Archive for the ‘politics’ category

Don’t get too excited over North Korea’s demolished nuclear reactor tower

June 27, 2008

North Korea showed a sign of cooperation with the U.S., destroying a nuclear reactor cooling tower today.  According to the Associated Press, Ri Yong Ho, director of safeguards at North Korea’s Academy of Atomic AP photoEnergy Research, hailed the move as a step toward the end of nuclear proliferation.

Before Americans praise this as a victory for U.S. politics and the Bush administration, let’s take a moment of pause.

North Korea is looking for U.S. trade sanctions to be lifted, and this was one minor step toward reaching that goal.  The fact remains that North Korea still has a lot of work to do before the threat of nuclear proliferation and weapons trade is ended.

And who is to really say how many bombs have already been shipped off to other countries?

Hopefully, Bush and his cohorts will handle this situation more gracefully than they’ve handled things in Iraq and Iran.

Supreme Court strikes blow against death penalty

June 25, 2008

The state of Louisiana allows the death penalty, but it won’t get the opportunity to put a convicted ABC News photochild rapist to death, a Supreme Court ruling says.

The 5-4 decision was a blow to the Louisiana Supreme Court, which supported the execution of Patrick Kennedy, who was convicted of raping his 8-year-old stepdaughter.

The Court’s liberal majority stood by the precept that putting people to death is brutal and demeans us as a society.  The conservative minority stuck firm to the notion that heinous crimes deserve heinous penalties.

Regardless of the opinions, at least for now, justice has been done.

iTunes outsells brick and mortar store Wal-Mart

June 22, 2008

In yet another sign of the power of the Internet, Apple Inc. is now America’s top-selling music store.  Apple’s mega-popular iTunes has toppled Wal-Mart, previously number one in selling music.

News like this makes one wonder how long it will be before bloggers pass the New York Times as the top-selling authors in America.

U.S. strike on Iran is not the answer

June 21, 2008

The Science Christian Monitor’s John Cooley seems like he’s right out of Hillary Clinton’s camp, which in the case of handling Iran is not necessarily a bad thing.

In a recent article on Iran, Cooley, who claims that two U.S. Senators have received information about a planned strike against Iran, which has been warned by the Bush Administration numerous times about nuclear proliferation, suggests an alternative plan — diplomacy.

Incidentally, the aforementioned senators, Diane Feinstein and Richard Lugar, deny plans of a U.S. strike.

Sounding a lot like Hillary Clinton, Cooley wants the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia to join forces and work with Iran to create nuclear-free energy sources.

Check out Cooley’s insightful prose.  It makes a lot of sense.

Relax, Obama is just politicking

June 20, 2008

It’s presidential election campaign season, so it’s time for all media to scrutinize every move made by Barack Obama and John McCain. why so frightening?

(I heard that Obama eats sausage links with his fingers and McCain puts his pants on right leg first, both facts bringing skepticism to their leadership abilities.)  Okay, that was a joke; I have to clarify this, because some people don’t know the difference in levity and genuine criticism.

Here is one example of not understanding simple polliticking by the Obama campaign.  The blog post links to a story about Obama’s people asking two women wearing Muslim headscarves to not sit behind a podium, where Obama was speaking.  Granted, this is not the best move Obama’s people have made, but in their defense, they were simply looking out for their candidate.

Obama has been called everything short of Osam Bin Laden’s twin by his detractors; this Muslim link just won’t go away.  So, what’s the most obvious, though maybe not the best, campaign strategy?  Distance Obama from Muslims.  Not that he’s afraid of the association.  Americans are afraid.

In another obvious piece of politicking, Obama called the two women personally and apologized.

Maybe if Americans were less fearful of the Muslim faith, this sort of politicking wouldn’t be necessary.

Colleges’ expectations conflict with No Child Left Behind

June 19, 2008

A Legislative Analyst’s Office report indicates that college students in California are not entering By Rich ConleyCalifornia Community Colleges with the appropriate skills to complete college course work.

