The world celebrates the works of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (July 18, 1918 - December 5, 2013)
« December 4, '13
February 2013: President Obama's call for a $9/hr federal minimum wage is a bargaining pitch. $1.75 jump from the current $7.25 is pipedream-ish, considering the challenge it is bound to get from those arguing against a hike. He may settle for $8/hr for now. After a year, when the sky hasn't fallen as a result of $8/hr federal minimum wage, Obama can, to some degree, point to economic improvements resulting from the 75 cents bump and argue for another bump. This gives him the platform and pattern to propose even a third bump before the end of his second term and depart the Whitehouse with federal minimum wage around ten dollars, which I think he will be satisfied with, all things considered. This would then prompt individual states and municipalities that keep local minimum wage above the federal base, to raise in accordance.
|Is Opinion the ---New News?|
|We know traditional newspapers are on the way out. The old New Orleans Times-Picayune recently joined the list of expired print media. Merged with or converted to internet media, or just folding up shop; this is the way of the newspaper business these days. No more ink on the finger, no more ink on your tongue from licking your finger to create that all too familiar page turning saliva gumption. The page is turning on magazines too. Sales for traditional newsstand magazines have plummeted so much, that that particular format actually bested non-glossy newsprints in the race to the computer screen. Today, prior to getting the sports pages in the morning, you've already seen reports on every sporting event replayed on ESPN a handful of times the night before, or fished out specific highlights on your smartphone.
With all the nerds crawling over each other to get apps approved and sold, all the tech companies battling it out on the shelves or in court (like Apple claiming Samsung is making iPhone and iPad knockoffs, or Taiwan's National Cheng Kung University suing Apple for stealing Siri), it's not only important to be first, but to be first in daily revolutions. The speed at which information and communication media is evolving right now, has many folks suspended in a state of uncertainty. Most people still get a chunk of news from TV, as they have for the last several decades, but that number is also skydiving as the new generation takes flight. The major TV networks hardly ever report news anymore they just recap whatever has been churning out of the cable affiliates that attempt to report news all day long.
Lately, even cable news seem to be getting a nudge from operations like Huffington Post, which recently launched its new HuffPostLive format; integrating standard video news and discussion programs with commercials, into the pioneering internet news "paper" which recently merged with AOL in order to up its web potential and capacity. Yet, as hard as HuffPost is trying to keep up, I still sense frustration from its leadership that their new toys keep feeling like old toys by Boxing Day.
Whether it's the TV news or newspaper-turned-internet like CNN.com or NewYorkTimes.com, or web originated outlets like HuffingtonPost or GlobalGrind; they are all trailing behind the flash speed of smartphones and social networks (aka #Following Twitter). It use to be that news would happen, then someone or a crew would go out, report on it and tell the rest of us. Now, before they can warm-up the NewsVan, people on the scene have already tweeted the story with picture and video in tow. In a few seconds, someone on the other side of the world has already glanced at his phone or laptop and soon considers it stale news.
What this leaves us with is an instantly informed public which no longer has a need to read news, so it is left reading opinions, far more than in the past. Opinion Editorials (Op-Eds) are often all that is left to be written, even moments after a story is deemed newsworthy or fresh. No; hardcore reporting is not dead by any means. There will always be a place for researched stories and deep coverage that employ painstaking journalism. Journalists who are embedded in warzones, dodging bullets; the investigative chipping away which leads to breaking stories in other areas, will always be unique and irreplaceable. What is being replaced, is how the information gets disseminated. For the most part, reporters don't chase news anymore. They wait for news to come to them; knowing that the news probably got to the public around the same time and also knowing that what they have left is the discussion aftermath. Robbed of the opportunity to be the news breaker and competing with social networks for airtime.
Careers are being built on Opinion Journalism now. There is value in the not-so-instant availability of different viewpoints on issues. There is even a confidence boost in reading and hearing viewpoints which are in sync with our own. Even with the over saturation of websites and blogs offering people's take on everything under the sun, if we pay attention, we happen upon a good read from time to time. This is when we put the 'favorites' function to work. Chances are, a compelling opinion writer, is worth reading or hearing, on a range of topics.
