that the victims were Black. The caller felt that alone justified the use of deadly force - on an unarmed Black male in his driveway that was co-operating with police and I emphasize unarmed.

    This made my friend ask the question; what can be done to prevent this from happening again?

    My thought on this goes to what I believe is one of the biggest factors in this issue - communication. At this moment most of America is unaware of events of police brutality and overkill against Black males (not to mention Latino/Hispanics and other people of color). I have found that often many side with the police, without ever knowing any of the facts. And the news media is reluctant to display or report these actions - though they are expedient to portray African Americans as criminals at almost every turn.

    Thus I feel America must talk about this. Talk about the fact that these "isolated" events are in fact tied together and a pattern. Talk about what is the cause of these issues, and why the news media prefers to mold stereotypes about people of color.

    Now my friend does not agree with me on all points of this. He feels that the media is more or less fair. He pointed out the number of African Americans that can be found on any day in various media.

    I countered with the fact that 95% of all television and/or films ignore the existence of people of color. And for a majority of the time that they are provided a chance to appear onscreen they are portrayed as violent and criminals. My friend thought this was inaccurate. When I provided the fact that this is based on NAACP studies (most recently as of this year) and my own experiments done and reported over the last 3 years I have been writing this blog, he questioned the veracity of the NAACP findings and assured me that today you could turn on the television and not see Blacks as criminals on any of the broadcast programs (or at least the majority of those shows).

    He went on to state that African Americans are not all just portrayed as criminals anymore. He pointed to Denzel Washington, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Samuel Jackson as examples. But I pointed out that while in the last decade they have improved their stature, virtually all major African American actors had to start their careers as criminals or antagonists before they could become anything else. Samuel Jackson came to be known for his portrayal as a crackhead, Lawrence Fishburn played thugs (a la King of New York) before moving on in his adult career, Wesley Snipes had to portray a drug kingpin, Chris Rock was a crackhead, and so on.

    Now my friend countered that not all Black actors have had to have this kind of start. And that I was unfair because this was like saying that DeNiro and Pacino were negatives since they played gangsters to start their careers. Which is not the same as there were dozens of films at the same time, and multiple characters in the same films that were showing an opposite and positive image for Whites. The effect is not the same, the same impression is not being made. When you primarily are shown one facet of a people, if they are shown, then people tend to believe it is true over time.

    But we felt that this was a digression from the main point. Which I felt was that to have things change we must delve into the fact that there is a problem. That police wantonly abuse their power without reason, and the media covers for them in these cases.

    Continued in part 2...

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    Monday, February 02, 2009

    DMX, Michael Phelps, the law and media

    It’s amazing the messages the media and legal system sends to kids these days. Not that all the blame resides with just the media. But they do their fair share of making sure kids get conflicting images, to be sure.

    I mean there is the adulation that has been poured over Olympic gold medal winner Michael Phelps. Raising him up as a star with huge visibility. Only for the public to become aware of his pot smoking. Not that this is a media caused problem, though how they respond to this will say a lot to kids about the acceptability of drugs.

    And I am sure the media will likely play this out in much the same way rappers are treated when they get in trouble (as if they spend time out of trouble). Take the recent sentencing of DMX, Earl Simmons.

    DMX, who is no stranger to a courtroom, was just recently sentenced to 90 days. What did he do? Well he plead guilty, to reduced charges, of theft, animal cruelty, and drugs. That kind of leaves out the gun charges, and ignores his anything but law abiding past. Basically he has been given a slap on the wrists.

    So it seems that drugs are fine, and animal cruelty is ok too. I mean Phelps is hardly being brandished as having done anything wrong, and DMX is sure to continue to be promoted in music videos and low-end movies. In fact both men might have a boost in media coverage and job opportunities if past history continues to be true.

    And there is no question that if I were to be arrested, and plead guilty to any one of these crimes, I would hardly be given 90 days. I have no doubt that I would be watching bars for some number of years, and that is with a spotless past, which DMX does not have.

    But there is the seemingly never-ending news about Britney Spears and her poor (at best) skills as a mother, the travails of Lindsey Lohan (sober or drunk/high), the highly publicized for no reason life of Paris Hilton, and a slew of other nay-do-wells. All of this is the daily diet given to kids, with the ultimate statement being drugs are ok, crime is relative to the money in your pocket, and nothing matters more than being known. Tell me that isn’t a poor message.

