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Interracial Marriage

Posted by LG on October 16, 2009

Yesterday, I read this story on CNN: Interracial couple in Louisiana denied marriage license . I shook my head and thought, some people’s deep-seeded racism is incredible sometimes. I continued to work and didn’t think about it again. As I checked my Twitter Feed and Email listservs the story continued to come up. That made me go back an re-read the story this morning.

After I read it again, I cried. How is it possible that in 2009, an elected official can still refuse to give a couple a marriage license because they are not of the same hue? How is it that as a society we still allow people like Keith Bardwell to think that it is ok to carry out such acts of racism from his position of Justice of the Peace?

I cried. I cried to think that my own interracial marriage is still seen by some as “wrong” in 2009! I cried for that couple. I cried because the history books had once again not only hit home, but also the present. This wasn’t some story about a Justice of the Peace in the 1950’s. This happened recently. I cried for every person who continues to experience the sting of ignorance and racism. I cried also for those couples whom are still unable to marry because they are of the same sex. I cried for history, the present, and the future.

Until everyone rises up against injustice and ignorance we will continue to read and/or experience stories like these. We should all gather around this couple to let them know we are with them, we care, and we support them in their journey of love, even though it has now been tarnished with the stain of racism.

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Dr. Henry Louis Gates

Posted by LG on July 24, 2009

A hot topic all over the media right now is the arrest of Dr. Henry Louis Gates for disorderly conduct in his home.  The nation is abuzz as to whether this was a racist arrest, an unwarranted use of the race card, or a man who felt he was above the law. Amidst all of this, President Obama, a friend of Dr. Gates, said the the arresting officer acted “stupidly” although he also said: “I don’t know all the facts”.

I won’t get into who was wrong or right or racist or not bc there is plenty of that.  You can read the CNN story for more facts or read the police report at The Smoking Gun.

My problem lies with the President’s statement. Obama is president and he knows and understands the concept of prudence, patience, and judicial process better than most. Some people say that it’s his opinion and showing his understanding of the plight of African Americans. However, Obama is not a private citizen or a news pundit or commentator. He is our President.

He never should have said that the police acted “stupidly”  because they cuffed an old man under arrest. Black or white, old people have guns and resist arrest too. Cuffs are police procedure, as is investigating robberies. Did the cop over-react to Dr. Gates, possibly. Did Dr. Gates react to the cop? possibly. The point is, that as Obama said, we don’t know all the facts yet.

As such, he should have said just that: We don’t know all the facts yet. The court nolle prossed the case, so it’s not a judicial abuse case. If the Cambridge Police sees the case as a problem, or the nation sees a problem, you ask for an investigation. You don’t, especially as POTUS, get in front of cameras and say the police acted stupidly without having all the facts.

I believe that this is an ethnicity issue, but both ways. The “neighbor” wouldn’t have called 911 if it had been an old Caucasian man. Dr. Gates likely wouldn’t have yelled at police had he been African-American. The police man may not have arrested Dr. Gates had he been Caucasian. But, if Dr. Gates was Caucasian and not Obama’s buddy, POTUS wouldn’t have spoken prematurely on this case.

Just because he is your buddy, we don’t throw prudence and process our the window. Mr. President. We wait to analyze and view the facts, before we speak. We allow the Court to review the case. That is how the system is designed, and it worked, because the charges were nolle prossed. If, after reviewing the case, after waiting to see if there truly was a problem, after waiting for remedy to be offered by the involved parties, President Obama still felt the matter was not resolved, he should have written a letter to the Cambridge Chief of Police requesting that an investigation be done.

On top of which, it disturbs me that President Obama feels so comfortable and unencumbered by the prudence of his office that he just inserts himself into a pending criminal matter because it’s a friend. Precisely because Dr. Gates is a friend, President Obama should have used more respect for the law and the process and not interfered prematurely.

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Picking Sides Thousands of Miles Away

Posted by LG on July 6, 2009

Between Facebook, Twitter, and blogs the world has shrunk to make anyone with a moderately stable internet connection feel like a world citizen connected to people, places, and events from down the street to half-way around the world.

