Wednesday, September 30, 2009

In The Wrong World


My grandson is a little over 3 + 1/2 years old. For now, at least, he appears to be a very happy child and I would like for him to be able to stay that way. I often wonder what kind of world he's about to walk into. Not the world where, if he can live that long, he'll be paying for the excesses of both the Bush and Obama administrations. No, I'm talking about the world of children his age he'll be meeting in just a few years when he enters school. What will they be like? Chances are, he and they will grow up to be... well, scary, if the story I'm about to tell you is any indication of what our kids are becoming.

In Chicago, Derrion Albert, a 16 year old honor roll student, was attacked by four teenagers and beaten to death recently. If I hear one more person say that this kid, who was innocent, was in the "wrong place at the wrong time" I'm going to scream. That's almost implying that it was his fault that these idiots killed him. To date three of the young killers are in custody. A fourth teenager is due in court after being charged in the fatal beating of Albert, who was described by his family as a "great kid" who loved school. Eighteen year old Eugene Bailey is one of four people charged with first-degree murder in Albert's death. Bailey was due in bond court on Tuesday and the other three teenagers were ordered to be held without bond Monday. Cell phone footage shows a group of teens kicking and striking Albert with splintered railroad ties after the sophomore left school on Thursday.

Albert's aunt, Rose Braxton, told "The Early Show" (CBS) on Tuesday that her nephew had an "easy-going temperament." Albert's grandfather, Joseph Walker, added that he doesn't plan to watch the video of the attack because he wasn't there to protect his grandson. I can certainly relate to that... I couldn't bare watching anything like that myself. The graphic video of the afternoon melee emerged on local news stations over the weekend, showing the fatal beating of Albert. His death was the latest addition to a rising toll: More than 30 students were killed during the last school year and the city could exceed that number this year. Authorities said that Albert was walking to a bus stop when he got caught up in the mob-street fighting.

The violence stemmed from a shooting early on Thursday morning, involving two groups of students from different neighborhoods, said Tandra Simonton, a spokeswoman for the Cook County prosecutor's office. When school ended, members of the groups began fighting near the Agape Community Center. Captured in part on a bystander's cell phone video, Albert was struck on the head by one of several young men wielding wooden planks during the attack. After he fell to the ground and it appeared that he tried to get up, he was struck again and then kicked. Simonton said Albert was a bystander and not part of either group.

The Rev. Victor Grandberry told NBC Chicago that Albert "was just a nice young man that grew up in the community. Folks just tried to bullie him, tried to rob him, and tried to do everything they could." A camera attached to the Agape Community Center also captured at least part of the attack, the center's executive director, Milton Massie, told NBC Chicago. I heard that one of the killers jumped on his head, after he was already down and disabled. I'll spare you anymore gory and graphic details.

I just want to know where does this kind of pathology come from? What are the parents of these kids like? Do you want to bet that a father is missing in the homes of at least three of these four boys accused of this murder? Do you want to bet that at least two of them has a half-brother or sister from a guy who is not married to his mother, who probably treats him with disdain or is totally oblivious to him?

I'm betting that this lack of love, human compassion, and guidance at home is the reason many a young man is sitting behind bars in the nation's swelling prisons today. Before some of you accuse me of airing dirty laundry, let me say that not once did I mention race. These boys could just as easily be White, Hispanic, or Asian. This is an American problem... our children. They are not being cared for, they are not being guided, and they are not being loved. They are just being tolerated and they are coming out on the streets, angry, malnourished, and without compassion. That's what created the sociopaths that were capable of doing what they did to another human being!

Where is the love?

So, I wonder... is this the world that both of my grandchildren are going to be walking into? Is this what they might potentially become? Not while I still have a few good breaths left in me...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Splog


No, this is not about some new sci-fi movie. This is about a not-so-new phenomenon in the blogging world. The only thing "new" is that this phenom now has a new name.

Have you ever gotten a comment from someone that you've never heard of before and then, when you've tried to click on the link attached to the comment, instead of seeing a blog, you get advertisements (usually for porn)? If this has happened to you, then you have been the victim of a "splogger"!

I'm not making this up. A "splog" is a fake blog created solely to promote affiliated websites, with the intent of skewing search results and artificially boosting traffic. Some splogs are written like long-winded ads for the websites they promote; others have no original content, featuring either utter nonsense or content stolen from authentic websites.

Splogs include huge numbers of links to the websites in question to fool web crawlers (programs that search the web for sites to index). The sploggers associate popular search keywords with their pages so that the splog links turn up in blog search results and are sent out as search subscription notifications through email and RSS feeds.

Pretty crafty isn't it? But, they can be mildly annoying. It's next to impossible to trace their origin but they are all over the web. Splogs are really just spam but a more advanced spam. Here's what happened to me and tell me if this sounds familiar to you...

I wrote a post a few months ago and a couple of people commented, "Good Post, Keith". The comments beared a strange name that I had never seen before. This strange name called me by my name and said that I wrote a good post but, it failed to go into detail about the topic of my post (even my angry, right-wing anonymous poster goes into detail when commenting). I clicked on the link thinking that I had a new commentator (a new blog). The link took me to photos of naked women, phone numbers, sex toys, and advertisements of all types. This wasn't a blog... it was a website of advertisements.

Then, I got a comment that took up half-a-page and it was written in Asian symbols. I clicked on this and once again, I got huge photos of naked women, phone numbers for massage parlors, and "toy shop" numbers. After I finished laughing, I simply deleted it. (I really did. And no, I didn't copy down the phone numbers, if that's what you're thinking. It was a West Coast area code anyway!) I'm not sure if these sites are created by human beings or computers but, there is one thing I know for sure... splogs run the gamit of being annoying and amusing at the same time.

(A special shout out to my friend, "Blog Queen" over at "Inconsequential Logic" for hipping me to the new name for this sophisticated spam.)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Saturday Seven (7 Things I Should Be Doing More Of)


1. Getting deeper into the "Word".

2. Giving my wife more attention.

3. Improving my cooking skills (actually, learning some new recipes).

4. Reading for pleasure (I've got two-and-a-half novels to finish that have been laying around since May).

5. Considering writing my long-awaited novel.

6. Getting out and meeting new people.

7. Relaxing more.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Weekend Humor


A woman comes home and tells her husband, ''Remember those headaches I've been having all these years? Well, they're gone.'' The husband asks, ''No more headaches? What happened?"

