Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Golden Ticket

"Honchos at Kingsborough Community College have been ordered to take a workplace discrimination class after a chemistry professor charged she was fired for being a Muslim.

Hanaa Khalil, who filed a complaint with the city's Human Rights commission, was also awarded $7,700 in back wages and $10,000 in damages.

"I am hoping that I will be the last one to go through this at this school," she told the Daily News..." (SOURCE)

Hanaa Khalil from Egypt claimed when she reported to work and the receptionist saw her headscarf and 'realized she was Muslim', her troubles started. Hanaa Khalil. From Egypt. She doesn't think they assumed she was Muslim when they hired her? Would anti-Muslims hire a Hanaa Khalil from Egypt? Yet, Hanaa Khalil is $10,000 American dollars richer. Allah Akbar!

I have a friend that works with a female, Black, Muslim. This women matter-of-factly states she can get away with things others at the company can't because she has the "Human Resources Trifecta." She knows firing her would be too risky and she takes full advantage. She has the Golden Ticket.

So maybe in this economy, if you feel like your job is in jeopardy...show up in a hijab carrying a prayer rug...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Weird (Political) Science

"Only 38 percent of respondents said Obama deserves to be reelected, even though a majority of voters hold a favorable view of him on a personal level. Forty-four percent said they will vote to oust him, and 13 percent said they will consider voting for someone else..." (SOURCE)

Which would be great news IF *we* actually had a candidate we were all equally jazzed about.

You can't just vote AGAINST someone...you have to be voting FOR someone. WHERE IS OUR SOMEONE?!

How about instead of Kelly LeBrock, we create the next leader of the free world:

To look like him:


With his brain:


His balls:


Her accessibility:


His military background:


His oration:


Her fortitude:


And, his humor:

Dear Simon Gagne

Just to make it perfectly clear, we Flyers fans DID NOT AGREE with your trade. We would never presume to trade someone whose last name means WIN. We know you were a driving force that got us to the Stanley Cup finals last year. As we look forward to the first game against Crosby and the Penguins on October 7th...we think it sucks that you won't be there with us!

Thanks for 11 awesome years!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Some "Light Reading" on our Democratic Opponents

This should help anyone that's vacillating on their November candidate:

Travis Childers
Dina Titus
Carol Shea-Porter
Ann Kuster
Harry Teague
John Hall
Michael Arcuri
Larry Kissell
Earl Pomeroy
Steve Driehaus
Mary Jo Kilroy
Zack Space
Kathy Dahlkemper
Bryan Lentz
Patrick Murphy
Chris Carney
Paul Kanjorski
John Spratt
Stephanie Herseth Sandlin
Roy Herron
Chet Edwards
Ciro Rodriguez
Glenn Nye
Tom Perriello
Denny Heck
Mike Oliviero
Julie Lassa
Steve Kagen
Steve Raby
Ami Bera
Joe Garcia
Trent Van Haaften
Stephene Ann Moore
John Callahan
Jon Hulburd
Jon Hurlburd
Stephen Pougnet
Lori Edwards
Ravi Sangisetty
Pat Miles
Tarryl Clark
Tom White
Matthew Zeller
Paula Brooks
Manan Trivedi
Brett Carter
Suzan Delbene
Colleen Hanabusa
Robert Dold
Cedric Richmond
Lisa Murkowski
Paul Hodes
Lee Fisher
Joe Sestak
Harry Reid
Scott McAdams
Kendrick Meek
Charlie Crist
Jack Conway
Patty Murray
Russ Feingold
Richard Blumenthal
Joe Manchin
Chris Coons
Ron Wyden
Kirsten Gillibrand
Mike McMahon
Scott Murphy
Bill Owens
Heath Schuler
Charlie Wilson
Betty Sutton
Kurt Schrader
Mark Critz
Lincoln Davis
Rick Boucher
Gerry Connolly
Rick Larsen
Ann Kirkpatrick
Harry Mitchell
Jerry McNerney
John Salazar
Betsy Markey
Allen Boyd
Alan Grayson
Alan Grayson
Suzanne Kosmas
Jim Marshall
Debbie Halvorson
Bill Foster
Phil Hare
Baron Hill
Leonard Boswell
Frank Kratovil
Gary McDowell
Mark Schauer
Mike Ross
Dennis Cardoza
Christopher Murphy
John Barrow
Melissa Bean
Bruce Braley
Dave Loebsack
John Yarmuth
Chellie Pingree
Tim Walz
Russ Carnahan
Rush Holt
Carolyn McCarthy
Dan Maffei
Bob Etheridge
Mike McIntyre
David Wu
Jason Altmire
Tim Holden
David Cicilline
Jim Matheson
Ron Kind
Bobby Bright
Gabrielle Giffords
Jim Costa
Loretta Sanchez
Ed Perlmutter
Jim Himes
John Carney
Ron Klein
Sanford Bishop, Jr.
Walter Minnick
Joe Donnelly
Ben Chandler
Gary Peters
Ike Skelton
John Adler
Martin Heinrich

Google, Verizon & "Net Neutrality"

Over the past year or so I have posted a few times about NET NEUTRALITY. I'm not here to pretend that I fully grasp all the minute details of either side of the fight, but I have been doing a lot of reading as of late. This issue is really coming to the forefront and from the emails I've been getting, it seems many people out there are wanting some clarification on this.

