Monday, August 31, 2009

When Graphic Artists Get Bored

C'mon, politics can get too serious sometimes. That's when you whip out photos like this that people in any language can gasp and laugh at together... suddenly you are speaking the same language after all.

This is so great! The art of illusion, imagination and "what were they thinking"!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

4 Videos: Funny Speakers at Kennedys Irish Wake

From Denny: The highlight of dreary funerals is when people get to tell the funny stories about you and Kennedy was no exception. In fact he wanted people to tell their opinions and observations about him if only to prove just how human he really was in life. Kennedy's life was an exercise in trials, sorrows, screw-ups and redemption. He was an inspiration to many of us who think our screw-ups are beyond redemption and our sorrows too great to heal. Listen to several relatives and, most of all, even his Republican friends talk about their relationships with the beloved, and often annoying, Ted Kennedy. He was fun to the end.

Caroline Kennedy whom he fathered after the assassination of her father President John F. Kennedy:

Close friend Vice President Joe Biden whom Ted mentored in the Senate when Biden was very young and "very green" when it came to real world politics - and suggested as Vice President for Obama:

Former Senator John Culver, D-Iowa, a best friend from college who played football with Ted, brought the house down with his recounting of a harrowing sailing experience with Ted:

Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, a close friend of Ted's for over 30 years in the Senate and the two were like oil and water, never mixing well, yet a real love fest that lasted in spite of political differences:

4 Videos: More Funny Speakers at Kennedys Wake

Senator John Kerry, the junior senator from Massachusetts, recalls Kennedy's booming personality that was like a force of nature. He also recounts how Kennedy never left his side during the 2004 presidential campaign.

Senator John McCain, R-Arizona, recounts his funny and downright annoying experiences with Kennedy. He also declared just how much he loved Ted and how much he misses him already. McCain was so overcome with emotion that after his speech he abruptly left the stage with welling tears in his eyes. Truly that was a close relationship in spite of political wrangling.

Governor Deval L. Patrick, Massachusets, recalls his time with Kennedy and his impressions of him:

Senator Chris Dodd, D-Connecticut, recalls how Kennedy, who was more ill than Dodd, called Dodd to see how he was doing. That really touched Dodd's heart. They, too, were life long friends.

Joseph P. Kennedy II, talks about his favorite uncle who helped father him and his siblings after his father, Robert, was also assassinated on the presidential trail in 1968. You really have to ask yourself "What is wrong with the Republicans who are willing to kill politicians in this great country called America? Who are these people who are so willing to kill a fellow American?":

Saturday, August 29, 2009

President Obama's Eulogy of Friend Senator Ted Kennedy

From Denny: This was one incredibly beautiful funeral today - all three hours of it. President Obama was last in line to speak and what a wonderful speech it was. Here's the text in its entirety in case you missed it or only caught a few quotes of what the President had to say about his friend today at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Basilica Catholic Church in Roxbury, Massachusetts.

Photo by Brian Snyder/Reuters

President Obama:

Your Eminence, Vicki, Kara, Edward, Patrick, Curran, Caroline, members of the Kennedy family, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens:

Today we say goodbye to the youngest child of Rose and Joseph Kennedy. The world will long remember their son Edward as the heir to a weighty legacy; a champion for those who had none; the soul of the Democratic Party; and the lion of the United States Senate — a man who graces nearly 1,000 laws, and who penned more than 300 laws himself.

But those of us who loved him, and ache with his passing, know Ted Kennedy by the other titles he held: Father. Brother. Husband. Grandfather. Uncle Teddy, or as he was often known to his younger nieces and nephews, "The Grand Fromage," or "The Big Cheese." I, like so many others in the city where he worked for nearly half a century, knew him as a colleague, a mentor, and above all, as a friend.

Ted Kennedy was the baby of the family who became its patriarch; the restless dreamer who became its rock. He was the sunny, joyful child who bore the brunt of his brothers' teasing, but learned quickly how to brush it off. When they tossed him off a boat because he didn't know what a jib was, six-year-old Teddy got back in and learned to sail. When a photographer asked the newly elected Bobby to step back at a press conference because he was casting a shadow on his younger brother, Teddy quipped, "It'll be the same in Washington."

That spirit of resilience and good humor would see Teddy through more pain and tragedy than most of us will ever know. He lost two siblings by the age of 16. He saw two more taken violently from a country that loved them. He said goodbye to his beloved sister, Eunice, in the final days of his life. He narrowly survived a plane crash, watched two children struggle with cancer, buried three nephews, and experienced personal failings and setbacks in the most public way possible.

It's a string of events that would have broken a lesser man. And it would have been easy for Ted to let himself become bitter and hardened; to surrender to self-pity and regret; to retreat from public life and live out his years in peaceful quiet. No one would have blamed him for that.

But that was not Ted Kennedy. As he told us, ".[I]ndividual faults and frailties are no excuse to give in — and no exemption from the common obligation to give of ourselves." Indeed, Ted was the "Happy Warrior" that the poet Wordsworth spoke of when he wrote:

As tempted more; more able to endure,

As more exposed to suffering and distress;

Thence, also, more alive to tenderness.

Through his own suffering, Ted Kennedy became more alive to the plight and the suffering of others — the sick child who could not see a doctor; the young soldier denied her rights because of what she looks like or who she loves or where she comes from. The landmark laws that he championed — the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, immigration reform, children's health insurance, the Family and Medical Leave Act — all have a running thread. Ted Kennedy's life work was not to champion the causes of those with wealth or power or special connections. It was to give a voice to those who were not heard; to add a rung to the ladder of opportunity; to make real the dream of our founding. He was given the gift of time that his brothers were not, and he used that gift to touch as many lives and right as many wrongs as the years would allow.

