Monday, June 30, 2008

Atlanta Commutes Changing

Four dollar gasoline is finally driving Atlantans from their love affair with gridlock and rush hour traffic. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that traffic is down and MARTA (Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority) ridership is up... way up! The traffic in Atlanta is considered by many to be the worse on the planet, but there are indications that the sudden rise in gas prices are finally forcing commuters in the metro Atlanta area to consider alternate routes: MARTA, van pools, commuter buses, telecommuting, etc.

Atlanta's gas price has risen from $3 to $4 a gallon in six short months. The ARC ride-share database shows a 221 percent increase in car pool applications over the past year (May 2007 vs. May 2008), more people are considering riding with anyone who is heading to the same place. MARTA Rail ridership is up by 15 percent from a year ago. MARTA only covers Fulton and DeKalb Counties, other metro counties have express buses which feed into the MARTA System. Express bus ridership is up 67 from a year ago and there are signs that it will continue to increase as gasoline prices rise and folk have 30 to 50 mile drives into Atlanta. Douglas County vanpool ridership is up 160 percent from a year ago.

Read the entire AJC article on Atlanta's changing commuters here.

plez sez: i have one of those gas guzzling SUVs in my garage... and i leave it in the garage as much as possible. i consolidate trips, no more idling in fast food drive-thru - i go inside, only attend meetings that require my attendance.

i still wince and cuss george w. bush everytime i have to spend another $70 to fill that sucker up! thankfully, i'm able to get most of my work done from my home office, i cannot even imagine having to commute in atlanta's traffic... i would be on one of those express buses or at the MARTA station... no doubt!

Friday, June 27, 2008

SCOTUS Strikes Down D.C. Handgun Ban

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution reads, "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

In 1976, Washington, DC passed the following law which banned handguns in the District: "The District of Columbia generally prohibits the possession of handguns. It is a crime to carry an unregistered firearm, and the registration of handguns is prohibited. See D. C. Code §§7–2501.01(12), 7–2502.01(a), 7–2502.02(a)(4) (2001). Wholly apart from that prohibition, no person may carry a handgun without a license, but the chief of police may issue licenses for 1-year periods. See §§22–4504(a), 22–4506. District of Columbia law also requires residents to keep their lawfully owned firearms, such as registered long guns, “unloaded and disassembled
or bound by a trigger lock or similar device” unless they are located in a place of business or are being used for lawful recreational activities."

Dick Anthony Heller, a security guard, was recruited to challenge the D.C. law, his lawsuit made its way to this session of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court struck down the District of Columbia's ban on handgun possession, deciding for the first time in the nation's history that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual's right to own a gun for self-defense.

Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the Court's opinion and was joined by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. The opinion reads in part, "We hold that the District's ban on handgun possession in the home violates the Second Amendment, as does its prohibition against rendering any lawful firearm in the home operable for the purpose of immediate self-defense. [The Second Amendment] surely elevates above all other interests the right of law-abiding, responsible citizens to use arms in defense of hearth and home."

Justice Stephen Breyer writing for the minority said, "[this decision] threatens to throw into doubt the constitutionality of gun laws throughout the United States [and this is a] formidable and potentially dangerous" [mission for the courts to undertake]." He was joined by Justices John Paul Stevens, David H. Souter and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Sen. John McCain (AZ), the presumptive Republican presidential nominee quickly put out a statement endorsing the decision, calling it a "landmark victory" for Second Amendment rights. "Today's ruling . . . makes clear that other municipalities like Chicago that have banned handguns have infringed on the constitutional rights of Americans," McCain said.

Sen. Barack Obama (IL), the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee issued a statement saying that "I have always believed that the Second Amendment protects the right of individuals to bear arms, but I also identify with the need for crime-ravaged communities to save their children from the violence that plagues our streets through common-sense, effective safety measures. The Supreme Court has now endorsed that view, and while it ruled that the D.C. gun ban went too far, Justice Scalia himself acknowledged that this right is not absolute and subject to reasonable regulations enacted by local communities to keep their streets safe."

Read and download the entire SCOTUS decision on District of Columbia v. Heller here.

Read the entire Washington Post article on the SCOTUS decision here.

plez sez: it's been said before, "plezWorld doesn't like guns, because they are used to kill people." i don't have any in my house and i try to stay away from people who carry them.

some have taken my stance to think that i don't believe in the second amendment. i concur with the "right to bear arms," but i feel the application and misuse of the second amendment has wrought enough misery on the US over the past 230 years. i'm no jurist, i'm no lawyer, but i can read and it seems pretty obvious that the framers of the constitution were of a mindset when this amendment was published that has little or no relevance during modern times.

first, they had just run off the redcoats with their muskets. they formed local militias to fend fight off the british. the british swept through communities during the revolutionary war and confiscated guns and ammunition. therefore to ward off a strong federal government (if it grew big and powerful enough to behave like king george iii) the james madison (the amendment's author) wrote a provision into the constitution that each State would have a "well regulated" militia with militia men who were able "to bear arms." it seems pretty clear to plezWorld this provision applied to those who were trained as part of a militia group (i.e. the national guard, etc.).

upon reading scalia's opinion, it is obvious that he played loosey goosey with the State and meaning behind "well regulated militia."

historically, these state militias have done more harm to individual rights (see the civil rights movement during the 1940's, 1950's, and 1960's) than any federal intervention (except for the civil war, which by the way was started when a - you got it - a state militia in south carolina fired on the federal government!

Colbert King opines in the Washington Post that the thugs that roam the mean streets of the district have long maintained their second amendment rights in light of the 32 year ban on handguns. excerpts of his opion follow:
There's one group of District residents absolutely unfazed by today's U.S. Supreme Court ruling shooting down the District's strict handgun ban: the dudes who have been blowing away their fellow citizens with abandon since the law was put on the books 32 years ago.

Operating under the notion that it's better to beg forgiveness than to ask permission, our shooters long ago decided not to wait for the high court's thoughts on the matter. They simply arrogated to themselves the right to keep and bear arms and, with that right, license to shoot and kill, with impunity, whatever and whenever the evil spirits moved them.

The record will show that our home-grown shooters have blown through the city's so-called strict handgun ban like John Riggins going up the middle. Over the past 20 years, there have been more than 6,500 homicides in the nation's capital, most committed with firearms, predominantly handguns. In 1976, the year the ban was put in place, the District had 135 gun-related murders, according to CNN. Last year, the number reached 143. Thus far this year, we've had 85 murders.

in 1770's, the arms were muskets and long rifles, arms that were good at close range and could only fire one shot at a time. they didn't imagine semi-automatic guns and revolvers. there needs to be some kind of regulation and rules to limit gun ownership to ensure that any "tom, dick, or dirty harry" can be packing (anyone remember columbine and virginia tech?).

this decision by the court is reckless. i would've much rather seen them require the district to change the unrealistic handgun ban rather than open the floodgates to assaults on gun laws around the country by the emboldened NRA. heaven help us!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

SugarPlum Artistry

Photo courtesy of my Palm Treo 680

The SugarPlum and I shared a bowl of strawberry ice cream in my belated birthday gift. Oh, it was delicious!

The bowl is an original design, it is a hand crafted and hand painted kiln-fired clay bowl that she created in summer camp last week.