The main problem is much like the "Employee Fairness Act," "Net Neutrality" is a bit of a misleading name and I believe that's a contributing factor to the confusion...because who wants to say they're against net neutrality?

Boiled down to the most basic argument at the core of this fight is one we have found ourselves presented with quite often since Barack Obama became President: Government regulation VS. the free market system.
"Net neutrality has become a smokescreen to hide behind for those who oppose competition and free markets for communications and who want to turn back the clock and return to utility regulation." (source)

Most of what I've read makes me feel like this is the age-old political story where Congress uses class warfare (Comcast vs. average poor guy) to scare constituents into voting for more regulations on their own life and someone else's business.
"The issue has stirred the passions of liberal groups that see the fight for specific Net neutrality rules as one that pits big corporate interests against the average consumer. These groups have been lobbying Washington policymakers hard ever since President Obama took office.

These groups claim that without new rules to preserve the Internet's openness, the Net as we know it will soon no longer exist. They say big service providers, such as AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon Communications are looking to turn the Internet into a cable-like system where consumers pay big fees to access online content." (SOURCE)

Here's my take on it --to my knowledge, there have never been laws in place ensuring net neutrality and none of these horror scenarios have come to fruition...so what would motivate companies to start now? Especially knowing there are so many out there pushing to regulate them?

But Google and Verizon (and unlikely duo), may have saved everyone from having to read anymore brain numbing articles about this. They have teamed together to offer a proposal to address the would-be problem:

Their proposal was presented as "policy framework for lawmakers translates these principles into a fully enforceable broadband Internet policy. In developing this framework, we were guided by two principles: our commitment to an open Internet, and the need for continued investment in broadband infrastructure, which is critical to U.S. global competitiveness." (source)

Though my skin crawls at the thought of any more government regulation this proposal sounds like a fairly good compromise on the issue (or at least a way to keep Congress from passing more slippery-slope regulatory laws)...EXCEPT one section:

"Regulatory Authority: The FCC would have exclusive authority to oversee broadband Internet access service, but would not have any authority over Internet software applications, content or services.Regulatory authorities would not be permitted to regulate broadband Internet access service."

The FCC scares me. And these appointed-not-elected individuals should not be granted any further authority which they could (and would) somehow morph into deciding Internet content...

Longer School Days & Years


"Students beware: The summer vacation you just enjoyed could be sharply curtailed if President Barack Obama gets his way.

Obama says American kids spend too little time in school, putting them at a disadvantage with other students around the globe.

"Now, I know longer school days and school years are not wildly popular ideas," the president said earlier this year. "Not with Malia and Sasha, not in my family, and probably not in yours. But the challenges of a new century demand more time in the classroom." (SOURCE)

Oh, how I wish he would have been speaking to my sons' school when he made this insane proposal (THREE more hours a day and only 4 weeks for summer vacation). My 6th grader's retort?

"Well, HE had summers off as a kid and still managed to become PRESIDENT of the UNITED STATES."

He did indeed.

Homeschoolers consistently score better than public school kids and they get all their work done in 3-4 hours a day... Hmmm. Think Obama's speech has anything to do with the NEA?

Monday, September 27, 2010

The National Enquirer? No, This is For Real...


"On Monday, six former U.S. Air Force officers and one former enlisted man will break their silence about similar events at the National Press Club, all centering around unidentified flying objects and nuclear missiles. They plan to urge the government to publicly confirm the incidents, stating that they were ordered never to discuss the events.

"We're talking about unidentified flying objects, as simple as that," Salas told FoxNews.com. "They're often known as UFOs, you could call them that," he added. Salas, a former U.S. Air Force nuclear missile launch officer, will host the event along with researcher Robert Hastings, author of "UFOs and Nukes: Extraordinary Encounters at Nuclear Weapons Sites.

According to the pair, witness testimony from more than 120 former or retired military personnel points to an ongoing and alarming intervention by unidentified aerial objects at nuclear weapons sites, as recently as 2003. In some cases, several nuclear missiles simultaneously and inexplicably malfunctioned while a disc-shaped object silently hovered nearby." (SOURCE)


I will NOT be sharing this story with The Man as it will feed into his alien obsession... He already believes that all religion is predicated on early alien encounters and that aliens have bred among us. Really? And he says *I'm* crazy for "having faith" in one Divine being?!

Caption It...

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Congressional Quiz


This quiz doesn't automatically tally your answers...so you're all on the honor system with this one ;)

TAKE THE CONGRESSIONAL MEMBER'S POWERS QUIZ

I got 16/20. Sadly, an 80% is not very impressive for a political blogger. On a child's practice quiz... But, I'm not ashamed to say that I had never knew our Senators and Representatives were franking...

SPOILER:

Here's the four I got wrong:

#3) I put "all of these"
#4) my answer "sales tax" duh!
#8) I had "all of these," second-guessed myself and changed it to "impeachment of presidents."
17) I picked "free travel to their home district."

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Caption It...

GOP's New Contract With America

This is a glimpse at the GOPS's Pledge to America that Republican leaders plan to unveil this morning...I agree with Sean Hannity on the fact that Republican candidates should publicly SIGN the pledge so they can be held accountable if they fail to fulfill tenets of it (namely spending and reform):



ECONOMY:
  • A move to "permanently stop all job-killing tax hikes."