Today, we receive the news faster, more varied, and more intense than ever before. It is easy to feel connected to the people inside the news story as well as the journalists writing these stories. Nowadays, I get the news link on Twitter, open and read the article about Palin, leave a comment to the world on said article and head back to Twitter to tell @AlaskaGovPalin what I think of her and while I’m at it I can tell the article’s author my suggestions on how to write his article.

Ten years ago, we all yelled at the tv or turned around and discussed the news with a friend. Today, we all have megaphones directed straight at anyone we choose and boy do we use them.

Recent news from Iran and Honduras have made us all feel like we are Tehranian University students fighting for freedom in the streets. The Twitterverse has turned green in support of Iranian protesters. Today, it is abuzz criticizing the Honduran military coup.

Although these events deserve international attention and even outrage, we must all be careful of picking sides. It is clear that the Iranian issue is one not of who won the election, but of how the election was won. However, in our fervor for freedom-fighting characters have emerged as heroes of the Revolution, who the web’s population has not truly vetted.

For example, the person who has benefited most Iran’s protests and the Web’s support is Moussavi, some netizens, far removed from Iran, have even thrown their support to Moussavi’s side. Sure, Ahmadinejad has been bad for Iran, but Moussavi is not much better. Moussavi only champions freedoms now because it benefits him and brings him closer to power. However, he has quite a repressionist past, and remember, he too is backed by the Ayatollah in the sense that he was granted permission to run for president.

In Honduras, once the words “military coup” surfaced, the Web World turned their support to Zelaya and denounced the coup along with the Main-Stream Media. Not that I condone military coups, but I beg the media, traditional and modern to dig deeper. Latin America has a long and troubled history with socialism, revolutions, military coups, and authoritarianism. Things are not black in white here, as in most political cases. Honduras was ruled militarily for 25 years. Things did not go so well. Zelaya was a democratically elected president, but things have not gone so well for him either.  He began to lean left after his election, which was good as long as he was creating social agendas to help the poor citizens of his country. However, the line was crossed when he got closer and closer to Hugo Chavez of Honduras. Latin America sees Chavez as a dictator, and  a pretty bad one at that.

Latin American democracies have been working hard to avoid the Chavez influence to seep into their country’s politics for the last decade.  So, when the Honduran president announces that despite the Constitution, the Congress, and the Military, he will hold a national referendum to get the people’s permission to Constitutionally change presidential term limits, the country naturally perked up. After all, Chavez too, once had term limits, and his authoritarian rise began with a referendum on Constitutional term limits, whose election results are said to have been rigged. The Congress and MIlitary thus have a duty to uphold their Constitution against a Chavez-backed aspiring dictator, which is how they saw Zelaya.  It can also be noted that the Colombian Constitution was also controversially changed in the past decade to allow for the re-election of Alvaro Uribe.

I concede that a military coup was not the way to go for Honduras. The Iranian elections are a mess. The people in these countries deserve our respect and support. However, before you pick sides in a matter that you don’t have much knowledge on, I beg you, people of the internet, to use the power of Google. Research and learn, don’t just pick a side due to a trending topic or the color of your friend’s avatar. Be an informed citizen and protester. Know exactly what you are standing up against and what you are standing up for. Don’t simply get carried away in the stream and the mob.

Posted in Honduras, International Politics, Iran, Latin America, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

The Pope and Condoms

Posted by LG on March 18, 2009

Today, the Pope visited Africa.  He insisted that people should countinue to inject one another with a deadly virus without attempting to curtail it.

The Pope visited Africa, the world’s most AIDS-ridden region. This is a part of the worl where religion is closely adhered to as are myths. The people of Africa are not so well educated as to know better than to listen to the Pope. For goodness sakes, they believe that the way to cure AIDS is to sleep with a virgin! So in this part of the world, where he has great influence, the revered Pope walked in and said that there is a “clear moral prohibition” on the use of condoms.

He effectively signed a death sentence for hundreds of people with those words. Unfortunately, this is the case of the idiots leading the ignorant. Remember the Pope is the head of the Vatican.  The same Vatican that excommunicated Galileo and jailed him as a heretic for saying that the sun is the center of our universe. This was an understandable action in 1633. However, the Vatican did not apologize or acknowledge that Galileo was correct until 1992!

This entire news makes me sad for the 22 million people already infected with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa, but it makes me fearful for the lucky ones who are not infected…yet.