His wife replies, ''Angie referred me to a hypnotist and he told me to stand in front of a mirror, stare at myself and repeat, ''I do not have a headache. I do not have a headache. I do not have a headache. Well, I did that and it worked! The headaches are all gone. I guess it's the power of positive suggestion."

The husband proclaims, ''Well, that is wonderful.'' His wife then says, ''You know, you haven't been exactly a ball of fire in the bedroom these last few years, why don't you go see the hypnotist and see if he can do anything for that?''

Reluctantly, the husband agrees to try it. Following his appointment, he comes home, rips off his clothes, picks up his wife, and carries her into the bedroom. He puts her on the bed and says, ''Don't move, I'll be right back.''

He goes into the bathroom and comes back a few minutes later and jumps into bed and makes passionate love to his wife like never before. His wife says, ''WOW! That was wonderful!" The husband says, ''Don't move! I will be right back." He goes back into the bathroom, comes back a few minutes later, and round two was even better than the first time. The wife sits up and her head is spinning and she proclaims, "OH, MY GOD!" Her husband says again, ''Don't move, I'll be right back."

He goes back in the bathroom but this time, his wife quietly follows him in the bathroom. She sees him standing at the mirror saying, "She's not my wife. She's not my wife. She's not my wife."

His funeral service will be held on Saturday...

(A special "shout out" to my frat brother, Warren Dorsey, for sharing that joke!)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Text Addict


Call me what you will but, I don't like driving on the road with someone while they are busy yakking on a cell phone. People call me from time to time when I'm driving and I admit that I'll pick the phone up and answer it... but, I try to keep the conversation short and to the point. I also tell the caller that I'm driving and that I'll call them back when I'm not driving.

The only exception I make to this rule is when I'm wearing a Blue Tooth (but, I don't have one anymore... I misplaced it). I'll talk then, because both of my hands are on the wheel and I'm watching the road. But, even then, you run the risk of losing your concentration, depending on what is being said. Suppose you get in an argument, like the one I got into with a now ex-friend on the phone. I would hate to be in an enraged state like that and driving. I could easily run into someone's back, off the road, or through a red light. No, I'm glad I was out of my car and sitting in a cool office.

Talking on a phone is bad enough, but now I hear that people are texting while driving! You have got to be kidding me! I've never actually seen anybody doing this but, I hear it's the new thing. Here's one issue in these contentious times that I'm certain almost everyone appears to agree on: Driving while typing out text messages on a cell phone is just dumb, potentially deadly, and should be banned. It's just not safe... not safe at all.

Later this month the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration plans to convene a "summit" on "distracted driving." The issue of driving while texting or DWT (Oh, brother!), will be high on the agenda. For the first time, it appears that most major interest groups involved are for doing something to make DWT illegal. (How about making driving because I'm stupid illegal?)

The wireless phone industry's main Washington lobbying arm, CTIA-The Wireless Association, once opposed bans on using cell phones to talk or text. Now, the Association supports bans on texting and is officially neutral on other limits to cell phone, Iphone, and BlackBerry use. It notably didn't object when Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood, said that if it were up to him alone (which it is not), he'd institute a federal ban on DWT. CTIA is also working with the National Safety Council on a series of advertisements warning of the dangers of on-road texting. CTIA would prefer one nationwide law on the matter, says John Walls, a spokesman for the Association.

Sometimes I wonder why we have to have a law for everything. I know now that we have to protect people from themselves. People who are texting and talking on cell phones while driving are not only a danger to themselves but, a danger to other drivers. This is the most disturbingly selfish and self-absorbed thing a person could do. Where does common sense kick in here? Do I really need to communicate with someone THATmuch? THAT often?

I have been in public restrooms and heard people on the toilet talking. I've been in a crowded club, trying to have a conversation with someone who was talking to me and texting at the same time. I've been in church and heard the pastor tell people to stop texting and to silence their cell phones. Now, I've got to text someone something while I'm driving? It's that urgent, that it can't wait? Hmmmm... I wonder if people text while they are having sex? You may laugh but, I know that somewhere... somebody is doing just that.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Where's Don?


When this blog was about four month's old, I found myself reading blogs one night when I came across this blog called "Minus The Bars". Its author was a black male who used his first name as a signature, much the way I do. His name is Don and he wrote a funny post that I found so brilliant, I bookmarked it in my mind and remembered it. I used it as the basis for one of my short stories on my other blog, "Escapades". The story was written in the style of a late night conversation between a man and a woman, much in the way Don's post was written.

I commented on that post that night and I came back time and time again to this blog. I discovered that he had a second blog called "Deeper and Deeper" that featured his poetry. Again, I was impressed. I write poetry myself and it was then that I was formulating the idea of a second blog with poetry, just like his and Mizrepresent's poetry blog, WildflowerII. I hadn't quite decided what I was going to do or if I was going to launch another blog.

Don and I began to correspond back and forth through blog comments and then through e-mails. He encouraged me to go ahead with my plans to launch a second blog... a creative blog so to speak. He asked Mizrepresent about me and after getting her "seal of approval" (lol), he blogrolled me and I, in turn, blogrolled him. He became a frequent commenter on "Keith's Space" and when I launched my second blog, "Escapades", and began featuring not only poetry, but fiction, art, and what have you, he became a frequent commentor on that blog too!

He was a very popular blogger. Every blogger that I knew commented on his blog and he, in turn, commented on their blogs. He was courageous and down right crazy... profound and pornographic... all in the same breath. And then, one day in October, he just stopped blogging. He wrote a post ion which he said that he got abducted by aliens and when he got his money right, he would return.

It's been almost a year to the date he wrote his last post and nobody's heard from him. The last time I checked, that last post he did in October 2008 had 154 comments with people just stopping by to say "what's up"... a virtual who's who in the blogging world. A lot of bloggers say that they are shutting their blog down and going into "retirement." Most of them come back. Most of them create a whole new blog and start over again.

Don never did... he just stopped blogging and vanished without a clue. He was one of the best in this medium. If you're out there Don, holla back!

