Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Condoleeza Rice sworn in as first black female Secretary of State: Sworn in with the most "no" votes since 1825....

Condoleeza Rice was sworn in today, and as most people realize, there was no chance that she WOULDN'T get the nomination. But, the Democrats, and rightfully so, took a moment to let their thoughts be known, and reiterated their differences with the present administration. Senator Barbara Boxer asked pointed questions, and other Democrats grilled her. I am not a Republican, but I do admire Condoleeza Rice fore all of her qualifications and experiences. Unlike a lot of my fellow Democrats I realize that her former position over the NSA required her to do the "bidding" of the President in order to stay in agreement with his policies. I just hope that she is able to let her opinions be known as Secretary of State. The State Department is vastly different than the NSA, and as the "Chief Diplomat", she not only speaks for the President when abroad, she speaks for the nation. I think that it is possible that she will do well.

I found fault with one thing about the Condoleeza Rice nomination. The fact that Senator Robert Byrd from West Virginia was against her nomination. This didn't surprise me in the least. Not because he is a Democrat, but because he is a former Klansman. He was a recruiter for many years, and corresponded with the Klan after he "officially" left them. He filibustered against the Civil Rights Act, accused Thurgood Marshall of injecting "racism" into government, and was against the desegregation of the Army. Look at the cut and paste from the Jewish World Review to see what Michelle Malkin found out about him:



This ex-Klansman wasn't just a passive member of the nation's most notorious hate group. According to news accounts and biographical information, Sen. Byrd was a "Kleagle" -- an official recruiter who signed up members for $10 a head. He said he joined because it "offered excitement" and because the Klan was an "effective force" in "promoting traditional American values." Nothing like the thrill of gathering 'round a midnight bonfire, roasting s'mores, tying nooses, and promoting white supremacy with a bunch of your hooded friends.


The ex-Klansman allegedly ended his ties with the group in 1943. He may have stopped paying dues, but he continued to pay homage to the KKK. Republicans in West Virginia discovered a letter Sen. Byrd had written to the Imperial Wizard of the KKK three years after he says he abandoned the group. He wrote: "The Klan is needed today as never before and I am anxious to see its rebirth here in West Virginia" and "in every state in the Union."


The ex-Klansman later filibustered the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act -- supported by a majority of those "mean-spirited" Republicans -- for more than 14 hours. He also opposed the nominations of the Supreme Court's two black justices, liberal Thurgood Marshall and conservative Clarence Thomas. In fact, the ex-Klansman had the gall to accuse Justice Thomas of "injecting racism" into the Senate hearings. Meanwhile, author Graham Smith recently discovered another letter Sen. Byrd wrote after he quit the KKK, this time attacking desegregation of the armed forces.


The ex-Klansman vowed never to fight "with a Negro by my side. Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds."


If this ex-Klansman were a conservative Republican, he would never hear the end of his sordid past. "Ex-Klansman who opposed civil rights and black justices" would appear in every reference to Sen. Byrd. And even the "ex-" would be in doubt. Maxine Waters and Ralph Neas and Julianne Malveaux and Al Sharpton and all the other left-wing bloodhounds who sniff racism in every crevice of American life would be barking up a storm over Sen. Byrd's latest fulminations. Instead, the attack dogs are busy decrying latent racial bigotry where it doesn't exist, while the real thing roams wild and free in their own political backyard.



I agree we should question Condoleeza Rice about her appointment, but we also need to question why this guy is a ranking Democratic Senator. Go figure....



HOT 97, Miss Jones, Miss Info, and the Tsunami Song....

I appreciate humor, even in its most irreverent form, but anything that parodies the deaths of thousands and thousands of innocent people is not humor in my book. Unfortunately HOT 97 in New York felt that it was okay to make a "Tsunami Song" about the disaster in South Asia. The song is sung to the tune of "We are the world". Here are some of the choice lyrics.

..All at once you could hear the screaming ch*nks and no one was safe from the wave there were africans drowning, little chinamen swept away you could hear god laughing, "swim you b*tches swim"
So now you're screwed, it's the Tsunami
you better run or kiss your ass away, go find your mommy
I just saw her float by, a tree went through her head
and now the children will be sold to child slavery...


Wow....that was real funny....