We can still hear his voice bellowing through the Senate chamber, face reddened, fist pounding the podium, a veritable force of nature, in support of health care or workers' rights or civil rights. And yet, as has been noted, while his causes became deeply personal, his disagreements never did. While he was seen by his fiercest critics as a partisan lightning rod, that's not the prism through which Ted Kennedy saw the world, nor was it the prism through which his colleagues saw Ted Kennedy. He was a product of an age when the joy and nobility of politics prevented differences of party and platform and philosophy from becoming barriers to cooperation and mutual respect — a time when adversaries still saw each other as patriots.

And that's how Ted Kennedy became the greatest legislator of our time. He did it by hewing to principle, yes, but also by seeking compromise and common cause — not through deal-making and horse-trading alone, but through friendship, and kindness, and humor. There was the time he courted Orrin Hatch for support of the Children's Health Insurance Program by having his chief of staff serenade the senator with a song Orrin had written himself; the time he delivered shamrock cookies on a china plate to sweeten up a crusty Republican colleague; the famous story of how he won the support of a Texas committee chairman on an immigration bill. Teddy walked into a meeting with a plain manila envelope, and showed only the chairman that it was filled with the Texan's favorite cigars. When the negotiations were going well, he would inch the envelope closer to the chairman. When they weren't, he'd pull it back. Before long, the deal was done.

It was only a few years ago, on St. Patrick's Day, when Teddy buttonholed me on the floor of the Senate for my support of a certain piece of legislation that was coming up for vote. I gave my pledge, but I expressed skepticism that it would pass. But when the roll call was over, the bill garnered the votes that it needed, and then some. I looked at Teddy with astonishment and asked how had he done it. He just patted me on the back and said, "Luck of the Irish."

Of course, luck had little to do with Ted Kennedy's legislative success; he knew that. A few years ago, his father-in-law told him that he and Daniel Webster just might be the two greatest senators of all time. Without missing a beat, Teddy replied, "What did Webster do?"

But though it is Teddy's historic body of achievements that we will remember, it is his giving heart that we will miss. It was the friend and the colleague who was always the first to pick up the phone and say, "I'm sorry for your loss," or "I hope you feel better," or "What can I do to help?" It was the boss so adored by his staff that over 500, spanning five decades, showed up for his 75th birthday party. It was the man who sent birthday wishes and thank-you notes and even his own paintings to so many who never imagined that a U.S. senator of such stature would take the time to think about somebody like them. I have one of those paintings in my private study off the Oval Office — a Cape Cod seascape that was a gift to a freshman legislator who had just arrived in Washington and happened to admire it when Ted Kennedy welcomed him into his office. That, by the way, is my second gift from Teddy and Vicki after our dog Bo. And it seems like everyone has one of those stories — the ones that often start with "You wouldn't believe who called me today."

Ted Kennedy was the father who looked not only after his own three children, but John's and Bobby's as well. He took them camping and taught them to sail. He laughed and danced with them at birthdays and weddings; cried and mourned with them through hardship and tragedy; and passed on that same sense of service and selflessness that his parents had instilled in him. Shortly after Ted walked Caroline down the aisle and gave her away at the altar, he received a note from Jackie that read, "On you the carefree youngest brother fell a burden a hero would have begged to been spared. We are all going to make it because you were always there with your love."

Not only did the Kennedy family make it because of Ted's love — he made it because of theirs, especially because the love and the life he found in Vicki. After so much loss and so much sorrow, it could not have been easy for Ted to risk his heart again. And that he did is a testament to how deeply he loved this remarkable woman from Louisiana. And she didn't just love him back. As Ted would often acknowledge, Vicki saved him. She gave him strength and purpose; joy and friendship; and stood by him always, especially in those last, hardest days.

We cannot know for certain how long we have here. We cannot foresee the trials or misfortunes that will test us along the way. We cannot know what God's plan is for us.

What we can do is to live out our lives as best we can with purpose, and with love, and with joy. We can use each day to show those who are closest to us how much we care about them, and treat others with the kindness and respect that we wish for ourselves. We can learn from our mistakes and grow from our failures. And we can strive at all costs to make a better world, so that someday, if we are blessed with the chance to look back on our time here, we know that we spent it well; that we made a difference; that our fleeting presence had a lasting impact on the lives of others.

This is how Ted Kennedy lived. This is his legacy. He once said, as has already been mentioned, of his brother Bobby that he need not be idealized or enlarged in death because what he was in life — and I imagine he would say the same about himself. The greatest expectations were placed upon Ted Kennedy's shoulders because of who he was, but he surpassed them all because of who he became. We do not weep for him today because of the prestige attached to his name or his office. We weep because we loved this kind and tender hero who persevered through pain and tragedy — not for the sake of ambition or vanity; not for wealth or power; but only for the people and the country that he loved.

In the days after September 11th, Teddy made it a point to personally call each one of the 177 families of this state who lost a loved one in the attack. But he didn't stop there. He kept calling and checking up on them. He fought through red tape to get them assistance and grief counseling. He invited them sailing, played with their children, and would write each family a letter whenever the anniversary of that terrible day came along. To one widow, he wrote the following:

"As you know so well, the passage of time never really heals the tragic memory of such a great loss, but we carry on, because we have to, because our loved ones would want us to, and because there is still light to guide us in the world from the love they gave us."

We carry on.