Opinion has always had a chair at the news table. That chair has morphed into a bench. The other segments of the traditional newspaper and magazine are stuck in a chaotic game of musical chairs. Meanwhile, internet news is using opinion reporting to find its sea legs.
MoD™ Family presents...Brooklyn's young Rising Star:
From: Michelle Obama
Response to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Healthcare Reform & Childhood Obesity
Dear Editor --
When you hear about the new health reform law these days, too much talk is focused on the political.
What I've found is that most Americans just want to know how this new law helps their families stay healthy -- and how it reduces their costs. Click here to read full letter
NFL - WTF
"My initial reaction to American Football was.. WTF?.. looks like pointless violence. Now i feel that way about #MMA @UFC, etc." (recent tweet) - MoD Editor
And I do mean pointLESS. As a boy, I watched as giant men (padded though they were) dived for each others legs, smashed into each other at maximum speed with multi-player crashes and what seemed like total disregard for impact. The rules have been tweaked a bit since then but it's the same game. Nowadays, with faster, bigger, stronger players. I watched as minutes ticked off the clock and quarters changed. Still they collided; exchanging possession of the ball several times but, still no points.
"What madness," I thought... "There's a very good chance that when I figure out the rules and goals of this game I will be even more pissed off than I am, watching these battles with no victories." Yet, my desire to decipher the clash of gladiators, was palpable. Then a player popped a knee, or fractured a rib or something and I thought~ "madness! madness I tell ya."
Quickly, I learned. I was indoctrinated. Captivated by a New York Giants Championship. I have seen a lot of football since then. And a lot of changes to the game. I have bled green -j e t s-, soaked up super bowl commercials, seen franchises die and resurrect. I have called it church, set my schedule around it and even played some...of the not-so-hard-hitting variety. I have screamed at the TV, thrown my drink at the field and called in to work sick. I even use it to teach children teamwork and responsibility (again, of the not-so-hard-hitting variety).
What madness! I think, as I watch these people beat the crap out of each other. Kicks to the head, groin, whatever. No padded gloves like they use in boxing, no head gear. Just an all-out kick-ass fight that looks like some type of to-the-death struggle. This is what I think as I see clips, advertisements and pictures of Mixed Martial Arts UFC type bouts. These fight-club style duels have saturated movie culture, captivated children and taken to the streets and public parks. Here, I refuse to care about the rules, or if my mind is exaggerating what my eyes are seeing. Here, it doesn't matter what the rules are because the nakedness of violence is loud. Points and victory are no mystery, even to a novice. It is not difficult for me to see the purer barbarism overshadowing whatever the glory may be; or to figure out if the fans tolerate the violence because there is some grand design I don't yet realize.
With American football, there iS a grand design; one small army of men battled against another for territory, on that screen. And points were bound to come. Eventually, the hits were not as violent as first appeared and there seemed to be enough rules and pads in place to protect from the inevitable injury I expected every time the ball was snapped during my early WTF moments. Now I watch as broken players get carted off the field and bullets bore bodies--off the field. I have been conditioned to see pass the brutality that used to make me cringe as running backs charged ahead like crash dummies. As I said...indoctrinated.
NFL football is dangerous. But we love it anyway. Nobody loves it more than the players themselves. Concussions happen regularly, as brains bounce around inside skulls (despite upgrades in head gear and rules of combat). These concussions have a variety of negative initial and lasting effects. A growing number of ex NFL players are committing suicide; some intentionally sparing their brains for post-mortem examination.
Head injuries certainly do not account for all the damage that players' bodies are taking. The list of players and injuries grow every season. So WTF does America's number one fan sport, built on billions of dollars do now? Just keep playing I guess. Tweak the rules, change the helmet material, pray for better medicine, collect the money and just keep keeping on.
|Is Independent the New Cool?|
| Notice the way people say it while straightening the shoulders and lifting the chin. Like they've graduated to a higher plane of political awareness. "I'm an Independent, actually", pronouncing it like a badge of freedom. Simply voting for the better candidate can be cathartic and is always a good way to send a message to politicians who think they own your vote. It doesn't bode well however, when the fair people in government give up.
