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2013 in Review

2013 in Review

JAN-MAR

Zero Dark Wrong

January 13, 2013

As a movie, frankly I think it is grossly overrated and could easily be much shorter.  It is unfortunate that having had the opportunity to tell a great American story of how the combination of American determination and technology prevailed and a mass murderer was brought to justice, they instead made a movie that says that we prevailed simply because might makes right.

Republicans Are Losing The Post Election

Democratic Underground

February 17, 2013

After four years of denying that race was a driving factor as they seethed and babbled about the evil simultaneous fascist and communist dictator occupying the White House, rank and file Republicans responded to President Obama’s overwhelming victory by spewing racist rants throughout social media.

The mask had fallen and Republicans were not the least bit embarrassed or apologetic. Their nominee, Mitt Romney, bitterly claimed that his bid for the Presidency for white America had been undermined by the President’s hand-outs to minorities.

Two Centuries of Disenfranchisement in DC

March 1, 2013

Yesterday, on the 212th anniversary of the Organic Act, I spoke with DC Delegate to Congress Eleanor Holmes Norton on Cyber Law and Business Report.  I wanted the internet community, and all Americans to understand that while Washington may be a booming city home to a thriving tech sector its residents still

  • have no voting rights in Congress, as they only have a non-voting delegate in the House and no representation in the Senate; and
  • all city laws remain subject to Congressional veto something that was exploited for political purposes in the 1980s by then-Senator Jesse Helms to veto a number of DC laws.

I encourage you to listen to the last 15 minutes of the show (below) and to visit DCVote.org.  We have placed our national prestige on ensuring that places as tiny as East Timor have the right to choose their destiny though democratic means, why then do we continue to ignore the disenfranchisement of the citizens of Washington.  After 212 years, isn’t it time that we found the courage and the wisdom to do what is right in Washington?

Big East Finale A Tribute to Dave Gavitt’s Vision

March 13, 2013

This weekend marks the 34th and final Big East Basketball Tournament before the league is chopped up into tiny pieces.  The storied conference has produced  over 33 years 17 NCAA basketball final four teams, 11 national finalists and 7 national champions.   As people lament and wax nostalgic about this final championship tournament, it is nice to see its visionary founder and first Commissioner – Dave Gavitt – finally get the credit and recognition he deserves (albeit posthumously).  It was Gavitt who launched the conference and moved its tournament to Madison Square Garden.

Ten Things to Remember About the Iraq War

OpEdNews
March 19, 2013

The Iraq War operations and reconstruction efforts cost approximately $1.7 trillion; adding veterans’ health care and interest to the total and it could reach $6 trillion over a period of several decades. Iraq War spending accounts for approximately 25 percent of our present federal budget deficit.

What could that money had done if spent elsewhere? According to Gender Values: The Costs of War, by Susan Feiner:  When the nation spends one billion dollars on the military, 11,600 jobs are created. If that billion dollars was spent instead on education 29,100 jobs would be created. And if it were spent on health care almost 20,000 jobs would be created. This is money that could have been used to fix our deteriorating infrastructure, provide health care and made education affordable for middle class Americans with plenty to spare.

APR-JUN

Why I’m Not Voting For Eric Garcetti For Mayor of Los Angeles

Huffington Post
April 28, 2013

My choice also has nothing to do with the concern that Eric may be destined for greater things and that the Mayor’s office may be just a launch pad to the Governor’s mansion or even Washington. I too believe that Eric is one of the party’s rising stars because of his vision, leadership and passion but these are the same qualities that would make him a great Mayor. Any concern about his future ambition should be tempered by the reality that his political future would be tied to how well he performed in serving his hometown.

The reason I am not voting for Eric is more fundamental. I live in neighboring Santa Monica and not Los Angeles and (are you reading this Ann Coulter) it would be illegal for me to vote in a race where I am not a resident.

Boston Needs Your Help

Huffington Post
May 14, 2013

Fortunately, the victims have something that Yaz, Bird or Brady never had — a nation eager to help. People like Marc Platt, a Los Angeles performer who was so moved by the fact that Bostonians’ first instinct was to run towards the victims and not away from the blast that he wrote a song — “The Best in America.”

SALEM

Remembering Salem’s First Victim

June 2, 2013

In sum, Salem is about the triumph of fear over reason.  While Salem today is a quaint New England town, the spectre of its past sufaces in periods of hysteria from McCarthyism to Bush-Cheney; and reminds us of importance of the rule of law in protecting the accussed from mob justice and the intolerance that fuels it.