What makes this otherwise “old-news” story interesting is that the colleges say one of the biggest problems is that their expectations of the students and the expectations given students in high school don’t always match.

“Our review of CCC’s report and other studies finds a number of systemwide CCC policies and practices that are at odds with generally accepted strategies for improving basic skills education. For example: The CCC system does not clearly indicate to high school students how well their reading, writing, and math skills are aligned with CCC standards and expectations. . . .”

The great irony here is that President Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act, which forces public schools to get students to pass achievement tests based on state standards, does  not seem to jibe with what colleges believe students should know.

Seems the Bush administration left out a key ingredient to its recipe for successfully preparing students for higher education — communicating with the higher educators.

Bush pursues drilling, contaminating environment

June 18, 2008

President Bush will once again ask Congress to approve offshore oil drilling.  Bush and the Republicans continue their tired refrain that our enemies, China and Cuba, are reaping the benefits of drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

Friend or Foe?Bush and his court jesters babble incessantly about how there are 21 billion barrels of untapped oil here in the states and that evil Democrats are robbing Americans of this bounty with a drilling ban.

Of course, the Republicans and the oil magnates don’t want people to know the truth — that these billions of barrels would create enough oil for approximately eight months of use.  (We consume roughly 89 million barrels of oil daily.)

It takes neither a brilliant scientist nor an award-winning economist to understand that the risk of contaminating our environment for seven months of a consumable product is a ludicrous notion. 

All it takes is a little common sense.  But if you read the first sentence of this post, we know common sense is not at work here.

Obama talks Fathers Day, basketball and more with Jimmy Kimmel

June 16, 2008

One more demonstration of Barack Obama’s charisma. If November comes down to a popularity vote, McCain is in trouble.

Feinstein’s bill shows Democratic creativity and sympathy, too

June 16, 2008

Thanks to Sen. Diane Feinstein, Arthur Mkoyan can unpack his bags, indefinitely.A Dream Deferred

Mkoyan, a 17-year-old illegal alien from Armenia, recently graduated from Bullard High School in Fresno as the school’s valedictorian.  Shortly after his commencement, Mkoyan was to be deported back to his home country, along with his family, which includes Arthur’s U.S.-born younger brother.

This family has been here most  of Mkoyan’s life, making Arthur as American as most of his high school friends, save for the fact that they are U.S. citizens and Mkoyan isn’t.  So, valedictorian or not, it was back to Armenia, American immigration law said.

Enter Feinstein, a senator who demonstrates the kind of creativity that is emblematic of the Democratic party, when it comes to protecting those in need.

Although most political pundits will tell you that the new bill Feinstein recently introduced has virtually no chance  of becoming law, her bill, which gives people like Mkoyan the right to avoid deportation, can be introduced yearly until Congress finally resolves the issue.  Knowing how fast Congress moves, the next we hear about Mkoyan may be when he applies for his AARP card.

Meanwhile, at least for now, young Mkoyan is off to college and, hopefully, medical school.

And Diane Feinstein has struck another blow for civil rights in America.


Tim Russert embodied professional politics and journalism

June 15, 2008

As a young journalist, I aspired to be like Tom Brokaw, Katie Couric and eOnline photoDick Enberg.  Growing up, I found these three to be articulate, intelligent and awe-inspiring. 

As the years passed, and my writing broadened into politics, I sought the person who embodied all of the aforementioned reporters and announcers.  Tim Russert was that person.

I first encountered Russert on a Sunday morning TV magazine show.  He and other pundits kicked around political ideology and often “kicked” the behinds of politicians.  Russert, though, always did it in the classiest of ways.

His election coverage was always on the mark, and when he interviewed presidential candidates, he never pulled a single punch.

Russert could hammer away at presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama during a 90-minute debate, then be seen with his arm around Obama, laughing gleefully afterward. 

A beloved son, loving father and international face of policical journalism, Tim Russert will be dearly missed by millions.