Friday, December 26, 2008

What 2008 Meant To Us

It has certainly been an unforgettable year. America saw its economy slowly sink to near depression levels, but America was also able to look beyond a person's skin color and elect the first bi-racial black man to president of the United States.

The U.S. Presidential Election of '08 highlighted for the first time in recent history that a woman was one of the strongest candidates to possibly enter the White House as the first female president. And while Hillary Clinton did not win the title of Commander-and-Chief, Barack Obama did.

Obama will become the nation's first half-black, half-white president. He is truly a minority among minorities. For a variety of reasons why he was elected, Obama won in a land-slide victory and with that, issuing new hope to a struggling economy and a world caught in the grip of deadly terrorists.

But 2008 also saw the American economy, as well as the world's, slowly decaying into financial ruin. Some people who had wonderful, enterprising jobs are now finding it hard to find a new one, despite their impressive resumes. Many are so desperate for work, they are handing their resumes to strangers in the streets.

But how will 2009 treat us? Well it be the final stroke of economical doom for this country or will it cradle us until the time is right to breathe new life into the nation's financial world?

With wise decisions and fiscal responsibility by all, only time will tell.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

India’s Attacks Reminds
Us Of Terror War

As India is in a literal grip of horror, their living nightmare should be a reminder to us all that we are still at war with terrorists.

Just because the death toll is currently not as high as it was on Sept. 11 or the destruction is not as devastating, this heinous act by alleged extremist Muslim terrorists should not be brushed aside.

While these coordinated attacks are centered on areas populated by foreign tourists, especially Americans, according to CNN, it is a grim reminder that no one is safe from these heathens.

President-Elect Barack Obama must make the terrorist threat his highest priority, in addition to a crippling economy. Just because America has been bless with no further grand terror attacks on its soil does not mean that the threat has quietly gone away. That type of ignorance can be very deadly.

Increased military action against terrorists and those who harbor or aid them and better communications and open dialogue with some extremist Islamic governments, but are seeking peaceful relationships with the West, are just some of the methods that can be used to combat the danger that has gripped the world.

Tomorrow, many Americans will celebrate Thanksgiving and be grateful for what they have in their lives. Let our prayers also be with those suffering in India and pray for a peaceful resolution.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Great News For The Times Observer

As many have read, there was a slight battle between The Times Observer and Google bots over whether or not this blog is spam.

Although no e-mail has been sent by Blogger or Google, the issue appears to have been resolved. As I was updating an editorial this afternoon, I discovered that the Word Verification code has been removed. So now I can freely post or edit editorials and columns again with ease.

Thank you Blogger or Google for realizing what many readers have already discovered: That The Times Observer is not spam.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Gays Acting Like Sore Losers
Over Marriage Ban

Thousands of gays and their supporters have taken to the streets of Los Angeles and San Francisco in the past few days to demonstrate their discontent over the gay-marriage ban.

Many are upset that Californians on Election Day voted 52.5 percent to 47.5 percent for Proposition 8, which would have made gay-marriage illegal in the Golden State, according to CNN.

While many can understand the frustrations that gays feel, taking to the streets and blocking traffic and demonstrating outside religious institutions, as it’s been reported, is not the way to go.

In this country, the majority win. Crying in your beer and whining like a child because you did not get your way, while stopping traffic for thousands of irritated Californian drivers, is self-indulgent and pitiful. Our government is built upon a very simple system that the majority wins and the minority loses.

Of course, it’s only fair to point out that if Proposition 8 failed on Election Day, religious leaders and supporters of the ban would be the ones wallowing.

But there are better ways of getting the laws you want passed without massive protests and national media coverage, which is creating an embarrassing spectacle of the issue in the process.

Sure, many will complain that no state needs its court and legislature systems clogged with proposal laws that the majority of the people voted against. However, it is the only way of getting things done and the right way of doing them. It would make far more sense to use every possible legal maneuver than to continuously protests in the streets and creating unneeded resentment from Proposition 8 supporters and citizens.

But it’s important to note that while some religious leaders and their followers have said that gay marriage would destroy society, let’s remember that these are the same people who predicted that Rock-and-Roll was supposed to corrupt Americans. It certainly did not happen, but if the people of the 1950’s were forced to listen to today’s rap and heavy metal, then they might have been more receptive of Elvis “The Pelvis” Presley.

Gay marriage is too big to be a government issue and it is best left up to the states. But all those involved must accept the will of the voting majority in a responsible, respectful way. By not doing so, it is going against the very nature of our system of government: a democratic one, where everyone’s vote is equal.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Showing Respect For
The New President

Maybe it’s a generational thing. The previous generation was fighting two unpopular wars: a combative one in Vietnam and a civil rights one on the home front.

More than 40 years ago, that young generation was split into two groups: one showing respect for the establishment and the other spitting in its eye.

And as time went by, it seems as if each new generation grew bolder in showing disrespect with elected leaders to the point where it went beyond petty remarks to downright nasty comments.

These new attitudes have become increasingly brazen and shameful towards the president in recent years.

Many Americans, sadly, were atrocious and downright belligerent to President George W. Bush these last eight years, as a recent example.

Many have allowed their political bias to take over, causing them to call Bush stupid, a murderer and a warmonger, with little regard to the fact that he is the President of the United States of America.

A lot of these same people have childishly said that he is not their president because they did not elect him.

And sadly, this same immature demeanor has unjustly been aimed at President-Elect Barack Obama. Because certain people cannot see beyond either his skin color or simply his political beliefs, they have already said that he is not their president.

This type of ignorance is being spread far and wide, from liberals to conservatives, from politicians to voters. It’s the increasing political bias of the people that is creating this near socially accepted disrespect for any elected official.

Believe it or not, there was once a time in this country when saying a discouraging word about any U.S. president would result in a bloody nose by anyone, despite his party affiliation.