NSA

The Economics of PRISM and the Internet

Huffington Post
June 24, 2013

While much has been said about the recent leak regarding the NSA PRISM program, little has been said of its economic impact. Consider the fact that a 2011 McKinsey study found that the Internet contributed to 21 percent of the GDP growth in mature economies over the prior five-year period. Thus, fostering the growth of the Internet equals greater economic growth as well and conversely, threats to Internet can be viewed as an economic danger.

selma

The Roberts’ Court’s Shelby County Power Play Could Backfire

Democratic Underground
June 30, 2013

Secondly, minority voters understand what is really going on here. I was part of the Obama legal protection effort in Florida during the last election and recall going to a polling station in Miramar to encourage voters to remain in line for almost four hours, only to find little coaxing was needed. They knew why they were in line and like their forefathers in Selma, who responded to Bloody Sunday by returning to the same bridge days later, they were not “going to let anybody turn them around.”

Roberts’ Shelby County power play may only make them more determined to fight for their right to vote. It is a tragedy, however, that as we approach the 50th anniversary of Selma, the Chief Justice is comfortable with an American where they still have to.

JUL-SEP

 

cyber amishWashPost Columnist’s
Myopic Call to Repeal the Internet

OpEdNews.com
July 4, 2013

Samuelson, however is correct in noting that the Internet, like any great technology, has improved the capability and efficiency of the bad (as well as the good).  The threat of a Cyber 9/11 is something very real and one that Samuelson reasonably can see harming his life of privilege that predates the Internet but is less likely to occur than an injury in an auto crash which claims the lives of 2 people worldwide every minute.

Nonetheless, Samuelson makes an Olympian leap in logic in citing this risk as a call to reject the Internet.  Ultimately, this embrace of Cyber Amishness says more about Samuelson’s myopia than anything else.

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Let’s Bring the American Revolution to Washington

July 4, 2013

This is a day we are all proud to be Americans and celebrate the liberty that generations had earned in toil and blood.  As long as the cloud of taxation without representation continues to hover over our nation’s capitol, our job is not done.

Remembering the Burr-Hamilton Duel

July 11, 2013

Today is the 209th anniversary of the most fateful duel in American history.  It is hard to imagine a sitting Vice President actually shooting someone. The duel proved to be a tragic miscalculation by Burr, who had to fight criminal charges and  became a political pariah as a result.

If only he had milk to cool his temper . . .

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Nelson Mandela Day

July 17, 2013

In the last two decades of the 20th century, there are only a hand full of world events that I remember today almost as well as when they first happened.  From the tragic – the death of John Lennon or Tiananmen Square to the euphoria of the Berlin Wall falling or Clinton’s election.  One of then was the Sunday morning when Nelson Mandela walked out of prison.  The boxer and ANC leader, who became a global symbol of peace and hope.  I saw him briefly a few years later at the Clinton Inaugural and what I remember most was the joy he exuded.

Kickstarter1

The Emergence of Kickstarter Studios: Can Davis Match Goliath?

July 29, 2013
With A New York Heartbeat getting rave reviews at its opening in Pittsburgh which coincides with Lee’s entrance into the Kickstarter market, the question arises whether quality can compete with celebrity for Kickstarter dollars. As Davis nears her goal, it suggests that Kickstarter can accommodate both the upcoming indie Davises and Goliaths like Lee. With $16,000 still to raise, the next seven days may tell us a lot about the evolving “Kickstarter Studios.”  In the last two decades of the 20th century, there are only a hand full of world events that I remember today almost as well as when they first happened.  From the tragic – the death of John Lennon or Tiananmen Square to the euphoria of the Berlin Wall falling or Clinton’s election.  One of then was the Sunday morning when Nelson Mandela walked out of prison.  The boxer and ANC leader, who became a global symbol of peace and hope.  I saw him briefly a few years later at the Clinton Inaugural and what I remember most was the joy he exuded.

Remembering WW2 Vets
on 70th Anniversary of Sinking PT-109

Infographic

August 2, 2013

PEACE TRAIN1

Is Steve Peace Leading California to Disaster . . . Again?

August 7, 2013

The CPPI has the makings of being California’s worst public policy disaster since electricity deregulation and ensuing rolling blackouts cost the state $40 to 45 billion in 2000-2001. As Chairman of the Senate Energy Committee, Peace played a major role in pushing deregulation through the legislature in what has become known as the “Steve Peace death march.”

YOSHIKICLASSICAL_COVER_USA
ROCK ME YOSHIKI?