Ted Kennedy has gone home now, guided by his faith and by the light of those that he has loved and lost. At last he is with them once more, leaving those of us who grieve his passing with the memories he gave, the good that he did, the dream he kept alive, and a single, enduring image — the image of a man on a boat, white mane tousled, smiling broadly as he sails into the wind, ready for whatever storms may come, carrying on toward some new and wondrous place just beyond the horizon. May God bless Ted Kennedy, and may he rest in eternal peace.

Barack Obama, Senator Ted Kennedy, eulogy, Politics, America

Friday, August 28, 2009

3 Videos: Public Turns Out for Ted Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Jr. and the Public Comment

From Denny: Robert Kennedy, Jr. talks about the expression of public sentiment today and his uncle Ted's relationship with the public over the years. Thousands of mourners came out for the 70 mile ride of the hearse yesterday from his home in Hiannisport to Boston; they lined the route to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library as he passed by.

It was like viewing the news footage from when Presidents Roosevelt and Kennedy died and how the public turned out for them. Ted Kennedy was "in office" far longer than any President could be and was able to do much more for people - and so he did. He viewed politics as a life of service.

It was amazing how many people took so much time to write in the guest books, many of them whole pages of comments. The lines were long as people in this part of the country felt a personal connection to the Senator because he did so much for everyone from every walk of life.

Ted Kennedy reached far into the everyday lives of these working class people who knew him personally. Listen to their stories of interacting with him.

Breaking News, politics, President John F. Kennedy, Senator Ted Kennedy

Thursday, August 27, 2009

How Senator Ted Kennedy Affected Your Life in America

From Denny: Did you know that Ted Kennedy passed over 300 bills during his tenure in the Senate? He also co-authored another 550!

“Ted Kennedy changed the circumstances of tens of millions of Americans,” VP Biden.

How did he affect our lives today? How does that translate into your everyday life that this generation may take for granted was always there?

Here are just a few examples that make life easier for so many to live well:

Wheelchair ramps:
wheelchair access in public places; those are thanks to Ted Kennedy.

Minimum wage: you earn more thanks to Kennedy

Children’s Health Insurance: he went to bat for the most vulnerable members of our society – children

Kennedy was the driving force behind COBRA - for people in need of health insurance when just fired from a job.

He developed personal relationships with people like a 6 year old child suffering from diabetes who could have benefited from stem cell research. He didn’t just use her in front of the cameras for politics. She first wrote him a letter asking for his help on pushing for stem cell research; he read that letter on the Senate floor. For years he privately corresponded with Lauren Stanford, thanking her for her help and encouraging her in her fight with juvenile diabetes. The public never knew about that.

Christi Coombs, September 11th widow: Kennedy wrote her every year on the anniversary of her husband’s death. She recognized he truly did know what loss she was feeling as he had experienced so much loss in his life. The public never knew about that either.

Ted Kennedy at the Democratic Convention in 2008 - Photo (Mike Segar / Reuters)

Senator Kennedy, kicks off the Democratic Party's national convention Aug. 25, 2008, his was a performance that galvanized the audience, producing a roaring frenzy. The crowd cheered, then wiped away tears for several minutes, then cheered again. They knew Ted was thhe last living Kennedy brother.

He smiled and declared loudly, "My fellow Americans, it is so wonderful to be here." He was alluding to news reports hinting his doctors were hesitant to allow him to travel to the Denver convention.

The Senator continued, "Nothing, nothing is going to keep me away from this special gathering tonight. I have come here tonight to stand with you, to change America, to restore its future, to rise to our best ideals and to elect Barack Obama President of the United States."

Take a look at his long list of accomplishments that affect our lives to the postive!

The Civil Rights Act of 1964
The Voting Rights Act of 1965
The Americans with Disabilities Act
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
The Family and Medical Leave Act
The Fair Housing Act
No Child Left Behind Act
AMBER Alert Notification Systems Funding
The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
The Meals on Wheels Act (elderly)
The Economic Opportunity Act
The Occupational Health and Safety Act
The National Community Health Center Program
The Elementary and Secondary Education Act
The Bilingual Education Act
The Older American Community Service Employment Act
The Low Income Heating Energy Assistance Program
Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Nutrition Program
Title IX of the Education Amendments (female athletes)
Individuals with Disabilities Education
Civil Rights Commission Act Amendments
Civil Rights for Institutionalized Persons Act
Comprehensive Crime Control Act
1985 Anti-Apartheid Act
Employment Opportunities for Disabled Americans Act
The Handicapped Children’s Protection Act
The Fair Housing Act Amendments
The National Military Child Care Act
The 1980 Refuge Act
The Job Training Partnership Act
The Civil Rights Act of 1991
Summer Jobs for Youth Program
The Mammography Quality Standards Act
The National and Community Service Trust Act (created AmeriCorps)
The School-to-Work Opportunities Act
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program
Children’s Health Insurance Program
Work Incentives Improvement Act
The Minority Health and Disparities Research and Education Act
2002 Bioterrorism Preparedness Act
The Pediatric Graduate Medical Education Act
Enhanced Border Security and Visa Reform Act
The Project Bioshield Act
The Family Opportunity Act
The Ryan White Care Act (for AIDS patients)
The Higher Education Opportunity Act
The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act

In honor of Ted Kennedy, President Obama signed a $5.7 billion national service bill April 21, 2009.

The bipartisan Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act strives to open up new service opportunities for millions of Americans, tripling the size of the AmeriCorps service program over the next eight years.

