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Simmons and Edwards Yoga Buddies?

In Politics on April 30, 2007 at 10:53 pm

John Edwards John Edwards   Russell Simmons  Russell Simmons

Co-Founder of Def Jam Records recently gave an interview to the New York Times discussing a mish-mash of topics such as hip hop and lyrics to politics. The article is especially amusing as Simmons discusses his opinion about politics and the candidates.

From Deborah Solomon’s interview:

What do you make of Barack Obama, who recently said that rap musicians should reform their lyrics?What we need to reform is the conditions that create these lyrics. Obama needs to reform the conditions of poverty. I wish he really did raise his money on the Internet, like he said. I wish he really did raise his money independently.

What are you saying? I think about one-fourth of his campaign contributions came from small donations made over the Internet, even though he collected more than any other Democratic candidate from Wall Street people. So at the end of the day, he’s controlled, too. That’s my point. He’s a mouse, too, like everybody else.

Are there any presidential candidates who inspire you? I talk to John Edwards more than I talk to anyone. He has said more things about the conditions we need to think about. He went to yoga with me. He did the whole class, an hour and a half. He sweated like crazy. He’s in good shape, but it was hard on him.

Simmons goes on to give props to Oprah, Donald Trump, and God. Although he sounds like he is on the Edwards bandwagon, Newsmeat.com reports Simmons has contributed more to Hillary Clinton than to John Edwards.

As for Newsmeat.com, this is a pretty interesting site! It has a searchable database of every American Federal political campaign contribution of at least $200 from 1977. Data is reported from the Federal Election Commission. To get a listing of contributors, you can either type in their name or zip code. Celebrities are listed with their contributions and you can also check out the entire 2008 Presidential Donor List. I enjoyed clicking on random names on the Hall of Fame ticker.

For instance:

Clyde Drexler gave $2,000 to Bush-Cheney Primary in ’04

Robert DeNiro has spent $66,200 on Democratic donations and $1,000 in special interests

Tommy Lee Jones has spent $12,000 to Democratis candidates including Al Gore’s campaign in ’99 (Guess college roommates are friends for life.) But alas…$300 to the Republican party?

Paul (I did not give my girlfriend a job AND a promotion) Wolfowitz has donated about $3,500 to Republican candidates.

Anyway, check out the site. You’ll enjoy snooping into the political pocketbooks of celebrities. Not so private lives huh?

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Legion of Doom v. The Super Friends

In Fun Stuff, Politics on April 27, 2007 at 7:14 am

Saw this on YouTube this am. Have a great weekend!

How George Got His Groove Back

In Politics on April 26, 2007 at 7:17 am

The Malaria Dance

I just couldn’t resist.

President Bush joined a group of dancers on stage during the first ever Malaria Awareness Day, to help combat malaria on the continent of Africa.

You have to give him credit though. You can tell he didn’t want to do this but then found his groove.

Ladies and Gentleman, I present to you…The Malaria Dance!

Cows and Politics

In Fun Stuff, Humor on April 25, 2007 at 10:26 pm

Cows From About.com: Political Humor (I especially like the Japanese and Russian one!)

A CHRISTIAN DEMOCRAT: You have two cows. You keep one and give one to your neighbor.

A SOCIALIST: You have two cows. The government takes one and gives it to your neighbor.

AN AMERICAN REPUBLICAN: You have two cows. Your neighbor has none. So what?

AN AMERICAN DEMOCRAT: You have two cows. Your neighbor has none. You feel guilty for being successful. You vote people into office who tax your cows, forcing you to sell one to raise money to pay the tax. The people you voted for then take the tax money and buy a cow and give it to your neighbor. You feel righteous.

A COMMUNIST: You have two cows. The government seizes both and provides you with milk.

A FASCIST: You have two cows. The government seizes both and sells you the milk. You join the underground and start a campaign of sabotage.

DEMOCRACY, AMERICAN STYLE: You have two cows. The government taxes you to the point you have to sell both to support a man in a foreign country who has only one cow, which was a gift from your government.

CAPITALISM, AMERICAN STYLE: You have two cows. You sell one, buy a bull, and build a herd of cows.

BUREAUCRACY, AMERICAN STYLE: You have two cows. The government takes them both, shoots one, milks the other, pays you for the milk, then pours the milk down the drain.

AN AMERICAN CORPORATION: You have two cows. You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows. You are surprised when the cow drops dead.

A FRENCH CORPORATION: You have two cows. You go on strike because you want three cows.

A JAPANESE CORPORATION: You have two cows. You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk. You then create clever cow cartoon images called Cowkimon and market them World-Wide.

A GERMAN CORPORATION: You have two cows. You reengineer them so they live for 100 years, eat once a month, and milk themselves.

A BRITISH CORPORATION: You have two cows. They are mad. They die. Pass the shepherd’s pie, please.

AN ITALIAN CORPORATION: You have two cows, but you don’t know where they are. You break for lunch.

