22 February 2008

Subliminal Learning?

I woke up yesterday to the news of this New York Times article. Apparently McCain may or may not have had a romantic relationship with a lobbyist. He may or may not have written letters to the govt on behalf of the lobbyists client as a result of the alleged romantic involvement. The alleged relationship may or may not have occurred some 10 years ago while McCain was 61 and she 30. Apparently the NYT had been investigating this report for awhile and had agonized internally as to whether or not to publish the 'facts'. Eventually the fear of being out-scooped forced their hand. I found it interesting, the whole article I mean especially since the very same NYT endorsed McCain just before the New York Primaries. However, delving into the whole endorsement/expose angle is out of the scope of this post. Watching the McCain press conference from Toledo yesterday was like de ja vu; a red faced McCain denied allegations at a press conference as his stoic wife 'stood' by her man. Of course there was no escaping this 'breaking news' and at some time during they day there was a discussion about it on NPR. I listened with half an ear and heard the phrase 'The Keating Five' more than once. Hmm ... I wonder what that is I should Google that. I had hardly formed the thought when it was quickly filed under 'investigate when I have grown a 3rd arm'. My mind quickly wandered on to other things.

I am currently reading "The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else" by Hernando de Soto, and decided to update the "Currently Reading" section of my blog (No it didn't take me a year to finish "Half of a Yellow Sun", I have just been lazy, hiss!). Since I am updating why not add a "What I will be reading next" section? (Who cares?) I currently have "God is not Great" in the queue so I went to amazon to check I had the right title, right author, spelling etc. Amazon has a "others who bought this also bought this" section which I glanced at and noted that Chris had also written a book about Mother Theresa titled "The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice" which I clicked on with a straight face. I learned from the review that she had received $1.25 M in charitable donations from a certain Charles Keating in the 80's and when Keating faced embezzlement charges in the 90's had written a letter to Judge Lance Ito asking him to temper justice with mercy. (I loved the response of the LA DA, but that is also out of the scope of this post). Hmm ... I wonder if these letters are in the public domain ... let me rephrase that, I wonder if these letters are on the Internet. I quickly googled Mother Theresa and learned a little about Charles Keating. Keating (why is this name familiar?) was the CEO of some real estate firm which then bought some savings and loans company and then went bankrupt with investors losing about $285 million. Hang on, shouldn't these funds have been federally insured? Yes they should have but the depositors held securities backed by the parent company of the savings and loans not the savings and loans itself ergo 21,000 elderly depositors are royally screwed out of their life savings. Keating blamed the federal regulators for the collapse of the bank. The govt in turn looked inward and accused five senators of improperly aiding Keating. How could Mother Theresa (with a steady hand and a clear eye) write a letter asking for leniency on behalf of this man? Sigh. I guess this is why I am me and she is on the fast track to canonization. Who are these five senators anyway? Well what do you know, John McCain is one of them. Wait a minute haven't I heard the name Keating today ... OMG! Keating Five!!! Thankfully I have not grown a third arm and since I am not preparing for a Sports Illustrated photo shoot a la Mrs Clemens and the ongoing Clemens-HGH soap opera, I am not in any immediate danger of growing one.

08 February 2008

On campaign theme songs ...

If one more person sends me the link to the Will.I.Am "Yes We Can" song, I am going to go to amazon.com and buy this! The first (and only time) I listened to the song, I felt the idea to set Obama's New Hampshire(?) speech to music was a nice one. Although I found the 'We are the World' thing a bit chaotic, I felt the effort deserved an 'A' for achieving its (perceived) goal; tug at your heart strings ,(for those people equipped with working ones) make you get out and vote for Obama. I wondered if this song would be played at Obama events going forward. I am thinking so, judging from this picture ...