August 27, 2013

Falco’s 1985 hit, “Rock Me Amadeus” presented the singer as the Austrian rock heir to Amadeus himself.  But would Amadeus rock?  One need only look to Japanese sensation Yoshiki to realize the answer is an unqualified “yes”.

 

OCT-DEC

boehner2The Road to Shut Down ’13: From Clinton Wars to the New Confederates

Democratic Underground
October 6, 2013

For five years the Republicans have waged war against majority rule, triggering Time Magazine’s poignant cover.   As this crisis continues, it is time for the Republicans to decide whether they will behave as responsible members of the loyal opposition or whether they are simply saboteurs. More importantly, it is time for all Americans – Democrats, Republicans and Independents alike – to make note of their choice and hold them accountable.


Tea Party v Congressional Oath of Office

Infographic

October 12, 2013

obama v cruz

Responding to the Tea Party’s Secession By Other Means

Democratic Underground
October 13, 2013

t occurred to me at that time that one major advantage that the United States has over other countries is that we define American not by ethnic characteristics but by our shared beliefs.  I anticipated that Germany and other Western European countries could face turmoil in the coming decades as they struggled with what it meant to be “German” or “French”, while in the United States we would be standing tall as one nation, indivisible throughout.

As the current government shutdown approaches its third week, it is clear that this is no longer the case.

palin1

Infographic: Response to Tea Party Rants on Debt Ceiling

October 19

hostage2.jpgNovember 4, 1979 – The Day That Changed America

November 4, 2013

History is a jambalaya of events, people and forces that blend together in the narrative we call history.  Rarely is there a singular event or factor that by itself changes everything, but we know them well when they do occur such as September 11, 2001.  November 4, 1979 is another such day.

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Writing with a Rhode Island Accent and other Horrors

November 5, 2013

My first entry was one of my earliest columns on Huffington Post and imagine my shock when the result was Providence’s own — H.P. Lovecraft.  I thought to myself, “shit, I write with a Rhode Island accent.”  So, I decided to test it out and was charmed to see that my tribute to Ted Kennedy yielded James Joyce.

Hizzoner 2.0: Mayor Garcetti Pushes for Gigabit Broadband, Cyber Security as Part of Tech Focused Administration

November 12, 2013

After only three months in office, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is busy redefining what it means to be a big city Mayor in the 21st century and technology is at the center of this effort with major initiatives in cyber security and broadband.

Remembering JFK in His Own Words

November 22, 2013

Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans–born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage–and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.

girl smog1Will China’s “Airpocalypse” Spur a Green Renaisssance?

December 9, 2013

Last week, 104 cities reported severe levels of pollution.  In Shanghai, the US Consulate recorded AQI levels of 503.  Anything above  300 is considered hazardous, while the World Health Organization recommends a daily dosage of no more than 20.  China’s unhealthy air accounts to 1.2 million premature Chinese deaths each year and there are reports that an 8 year-old Chinese girl has developed lung cancer from environmental exposure.

Rock n Roll Hall of Fame Class of ’14 – Bravo (Mostly)

December 17, 2013

he 2014 class of the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame will include Nirvana, Peter Gabriel, Cat Stevens, Kiss, Hall and Oates and Linda Ronstadt.  A great crop of musicians no doubt.

The Hall gets a “bravo” for having the guts to select Yusaf Islam nee Cat Stevens and also Linda Ronstadt given its poor record on selecting women.  I still do not understand why Pat Benatar, who has record sales comparable to Hall and Oates and whose catalog arguably seems less dated with the passage of time, has never even been nominated.

73914_10151039110047854_374330476_n (1)Ten Years Gone: Remembering Paul Kelley

December 28, 2013

When faced with convicts and men and women charged with serious crimes, Paul Kelley chose to see them as a child of  God who had lost their way.  When this community drifted into poverty and despair, with block after block of abandoned homes, Paul Kelley chose hope and dedication to a better day.

 

CC - Mike DelGaudio Chesapeake Bay Bridge - Pano

CC – Mike DelGaudio Chesapeake Bay Bridge – Pano

A Short Collection of Bridges That Make You Squeeze the Wheel Tighter

December 30, 2013

Driving Scary Bridges In the last few years, I have found driving over certain bridges to be a near phobic experience although I cannot say precisely why that is the case.  So I thought I would share the anxiety inducing spans to see if they trigger any similar reactions.

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Freedom agenda for Democrats in 2014

Santa Monica Daily Press
December 31, 2013

The road to redemption for President Obama in 2014 may very well be in pursuing a freedom agenda that ensures that we preserve our freedoms for future generations. As Nelson Mandela said, freedom is not merely casting “off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”

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