This was evening our first opportunity to use my birthday bowl, since she was sent to bed last night without dinner for not completing her homework.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Quote of the Day - June 25, 2007

"My theme has been throughout this campaign that I'm the one with the experience, the knowledge and the judgment. So perhaps it may serve to enhance those credentials to make people understand that I've been to Pakistan, I know (President Pervez) Musharraf, I can pick up the phone and call him. I knew Benazir Bhutto."
- Senator John McCain, presumptive Republican presidential nominee, on December 27, 2007 after hearing that Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in Pakistan.

Senator McCain obviously forgot that he made this statement last December while in the hunt for his party's nomination, as he attempted to distance himself from a major gaffe by one of his chief advisers, Charlie Black, on yesterday. Black inadvertently spoke about the McCain strategy to take advantage of a terrorist attack, if one were to occur during this election cycle.

Charlie Black said that Benazir Bhutto’s killing was an “unfortunate event.” But, he argued, McCain’s “knowledge and ability to talk about it reemphasized that this is the guy who's ready to be Commander-in-Chief." Asked if McCain would stand to benefit from a terrorist attack on U.S. soil, Black replied, “Certainly it would be a big advantage to him.

What follows is a statement from the Obama campaign:
Barack Obama welcomes a debate about terrorism with John McCain, who has fully supported the Bush policies that have taken our eye off of al Qaeda, failed to bring Osama bin Laden to justice, and made us less safe. The fact that John McCain’s top advisor says that a terrorist attack on American soil would be a ‘big advantage’ for their political campaign is a complete disgrace, and is exactly the kind of politics that needs to change. Barack Obama will turn the page on these failed policies and this cynical and divisive brand of politics so that we can unite this nation around a common purpose to finish the fight against al Qaeda,”

Read the entire New York Times article that calls John McCain's reaction to Charlie Black's comment in to question here.

Read the entire New Republic article on the McCain Camp comments here.

plez sez: okay... we're dealing with two issues here:
(1) john mccain is older than ronald reagan when he first ran: i'm in my mid-forties and i tend to forget things or my mind makes up new details around past events... i can only imagine what it would be like to be 72-years old and trying to remember every damn thing i've uttered on a daily basis over the past 12 months while engaged in a vigorous campaign to be president of the united states. in addition to being more than a little forgetful, mccain also has the uncanny ability to flip-flop his position while he's forgetting what he said; in my defense, i'm pretty consistent in my stances, so if i was for something last year, i'm more than likely still for it today. mccain has obviously forgotten that one of his campaign strategies was to take FULL ADVANTAGE of any terrorist activity to prove his chops as the next commander-in-chief (as he uttered after the bhutto assassination).

(2) a gaffe is when you inadvertently tell the truth: a show of hands here, who doesn't think that the mccain campaign would milk a terrorist attack on the united states for all that it was worth and claim that he is imminently more qualified than Barack Obama to handle any such event if he were in the white house? easier question: who wouldn't put it past the bush administration and the republicans to manufacture a terrorist attack in let's say mid-october (i.e. an october surprise) to scare the electorate into voting for the 72-year old mccain over the relatively inexperienced Barack Obama?

nothing surprises plezWorld these days and just to think we have about five months left before we get to elect our new president. i keep in mind that john mccain has only recently attempted to distance himself from george w. bush and his failed foreign policies: osama bin laden hasn't been captured in seven years after 9/11, the taliban is still alive and kicking in afghanistan, al-qaeda has grown in strength since the invasion of iraq, the basis to attack iraq was based on lies, etc. mccain speaks of years of experience, i argue that cheney & rumsfeld & powell had more experience than mccain, and we see the mess they got us into. and based on mccain's campaign staffer comments, it is obvious that mccain plans to capitalize on striking terroristic fear into the hearts of americans, similar to the tactics used by bush when he ran for reelection in 2004!

i'm voting for Barack Obama... let's give change a chance!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Shaq Freestyle Rap

Shaquille O'Neal Does Some Freestyle Rap

plez sez: Shaq sounds kinda bitter, if you ask me (he spent this year's NBA Finals at home and he's only got one more ring than Kobe Bryant)! but it seemed like good fun, except the rip on Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaq couldn't carry Kareem's jock strap!

but you gotta love the hook: "Kobe, tell me how my ass taste!"

Monday, June 23, 2008

Race Relations in plezWorld

Over the past six months, race relations and attitudes towards race in the US has been front and center with the candidacy of the presumptive Democratic Party nominee Sen. Barack H. Obama, the first Black American to head a major party's ticket in the country's 232 year history. From comfortable wins in states like Iowa, North Dakota, and Montana that have few Black voters; to close losses in states like Indiana, Pennsylvania, and California that have sizable Black numbers; to big wins in states that have large numbers of Blacks; to apparent race-based losses in states like Kentucky and West Virginia, this country has run the gamut in support (and lack in support) of Sen. Obama.

The Washington Post released the results of a new Washington Post-ABC News poll (published June 18, 2008) that shows the attitudes towards on race in the United States. The poll shows that 3 in 10 of all Americans admit to at least some racial bias. Overall, 51 percent call the current state of race relations "excellent" or "good." More than six in 10 African Americans now rate race relations as "not so good" or "poor," while 53 percent of whites hold more positive views. Opinions are also divided along racial lines, though less so, on whether blacks face discrimination. There is more similarity on feelings of personal racial prejudice: 30 percent of whites and 34 percent of blacks admit such sentiments.

At the same time, there is an overwhelming public openness to the idea of electing an African American to the presidency. In a Washington Post-ABC News poll last month, nearly nine in 10 whites said they would be comfortable with a black president. While fewer whites, about two-thirds, said they would be "entirely comfortable" with it, that was more than double the percentage of all adults who said they would be so at ease with someone entering office for the first time at age 72, which McCain (R-Ariz.) would do should he prevail in November.

Read the entire Washington Post article about race here.

plez sez: in this past, i recently wrote about what i saw as the unintended consequences of an Obama presidency in terms of its affect on affirmative action in america. another unintended consequence may be the eventual post-racialism in this country. John McWhorter writes eloquently of how little racism affects america on a day-to-day basis, could it be that a President Obama will finally throw that last shovels full of dirt on the casket of racism?

there will always be those who see black and brown skin as inferior - hell, there are those in the Black community who view darker skin as inferior - but this election may give america its first opportunity to see past race. the poll results show that 30 percent of all americans have some racial bias, but more than 50 percent are comfortable with a Black president. when this country doesn't slide into a moral abyss after Obama's inauguration and when he begins to actually accomplish something during his presidency, we may see these numbers improve dramatically. racism is a sickness of ignorance (demographically, Obama does better with better educated white folk). maybe even a sizable portion of whites who only know Black people from what they see on the evening news will come to see the folly of their racial bias.

on the flip side, i'm in Michelle Obama's camp on this one: this election cycle has for the first time in my adult life given me reason to be truly proud of this country! Barack Obama's candidacy has completely re-written my thoughts on race relations in this country. plezWorld has an Obama '08 bumper sticker on the SUV, i received it from two white Obama campaigners who were eating in a restaurant in my neighborhood; they were returning to Atlanta from the South Carolina primaries that weekend. when i went canvassing on Super Tuesday, my riding partner was an older white lady, Dreaming Bear, from the north georgia mountains who had made the two hour drive to South DeKalb to canvass for Obama!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A Birthday Song for plezWorld

When plezWorld was born on this day, back in nineteen-sixty-something, Ray Charles had the #1 Billboard pop song in the US: "I Can't Stop Loving You."