I have never been to an Obama event so I don't know what type of music is played. I do recall reading somewhere that he said he liked rap music. I guess this explains why he walked out to Jay-Z's "99 Problems" after winning the Iowa caucuses. I would like to suggest another song (in case anyone is reading this) That one time I saw/listened to the Will.i.am song, the "Yes We Can" punctuation used by Obama seemed so familiar, where have I heard this phrase before o ... Aha! The Pointer Sisters had a hit with "Yes We Can" on the their self titled debut album in 1973 and the lyrics are much better than those of "99 Problems" ...

Now's the time for all good men
to get together with one another.
We got to iron out our problems
and iron out our quarrels
and try to live as brothers.
And try to find a piece of land
without stepping on one another.
And do respect the women of the world.
Remember you all have mothers.
We got to make this land a better land
than the world in which we live.
And we got to help each man be a better man
with the kindness that we give.
I know we can make it.
I know darn well we can work it out.
Oh yes we can, I know we can can
Yes we can can, why can't we?
If we wanna get together we can work it out.

And we gotta take care of all the children,
the little children of the world.
'cause they're our strongest hope for the future,
the little bitty boys and girls.

We got to make this land a better land
than the world in which we live.
And we got to help each man be a better man
with the kindness that we give.
I know we can make it.
I know darn well we can work it out.
Oh yes we can, I know we can can
yes we can can, why can't we?
If we wanna, yes we can can.

P.S. Harry Connick Jr also covered this song on his 2007 album 'Oh , My Nola' his tribute to New Orleans in the wake of Katrina. I wondered why the song was on the album, after all The Pointer Sisters were not from New Orleans (Oakland California is where they hail from). I assumed it was because of the lyrics, then while researching the post (yes, yes) I found out the song was written by Allen Toussaint. A very influential figure in the New Orleans R&B scene. There you go!

2008 Endorsement

I do not know when it happened, well thats a lie, I recall the exact moment. It was a Time magazine cover (I believe) it had the picture of Dukakis and Bush Snr in '88 both running for the office of the president of the United States. I took one look at Bush Snr and elected to side with the less creased, dark-haired, bushy-browed Dukakis. I will admit that I have employed this method ever since without fail except for 2004 when I rooted for Kerry. Bush Jnr in my opinion was the better looking of the pair but I couldn't stand his accent, and I felt he had made a mess of the whole Iraq situation. Plus I was still smarting from the 2000 elections. I began to worry (when launching presidential exploratory committees became all the rage last year) that my endorsement strategy might not hold up. After the dust settled, I was glad to see that a couple of good looking candidates emerged notable among them are John Edwards and Mitt Romney (who strangly evokes for me memories of Roger Ramjet). Truth be told if Edwards had emerged the Democratic nominee and Romney the Republican nominee I don't know what I would have done (there is a God!) Now that the candidates remaining in the race on the Democratic side are Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama (listed in order of last names) and on the Republican side Mike Hukabee, Ron Paul and John McCain (listed in descending order of 'fineness') I think it is safe to say that I will be endorsing the democratic candidate in 2008. A tall thin man can either be nerdy or sexy. Obama swings the pendulum in the sexy direction, with his loose limbed gait and his smokers lips which add just the right touch now if only I could determine if he was bow-legged ... For Hillary, the Republicans would have to come up to her level and even in that bumble bee-esque outfit she wore in New Hampshire(?) none of them can hold a candle to her (even if they hired Giuliani's stylist!)

Spanish, Kennedy style

Ted Kennedy 'speaking' Spanish at a rally for Obama in East LA

It is interesting to note that Ted Kennedy was kicked out of Harvard in 1951 for cheating on his Spanish exam. Listening to this ... speech, I can understand why!

Grammy Nominations

Interesting, I just realised that Barack Obama is up for his second grammy in the "Best Spoken Word Album (Includes Poetry, Audio Books & Story Telling)" category for his book "The Audacity Of Hope: Thoughts On Reclaiming The American Dream". In the same category Bill Clinton is up for his third (I think) grammy for his book "Giving: How Each Of Us Can Change The World". I can't wait to read the blogs on Monday!

Grammy Nominees - Category 79 grammy.com