Jan 30 2007

Barack Obama Criticizing Bush on Katrina Recovery

Category: 2008 Election,PoliticsTim @ 8:53 am

On the pre-campaign trail, Senator Barack Obama made a stop in New Orleans on Monday and took some shots at the Bush administration:

Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama toured hurricane-scarred New Orleans on Monday after criticizing the White House for the slow pace of recovery from storms that hit the Gulf Coast almost a year and a half ago.

”There is not a sense of urgency out of this White House and this administration,” Obama said during a Senate committee hearing on the response to hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

He also took the opportunity to step-up the pressure by saying:

Obama echoed that criticism, noting that Bush had traveled to the city shortly after the disaster and had promised to do “what it takes … as long as it takes” to rebuild New Orleans.

But “17 months later, we heard not a single word, not one word in President Bush’s State of the Union address,” Obama said. “Those of us who are concerned all across the country wonder if we’re in danger of forgetting about New Orleans, and that’s shameful.”

The scale of the Katrina devastation is something a lot of us cannot easily comprehend. The miles upon miles of devastation just does not fit on our TV screens. When you add to that the images of a “reborn” New Orleans with a sold-out Superdome and the numerous commercials to “come back to New Orleans” you get the impression that things are fixed. I believe the efforts to promote business as usual are running contrary to the need for more assistance.

I’m going to New Orleans in a month and looking forward to seeing the situation for myself. I was last there a couple of months prior to Katrina and went down to the Astrodome and met survivors when they came to Houston. A part of me is looking forward to seeing the real New Orleans and a part of me is afraid of what I will see.

Perhaps like the Bush Administration, I have stopped thinking about how much is still left to be done.


Jan 29 2007

Stephen Colbert Explains the AT&T Breakup

Category: Humor,VideoTim @ 8:53 am

If you’ve every wondered what happened to AT&T, check out this story by Stephen Colbert:

That makes everything clear to me.


Jan 29 2007

Hillary Clinton: Bush, Clean-up Your Iraq Mess

Category: 2008 Election,PoliticsTim @ 8:42 am

Hillary Clinton is in Iowa this week and has started her campaign with a charge to George Bush, clean-up you mess before you leave office:

US presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton said president Bush had made a mess of Iraq and it was his responsibility to “extricate”the US from the situation before he left office.

It would be “the height of irresponsibility” to pass the war along to the next commander in chief, she said in her first presidential campaign tour through the early-voting state of Iowa.

Clinton.jpg

During her address, a reporter asked if she has the ability to stand-up to “evil men” around the world and she had this to say:

“The question is, we face a lot of dangers in the world and, in the gentleman’s words, we face a lot of evil men and what in my background equips me to deal with evil and bad men,” Clinton said. She paused to gaze while the audience interrupted with about 30 seconds of laughter and applause.

Meeting later with reporters, she was pressed repeatedly to explain what she meant. She insisted it was a simple joke.

I heard this sound-bite this morning and thought it was pretty funny. Her comic timing was pretty good and everyone in the room knew who she was talking about. However, I’m not sure it was wise timing for her to make the reference. One of her stronger points is the experience she has over others like Obama. If you attack the man who gave you the experience, I’m not sure that’s such a good thing for her campaign.

On the other hand, you have to love a politician with a sense of humor; even a little sense of humor.


Jan 29 2007

Texas: No-Pass, No-Play, Well Maybe…

Category: Parenting,Youth SportsTim @ 8:10 am

In 1984, the Texas legislature passed the “No-Pass, No-Play” bill that sent a message to high school athletes, band members, and all extracurricular participants; if you don’t make passing grades, you will not be participating in sports/activities. As a parent of a high school athlete, I applaud this act and the message it sends to our kids that grades come first.

Of course, over the past 23 years, loop-holes have developed. On Sunday, the Dallas Morning News had a very interesting story about how schools are finding the exceptions to No-Pass, No-Play:

UIL records show students in many other districts could easily craft a schedule in which nearly all of their classes are exempt from no-pass, no-play.

The state lets districts exempt Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, dual-college enrollment and other top-level classes.