Monday, September 21, 2009

I'll Be Doggone


Michael Vick has been going to public schools in Philadelphia talking to kids about the sins of animal cruelty and warning them not to make the mistake that he did with the dog fighting, etc. This is not being widely reported, if at all, by the conventional news media because it's a positive story and it shows a man they have already deemed a villian in a positive light and that, of course, won't bring good ratings.

To PETA and all of those unforgiving members of the public who think he should pay more for financing his cousin's dog fighting ring, it would probably be a surprise to them to know that Michael Vick is not being forced to do this. This is not a part of his parole or probation agreement whatsoever. This is something he volunteered to do. It has nothing to do with being reinstated into the NFL or The Philadelphia Eagles... None of them had anything to do with it. This was something he wanted and chose to do on his own.

If I know right, this still will not please many people...You can't please everybody and some people need a villian to constantly condemn and hold up to the world... if for no other reason, so that they can look at themselves and say... "I'm not such a sorry bastard. look at Michael Vick, ook at O.J. I'm not as bad as them." Yet, some of these people don't pay child support, cheat on their taxes and spouses, amongst other things. Still they can feel okay because, after all, they never did what Michael Vick did with those dogs.

I watched a documentary on television that showed people fighting dogs and it showed one dog quitting before a fight was over. The owner picked up a rifle and took the dog out into the woods, off-camera. You heard a gunshot and then, you saw the guy come out of the woods alone. He said to the cameraman..."He was a quitter and ah cain't sell no dogs that quit in the middle of a fight. If they are quitters they will just breed other quitters, so he had to go." He was laughing, chewing, and spitting tobacco... just like the "good ole boy" he was. I silently wondered why somebody didn't take both of his parents out in the backwoods and give them a one-shot exit out of this existence so that they wouldn't have bred him! What really scares me is that somebody is probably sleeping with this fool now and he could be breeding another, just like himself.

With that said, you should know that I am no fan of dog fighting or cock fighting, which still goes on despite Michael Vick and makes too much money to stop anytime soon. Here is my point. Vick used his money to finance an operation that was essentially run by his cousin and others. He is a public figure, an athlete, and a name that can be latched on to... thus, used as a symbol as the "King of Dog Fighting." The tobacco-chewing pea brain in the documentary I saw is the real face of dog fighting. That's the man and people like him who should be talking to children about the crime of breeding animals to fight and kill each other for the sporting pleasure of other pea brains who are willing to throw away their hard-earned money to watch it. You'll never hear from him and whether he is ever brought to justice or not. Chances are, he'll never be made to apologize and talk to children because... well, he isn't a celebrity. Whoever heard of him and who wants to listen to him talk anyway?

We are so caught up in the cult of personality and celebrity that we are only going to listen to what a celebrity has to say on a subject, even if a layman in this case may be more qualified. Just so you know, minutes after this tobacco-chewing, dog-fightin' son of a gun so eloquently confessed his sins to the television camera, his little operation was raided and he was arrested. He could do up to five years for his crimes. The dogs were cleaned up by the SPCA, only to be euthanized later. It was explained that the dogs are too dangerous to be sold to anybody as pets or kept alive.



It's a shame... these animals had no choice in the matter and really did nothing wrong. The real culprit is sitting in a jail cell, chewing tobacco, unrepentant and uncondemed by an uncaring and unknowing public. It seems to me like the wrong animal got put to sleep.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Saturday Seven (7 People I'm Admiring This Week)


1. President Barack Obama

2. Former President Jimmy Carter

3. Jay Z

4. Keith Olberman

5. Candidate Rob Miller (D-South Carolina)

6. Taylor Swift

7. Beyonce

Friday, September 18, 2009

Jimmy Cracked Steele (And I Don't Care)


A few days ago, I was watching CNN (which nowadays is coming close to topping HBO as my cable station of choice but still, I think HBO has the slight edge) and I saw Former President Jimmy Carter being interviewed. He said, "Racism... still exists and I think it has bubbled up to the surface because of a belief among many white people, not just in the south but around the country, that African-Americans are not qualified to lead this great country."

He was speaking about the behavior of some people at the town hall meetings and the recent outburst of Representative Joe Wilson (R-South Carolina) during the president's address last week. He went on to say that Joe Wilson's outburst was a part of a disturbing trend directed at the president that has included demonstrators equating Obama to Nazi leaders. He said, "Those kind of things are not just casual outcomes of a sincere debate on whether we should have a national program on health care. It's deeper than that."



Anybody with any common sense can see that what the former President had to say was absolutely on point and correct. In fact, I would say that President Carter was just stating the obvious. However, Rush Limbaugh and Michael Steele weighed in from the nether world and stated that President Carter was absolutely wrong in his analysis and that his comments were in their eyes baseless.

Coming from Rush, I'd expect this but, Michael Steele. Republican or not, I have to ask him in all sincerity... "Brother, what world are you living in?" No, seriously... Where has this man been living? He's seen a few more summers than I have and I know he couldn't possibly believe what he is parroting for his Republican bosses. I might add, his bosses were ready to toss him out on his rear end a few weeks ago for a radio talk show host. I guess Brother Steele has a short memory.

I have seen these people who claim that they just disagree with the president on his policy portray him as a monkey, a black Adolf Hitler, and as an African witch doctor. If Michael Steele and other black Republicans can laugh and not find that racially offensive, I don't understand them. I have friends who happen to be Republicans. No, I kid you not. One of my frat brothers, an ex-girlfriend, and a family member (who I will not name) are card-carrying members of the G.O.P. I don't begrudge them that... I just wonder how they can be part of a party that draws a lot of it's voting muscle from crowds of folks who clearly don't like people who look like them and who are capable of harboring and displaying this kind of racially insensitive propaganda. (Think of the McCain-Palin rallies in the "heartland" last summer.)

I heard someone saying on the radio today that "If anyone dares criticize Obama, you'll be accused of being a racist." I don't think anyone really believes that but, carrying Photo shopped pictures of him looking like Hitler and him dressed like an African witch doctor seems to go beyond a mere ideological difference, don'tcha think?