  • A plan to award small businesses a tax reduction of 20 percent of business income.

  • Reining-in of government "red tape."

  • A repeal of "job-killing business mandates." This specifically refers to a provision in the health care law that requires businesses to report to the IRS any transaction over $600. Small businesses argue the requirement is cumbersome.


  • GOVERNMENT SPENDING:
  • An immediate reduction in all federal spending and a cancellation of all unspent stimulus money.- A cut in government spending to pre-stimulus and "bailout" levels.

  • The imposition of a "hard cap" on discretionary spending, meaning the government can't go above a certain level.

  • A request to hold weekly votes on spending cuts.

  • "End TARP once and for all." That's a reference to the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which Congress approved to assist banks and financial institutions with liquidity in the fall of 2008.

  • Demand a net hiring freeze of all "non-security" federal workers


  • GOVERNMENT REFORM:
  • A requirement that all bills lay over for 72 hours in the House before being voted on.

  • The mandate that all lawmakers writing legislation must include a clause in the measure demonstrating that the bill would be "Constitutional" if enacted.

  • An effort to prevent non-related bills from being packaged together.


  • HEALTH CARE:
  • A move to "repeal and replace" the health care reform law and instead approve medical liability reform legislation.

  • A call to make the "Hyde Amendment" permanent. The Hyde Amendment is named after the late-Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL). Congress reauthorizes the Hyde Amendment every year. It builds a firewall that ensures that federal dollars are not used for abortion services.


  • NATIONAL SECURITY:
  • A requirement that all troop funding bills be "clean." In other words, that legislation must be free of any extraneous issues.

  • The demand that terrorism suspects be kept off U.S. soil.

  • A call to impose sanctions against Iran unless certain security conditions are not met.
  • You Are What You Eat?

    "Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad doesn't need nuclear weapons -- his food stinks so bad, he's practically cleared out the Hilton Manhattan East. The finicky fascist brought his own personal chef to prepare his meals while he's in town for the UN General Assembly, a source told The Post's Helen Freund. Unfortunately, his meals "make the whole hotel stink like hell," said the source. The Hilton did not return a call for comment." (SOURCE)

    Middle Eastern food is in my top three favorites (Mmmm, falafel, hummus, baba ganoush...) so what could his chef be making that smells so horrible I wonder?

    Amadinejad's foul food aside, this is a good read on what's expected to go down at the 20%-funded-by-the-USA-taxpayers United Nations today: Obama's Broken Moral Compass On Display at the U.N.

    Wednesday, September 22, 2010

    Floridians...You Better Vote for Col. Allen West!!!


    Now, you know I'm always down for a bit of mud being kicked around during an election season. That's politics. But, put on your @#$!kickers...cause this is some serious @%$!

    "The Florida Democratic Party has offered to pay to protect Republican congressional candidate Allen West from identity theft because it sent out a mailer featuring his Social Security number.

    West, a retired Army colonel and YouTube sensation running against Rep. Ron Klein, was hit with a tax lien — since paid — in 2005, and the state party attacked him for it and other financial problems in a mailer sent out to 22nd District voters over the weekend.

    The piece featured a photo of an IRS document showing the tax lien — and while West’s address was blacked out, his Social Security number and his wife’s Employment Identification Number were clearly visible...." SOURCE)


    Are you kidding me? Regardless of the fact that West is the opponent of the "Florida Democratic Party" --he's a man that SERVED HIS COUNTRY for more than 20 years. A man that has received these awards:

    "His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star; Meritorious Service Medal; (two Oak Leaf Clusters); Army Commendation Medal (two Oak Leaf Clusters, one Valor Device); Army Achievement Medal (one Oak Leaf Cluster); Valorous Unit Award; Air Assault Badge and the Parachutist Badge.
    In addition, West has been awarded the following service medals and ribbons: National Defense Service Medal (with bronze star device); Southwest Asia Service Medal; Army Service Ribbon; Army Overseas Service Ribbon (multiple awards); Saudi Arabia Kuwait Liberation Medal W/Palm Tree and Kuwait Liberation Medal" (source)


    I truly and honestly believe that Representative Ron Klein should lose his current seat AND be barred from running in November. This was more than politics in my eyes, even more than dirty politics... And I'd say the same even if I didn't heart Allen West and even if it was an (R) that did this.

    FLORIDIANS: VOTE Allen West!!!!

    Seeing Green?

    It would seem that all of the kowtowing to the liberal elite in the media has been for naught! How jealous is Meaghan McCain that quiet and unassuming Bristol Palin is on Dancing With the Stars this season?

    Caption It...

    Tuesday, September 21, 2010

    Rosy Glasses Removed


    "An African-American woman who described herself as a chief financial officer, a mother and a military veteran said she was disappointed that Mr. Obama had not lived up to her once-lofty expectations.

    “I’m exhausted of defending you, defending your administration. … I’m deeply disappointed where we are right now,” she said, adding that when she voted for Mr. Obama, she thought he would change Washington. “I’m waiting, sir. I’m waiting. I don’t feel it yet. … Is this my new reality?”

    Moments later, a young man offered a similar theme. He noted that the president had ignited a wave of inspiration for young people and students.