But where is that respect now? We must respect whoever is in office, whether we have voted for that person or not. Yes, we can disagree with the president. We would not be called Americans if we ignored our First Amendment rights and kept silent about things we do not agree with. It was not what our forefathers fought for.

However, there is a strong, bold line between disagreeing and being disrespectful. We must bring back that level of respect to our elected officials, especially the ones we disagree with most. If not, it just furthers hateful feelings and severely slows the healing process this country desperately needs.

So I welcome, respect and honor Barack Obama as my new president. But I will also respectfully disagree with any of his policies and decisions with which I may take issue.

Hopefully, all of my fellow Americans will do the same in welcoming Barack Obama into the White House as commander-in-chief. After all, it’s the respectful thing to do.

(Editor's Note: This editorial has been edited for clarification.)

Monday, November 03, 2008

Not Sure Who To Vote For?

This editorial is dedicated to Violet Pinto, my grandmother. She suffered a major heart attack and stroke last week, but according to her doctor yesterday, she’s making very good progress. My 88-year-old grandmother is a Democrat, but it’s from her long conversations about politics with me that have shaped my objectivity of America’s political parties. While a lifelong Democrat, she has always been the first one to call them on any political gaffes, shenanigans, or any other dirty handed deed that they have done. And she’s certainly has given an equal blasting at Republicans for doing the same things. This country would be in far better shape if we had more people like her.

Get well soon Grandmum.

The 2008 presidential election is coming to a close and there is much anticipation about the voting results.

And while many voters have already decided which major candidate they will be voting for, many undecided voters are still scratching their heads over which one to choose: Republican Presidential Candidate Sen. John McCain or his political rival, Democratic Presidential Candidate Sen. Barack Obama.

The die-hard staff of these candidates have been working hard to cater to undecided voters by giving them pamphlets of information about the candidates and telling them which pro-candidate Web sites they should go to for more information.

And while their intentions are honorable, the information that the supporters are giving out about their candidates are biased, dishonest and/or deceitful.

Most of the information and Web sites do not go into great detail about how the candidates plan to get the money to help fund a lot of the spending that they plan on doing, as one example. And let’s not go into how both Obama and McCain have been less than honest with the American public in their attack ads against each other.

Thankfully, there are many Web sites out there that give unbiased information on McCain and Obama. Hopefully, undecided voters will find the following Web sites useful in deciding which candidate will be the best one to lead our great nation.

And always remember this: An informed voter who gets his or her information from objective sources is far more powerful than the voter who only relies on political bias and sound bytes from the candidates.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Riots If Obama Wins?

I have heard a few disheartening things about black Americans recently. Because Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama has the support of a good number of black voters, allegedly they will riot in celebration if Obama wins the White House.

I've heard this a few times already and even on some talk radio shows and I have to say that I have more faith in my fellow Americans. I don't want to believe that my fellow Americans would resort to becoming drunken college football fans and start to smash cars and loot stores simply because Obama would become the first American, with a strong black heritage, to be president of the United States.

I want to think that black American voters will walk a bit taller if Obama wins the election and rightly so. But I hate to imagine that they would become drunk with jubilation and trash a city or start a riot out of spite because GOP Presidential Candidate John McCain won the election and not Obama.

After all, Obama surely would not want any American to behave in such a disgraceful manner in his name or anyone else's for that matter.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Who Won At The Debates?
Not The American Voters

A few days late and a couple dollars short, I realize. But people are still talking about the vice presidential debates and who won.

But I can tell you who lost the debates: The American people.

Debate moderator Gwen Ifill should have placed an important rule on both Sen. Joe Biden and Gov. Sarah Palin: They should not be allowed to mention their opponents, promoting their running mates or blame any current or past administrations.

That way, both Palin and Biden would be forced to discuss the issues that the American people desperately want to hear but are not getting it.

Because as far as I'm concern, the debates so far have only been a big, live, political ad with no substance. All of the candidates have studied all possible questions from the moderator and comments from their opponents and all are well polished.

Sadly, this does not give a true reflection of what these people are capable of if elected into office. It would be best if the moderator actually established some ground rules and silence any candidate who decides to go off topic to criticize his or her opponent.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Campaign Ads Discredits
‘Change’ Slogan

For months we have heard Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama saying he is for change for this country. He says that he is not the same as other candidates or politicians in Washington.

And his Republican counterpart, John McCain, has joined the change bandwagon for a while now. After eight years of the Bush Administration, many Americans are not happy where this country is heading and McCain wants to make it clear that he’s not part of the Washington “same old, same old,” group. While he does have a reputation for being a maverick, he has been in Washington for a good number of years too.

But with Obama and McCain trying to desperately convince voters that they are the change this country needs, their actions do not reflect this. Their campaign ads towards each other are just as dirty and underhanded as the countless ones we have seen before in previous election years.

Is this the best our alleged leaders can do? Trash talk about their opponents as if they were running for an elementary school student body election? Can you imagine if you walked into a professional office meeting as a supervisor and start putting down your competitor without offers any real solutions on fixing your company’s product? Any respectable CEO would not allow that type of worker as a supervisor and we should not allow these candidates to act this way either.

But the only way to do that is to stop with the political bias that is so strong with Democratic and Republican supporters. Sure, it’s fine to have party loyalty, but it should not get in the way of fixing the problems that this nation is facing.

And McCain and Obama are their leaders. They should be leading by example, by showing ads and giving speeches that explain in detail how their plans will work and how they will actually change this country for the better. But instead, just like an elementary school student body election, this presidential election, much like others in the past, is very much like a popularity contest.

But let’s be realistic. Many supporters from both parties are too blinded by their candidates to care about the details of fixing this country. For them, a 2-minute sound byte from the local news report is good enough for them and the candidates know this. Essentially, getting elected to be president is as cheap and easy as a McDonald’s ad: Give the people what they think they want in the fastest, simplest way possible.