On top of that, school boards are allowed to add courses to their no-pass, no-play exemption lists as long as they label them as somehow “advanced” or “honors.”

The districts must submit their exemption lists to UIL, but no one reviews the lists and districts don’t need to update them every year. Districts can also ban exemptions.

“There is kind of a broad range of allowance there,” said Bill Farney, executive director of UIL. “We don’t have a master list of courses they can and cannot exempt. Trying to make one rule fit everybody ends up with some discrepancy and some difference in interpretation or application.”

Once again, we’ve taken a simple concept and destroyed it with exceptions. Out one side of our mouths we are saying, “everyone must get good grades” while the other side says, “except for you.”

I understand the other side of this argument. I know there are kids who are only in school for athletics and they may be “lost to the streets” if they cannot play. I also understand the roll of tradition and sports in the psyche of many Texans. I think we need to realize what effect this has on the kids. Making exceptions like this says to kids, there is always an exception, you just have to find it.

In schools where No-Pass, No-Play is working, you have coaches/sponsors actively checking grades, creating study periods, developing mentoring programs, communicating with parents, and doing whatever they can to keep the kids engaged. I’ve seen schools celebrate the student athlete as the student first and the results of that emphasis is a well-balanced kid.

How can we feel any outrage at professional athletes behaving as if the rules don’t apply to them when we teach them that from the beginning? Do you really think Terrell Owens had to pass all of his classes?


Jan 29 2007

Nancy Pelosi – Dick Chaney Blink Off

Category: Humor,Politics,VideoTim @ 7:25 am

Letterman had some fun with the Sate of the Union:

Wow, that’s some serious eye action.


Jan 24 2007

Barack Obama: Could Name Recognition Be Bad?

Category: 2008 Election,PoliticsTim @ 9:44 am

It sounds like Senator Barack Obama thinks the recognition of his name could actually be a problem in the 2008 presidential campaign:

“When your name is Barrack Obama, you’re always an underdog in political races. That’s how it was when I ran for the United States Senate,” Obama said Wednesday.

I guess he is talking about his name not being a “traditional” political name (aka. Kennedy, Clinton, Johnson, Smith). I’ve always believed a unique name can be a big plus in a campaign. After all, being saddled with Schwarzenegger hasn’t seemed to hurt Arnold. I figure most people figure if he can spell it, he must have something going on.

For me, the issue of issues is and will continue to be the biggest obstacle in Obama’s presidential bid. This sentiment is echoed in this article from the American Chronicle:

What a wonderful political distraction is Senator Barack Hussein Obama. What continues to amaze me is how our bipartisan obstacle to true political competition continually creates illusions of change and reform. Thus it keeps a grip on Americans’ hope for the future, and preempts public support for more profound political change. Is Obama just another example of how our corrupt political system ingeniously creates candidates to keep hope alive? Is the self-professed progressive Obama the real thing? Is he something other than a conventional politician? I have read many of his speeches and other statements. I applaud his upbeat rhetoric, but few policy details are given.

This idea would seem to say, all we are getting is another version of the same political machine; different name, different face, same result.

What his been interesting so far with Obama is the international reaction to his campaign. Check-out this article from “Uganda’s Leading Website

But before he gets there, the slightly built man with a Luo heritage must first go through the wringer of US politics and survive the high-wattage scrutiny that will seek to examine every pore on his skin, the nook and cranny of his private and public lives, every wart on his face and every single hair on his chest.
[…]
Having admitted to smoking marijuana and trying cocaine, Obama will need to convince America that he can be trusted to make good choices. More important, Obama must show Americans that his relative inexperience is a strength and not a liability.

Still, the lack of a history can be both a blessing and a curse. Dante Chinni for Yahoo! News has this to say:

Inevitably the “Who is Barack Obama?” stories will come – pseudo-psychological pieces that will put the senator on the couch. They will, as they most always do, look for “key moments” from his life to draw a picture. And what will they find?

Obama’s short time in office means that image will be crafted probably even more than usual from old friends, old tales, and old pieces of writing. Those things may or may not have real significance – and may or may not be flattering – but are easy to draw from and more difficult to rebut.