    “That inspiration is dying away,” he said. “It feels like the American dream is not attainable for a lot of us. … Is the American dream dead for me?”" (SOURCE)

    You WATCH THE WHOLE VIDEO HERE

    I think it was hard and extremely brave for her to say that. She was a supporter. Imagine being face to face with the leader of the free world and telling him straight up with no ums or ahs how disappointed you are with him.

    So here's the question. Obama voters aside (they deserve their disappointment for voting in a man that had never run a 7-11 or a company or a state...let alone a country), is Obama's predicament right now a product of his inexperience as a CEO and statesman OR is it a product of world, economy and the times that any leader in his place would be dealing with...?

    What is Your Favorite Antonym for 'Profound'?

    "If you are not honorable enough to fight without prejudice, go home" –Lady Gaga [source]

    Yikes. Good luck with an armed forces that does not fight with extreme prejudice.

    I know what she was trying to get at. I assume she meant serve without being prejudice, but got a good chuckle when I read it.

    She’s painting this as a vote for or against the repeal of ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ and fails to mention or address the fact that this bill is yet another example of one of our political system’s greatest failings.

    Some may argue that allowing unrelated amendments to be added to bills is a way to ensure compromise; that it is a part of our government’s checks and balances. I would argue that it allows lawmakers to push through pork with greater ease, and weakens accountability; creating a cloud of deniability. If we only had votes on bills with one issue then we would have a clearer record of where our leaders stand and how they vote. Not this current mess.

    So is a vote for the bill one to support defense spending, or is it a vote to allow federally funded abortions on military posts, or for the repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’, or for amnesty for the children of illegal aliens?

    Answer: it’s whatever your Senator spins it to be.

    Thanks for another mess, Senator Reid.

    Monday, September 20, 2010

    DADT & GITMO


    No, they don't have anything to do with each other...just two stories I didn't think should pass by without discussion:

    1) Obama Administration Appeals for the Release of 9-11 hijacker recruiter

    " Appeals court judges deciding whether to release a Guantanamo Bay detainee asked Friday: If once an al-Qaida member, always an al-Qaida member?
    The Obama administration has appealed an order for the release of Mohamedou Ould Salahi, who has been accused of helping recruit Sept. 11 hijackers. A lower court judge said Salahi should be freed because he was abused by interrogators at the Naval-run prison in Cuba and later retracted his confession to arranging travel for two hijackers.
    Salahi admits he joined al-Qaida in the early 1990s to fight communists in Afghanistan. But he says he stopped fighting for the organization before it turned against the United States.
    The 9/11 commission report described Salahi as a significant al-Qaida operative who instructed hijackers how to reach Afghanistan to train for jihad. In court filings, the Justice Department says in October 1999, Salahi encouraged Ramzi bin al Shibh, Marwan al Shehhi and Ziad Jarrah to join. Al Shehhi and Jarrah became two of the hijackers and Bin al Shibh helped coordinate the 9/11 plot." (SOURCE)


    2) Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Bostick, the Army's deputy chief of staff in charge of personnel matters, calls Christian soldiers "bigoted" and akin to racists

    "Next week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is expected to begin floor debate on a defense authorization bill that would repeal the Clinton-era "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy and allow homosexuals to serve openly in the armed forces. Last month, a top military official offered a glimpse of how the military might look should the new policy take effect: Those serving who oppose the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) agenda are no longer welcome.
    Those were the views of Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Bostick, the Army's deputy chief of staff in charge of personnel matters who spoke about "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" before several hundred troops at the European Command headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany. "Unfortunately, we have a minority of service members who are still racists and bigoted and you will never be able to get rid of all of them," Lt. Gen. Bostick said. "But these people opposing this new policy will need to get with the program, and if they can't, they need to get out. No matter how much training and education of those in opposition, you're always going to have those that oppose this on moral and religious grounds just like you still have racists today." (SOURCE)

    Almost a Caption It...

    I was going to use this guy as today's Caption It, but a part of me appreciates the point he's making. Some of my friends and family (namely my oldest son and sister) think that my recycling tendencies border on "hippie." But for me it's not a GREEN thing. It's certainly not an Inconvenient Truth thing. Or a Global Warming thing. It's an aversion to trash thing.



    I hate trash. I hate it in my house, in my car, on sidewalks, in streets, in parks and especially in playgrounds. Since it would seem that parents have ceased telling their offspring that it's wrong to throw their empty Red Bull cans, gum wrapper and Dorito bags on the ground...the more we recycle, repurpose and reuse the less trash will be available for them to throw on my street. Less for me to clean up before my kid can play at the playground. And, less for me to pick up off the beach before I can enjoy my view (it's not just here in Philly).

    So this guy's point is valid. That's a lot of unnecessary trash when you could buy 10 re-usable grocery bags and be done with it. Buy 2 water bottles and two travel mugs and refill them. Etc.

    So yes, maybe I am a hippie when it comes to this stuff because I hate litter and litterers even more than I hate being associated with the Al-Gorites...

    And, then there's this...so make sure your re-usable bags are cloth so you can wash them.