    Where has the message of hard work and success gone? Where is the thought of responsible actions are the core of adult life? Where is the idea of being anything but a screw-up in life is preferred?

    I realize that news, real news and not tabloid fodder, needs to be presented to the masses. But the way the media frames the news, and the way the legal system collapses in the face of promotable celebrity is absurd.

    Maybe it’s me, but I just long for the days where adults in the view of children acted like adults. It seems that’s just too much to ask for in the 21st century.

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    Tuesday, January 27, 2009

    The real culprit in the Travolta extortion case

    Normally I do not speak about the various scandals and personal issues that celebrities and entertainers may have from time to time. They are human beings and deserve to deal with life privately, as the rest of us do. But there are exceptions.

    The death of John Travolta's son was a horrible thing to hear about. And I again give my condolences to the family. But what angers me is what some have done. I don't mean just the tabloid trash that is selling rags about this rumor or that. I could care less about that in general. It's about how low some supposed human beings will go.

    In this understandably difficult time for the Travolta family, some scum (in my opinion) found it an opportunity to try to extort $25 million dollars from the family. That is revolting and depraved.Both because they thought this a great way to get rich, on the back of the death of a child, and because they knew that tabloids and so called news media would buy anything they could sell on this story and thus extend the grief and suffering the Travolta family must be feeling.

    Thankfully the suspects are currently being arrested. But the biggest culprit in this case is going unhindered. In fact they are making money. The tabloids and the news media that created the problem in the first place.

    In the rush to find and publish dirt and photos of any entertainer and celebrity, the media has created an environment where scum flourish. They feed like carrion on the minute details of every famous individuals life. They try to siphon off any aspect of individuality and infect any aspect of an ordinary life these stars might hope to have. Just so they can made an extra dollar.

    There are some things that just should be off-limits. The children of entertainers. The sex lives of celebrities. The daily to and from that everyone needs to do. Yes, a celebrity showing up at a gala event is fair game, as is whatever they say and do there. But not in their private homes. Not in time with their family. Not when tragedy strikes them.

    If a camera crew were to show up at your doorstep because your Dad had a heart attack, or your Mom had a stroke, you would be enraged. If your brother was arrested for speeding, or your sister was arrested for a fight you would be sick to see it on the evening news. So why is it called "entertainment" when the same information is splashed across televison and internet screens everyday?

    It's one thing if a celeb and/or entertainer commits a crime. If they harm an individual. If they use their influence to corrupt our already skewed and often unjust system. It is a far cry different when they are just living life and dealing with the same issues we all do. Because shit happens to everyone in life, regardless of money or fame.

    And it is this vicious need for to much information that is not worthy of public discussion that creates an environment where scum would think, probably correctly, that a scandal over the death of a child would cause innocent parents to fork over huge sums of money to spare the rest of their family and themselves further torture.

    When I think about what caused these scum to try to extort the Travolta family in this hour of grief I feel sick. Hopefully some in the news media and the tabloids will feel the same, and maybe show some decency in the future. But I wouldn't make a bet on it.

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    Friday, January 23, 2009

    A lie said by millions

    "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." - Inigo Montoya - Princess Bride

    Yesterday I was speaking about Good Hair, the upcoming documentary by Chris Rock. After having written about this subject I was brought back to an old pet peeve of mine. A common saying that is obtuse and an oxymoron. And everyone has heard it.

    In countless films, emails, books, and nowadays internet dating sites you have seen

    “Tall, dark, and handsome”

    Now because of the conditioning of the media most will imagine Cary Grant, Mel Gibson, Leonardo DiCaprio Photo found at or some other famous White guy. But that is completely counter-intuitive. It just is stupid.

    Dark defined as:

      Black, shadowed or black, having a dark hue, colored: having skin rich in melanin pigments

    Since the meaning of the word is definitive, and in no application equating to white, light, pink or pale, I am at a loss of how the hell anyone can take that phrase to mean a White male of any sort.

    It is solely through the manipulation of the media and Hollywood that anyone might confuse what the hell is being said. Such that “tall, dark, and handsome” should in reality bring up thoughts of Denzel Washington, Jamie Foxx Photo found at, Sidney Poitier, Morgan Freeman, or Michael Clarke Duncan and so on.

    It is so absurd as to be absolutely common. And I doubt many non-people of color ever thing twice about how stupid that statement is.

    Is this a big deal? No, not in a change of life sense. But it does say something about long-term depictions of people of color and subtle unconscious preferences in the nation. At least I think so.