"I'm asking you to stand up and play your part," said the president. Kennedy championed the legislation with Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. Photo (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Senator "Ted" Kennedy changed history in America. He fought against racism and sexism. He championed the poor for equal opportunities for jobs, homes and being able to go to college.

Too many middle class Republican families who foolishly denounce Ted Kennedy do so without full knowledge of how he has benefited their lives. They have been the direct beneficiaries of his humanity.

Among many fights for the middle class, it was Ted Kennedy who fought hard to provide college grant money to middle income families, not just the poor. This generation owes a lot of their successful lifestyle to his endeavors to make America a better country and a better society. Let not his humanity fall on deaf ears to the next generation...

Barack Obama, Senator Ted Kennedy, Democrats, diabetes, Politics, September 11th, America

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

4 Videos: Remembering the Lion of the Senate Ted Kennedy

From Denny: It's an end of an era and the beginning of a new one with the passing of the torch from Senator Ted Kennedy to the next generation. The man certainly paved the way for the next generation of liberal social issue politicians who are as concerned for creating a better and more equal society for all.

The Kennedy legacy is well known worldwide as theirs was a wealthy family strongly involved in politics. They put their money - and their daily work - where their mouth was.

Kennedy's character stain upon his name and legacy came during his alcoholic years and crescendoed with the drowning of an aide in a car accident from which he fled. Much of the public figured he drank so heavily because of the not one, but two assassinations of his political brothers: one, President John Kennedy, killed in 1963, and two, Robert Kennedy was killed as he was running for President in 1968.

What exacerbated his alcoholism was a plane crash in the early sixties where he broke his back and was forever left with extreme pain and that "hunch and shuffle" kind of walk that became so distinctive. Back then there were not the pain relievers available today and many people chose to self-medicate through alcohol. Unfortunately, too much alcohol and eventually a person tips over into alcoholism as did Ted Kennedy.

To his credit, trying to sober up and do right again, that sad accident and tragic death of a young woman startled him into getting his act together. He went hard-charging into social reforms across the board. He led on education and health care reform right up until his death, fighting for better health care for twenty long years. Kennedy fought to shape America's political future for 50 years, leaving a longer-lasting legacy than both of his equally popular brothers combined. He was the brother of which the least was expected and he ended up doing the most for his country.

The lion-like Kennedy championed workers' rights, pushing to constantly raise the miserable minimum wage. He demanded civil rights and voting rights for African-Americans. Kennedy championed womens' rights and helped pushed the womens' movement into the public spotlight and into the heart of the Democratic Party. Lately, he was working on immigration reform in a more positive vein than the Republicans.

For decades his life was threatened by Republican supporters who constantly issued death threats if he ever dared to run for President. Even the military threatened to kill him if he did so. Such was the sixties and early seventies. To his credit, Kennedy ran anyway. He lost to unexpected dark horse Jimmy Carter who later became President Carter. Carter was doomed to become a one term president because he was outmaneuvered by Reagen. Behind his back while he was still President, it was candidate Reagen who traded guns for those American hostages in Iran. President Reagen created the Iranian Revolution and terrorist mess in Iran today from this foolish action. Reagen may have won the Presidency with his back-stabbing of a current sitting President but it's the next generation who had to deal with the consequences.

Senator Ted Kennedy's goodbye words were defiantly declared after that fateful loss to Carter and are appropriate all these years later as his epitaph: "The Work goes on, the Cause endures, the Hope still lives, and, the Dream never shall never die."

Kennedy was 77, passed away on Tuesday night from an extended illness with brain cancer. He will be greatly missed but his work was done. Now it is time for the next generation to lead. Thank you for your service, Ted, thank you, from a grateful nation...

President Obama bestows the Medal of Freedom upon Senator Ted Kennedy

Larry King interviews Kennedy about his life in the Senate back in 2006

Kennedy stood up for Obama when others were hesitant in the Democratic Party. Senator Edward Kennedy, the patriarch of the first family of Democratic politics, died at his home in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts.

alcoholism, President Jimmy Carter, civil rights, college education, health care reform, Senate, Senator Ted Kennedy, voting rights, womens rights, Robert Kennedy, President John F. Kennedy

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Video: Lockerbie Bomber Released by Scotland Unexpectedly, Terrorist Bomber Welcomed as Hero in Libya

From Denny: Talk about cause worldwide outrage at this foolish and insensitive act! Can anything be more wrong than the release of a mass murder on the supposed excuse of "compassion"? Are these people crazy in Scotland? They had plenty more, like over 60 other murderers over the years, they could have released upon the same excuse and yet chose not to, repeatedly. So, why release a convicted mass murderer of over 200 people in the greatest air disaster from a terrorist bombing?

From Gibbs, Obama's Press Secretary, "These news images were outrageous and disgusting."

Scotland claims compassionate release for a man dying of prostate cancer. People, it is rare to die so quickly of prostate cancer as most victims live for decades with it since it's a slow-growing cancer.

To add insult to injury Libya holds a huge celebration for this criminal, national leaders embrace him and there is international news coverage to display his welcome. Libya needs to go back onto the terrorist list along with being out in the political cold and treated harshly with all the available economic sanctions brought to bear. This act of a hero's welcome was repugnant to all decent people who respect the rule of law against murder. Those are some seriously perverted minds in Libya too stupid to realize they just killed all international goodwill for generations to come.

Speculation? Since none of this releasing of a mass murderer makes any logical sense - and sounds like an excuse - maybe we ought to check the bank accounts of all involved and follow the money. If there isn't money, then perhaps there is personal blackmail involved.