    Sunday, September 19, 2010

    Murkowski Acting Like a Corrupt Iraqi Politician

    "Yep, I’ll just come out and say it. Alaskan Senator Lisa Murkowski is acting like a corrupt Iraqi politician. Her refusal to accept the results of the primary, and her desperate attempt to cling to her position is unfortunate. Of course, she has every right to mount a write-in campaign, but it’s poor form. There is no indication that she has been wronged, she simply lost." [source]

    "For months leading up to and since the Iraqi National Elections this past March, one of the themes we’ve been emphasizing with our Iraqi counterparts is that a hallmark of a free country is the peaceful transfer of power following an election- something they have not had here as Prime Minister Maliki does all he can to “keep his chair” (as they like to say). Six months later, still no government in Iraq during what everyone agrees is a critical time.

    We’ve been pounding this message in addition to the normal emphasis on the importance of free elections, representative government, etc…

    And here is Murkowski, who got her start when her father appointed her to his own State Senate Seat when he won the Governor’s race in 2002… ug.

    To be fair, she did go on to win the 2004 election." [source]

    Anyway, I had to roll my eyes when I read about this. It will no doubt be one of my “That happens in America too” comments (which I use when the Iraqis get to feeling sorry for themselves as if they are the only country that struggles politically). I think they are tired of me saying that it took us 230 years and a lot of struggle to get where we are…

    Friday, September 17, 2010

    Obamanomics Suck


    "Here's some pressure for lawmakers:If they don't reach agreement on extending soon-to-expire Bush-era tax cuts, nearly all their constituents back home will get big tax increases.

    A typical family of four with a household income of $50,000 a year would have to pay $2,900 more in taxes in 2011, according to a new analysis by Deloitte Tax LLP, a tax consulting firm. The same family making $100,000 a year would see its taxes rise by $4,500..."
    (SOURCE)

    But wait, didn't Obama say:

    "I can make a firm pledge. Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes." ~President Barack Obama


    My family (like many others I'm sure) relies on our April tax return. Since we are a 'cash-n-carry' family with no credit cards (and subsequently no debt), we use our tax return for any big ticket/lump sum items we are in need of. I don't know if it was an Obama-coincidence, but last year we got the smallest amount back than we ever had in 13 years of marriage --yet we had an additional kid? Actually, thinking about what we got back and what taxes this could add...we might OWE this year if Obama has his way...and I'm quite sure I make under $250,000.

    Let's Relieve Her of the Burden!





    "Michelle Obama thinks being America’s First Lady is ‘hell’, Carla Bruni [wife of French President Nicolas Sarkozy] reveals today in a wildly indiscreet book.

    Miss Bruni divulges that Mrs Obama replied when asked about her position as the U.S. president’s wife: ‘Don’t ask! It’s hell. I can’t stand it!’

    Details of the private conversation, which took place at the White House during an official visit by Nicolas Sarkozy last March, emerged in Carla And The Ambitious." (SOURCE).

    Art of the American Soldier

    Big Country
    Heather C. Englehart
    Iraq, 2004

    I can not wait to see the latest exhibit at the National Constitution Center: Art of the American Soldier:

    "More than 15,000 paintings and sketches created by over 1,300 American soldiers in the line of duty have been in curatorial storage in Washington, D.C. for decades, seldom made available for public viewing. Art of the American Soldier will bring these powerful works of art into the spotlight at the National Constitution Center from September 24, 2010 through January 10, 2011. The exhibition, featuring a never-before-seen collection, was created by the Center in partnership with the U.S. Army Center of Military History and the National Museum of the United States Army. Following its world debut at the Center, the exhibition will begin a national tour." (SOURCE)


    I'm hoping they have the stories of the artists themselves... What an amazing exhibit this must be. And good because it's sad that I live here and have yet to visit the Constitution Center (it's expensive!)

    That 2,000 Yard Stare
    Tom Lea, WWII, 1944

    Caption It...

    Thursday, September 16, 2010

    Smoke-Free America?

    "Mayor Bloomberg wants to ban smoking in parks, beaches and even the heart of Times Square - and New Yorkers who puff are in a huff.

    Bloomberg says secondhand smoke is choking the city, contributing to high asthma and cancer rates and poisoning the fresh air. "We're doing something about it," he said.

    If his proposal is approved by the City Council, smokers - already banned from restaurants and bars - won't be able to light up in 1,700 parks and 14 miles of public beaches. Boardwalks, marinas and pedestrian plazas would be off-limits, too, though sidewalks would remain safe havens for tobacco users. (SOURCE)

    Mayor Michael Bloomberg is worth $18 BILLION dollars. He is the 8th richest man in the United States. He has an MBA from Harvard Business School. This means the man has got to have some serious business savvy. Right?

    I know it's cool to be Green right now and everyone loves to dump on smokers and SUV drivers (God forbid you do both!), but isn't the economy in shambles? Aren't we at a 9.6% unemployment rate?

    Let's imagine Bloomberg's outdoor(?!) smoking ban takes hold and just say all big cities follow suit. What would America look like with no tobacco industry? What' the reality of that 'healthy' change? Where would Bloomberg suggest Americans make up the 662,402 direct jobs and $22,667,684,874 in taxes generated by the tobacco industry? I'm not a smoker anymore (2 years and 5 months nicotine free!), so I don't have a horse in this race. I just think that the bigger picture of this smoke-free America movement hasn't been fully vetted...

    The French? Really?