    Billions are spent every year for people to go and “get some color”. Tens of millions travel the globe to have their skin darken, though temporarily, and gain a “healthy tone”. And the search for eternal love is often filled with the above statement. At every turn it is a statement of the beauty of people of color.

    Yet to consciously state such in public is abominable. Instead we get so much media influence that the obvious is now the wrong answer. Talk about love and hate. No wonder western society is so screwed up.

    And before I get the hate-mail, or those trying to justify the phrase, those from Mediterranean backgrounds are not dark. When I stand next to an Italian man, he does not look like me. He is not confused as Black. He may be more pink or tan than some, especially after being out in the sun, but there is no question as to whether he is Black.

    Look this is not about race as much as it is about language and the meanings American society places in those words. It is a wake up call that some things are just too stupid for intelligent people in the 21st century to do. It is a reminder that if we allow such obvious blatant falsehoods to continue unabated and unquestioned, we equally allow the breeding grounds for racism and prejudice to grow,

    So it’s obvious. The next time you use that phrase indicate that you are speaking about a Black person. And if you overhear a friend use the term incorrectly, remind them how dumb they are being. Because I really am beyond annoyed at hearing it used as it has been.

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    Tuesday, January 13, 2009

    Bill O'Reilly discusses Oscar Grant...sort of

    Some might be wondering about how awful (or moderately bad) the film Notorious is, and with recent news that Lil Kim is upset about her portrayal I'm sure more will go an find out. Because nothing drives money home like a bit of controversy.

    But on Friday there was little controversy in what Bill O'Reilly had to say about the Oscar Grant murder. In fact he said little about it at all.

    Bill O'Reilly was the first national news commentator to speak about this murder to my knowledge. This was an opportunity to convey the outrage that has occurred. To make a plea for justice, and for it to be enacted swiftly. Instead we got more of the national media ignorance. he spoke about the riots this murder has sparked.

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    A Night to End Violence Against Women in Darfur

    Recently I have been in contact with Cynthia Basinet, an accomplished woman of multiple talents. She might be best known to some for her 2005 cover of Eartha Kitt's Santa Baby (which was included in my tribute to Kitt after her death). But she is also a Nobel Peace Prize nominee and an advocate for women and Africa.

    Cynthia Basinet sent me something that I am happy to pass on to you my readers. On February 11, 2009 there will be a nation-wide effort on behalf of the women in Darfur, as well as to end the over 5 year long suffering in that region of Africa. There has been an on-going genocide there, as acknowledged by Congress and the U.N., that too little is being done about. I have spoken about Darfur several times. And I look forward to the day I no long have a need to do so because it has ended.

    But until that day I encourage all my readers to be involved, with donations and/or contacting your Congressional representatives to pass the laws we have sitting in Congress doing nothing. And part of that involvement can include A Night to End Violence Against Women in Darfur.

    In communities across the nation there will be a viewing of Violence Against Women and the Darfur Genocide, a movie discussing the horrific violence that is happening right now. A terrible blight on humanity that the American news media seems to feel secure in ignoring. And afterwards there will be an online discussion with communities just like yours being involved.

    You can make a difference in Darfur. You can help the hundreds of thousands that are suffering even as you read this now. I recommend that all my readers find out more about this event, learn about Darfur, and if you can host this event in your community. Because America is a great country, once we get our asses in motion. And the news media is sitting on its ass when it comes to Darfur.

    But we don't need to wait for CNN, MSNBC, FOX, or any other news to have a slow day to cover this. We can act today, and on February 11th, and every other day we choose.

    To find our more about how you can help the women, children, and families in Darfur on February 11th just click on this link.

    We can make a difference here. And we should make a difference. I hope that you agree.

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    Thursday, January 08, 2009

    Oscar Grant - the deafening silence

    Right now I can say that I can't recall a post subject that has drawn more attention on my blog than right now on the subject of Oscar Grant. Not that the major news media has been focused on this issue until there were riots in the streets of California. Yes Oakland is enraged, as well they should be.

    I have watched more people comment on my own expression of rage on my youtube commentary than anything but the election of President Obama, based on the same amount of time. I have recorded more visits and views, at each and every blog that I own or write for that covered this issue.

    But I am noticing a few things.