Sorry, folks, that Scottish judge explaining his reasoning on the news just didn't look convincing - but rather he looked quite fearful. Unless, of course, he was actually naive enough to not realize the blowback he would get from the families of all the victims and the American government. Can he be that stupid? Sure looks like it's a personal reason for letting out this tried, convicted and judged criminal who is a mass murderer. Something smells really wrong politically in Scotland. What's really going on? Can it be the British govenment made a deal and traded this mass murderer for access to Libya's oil? If true, they will never say so publicly.

Lockerbie, Scotland, terrorist bombing, murder, Libya, NBC, news, video

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Video: CIA Hired Blackwater as Assassins Even While Under Investigation

From Denny: And yet another reason why you don't create a shadow army without legal sanction or Congressional oversight just because you feel like it on a whim like Vice President Cheney and President Bush thought they could do without consequence.

Our American tax dollars went to a mercenary army - built up as large in number as the 160,000 troops we had in Iraq which is why we were spending over a $1 billion a month for the Iraq War - upon which our government and law had absolutely no control or law to restrain, contain or task them appropriately. In short, these guys were junkyard dogs off the leash doing whatever they felt like without risk of prosecution or seeing any jail time.

Yet Bush and Cheney set up the CIA to hire Blackwater back in 2004 anyway as assassins to go after the bad guys in the Iraq War, the top al-Qaeda leaders. Bush and Cheney also ordered these assassins to go after these bad guys not just in Iraq but also in friendly countries where if their presence were detected it would bring considerable "blowback" from those governments with whom America is allied. No reasonable country likes it when they find out spies and assassins are operating in their country: duh!

Read that as the CIA's own para-military knew what Bush and Cheney were doing was one thing: breaking established law - as it must be by Presidential directive each time for each situation to use lethal force abroad - and not at the contractor's (assassin's) discretion or whim. They also knew if they participated they could easily end up as Bush and Cheney's cannon fodder, so they refused to be party to it, hence, the outsourcing of Blackwater to do the dirty work for which government employees like the CIA were bound by the law not to do. Basically, what really happened here under the Bush administration is that the CIA employees told their Air Force boss turned director still in uniform - a real turn-off of the military holding control of what is supposed to be a civilian agency - is they refused the order to break the law. So, Bush and Cheney turned to the illegal mercenaries to break the law for them.

The Bush administration needs to be investigated from top to bottom. There is so much corruption that has yet to see the light of day there on so many fronts. Obama and Holder need to get serious and quit wimping out on the prosecution. Be a one-term President if you must but get some justice for a whole lot of people who were wronged during the Bush years of arrogance and trampling of just sheer decency as well as the "rule of law" as the hypocritical Republicans are so fond of screaming yet never feel applies to them equally.

Blackwater has since changed its name to Xe (sounds like Z) and is also under grand jury indictment. The CEO of Blackwater has stepped down. Most of its contractors have been rehired by our government in other positions like protecting diplomats abroad. There are 5 other contractors on trial for killing Iraqi civilians back in 2007 and a sixth has pleaded guilty. What a legacy of war for hire.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Video: Honoring Eunice Kennedy Shriver Who Honored Special Needs Kids

From Denny: Saying goodbye to Eunice Kennedy Shriver who brought the vulnerable in our society out into the open and gave them long awaited respect and care. Since I have a mentally challenged sister-in-law who became so because of a woefully mishandled hospital birth this lady meant the world to my husband's parents. They were thrilled with the Kennedys and Shrivers when they championed this cause.

Since my sister-in-law's speech center was injured at birth it can take her as long as two weeks to get out a sentence regarding her wishes. Usually, I just take the shortcut and read her on the spiritual level to divine her intent, ask a few short questions to narrow down her intent and then she sighs with relief and nods her head. Virginia is a lot like having a happy 5 year old around with OCD Monk behaviors along with autism. She's great fun, though her facial expressions rarely show it. We get her to laugh often.

I could go on and on about Virginia as I enjoy her immensely as many people do who have "special kids" in their families. The medical challenges can be daunting as it has for Virginia who suffers from severe epilepsy. She's required outrageously expensive medication since she was two years old, the doctors fearing as she's grown older that the next epileptic seizure will kill her.

Well, we just can't live in fear. She's lived longer than the doctors told the parents when she was born. They advised they lock her away in an asylum and forget about her. The parents were horrified and refused. That was too callous an attitude for my very cool mother-in-law, Bonnie, whose Irish was up and marched forward to do something about it. Can I tell you that my mother-in-law was the first special education teacher in Louisiana and helped organize education in the state for others like her daughter?

The terms like retarded, mentally disabled, mentally challenged, special and special needs have evolved over the decades yet Virginia remains forever the same. When she was younger she had a baseball arm like a cannon. The family and Virginia loved the Special Olympics that Eunice Kennedy Shriver founded. Virginia always won first place in any throwing competition. The woman was fierce! :)

A lot of families across America and the world over have gratitude towards Ms. Eunice for bringing so much understanding into the community and relief to families who no longer had to hide their special family members in shame. Take a look at her remarkable life.

Biography, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, mentally challenged, NBC, remembrance, society and culture, kids and teens, special needs, Special Olympics

Monday, August 17, 2009

Videos: Dems Nail the Death Panel Guys on Health Care on Meet The Press

From Denny: Highlights of Meet The Press and health care "debate." The Republicans have really squandered their political capital on their temper tantrums stategy of late to the point the public has had enough and is demanding the President push on past them to get us health care reform now not later. If the Republicans had their way it would be never.