Since that time, Paul McCartney (with either the Beatles, Wings, Stevie Wonder, or as a solo act) has had the most #1 songs to fall on my birthday with five. I looked at my wedding anniversary date (which is only three months later) from the year I was born until the present, and Paul McCartney shows up only once, with the Beatles ("Hey Jude"). Go figure!

Click here to see other interesting non-musical facts about my birthday.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Summer Solstice Saturday

No basketball. No football. No Tiger Woods golf. No interest in baseball. Seen all the movies on the DVR. Don't wanna go to the pool, but the SugarPlum will drag me down there anyway. Yesterday was one of my brother's birthday... he's a Gemini. Tomorrow is my birthday and I'm a Cancer... so now I'm more fifty than forty! Don't wanna fire up the grill, but can't stomach another fast food burger with fries. Can't post about Obama. Don't wanna read about Hillary. And McCain is just too easy. Don't wanna complain too much, but there's not much to cheer about. Gas is too high to just drive around. And it's too hot and humid to walk. Today is the Summer Solstice, well, it occurred just before midnight last night. Did I mention that tomorrow is another birthday in plezWorld?

Friday, June 20, 2008

For All the Oil in Iraq

Thirty-six years ago, Saddam Hussein rose to power in Iraq. From his lofty perch, he nationalized the Iraqi oil fields and kicked all of the oil companies out of the country.

Since that time, Iraq has gone to war with Iran (that lasted about 10 years). He tried to invade Kuwait and was repelled by US forces. And then on September 11, 2001, the United States was attacked by Al-Qaeda terrorists at the behest of Osama bin Laden (who was holed up in Afghanistan), and a few years later we declared war on Iraq. The US has been at "war" with Iraq for over five years, even though, Saddam Hussein was captured and hanged less than a year into the conflict.

Well, the New York Times reports that Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total and BP — the original partners in the Iraq Petroleum Company — along with Chevron and a number of smaller oil companies, are in talks with Iraq’s Oil Ministry for no-bid contracts to service Iraq’s largest fields. Only 4,000 US troop deaths into the War in Iraq and the greedy US oil companies are slithering into the Iraq for what they've been waiting for these long five years. The deals, expected to be announced on June 30, will lay the foundation for the first commercial work for the major companies in Iraq since the American invasion, and open a new and potentially lucrative country for their operations.

There was suspicion among many in the Arab world and among parts of the American public that the United States had gone to war in Iraq precisely to secure the oil wealth these contracts seek to extract. The Bush administration has said that the war was necessary to combat terrorism. It is not clear what role the United States played in awarding the contracts; there are still American advisers to Iraq’s Oil Ministry.

Read the entire New York Times article on how US oil companies are chomping at the bit to do business in Iraq here.

plez sez: cajones... mucho gusto cajones

i guess someone has to refurbish the crumbling iraqi oil field infrastructure. someone has to get them on the right footing. it may as well be companies from the country that liberated iraq, right?

and dick cheney and those americans who advise the iraqi oil ministry had nothing to do with the awarding of no-bid contracts to the biggest and greediest oil companies in the us!

do you think this will increase the supply of crude oil enough to drop the price of gasoline back to $2 a gallon? me neither!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Tiger Shuts Down Remainder of PGA Tour

Tiger Woods announced that he is going to have surgery on the left knee that gave him so many problems during his successful run for his fourteenth major golf championship. Apparently, he ruptured his ACL in 2007 while running at his home in Orlando after the British Open. He decided not to have surgery at that point, and he went on to win five of the next six events he entered (through his Target World Challenge in December).

In addition to the ruptured ACL, he also has a stress fracture on his tibia!

So, he will not be competing in any tournaments for the remainder of 2008, missing the British Open and PGA Championships for the first time of his illustrious career. Tiger Woods is the engine that drives the PGA Tour, without his presence, the Tour is little more than an amateur contest.

Read the entire article about Tiger Woods here.

plez sez: i had no idea his knee was that messed up... a ruptured ACL and a double stress fracture in the tibia!!!

the Legend of Tiger Woods continues to grow... he was runner up at the Masters and played a 19 hole playoff to win the US Open! this guy is without peer in his sport... and the next guy on the list is a DISTANT Number Two. without Tiger Woods, the PGA Tour is a joke... is phil mickelson, sergio garcia, ernie els, and a cast of 150 golfers provide even half of the excitement of ONE Tiger Woods?!? will sponsors be lining up for the remaining majors? will television viewers be rearranging their schedule to watch even one round of Tiger-less golf this summer?

Tiger's left knee has shut down the PGA Tour for the remainder of 2008!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Boston Wins (Again)

I'll admit it, I was rooting for the Los Angeles Lakers. I was hoping that Kobe Bryant and the Lakers would sweep the Celtics.

In this year's NBA Championship Finals, it was basically the other way around: the Celtics won all of their games at home and won a crucial road game in Los Angeles. The Celtics bounced back from their lackluster performance during the opening rounds with the Atlanta Hawks and Cleveland Cavaliers to take care of business against the Pistons. They turned it up a notch (especially, that awesome defense) against the Lakers who never really contended! The Celtics were pretty close to winning the other road games in Los Angeles, as well.

The score tonight was a blowout victory 131-92... so the Celtics are the new NBA Champions... almost 20 years after those Larry Bird-led teams of the late 80's. The Boston Red Sox won the World Series and the New England Patriots lost the Super Bowl on the last possession of the New York Giants. And all three teams will probably contend for championships next season as well.

So, I guess that makes Boston, Massachusetts the center of the sports world!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tiger's Fourteenth

Fighting off the effects of surgery on his left knee, nineteen more holes of Torrey Pines, and a determined and pesky foe, by the name of Rocco Mediate, Tiger Woods held on to win his fourteenth major title: the 108th PGA Tour United States Open.

After an unspectacular the fourth round on Sunday afternoon, the playoff round was full of high drama: Woods took a three stroke lead to the tenth hole, only to have Mediate bounce back to take the lead with three straight birdie holes (13, 14, 15). Tiger had to sink birdie putt on the 18th hole of the playoff round to continue the match. It took one more hole and a wayward tee shot by Mediate for Woods to finally seal the deal.

This had to be the most fun and most nerve-racking round of golf that I've ever witnessed. By the 18th hole, I as half rooting for Mediate (who would've been the oldest golfer to win the US Open at 45 years old and this would've been his first major) and half cheering for Tiger (who was in the hunt for his 14th major - only four behind Jack Nicholas - while playing with a sore knee).

Tiger has won the Masters 4 times, the US Open 3 times, the British Open 3 times, and the PGA Championship 4 times. He's the man!

I have a lot of respect for Mediate who played the weekend of his life. He faced down Tiger Woods in a head-to-head battle that came down to one putt. And Tiger Woods added one more accolade to his stellar career. Thanks guys!

Monday, June 16, 2008

PGA US Open Playoff with Tiger

Doing what he does best, Tiger Woods took Rocco Mediate to a playoff after Sunday's action at the 108th United States Open.