I just don't understand how the Radio Station execs would have let this song air. What is worse is the fact that one of the DJ's by the name of Miss Info, who is also Asian, simply stated that she was not behind the song being made and aired and was berated by Miss Jones, and DJ Envy. Here is an MP3 transcript of that.

longer_hot97_tsunami.mp3

While I do think she did the right thing in distancing herself, I was amazed that she said that she respected the rights of Miss Info, and DJ Envy to say what they want, and to make fun of who they wanted. I felt that she should have said that this was outrageous, and they ought to be fired for it. I agree that there is more than one way to look at things, but when it comes to certain things, we all know if something is inherently right, or inherently wrong. This....was wrong. I don't think that there is any room for moral relativism in this instance at all. The bottom line is the fact that Miss Jones, and DJ Envy need to be fired. Before Michael Powell steps down I think he needs to address this.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Howard Dean is back....."YEAHGH"!!

This weekend I was watching ABC's this week with George Stephanopoulos interviewing Howard Dean. I have to say that I was impressed. Howard Dean fell off of the radar during the Democratic Primary race. Even before he gave his famous, "I have a scream speech", he found himself being derided not only by the GOP, but by some of his own party members. He made, what appeared to be at that time, many gaffes that made him out to be the type of person who speaks without thinking. Many people, myself included, began to get frustrated with Dean, and consequently he lost the lead to John Kerry. I personally thought that Dean was trying too hard to come off as a populist, this thought was confirmed when he made the statement, "This party should not be the party of urban liberals, but of they guys with Confederate flags on their pickup trucks." I couldn't see it then, but I do now.....Dean made a great point. To me, part of the problem with the Democratic Party has been a loss of vision, a loss of purpose, and a loss of directions. In early years, it was very easy to maintain power by simply "not being Republican", but as we can see, the social and cultural tide has shifted in this country, and the GOP is at least saying enough to keep people interested.

During Stephanopoulos' interview with Dean, he spoke of Bill Clinton and his appeal to the common people, he started to say something to the effect of, "so is that what the Democratic Party needs, another Southern Democrat to...."

At this point, Dean cut him off and said that "we don't need to start thinking like that". He was right, we don't need to wait on a Democratic Messiah to rejuvenate the party. It has to start at the grassroots level in order to get us back on target. The Democratic party is on the ropes, yet, while a defensive posture is necessary, curling up in the fetal position is not going to save us. The Democratic Party, like the African-American community is too content to wait on the big Icon of the day to save us. Even if we could take the DNA of the five greatest U.S. Presidents and make a super leader, that would not help the Democratic Party in the long term. We don't need one Icon, we need many iconoclasts to break away from the conventional "party thought". Whether we agree with him or not, Howard Dean has the Populist appeal that is necessary to turn this Party around. His failure in the Democratic Primary was not in being PC enough in regard to Confederate flags, his all-white Cabinet in Vermont, or even his "I have a 'scream' speech",(Personally, I felt all of the media coverage of the infamous scream was much ado about nothing. Yes, he may have sounded like 'The Rock' when he spoke, but I thought he was just trying to energize his supporters.), his failure was in completely speaking his mind. Despite all of the opprobrious gestures by the current administration, the Democratic Party was dealt a one-two punch that is still being felt at all levels of government.

Dean, though he fell from grace as a candidate, will make a good Chair of the DNC. There are many people out there who say that he is, "too liberal". People say that, especially in reference to Dean's stance against the War. But, we forgot that he spoke out against gun control, socialized medicine, and gay marriage. And certainly his economic plans would have been a great deal more conservative than the sitting administration. But on that same note, just like Ted Kennedy said, "we don't need to make ourselves out to be Republicans in order to regain our strength." We need to come up with an objective, state it, and work toward it and the betterment of our country.

John Kerry was trounced by Centrist voters despite the fact that his economic policies would have been more advantageous to them than W's. In retrospect it would seem that Dean's call to reach out to culturally conservative voters was prescient. Many Dems, much to my dismay, are trying to derail Dean's quest for the DNC chair, and they also say that he is using this position to facilitate a 2008 run. Dean claims that if he gets the chairmanship that he will NOT seek the presidency again. Of course he could change his mind....in a way I hope he gets both. In either capacity he will be great because whether you agree with him or not, he will always speak his mind, and the common people will know what he is saying.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Dkelsmith, 1.....Corrupt Cops, ZERO!...