The corporate fat cats who are frantically trying to defeat this health care initiative are using racism to divide people. They would like for white people to feel as though this is a "Black" issue but, it's not. Are Blacks and Hispanics the only ones uninsured? I think not. Ironically enough, some of the poor white racists who are involved in all of these hateful outbursts at the town hall meetings are the very ones who are uninsured themselves. Who's interests are they fighting to protect? Not theirs.

This is not a "Black" issue or a "White" issue... it's an American issue and everybody has got to be on board for this. That's exactly what the insurance companies and the HMO's don't want so, they pull out the fearful and the stupid to do their bidding, like they always have.

President Carter hit the nail on the head with what he said and I just admire his courage in doing so. I just wish that Michael Steele would show some courage and admit to himself that he's on the wrong team.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Speak It Into Existence



I was sitting here at my keyboard thinking... this is my 500th post. What should I say? And, it immediately came to me. It's amazing how I can do this and I never really thought that I could or would keep this blog going this long. I thought that by now, I would have gotten bored or burned out or both. But, it hasn't happened. Just about everyday, I find something new to write about and something new about myself to reveal.

I remember the walks I used to take around West Philadelphia with my grandfather and how almost everywhere we went, he knew somebody and somebody knew him. They called him "Slim" and every few blocks... "What'cha know, good Slim?"... "How you doin', Slim?"... "Slim, what's goin' on?" I was fascinated by how many people he appeared to know. I couldn't have been more than about 7 or 8 years old when I said to him... "One day, Pop-Pop, I'm going to be well known just like you." He laughed and said, "Anybody can be known... just make sure you're known for something good." That was just loose talk and I had no idea that one day I might even surpass my grandfather.

If I was ever on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List, I would have to leave Philadelphia. There is simply very few places in this city that I am not known by somebody... Black, White, Asian,
Hispanic, or what have you. That's not a shallow boast... I had the disease of "wanderlust" as a young boy and I was never satisfied with the surroundings of my own neighborhood. I had to always venture off into another neighborhood, another place. The grass was always greener somewhere else.

Most mothers love their sons and mine loved me. But, I'm certain that if she could've, my mother would have tried to hold me in the womb a little longer if that meant that I would've been safe. "Safe" to my mother meant in the house where she could see me but, that was never me. I had to venture out. I would often offer to take out the trash and vanish for a couple of hours. I loved to explore.

I lived a few blocks from the elevated train and by the time I was 12 years old, I could recite every station from one end of the line to the other backwards in my head and I still can. I rode the trains, I wandered around, and I met people. I was always a friendly child. But, that was a different time. People are so crazy now that a child could have all kinds of bad things happen to him or her in this big, scary city. The city wasn't scary to me then... it was my playground.

Between my wandering and going to different schools and such, I collected an enormus amount of associates. Some, I still know today... some of whom show up in my fiction and short stories on my blog, "Escapades" but, that's another blog post for another day.

I've heard in church that the tongue has the power of life and death and that we can speak things into existence. I've said things and had no idea they were going to happen and been astounded when I realized that they would happen. I told my mother that, before I die, I was going to see the world. There was a great big beautiful world out there and my name was all over it.
Again, just loose talk. I used to say stuff like this all the time and never give it a second thought.

Well, after college (as you all know), I joined the U.S. Air Force. During those years I traveled throughout most of the United States and across two oceans. I've been in the U.K., Amsterdam,
France, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan amongst other places. I've made friends there with both Americans (usually other servicemen and civilians alike).

Then there is Blogger and Facebook. I couldn't have conceived the modern world of the internet just ten years ago. In the short time that I have been blogging, I have made friends with a close knit group of fellow bloggers from Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, California, New York, Washington D.C., Arkansas, Colorado, and even London, U.K. Most of these are people I have never met in person but, people who visit my blogs daily and whose blogs I visit. They also talk to me on Facebook.

My Facebook family has included relatives, friends from the Air Force, college, high school, the streets, and the blogging world. So, when I told my grandfather that one day I was going to be well known like him, I suppose I did speak that into existence. It wasn't easy. I had to write 500 of these posts and about 300 or so posts on my other blog to get to this point. I guess that
included a lot of riding and flying too.

It's been a pleasure and tonight, here's a toast to all of you who have been with me along the way... too numerous to name... but, more special to me than you could ever know. A drink and a two-step to 500 more posts.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Weekend Of Bad Behavior

I didn't watch the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday night. I was watching the season finale of "True Blood" on HBO. I was also running back and forth checking out Facebook too. A little after "True Blood" concluded and "Hung" (love that title) got under way, I saw it... blurbs and status updates from people (who obviously did watch the MTV Video Music Awards) about Kanye West's rude and very, very uncalled for disruption of Taylor Swift's winning moment on stage.


Kanye West

The egocentric rapper/producer (who I'll admit I happen to like... I have all of his CD's to date) walked up to her and said, "I'll let you finish but I just want to say... Beyonce had the best video of all time last year!" All time? Hey fella, have you ever heard of Micheal Jackson... "Thriller", "Smooth Criminal", etc.?

Okay, I'll let that fly. I liked her song "Single Ladies"... it's catchy and when I'm in the bathroom and the door is closed, I've actually sung the hook... "If ya like it then ya shoulda put a ring on it." I've even seen some brothers in a barber shop (that was closed at the time) doing the dance steps from the video (shaking my head and going, hmmmm). I'm sure they thought that no one saw them from outside since the shop was closed. (Curtains, brothers! Curtains! That's what they are for!) My point being, however catchy it is, it's far from the greatest video of all time and don't get it twisted... even Beyonce knows that.

Beyonce was gracious. She seized a moment later on that night when she won an award to allow young Taylor Swift to come up and have her moment at the mike. By the time Taylor Swift came to the mike, Kanye West had been asked to leave and was no longer in the building. I have to love Beyonce for that. I guess she said, "I'm not with this fool", meaning Kanye West.

Although this was supposed to be about him praising Beyonce, this was really about him creating controversy and putting the spotlight on himself once again. They say there is no such thing as bad publicity and they're probably right. People booed him resoundingly and around the blogosphere, he has been universally condemned for his actions... but, he is in the spotlight. He is the man with clout that everybody is yapping about, as Biggie would say.

And then, there was Serena...