A RUSSIAN CORPORATION: You have two cows. You count them and learn you have five cows. You count them again and learn you have 42 cows. You count them again and learn you have 12 cows. You stop counting cows and open another bottle of vodka.

A SWISS CORPORATION: You have 5000 cows, none of which belong to you. You charge others for storing them.

A BRAZILIAN CORPORATION: You have two cows. You enter into a partnership with an American corporation. Soon you have 1000 cows and the American corporation declares bankruptcy.

AN INDIAN CORPORATION: You have two cows. You worship both of them.

A CHINESE CORPORATION: You have two cows. You have 300 people milking them. You claim full employment, high bovine productivity, and arrest the newsman who reported on them.

AN ISRAELI CORPORATION: There are these two Jewish cows, right? They open a milk factory, an ice cream store, and then sell the movie rights. They send their calves to Harvard to become doctors. So, who needs people?

AN ARKANSAS CORPORATION: You have two cows. That one on the left is kinda cute.

Freedom of Religion and Veterans’ Headstones

In Constitutional Rights on April 24, 2007 at 11:19 pm

Sgt. Stewart’s Memorial ServiceUntil now, there have been 38 approved religious symbols that may be used on a deceased military service member’s memorial marker. Previously approved symbols include the Episcopal cross, Christian cross, Star of David and even a symbol for Atheists. The Department of Veterans Affairs will now include the five-star encircled pentacle to the list. The lawsuit is a result of a ten year battle to incorporate the Wiccan pentacle to the approved list of symbols of faith.

The settlement, which was reached on Friday, was announced on Monday by Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, which represented the plaintiffs in the case. The litigation charged that denying a pentacle to deceased Wiccan service personnel, while granting religious symbols to those of other traditions, violated the U.S. Constitution.

Why the ten year battle?

The following are excepts from the New York Times:

The group attributed the delay to religious discrimination. Many Americans do not consider Wicca a religion, or hold the mistaken belief that Wiccans are devil worshipers.

There are 1,800 Wiccans in the armed forces, according to a Pentagon survey cited in the suit, and Wiccans have their faith mentioned in official handbooks for military chaplains and noted on their dog tags.At least 11 families will be immediately affected by the V.A.’s decision, said the Rev. Selena Fox, senior minister of Circle Sanctuary, a Wiccan church in Wisconsin. In reviewing 30,000 pages of documents from Veterans Affairs, Americans United said, it found e-mail and memorandums referring to negative comments President Bush made about Wicca in an interview with “Good Morning America” in 1999, when he was governor of Texas. The interview had to do with a controversy at the time about Wiccan soldiers’ being allowed to worship at Fort Hood, Tex.

“I don’t think witchcraft is a religion,” Mr. Bush said at the time, according to a transcript. “I would hope the military officials would take a second look at the decision they made.”

Americans United filed the lawsuit last November on behalf of several Wiccan military families. Among the plaintiffs was Roberta Stewart, whose husband, Sgt. Patrick Stewart, was killed in September 2005 in Afghanistan.

Sgt. Patrick Stewart

Previously, Mrs. Stewart had only received a government memorial plaque for her husband; however, it was the first of its kind to include the Wiccan pentacle but only after a one year battle to include the symbol. You can read the story of that challenge in the Washington Post (you must register first but it’s free!)

I found another good article about Sgt. Stewart’s story at ReviewJournal.com. It’s a shame that his family has had to wait so long to have his headstone engraved with the symbol of their religion. The AU sees this victory as a stepping stone in overcoming biases toward minority faiths.

I also recommend The Pluralsim Project . This is a great website that explores the religions that are practiced throughout the United States and how to embrace our differences in faiths.

April 24th is Equal Pay Day!

In Women's Rights on April 23, 2007 at 8:49 pm

JFK June 10, 1963

44 years after John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act into law, women are still competing with men for equal pay in the workplace. 

From MSNBC and the AP:

NEW YORK – Women make only 80 percent of the salaries their male peers do one year after college; after 10 years in the work force, the gap between their pay widens further, according to a study released Monday.

The study, by the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation, found that 10 years after college, women earn only 69 percent of what men earn.

Even after controlling for hours, occupation, parenthood, and other factors known to affect earnings, the study found that one-quarter of the pay gap remains unexplained. The group said that portion of the gap is “likely due to sex discrimination.”

“Over time, the unexplained portion of the pay gap grows,” the group said in a news release.

Catherine Hill, the organization’s director of research, said: “Part of the wage difference is a result of people’s choices, another part is employer’s assumptions of what people’s choices will be. … Employers assume that young women are going to leave the work force when they have children, and, therefore, don’t promote them.”

The organization found that women’s scholastic performance was not reflected in their compensation. Women have slightly higher grade point averages than men in every major, including science and math. But women who attend highly selective colleges earn the same as men who attend minimally selective colleges, according to the study.

“The pay gap is not going to disappear just through educational achievements,” Hill said.