Which is why it cannot be stressed enough that all voters, regardless of their party affiliation, must demand from their respected candidates to offer the American people something more than a cheap car sale slogan. Yes, researching the candidates’ voting records and any bills they created or sponsored is great and using nonpartisan Web sites is fantastic. But the candidates are making us work too hard to do the job that they are supposed to be doing.

But sadly, this is not how the game is played.

If this is how the game is played in order to win an election, then there is something severely wrong with not only the political process, but also us, the voters, who seem to either tolerate it or are too much in awe of these candidates to care.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Still Being Spammed!

I apologize for not being able to update my blog as much as I would. Lately, it's hard to find the time to research a topic and then writing about it, as I normally do.

But another problem that I am having is with Blogger. Their Googlebots seem to believe that The Times Observer is spam, which I wrote about earlier this month. I don't understand this at all.

Another thing I don't understand is why after sending three requests to have a Word Verification code removed I still have it. Once I sent the first code removal request, it should have let some human know at Blogger that an actual living person operates this particular blog.

So that has also played an important role in me not being able to update my blog.

But hopefully soon, things will calm down some and I'll be able to comment, or rant and rave, about what is happening in the world.

But please continue to stop by, as I never know just how soon "soon" will actually be.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Teaching Children About 9/11

One of the few devastating dates in American history that will forever be burned in our history books and in our hearts and minds is Sept. 11.

Today, many are reliving the nightmare of seven years ago and are sharing personal stories of where they were when they discovered that their nation was being attacked and what they were doing at that very moment.

But there are a group of Americans who do not know what happened on Sept. 11 because they were either too young to remember or comprehend the day’s events or were not even born.

That is why it’s important that we teach America’s children and youth about the importance of this day and what it truly means to be an American, with all of the glories, sorrows, duties and responsibilities that are attached to being a citizen of this great nation.

While young children may not fully understand the complexities of the horrific events that occurred or how it changed our lives or forced this country to go into war with the enemy, they still need to know the importance of what went on.

Explaining it in simple ways that children can understand will help them grasp the meaning of 9/11. While just labeling “terrorists” as “bad guys,” may seem like sugarcoating what they truly are, it will help a 6-year-old boy or girl to know what happened.

Some parents will feel that explaining to a young child that planes were used to destroy buildings or to kill thousands of innocent people is too harsh, then simply saying that the “bad guys” attacked this country might be enough to satisfy their curiosity until they are older to understand.

But children should also learn about the heroism that was displayed by the passengers and crew on Flight 93 and how their sacrifice saved countless lives. They are the embodiment of what it means to be an American and to be a hero.

Yes, the details of what happened in Shanksville, Pa., are not pleasant and it will be hard to explain it in children-friendly terms, but it simply needs to be taught to the children. It is a critical piece of education for them.

Just like it is important to explain to them how this country came together on 9/11 and how people, total strangers really but Americans nonetheless, from different states where going into New York City and Washington, D.C., to help with the rescue and relief operations.

Children need to learn about these modern-day heroes, because they are as legendary as the citizens who came together and fought against tyranny and for independence more than 200 years ago.

We must never forget what happened on this date and it is our duty that the next generation of this country does not forget either.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

We're Still Here!

Well, the atom-smasher test started and the world is still happily spinning around. But you didn't need me to tell you that, huh?

Sadly, I haven't had the time to find any news articles that interviewed the doom sayers who said the atom-smasher was going to destroy Earth. I would have enjoyed to hear what they had to say.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

World Won’t Be Ending

A lot of people and scientists are afraid that the Earth will blow up tomorrow when scientists are going to power up the world’s most powerful atom-smasher.

Some fear that it will cause micro black holes or even a second Big Bang, which is a theory by the way. It’s hard to get worked up over a side effect that may or may not have happened trillions and trillions of years ago and no one actually saw.

So, do people have a legitimate concern about the experiment that will take place on the French-Swiss border tomorrow? Sure, when dealing with something of this magnitude, you have to be careful. And one would like to think that these scientists took a lot of precautions.

However, smaller atom-smashers have been around for the last few decades and the Earth is still here. People feared that nuclear power would blanket the world with deadly radiation, and some still do, and we’re not glowing in the dark.

And just going back a few years ago, people actually had fallout shelters and stocked food and water because the Y2K thing was going to launch nuclear warheads and cause the end of civilization. But it didn’t happen.

Or how a few believed more than 10 years ago the water would be too poisonous to drink and the forests would be a thing of the past because of global warming. The water is still safe to drink and people are enjoying campouts and hunting in the woods.

For those truly concern about the test tomorrow, it’s best to remember the doomsday predictions that have not come true in the past.

But hey, if the world does blow up tomorrow because of this atom-smasher, you can all tell me “I told you so,” as we’re hanging onto a chunk of Earth as it’s flying pass the moon.

Monday, September 01, 2008

This Blog Isn’t Spam!

While I was posting my recent editorial about John McCain’s choice of picking Sara Palin to be his vice presidential running mate, I noticed that I had to place a word verification code in order to post my editorial.

I thought this was odd and I clicked the “Why Do I Have To Do This” link, which took me to a page where Blogger explains to me that someone marked The Times Observer as a spam blog.

Needless to say, I was angry and insulted. When I write an editorial or column on here, I spend about a good two hours or more creating it. Writing takes time. I just don’t write whatever comes to my head. Most of the time is spent on researching the topic by reading various news stories from different media outlets. Then I try to find objective news articles or sources that are hyperlinked within the commentary to backup my opinions or just to inform you, my readers, of what is happening in the news. The remaining part of the time is dedicated to writing and editing the commentary and finding the right picture or video.