Serena Williams

It seems that Serena had a little blow-up following her tennis match on Saturday and delivered a profanity-laced diatribe to a lineswoman, which caused her to be penalized and also cost her the match. She was short on contrition in the post-match news conference after her finger-pointing tirade at the lineswoman Saturday night and again in a prepared statement Sunday. "I want to sincerely apologize FIRST to the lineswoman, Kim Clijsters, the USTA and mostly tennis fans everywhere for my inappropriate outburst", Williams' statement said. It was released by the U.S. Tennis Association about a half-hour before Williams and her sister, Venus, played in the Women's Doubles Final, which they won for their 10th Grand Slam title as a team.

When given a chance to publicly deliver an apology during the post-match ceremony, Serena Williams declined. "I'm a woman of great pride, faith, and integrity, and I admit when I'm wrong", her written statement said. "I need to make it clear to all young people that I handled myself inappropriately and it's not the way to act -- win or lose, good call or bad call in any sport, in any manner. I like to lead by example. We all learn from experiences both good and bad, I will learn and grow from this, and be a better person as a result."

Serena Williams lost her temper after the lineswoman called a foot fault, resulting in a double-fault that moved Clijsters one point from victory. Williams was then penalized a point for her outburst. Because it happened to come on match point, it ended the semi-final with Clijsters ahead 6-4, 7-5. Clijsters went on to win the championship Sunday.

I'm not judging here, just stating the facts. It has just been a wild week and weekend of ridiculously bad public behavior. We've already had a decidedly unapologetic U.S. Representative call the President of the United States a liar in one instant, apologize off camera, and yet, act a completely different way around his supporters, as though he's not really sorry at all. Kanye and Serena have given, what I believe to be sincere apologies for their acts... on the other hand, Joe Wilson has not.

Representative Joe Wilson

That's my problem with Representative Wilson... he apologizes off-camera to the president's aide and the president accepts his apology. Yet, he refuses to apologize to his colleagues on the House floor in public. He then tells the legion of the stupid (Rush Limbaugh and fans) that he stands by what he said. What is he sorry for then? He'd get more respect from me if he said nothing. Then again, that's just the way I'm looking at it... doesn't make it right.

I will say one thing... this recent bad behavior is certainly giving me a lot to write about. Gotta love it!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Public Option Co-opted!


I had promised to talk about the public option in a past post. I said that I didn't honestly understand what all of that entailed but, after reading and doing some research (something any good citizen can and should do before taking a position), I have discovered that the so-called "Public Option" is the idea of a government operated health care plan. This is the meat and potatoes of what the left wants and the bane of the Republican existance nowadays. They claim it's "socialistic" and they also talk about "death panels" too. But, let's be civil and move on...

President Obama has proposed sweeping health care reforms and has stated that the "Public Option" (government health insurance plan) was never the be all and the end all of his health care reform initiative. Now, it looks as though President Obama may bow to Republican pressure and offer political cover to fiscally conservative Democrats. The Obama administration signaled yesterday that it is ready to abandon the idea of giving Americans the option of government-run insurance. The shift leaves open the chance for compromise with Republicans that probably will enrage Obama's liberal supporters but, it could deliver a much-needed victory on a top domestic priority.

Officials from both political parties are looking for concessions while Congress is getting back underway. Facing tough audiences at these town hall meetings and such, lawmakers and the White House are looking for a way to cover the nation's almost 50 million uninsured while maintaining political standing. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said that a government alternative to private health insurance is "not the essential element" of the administration's health care overhaul. The White House would be open to co-ops, she said... a sign that Democrats want a compromise so they can declare a victory.

Under a proposal by Senator Kent Conrad (D-North Dakota) consumer-owned non-profit cooperatives would sell insurance in competition with private industry, not unlike the way electric and agriculture co-ops operate, especially in rural states such as his own (and, I believe, in states like New York). The White House and members of Congress played down an immediate role for a government health insurance option and turned attention to regulating insurers, with the goal of lowering costs and ensuring coverage regardless of medical condition.

After a summer of taking the heat on health care, President Obama has gone back on offense on his top domestic issue, most notably with a prime-time speech to Congress last week. He told the nation that the "time for bickering is over" and a plan for the government to sell insurance in competition with private industry was "only a means to that end and we should remain open to other ideas that accomplish our ultimate goal."

With that statement, President Obama began the difficult task of trying to lubricate negotiations on Capitol Hill, to push opposing lawmakers away from positions — both left and right — that were threatening a stalemate. That's what happened when Bill Clinton, the last Democratic president, tried to push through an overhaul in the 1990s and we all know how that ended. The president "prefers the public option". However, he said what's most important is "choice and competition" and added that "it is not all of health care."

Senator Olympia Snowe, the Maine Republican who could be her party's only senator who votes with the Democrats on health care, believes choice and competition can be ensured without a government plan. "It's not on the table and it won't be", she said. Snowe said it is "universally opposed" by all GOP senators and "therefore, there's no way to pass a plan that includes the public option. So, I think he's recognizing that." Snowe said that a better bet for now "as the means for injecting competition" are non-profit insurance cooperatives that are designed to compete with private industry and give consumers more choices. Such co-ops are in place in parts of the country, their success has been spotty, and President Obama will have to be convinced that such a plan can succeed.

This is the alternative plan I have been wanting to hear about, even though it was actually conceived by a Democrat. The Republicans seem to be willing to compromise on that point and I can't see anybody but the far far left opposing it altogether. I am not opposed to the idea of the co-op plan in theory, if it can be made to work. What everybody, Democrat and Republican alike, should be going for is a plan that can work... a plan that gets results when put into motion. One thing that even the Republicans agree with the Democrats on is this... the healthcare system as it is now is not working and is causing a drain on all of our pocketbooks. Business as usual cannot continue and something has got to be done! Oh, but then... I'm just stating the obvious!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Hey Joe


Before President Barack Obama's speech two nights ago on his health care reform plan, I admit, I had never heard of Joe Wilson. If you're not in the House, the Senate, or from the state of South Carolina, chances are, you've never heard of him either... until now! While the President was speaking to a national audience... this cretin yells out... "YOU LIE!" and is immediately booed by everyone around him, as he should have been.