It is easy to understand why people like Dick Armey are rejecting health care reform as he is a lobbyist making millions opposing it. What is amazing is that the average Americans supporting the Republicans are working against themselves for their own futures.

Talk show hosts like Rush and Glenn are multi-multi-multi millionaires and don't need government health care. You can bet they will take advantage of using Medicare and Medicaid when they need it though.

Seems the fastest way to move the health care debate is for the President to sign a Presidential directive taking away the government health care plan all of Congress or just the naysayer Republicans enjoy. Let's see how long they continue to support the big business insurance and drug companies. The day they have to pay as much as regular people do will be an eye-opener.

Here's the real deal: An under estimate years old - before the recent economic chaos of the past two years - the uninsured were guesstimated at 40 million. Well, I've got news for you as there are a lot more than that. Consider an additional 40 million more are insured in health care plans that are not worth the paper they are written upon. They are like the idiot homeowners' insurance on the Gulf Coast where the deductibles are so ridiculously high you will have to declare bankruptcy to pay them. So, the new reality is that almost one third of Americans are not insured. That's almost 80 million to 100 million people, folks. And the Republicans dare to continue their insanity on this? There will be rioting in the streets if this does not get resolved and soon...

This particular segment is chilling in the violent segment of the Republican Party that is sending death threats to Congress and the President. Hear how Gregory ties these protestors to the infamous domestic terrorist Timothy McVay who was executed for his horrific killings of 168 people.

Health care, health care reform, Meet The Press, politics, society and culture

Sunday, August 16, 2009

3 Videos: How Deep Sea Coral Can Help Us Heal and Have Political Ramifications

From Denny: This new discovery and ability to finally start harvesting the ocean floor could easily have global political ramifications mankind squabbles over like any other important resource. Can you imagine Coral Reef Allocation Organizations set up like demi-gods much like OPEC is for oil? What some organization wants in profits could determine whether some ill people get to live or die. So many of science's research and discoveries have been shared willingly with the rest of mankind. Let's make a decision to do the same here in a goodwill gesture and benefit to all.

Until recently the deep sea coral was too difficult for us to reach the ocean floor to explore the possibilities of harvesting for healing benefits. Now we are able to investigate and have discovered many healing properties on the ocean floor. One is the benefit to helping heal a stubborn and highly fatal cancer: pancreatic cancer. We had better get busy on this planet lessening our pollution so we don't kill off what may be our last natural resource for healing such difficult illnesses such as cancer.

We have already devastated the Amazon forest - the lungs of our planet - that held much promise for healing until slash and burn agriculture and logging ravaged the area. These videos hold exciting news!

This video is only available on the web. Some of the beginning footage is the same as video one, keep watching as the detail is worth the watch.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Video: The WHOLE Truth That Happened at the McCaskill Racist Town Hall Meeting

From Denny: As usual the media doesn't show the news clip with the whole story, therefore creating prejudice and feeding into inaccurate views: yellow journalism. Now the truth is coming out about the health care town hall meeting in Missouri with Democrat Senator Claire McCaskill. What everyone saw on the national news is a black woman being "escorted" out, OK, actually she was dragged out by a mob of police; the white people overwhelmingly and enthusiastically cheered her removal.

The black woman and her friend were booed by the room of white people when they came in and sat down with posters. When a journalist asked what was on the poster to elicit such booing and beratement they went to unroll the poster to show the reporter and that's when it happened. What this uncut unedited video proves is that she was attacked by an angry white man who got out of his chair, crossed the aisle and came from her blind spot as she was sitting in her chair with a poster on her lap. HE attacked her! What did the police do? They saw her go to retrieve her poster while the white-haired white man was tearing it up into shreds out of sheer spite.

Who gave him the right to destroy her property in a public place? Who is this guy? Why did a rush of police go to drag her out of the meeting when it was clear she was attacked? Why did only one, count them, one police officer half-heartedly and gently escort the white man away from the scene? Did they arrest him for attacking the black woman? Missouri must be one seriously racist and arrogant state. Glad I don't live there.

Shock of shocks: Even Louisiana isn't that stupid and mean-spirited as the Midwestern part of our country has become. Everyone talks about the South being so horribly racist; looks like the Midwest has taken over that "honor" and beauty queen tiara title. These people should be ashamed of themselves for denying a woman the right to own a poster.

What drugs are they on? Better yet: What drugs do they need to be on for such bizarre excessive belligerance and violence? Sounds like a need for mood enhancers like used for acute depression. Is that what all this racism in the country is really about: mentally ill people who have gone untreated for decades?

So what was the poster? Are you ready for the shocking truth? It was a photo of little ol' lady Rosa Parks. That's it. You have got to be kidding me! No kidding; these folks in Missouri are whacked in the head for that kind of over reaction to a poster. Remember the whole room applauded what that one guy did so they are as guilty and as weird by association - and approval of clear wrong-doing.

racism, politics, Missouri, Breaking News, Senator McCaskill, town hall meetings, news, Denny Lyon, The Social Poets

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

3 Videos: Violent Typhoons Affect 9 Million People in Asia

From Denny: These typhoon stories in Asia began on August 9th and the ramifications are still playing out. Over 1 million people in China had to flee the first day. Hundreds are dead from China, Taiwan, Japan to the Philippines from these two violent typhoons. Over 9 million people have been displaced or affected by these violent storms to date.

As an American teenager living in Taiwan many years ago, I went to an American school on the island. I spent two summers on the southern part of the island country helping medical missionaries for free as my boarding school roommate was the child of medical missionaries.