Woods took the US Open lead with an eagle on the 18th hole on Saturday. He quickly surrendered the lead with a double bogey on the first hole on Sunday. And didn't regain a share of the lead until a birdie on the 18th hole on Sunday.

Playing solid, yet unspectacular golf, throughout the fourth round on Sunday, Tiger was never more than two strokes out of the lead. His sore left knee provided the most theater during the round as Tiger grimaced his way through the eighteen holes.

Rocco Mediate - who has never won a major golf title - bounced into the clubhouse with a one stroke lead over Tiger Woods and his playing partner, Lee Westwood. Both made it to the 18th green with a long putt opportunity for a birdie that would take Mediate into a playoff.

Westwood's birdie putt fell short and he had to settle for par and second place.

Then it was Tiger's turn with a 15 foot putt.

Tiger examined the green like a surgeon looking for the proper place to make his first incision. He stood at his ball and took a few practice swings. Then addressed the ball in the total silence of the gallery. He struck the ball... it bounced along the smooth greens seemingly wanting to veer away from the hole, yet compelled and willed into the hole by the advancing footsteps of Tiger Woods.

That little white ball rolled in... and plezWorld damn near fainted!

The US Open will be decided by an eighteen hole playoff on Monday:
  • The front nine will be broadcast by ESPN beginning at 11:30 AM EST

  • The back nine will be broadcast by NBC beginning at 2:00 PM EST

  • The DVR is already set!

    Sunday, June 15, 2008

    Father's Day in plezWorld

    Photo courtesy of my Palm Treo 680

    What a beautiful Sunday morning in plezWorld. What a great day to be daddy.

    Thanks to plezWife & the SugarPlum for beakfast in bed... it was scrumptuous.

    And yes, I really wanted the "John Adams" DVD set!

    Happy Father's Day, ya'll!

    Saturday, June 14, 2008

    Tiger's on the Prowl (Again)

    A mere eight weeks after knee surgery, Tiger Woods shook off the first round rust where he ended seven shots behind the leader, Rocco Mediate, on Thursday at the PGA Tour US Open. On Friday afternoon at Torrey Pines, Tiger Woods showed why he is "Tiger Woods," by capping the back nine with five birdies. He ended the day with a 68 and is now only one stroke behind the leader, Stuart Appleby.

    Read the New York Times article on round two here.

    Read the account of round two here.

    plez sez: i started playing golf the same year that Tiger Woods won his first Masters. i'm not very good at the sport, but i do enjoy watching it... whenever Tiger Woods is playing. his high level of expertise and confidence is awesome, and his ability to win is unparalleled in the world of sports.

    to my way of thinking, he's not only the greatest golfer who's ever lived, he's easily the greatest athlete who's ever lived (sorry Muhammad Ali and Michael Jordan)!

    I look for round three to be Separation Saturday, where Tiger - and possibly Appleby - pull away from the field with an insurmountable four or five stroke lead. Those two will duel it out on Sunday afternoon with Tiger Woods hoisting yet another trophy from a major. And just think, Woods hasn't played in a tournament since the Masters!

    Phil Mickelson grew up in San Diego and Torrey Pines is considered his home course. He was paired with Tiger Woods on Thursday and Friday. As if on cue, Mickelson faded on Friday, ending with six bogeys in his round of 75. He is seven strokes off of the lead. As he ages through his prime golf playing years, it is looking more like Mickelson will end up being a sad footnote in the career of Tiger Woods.

    Friday, June 13, 2008

    President Obama - Unintended Consequences

    There was a frenzy of activity as the results of the South Dakota primary rolled across the big screen television. WHOOPS & CHEERS were heard throughout.

    At approximately 10:00 PM EST on Tuesday, June 3, 2008, Senator Barack Obama became the presumptive presidential nominee of the Democratic Party. Forty-something years after the Civil Rights Movement limped into obscurity following the death of Martin Luther King, Jr., a Black man stands at the cusp of acquiring the highest office in the land: President of the United States.

    Along with the nomination and hopeful win in November, the nation's Black and brown and underrepresented masses look wishfully to a Washington, DC that will wipe away three centuries of second class status, fifty years of hard fought civil rights, and sixteen months of raucous (and at times, acrimonious) campaigning for the presidency. But what changes can Black America expect?

    The United States is structured such that the Chief Executive of the US has NO dominion over the state courts that imprison Black men at alarming rates, the President has no province over state and local school boards who consistently provide substandard education to the those who live in urban and depressed public school systems, the Commander in Chief has no control over the state and local police that will suppress the rights of those without a voice. The war on drugs has been a dismal failure since first uttered by Ronald Reagan those twenty-something years ago, so drug-infested, economically depressed Black neighborhoods can expect few changes to their condition.

    Many Black people have expressed the joy in seeing a Black man ascend to such a lofty mantle in their lifetimes, but also see it as a signal that times are quickly changing. Blacks will no longer be able to use being Black as an excuse for their condition. Kwabena Sam-Brew of Minnesota was interviewed after the Obama win, "We as black people now have hope that we have never, ever had. I have new goals for my little girl. She can't give me any excuses because she's black."

    This joy and hope of Black also carries with it an unintended consequence of an Obama presidency: the end of affirmative action as we know it!

    Affirmative action foes are licking their chops in anticipation: how can this country continue to offer preferential treatment to a minority group who has one of its members sitting in the Oval Office? Ward Connerly, a conservative crusader against affirmative action - policies that favor specific groups - and chairman of the American Civil Rights Institute, tipped his hand when interviewed after Obama received the necessary delegate votes to become the Democratic party's presidential nominee:
    "[...watched a replay of Obama's victory] and I choked up. He did it by his own achievement. Nobody gave it to him. The entire argument for race preferences is that society is institutionally racist and institutionally sexist, and you need affirmative action to level the playing field. The historic success of Senator Obama, as well as Senator Clinton, dismantles that argument."

    Connerly expressed hope that Obama's rise would help his own efforts to end affirmative action on the basis of race.

    One step further, John McWhorter, of the New York Sun believes that Obama's win shows that racism in this country is in retreat. Although, racism does exist, he opines that its practitioners are few and the effects on Blacks is minuscule. Excerpts of his New York Sun article "Racism in Retreat" follows:
    Well, here we are. Are there some bigots? Of course. Did they, or any purported instance of "racism" during the campaign, keep Barack Obama from the nomination?

    His victory demonstrates the main platform of my race writing. The guiding question in everything I have ever written on race is: Why do so many people exaggerate about racism?

    This exaggeration is a nasty hangover from the sixties, and the place it has taken as a purported badge of intellectual and moral gravitas is a tire-block on coherent, constructive sociopolitical discussion.

    Note that I did not say that there was no racism. There seems to be an assumption that when discussing racism, it is a sign of higher wisdom to neglect the issue of its degree. This assumption is neither logical nor productive. I reject it, and am pleased to see increasing numbers of black people doing same.

    Of course there is racism. The question is whether there is enough to matter. All evidence shows that there is not. No, the number of black men in prison is not counterevidence: black legislators were solidly behind the laws penalizing possession of crack more heavily than powder.

    In any case, to insist that we are hamstrung until every vestige of racism, bias, or inequity is gone indicates a grievous lack of confidence, which I hope any person of any history would reject.