But who could have done such a thing? Why would someone think that my blog was spam? More importantly, why didn’t I receive an e-mail notice from Blogger explaining to me that I’ve been flagged? I would certainly like to have detailed information, such as who flagged me (or at least their IP address), and the date and time I’ve been labeled a fraud.

But then I remember reading something awhile ago. Allegedly, a lot of Obama supporters would flag people’s Blogger blogs if the blog was against the Illinois senator in anyway.

Of course, it makes sense, because my last post (not counting my vacation notice) was an editorial about Joe Biden and how his 30 plus years in the Senate puts an uncomfortable spotlight on Barack Obama’s inexperience.

Sadly, if it is a case of a die-hard Obama supporter, then this person clearly has never read all of the columns and editorials that I have written. Because if this person took the time, he or she would realize that I have written in support of Obama and I have criticized McCain. In fact, the most recent editorial is how McCain picked Palin simply because she’s a woman, even though I mention other credible attributes that she can bring into Washington. Of course, it’s true that I’ve written things that praised McCain and attacked Obama, but a little more on that later.

Now, if it is an Obama supporter wearing rose-colored glasses, and it’s a strong possibility that this person is a Democrat and liberal, then this person certainly blast the stereotype that liberals embrace freedom of speech. By flagging my blog as spam, this person started the process of restricting my right to free speech. And I would imagine that Obama certainly wouldn’t want a supporter to stop an American’s right to freely speak his mind, even if it is against him.

Yes, I’ve both blasted and praised many Republicans and Democrats (including presidential candidates and presidents) because I’m an independent voter. I just can’t root for one party and turn a blind eye to their shenanigans. It goes against my grain. And I call them like I see them. If an Obama supporter really did flag my blog, hopefully he or she will read this and follow some of my hyperlinks to other pieces that I’ve written, which will support what I’m saying.

And more importantly, a human from Blogger will be reviewing The Times Observer soon after I sent a request to have someone look at my blog and realize it’s not spam. I feel sorry for Blogger that they have to waste their time with such childish acts by closed-minded people, if that is the case. But I do appreciate that they gave me the benefit of the doubt and allowed me to continue to publish my commentaries with the word verification code. It maybe a pain, but at least I can work on my blog.

Hopefully, this will be the last flag-spamming incident for me, because this has left me with some bad heartburn and bad puns.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Palin Picked Because Of Sex?

Who is Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin? She’s basically the counterpart of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

Essentially, they’re the same: Very little political experience, both pretty young compared to their older partners and both are minorities, more or less.

Presumed Republican presidential candidate John McCain made a calculated risk that just might help him. He selected Palin just because she’s a woman and to attract the good number of Hillary supporters, especially women, who are still bitter that Obama got the Democratic nomination and not Hillary Clinton. Many have already joined McCain’s camp.

But what does Palin offer besides her female attributes? Actually, plenty. She has been elected to a city council, then a mayor and then onto the governor of Alaska. While not having much experience in the big political pond of Washington, D.C., she does have more experience than Obama when it comes to being a leader.

Obama has been in the Illinois Senate and a U.S. Senator, where he represented the people. Palin has held positions where she has led the people. That means that people voted for Palin to be their leader, which is a bigger responsibility than electing someone to represent you.

She has certainly worked very hard on the state level and even upset fellow Republicans when it was not in the best interest of the party. While appointed chairwoman of the Alaska Oil & Gas Conservation Commission, she investigated fellow commission chair and Republican Randy Ruedrich about breaking state ethics law. The result was that Ruedrich resigned and that he paid a $12,000 fine.

This and other incidences shows that Palin has what it takes to stand up to her own party in order to do what’s right. Certainly a very courageous talent that is desperately needed in Washington. This should make Republicans and Democrats shake in their boots, because Palin seems to be the type of leader that isn’t going to be intimidated by higher powers and she’ll easily adapt to the big changes that Washington has to offer.

Some have criticized McCain for choosing an inexperienced Palin to be his vice presidential running mate, because he has been attacking Obama on his inexperience. Certainly fair, however the difference is that it’s the experienced McCain who is running to be the president, not the inexperienced Palin. Certainly a big difference and it is an inexperienced Obama who is running for president.

But with her tough-as-nails leadership, even Palin must realize that there is only one reason why McCain picked her over veteran politicians who are more familiar with the goings on of Washington.

The question is: Is Palin OK that McCain is using her sex to help him win female voters and the election? That and many similar sex-base questions are certainly going to bombard the Republican duo and they should be asked. After all, Palin seems almost perfect to counteract a biracial Obama. He will certainly get a lot of the black vote, while Palin can help with getting the women vote.

It does seem to be blatantly obvious why McCain singled out Palin to be his vice presidential running mate and a slick political move. It's clearly a desperate attempt by McCain to unseat Obama's growing chances of winning the White House.

It is a shame that Palin is not solely chosen for her impressive, but limited political leadership. Only time will tell if this was a wise political move on McCain's part come November.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Going On Vacation

Hello all. I'll be away on a mini vacation and I'll be back Wednesday evening. I won't have e-mail or Internet access until then.

Of course, I didn't time it well since the Democratic Convention will be in full swing while I'm away, but you have to take a vacation when the getting is good.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Biden Factor

The wondering has ceased and the political world cannot stop talking about Barack Obama’s choice to be his vice presidential running mate, Delaware Sen. Joe Biden.

Many Hillary Clinton supporters are no doubt furious that the presumed Democratic nominee did not choose the New York senator, but it was a calculated maneuver that he had to take. As it has been mentioned before, having a double-minority ticket would be too much for some closed-minded Americans to accept.

In addition, many are already having a hard time swallowing the hypocrisy of having Clinton throwing support to the Illinois senator after hearing from her about how unqualified he is to be president during the long campaign trail.