The second summer was cut short as a typhoon was coming your way off the water and it sure was scary. If you have never seen a typhoon coming at you, well, hurricanes are tame. It looks just like a funnel tornado only it's still connected to the sky and the water, builds up tremendous speed and starts rushing toward the shore: you! It hits with the tremendous force of both wind and water, a double whammy. No wonder you see huge homes on concrete foundations just drop off into the water and sail away in this news footage.

typhoon, Asia, Taiwan, Philippines, China, Weather Phenomena

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Video: Palin Ordered Her Own Health Care Death Panels on the Alaskan Elderly

From Denny: Palin and the caustic Wingnut Party have so incensed reasonable and compassionate people like anchorman Keith Olbermann they have done some Palin research into how she ran Alaska's government health care and it isn't pretty.

Palin was looking for ways to keep the elderly out of state run or partly financed nursing homes and so many were reassessed and kicked out or just plain died while undergoing assessment. Palin is responsible for killing off someone else's Grandmas with her own version of the Alaskan Death Panel as she made these decisions. From the Anchorage Daily News: "In one 2 1/2 year stretch, 227 elderly adults already getting services died while waiting for a nurse to reassess their needs."

Palin strikes me as an alcoholic because of her classic "blaming behavior" and never takes any responsibility for her own decisions. It does make a person wonder about how many in the Republican Party are hard core alcoholics... It's always someone else to blame for this or that. C'mon, at some point the buck stops at her desk. Two words: grow up. And while you're at it: quit drinking, sober up and live smarter.

If this woman is what the Republicans are hanging their hopes on for Presidential material, well, good luck - because they are going to need it. No one with an ounce of logic, compassionate and care for others, anyone who wants affordable health care and a decent job that pays their bills will vote for that level of greed and insanity.

Sarah Palin, Death Panel, Democrats, health care, society and culture, politics, Republicans, Olbermann

Monday, August 10, 2009

Video: Wingnut Politics Against Health Care and Olbermann Answers Palin's Idiot Claims of Health Care Death Panel

From Denny: The Republicans have moved way beyond the status of the Right Wing of Politics. With the recent Birther Movement to challenge President Obama's status as an American born in this country by declaring Hawaii isn't really a state (it is and long before Obama was born there) they have now waded into the even more bizarre waters.

Now they are claiming legislation being developed is "going to kill Grandma" before her time by putting her to death by some Death Panel. As usual, they operate on the increasingly wingnut ridiculous for the weak minds out there who already have a few screws lose or they could spot the obvious about these illogical and unreasonable arguments and finally figure out they are being manipulated into believing lies. As usual, when the grab for political power and wealth is involved the truth becomes the first casualty.

The more sensational and outrageous are the Over The Edge and Off The Cliff Politics screamer claims from the Republicans the more the media enjoys "the fray of raucous politics" as they call it. In my book it's just plain stupid politics of whiners throwing temper tantrums because they can't get their own way and continue to promote hate, racism, greed and lies. The majority of America has said, "Enough!" and voted Obama into the White House.

Here's what Olbermann had to say about the scorched earth politics quitter, now former Republican Governor, Sarah Palin's idiot claims about health care's new Death Panel to put us all to death if we don't measure up. Hmmm... could this be a prophecy? Maybe the Republicans are thinking of doing this to anyone who votes Democrat? Democrats don't even think like this perversion. Usually, the first person to put it out there as a claim is the perverted one hoping "he who lies first gets believed." Now there's a strategy...

politics, Death Panel, health care, Sarah Palin, Olbermann, scorched earth politics

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Video: Hillary in South Africa Tour

From Denny: Hillary was warmly welcomed in South Africa and clearly enjoyed her visit! She has pledged to support South Africa's efforts in Zimbabwe. Clinton also visited with famed leader Nelson Mandela.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Sonia Sotomayor Sworn In Today!

From Denny: Sonia Sotomayor was sworn in today by Chief Justice Roberts in two ceremonies, one private and one public.

Another first is that this is the first time in the Court's history that television cameras were allowed for an oath-taking ceremony.

Sotomayor, a 55-year-old federal appeals judge, was confirmed on Thursday by a 68 - 31 vote. There were nine Republicans who joined the Democratic caucus to support her nomination. Because of his battling brain cancer, Senator Ted Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, was unable to be there to vote, though he has always supported her ground-breaking nomination.

When does Sotomayor begin her new job? The High Court reconvenes in September to listen to arguments about the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law.

So where does Sotomayor fit in the stats and trivia department? She is the 111th person to sit on the Supreme Court and only the third woman. Republicans have been adept at keeping women off the court for decades now. She is also the first Hispanic.

Her public professional history is that in 1992 she was named a district judge by President George Bush 41. Later she was elevated to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals just six years later by President Bill Clinton in 1998. While on the district court she presided over 450 cases.

In her private professional life she had been a partner at a firm as well as an assistant district attorney prosecuting violent crimes.

She has come to the Court with more experience than the Chief Justice and most of the rest of the Court members which is probably why the Republicans fought her rise.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Video: Hispanic Sotomayor Finally Confirmed for Highest Court

From Denny: Apologies, everyone, power outage yesterday due to severe thunderstorms and was unable to complete all my posting... meant to get this video up.

This Democratic President has done more for women in just six months than the last two Republican Presidents ever did in the past 25 years!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Video: Salute to Better Journalism From Walter Cronkite

From Denny: This is news anchor Brian Williams' tribute to the great journalist Walter Cronkite. Cronkite embodied the best of TV journalism. He came from a time when there were those journalists who chose to be of good character and think responsibly about how they affected their viewers by what they said and how they said it.