    "France risked the wrath of the Islamic world on Tuesday by banning burqas and other full-body robes worn by some Muslim women, in a long-debated move that shows the depth of concern over the rise of Muslim culture in Europe.

    The vote—passed primarily by the center-right party of President Nicolas Sarkozy, with most opposition Socialist Party lawmakers abstaining—came as a number of European countries are trying to figure out how to reconcile the values of modern Europe with more assertive expressions of Islamic faith..." (SOURCE)

    France being ballsier than the US...it's a little disconcerting, isn't it? Truthfully though, I would normally be against banning a type of dress. Obvious security considerations aside, it offends my government-hands-off sensibilities. BUT, when it comes to Islam, there is no way to be sure this is indeed the choice of the woman wearing the oppressive sheath. That complicates the matter because then it becomes a civil/human rights issue...

    Wednesday, September 15, 2010

    Qur'an Burning UnConstitutional?


    Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, who has in the past stated that the 'purpose of a statute,' and the 'consequences of competing interpretations' comes in to play when he is considering a case, stated on Good Morning America that burning the Qur'an "might not be Constitutional" in the "age of the internet." Huh? And here I thought it was the TEXT that was being analyzed...

    "Last week President Obama told me that Pastor Jones could be cited for public burning – but that was “the extent of the laws that we have available to us.” Rep. John Boehner said on "GMA" that “just because you have a right to do something in America does not mean it is the right thing to do.”

    For Breyer, that right is not a foregone conclusion..." (SOURCE)

    This is a prime example of why even liberals shouldn't want a left-leaning judge sitting on SCOTUS. Since, contrary to general public opinion, it's the left that has a history of seeking to limit the scope of free speech. Liberals might cheer if it is ruled unconstitutional to burn the Qur'an, but then what will happen when they burn the Bible, or the Constitution, the flag, or the next Republican President in effigy? We must always remember that if we want to preserve what was given to us in the Bill of Rights...we must protect speech that makes our skin crawl and allow demonstrations that make us shudder. Turn of the TV. Walk away. Turn up your iPod. But for the Founders' sake...don't make opinions whether spoken or acted out, illegal. At that point, we might as well be Canada.

    Caption It...

    Tuesday, September 14, 2010

    Guest Post by J. Stephenson

    A Skewed View: The Question of Obama's Religion



    In a recent poll by the Pew Research Center, 18% of Americans and 46% of the GOP believe President Obama is a Muslim. Yikes. In a country where people are publically burning the Quran and protesting the building of a Mosque close to Ground Zero, this is quite worrisome for a president whose poll numbers continue to slide downwards. So where does the confusion come from? No major news network has come out and stated that Obama is anything but a Christian. Where do these conflicting rumors come from and why are they so hard to shake?

    This article examines a few key reasons:

    The Name: Barack Hussein Obama
    During the 2008 elections, I remember watching a news clip in which a reporter went to a neighborhood bar in the Deep South to ask its patrons a few questions about the upcoming election. When one resident was asked about his view on Obama, he managed to link Obama with Sadam Hussein. Why? How is it possible that a United States presidential candidate could possibly be paired with one of the greatest terrorists of our time? He implied that since they shared a name - Hussein - they must have other things in common.

    Opposing candidate John McCain had something to say about Obama's middle name as well. In an interview with Bill Cunningham, McCain was asked if it was appropriate to use Obama's middle name, Hussein. He replied, "No, it is not. Any comment that is disparaging of either Senator Clinton or Senator Obama is totally inappropriate," an obvious implication that the name Hussein is an insult.

    Even international citizens seem to suspect Obama has Muslim ties. In an interview with an Israeli television station, Obama is quoted as saying, "I think what this [skepticism] arises from... some of it may just be the fact that my middle name is Hussein, and that creates suspicion."

    The History: Living in a Predominantly Muslim Country
    Obama is the son of a Muslim man from Kenya. When Obama was just two-years-old, his parents got a divorce. His mother's next husband was another Muslim, an Indonesian named Lolo Soetoro. Subsequently, Obama moved with his mother and new stepfather to Indonesia, which is the largest Muslim country in the world. In a new movie about Obama's childhood in Jakarta, co-director Damien Dematra, says that people will see his childhood friends dressed in traditional clothing (Film Portraying President Obama's Early Years in Indonesia Premieres).

    This is a far cry from the childhoods our previous presidents have experienced. Is it possible that Obama's international background have misled Americans into believing that he adopted his previous resident country's majority religion, or that he inherited his religious beliefs from his father or stepfather?

    Muslim Americans: Sympathizing with the Enemy
    Last year, Asma Gull Hasan, author of Red, White, and Muslim: My Story of Belief wrote an interesting article for Forbes entitled My Muslim President Obama in which she explains why her and other Muslim Americans she knows tend to label Obama as Muslim. In it, she cites his church of choice (Unitarian), his shared personality traits with the Prophet Muhammad, including openness to critics, and his exposure to the religion through his father and Indonesia as facts to sustain her position.

    It's natural for human beings to look for, and sometimes exaggerate, commonalities between a person or entity in order to relate to it and make a personal connection. Could it be that the poll was skewed by the opinions of Muslim Americans who share Hasan's view?