    One of the first things I noticed is how quiet a large section of the internet has become. I do not believe that a single White visitor to any blog I write to or own has said a word. Normally I have commentary from around the world, people of every race, creed, ethnicity all comment on various things I say. When it comes to race relations in America I normally get feedback from various Americans across the nation. Some agree with my views, others do not. And inevitably I have some that just want to be racist.

    But I'm hearing nothing right now from anyone but African Americans - apparently. The people that defend cops when I correctly point out their policies on brutality on African Americans and other minorities are quiet. People that think my comments about race in America are biased or too extreme are silent. In fact, even the racists that find fault with any comment that reveals America is racially divided have nothing to say.

    Considering the number of visitors I have every month, and the huge numbers viewing my posts on Oscar Grant, I find this odd. On 5 different blogs (including Black and White Blog which is focused on race relations issues), one of which ( dwarfs my own blogs in terms of visitors each month, there is nothing being said. WHY?

    Is it because the only concern of the major news media is the riots that have disrupted businesses and thus they are covering the news? Is it that the videos of the event cannot be edited in any manner that brings question of the murderous guilt of officer Johannes Mehserle? Rather ex-officer as he has resigned in an attempt to pre-empt further investigation and avoid punishment as well as embarrassment on the Oakland police.

    Why are people rioting in Oakland, why is the national African American community outraged? Because this murder has been brushed aside by the media and excused by the police - like the beating of Rodney King, and the murder of Sean Bell and so on. African Americans are tired of being targets, of being ignored in the news (except when a negative statement can be made), of receiving a second-class justice while being depicted as objects of fear, violence and hate.

    A White man lost in the woods gets national attention. White children that are missing gets national attention. A White man stealing millions in dollars gets national attention. White stars die and they get year-long attention. Each of these have been news items in recent weeks, and each received days of news coverage and posts on these stories have gotten dozens of responses across the blogosphere. But when the victim of a crime is Black and the criminal is a White police officer it all goes quiet.

    Well I am glad I have helped raise attention on this issue. And more importantly on the fact that this is not an isolated event. That this is a policy found across the nation. That the odds are overwhelmingly in favor of this ex-cop walking away from this cold-blooded murder without spending a day in jail.

    The news media have acted like cowards. They hid this story from the nation, for reasons I cannot name. They have failed to draw attention to the very thing they exist to do - make the public aware, keep all levels of law and enforcement accountable to all the people, and bring justice to those who have been wronged.

    If this was kept out of the major media because of ratings, then they are worse than cowards. Fear of losing viewers because it makes cruel, vile, White police officers look bad is their job. Yet they do this job poorly.

    How much attention did the assault of 15 cops on 3 Philadelphia Black men receive? Do you know what has happened to the case since that video was released? Do you know what happened to the 5 officers that brutally shot some 51 times Sean Bell and his companions in their car in New York City? How about the 6 Whites arrested and on trial for the rape, torture, and kidnapping of Megan Williams? And I can go on and on.

    But I bet you know what happened to OJ Simpson, every day. Or the arrest of Wesley Snipes (and far less so his victories and overly-harsh punishment on minor non-federal charges). Or the arrest and trial of Bobby Cutts.

    So I am not surprised that so many people that want to argue with me about the racial bias in movies and television (in front of and behind the camera), commercials, news, at airports, and so many other places and events in America are absolutely wordless in this case. Because there is no question of guilt. There is no twist or doubt or anything but guilt. And it was racial if not racist in its motivation. And again there is no question there.

    All White people are not like ex-officer Johannes Mehserle. The shocked reaction of some of the officers on the scene tells me that not all officers in Oakland are like him. But when the news media wants to avoid the entire subject because it makes them uncomfortable, or whatever is their reason, it makes it hard not to feel that they all are like Mehserle.

    Obviously I am still angry. And I have every right to be. The White part of this nation was insanely upset about OJ wining in L.A. Now imagine if African Americans were to be equally as insanely upset over the multiple, repeated, unjustified, unpunished violence and murders enacted by police officers against us. If you can imagine what that would bring, the only question I can ask is why does the news media seem to want to provoke such a reaction by failing to do its job?

    Oscar Grant's family deserves tens of millions for his wrongful death. Ex-officer Johannes Mehserle needs to be in jail, convicted and put to death. And the news media is obligated to cover both of these things, for days, at every step, to ensure such an outcome and preserve some semblance of justice in America. The silence as seen so far is not enough. Action and active participation needs to occur.

    Just like it would if Grant had been White.

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