Today, marketing, huge salaries and big business influences or downright drives the opinions on the news. Where are the affable principled Cronkites now for this generation? When the public quits supporting unprincipled deceptive journalists that's when the media will start delivering what they should have delivered all along: the whole truth, not marketing for a desired effect.

Kudos to those journalists today who have labored in obscurity while maintaining their principles and good character - like the Knight-Ridder newspaper chain speaking the truth during the Bush years when the rest of the media became tame obedient lap dogs. If Obama gets re-elected again it will be interesting to see how many journalists start working up their courage to do better. Let's hope for the best.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Videos: Jailed U.S. Journalists Speak, All Gore Thanks, Obama Comments, Hillary's Role in Diplomatic Mission

First: from Al Gore who thanks Bill Clinton and teams who successfully concluded this humanitarian mission

Second: from journalist Ling who recounts her reaction upon meeting Bill Clinton in North Korea. Thanks everyone for their prayers as they felt those prayers while in captivity and it kept them going through their ordeal.

President Obama comments upon their release:

Hillary Clinton's role in the diplomatic mission as reported by Andrea Mitchell who is traveling with the Secretary of State in Kenya:

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Video: Bill Clinton Retrieves 2 Jailed U.S. Journalists From North Korea

From Denny: For weeks now the State Department has been acting like a real State Department and been quietly negotiating for the release of the U.S. journalists North Korea sentenced to prison for years of hard labor because they were caught sneaking into the country to do a story. Anyone with a brain would know better than to try and deceive a paranoid deceptive government and they paid a high price for their gamble.

Former President Bill Clinton was sent to retrieve the women. All Clinton had to do was publicly reap the fruits of the many background diplomats who did the heavy lifting to achieve this political coup. The former President is the high level status of attention and interaction the North Koreans were seeking. Clinton is known for both his charm and his knowledge of how best to handle difficult situations.

These journalists should count themselves extremely lucky that President Obama was willing to seek their freedom. Under a Republican administration they would have been considered expendable and left to rot in prison for their full terms.

Moral of the story? As an American don't get jailed in a foreign country unless you have lots of friends in high places to pay for your release or there is a Democrat in the White House.

Now the real questions remain: What did Clinton privately promise North Korea? Was it enough to extract a public apology from a heavy weight powerful country? Will North Korea power down on their nuclear ambitions?

For now, North Korea threw a temper tantrum and got the international attention it was seeking by stepping on the faces of two women. Fortunately, Clinton and Obama are class acts and retrieved them.

This video is from early this morning before Clinton's plane had taken off and was in the air. Smart move from the White House not to crow about it until they knew all parties were out of North Korean air space.

This is the video hours later after confirmation from the White House the jailed reporters and Clinton were on their way home to America.

Analysis from CNN Asia correspondent on how this is perceived in North Korea

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Monday, August 3, 2009

Video: Hillary Clinton's Cutting Edge Digital Diplomacy

From Denny: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton goes high tech for the stodgey State Department! She's bringing government out of the Stone Age with cutting edge technology and connecting up with every day citizens here in America and around the world. When she travels to other countries the new techonolgy makes it possible for folks online to ask her questions directly as if they are there in her global town hall. Check out what she's up to from this video. "Two" words: AWE SOME! :)

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Video: Obama's Aides Cautious Over Economy

From Denny: Meet The Press was interesting this Sunday. This video gives a snippet of what was discussed. In the end, only about 10% of the stimulus money has been spent because it takes so long to get going on a big project. Considering the inherited mess from the Republicans who don't believe in government, a slowing down of the rushing freight train metaphor for our chaotic economy is a good sign. We still need to keep up the pressure on the brakes. So far the Republicans have yet to offer much in the way of substance in place of crankiness. Somehow, their credibility on good decisions does not carry any weight in this country.

National Economic Council Director Larry Summers talks with David Gregory of NBC's Meet The Press about the state of the beleagured U.S. economy.

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Sunday, August 2, 2009

3 Comic Strips: Ancient Egypt to Todays Politics Still Crazy

From Denny: Here are three comic strips to enjoy this weekend!

frank and ernest

comic strips, funny photos, political humor

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Trial Charges Against Iranian Moderates Are Flimsy

Free Iran, #IranElections, Political Elections...Image by BL1961 via Flickr

From Denny: These are the petty charges against the Iranian moderates who are members of the opposition party. Looks like the government wants to make sure even a small charge can stick just in case public opinion runs against them. They want to be able to declare victory on the most ambiguous of charges.

Here's the rundown of Regime Paranoia Points:

* acting against national security

* attempting to weaken the Islamic system

* having links with American, British and Israeli agents

* having links with MKO terrorist group

* sending pictures for foreign media outlets to instigate plots

* disturbing public order through rioting

* vandalizing public property

* setting up and attending illegal rallies

and the best for last:

* clashing with security forces - how dare you protect yourself when beaten over the head with night sticks and rifle butts when you are unarmed and in a peaceful demonstration.

Looks like Iran's regime is determined to hold onto power. These charges satisfy the harshest elements in their society. Putting these people away in prison on such flimsy - even childish - charges will not stop the movement but only give it martyrs to fuel the movement.

The opposition has started a fire the government cannot put out. When a person's spirit is on fire for change there is no stopping it. You can sideline people for a while but the inevitable will happen and that government will be dismissed by voters or toppled by a coup.

Iran, United States, Iran moderates, protestors trials, Middle East, National security, British Empire, Islam, Society and Culture, People's Mujahedin of Iran

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