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Two Republicans I Actually Like

Posted by LG on March 17, 2009

Just when I thought that the Republicans were all one misguided ball of wax and that once you heard one you heard them all, I found two that I actually like.

These two Republicans are realistic, in touch, and have the balls to say what they think. They are smart though unpretentious. They can find the faults of the party, but most importantly, have real solutions to suggest.

Who are these tow odd creatures that seem to be rational Repubs? They would be Meghan McCain and Dr. Ada Fisher.

Meghan McCain is a blogger for The Daily Beast who recently took issue with Ann Coulter and explained why people like Coulter and Rush will kill the party, not strengthen it. McCain also appeared on The Rachel Maddow Show and spoke out about her ideas for abondoning fighting words in the GOP and embracing a youth-outreach initiative. She emphasized the need for inclusion, rationality, and compromise on the side of the GOP if they were ever going to survive these next four years. Otherwise, she warned, the GOP would be reduced to racist, sexist, hate-mongerers and be for the fringe people rather than The People.

Dr. Ada Fisher also appeared on MSNBC on Maddow’s show and she took issue with RNC Chairman, Michael Steele. Dr. Ada Fisher is the RNC delegate from North Carolina. She came on the show in the middle of the Rush-Steele controversy and declared that for his inadequate leadership of the party, Mr. Steele should be unseated. She pointed out that the RNC had stooped to following a radio talking head and bickering amongst themselves rather than doing the work of the Committee, which is to raise funds and support Republican candidates. At her classiest moment, when Maddow gave her ample opportunity to personally attack Steele, Fisher invoked the 11th commandment: Thou shalt not speak ill of another party member. She refocused the conversation on what the duty of the RNC is to its members, none of which includes following Rush or trying to slang-up the Chairmanship. Most importantly, Ms. Fisher reminded the country that the GOP has lost its way. It is the GOP of Lincoln that she invokes. That Republican party that fought for the Union of our Nation and the liberation of its people. The Republican party that rather than bash minorities as Rush and Coulter take pleasure doing, preached inclusion and equality amongst all the people of this nation.

Unfortunately, what do these ladies get from their party for their attempts at resurrecting the once great GOP? Well, Laura Ingraham came to Coulter’s defense by calling McCain a “valley-girl” and “plus-sized model”. Lovely, ladies. A woman  speaks her mind and you bash her for her looks. No wonder we can’t get gender equality, we’re shooting ourselves in the foot.

As for Dr. Fisher, the GOP claimed she was just jealous that Steele was the first African-American to get the  RNC Chair and not her. Although, she didn’t even campaign for said Chair.

Anywho…because I believe in a multi-party system, even if I prefer a Dem-lead one, Power to you Meghan and Dr. Fisher!

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Economy – FAIL!

Posted by LG on February 24, 2009

I found a great video at 405 Club about the credit crisis:

 
The Crisis of Credit Visualized from Jonathan Jarvis on Vimeo.

Muy interesante. Our economy is going downhill fast. buckle up. Put your money under your mattress and hope you have a parachute because no matter what anyone does, it’s not going to turn around anytime soon.

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Stimulus Bill Controversy

Posted by LG on February 10, 2009

Everyone has their own opinion on the Stimulus Bill. Obama says it is absolutely necessary. The GOP calls it wasteful spending and “generational theft“, a different side calls for doing nothing, and most of us “commoners” know something has to be done, but can’t agree on what that something is. 

Here goes my opinion: 

Obama had a great plan in place as a candidate. It was focused on infrastructure spending to create new jobs, put more money back in households, and bring our public services up to snuff all in one fell swoop.  The plan was great, maybe not perfect, but it had so many great elements, I don’t see how anyone could fault it. 

However, President Obama, decided that bipartisanship was more important than a wonderful stimulus bill and ruined the bill in an attempt to court the Republicans. His plan didn’t work, as 0 House Reps voted for the plan and the Dems passed a crappy watered down version of a once great economic strategy. 80% of infrastructure spending was replaced by tax cuts and other random crap. Tax cuts do not create jobs or stimulate the economy! Now said plan is at the Senate where smarter economic minds are hoping to see some of the infrastructure spending re-inserted into the bill.