    Yet every time some stupid thing happens — some comedian says a word, some sniggering blockhead hangs a little noose, some study shows that white people tend to get slightly better car loans — we are taught that racism is still mother's milk in the U.S. of A. "Always just beneath the surface."

    Barack Obama's success is the most powerful argument against this way of thinking in the entire four decades since recreational underdoggism was mistaken as deep thought. A black man clinching the Democratic presidential nomination — and rather easily at that — indicates that racism is a lot further "beneath the surface" than it used to be.

    And if Mr. Obama ends up in the White House, then it might be time to admit that racism is less beneath the surface than all but fossilized.

    Lastly, one need look no farther than Barack Obama to see hints of how he sees a significant shift in affirmative action in the US. When asked about how his daughters should be viewed when they are seeking admission to college, he said that his daughters, "...should probably be treated by any admissions officer as folks who are pretty advantaged. I think that we should take into account white kids who have been disadvantaged and have grown up in poverty and shown themselves to have what it takes to succeed."

    Obama goes on to clarify his position on the matter, saying that affirmative action should combine both race-based and class-based preferences. He said, "I don't think those concepts are mutually exclusive. I think what one can say is that in our society race and class still intersect, and there are a lot of African American kids who are struggling, that even those who are in the middle class may be first generation as opposed to fifth or sixth generation college attendees, and that we all have an interest in bringing as many people together to help build this country."

    Read the International Herald Tribune about the Obama victory here.

    Read the entire New York Sun article by John McWhorter on race in America here.

    Click the link for On The Issues to see where Barack Obama stands on affirmative action.

    plez sez: this was a tough entry to write, i spent over a week going over notes and composing my thoughts. plezWorld grew up in the 60's and 70's, i was a beneficiary, to a small degree, of affirmative action: i participated in a number of programs geared toward encouraging minority students to study engineering and my cooperative education assignment with NASA was a program for minority engineering students. i got into college on my merits, since i had stellar grades in high school and my SAT scores were superb (i was accepted to study electrical engineering via early admissions)!

    i'm the same age as Barack Obama and have an outlook on life that is similar to his, even though i was raised by my Black parents, my formative years were spent in a predominantly white enclave in the suburbs of new york city (also known as westchester county). i went to predominantly white schools, a predominantly white university (GO TECH!), and i have been in the minority at every job i've held since high school.

    i've always had mixed feelings about affirmative action and have never been a proponent of quotas or set asides based on race. i understand that there is a likelihood of the taint of one's accomplishments when there is a perception that your race (or sex) was the main reason for your success. even though the perception may be grounded in falsehoods, your hard work and determination may be compromised if others have the perception that you did not make it on your merits.

    i believe that admissions to state universities and contracts for government work should be awarded to ensure minority representation that is reflective of the community (or state), but i also feel that students and contractors should meet the minimum requirements that are set for everyone else. just as the children of alumni and big donors to universities get some preferences (see George W. Bush), there should be mechanisms in place to ensure that qualified minority students are able to secure slots at these universities. just as lobbyists and government insiders can "grease the skids" for government contracts for their friends and network, the government has an obligation to ensure that qualified minority contractors (and workers) are given ample opportunity to bid and win government contracts.

    i have no doubt that affirmative action foes, like ward connerly, won't wait for long after Obama's election to begin the work of dismantling affirmative action as we know it. connerly and his ilk will trumpet the call for a color-blind system that will undoubtedly leave poor and unprepared Black communities in their wake. any chance for affirmative action's survival will hinge on its proponents' ability to quickly institute hybrid race- & class-based system to replace the soon-to-be antiquated race-based system, as advocated by Obama.

    i'm afraid that time is running out and those communities who have not heeded the call to provide quality education will be left further behind, since affirmative action was only a boost to those who had the where with all to take advantage of its opportunities. things will undoubtedly get worse before they get better: look at the low minority rates at california universities after connerly did away with affirmative action there (none have more than 4% Black enrollment with UC-San Diego with a Black enrollment of 1.2%).

    on january 20, 2009, while we're cheering the inauguration of President Barack Obama, a stalwart institution - maybe the only successful institution - of the civil rights movement will begin to be dismantled.

    Thursday, June 12, 2008

    Quote of the Day - June 12, 2008

    "No, but that's not too important. What's important is the casualties in Iraq."
    - Senator John McCain (R-AZ), presumptive Republican presidential nominee, responding to a question from NBC's Matt Lauer as to if "...[he had] a better estimate of when American forces can come home from Iraq?" on the Today Show on June 11, 2008.

    McCain goes on to clarify his stance by drawing a parallel between US forces occupying Iraq with the US forces that are in South Korea, Japan, and Germany.

    Watch Matt Lauer's interview of John McCain on the Today Show:

    McCain continues, "...but the key to it is we don't want any more Americans in harm's way. And that way they will be safe and serve our country and come home with honor and victory, not in defeat, which is what Senator Obama's proposal would have done."

    Read the MSNBC account of the interview here.

    plez sez: like Barack Obama, plezWorld has been in opposition to the war in iraq from Day One. to my way of thinking, there was zero justification for the invasion, and six years and over 4,000 US troop deaths later, the blunder of the bush administration's jacked up foreign policy is even more apparent. and now, the republican nominee for president wants to continue george w's failed foreign policy... BRILLIANT!

    the cause for the invasion (the WMD) has never been found. the trial and hanging of sadaam hussein - no matter what a despot he became - was not the business of the US. iraq's grasp of democracy is tenuous at best... when we leave, the whole place will probably fracture into religious sects (sunni, shia, kurd, etc.). the terrorists (al-qaeda) responsible for 9/11 are growing in strength in iran, afghanistan, and pakistan. the iraqi oil reserves that we so valiantly protected have done nothing to alleviate the pressure of mounting gasoline costs here in the US. we continue to lose soldiers on the ground in iraq while performing a police function that their own military cannot do... after 5 years of training!

    lastly, mccain keeps talking about winning the war in iraq... this was will have no winners! we've lost. the iraqis have lost. and that miserable country will revert to whatever feudal state it was prior to hussein's power move the minute our troops march home... it's best that we get out of there sooner, than later.

    Wednesday, June 11, 2008

    We Are the Ones by

    "We Are the Ones" by

    people say Obama’s words are just words...
    when was the last time "words" weren’t important...???...

    when was the last time a great leader didn’t use words to lead...??...
    when was the last time a person didn’t use words to describe how they felt...?...
    when was the last time "words" weren’t empowering...?...

    and we can all recall the last time "words" were used to divide us and install fear...

    Bush used words to fear us into voting for him the second time around...
    terror this...
    terror that...
    nuclear here...
    weapons of mass destruction there...

    and those words effected a lot of people’s choices...