Right now, Obama enjoys a sweet story line. But at some point, the media will be eager to fill in the missing pages. And when they do, Obama may find that his biggest strength with the media has its problems.

Be prepared for the compelling piece from Obama’s childhood friend, from the person who cuts his hair, from the hospital where he was born, the guy who grooms his dog, the stalker who studies his every move, …

When this one is over, it will make Rosie vs. Trump look like a playground fight.


Jan 23 2007

Cowboys Coach Bill Parcells Retires…Again

Category: SportsTim @ 8:24 am

The Dallas Cowboys are looking for a new head coach this morning thanks to the announced retirement of Bill Parcells:

Bill Parcells resigned as coach of the Dallas Cowboys Monday after a bitterly disappointing playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

Parcells, 65, compiled a 34-30 regular season record with the Cowboys over his four years but was 0-2 in the playoffs.

“I am in good health and feel lucky to have been able to coach in the NFL for an extended period of time,” Parcells said in a statement on the team’s Web site (www.dallascowboys.com).

“I leave the game and the NFL with nothing but good feelings and gratitude to all the players, coaches and other people that have assisted me in that regard.”

Parcells.jpg

Why stop now when you were on the verge of playoff success, you have a new Pro Bowl quarterback in Tony Romo, and you have the loudest mouth in the league in TO?

Parcells is at the point in his life where six weeks off a year just isn’t enough, particularly when he lives 1,400 miles from the part of the world he loves the most — the New Jersey/New England/Upstate New York area. The football demands on his time are too great.

“It’s time,” he said Monday afternoon from his office at Valley Ranch. “It’s a young man’s game. I’m in good health, but it’s time to give someone else a chance. I’m looking forward to whatever life has in store for me, and right now I have no idea what that is.”

OK. You’ve earned it.

How long will it be before Jerry Jones names himself has head coach? Anyone taking bets on that?

Texas Fred’s: Well, if Jerry Jones would step down, sell the team, pass away or whatever and Terrell Owens was canned for the asshat troublemaker he IS, I might consider being a Cowboys fan again…

Best Week Ever: Today, Bill Parcells retired, making Romo’s botched snap the final play he’ll ever see from the sidelines.

A Blog for All: His legacy with the Cowboys isn’t nearly as good as his tenure with the Patriots or Giants. Expect questions to swirl over whether Terrell Owens had anything to do with his decision to resign and other coaching candidates will have to deal with an overbearing owner who styles himself as general manager as well.

Ed Driscol.com: Parcells’ four years with the Cowboys produced three out of four winning seasons, but during each of those years, his teams tended to fade in December, unlike his best Giants teams, which surged into the last month of the regular season–and beyond.


Jan 23 2007

New Raiders Head Coach: Lane Kiffin

Category: SportsTim @ 8:05 am

The Raiders made a very interesting announcement on Monday naming 31-year-old USC offensive coordinator, Lane Kiffin, as their new head coach.

Kiffin, the son of Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, earned the job with a strong interview Monday after the Raiders failed to reach a deal last week with 32-year-old Steve Sarkisian, Kiffin’s fellow assistant to Pete Carroll at USC.

Kiffin.jpg

One has to ask, what was Al Davis thinking?

Davis got exactly the type of coach he’d been seeking since firing Art Shell on Jan. 4: a young prospect with more upswing than experience, and a flair for offense.

Davis tried to hire one of Kiffin’s colleagues first, but USC assistant head coach Steve Sarkisian, 32, turned down the job offer Friday. One day earlier, Kiffin interviewed for Oakland’s offensive-coordinator opening, only to turn down the team’s job offer for that position.

When Sarkisian stunned the Raiders by withdrawing himself from consideration in the head-coaching race, they focused their attention on Kiffin, who has no head-coaching experience.

OK, Kiffin may have been a “rebound” hire, but there is a precedent in Raider’s history for hiring young coaches:

But Davis has ample reason to trust in young minds: Jon Gruden, Mike Shanahan and John Madden all succeeded as Raiders head coaches in their 30s — as did Davis.