One of my co-workers (who reads this blog) told me that when President Bush was disrespected by the "shoe-thrower" last year, I had a very good time with it and that was one of his favorite posts of mine. While that was also blatant disrespect for the president, it was also performed by a foreign citizen in a foreign country so, it's not actually the same thing.

Joe Wilson is an American citizen... at least, that's the going rumor. He is an elected official of the House of Represenatives, representing the State of South Carolina. This was a joint meeting of the House and the Senate, aired across the nation and possibly around the world. He wasn't at a football game... he wasn't drunk. He was just being what he is... a disrespectful bastard!

Anybody got a problem with that? You tell me what he was then? A College Frat Boy? He certainly acted like one the other night during the president's speech. What he's actually done is hurt his party's cause and possibly his chances at re-election. Although in some sections of South Carolina, he might actually be hailed as some kind of hero or something. Crazy has become appealing nowadays... just ask Glenn Beck.

In the height of his sexual scandals, Bill Clinton was not heckled or treated with this kind of disrespect. George Bush, despite his administration's numerous mis-steps (as well as some of his own), was never heckled in Congress or in a national address. At press conferences where journalists are allowed to question the president, more respect has been shown than what was shown the other night by Joe Wilson.

I read an article by a British journalist defending Joe Wilson, saying that he was merely exercising his "Democratic right to dissent." I get that but, there is respectful dissent and then there is Joe Wilson yelling "YOU LIE!" as though he was at an Eagles game in mid-November. I don't buy that right to dissent or freedom of speech argument. You know why? It's only pulled out when racists and people on the right wing get "called" for the lies, defemation, and misinformation that they spread. Nobody ever defends my right of free speech and dissent when they are disagreeing with something I write here. ("You hear that Anonymous?")

It's Friday, the weekend is about to begin, and I don't want to waste anymore time and energy on South Carolina represenative and national embarrassment, Joe Wilson. However, I do want to urge everybody in South Carolina to vote for his opponent, Rob Miller in the upcoming election. I might even send money to his campaign. Now, take that Joe!


Footnote: Click this link to go to Joe Wilson's official website and let him know just how you feel about it. Oh yeah, that's right... as of this writing, the site was "temporarily unavailable due to exceptionally high traffic! Smile

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Is Bliss


Maybe... just maybe... after tonight, I'll be back to my smurfy alter ego. I don't know. It depends on whether or not somebody does or says something stupid. Maybe... just maybe.. I'll take a break from CNN and all the other news outlets. It's quite obvious that a sizeable number of the American populace has chosen to do the same. I would also include an entire network.

The Fox Network is choosing not to run President Obama's health care address tonight. They are also the only network that is choosing not to run it. I could do a whole post on FOX News, but I won't... this issue is too important. I personally don't watch anything on that network. I refuse. As much as I love the Simpsons, I won't watch that network. I catch the Simpsons reruns on Nick. Anyway, here is what you will miss if you choose to watch Fox tonight...

President Barack Obama is beset by conflicting goals in a prime-time address tonight, which is expected to detail just how he wants to expand health care coverage and lower medical costs while signaling to a deeply divided Congress that he's ready to deal. And also, to show the public that he's in control. Even as the president prepares to speak to lawmakers and a live television audience, the leader of the influential Senate Finance Committee is trying to broker a bipartisan agreement on the president's top domestic priority.

The White House has set a high bar for the rare presidential address to a joint session of Congress, acknowledging the huge stakes and creating huge expectations about the level of specificity President Obama would provide. The president has stressed repeatedly the broad goals for the sweeping health care overhaul he is seeking but, has left the details to lawmakers. Through a hot summer of angry debate, it has appeared at times that he has lost his grip on the process but, he is aiming to reclaim it at a pivotal moment and open a final push for the bill.

During an interview for broadcast Wednesday on ABC's "Good Morning America" in which he previewed the themes of his speech, President Obama said... "We do intend to get something done this year. I'm open to new ideas. We're not being rigid and ideological about this thing." With the approximately 35-minute speech still being written, much by President Obama himself, White House officials said the president will "answer all the major questions", including the sticky issue of how to pay for getting coverage for the 50 million Americans who lack it.

David Axelrod, senior advisor for President Obama, said... "Everyone who listens will understand that his plan has at its core two overriding goals — to bring stability and security to Americans who have insurance today, and affordable coverage to those who don't." Did you guys in "Right" Amerika get that? The world as you know it is not coming to an end. America is not becoming a communist satellite.

It is unlikely that President Obama would issue explicit veto threats, as he prefers to focus on what he is for rather than on what he will refuse to support, aides said. He also wasn't delivering a piece of legislation to Capitol Hill, where three House committees and one in the Senate already have devised their own, partisan versions.

President Obama will appear before lawmakers a day after their return from an August recess marked by contentious town halls, misinformation, and confusion about what a health care overhaul may look like. We can thank the Fox Network's talking heads for that misinformation. How ironic that they are choosing not to show his speech. I guess they're afraid someone might find out the truth... a word they don't seem to know the meaning of at that station.

A senior administration official said that President Obama has ceased worrying about whether he gets any Republican participation. "If they don't want to, we can't worry about that," said the official, who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity to more freely discuss behind-the-scenes thinking. I have been feeling that same sentiment since Al Franken got elected. You have a majority like no other president has ever had. Use it!

I'm writing this before the president delivers his speech. He'll no doubt be trying to reach three audiences:

1. Regular voters... people with good common sense who don't watch the Fox Networks. His job will be to convince them that they can keep the coverage they have if they are satisfied with it but, if they're not, they can be covered. He's also going to have to show them where his plan and initiative will cut costs in the long run.

2. Progressives and people on the "Left"... his largest base of support when he was running for election. They are interested in knowing his ideas on the so-called "Public Option." Can the president sell the Left on near universal health coverage and lower costs without
a "public option" (more on that in a later post).

3. Conservatives... intelligent conservatives who also don't watch the Fox Network and read a book occasionally. Understandably, they are just worried about a plan that is a little confusing and a bit murky. If he can get rid of some of their fears and get some of them to go along with his plan then, he can get moving on finally solving the nation's health care coverage problem... something four U.S. presidents before him wrestled with.