    A Lack of Denial by the GOP
    On the campaign trail in 2008, a woman said to Senator McCain, "I have read about him and he's not – he's an Arab." McCain told her quite bluntly, "No, ma'am. He's a decent family man, a citizen." Kudos to you, Mr. McCain. That's the Maverick we all know and love. It would have been easy for him to sit back and ride these rumors to the White House, but instead he corrected the woman and went on with his speech.

    Today? Not so much. Right-wing commentator Rush Limbaugh, who boasts one of the largest audiences on radio, says this of the President: "Obama says he's a Christian, but where's the evidence?" He has repeatedly called Obama "imam Obama" and has said, "I'm just throwing things out there, folks, because people are questioning his Christianity." He has planted the seed of doubt and it is festering in the hearts of far too many Americans (New York Times).

    For the record, Obama said in Christianity Today in 2008 that he is a "devout Christian" who believes "in the redemptive death and resurrection of Jesus Christ." Still, individuals such as Rev. Franklin Graham state that Obama was "born a Muslim because of the religious seed passed on from his father." And unlike before, McCain has not stepped up to correct him. In fact, no influential Republican has.

    To disagree with the President is entirely okay. We live in a democratic society where freedom of speech is encouraged and individuals are entitled to their own opinions. However, it is important that we disagree with our leaders for the right reasons. The lies and rumors that have cloaked Obama's presidency are unfounded and ridiculous.

    Our country is in dire need of help and the longer we sit and debate the merits of Obama's birth location or religion, the less attention is given to the actual issues. Let's debate taxes. Let's debate putting restrictions on big banks. Let's debate Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Israel.

    But let's settle the question of Obama's religion once and for all.

    He's a Christian.

    J. Stephenson is a guest blogger for My Dog Ate My Blog and a writer on accredited online colleges for Guide to Online Schools.

    Where $800,000 of Your Tax Dollars Went...

    Well, during these hard times when unemployment is at an all time high and more veterans than ever can't find work...

    Ready?

    $823,200 of your tax money went to a program aimed at getting African men to wash their penises within 12 hours after sex. They then plan to follow up that program to see if the genital washing helped cut down on instance of HIV infections...

    We can wash away HIV/AIDS? Send me to Africa for the class, because that's news to me.

    "The study’s lead investigator Dr. Thomas J. Coates was the fourth highest-funded researcher in the country in 2002 and is currently conducting HIV research on three continents.

    CNSNews.com asked both Coates and NIMH the following question: “The Census Bureau says the median household income in the United States is $52,000. How would you explain to the average American mom and dad -- who make $52,000 per year -- that taxing them to pay for this grant was justified?”

    Coates, who was unavailable for comment, directed CNSNews.com to ask grant-related questions of his assistant, Darya Freedman, who did not respond.

    The NIMH also declined to respond to CNSNews.com’s question."
    (SOURCE)

    Monday, September 13, 2010

    Sad Memorial

    "Thousands of chanting, jeering protesters with dueling agendas converged on lower Manhattan [Saturday] in a bitter and sometimes violent clash over the planned Ground Zero mosque.

    Rival demonstrations over the Islamic center were kept apart by a phalanx of cops -- though there were flare-ups between the groups even as relatives of 9/11 victims mourned just a few blocks away.

    Beating drums and ringing bells, the crowd chanted, "Bigots go home."
    The demonstrators also carried signs reading, "Tea party bigots funded by corporate $," and, "Our grief is no excuse for bigotry and racism."
    A few blocks away, the mosque protesters were in full fury.
    "Did New York deserve this? Did America deserve this? Did the West deserve this?" asked Geert Wilders, a Dutch politician and keynote speaker.
    "No!" protesters roared back..." (SOURCE)

    I understand the argument for the mosque. I do. We want to be bigger than the people that flew those planes. We don't want to indulge in the bigotry that drove them. We want to respect America's tradition of allowing religious freedoms. I would normally agree on all accounts.

    But, my feminist issues with Islam aside...there are many, many mosques for Muslims to worship in in Manhattan --they want us to respect the fact that this was only 19 men and that it was not indicative of the Islamic faith. But, we need them to respect the fact that the wound is still too raw and to have the first thing rebuilt on the site at Ground Zero be a homage to the religion in whose name the damage was done...it's just too much.

    It breaks my heart that the memorial of this day descended into this... I wonder, when does selfishness, stubbornness and political correctness end and plain common sense and compassion kick in?

    16 and Pregnant...Positive Role Models...

    Amidst all the crappy role models out there...and the amidst all the train wrecks captured on reality shows daily...there is a gem of a couple. Believe it or not, they're on MTV.

    Catelynn Lowell and Tyler Baltierra first appeared on MTV's series "16 and Pregnant" and are now on the follow-up series "Teen Mom."

    This young couple is so strong and selfless. They were indeed 16 and pregnant and decided to give their baby, Carly, up for adoption despite major opposition from their families. Both Catelynn's mom and Tyler's dad have given them so much grief over their decision to give their daughter a better home and a better life than they had or could currently give her. (This is actually putting it mildly, their parents are horrible and hurtful to them so often).

    Tyler and Catelynn used Bethany Christian Services which is the agency that my parents took foster children through...

    Every time I see the show I feel like I should write these two kids a letter and tell them how proud I am of them and how much I respect their choice to give Carly a chance at the best life possible...I wish I could offset the pain and doubt their parents have caused. But mainly, I'm so glad they choose to tell their story for other young couples to see...