But sadly, many of us have to deal with a double dose of that hypocrisy, because Biden too has said that Obama does not have what it takes to be president. And that’s not all he said.

“I am not running for vice president,” Biden said at the time, as a Democratic presidential candidate himself, in an August 2007 interview with FOX News. “I would not accept it if anyone offered it to me. The fact of the matter is I’d rather stay as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee than be vice president.”

Of course Biden would take it. Not too many politicians would refuse to have that job title. But that is something that Obama has to be concerned about: Biden’s infamous “running of the mouth.” Who can forget in a February 2007 interview that the Delaware senator said this to his possible future boss?

“I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man,” Biden said in a New York Observer article. That “openness” created a backlash and it just might cost Obama his chance at the White House.

However, Biden does have a lot to offer as vice president because of his long history of being in the Senate. And his liberal voting record may help Hillary supporters swallow the bitter pill that Obama picked someone else, but who does mirror Clinton’s views.

Biden’s experience will clearly help Obama’s inexperience and he can certainly guide him on important issues. But this grandfatherly portrayal just might magnify Obama’s inability to lead this nation.

Only time will tell if Obama made a wise choice in Biden.

Yet, Obama seems to be one step ahead of his Republican counterpart, John McCain. The Arizona senator is expected to announce his own vice presidential running mate soon, but Obama made sure he beat him to the punch by doing it first. It shows that Obama is more organized than McCain and the Democratic Duo has already politically attacked him.

McCain will have to make a quick recovery and wisely choose his partner if he hopes to overcome an Obama-Biden ticket in November.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Real Life Superheroes?

Move over Batman and Robin, there are some other vigilantes going after drug dealers: New Jersey Ninjas.

Two young men decided to dress up as ninjas and armed themselves with their collection of ninja-style weapons (swords, nunchucks and even a cross bow), and wanted to send letters warning drug dealers and users of the dangers of illegal substances after their friend was caught up in it.

While these young men may have had good intentions, what they did was dangerous. As the old Italians used to say, “Never bring a knife to a gunfight.”

Sadly, too many people see a Chuck Norris film and watch “Hidden Tiger Crouching Dragon,” 20 times and they start to think that a ninja can really flip in the air five times and dodge bullets and kill the bad guys with his sword and throwing stars.

The reality is that doesn’t happen. It might if the drug dealer laughs so hard that he cries and doesn’t see the nunchuks coming towards his head. But his fellow drug dealers will probably see it and pull out a weapon that uses ancient Chinese gunpowder.

Assuming that their aim was to scare drug dealers and users into giving up their deadly ways, it was clearly misdirected. Yet, many can see the frustrations from citizens who are in the grip of the crimes and dangers that are created by the drug world. In a world of instant entertainment, people want instant results.

While the Wild West ways may yield those instant results, it may very well create a slippery slope that can easily lead to chaos.

But hopefully this will send a message to police and elected government officials that citizens are tired of the drug war and would like to see the type of results that can only be found in action movies – the instant kind.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

School Responsible
For Gay Boy’s Death?

A gay junior high school student was shot and killed in school last February by a fellow classmate because of a variety of reasons it turns out. And now his parents want to sue the school district for not enforcing the dress code when the boy was dressing in women’s attire.

In fact, the whole case has been riddled with drama from the beginning: The victim, Lawrence “Larry” King, allegedly came from a broken home. His mother was a drug abuser and his father was gone, according to a Newsweek article. It seems as if he was adopted by Greg and Dawn King at age 2 and at age 15 Larry King was living at a group home at the time of his death due to alleged problems with Greg King, according to the Newsweek article.

His alleged murderer, Brandon McInerney, 14, killed him because either there was a confrontation between the two boys or simply because King was gay. McInerney has been charged as an adult for King’s murder.

Certainly, that’s the sad part. Now here comes the astounding part:

The parents of Larry King, who attended E.O. Green Junior High School in Oxnard, Ca., are suing the school district for not enforcing the school dress code when their son would wear makeup and feminine clothing to school.

Granted, these are grieving parents of a 15-year-old boy and no parent could imagine what type of hell that is, losing a son who was murdered possibly because of his sexual orientation.

But it really cheapens King’s death even more so by suing the school district for not enforcing the dress code. But according to the California Attorney General’s Office, the school couldn’t stop King from wearing women’s jewelry or makeup because the state has a hate-crime law that prevents gender discrimination.

Clearly, the Kings should have been the ones responsible for how Larry King dressed, not the school. The school was caught up in a politically correct legal web, thus it could not enforce any school code on Larry King. Yet, today’s parents seem to believe that teachers and school officials should also play the role of “parent” when it comes to their children. But that is a role only reserved for them and it shouldn’t be handed to anyone else.

Yes, Larry King did not come from an ideal home and he was living in a group home at the time of his death. Clearly, this is not a typical living arrangement. But his parents were able to reach him and instruct him.

Teenagers face growing difficulties with each passing generation. And while it’s commendable that society is becoming more accepting to gay Americans, that acceptance is not carried out by most teenagers, who are still trying to find their way in the world.

Regardless of gender discrimination laws and dress codes, someone should have told Larry King of the consequences of dressing inappropriately in middle school and that person should have been one of his parents.

But let’s not forget who is solely responsible for Larry King’s death and that is his alleged killer.

Friday, August 15, 2008

From Bigfoot To Big Believing

It got some pretty good media coverage, even if some of the reporting was a little tongue-in-cheek. And it was something that Bigfoot believers and researchers have been waiting for their whole lives: an actual Bigfoot body.

And who knows if they really got it or not. Matthew Whitton and Rick Dyer, both from Georgia, and Tom Biscardi, host of a Bigfoot Internet radio show, presented to the world in California today with photos of an alleged Bigfoot body.

