A Shot Across the Bow

What does it mean when the North Carolina Republican Committee puts up green dollars to attack Barack Obama on something that is yesterday's news? Nominally, it's to smear the gubernatorial hopeful Democrat for supporting Obama. I think it serves a better purpose yet.

John McCain has asked the NCRC to stop airing this ad.

I tend to agree; the story is stale and never really was relevant to the issues. But why should McCain want it to stop? With a Democratic Party on its way to a first-class schism, I think attacking Obama there and now makes sense. If I were a McCain planner, I would welcome any chance right now to strengthen Hillary Clinton in NC and other states where she probably can't come close to Obama in the upcoming primaries. After all, the only way Hillary can get the nomination is by dirty, behind-closed-doors wheeling, dealing, and betrayal at convention. It might come down to that anyway, the way she waves around her Pennsylvania victory, but hey! why not cut down Obama's lead and further inflate her sense of entitlement? If she was down by 20 points in NC and then loses by only 10, she will consider the nomination already hers!

So while it looks like a state committee gone off the GOP reservation (against McCain's wishes, even!), I suspect McCain's people orchestrated this. But they were smart to give the national committee and McCain by extension some plausibly deniable distance from it, cuz it's rotten politics.

How are you Democrats feeling about your race these days? Does anyone believe the nice-talk of TV "strategists," or are you coming to realize that my prediction from early March is beginning to come true??


Happy Earth Day...Tomorrow

Well, one of my favorite holidays is upon us. Therefore, I though I'd take the opportunity to do a little PSA for this most under-represented holiday.

This multi-national celebration was founded in 1970 by Senetor Gaylord Nelson, and is now celebrated by many nations around the world. On April 22, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment. Denis Hayes, the national coordinator, and his youthful staff organized massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.

As the millennium approached, Hayes agreed to spearhead another campaign, this time focused on global warming and a push for clean energy. The April 22 Earth Day in 2000 combined the big-picture feistiness of the first Earth Day with the international grassroots activism of Earth Day 1990. For 2000, Earth. By the time April 22 rolled around, 5,000 environmental groups around the world were on board, reaching out to hundreds of millions of people in a record 184 countries.

Earth Day 2000 sent the message loud and clear that citizens the world 'round wanted quick and decisive action on clean energy. Earth Day 2007 was one of the largest Earth Days to date, with an estimated billion people participating in the activities in thousands of places like Kiev, Ukraine; Carcas, Venezuela; Tuvalu; Manila, Philippines; Togo; Madrid, Spain; London; and New York (Courtesy of Wikipedia.)

I remember hearing about Earthday for the very first time as a student in Elementary School and thinking, "what a load of crap. - What, they think that us planting a bean in a styrofoam cup is going to help the environment? The Styrofoam itself is doing much more harm than good." Well, so much for my activism as a child. So, I've been trying to make up for it as an adult to atone for my pre-adolescent pessimism and my adolescent indifference.

Often I vent and rant about the indifference that so many people, especially in the US have toward the environment. Don't believe me? Just look at my previous post on environmentalism - I ranted a bunch. Anyways, I just want to encourage you all to decide what you will do tomarrow to be a better steward of this earth that god has Given us. I don't think it's an accident that the creation of earth - of the trees, wildlife, rivers and oceans take such a prominent role in our most sacred worship. This place really is our home and it's a great place at that. Go out in nature tomarrow - if you can - just for a few minutes (even those nasty business parks ussually have some sort of pond with grass and ducks) and ponder on the world we've been given and what you can do personally to help make it better. Here are some suggestions.

Ride a bike instead of a car whenever possible; buy organic when possible; use reusable grocery bags (yeah Amy and your Southern California coercion); plant a tree; buy local; don't shop at major corporations; concerve water; recycle; use cloth diapers; make the choice to buy foods with less packaging; donate to environmental agencies; choose cage-free/free range meat/eggs/dairy; don't support new developments; don't litter....

The list could literally go on for pages. There is something that everyone can do.

On a related note, Arbor Day, in the US, is this coming Friday (the same week as Earth Day, strangely.) The city of Provo decided to celebrate Arbor Day early this year, in a way that only local government could, by CUTTING DOWN 4 really old trees that were lining the street in my neighborhood. I was sad. I'd encourage all of you to plant a tree. If you used a live Christmas Tree this year, plant two. If you used more than your fair share of office paper, or toilet paper, plant 6. Seriously, no one ever got prosecuted or chastised for planting trees - it's generally seen as a good thing.