    "enough is enough"...
    let’s rebuild...

    let’s change ourselves...
    let’s allow positivity to guide us...

    let's take action....
    let’s activate our passion...
    we are Americans....

    and this is the first time in forever that someone running for president represents "US"...

    some say this is all excitement...
    I call it “proud to be an American”...

    some say this whole Obama movement is "cult like"...
    if it comes across cult like...
    the cult is called America...

    the Obama movement is connecting America.
    and it has made "US" realize our importance...
    the youth is excited and activated...
    adults are passionate and motivated...
    the elderly are proud to know the country they built is in safe hands...

    we are one...

    for too long politics has been corrupt...
    separate from the American people...
    with agendas that go against what the American people "need"...

    politicians have spoken a different language...
    making it so the youth and poor people feel as if voting was only for the wealthy and old people...
    making "US" feel as if "we" had no voice...
    making "US" feel powerless...
    making it feel like if "we" did vote it wouldn’t change anything...

    but wait...
    that did happen...
    some of us voted, and it didn’t change anything...

    we were in the dark...
    we had no voice...
    we were powerless...

    because America was not a united America...
    and "they" spoke a different language...
    and they had an agenda different from our well being...

    correct me if I’m wrong... or speak up if I’m missing something...

    we want education, health, safety, and good jobs...right???...
    oh yeah...
    and "a healthy planet to live on"...

    but here we are...

    in a war... poor education... poor health programs... the dollar is down... the planet, polluted...
    the rich, richer... and the poor, struggling...
    with sky high gas prices to top it all off...

    and now even the rich aren't really rich internationally because our dollar is has fallen so far down...

    in our slumber... a very small few got really rich...

    because when you’re sleeping...

    "it’s hard to change agendas"...

    we know what happened in 2000 and 2004...
    but in 2008...
    it’s different...

    we are awake...
    and there is a movement...

    and "it’s hard to change a movement"...

    last time "we" didn’t have a movement...
    America wasn’t united...

    and now "United and "Standing"...for something...
    we know the power of "US"...
    and we have a person who represents the "U.S."...


    "we are the ones we’ve been waiting for"...

    I’m proud to be an American...

    plez sez:
    plezWorld Supports Barack Obama

    Tuesday, June 10, 2008

    US Food Supply Compromised - Tomatoes & Salmonella

    Earlier today, as I pondered my choices for lunch, I decided to roll through the Wendy's drive-thru for a chicken club sandwich (hold the mustard) and a bottle of water. I rolled up to the first window to pay for my order and took a passing glance at a memo about tomatoes and sandwiches. Didn't think much of it until I got my food and started to chow down on my lunch... there wasn't the wobbly slice of tomato that I usually pull out and discard in the bag with the french fries.

    WTF!... where is the friggin' tomato?!?

    I ambled home and dove headlong into Google. What was going on with the tomatoes? To my surprise, the FDA and CDC have confirmed that an outbreak of salmonella food poisoning first linked to uncooked tomatoes has now been reported in nine states. Lab tests have confirmed 40 illnesses in Texas and New Mexico as the same type of salmonella, right down to the genetic fingerprint.

    An investigation by Texas and New Mexico health authorities and the Indian Health Service tied those cases to uncooked, raw, large tomatoes. At least 17 people in Texas and New Mexico have been hospitalized, none have died. In Texas and New Mexico, raw large tomatoes — including Roma and red round tomatoes — were found to be a common factor in the 40 illnesses.

    Well, today, not only Wendy's, but McDonald's and just about every fast food joint worth its salt has stopped serving sliced tomatoes on all of its sandwiches in the US until the source of the salmonella has been identified.

    The FDA has broadened its list of tomatoes to avoid because of a salmonella outbreak that has sickened at least 145 people in 16 states since the middle of April.

    Salmonella bacteria can cause diarrhea (which may be bloody), fever, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Serious and potentially fatal cases are more likely in young children, frail or elderly people, and people with weak immune systems.

    Read the WebMD article on the CDC ban on tomatoes here.

    Read the Yahoo article on salmonella tainted tomatoes here.

    Read the New York Times article on McDonald's tomato ban here.

    plez sez: when i was a mere toddler, no more than two years old, i would frolic in our family garden, chasing our pet rabbits and occasionally settling down with a ripe red tomato plucked from the vine. of course, i don't remember doing it, but there are a number of pictures in the family photo album documenting such activity.

    i guess i should clarify the fact that i don't always throw out the tomatoes from my sandwiches, just the wobbly and soggy ones that taste slimy in my mouth. UGH! in the coming weeks, i will more than likely start to miss the "half fruit/half vegetable" in my submarine sandwich (does anyone call it a wedge?) or as an addition to my wendy's burger. makes me wonder what the heck is going on with our food supply.

    salmonella is a bacteria that passes from the feces of people or animals to other people or other animals. and that is the weird thing, i've always associated this type of outbreak with meat products (stuff from animals). i'm wondering how this animal germ is making its way into vegetables and fruits (in the last two years, there have been salmonella outbreaks in raw spinach and lettuce).

    i once got food poisoning (salmonella) from some undercooked chicken. the symptoms are horrendous and i don't wish food poisoning on my worst enemy. now these germs have been introduced to the types of foods that are not normally cooked which means hundreds or thousands of people can get sick before anyone recognizes the trend or the cause. this makes one wary about eating raw salads these days (even though the cdc says that the raw cherry tomatoes are safe)... go figure.

    Monday, June 09, 2008

    Barack Obama by Austin Maloney

    6" x 6" Oil on Panel
    Austin Maloney - 2008

    Description of the Portrait: [This piece was] painted ...totally Alla Prima. I didn't even do a rough drawing. Because of this the measurements are not perfect but it gave the piece a very fresh feel.

    plez sez: BARACK OBAMA caught at a pensive and reflective moment. i wonder if our current president has ever had such a moment over the past seven years while he has destroying our economy and plunging our country into a senseless war with iraq.

    as soon as i saw this painting, i knew that i had to post a copy at plezWorld. thanks to austin maloney for sharing his artistry with the world. i am a proponent of true artists.

    i encourage you to visit Austin's blog to see more of his artwork.

    Sunday, June 08, 2008

    Barack Obama On Hillary Clinton

    Today culminated the most historic 16 months in this country's history, where a woman and a Black man were seeking a major party's nomination for the highest office in the land. It was a tough race with over 35 million votes cast. Hillary Clinton may have come up short in the delegate count, but there were no losers. Her victories have empowered all women to strive to shatter the glass ceiling. Barack Obama's historic run and eventual capture of the Democratic Party's nomination should be an inspiration to all Americans, regardless of color... on a national scale, we are beginning to see the realization of Dr. King's Dream.

    I received the following e-mail message shortly after Hillary Clinton gave her concession speech and heartily endorsed Barack Obama for President of the United States. There is only one opportunity left; on Tuesday, November 4, 2008, we the people must attack the ballot box with a fervor to ensure that this country is not subjected to another four years of Bush Administration-like politics that would accompany John McCain to the White House. Heed Obama's call to unify the Democratic Party and win back the White House.

    plezWorld --

    Hillary Clinton announced her support for our campaign today.

    Senator Clinton made history over the past 16 months -- not just because she has broken barriers, but because she has inspired millions of Americans with her strength, her courage, and her commitment to causes like universal health care that make a difference in the lives of hardworking Americans.

    Our party and our country are stronger because of the work she has done throughout her life, and I'm a better candidate for having had the privilege of competing with her.

    Senator Clinton will be invaluable to our efforts to win in November, and I look forward to campaigning alongside her to bring this country the change it so desperately needs.

    Hillary and her supporters are joining us at an urgent moment.

    It's going to require a new level of commitment from every single one of us to build a national campaign in the general election.