They claim that the body is kept in a secret location until scientists can run detailed tests on it. So far, tests done on three DNA samples from the alleged Bigfoot have revealed to be: One sample was human, the second sample was from an opossum and the third sample could not be conducted because of a technical problem.

However, even Bigfoot researchers don’t believe the claim and Whitton and Dyer have given three different versions of how they came across the supposed body.

The famed hairy giant has been spotted by American Indians for centuries and even early American settlers have reported seeing the beast. And it continues to this day. In fact, every corner of the world has its own variation of an ape-like man.

With so many witnesses’ accounts spanning centuries from different countries, including pictures and video recordings, it does appear that some creature is out there. The majority of unconvinced scientists should not dismiss Bigfoot entirely without doing some proper research.

However, hoaxers who enjoy playing a joke or trying to make a quick buck have certainly hurt the credible claims of witnesses and those who spend tireless hours researching and looking for the elusive beast. And according to serious Bigfoot hunters, Whitton, Dyer and Biscardi are hoaxers, but only time will tell if that is true or not.

If the creature is out there, and many sober, credible witnesses claim that it is, it is only a matter of time before real evidence will be produced.

In the meantime, researchers have a tireless two-front battle on their hands: Finding evidence of Bigfoot and discrediting hoaxers that severely damage their cause.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Clinton’s Name On Nomination List

Former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s name has been placed on the nomination list for the Democratic Convention for symbolic reasons.

Now, it couldn’t be that symbolic if it took both her and presumed Democratic nominee Barack Obama (or their people anyway) weeks to negotiate to have her name on the nomination list in the first place. If it really meant something, it would have taken less than an hour to place her John Hancock on the list if it was really that symbolic.

Sure, it’s a nice thing to do for a political loser. But the reality is it’s like giving a kid who came in second in a bowling contest a small, cheap plastic trophy cup, while the winner gets a solid-gold statue of himself. That’s what it really boils down to: They placed Clinton’s name on the list just to stroke her badly hurt ego.

Because what type of “emblematic” meaning is there behind getting Clinton’s name on the list? Sure, it’s to recognize “the former first lady’s groundbreaking presidential run.”

But it’s not like Clinton is the first woman to run for president. Sure, you can call it “groundbreaking,” but that’s only because Hillary Clinton is easily the most recognizable woman in politics. It’s her celebrity-like recognition and status that allowed her to go so far and not solely because she’s a woman. Don’t believe me? Go ask Caroline P. Killeen or Cynthia McKinney how their campaign for president is going.

However, let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that symbolism is the only reason why Clinton’s name is on the list. Her name is on there just to make her disgruntled backers happy and hopefully convince them that Obama isn’t such a bad sport and back him for now on. Because a lot of them are still extremely bitter that Obama basically won his party’s nomination.

When Hillary Clinton entered this race, I wrote that it would be a wild ride. She hasn’t let me down yet.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

U.S. Denies Israel’s Weapons Request

The U.S. has denied a request by Israel for weapons or military equipment because the U.S. believes it would be used for an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, reported the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz.

The story is highly suspect however, because the Haaretz does not offer a source for the alleged request, but other media have reported that Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak does not deny the Haaretz story. So that seems to authenticate what the Haaretz reported.

But what can be gained from such an attack? As history has shown the world, it would prolong Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons development by years. In 1981, Israel attacked Iraq’s nuclear reactor and as recently as 2007, Israel attacked Syria’s clandestine nuclear reactor.

But according to an Institute for Science and International Security report, an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities might not work.

And recently, Iran has stated it would continue its nuclear program despite more sanctions from the U.N. The U.S. and other nations believe that Iran’s nuclear program is not for peaceful energy for its people, as Iran has stated, but for nuclear-grade weapons.

And with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad saying that Israel is dying and has called for its destruction, it would be foolish to assume that Iran does not have sinister intentions for its nuclear facilities. After all, Ahmadinejad claims that Iran's nuclear program is for peaceful purposes and yet he has stated that Israel should be wiped off the map.

Let’s suppose that Israel will attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, what would happen? Besides pushing development of any nuclear weapons back a good number of years, Israel would undoubtedly suffer deadly retaliation from Iran, Syria, Hamas, and other terrorists groups who would like to see the Jewish state die in a smoldering hole.

There are ramifications that Israel would have to face, however it is a country that has a long history of being nearly constantly attacked by its neighbors. A preemptive strike by Israel is not an act of aggression, as some would say, but an act of self-preservation.

Israel has the right to exist regardless of threats and dissociations from Iran and terrorists groups. However, Israel should continue seeking non-combative solutions with Iran until they are exhausted.

But while a preemptive strike to ensure Israel’s existence should not be the first option, it should be an option nonetheless.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Olympics Sets The Stage For Tragedy

The Olympics give us a rare opportunity for the world to come together and watch the achievements of athletes who win by pushing themselves beyond their endurance.

However, the Olympics unwillingly place world events on a stage to be speculated and ridiculed. When China was awarded to host the 2008 Olympics, its atrocious human rights record gained more attention than what government officials wanted.

These limitations were further magnified when it was reported that the freedoms that China promised to international journalists were severely tighten and restricted.

Certainly not something that should surprise too many. If a communist country cares little for its own people, why should they care about foreign visitors?

But the most recent event that was calculatingly placed on the Olympic world stage is the current conflict between Georgia and Russia, with South Ossetia sandwiched in the middle.

While the Olympics is one of the few events that can draw many diverse nations and people together to make them cheer together in the glory of winning and share a moment of sorrow in defeat, the Olympics, in a unique way, also brought many together to bear a tearful witness of the tragedy of the loss of people in South Osseria or the loss of a people’s freedoms in China.

Because these two events have, in a horrific fashion, been place on the same stage where people competing for gold metals for impressive achievements of the human body, this murdering of decency forced us all to take notice of them and not be able to turn away.