Man I love Law and Order. Oh, okay. I'll admit that is an exaggeration, the Cop wasn't corrupt, (Really to call him a Cop was doing a lot. He is a Kentucky State University police officer. I still don't know why they issue tickets on roads that are close to campus, but not on campus....sheesh!) and this wasn't a landmark case but I had a bench trial yesterday for a speeding ticket that I received and I WON!!!!!! The Prosecutor offered me traffic school and a reduction in the ticket so that I would be going five miles over the speed limit. But I refused and said I wanted the judge to hear it. I guess watching Law and Order for so many years emboldened me. But, when I got up to present my case to the judge I was a nervous wreck. I mean, it wasn't like I was Scott Peterson, but standing in front of a gruff looking judge to argue a speeding ticket is not easy. Especially when he had just sent the last fellow to jail for 180 days for driving on a suspended license with no insurance for the second time.

I was ticketed for traveling 45 miles per hour in a 25 mile per hour zone. This was complete rubbish, because there was no speed limit sign posted anywhere on the quarter mile stretch of road where I was driving. Besides, I had just made a 90 degree turn off of a State Road when this guy gunned me. There was a lot of traffic on the road that I turned off of, and more than likely he "gunned" someone and tried to pin it on me.

As I turned off of the main road I saw his car about 100 to 110 meters down the hill from me. He was backed into an intersecting street for a speed trap I suppose. His lights were off, but I could plainly see the police emblem on the door. Not thinking I was doing anything wrong I continued on. Suddenly the white lights between his strobes cut on as I passed. He swung out behind me and followed me. I looked at my speedometer and I was going about 30 miles per hour. Suddenly the blue lights come on, and I pull over. I got my license, registration, and proof of insurance out and had it ready. The cop comes up next to my truck, and I roll down the window and hand him the documents. He says, "That's what I like to see." (This offers me hope that a good schmoozing and yessirs and nosirs will get me out of whatever I have done wrong.) He looks over them for a moment and says. "You know I could take you to jail right now, right?" (So much for the schmoozing...)

I said, "For what, Sir?" He proceeds to tell me that I was going 55 miles per hour in a 25 mile per hour zone. I say nothing and he tells me to wait in the car. After about 10 minutes he comes back to my truck and says, "You have a problem with speeding don't you, son?" (Now there is a John Wayne baritone and inflection to his voice...I begin to worry.) I said, "I'm not sure I understand what you are saying, Sir." He says, "I ran your record, and you have been to traffic school before it seems." He literally rocks back and forth from his toe to his heels, and back again after he says this. (Jesus, give me a freakin' break and put the riding crop away, Field Marshal.) I tell him I had been to traffic school before. He hands me the ticket, and says that he is giving me a "break" by knocking the speed down to 45. He tells me about paying the ticket, and if I contest it where to report...yada..yada...yada.

After I got home I thought about it and decided to fight it. I showed up on the court date and plead not guilty. They then gave me another date in which I could have a bench trial, or ask for a jury trial. When I showed up for this date and walked up the courthouse steps, who should I see standing outside smoking a cigarette, but the cop who gave me the ticket (Dirty Harry incarnate). He says, "Good morning"! and winks. I am not sure if it was a mocking gesture or if it was sincere, oh well. After an insufferably long wait my name is called by the Prosecutor. Apparently he wanted to clear some of the list before the judge came in. He asks me what my defense is, and I tell him that there is no speed limit posted there, and that I was not going that fast. He follows with, "In Franklin County in the absence of a posted speed limit, the speed is 25 miles per hour. I'll offer you traffic school and a 10 mile per hour over the speed limit which will only be three points off your license. That's my only offer, if you don't take it now the deal won't be on the table if you go forward. (LOL! Did he say the "deal" would be off the table?.....Am I being offered a "plea bargain"?...LOL!...little did he know that he was feeding my tendency to be overdramatic. I love Law and Order, and I had to push for it.) I said, "No I'd rather contest this." (It was murder to fight the urge to say, "I guess I'll see you in court, Counselor.")

I went back to my seat and waited what seemed like an eternity until my name was called. Finally it was my turn, I stepped up to the bench and waited nervously as the Prosecutor droned on about the facts of the case and said, "Officer ******* is present also, Your Honor." We looked around, and he was nowhere to be found. He had gone out to smoke again! I was elated, I thought that certainly this surly old Judge would dismiss it because he wasn't here, but instead he sent my name to the end of the docket! He says, "Oh well, we'll just do them at the end, go on with the next person. (I thought that was total bullshit. Can you imagine what would have happened if I had stepped away and wasn't there to answer when my name was called?)