    And we're going win this election the right way -- by growing our grassroots network of ordinary people giving only what they can afford.

    Will you help bring a new supporter into the movement by promising to match their first-time donation?

    By doubling the impact of someone's gift, you can encourage them to take the next step and own a piece of this campaign. Help us reach our goal of 20,000 new donors by making a matching donation now:

    plezWorld Supports Barack Obama

    It's time for all of us to come together to take on John McCain in the general election. John McCain offers another four years of George Bush's policies, which our country simply cannot afford.

    To win, we must continue building an unprecedented organization in all 50 states. And that will only happen if we all work together, side-by-side.

    Thank you for joining this movement and supporting a new kind of politics.

    Together we can do more than just win an election. Together we can change this country, and we can change the world.

    And we are honored to have Hillary Clinton at our side as we do it.

    Paid for by Obama for America

    Saturday, June 07, 2008

    The Obama Before Obama

    As mentioned in the past, the greater sum of American history is rarely written in books. The small burg of Louisa, Virginia was the 1929 birthplace of the first Black person to hold elected office in the United States. John Mercer Langston was the son of Ralph Quarles, a wealthy white slaveowner, and Lucy Langston, an emancipated slave. Both of his parents died when he was four years old and he was raised by a friend of his father in Ohio. Langston was the fifth Black person to graduate from Oberlin College.

    John Mercer Langston was elected township clerk of Brownhelm, Ohio, on April 2, 1855 by popular vote, becoming the first "Negro" elevated to public office by popular vote. He was elected to a number of local offices in Ohio, was active in the Black freedom movement with Frederick Douglass, served as educational inspector for the Freedmen's Bureau, founded what would become the Howard University law school, and was the US minister to Haiti. In 1888, he ran for Congress in Virginia's 4th Congressional District as an independent; his victory was initially denied, but he contested the election results and eventually won his set.

    It is interesting to note that John Langston was elected to office five years before Abraham Lincolm became president. It has been a long 153 years between him becoming the Brownhelm, Ohio township clerk and Barack Obama standing on the cusp of becoming the President of the United States. From then until now, less than 4 percent of elected officials in the US are Black.

    Historian William Cheek, who co-authored "John Mercer Langston and the Fight for Black Freedom, 1829-65" with wife Aimee Lee Cheek, describes Langston as slim and debonair, of mixed-raced parentage, highly educated, an expert in constitutional law, a community organizer (he went around Ohio setting up schools), and a soaring orator who sought to unify a divided country after the Civil War. The similarities between Langston and Obama are uncanny... John Mercer Langston was Barack Hussein Obama before Obama!

    Read the entire Washington Post article titled "The 'Obama Before Obama'" here.

    plez sez: john mercer langston, a extraordinary american, relegated to the dusty footnotes of us history. the first american of african descent elected to office sought elected office six years BEFORE the first shots of the civil war were fired.
    end of history lesson.

    class dismissed.

    Friday, June 06, 2008

    Office Freak Out

    "...don't push me, 'cause I'm close to the edge."
    - from "The Message" by Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five

    plez sez: surprisingly enough, i felt like this a couple of weeks ago. it would've only taken someone to bump into me or saying the wrong damn thing... and i would've wrecked the joint! *smile*

    back in the day, this was referred to as "Going Postal."

    Thursday, June 05, 2008

    Funky Interlude - The Brothers Johnson (1977)

    No politics. No campaigning. No Barack Obama. No Hillary Clinton. No George W. Bush. No spin. No speeches. No opinions. No articles. No late breaking news.

    plez sez: ...just "Get the Funk Out Ma Face"!

    Brothers Johnson droppin' it LIVE in 1977!

    Wednesday, June 04, 2008

    Tuesday, June 03, 2008

    YES WE CAN! President Obama...

    Photo courtesy of my Palm Treo 680

    ... has a nice ring to it!

    BARACK OBAMA secured the Democratic Presidential nomination at 10:00 tonight!

    16 months. Millions of votes. Hundreds of thousands of miles. 54 primaries & caucuses.

    It is truly time for a change!

    YES WE CAN! Only 4 More!

    Photo courtesy of my Palm Treo 680
    It's 8:24 PM EST, plezWorld & plezWife are currently embedded at the Obama Finale Watch Party at FOX Sports Grill in Atlanta.

    CNN reports that Barack Obama is only FOUR delegate votes away from the 2008 Democratic Presidential nomination.

    It's historic, ya'll!!!

    The Last 2008 Democratic Primary

    plezWorld & OBAMA 2008! YES WE CAN!The fat lady is testing her vocal chords for the final aria of this very long and drawn out primary season for the Democratic Party. Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have scrapped for every delegate's vote in all fifty states dating back to early November of last year. Clinton entered 2008 riding a wave of popularity and name recognition. Obama entered 2008 riding a grassroots organization that is unparalleled in scope. He won early. He won often. She won late... and by all accounts, much too late. He had a strategy to energize the electorate and bring in new voters. She had a strategy to ride the Clinton name and have the nomination in hand by Super Tuesday... unfortunately for Clinton, the race has extended four months after Super Tuesday!

    The race has been a drama of contrast and style and delivery. Often ugly. Often divisive. A sweet victory has yet to be found. There have been cries of foul. There have been allegations of classism, sexism, elitism, even racism. There has been discord. And even the whisper of assassination.

    But it all comes to an end today, Tuesday, June 3rd. The 49th and 50th states will have their say, like the forty-eight before them. Back in America's heartland, the scene of so many Obama victories before them, South Dakota and Montana will cast their lot at the feet of the next President of the United States. Michigan and Florida have been resolved. The pledged delegate totals continue to tilt toward Obama. The remaining superdelegates stand at the ready to pledge their support, but only after South Dakota and Montana have had their say. And most polls predict that these two states will say, "Obama."

    Late breaking news - as reported by the New York Times - has a number of Senate and House members ready to throw their support behind Obama after the polls close on Tuesday: Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa, Sen. Ken Salazar of Colorado, Sen. Thomas Carper of Delaware, Sen. Benjamin Cardin of Maryland, and Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina, who has urged the remaining Democratic congressmen to get on board with the eventual nominee after the Tuesday primaries.

    Read the AP report about Clinton's final campaign plans here.

    Read the New York Times article about Obama's efforts to secure the nomination on Tuesday here.

    plez sez: i still contend that it would be a show of class, if Clinton would join Obama in St. Paul, Minnesota on Tuesday evening in a show of unity and solidarity.

    as for plezWorld, my family and i will be celebrating Obama's nomination at the FOX Sports Grill in Atlanta for the "Official OBAMA Democratic Primary Finale Watch Party". yes, all three of us will be there for the balloon drop and exhilarating celebration of the nomination of Barack Obama!

    Monday, June 02, 2008

    Uneducation in DeKalb County, Georgia

    Friday, May 23, 2008 was the last day of school in DeKalb County Public Schools. As the last class on the last day of school was letting out at Stephenson High School in Stone Mountain a fight broke out. Not a fight between two girls over a boy. Not a fight between two boys over a girl. But a fight between a girl and a substitute teacher... over a wig!