While these things should not intrude on the Olympics, nonetheless they have and we should not turn a blind eye. This would be a good time for the world to truly unite together to better help our fellow men and women of these injustices. The accomplishment in this would be worth more than a million gold metals.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Can Edwards Recover
From Affair Scandal?

Former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards’ dreams of being Barack Obama’s vice president are shattered after he admitted to having an affair with 44-year-old novice filmmaker Rielle Hunter, reported ABC News today.

It has been speculated that meetings with Obama and then Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton a few months back after dropping out of the race that Edwards would be their choice for vice president. That speculation was further fueled when Edwards endorsed Obama this past May.

While Edwards’ experience in the Senate and in politics in general would have made him a very attractive candidate for the VP position, having an affair on his terminally ill wife would turn down even the most morally challenged politician. Granted, Edwards told ABC News that his wife’s cancer was in remission during his affair, but that isn’t how some people are going to see the 2006 fling.

And when the National Enquirer first reported on this recently, it was reported that Edwards fathered a child with Hunter, but Edwards’ former campaign aide, Andrew Young, has stated that he is the baby’s father.

Now, what does this really mean for Edwards’ political career? It will hurt him, but he can recover from it like Bill Clinton. Clinton had numerous alleged affairs, not including the Monica Lewinsky one, and he’s approval ratings were still quite good. America still loved him.

With Edwards background of helping the lower class and the poor, he is basically a media darling in that regard. Whatever political faults he may have, Edwards’ heart is in the right place when it comes to people in need. Many might easily forgive Edwards for his affair and say he was under stress of losing his wife Elizabeth before hand. Some might see that as a “noble” and understanding cause of running into another woman’s arms.

By no means is this an excuse for Edwards to cheat on his wife, but merely how some will see it. Besides, Edwards is no Eliot Spitzer, the former New York Democratic governor who was caught with a call girl earlier this year.

However, there seems to be more to this than meets the eye. Hunter, who was hired in 2006 to film campaign videos for Edwards, had been living under false names while she was pregnant and lived in expensive homes in North Carolina and California, according to ABC News. Her baby girl was born on Feb. 27 of this year.

And Edwards claimed that he has not paid any money to keep Hunter silent about their affair, “but said it was possible some of his friends or supporters may have made payments without telling him,” ABC News reported Edwards as saying, a former North Carolina senator.

(Editor's note: It an updated story, ABC News has reported that Edwards' 2008 national finance chairman Fred Baron stated that he gave "assistance" to Hunter without the former senator's knowledge, according to an e-mail sent by him to the news network late on Friday.)

And Edwards also told ABC News that he did not tell his wife of the famous Beverly Hills Hilton meeting with Hunter last month.

It is only a matter of time before the whole truth comes out. Edwards just has to take his medicine that the media onslaught and his wife will give him before he even considers entering politics again.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

McCain’s Sleazy Campaign Ads

Recently, Paris Hilton created her own ad to counterattack presumed Republican presidential nominee John McCain’s ad that compared the heiress and celebrity with his political foe.

Yes, McCain has launched some sleazy ads against his Democratic presumed presidential counterpart, Barack Obama. Because of certain things that Obama has said, McCain had campaign ads that linked the Illinois Senator with airhead celebrities or is the next political Messiah.

And yes, these campaign ads are sleazy and tactless. Sadly, they do not begin and end with John McCain. All politicians from both sides of the political aisle enjoy launching their attack ads at their opponents.

But who is it really for? Are these ads for die-hard political supporters with their rose-colored glasses locked on? It’s only these people who usually eat up these ads, but where does it leave the rest of us who are looking beyond these political shenanigans and want real substance from the people who want to be our next president?

People like us would rather have McCain and Obama spend their money more wisely by telling us what their plans are for this country with its crumbling economy and facing a global terror war. But instead, they would rather childishly criticize each other than offer real solutions to the problems we face.

And the real sad part is that Paris Hilton made more sense in her mock campaign ad than either McCain or Obama in their attempts to fix the oil crisis.

Paris Hilton For President - Wait What?!!

But no, that does not appear to be what these candidates are after. As one reader told me in the last presidential election while I was an editor of a newspaper, “It seems as if the candidates spend more time telling us how bad the other guy is.”

And that’s exactly right. Last week we had Obama falsely accusing McCain and President Bush of planning on using racial scare tactics and offered no real proof of them doing it. And McCain has been telling us that a star-struck Obama would not make a good president.

If candidates are unwilling to give voters more informative campaign ads that tell us how they are going to make their plans work for Americans, than at the very least, stop with the tasteless attack ads. By doing so, these candidates insult our intelligence.

Take Down the Bird Feeder

I don't normally do this, but a good friend of mine and a devoted reader of The Times Observer forwarded me this in an e-mail and I thought it would make a nice little addition here. It's funny and it makes a lot of sense for the most part. Feel free to pass it along.

The analogy is absolutely right on . .

Maxine tells it like it is!!!!

I bought a bird feeder. I hung
it on my back porch and filled
it with seed. What a beauty of
a bird feeder it is, as I filled it
lovingly with seed. Within a
week we had hundreds of birds
taking advantage of the
continuous flow of free and
easily accessible food.

But then the birds started
building nests in the boards
of the patio, above the table,
and next to the barbecue.

Then came the poop. It was
everywhere: on the patio tile,
the chairs, the table ....

Then some of the birds
turned mean. They would
dive bomb me and try to
peck me even though I had
fed them out of my own

And others birds were
boisterous and loud. The
sat on the feeder and
squawked and screamed at
all hours of the day and night
and demanded that I fill it
when it got low on food.

After a while, I couldn't even
sit on my own back porch
anymore. So I took down the
bird feeder and in three days
the birds were gone. I cleaned
up their mess and took down
the many nests they had built
all over the patio.