At least forty-three elected members are leaving the U.S. House of Representatives, mostly blaming their departure on partisan gridlock and childish bickering among the 'do-nothing' Congress which is tilted in numbers toward the Republican party and seemingly focused on making sure the Executive branch of government is ineffective. This exodus is enhanced by an unusual number of U.S. Senators retiring with a hearty good riddance and a similar frustration of not being able to serve their true purpose as lawmakers and stewards of the people. Whether other factors such as the inability to raise or make money in the stalemate political climate, at a rate they expected, play a role in some of these politicians' departures, is difficult to attest to. One thing is for sure. Some are fed up with being outcasts because they are willing to cross party line to get good work done in the face of peer pressure.
Considering that the main focus of party politics, fundraising, has been overrun in the last few years by rulings such as Citizens United and SpeechNow.org v. FEC, surges of money from single donors and new superPACs now infuse political campaigns without the traditional footwork of actual fundraising. Grassroots efforts are a necessary ingredient in the stew of democracy, but grassroots by definition, merely refer to a stage in a movement. Most, if not every movement aspires to be grand. A movement worthy of declaring itself or being declared a Party power, in the arena of national politics, has grown beyond roots.
The rise of Tea-Party-like entities has been wearing down the tether of the Republican Party as Democrats grow more frustrated with the feeling that they exist only to provide fodder for the GOP and opportunities to freeze government. The Democrat party has not been burdened with any official strain or fringe sector, perhaps because it has been somewhat timid and reactionary until recently. It has awarded itself the moral highground for now. There is an understanding, that legislative constipation is the dirty works of the other side, and particularly its fringe elements. 43 members from both parties however, are done trying. Many of them too discouraged about wasted opportunities on Capitol Hill at a time when bold steps may be what is necessary to finally yank the American economy out of the ditch.
Getting things right for the People isn't something to fight over, it is something to work out. It requires compromise, not gang mentality. I listened to rally cries at a state Democratic function recently and agreed; yes I see the racism. Yes I see how they cheat. Yes I see how the system is rigged. Yes I see how they feed the rich and starve the poor...CONTINUE
Huey P. Long Legendary
Governor (1928- '32) Senator (1932 - 1935) state of Louisiana.
Defender of the 96% Charismatic Champion of wealth redistribution from the filthy rich to common folk. Created the Share Our Wealth program in 1934 with the motto:
"Every Man a King", Nicknamed:
'The Kingfish' assassinated September 1935 as he prepared to challenge Franklin D. Roosevelt for USA Presidency.
A Sanford Son - Vigilante vs. Stranger-Danger (#Trayvon)Fifties Fading Father
American Muslim in the Holy War |
Eradicating Stupidity |
Crisis of Confidence |
Wilbon's Olympic Gold |
Michelle Obama's Letter
Is Independent the New Cool?
PayPhones & Cowboys in the 2012 Race for POTUS
Barack ~No Exchange No Refund
America's Role in the Arab Spring
The Truth About Fast & Furious
Exposed: Corps. Behind 'SYG'
Negotiating with Terrorists
ESPN Top Stories
Jeremy Lin & The New NBA
Elephants Painting Pictures
MoD Music BeatBox
NFL Bounty Killers & more
Contact: Send your comments, suggestions and inquiries to email@example.com
Obama's Syrian Destiny
Deciding not to Duck the Dilemma
(updated Sept. 6, 2013 / 10AM,EST)
The threads of time, knitted into a Persian rug. Decades of worldwide events, deposit us into this moment and Barack Obama's own mind is split, on a matter that may very well decide the fate of this planet. To strike, or not to strike. He knows he must state publicly, that Syrian headman Bashir al-Assad, needs to have his bell rung. Someone must cripple Assad's ability to wield a free military wand; especially if that wand occasionally points at chemical weapons ...against civilians no less! But Obama also knows that most people in his United States, is weary of its military action, especially in the Arab region. Many Americans are as divided as their President, wondering about the endless possibilities after a military strike against Syrian targets. What will be the ultimate response from Russia, Iran, Hezbollah, eventually Israel and the like? Doing the 'right' thing, especially when only France appears to have your back, could develop into an international disaster.
