Monday, May 30, 2011

Take That! Newsweek...

(Hat tip to  JoeMyGod)

Earlier this year,  Newsweek  Magazine ran a piece  entitled  "America's Dying Cities..."   One of the cities it named  was  Grand Rapids, Michigan, which came in at  number ten on  their list,

Being from  Madison, Wisconsin originally,  I normally would not mind the national media  engaging in a bit of Michigan bashing, but this seemed to be hitting below the belt.

Many cities in the U.S. are struggling to  recover from the  recession , but to  label a city as "dying"  is a bit much.

The good people of Grand Rapids seem to agree.  They responded to  Newsweek's  death notice for their city  with the following  video.

Now I know  lots of people  who really hate this song, (I'm not none of them, but I will grant that is one of those tunes that should be forever banned in Karaoke  bars..)   But you have to give props to the folks in Grand Rapids.   The video is brilliant....

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Reaching Out to an Old Friend...

Back in 1995  at  the University of Wisconsin  I met  a remarkable  man named Kevin Robinson.  He was at UW on a fellowship to the UW Law School.   We  hit it off immediately, our mutual  love of politics led to a great friendship and hours of spirited debate.  

 When our paths parted in  1997  we promised to keep in touch.  Over the years  this became something of a running joke,  as we invariably would lose touch and track of each other  for  two or three years, then one of us would  stumble upon the other's contact info and fire off a note  or voice message.  This would lead to hours on the phone or  instant messenger catching up.  

Today,  I was going through some old emails  and found a chat log  from my last conversation with Kevin in late 2008.   Smiling to myself  I thought,  "well, it's been two and half years, time to catch up!"  Remembering that Kevin was teaching at  Bryn Mawr College,  I went to the Bryn Mawr website to track down Kevin's email ...

What I found on the Bryn Mawr website was this..

Posted February 12, 2010

The Bryn Mawr College community is struggling to come to terms with the loss of Assistant Professor of Social Work and Social Research Kevin J. Robinson, who died unexpectedly last weekend at the age of 40. The community was notified with an e-mail from President Jane McAuliffe, who described Robinson as a “treasured colleague” whose loss is deeply felt.
Dean Darlyne Bailey of Bryn Mawr’s Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research has announced that the College will host a memorial event to celebrate Robinson’s life and work on Sunday, March 14, from 2 to 4 p.m. in Thomas Great Hall. members of the Robinson family will join the Bryn Mawr community as it remembers him.
A small funeral service for family, friends, and fellowship will be held on Friday, Feb. 19, at 7 p.m. at the Watkins, Garrett and Woods Mortuary, 1011 Augusta Street, Greenville, South Carolina 
Robinson’s sunny, gregarious personality and unusual ability to forge meaningful connections with others made him especially well suited to community-based participatory research (CBPR), his preferred method of study. In CBPR, researchers consult members of the populations they propose to study before framing research questions and designing experimental protocols.
“The community drives the research,” Robinson explained in an interview two years ago. “They set the priorities and have an interest in the findings and the dissemination of the findings.”
At the time of his death, Robinson was at work on a project funded by the Centers for Disease Control, in which he partnered with the Philadelphia Health Management Corporation and the The Colours Organization, Inc., a service and advocacy group for LGBT communities of color in Philadelphia. 
Its hard to  describe the range of emotions I have been feeling this afternoon.   Shock,  sadness, and yes, intense guilt  for  allowing  too much time to go by before I reached out to an old friend.    As I sit here  and type this,  I can almost hear  Kevin say  "David Paul... don't get  all deep and moody on me!"    Yet  it's  damn hard not to... 

What  stands out most for me today is the painful truth that in this age of  Social Media,  "keeping in touch" can't  be  a matter of   Facebook Friends,   Twitter Following  or  Linkedin Connections.   It  has to be real, it has to be personal  and it has to be human.

If you have a friend in your life who you haven't spoken with recently,  a wonderful friend who  tends to  pass in and out of  your "real time" life every so often like a comet on an irregular trajectory.   Please,   take a moment  grab that comet by the tail and pull it in  for a hug,  a phone call,  or even just a "hello" over a cup of coffee.  Don't allow that friendship to slip out of reach. 

My deepest  (albeit belated) condolences  to all who were blessed to have had Kevin in their lives.  I know I was.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Put on Your "rapture jammies" kids! The end is neigh!

In  all the  news  of  Wills and Kate getting married, Osama Bin Laden getting what he deserved, and various and sundry  Republican  wannabees  deciding NOT to run  for President;  I have been woefully remiss in mentioning the BIGGEST news story of them all!

*ahem*   THE WORLD IS GOING TO END   THIS SATURDAY!!  ....   No really.    Seriously,  a crazy guy said so on the internet, so it must be true!

Here we go again...   Harold Camping, (the loony tune 'Lurch the Adams Family Butler',  of Wingnut Radio,) is saying  (again) the world is going to end.  But wait it gets better!    Apparently  the  REASON the end of the world is happening now, is  because  San Francisco  is full of  .....   THE GAYS!

(via JoeMyGod)
The San Francisco Chronicle reports today that End Times proponent Harold Camping credits gay pride events and same-sex marriage for hastening the arrival of Saturday's rapture. Camping also says that 200 million Christians (only) will ascend to heaven in three days (time zone by time zone, beginning at 6PM, you'll recall) with the rest of us to be turned into pillars of salt, destroyed by earthquake, or burned alive in a hail of sulfur. All that will take place over the next five months because the Earth itself isn't scheduled to explode until October 21st.

The funny bit? When I hear or read nonsense like this, part me thinks, "wait.... we all get five months where the world will be  free of all the rapture wing nuts? Cool!" 