In the meantime, the GOP has concerted its efforts in bashing the plan instead of working towards fixing the problems their president created. They created a list of what they believe is “wasteful spending“. I have to admit I agree with them on a few things like $248 million for furniture at the new Homeland Security headquarters. That’s a lot of money on furniture. Something tells me IKEA could give them a better deal. And the $2 billion for a coal power plant in Illinois. Not only has it been deemed inefficient before, but it’s time to move away from coal. It is a dirty, non-renewable resource and we can come up with something better. 

Other things aren’t wasteful, but just a little excessive: 

  • $448 million for constructing the Department of Homeland Security headquarters. Again, how about we go bargain hunting as a nation. Everything does not need to be “top of the line”. It has to be possible to construct a building or a headquarters for half the price.
  • $75 million for “smoking cessation activities.” Ok, as much good as this might be, I don’t see how this needs to be a part of the stimulus bill. Shouldn’t this fall under the Deparment of Health?

For the most part, I just don’t see how they can say the other parts of the list are wasteful spending. I really need an explanation from the GOP as to how buying hybrid vehicles, building a polar icebreaker for the coastguard (I’m assuming for use in Alaska), preventing STDs, and investing in education and public services is wasteful. I just don’t understand.

As far as the theft claim is concerned, you know, I’m 24 years old. I have to say, I would personally have no problem paying back the gargantuan debt that will be created if we can prevent STDs, build good schools, bridges and roads, and if we save the economy. I’d rather apply for credit now and pay as the economy stabilizes, than not take on the debt and just let the economy go to hell. That’s just me. Take a percent of my future earnings if you can guarantee that I’ll have a job in the future. That’s preferable than thinking I’ll just completely be out of an income.

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Choices and Consequences

Posted by LG on January 28, 2009

I think everyone knows and understands that choices have consequences. We also understand that when the consequences are stiffled or held off nothing good comes of it. For example, if a five-year-old eats the candy mommy told him he couldn’t have, but mommy does not punish him, he will do it again, as he has learned that there are no negative consequences to disobedience. If this continues, this child will be a 10 year old who does as he pleases disregarding authority, and possibly become a juvenile delinquent or a spoiled teeanger lacking the tools to enter into adulthood. 

That is the path the American economy is on. Our “way of life” has been one of living above our means, spends, get credit, no savings, and full out extravagance from people with too much house to CEOs with 5 private jets. The situation we are in now is the good shake we needed to wake up. It is the consequences of our actions. It is the result of government waste, corporate excess, and individual irresponsibility.  The administration, this one and the one before would have us believe that throwing good money after bad is the answer. The car industry wants us to think that our society cannot survive without the Big 3. The credit card companies are looking to the taxpayers to whom they charged extravagant rates and fees to now bail them out. I say, let them sink. Let them all sink. I’m not alone. Today, Politico did a piece on the virtues of doing nothing.

I am actually in favor of the infrastructure spending proposal. However, it should not be sold as the answer to the economy’s problems. The infrastructure spending proposal should pass not because it will revive the economy, because it may not, but because it is desperately needed. Schools need to be built, bridges need to be repaired, potholes to be filled, Levees to be re-engineered, access to the internet to be had, etc. We need these things and the States need the Federal aid to accomplish it. Yes, from it we will get a great side effect which is that we will create jobs and hopefully have better educated children. But, it may not turn the economy around.

What will definitely not turn the economy around? and extra $20, $50, or $100 in your monthly paycheck. This idea that tax cuts are the answer is ridiculous. We are not all getting immense raises along with these tax cuts. At the most we may get an extra $100 in that paycheck. That is not going to make or break the economy. It’s not going to make ends meet. People are not losing their houses over a $100 difference in their paycheck. They are losing their house because they bought a home they could not afford in the first place and got an unwise mortgage to go with it. They are losing their cars because they are overextended on credit. The banks are going under because we all live above our means. Because we thought we were all so clever. I’ll take money out of the equity that results from hyper-inflated home prices and buy a big screen tv or sink it into the house that is already over-priced. Obviously, people did not take these loans and save them, they blew them on whatever. Then when they’re house prices balanced out, they were out of the fake equity they had borrowed from. 