There is the message that needs to be sent about the use of chemical / nuclear weapons, and how the sane world will or will not tolerate it.
There is the question of who? shall be the world police. Many voices from inside the USA insist, iT ought not be that enforcer, for it sets itself up as the Sheriff who must be shot; and in this case, there seem to be no Deputies. The United Kingdom (Britain) is opting out on this one. Britain's Parliament is still licking wounds from Tony Blair's wingman role to George W. Bush in the whole Iraq war saga. If the USA can count on ANYBODY to ride shotgun, especially when the fight is in the Middle-East region, it is the British government. But the English has forced me to start another sentence with the word 'but' and use a comma before the word 'because', because they said: fuck tha! you on ur own, 'merica".
There is that recent history of Iraq and Afghanistan, and where the current US president had staked out position on these mega-military dramas. Terms have evolved between his appearing on the big stage, and now. His responsibilities are far different. It is not as easy to draw a straight line between his ethics, and his decision. As the cartoon image (upper left) indicates, the Periwinkle Line has gotten quite Squiggly. He can't be the guy who turned a blind eye to the atrocity of children being poison-gas to death while calling for his help. He can't be the guy who starts World War III by trying to help.
There is the real possibility of the US Congress voting No on any strike against Syrian regime targets, at this point in time; despite the commitment to strike, that Obama has already made, verbally. There is his credibility (which is very important, for many reasons we might get into some other time) that could crumple, depending on how things unfold.
There is the 'Arab Spring', and how that seems to be turning into the unpredictable realizations of a process that was always destined to be, well, ..f-ck-d up.
Pictures of anti-government rebels executing Syrian regime soldiers and dumping them in pre-dug holes, counter images of people suffering from Assad's poison gas attacks. This does not help the call for action, from those who believe there must be external intervention. In fact, it solidifies the argument that; the content of all the characters involved in the current Syrian civil war, is pregnant with unknowns. The Good-Guys have not been distinguished from the Bad-Guys.
There is the United Nations (UN), and itS credibility, after pleading the fifth, much like England, albeit for less dignified reasons. The UN and NATO are hand-tied because Russia, for example, wants to leave Bashir al-Assad alone to gas children to death, at will. So these worldwide organizations will not get the necessary votes to sanction effective group intervention to do something about the world's latest rogue madman who considers an entire nation, his domain, to rip apart at will.
There is the Arab League -- Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and the like. What will they do if events escalate? What about the effect on civil unrest and turmoil in an unstable and important Egypt, that is currently mired in anarchy. The tangents, yes, they are a many.
Right now though, there is Barack Obama, who basically opposes war, unless danger is eminent at home. How far is he willing to go? Is he prepared to defy the U.S. Congress if it votes no on the issue? What will US cruise missiles actually strike, in Syria? Wouldn't the Syrian regime have targets stashed among civilians? Will there be majority unmanned drone strikes? Will U.S. action extend existing conflicts, and/or lead to new ones? Will Assad double-down on the fight and use chemical weapons again?
Perhaps, this is an opportunity for the world to learn, how to surgically strike and disable a despot like Asssad's capability to kill people via unspeakable methods (not that method measures the worth of life). With the technology developed, the intelligence provided by a post 911 dragnet, and the forethought of a General Barack, a result could be achieved, which kills 0 to few civilians and set off the avalanche that unseats Assad. The international agreement, to not tolerate chemical warfare has been around for a long time, relatively speaking, but there is no "how to" guide on record.
He wishes he could remind Americans that the "how to" guide that has changed, is how to fight war, the way he reminded Mitt Romney in a debate; "..we also have fewer horses and bayonets..".To remind the world that the USA probably won't need boots on the ground, even if the situation escalates after a missile strike at Syrian targets, is to remind the world that America thinks it can crush you from a distance, without getting actual hands dirty; without risk of strike(s) against its homeland. This.. could foster more anti-USA fervor ..more hate, for the "great satan".