    A positive role model on MTV...go figure.

    Tyler & Catelynn's '16 and Pregnant' episode (*tear-jerker warning*)

    Caption It...

    Saturday, September 11, 2010

    09.11.2001

    If nine years ago someone would have suggested that there were plans to build a mosque within these ruins... If they would have insinuated that some Americans (including the NYC Mayor) would advocate for it... And that Muslims in other countries would threaten violence against us if it weren't built... Can you imagine our reactions? Have we forgotten?

    "Creating too many euphemisms for what happened robs people of the ability to re-live it and therefore the motivation to prevent it in the future".
    -Former NYC Mayor, Rudy d

    "They took all the footage off my T.V....Said it's too disturbing for you and me
    It'll just breed anger that's what the experts say...If it was up to me I'd show it every day.
    Some say this country's just out looking for a fight...After 9/11 man I'd have to say that's right".
    -Daryl Worley

    "Igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum." -Julius Caesar
    ("If you want peace, prepare for war")


    1979: US embassy in Iran is stormed and hostages held for 444 days. One of those terrorists is now the President in Iran. Sixty-six hostages were taken. Eight US servicemen from a Joint Special Operations Group were killed in an aborted rescue attempt. This act was carried out by MUSLIM MEN.


    1982: US embassy in Beirut is bombed. 63 people are killed. 18 of them are Americans. This act was carried out by MUSLIM MEN.


    1983: US Marine barracks is blown up by a truck bomb. 241 Americans are killed. 220 of those killed were Marines. This act was carried out by MUSLIM MEN.


    1985: The Achilles Lauro is taken over by terrorists and American, Leo Klinghoffer, is killed and thrown overboard in his wheelchair. This act was carried out by MUSLIM MEN.


    1988: Passenger jet, Pan Am Flight 103, is bombed and crashes in Lockerbie, Scotland. 270 people from 21 countries were killed. 189 of the victims were American. This act was carried out by MUSLIM MEN.


    1993: The World Trade Center is bombed. Ramzi Yousef, the chief planner, was involved in another bombing conspiracy. In January 1995, Yousef and his associates plotted to blow up eleven U.S. commercial aircraft in one spectacular day of terrorist rage. In the '93 bombing 6 people were killed and over 1,000 were wounded. This act was carried out by MUSLIM MEN.


    1996: Housing complex in Saudi Arabia occupied by the US Air Force is bombed. 19 Americans are killed and 200 people injured. This act was carried out by MUSLIM MEN.


    1998: US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya are bombed. 213 were killed and over 4,000 were injured as simultaneous car bombs were detonated. These acts were carried out by MUSLIM MEN.


    2000: The USS Cole is attacked in Yemen's harbor. 17 Sailors were killed and 39 others were injured by the explosion. This act was carried out by MUSLIM MEN.


    2001: The World Trade Center is reduced to rubble, the Pentagon is hit and a plane goes down in a Pennsylvania field. 2,749 are killed in the Twin Towers (an estimated 200+ people jumped to their deaths to escape the jet-fuel flames). There is still 10,000 unidentified bone and tissue fragments that cannot be matched to the list of the dead. 45 killed on Flight 93 and everyone on Flight 77 died and 125 people were killed as it crashed into the Pentagon. This act was carried out by MUSLIM MEN.

    "This nation is peaceful, but fierce when stirred to anger. This conflict was begun on the timing and terms of others; it will end in a way and at an hour of our choosing." ~ President George W. Bush

    "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free." ~Ronald Reagan

    "Pain is only bearable if we know it will end, not if we deny it exists". ~Viktor Frankl

    "These individuals are tyrants, and so they hate democracy. They are bigots, zealots, and persecutors, and so they hate America s freedom tolerance, and respect for all people. The terrorists of Sept. 11 live and flourish in darkness. They cannot survive in the liberating and inspirational sunlight of American freedom and democracy." ~Ted Olson


    2004:
    Beslan School Bombing, Russia. (Watch The Children of Beslan on HBO!!! and think about this happening here --to American children). 171 children were killed and over 200 adults when extremists took more than 1,000 people hostage in a Russian school for three days. The things that happened in that school during that time are unthinkable. People were fighting over urine to drink. children killed. Parents executed in front of their children. Bombs strung all around them. This act was carried out by MUSLIM MEN.

    "I was hoping that Harry Potter would come and be able to get us out with his invisible cloak" ~Child Survivor
    "Every house should have missiles to protect it from terrorists" ~Child Survivor


    2004: A train in Madrid, Spain is bombed in a series of 10 explosions. 191 people are killed and almost 1,500 people are wounded. This act was carried out by MUSLIM MEN.


    2005: London Transit attacks on 7/7 and second attempt on 7/21. Four bomb attacks were carried out during rush hour. 56 people were killed and 700 injured. This act was carried out by MUSLIM MEN.


    On this day I pray that Americans wake up. That we honor ALL of these that were murdered in cold blood in the name of Allah by never letting it happen again... That is my greatest wish. The thought of ONE more person dying because we couldn't stomach the REALITY of this war...The thought of my children paying the ultimate price like the Beslan children due to political impotence...
    It's more than I can bear.

    RIP all these victims of the religion of peace.