We don’t need the government to bail us out, we need to pull ourselves up by the bootstrap as a society as a whole, learn from our mistakes, and do better. I sympathize with the single mother out of a job, or the family that can’t make ends meet. Unfortunately those are just the consequences of our economic choices (I’m not blaming individuals, but society as a whole). We have to learn to suck it up, tighten the belt, get through this, and learn from it.

Posted in Bailout, financial, Obama, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Obama, Blago, and Cars

Posted by LG on January 26, 2009

So, our intelligent President Obama has requested that along with the daily National Defense brief he receives every morning, that he receive a National Economic brief as well. This is very encouraging to hear because although there are threats abroad, our biggest immediate threat is economic collapse, this could potentially hurt more than a foreign attack. I have to say a lot of the things President Obama has done have been hailed as brilliant, but they are truly just common sense. When the country’s economy is slumping more and more each day and the entire country is focused on how to shore it up, the president simply needs to know what is going on daily. 

Blago is trying to stay in the top news instead of going to his own hearing. Give it up already! You’ve been caught redhanded! What is it going to take to get rid of this man and how extravagant can he get. Everytime there is a microphone in front of him, our jaws drop. Firt there was Burris, then cowboy stories, and now Oprah. Of course he thought of her for the Seate seat! If you’re trying to sell something off you would certainly look to the richest person in your state! No suprise there, but rather further confirmation of his attempts to set himself up in life with that senate seat. I hope to se him soon go the way of Palin…into oblivion. 

From Politico, Our President also ordered the EPA to provide waivers for fourteen states today. I think this is wonderful. The car makers, of course, think it is awful. They say it will be even more difficult for them because they will have to build cars per state. I say no, just build cars that pass the highest standards and sell those nation-wide. Seems simple enough. They are in this economic slump because of their lack of ability to keep up with technology and green standards in the first place. 

My Obama disappointment? The Bailout. It seems as the administration gears up to pass this bill it has become less and less about infrastructure and more about tax cuts. As much as we all love tax cuts, Obama had a good plan during the campaign. That was to revive the economy and fix infrastructure problems in one fell swoop. Tax cuts simply do not do that. Infrastructure spending does. That’s what the bailout should focus on, bailing out out society and the economy not tax cuts that wind up blown away at Target or big screen tv’s but spending that create better schools, strong bridges, and public transportation.

Posted in Bailout, Executive Orders, financial, Obama, Senate | Leave a Comment »

Government and the 21st Century

Posted by LG on January 23, 2009

Yesterday was a big news day. I think Obama overwhelmed everyone who waches the news. 

First off, we had the whole Guantanamo closing deal. That was of course to of the news. I have to say we have a very intelligent president. Or, maybe he’s just a good president and we just think he’s awesome because of what incomptency we had before. Nevertheless, by choosing to shut down Gitmo, he proved that he has the integrity of character to do what is morally correct even when it is difficult. It is this integrity of character that reassures us that our captain will steer us in the right course. 

We also heard about the NSA wiretapping nightmares yesterday. As it turns out, although they had legal recourse to tap into foreign communications only, they chose to wiretap the entire country. Further more, they chose to Target journalists. This is outrageous! The mark of a truly free country is one in which freedom of expression is open to all citizens and journalistic freedom is held sacred. Why is this important? If people are not free to express themselves for fear of the government we begin to fall nto a police state. If journalists are unable to report the actions of the government, than the government can pretty much do as they please without feeling any accountability to its people and we begin to fall into an authoritarian state. 

Then of course there was the blip about Obama keeping his blackberry, which I love because along with the new website, the vlog, the blog, the uploading of Executive Orders, the new House and Senate YouTube Channels it’s like the entire government has stepped into the 21st century! It’s about time! Other politicians have taken Mr. Obama’s lead as well. Georgia State Representative Robert Telheit will be creating webisodes called “Inside Georgia with Rob Teilhet,” and can be found on his web site atwww.robteilhet.com or www.youtube.com/robteilhet.

I encourage everyone to continuously keep up with the news, but als to use these new tools of accesibility that our government is creating to contact your government. Email them your concerns. Post a comment on their YouTube page, create your own video response. Comment on their blog, etc. They are giving us transparency and contact, it is up to us to engage!

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