Kiffin is 14 months younger than Madden was when the Hall of Fame coach took over the Raiders in 1969. Davis was 33 years, 6 months when he took charge of the Raiders in 1963.

Kiffin, a former Fresno State quarterback, is younger than at least nine players who finished the season with Oakland during its NFL-worst 2-14 campaign, including defensive tackle Warren Sapp, fullback Zack Crockett and receiver Alvis Whitted.

When you consider the challenges facing the Raiders, a young energetic coach may just be the ticket.


Jan 23 2007

MySpace Used to Protect Children

Category: Kids & Technology,ParentingTim @ 7:39 am

The much-maligned social networking site, MySpace has taken an important step in repairing its image:

Popular online social network MySpace said on Tuesday it will begin sending online alerts to users in certain U.S. regions to help find missing children as part of an expansion of plans to expand safeguards for users.

MySpace struck a partnership with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children to enable MySpace AMBER alerts, a program between the media and law enforcement to issue early warning broadcast bulletins in serious child abduction cases.

It is part of an upgrade by News Corp.-owned MySpace of safety features designed to address concerns of child safety advocates, some of whom say it has been slow to keep its many teenage members safe from adult predators.

Now this is an arrangement that makes complete sense. Consider the volume of MySpace users:

With 150 million profiles, MySpace is seen as one of the Web’s fastest-growing properties in terms of users. More than half of U.S. teens with online access use sites such as MySpace to stay in touch with friends, a recent Pew survey found.

Issuing missing child alerts to targeted areas via MySpace could be a huge help in recovery efforts. The question on my mind is, just how visible with these alerts be?

The Amber alerts, named after 9-year-old Amber Hagerman, who was kidnapped and murdered in 1996 in Texas, will appear in a small text box at the top of a profile, MySpace said. The alerts give MySpace users the option to get more information about the case, such as photos and information on suspects.

As a father, this news makes me very happy. While some may debate the potential success of issuing Amber Alerts on MySpace, the more you get the word out, the more likely you are to recover the child. With MySpace, you can reach millions of targeted users instantly for little or no cost. This one is a no-brainer.


Jan 16 2007

Campaign 2008: Obama Makes it Official

Category: 2008 Election,PoliticsTim @ 1:38 pm

Illinois Senator Barack Obama made it official today; he is running for President in 2008:

“As many of you know, over the last few months I have been thinking hard about my plans for 2008,” Obama said in a statement on his presidential exploratory committee Web site. “Running for the presidency is a profound decision—a decision no one should make on the basis of media hype or personal ambition alone—and so before I committed myself and my family to this race, I wanted to be sure that this was right for us and, more importantly, right for the country.

“I certainly didn’t expect to find myself in this position a year ago. But as I’ve spoken to many of you in my travels across the states these past months; as I’ve read your emails and read your letters; I’ve been struck by how hungry we all are for a different kind of politics.”

Obama is riding a wave of popularity across the nation:

After his convention speech, interest in him soared and his first book, an autobiography, “Dreams From My Father,” became a national best-seller. That was followed by his second book, “The Audacity of Hope,” which at one point was even outselling author John Grisham on the best seller lists. Obama also was a top draw for Democrats running for Congress in the midterm elections. And, of course, it certainly didn’t hurt him when Oprah Winfrey declared Obama her preferred candidate for the White House on her popular television show.

That popularity coalesced into presidential ambitions. Now comes the part when Obama must develop a set of positions on any number of issues. Perhaps none is so important as the war in Iraq.

Although aides as recently as this weekend were still calling it a “possible” campaign, one close friend to Obama said the only thing that would stop the candidacy would be if the senator “got cold feet.”

Obama is a junior Senator from Illinois and a likely a long-shot for the Democratic ticket. At the same time, he brings a very interesting angle to the campaign being young and somewhat of a political “outsider.”

His appeal on the stump, his unique background, his opposition to the Iraq war and the fact that he is a fresh face set him apart in a competitive race that also is expected to include front-runner Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York.

Look for him to make a splash in the polls then become a Vice-Presidential candidate on a very strong ticket.


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