Of course, if you watch the Fox Network tonight, you'll miss all of this. Maybe they'll show a Simpsons rerun so you can at least have a good laugh because you know what they say... Ignorance is bliss!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A Message To Right Amerika


Yesterday, President Barack Obama gave a speech to the school children of America that I found inspiring, myself. It was the kind of speech that I wish I had heard when I was of school age. Unfortunately, some children in some parts of the country did not get to hear this speech. Why? Because their parents are stupid. There I said it! I'm not going to pull any punches and I don't have to.

It gauls me when I turn on the news and hear some parent in Texas telling a reporter (and I quote)... "These are our children and we will tell them what they need to know. We don't want him pushing his political agenda in the classroom, poisoning their impressionable minds." I looked at this woman and I wondered aloud... "Who poisoned your impressionable mind and how long ago did that happen?" I also said... "Hmmmm, lady can you even spell impressionable?"

Presidents Bush, Clinton, Reagon, Carter, and I don't know... countless other presidents have gone to a random school and addressed children on the first day of school for years and I have never before heard of people pulling their kids out of school and refusing to play the speech on local television and radio stations before in my life. Once again a dirty lie has been told and groups of gullible people have fallen for the lie.

Someone got it in their heads that President Obama was going to use today's school address to push forward his health care initiative. How ridiculous! No other president has ever used the school address to do such a thing. The White House Press Secretary even released the transcript of the President's speech ahead of time for these idiots to view, since they were so scared, and they refused to read it. If they had read it, they would have found a responsible, well thought out and inspiring speech that was very patriotic and very plain spoken.

He spoke to the children in their language and in a way in which they could relate to what he was saying. He didn't talk over their heads. Of course, the gullible few who chose not to read the transcript of the speech chose to believe things they heard Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, and of course, Glenn Beck say instead.

I blame the media. The media played all of this up and turned it into a controversy. Controversy sells..Controversy gets ratings.These are people who didn't vote for Obama in the first place. These are people who, if you talk to them, have views so nutty and far out that even Former President Bush and former presidential candidate John McCain try to distance themselves from them. (When, of course, they're not secretly courting their votes. It's kinda like the girl or guy you wouldn't be seen in public with but, on a cold and lonely night, you slip by her or his house, hoping that nobody saw you.) Yet, these nutty folks are made to look like a sizeable pocket of the American people.

I just don't get it... I just don't like it... and I'm going to say what I said a few blog posts ago. If the president's detractors want to break him and want to see him fail just for the sheer pleasure of doing so, who wins? Nobody. If the president's detractors have a better plan, then let's hear it!
(Crickets!...)

And, like I said before... just what I thought. So, if you don't have a better plan, sit down, shut up, and let the man do his thing. Right?

This was a public service announcement from The Maverick of All Bloggers and I approve of this message!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The New Boogeyman!


Glenn Beck was on the television crying the other night. Yeah, he was crying crocodile tears while talking that spiel about Obama and his administration having a secret communist agenda and begging like-minded individuals to "take our country back". Back to what?

One of the reasons he was saying this is because of a man in President Obama's administration named Van Jones... a talented young brother who was a civil rights activist before he became the president's advisor on all things green. Thanks to a campaign of misinformation, the nation has lost a very talented young man who might have done it some good. I certainly wished that Van Jones had reconsidered before announcing his resignation today.

The White House environmental adviser, who was under fire for inflammatory statements made before he joined President Obama's administration, resigned on the eve of historic fights for health care and clean energy because opponents of reform have mounted what he calls "a vicious smear campaign" against him. Further, Jones said in his resignation statement that "they (Republicans) are using lies and distortions to distract and divide." White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said on Sunday that Van Jones understood that he was going to get in the way of President Barack Obama's agenda. The resignation was disclosed without advance notice by the White House in a dead-of-the-night email on a holiday weekend. It came as President Obama is working to regain his footing in the contentious health care debate.

Jones, who specialized in environmentally friendly "green jobs" with the White House Council on Environmental Quality, was linked to efforts suggesting a government role in the September 11 attacks and to derogatory comments about Republicans. Of course, this means that if I ever wanted a job in President Obama's Administration, I would probably have to not only discontinue this blog but, wipe it out altogether. I could just see Glenn Beck now, reading this blog and having a stroke. Especially, since I talk about him and his buddies, Sean Hannity and Rush "I never saw a truth, I couldn't distort" Limbaugh, in such a God-awful way.

Recent news reports cited a derogatory comment Jones made in the past about Republicans, and separately, of Jones's name appearing on a petition connected to the events surrounding the September 11 attacks. The 2004 petition asked for congressional hearings and other investigations into whether high-level government officials had "allowed" the attacks to occur... something I have more than hinted about myself a few times.

Van Jones said, "They (Republicans) are using lies and distortions to distract and divide." Yes, they are doing what they do best... distorting the truth. Oh, and let's just call it what it is... outright lying. They made a Master's Degree thesis out of this during the Clinton Administration and have elevated the science of the smear campaign to a Ph.D. level during President Obama's Administration.

Howard Dean, former head of the Democratic National Committee, told Fox News Sunday that he thought Jones "was brought down" and that his resignation was "a loss to the country." Jones said he has been "inundated with calls from across the political spectrum urging me to stay and fight." But, he said he could not in good conscience ask his colleagues to spend time and energy defending or explaining his past.

Jones said in an earlier statement that he did not agree with the petition's stand on the September 11 attacks and that "it certainly does not reflect my views, now or ever." As for his other comments made before joining President Obama's team, Jones said, "If I have offended anyone with statements I made in the past, I apologize."

Despite his apologies, Republicans demanded Jones to quit. "Extremist views" Republican Senator Mike Pence of Indiana said in a statement, "His extremist views and coarse rhetoric have no place in this administration or the public debate." Republican Senator Christopher "Kit" Bond of Missouri said congress should investigate Jones's fitness for the job. Why do we always have to apologize for things said or done in the past. I haven't heard Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, Rush Limbaugh, or that harpy, Ann Coulter apologize for anything they have said or done, ever. I just wish the Democrats would grow a pair and fight back sometimes and give the "Rethugs" a taste of their own medicine.