Here is Obama (with Rwandan genocide still fresh on his mind), who's already said he'll strike; but then, he's waiting to hear what Congress thinks first. Here is Obama, who mentioned War almost 40 times in his Nobel PEACE Prize acceptance speech. Standing among us, as the man of the moment; the mysterious man of the moment; maybe isn't such a mystery at all. Even doves, draw a line somewhere.
The Evolution of a Poem
[This poem has been tweaked several times since being written and published. It will probably be tweaked again]
Cornered Time in a time warp once.
Captured Time and made it dance.
Tied a noose around its neck.
Tortured Time, almost to death.
[Tomorrow was its saving grace
as Time and I stood face to face.
And for a time as Time stood still
I heard the bell~I felt the chill.
Big hand ticked~to throw a punch
I clocked its dome~its tower crunched]
I knew that if I let Time go
I'd lose the fight to make Time slow.
Then off with lightening at its feet
Time would be too hard to beat.
Circles 'round me Time would run.
So I shot Time down with a rusty gun.
Sp!tn B'tween Ra!ndrops
Obama Administration picking lower hanging fruits like Women's rights, Gay rights, Immigration and other things that garner more public consensus and can be affected through Action from the President via Executive Order. Changing the American social landscape and power lanes, while "filling the stat sheet" (sports metaphor). Although these issues are not "easy" to navigate, they keep the progressive train chugging ahead with marked accomplishments while the administration continues to tackle gorillas in the room like: USA Economy & Tax Code | 21st century Pentagon | Peace & War | Healthcare & Guns | Energy | new Industries & new Jobs. Wow! Full plate. There will be lots of leftovers for Obama and OFA to nibble on, in post-POTUS life... Education | Prisons | Drugs | Poverty | Environment | Climate Change...
USA Democratic party has a conundrum. How might people like Maryland's Governor Martin O'Malley primary against icons like Hillary Clinton or Vice President Joe Biden in a race for the 2016 Whitehouse? And forget about Clinton vs. Biden... awkward!
Hopefully, either Biden or Clinton is making it clear behind the scenes to other Democrats considering a 2016 run, that his or her hat is not in the ring.
|Crisis of Confidence
Excerpts from original series published in the heat of the crisis
(September, 2008) ..While watching the Olympics I saw an AIG commercial in which they boasted of its size, power and ability to make my life more financially secure. Later that evening, while on a midnight snack run, I stopped to get some $4 per gallon gas. I must have missed the AIG guy standing next to the pump offering me some of his money...
..result of a hands off, Laissez-Faire, no regulation, free market system. This may be the proof in the pudding; the verdict, on what ultimately happen when this old, eagerly professed and defended philosophy is applied to an economy as vast as what the United States' has become...
...The test period has run its course on trickle-down economics and the result is rolling in right before our eyes. Our current troubled economy is the rebellious teenage version of “Reaganomics.” We let it continue and we will eventually have a bearded monster sitting on our lap...
...The pyramid scheme on Wall Street simply amounts to fraud in too many instances. Instead of going to jail for deceptive business practices in new, innovative, unprecedented ways, criminals are getting bankrolled by the very people they have taken advantage of.
...When Wall Street firms and their investors are making record profits like oil companis, they are never interested in sharing the wealth and even lobby for adjustments to tax laws in an effort to keep more of the wealth. However, when the investments go south the burden is shared with all tax payers, even those who have no direct stake and earn no immediate profits from the financial marketplace. The big players know the risks when they play. The insurance companies and mega lenders knew they were playing with fire with the sub-prime/back-loaded mortgages, the loans without collateral, no down payment, insuring entities which have not proven true long term value... Their eyes were wide shut and their conscience shut tight... >>
The fat, greedy, cry-baby America we had become needed a dose of reality, not Ritalin. America needed a spanking, not a time-out.>>