    As reported in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and as shown on YouTube, substitute teacher Carolyn Jones claims that she was having problems with one of the female students and the girl had threatened to pull off her wig. According to school police report, Ms. Jones kicked the student which prompted the brawl. Of course, a student was at the ready to video the entire altercation on a cell phone. The two are shown slapping, grabbing, kicking, and punching each other for at least a minute in the video.

    Read the entire AJC article on the incident here.

    Watch the entire brawl and sub's account on YouTube
    (NOTE: the teacher is wearing the white blouse).

    plez sez: ...and you people wonder why plezWorld has the SugarPlum in a private school!

    when i was in high school - i know, back in the olden times - i never heard of a teacher being goaded into engaging in a fist fight with a student. first, i was never witness to such disrespect and lack of manners by a youngster towards an elder. but i have to call into question the intelligence and wisdom of a fifty-something woman who would engage a teenager in a fist fight in the middle of a classrooom of students.

    our society is reaching for rock bottom: a bankruptcy of morals, lack of respect, children not being raised by their parents, uneducated educators wandering the halls of our schools, and children thinking it is alright to fight teachers in the school... and this time, the destruction of Babylon is being documented on YouTube!

    this past friday morning, i had occasion to visit an elementary school in the southside of atlanta. i participated in the school's career day. the children were attentive, eyes sparkling bright, so much hope for the future beamed in those little brown eyes. dreams of being lawyers and doctors and football players and nurses and singers and entrepreneurs and teachers. the children spoke of the fun they planned to have over the summer at beaches in florida or at their grandparents house or playing with their cousins.

    but as i drove away from school's campus, i was struck by the harsh realities that awaiting these children as they descending the walkway into the ghetto that is cleveland avenue in inner city atlanta. the liquor stores, the motels that rent rooms by the hour, the ubiquitous church's fried chicken and assorted fast food joints, the drugged out bodies, and the hopeless minds. how many years will it be before those bright eyed dreams are dimmed by the reality of their environment? how long will it take for those 9, 10, and 11 year old boys to start sagging their pants and hanging on the corners not even a mile from the school? how many of those beautiful black girls will fall victim to the drugs and prostitution that is peddled along that wretched road.

    as our society fails our children and molds them into the types of teenagers who will have an all out brawl with a teacher and grows them into the type of teacher who would engage in an all out brawl with a student... we fail ourselves and our communities. we sink alittle farther into the maelstrom of despair and we tick off another shared value to extinction like the dodo bird. and the stark reality of inner city cleveland avenue in atlanta inches that much closer to suburban stephenson high school on stephenson road in dekalb county.

    another day in the uneducation of our children in dekalb county, georgia.

    Sunday, June 01, 2008

    plezWorld's Saturday with the DNC

    plezWorld was awaken this morning by the television blaring the opening gavel and a call to order by Democratic National Committee (DNC) Rules and Bylaws Committee Co-Chair Alexis Herman. I took a few moments to listen to the co-chair comments before getting dressed for the day. Not much time to dawdle on Saturday mornings, as it is my duty to chauffeur the SugarPlum to her ballet lesson. I had the foresight to hit the record button on the DVR before we left for the ballet studio in Buckhead. Something told me that it would be a long day in front of the television, so the SugarPlum and I grabbed some lunch before making our way home through the brutal Atlanta traffic and near ninety degree heat.

    I settled into my comfortable easy chair to watch gavel-to-gavel coverage of the all-important DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee meeting. I almost immediately began flipping between C-SPAN (for their coverage without commentary) and CNN (for their opinions and commentary). The big issue of the meeting was to resolve the delegates that were in limbo as a result of an earlier ruling by the Rules and Bylaws Committee to disregard the results of the Michigan and Florida primaries. In direct violation of the rules of the DNC, the states of Michigan and Florida held their democratic primaries prior to the February 5th Super Tuesday. A number of states were given exclusive province to hold primaries and caucuses prior to February due to their small size, geography, and special demographics; Michigan and Florida are states with large delegate counts and the DNC didn't want them to negate the primaries of states with much smaller delegate counts (South Carolina, Vermont, New Hampshire, Iowa, etc.).

    All of the Democratic candidates vowed to not campaign in Michigan and Florida, and all candidates except Hillary Clinton removed their names from the ballot in Michigan. None of the candidates, except Hillary Clinton, campaigned in Michigan or Florida. When the primaries were held in these two states, it was no surprise that Hillary Clinton won both contests in convincing fashion. To punish these states, the DNC stripped Michigan and Florida of their pledged and unpledged delegates, thus changing the number of delegates that was needed for the eventual Democratic candidate to secure the nomination for the party.

    As the campaign proceeded and with Barack Obama moving closer to the nomination after Super Tuesday, the Clinton campaign swung into action demanding that the delegates from Michigan and Florida be seated, and that she be awarded the rich cache of delegate votes that accompanied them. She pressured the Rules Committee to convene and change their ruling stripping those states of all of their delegates... that brings us to Saturday, May 31, 2008.

    The remarks given during the five-plus hour debate session were passionate. Clinton's supporters were well prepared to make the case that the delegates from both states should be seated:
    1. Florida's Republican-led legislature moved the date to late January and Florida DNC was unable to have a primary on an alternate date,
    2. Clinton won 55% of the vote in Michigan where none of the other candidates had their names on the ballot, and
    3. There was no provision in the rules to remove delegate privileges from unpledged (super) delegates and only allowed a fifty percent penalty for pledge delegates.
    The counter arguments focused on the rules that were established and agreed upon before the primary season began and those rules carried a fifty percent delegate penalty for moving the primaries before Super Tuesday. After a few hours of discussion, the Rules and Bylaws Committee went into a two hour private session... two hours morphed into four hours of closed door debate and negotiation.

    The haggard committee members returned to their seats after their four hour "break." A motion to seat all Florida delegates (pledged and unpledged) was quickly defeated. The motion to seat all Florida superdelegates and seat the pledged Florida delegates with one half of a vote was passed almost unanimously; Clinton was given 105 pledged delegates (with 52.5 votes) and Obama was given 67 pledged delegates (with 33.5 votes). The Michigan motion to seat the pledged delegates with one half a vote each passed overwhelmingly; Clinton received 69 pledged delegates (with 34.5 votes) and Obama received 59 pledged delegates (with 29.5 votes) even though his name wasn't on the ballot! One of Clinton's top advisers objected profusely with the Michigan delegate decision and threatened that the fight would continue to the convention with a grievance filed with the Credentials Committee.

    After the smoke cleared, Clinton ended up with 87 votes to Obama's 63 votes; Obama's 200 plus vote lead was hardly affected... and there remain few obstacles to prevent him securing the party's nomination after the Tuesday primaries in Montana and South Dakota.

    Read the entire CNN article about the DNC Meeting here.
    Read the entire New York Times article on DNC Meeting here.

    plez sez: after the partisan theatrics of the clintonistas and their feeble attempt to wrest control of the democratic nomination from Barack Obama, it is obvious that it time for her to call it quits. if the situations were reversed, Obama would've been forced to concede weeks ago! he has most of the pledge delegates, he has most of the superdelegates, he has won the most contests, he has the most popular votes... the time to direct attention toward the general election has come.

    a winning move would be for the two of them to appear together on tuesday evening after the montana and south dakota primaries; how cool would it be for hillary clinton to introduce Barack Obama as the next president of the united states!