I think what it really boils down to is us, as a nation and as a people developing a love for each other and a love for our world - and developing a sense of responsibility. So, I leave you with this thought. Consequently, it is the year of the Rat this Year.



My Favorite Government Woman

I just wanted to take a moment and focus on a woman who I personally think has made a positive impact on our nation, and maybe more importantly, our world. I really respect her. Some people have asked her if she will ever run for President, or would like to be McCain's running mate. She always responds that she is not interested in any political office that would require voting to get elected. That makes me respect her even more because I think it shows how she truly has a lack of desire for power, that what she does, she does because she believes it really will make a difference and make the world a better, happier place to live. Here are some random facts that you may or may not have known about my favorite government woman:

Condoleeza Rice is the first black woman to serve as Secretary of State. I love that!

She used to be a political science professor at Stanford.

Condoleeza also pioneered a new movement called Transformational Democracy: basically a movement to revive the role and respect and constructive participation of American diplomats serving.

She speaks 5 languages.

She served as the Soviet and East European Affairs Advisor during the dissolution of the Soviet Union and German reunification. (under George H. W. Bush)

Condoleeza grew up in segregated Birmingham, Alabama....one of her girlfriends lost her life in a church bombing. Of that incident she stated "I remember the bombing of that Sunday School at 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham in 1963. I did not see it happen, but I heard it happen, and I felt it happen, just a few blocks away at my father’s church. It is a sound that I will never forget, that will forever reverberate in my ears. That bomb took the lives of four young girls, including my friend and playmate, Denise McNair. The crime was calculated to suck the hope out of young lives, bury their aspirations. But those fears were not propelled forward, those terrorists failed." – Condoleezza Rice, Commencement 2004, Vanderbilt University, May 13, 2004

As Stanford's Provost, Rice was responsible for managing the university's multi-billion dollar budget. The school at that time was running a deficit of $20 million. When Rice took office, she promised that the budget deficit would be balanced within "two years." Coit Blacker, Stanford's deputy director of the Institute for International Studies, said there "was a sort of conventional wisdom that said it couldn't be done ... that [the deficit] was structural, that we just had to live with it." Two years later, Rice announced that the deficit had been eliminated and the university was holding a record surplus of over $14.5 million.

Rice drew protests when, as provost, she departed from the practice of applying affirmative action to tenure decisions and unsuccessfully sought to consolidate the university's ethnic community centers. (In other words, she recognized everything that is wrong with the country's obsession with being 'politically correct' and got criticized for suggesting that people ought to be rewarded on merit rather than ethnic/demographic descriptions.)

She has promoted peace talks between Palestine and Israel for years.

Condoleeza does not want the government to force its views on abortions on citizens, one way or the other. But she has said she is against late-term abortion.

Racial slurs have been made about her repeatedly, yet it is never a "big" enough deal in the media for public apologies to be made. For example: radio host John Sylvester called her "Aunt Jemima" and a "black trophy" of the Bush Administration. Cartoons by liberal Pat Oliphant portrayed her as President Bush's thick-lipped parrot. Nationally-syndicated commentator Ted Rall referred to Secretary Rice as President Bush's "House Nigga." Gary Trudeau showed President Bush calling her "Brown Sugar" in his Doonesbury comic strip. The fact that she doesn't make a really big deal out of these rude things that other politicians can get really strung up about shows how mature she is, and how she refuses to stoop to other people's level.

She has been listed on Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People list four times: only 3 people in the entire world have been on the list this many times.

Condoleeza refuses to deal with terrorists.

"We will not meet the challenges of the 21st century through military or any other means alone. Our national security requires the integration of our universal principles with all elements of our national power: our defense, our diplomacy, our development assistance, our democracy promotion efforts, free trade, and the good work of our private sector and society. And it is the State Department, more than any other agency of government, that is called to lead this work."


Bad For Us, Too, Methinks...

In case you've been living in a hole, there is a lot going on in the world of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Basically, these are some whack job people that live in relative isolation, practicing in plural marriages, communities that are self-supporting, suppression of women, the rape of children, and more-or-less imprisoning everybody who is unfortunate enough to be born in the community. Warren Jeffs is their "prophet", and he has been convicted of rape in Utah and is currently standing trial in AZ for eight other charges.