So, after another half hour of waiting, and after the court room was empty I finally got my chance. I stood by and listened as the Prosecutor gave the details of the case. He asked the Officer questions, (Which he was not altogether truthfulaccurate in his answers.) The Officer probably didn't remember everything as well as I did, because I am sure that he had fucked a bunch of other people over issued many citations since that day, but I was quick to clarify. The Officer said that there was a sign on the road that stated the speed limit. I had photographs of the entire stretch of the road that proved my assertions. The Prosecutor then said that since it intersected with Cold Spring Avenue that it was 25 miles per hour and I should have known that. I countered with the fact that Cold Spring Avenue intersected with Cold Harbor Drive more than half a mile from where I was stopped, and I could not have seen it from Cold Harbor. I had a Yahoo map with detailed street descriptions and distance on it to prove that. I also plotted the Officer's stationary position, where I was "gunned" as well as where I pulled over. I then added that under that premise if intersecting streets were justification of the speed limit, then under that premise since I had just passed a 55 MPH sign on Martin Luther King BLVD that would indicate that Cold Harbor was also 55 MPH. The prosecutor then stated that my speed was excessive for a presumed road speed of even 35 miles per hour in a residential area.

I told him that I was only going about 30 miles per hour and that the Officer made a mistake. The Officer grinned smugly, as did the Prosecutor and the Judge. I then took out my digital photographs and my video footage to go along with that which showed that the turn from Martin Luther King to Cold Harbor was above 90 degrees. (I said 93 degrees to sound like a keen expert.) I then showed on the map that I presented from Yahoo that it was 110 meters from the turn to where the Officer was stationed me. He had previously said that he had gunned me at a location before I passed the street he was on, and that I didn't hit the breaks and just let the car slow to a stop when he put on the blue lights.

I told the judge that I was just short of the halfway point between the turn, and where his cruiser was parked. Roughly 50 to 55 meters. I told him that in making a 90 degree plus turn in a truck with a short wheel base like mine I had to slow to 10 to 15 miles per hour to make the turn. I also had video footage of me from inside my truck making the turn, as well as footage of other smaller vehicles making the turn. I told him it was physically impossible for me to get to a speed of 55 miles per hour in 50 meters even if I tried. I had printed off a description of how radar guns work, and I told him that if radar is aimed at two vehicles moving at different speeds, it will only register one speed and the Officer had to make a distinction based on his line of sight. I further surmised that his radar had clocked a vehicle that was continuing on Martin Luther King instead of me. The guy who had written this paper was a Ph.d at some University, and I had this as well as his credentials printed out. Lastly I added, (with a great deal of trepidation), that none of the police currently employed at Kentucky State University were officially trained and certified in the use of handheld or vehicle mounted radar as prescribed by the State Police Academy. At this point the Prosecutor didn't say anything but simply shuffled through the papers I had given him. The judge stopped me and said, "Well sir, do you now know what the speed limit is on that road.?" I said, "Yes.", and he said, "Well today is your day, I will let you off with a warning." I shook hands with the Officer who seemed pissed, and I thanked the Prosecutor. He was actually smiling and said, "Have a good day." I felt like a million bucks. He wasn't Executive Assistant District Attorney Jack McCoy,



But I am sure that they both would have had this to say after losing a hard fought case to Dkelsmith Esq.

Man, I can be an arrogant bastard after I win, can't I?

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Brad Pitt takes his lumps...



I know...I know...."Why in the world is Kelly commenting on something as trivial as celebrity breakups?" I do know that they are quite common in Hollywood, and other places, but this one was sort of interesting. Not in the fact that it happened, but in the way people purport to know the reason behind it. Apparently Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston have asked people to respect their feelings and their rights in regard to this. Nice try, but you know the media is going to have a field day with this. If they covered Bennnifer in its entirety, you know they will exhaust all efforts on Brad and Jen. Unlike J-Lo and Ben Affleck, these two are actually likeable and have some acting talent.

I admit that rumors in Hollywood are about as predictable as weather in Kentucky, but some of the more juicy rumors that flew around were those that hinted at marital infidelity on the part of Brad with Angelina Jolie. The most popular rumor, and the one most likely to be some hint of the truth is the fact that they had different ideas about when and if they would start a family. Generally people think about women being the ones that pine for children and all that goes along with it. I remember when Benjamin Bratt and Julia Roberts broke up people crucified her. I still don't know the reason for that. I haven't really seen people take sides on this one, more often than not people just say they are sad to hear that Brad and Jen have gone splitsville. But one article that pointed the finger of blame caught my eye.