Tuesday is Equal Pay Day and women are encouraged to wear red. Why? According to National Organization for Women,

“If we’re going to be “in the red,” we might as well wear it proudly to show our determination to end the wage gap.”

Behind the Pay Gap 

Ladies, put on your red and become involved! For more information, check out the AAUW and NOW websites above.

 

Boris Yeltsin Dead per Kremlin

In World News on April 23, 2007 at 9:02 am

Boris Yeltsin

Per the AP:

Boris Yeltsin has died, Kremlin announces

Former Russian president led country after Soviet Union breakup

BREAKING NEWS

8:50a.m. CST

Updated: 3 minutes ago

MOSCOW – Former President Boris Yeltsin, who engineered the final collapse of the Soviet Union and pushed Russia to embrace democracy and a market economy, has died, a Kremlin official said Monday. He was 76.

Kremlin spokesman Alexander Smirnov confirmed Yeltsin’s death, but gave no cause or further information.

No Cozy Table For Three

In Politics on April 23, 2007 at 1:03 am

Picture from The Politico

There isn’t a better way to mix politics with entertainment than the annual White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner. Saturday night’s dining out brought together a cocktail of entertainers, activists, and top political officials.

Musician/global activist Sheryl Crow and fellow activist and An Inconveient Truth‘s Oscar winning producer Laurie David were among the guests. Crow and David have just completed a two week tour among college campuses. The “Stop Global Warming College Tour” is a call to university leaders, students, and faculty to help spread awareness of global warming and its effects.

At Saturday night’s dinner, David approached the president’s deputy chief of staff Karl Rove to discuss the global warming issue. Words were exchanged and at one point Crow stepped in. There has been some he said/she said comments about what exactly was said.

 Jim Rutenberg of the New York Times writes of the incident:

The one thing all three parties agree on is that the conversation quickly became heated.

As Ms. Crow and Ms. David described it on the Huffington Post Web site on Sunday, when Mr. Rove turned toward his table, Ms. Crow touched his arm and “Karl swung around and spat, ‘Don’t touch me.’ ”

Both sides agreed that Ms. Crow told him, “You can’t speak to us like that, you work for us,” to which Mr. Rove responded, “I don’t work for you, I work for the American people.” Ms. Crow and Ms. David wrote that Ms. Crow shot back, “We are the American people.”

In their Web posting, Ms. Crow and Ms. David described Mr. Rove as responding with “anger flaring,” and as having “exploded with even more venom” as the argument continued.

“She came over to insult me,” Mr. Rove said Saturday night, “and she succeeded.”

Mr. Rove did not respond to a request for comment on the women’s Internet posting on Sunday.

Tony Fratto, a White House spokesman said, “We have respect for the opinions and passion that many people have for climate change.” But, Mr. Fratto said, “I wish the same respect was afforded to the president.”

He accused Ms. Crow and Ms. David of ignoring the president’s environmental initiatives, like pushing for alternative fuels, and for “going after officials with misinformed assertions at a social dinner.”

“It would be better,” Mr. Fratto said, “to set aside Hollywood histrionics and try to help with the problem instead of this baseless, and tasteless, finger pointing.”

Don’t quit your day job McCain

In Are you kidding me?, Politics on April 20, 2007 at 11:56 am

John McCain at VFWAh geez. Here we go again with another politician trying to make light of a serious subject but ends up looking like an insensitive dufus.

On Wednesday, John McCain campaigned at a VFW hall in South Carolina. He was asked about the possibility of war with Iran. His reply was a stupid rendition of the Beach Boys’ “Barbara Ann” but using the words “Bomb, bomb, bomb…bomb, bomb, Iran.” His nonchalant mannerism of going into another war and killing people was just a joke to lighten the mood in the VFW hall per one of his aides.

I also love how he blows his nose as soon as he gets on stage. There’s a true leader. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of things that I like about McCain (although this Lefty Lucy would never vote that way) but it seems that he has been taking some cues from M.C. Rove which is just a total turn-off. Way to represent John!

Just an update, this is from The NY Times this afternoon:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The liberal group MoveOn.org is launching an ad against Republican John McCain and his joke about bombing Iran, arguing that the nation ”can’t afford another reckless president.”

The group plans to spend about $100,000 to air a commercial on network and some cable television stations in Iowa and New Hampshire, states that hold early contests in the presidential nomination process, spokesman Alex Howe said Friday.

Guess they didn’t find it amusing either.

Attorneygate Continues

In Politics on April 19, 2007 at 9:35 am

Attorneygate AG Gonzales is marching back up to the Hill today to defend the firings of eight federal prosecutors. He was supposed to be there earlier this week; however, the VT Massacre set the hearings back. The whole thing that gets me is that he has blatantly LIED about not having any knowledge of the firings but then this past weekend he apologized for what he had said in the past and says that he stands his ground that the firings were justifiable. Yes, the firings were in his power to do so however unmoral they may have been. Guess we’ll see what happens today.

The fire-o-meter is almost at 99%.