 In all seriousness, I can actually understand why these people are so eager for the world to end. The real world scares these people, a lot. I mean think of it, Women voting, freedom of expression and thought all over the place. All that "science stuff" that contradicts their views on ....well, everything. On top of all of that, there's this black guy in White House!

So, I guess if I was a bigoted,  reality-challenged half-literate moron, who believed the Earth is only 6000 years old, and was convinced the Human Race started with two fully formed people named Adam and Eve.  Who rode around a garden on dinosaurs chatting it up with talking snakes?  The 21rst Century would probably scare the crap out of me too.

So to my friends in the SF Bay Area, when you see Harold Camping and his tens of devoted followers, camped out in downtown Oakland, all  waiting to get "Beamed Up" to wing nut never-never land.  Smile as you walk by and say "Have a nice trip!" You'll make their day. Which is a warm memory they all are going to need, when the world is still here, come Sunday Morning.   
Take it away  Criswell....

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Yeah, I know... I haven't posted in a while...

Getting settled  here in London,  finding my way around at my new company  and just  life  in general has  gotten in the way of  posting.  Sorry about that.    Needless to say   there  has been lots of news.

Being an ex-pat again is an interesting experience.   Watching  things  in the U.S.  from  this side of the Atlantic is always  both a new, and  enlightening perspective.    As the  bigoted, hate-filled  Moron-a-thon  that is  the GOP Presidential Primary season  gets under way,  We take moment to  introduce our GOP 2012 hopefuls...

We have examined previously the glorious bucket of extra-crispy crazy that is former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. His latest bit of fun and mentally unbalanced frolic is his own warped version of "School House Rock" where kids can learn Huckabee's own personal version of American revisionist history. The videos are neo-con schlock on a scale so nutty that it has to be seen to be believed.

UK politics here in even  at its nuttiest  is nowhere  near  as insane as what now passes  for  normal in the  American GOP

UPDATE - Mike Huckabigot   rides the  WAAAAAmmmublance   about how  he can't run for President, because the vast overwhelming majority of the  reality based world realizes  he is a complete nutjob.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Oh joy

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Monday, May 02, 2011

Cue the Painful Squirming on the Right...

 It's a tough day to be an Obama Hater.... But you have to give the wing nuts credit for tryin....
(via Huffington Post)

WASHINGTON -- Most reactions from Republican leaders to news of Osama bin Laden’s death emphasized the U.S. military’s role or praised former President George W. Bush, while downplaying President Obama’s role in the seismic event...

Speculation already abounded Sunday night that bin Laden’s death by U.S. Navy SEALS in Pakistan would be a huge political boon for Obama. Republicans tried to give the president just enough credit, without giving him too much.  

Republican leaders in Congress varied in how they credited the president.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) did not mention the president, saying that America was “grateful for the heroic efforts of the many men and women around the world who have fought and who are still fighting to protect the world from terrorism. Though they may never make the headlines, we are ever mindful of their many sacrifices.”

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) thanked Obama after the military and additionally thanked Bush.   House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said Obama had “followed the vigilance of President Bush in bringing Bin Laden to justice.”

Bush himself said Obama had called him Sunday evening to share the news and that he had “congratulated him and the men and women of our military and intelligence communities who devoted their lives to this mission.”    

Obama, in his nine-minute speech from the White House Sunday evening, mentioned Bush only once, remarking that Bush had expressed after 9/11 that the U.S. war against al Qaeda was not a war against Islam.
So let's take just a moment to remember the "vigilance" of  former President George W. Bush....

Osama Bin Laden is Dead

"I've never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure." -Mark Twain

President Obama addresses the nation and the world...

The news of the  operation in Pakistan  that  finally  took out the  world's  number one terrorist, was greeted here in  London  with  a sense of relief.   Also, with a undercurrent of  concern that the  scenes of  jubilant  celebration  in the United States, while completely  understandable, could serve as  a rallying cry and recruitment tool for  Al-Queda leaders  who  are still at large.    That being said,  I for one  am quite happy the bastard is dead.

The President's speech hit all the right notes.   President Obama payed tribute to those who died,  those who served and continue to serve and  restated the  truth that  the United States is not at war with Islam.  Taking care to again  draw the distinction  between violent extremists,  and  a religion  that billions of people around the world, including in the United States,  peacefully follow.

Yet even  now,  there  are  people in the United States who just cannot get past their personal hatred of President Obama and the Democratic Party.  A former university classmate of mine, and neo-conservative blogger  just  couldn't help himself,   when he  posted on Facebook  how he was glad  President Obama  hadn't  "given up on the War on Terror, like many in his party wanted him to."   

There is no way you can  respond to something that irrational, that mindlessly  partisan  and  that  demonstrably  false.  So  you shake your head,  click  "unfriend"  and join the rest of the world in the reality-based community.

As much as the scenes of  celebrations in New York might make some people uncomfortable;  the sense of euphoria at "ground zero" is understandable.

I remember 9/11/01  very well.   I was actually on an airplane.   I was flying from Chicago to Houston for work, when about 20 minutes into the flight we suddenly turned around and returned to  Chicago.   The pilot assured us  there was nothing wrong with the plane, but that the FAA was grounding all air traffic.   Everyone onboard assumed it was a problem with the  Air Traffic Control system at Chicago's Midway and O'Hare airports, which had experienced problems earlier in the week.  It wasn't until we got into the terminal,  we saw CNN and  found out what had happened.

So  with so many people around the world,  I am relieved and  happy to hear  the news that Osama Bin Laden is gone.   At the same time,  mindful that  the violent extremist ideology  he championed,  is still very much alive.  We owe it to those who have died  to  continue to be vigilant.  

Yet if today's  news  shows us anything,  it is  proof  that  the aims and tactics of terror groups like Al-Qaeda  will, in the end,  only result in the terrorists own violent demise.