Soon, the back yard was like
it used to be...... quiet, serene
and no one demanding their
rights to a free meal.

Now let's see.
Our government gives out
free food, subsidized housing,
free medical care, and free
education and allows anyone
born here to be an automatic

Then the illegals came by the
tens of thousands. Suddenly
our taxes went up to pay for
free services; small apartments
are housing 5 families; you
have to wait 6 hours to be seen
by an emergency room doctor;
your child's 2nd grade class is
behind other schools because
over half the class doesn't speak

Corn Flakes now come in a
bilingual box; I have to
'press one' to hear my bank
talk to me in English, and
people waving flags other
than 'Old Glory' are
squawking and screaming
in the streets, demanding
more rights and free liberties.

Just my opinion, but maybe
it's time for the government
to take down the bird feeder.
If you agree, pass it on; if not,
continue cleaning up the poop!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

NY Times Attacks McCain
For Defending Himself

I want to say this burns my bacon, but to be honest, it explodes it.

The New York Times’ editorial board wrote an opinion piece about Barack Obama accusing John McCain and President Bush of using or planning on using racial scare tactics. But while many would think that they would go after Obama, they instead attack John McCain for firing back at Obama’s false accusations.

First, they claim that McCain’s attack ad of comparing Obama with drunken celebrity Britney Spears was a “racially tinged attack” on the Illinois senator. How they make this great leap of illogic, The New York Times makes a weak case for it.

While there has been no real evidence that McCain has or will use race against Obama, The New York Times decides to paint him guilty of racial attacks anyway by associating the Arizona senator with a few dirty Republicans who allegedly used a racial attack on black Senator candidate Harold Ford in Tennessee in 2006. The ads against Ford “juxtaposed” him with white women, according to The New York Times.

However, the only ad that I could find that’s against Ford isn’t a racial attack at all and it’s still a weak comparison with McCain’s ad, because if you’re going to sleazily compare a presidential candidate with an airhead celebrity, who better than Britney Spears? It seems like a good case of The New York Times seeing things that aren’t there.

Is John McCain's political ad a racial attack against Obama? The New York Times seems to think so.

And instead of attacking Obama for his obvious and false racial assault on not only McCain but President Bush, The New York Times goes after McCain’s campaign manager Rick Davis when he defensively said, “Barack Obama has played the race card, and he played it from the bottom of the deck.”

Now, it’s interesting that The New York Times doesn’t have a problem with, “You know, he’s not patriotic enough, he’s got a funny name, you know, he doesn’t look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills,” but they’re having kittens over what Davis said.

Because according to The New York Times, Davis’ statement conjures up a “loaded racial image” of Robert Shapiro during the famous O.J. Simpson murder case when he said, “Not only did we play the race card, we dealt it from the bottom of the deck.”

But isn’t that what Obama did? He blatantly played that card and it was from the bottom of the deck because it was a low thing to do to accuse our nation’s president and another politician of using racial scare tactics and don’t offer any solid proof.

The New York Times not only kicked John McCain when he was down after being falsely accused of being a racist by his political opponent, but they stomped on him for trying to defend himself from Obama’s baseless attacks.

It’s bad enough that they turn a blind eye against Obama’s despicable statements, but they also made a feeble argument that McCain will use racial attacks simply because he is guilty by association because of what fellow Republicans allegedly did in Tennessee.

This sadly certainly gives credence to what many McCain supporters have been saying about Obama: He’s a Teflon candidate that the media simply loves too much to be objective with.

But more importantly, The New York Times just destroyed its own credibility when they attacked the victim and not the attacker.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Obama: McCain Will
Use Racial Tactics

In a speech yesterday, Sen. Barack Obama said his opponent Sen. John McCain and his fellow Republicans will use scare tactics on voters to persuade them not to vote for him, including racial ones.

“So what (President Bush and McCain are) going to try to do is make you scared of me,” said the presumed Democratic presidential nominee to a crowd in Springfield, Mo., Wednesday, as reported by the Associated Press. “You know, he’s not patriotic enough, he’s got a funny name, you know, he doesn’t look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills.”

It is extremely disgraceful that Obama would make a false claim that McCain and our own President would use racial fear during the campaign even though there has been no evidence of either one of them, or other elected Republican officials, of doing that.

And if they did do that, it would be all over the news and right here. Does anyone honestly think that McCain or Bush, or any other type of politician, would commit political suicide by even barely mentioning Obama’s mixed heritage as a reason for not voting for him?

And what’s hypocritical is that while Obama is allegedly saying that McCain will be using race to his own advantage, Obama is doing the same thing by saying these false allegations.

This is a disgusting display of dirty politics at one of its lowest forms. How can Obama even say such a thing and he does not even bat an eye when he’s doing the same thing himself?

The Times Observer has written many editorials and columns in defense of Obama when he has been racially attacked. So there is a good record of sticking up for him when it was just, however, this time there is no defense for him when he accuses our President and his fellow presumed presidential opponent of racial attacks while there is no proof of either of them doing so.

It’s common for politicians during an election to flip-flop on positions, to make false allegations against their political foes and use just about every clean and dirty trick in the book to win votes.

However, to actually accuse an opponent and the President of the United States of America of saying that they are going to use a person’s race against him is extremely low.

It makes one wonder why politicians even bother to make such repulsive, groundless statements to begin with, since they are usually called on them and shown them to be a lie or untrue. Perhaps they do it just to win over voters and make a grand impression on them and in this case, get a pity vote.

For someone who keeps saying that “change” is needed for D.C., Obama again shows that he’s acting like a typical politician out for votes and it would be hard for his supporters to refute his shameful attack on McCain and President Bush without real evidence of them using race against the Senator.

And what’s more important, how can Obama bridge the racial divide in this country when his false attacks like this further spread it?