I am an avid reader of salon.com, and I enjoy reading articles by Rebecca Traister. But, I have to say that she is being horribly unfair in regard to this breakup.

She starts her article off by saying that Jennifer Aniston is being pilloried for putting her career before motherhood. If anything Traister is garroting Brad for wanting a family. I see nothing wrong with Jennifer Aniston thinking of her career at this stage in her life, at 35 she only has a few more years to be thought of as "sexy" to the 25-34 year old populace which supports the movie industry. Besides, as a lot of people say, a woman's biological clock does not run down as fast as what it used to. But, is Brad Pitt so wrong to have a strong urge for children at 41? I think I can understand his point of view, why not have kids and be young and energetic with them? But, he is being cast as the demanding husband with the wife-beater tee shirt on in that Salon article. Here are some wonderfully one-sided quips by Traister.

The media lesson we're all being fed in the wake of the breakup--whether it bears even a passing resemblance to the realities of Pitt and Aniston's marriage--is glaringly clear: You may land a hot husband, ladies, but you'd better pop one out soon, or you won't keep him.

Pitt hasn't helped matters by dragging his sorry ass around town and opining to anyone who'll listen--Vanity Fair, Diane Sawyer--about how eager he is for kids.


Sheesh! Give me a break! That smacks of misandry. Feminism is fine, but when it comes across as "men bad, women good", it gets tiresome. Why does Brad Pitt have to be a "sorry ass" just because he is open and honest about wanting children? Were the shoe on the other foot, and beautiful Jennifer wanted children and he did not, then I am sure that Traister would have accused him of being an over-the-hill perpetual playboy that needed to "grow up". I can just imagine the entreaties for Jennifer to "move on", and "forget him." Of course that is basically what is happening now. From my understanding of some news articles, she asked for the split, but he was not too far behind. My take on this is simply this: If two people want two separate things in regard to family, perhaps it is time to step back and evaluate whether there is a future. This doesn't have to entail mud-slinging, nasty court battles, or anything else. I hope Aniston and Pitt continue to be civil to one another, and who knows...maybe they will eventually get back together.

Lastly, I hope Traister and all of the other press hounds remember this request from the couple.

"For those who follow these sorts of things, we would like to explain that our separation is not the result of any speculation reported by the tabloid media. This decision is the result of much thoughtful consideration, we ask in advance for your kindness and sensitivity in the coming months."


I think Traister needs to take note of the last line, and finally forgive that guy that stood her up for Senior Prom.

Friday, January 07, 2005

In retrospect.....

I last committed time to my weblog over a month ago, therefore this is my first weblog post of the New Year. The only thing I resolve to do this year is to not compound my life with the hypocrisy and failure to committ to a set of resolutions. I am just going to live like the best that I can. I'm not sure where the tradition of making resolutions came from, but I am sure that the first guy that came up with this probably failed in keeping with what he resolved to do.

I am, however, taking a moment to look back at my life, look at myself now, and think about where I should be in the future. I never was ambitious enough to have a real long term plan in place....though I should have. But, I am looking at my life now in a different perspective than I ever have before. I am now 33 years old, which is still a considerably young age in many regards, but it is still sobering. I don't have the same qualms and anxiety that many people have about growing older. Rather, I am relatively comfortable with each year, but I do have a feeling of restlessness that tends to gnaw at me from time to time. I suppose I am beginning to understand what the 45 year old guys would call a "mid-life crisis."

Don't get me wrong, I am happy with things such as marriage and kids, but it is the question of my purpose above that which leaves me at a quandary. I suppose that is why I have mixed emotions about being deployed. While I was unsure at 19, I would have many more reasons for reservations now that I am married with children. But, though I know better, I feel as if I am "missing" something. I have no aspirations to be a "hero", or go on a grand adventure, but I do want to play my part...to the hilt. With that, I think about the military, what it has meant to me, done for me, and sometimes done TO me. Nonetheless, I can't help but to feel that there is something out there somewhere that I was meant to do, to accomplish, to pilot, to fix, to save.....something. Yet, I don't know what that something is.

I think that a frank discussion on this would not only give the people closest to me a wrong impression of what I am feeling, or what I am dreaming about, it would also tend to purvey drama into my life. And that is the LAST thing that I want. I, like many other sane men, allow thoughts of family, fortune, and future to be the arbiter of the life choices that they make. Ego notwithstanding, those are the things that will guide most of us. I just want to make the best decisions and not simply respond to that gnawing feeling.