Recently a call was made to a family violence shelter by a girl named Sarah, who claimed to be 16 years old. She said she'd been forced to enter into a "spiritual" marriage to a 50 year old man, who'd since beaten and abused her. Oh, and this girl has already mothered a child.

Thus, the FLDS compound in Eldorado, TX was raided. All the children, 416 of them, were taken by the state. Another 139 women have been reported to have left voluntarily. Since then, the people at the compound have "opened up" to the media. Interviews, tours, etc. "Give us our children back... (sob, sob, sob)"

Okay, let's pause a second and cut through the crap! Nobody has answered a question with a straight answer. "Did you ever witness underage children being married to older men?" "Nobody was ever forced to do anything they didn't want to." Oh, Shut Up! These people are so full of crap and it really pisses me off. OF COURSE they witnessed underage children being raped by older perverts! Of course 14 year old brainwashed girls didn't say no to their "religious leaders"! This is one of the worst communities in the history of man. I hope not one of them EVER see any of their children again. I hope that they suffer everyday thinking about what they put innocent children through. And I hope that when all is said and done, many of these adults are held criminally responsible for these abominations.

Completely different direction, but one that is what I want to focus on here: I really think that this affects the average person's view of our faith. The media is doing a good job of stating that this is the Fundamentalist sect, but they always follow that word with "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints". I understand that this is the name of their cult, but I know that people are getting confused. Especially when they see stories like this, where it is indicated that "several copies of the Book of Mormon" were confiscated at the compound, or this AP story, where they call them "a renegade Mormon splinter group". Is it just me, or don't you think that this group is having some negative impact on how the masses view our (already not so highly held) faith?


Hillary & Bill

Anybody think that Hillary is tired of Bill's idiodic comments?

Nice! She misremembered (thanks for the word, Roger) because she's old and tired. Way to go, Bill! Your on the couch!


Olympic Protests

As everybody knows by now, this summer's Olympic Games are going to be held in The People's Republic of China. Many people seem to be having a major problem with this. As the Olympic Torch makes is biennial trek across the world, it is being met with animosity and protest. In fact, it seems that the torch is spending the vast majority of its time on a plane or on a bus rather then being out in the open where any self-respecting flame would prefer to be.

So, knowing that many people throughout the world have problems with China, was it wise for the IOC to award Beijing these games?

Well, I'm thinking probably not.

Before all this uproar over the torch passing through Paris and San Francisco, I knew very little about these "human rights abuses" that were happening in China. This is probably because I'm of the general opinion that I can't do anything about those sorts of things, so why bother putting forth the effort to become familiar with facts that will only further dampen my view of mankind. But now I see that people actually care about what is happening in and around China. And not just a couple people; a lot of people! Did you see the San Francisco protests? Marching across the Golden Gate Bridge, lining the route that wasn't, etc.

So why all the uproar?

Many point to Darfur and Tibet. From what I understand, the Chinese government has supplied weapons to the Sudanese government for use in the genocide of the tribal peoples of Darfur. They have also apparently tried to use their UN Security Council vote to benefit the Sudanese. China is accussed of doing all this primariy for oil. The Chinese government has also been involved in squashing Tibetan protests (violently), leading to the calls for China to leave Tibet alone.

I have more of a problem with China in Darfur than I do with the Tibet issue. I think that these two things are just being used as examples of what China's policies towards human rights and free expresion really are, and people have a problem with these stances. I don't claim to be an expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I encourage you to read up on what you can to see what all the passionate protesting is about.

Should the games themselves be protested? I don't think so. Let the world's best athletes go out and compete without distractions. They have worked their whole lives to get to this Olympic stage; let them enjoy it. Now, can the athletes protest? I sure as heck don't see why not.

These guys (athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos) did, and we've all heard about that. And the IOC is in agreement: "If athletes genuinely want to express their opinion, that's fine," said the IOC president today. They just don't want protests by people surrounding or at the venues. I agree. Protest all you want before and after the games.

Let the games be games. They are supposed to bring everybody together to cheer the best athletes that the world has to offer. Let's just watch the sport and enjoy