Fox News channel host, Glenn Beck, repeatedly denounced Jones after a group the adviser co-founded, ColorofChange.org, led an advertising boycott against Beck's show to protest his claim that President Obama is a racist.

The president of Beck's media organization, Christopher J. Balfe, said the commentator had begun focusing on Jones' "radical beliefs" on July 16, before the group started taking on Beck... but James Rucker, the organization's executive director, has said that Jones had nothing to do with ColorofChange.org now and didn't even know about the campaign before it started. Jones is well-known in the environmental movement for laying out a broad vision of a green economy. Conservatives have harshly criticized him for having left-wing political views. So, what if he did have left wing views? Is that a crime? Nancy Sutley, who heads the White House Environmental Council, said Jones "had been a strong voice for creating jobs that improve energy efficiency and utilize renewable resources."

You know, Glenn Beck is an idiot! He calls himself a journalist and even occasionally calls himself a comedian (I kid you not... he has a comedy DVD out). When he used to have a show on CNN, I must admit that I found him mildly amusing. Now, I think he's an outright jackass with all the crying and hysterics about people out to destroy his livelihood and communist boogeymen trying to take over the country. He has said some pretty extreme things on his television show and he has yet to "apologize" to the American people for "his misleading statements".

The Republicans turned Rev. Jeremiah Wright into a black boogeyman when Obama was running for election (I called it the second coming of Willie Horton). Now, they've turned Van Jones into the new black boogeyman, while turning Michael Steele into the new "Stepin' Fetchit". This Republican magic show is pretty good. Maybe Glenn Beck ought to take that show on the road. Ooops! I forgot... he's doing that every night when he comes on television.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Bloggers' Holiday!

Labor Day Comments at CommentHaven.com


The Maverick Of All Bloggers will be back tomorrow!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Unfriendly Wagers


The recent death of fellow blogger, Nikki Harris, has caused me to stop, pause, and think about life and how fragile it is... as well as death and how sudden can be. I suppose every death is sudden to the person who is dying, since even the condemned don't know the exact hour or minute until it happens.

One day you are healthy and vibrant... and the next, you could come down with something or you're involved in a fatal accident, get shot, or what have you. The thing is, everything in this human existence is urgent and dramatic. The reason being is because, whether we consciously admit it or not, life and death are just so sudden. I would like to talk about two people I know who played the games of chance to illustrate my point...

About two years ago, I was part of a group of five guys who used to make "friendly" wagers (bets) on sporting events... most notably, boxing and football. We would usually bet about $20.00 on (let's say) an Eagles game or a big fight. Throw all of our money in a hat.

One of these guys, (I'll call him) G.F., bet the princely sum of $50.00 on the Floyd Mayweather-Ricky Hatton bout. I wisely chose to sit that one out. At the time, I didn't know much about Ricky Hatton except, he was unbeaten and had never fought in America. G.F. said that he didn't think Floyd took Hatton seriously and that he smelled an upset. He and the other three guys put $50.00 dollars down on the fight and they all took Mayweather.

Well, if you're a boxing fan, you know what happened. Floyd Mayweather knocked Ricky Hatton out. G.F. also vanished right after the verdict and stayed missing. He had welched on his bet. Most of us who have played with him knew that he was always prone to do stuff like that... that's just him. We still bet with him because (if you're a fan of "The Wire ", you'll relate to this) this is America... we have to let everybody play.

One of the guys playing must not have watched "The Wire". He was an old timer and I'll call him House. House wanted his money and he was quite vocal about it. So vocal that, by the time he got finished telling everybody about how G.F. welched on his bet, een G.F.'s girlfriend was talking about him.

G.F. never paid him and then put up $100.00 with these other guys on last season's Eagles-Dallas game. He said that Dallas, who still had T.O., should trample the Eagles. As you all know, the Eagles surprised quite a few people that Sunday and gave Dallas the worse whipping of the season. Once again, G.F. was in the wind.

Old head House and some of his friends caught up with G.F. and lifted him up by his pants loops and shook him until his wallet and all of his belongings fell to the sidewalk. He wanted his money... the man just didn't play that! This pretty much broke up our little group and we never bet on anything else again. Except for me, none of those guys spoke to G.F. again. In the meanwhile, his girlfriend broke up with him and for the next few months, G.F. lived the life of a social pariah.

Earlier this year, old head House had a stroke and died suddenly. We were all sitting around talking about him and sharing stories after the funeral. Then, I heard G.F. say... "You know man, we didn't speak for the last year of his life and it was all over a couple of bucks. It wasn't worth it. He was my friend, man. I was gonna pay him and squash all of that stuff. I was gonna wait until Christmas. Damn, man. You think you got all the time in the world." Which brings me to my point.

You do think you have all the time in the world and you really don't. Here today, certainly gone tomorrow. You never know. Petty beefs over money, something somebody said, whatever... are not really that deep. Not when it's a friend or relative. Is anything really that deep? You better tell somebody that you love them and appreciate them while they can hear it. We better squash the beefs while they can be squashed. When someone is dressed in a suit and laying in a casket with their hands folded, it's a little too late.

My mother always used to say... "Give me my roses while I can smell them." Wise words, indeed.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

What I've Learned



1. At some point in your life you realize it is about you!

2. Everybody wants the world to reflect their reality. What if you're crazy?

3. I don't have a lot of big regrets but, I got little regrets that are killing me.

4. If I took the time to try and figure out my motivation for everything I did, I wouldn't have completed a thing!

5. My mother never allowed me to feel sorry for myself or to brood over anything too long. She said that once something was over and done with, pick yourself up and move on. That's how I learned to deal with adversity.

6. Never get romantically involved with anyone who has more issues than you do!

7. News is what somebody somewhere doesn't want you to know... everything else is just advertising.

8. You never begin a new life, you just continue your current life.

9. At some point in life, you realize it ain't about you!

10. If we realized how short and fragile life really is, perhaps we'd be a little nicer to each other.

In Loving Memory of Anika Harris Vines ("Nikki")
August 1, 1970 - August 30, 2009




KEEPING THE FAITH: RANDOM PRAYERS "ON THE DOWNLOAD"
























































"Mommy, can I go to Timmy's blog and play?"



































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