Archive for ‘Speeches’

September 7, 2011

The Civil Discourse Go-Around

by WIZ

Jimmy Hoffa, the teamsters union leader, warmed up a Detroit crowd before Barack Obama took the stage by saying the following:

“We got to keep an eye on the battle that we face: The war on workers. And you see it everywhere, it is the Tea Party. And you know, there is only one way to beat and win that war. The one thing about working people is we like a good fight. And you know what? They’ve got a war, they got a war with us and there’s only going to be one winner. It’s going to be the workers of Michigan, and America. We’re going to win that war,” Hoffa told thousands of workers gathered for the annual event organized by the Detroit Labor Council.

“President Obama, this is your army. We are ready to march…Everybody here’s got a vote…Let’s take these sons of bitches out and give America back to an America where we belong,” he concluded.

The response to Hoffa intrigues me. The Tea Party, of all people, condemned his words, saying they were “inappropriate and uncivil rhetoric,” and that they have  “no place in the public forum.” This is the same Tea Party that since it’s inception has been spitting vitriolic bile and is known for it’s protesting signs that depict Obama as either a Nazi or a slave master. To this day, I have not seen one Tea Party leader call for condemning their own “inappropriate and uncivil rhetoric” that truly “has no place in the public forum.”

Now, to be fair, Obama has called for a transformation in our political discourse so it would only be fair for him to call out Hoffa for his comments. He has pointed out the rhetoric of Congressional Republicans. Can he do the same for his own backers?

September 6, 2011

Pay Attention to Nonviolence

by WIZ

Julia Bacha spoke on an important topic at TED:

In 2003, the Palestinian village of Budrus mounted a 10-month-long nonviolent protest to stop a barrier being built across their olive groves. Did you hear about it? Didn’t think so. Brazilian filmmaker Julia Bacha asks why we only pay attention to violence in the Israel-Palestine conflict — and not to the nonviolent leaders who may one day bring peace.

September 2, 2011

Political Cartoon of the Day III

by WIZ

August 26, 2011

Banning Video Cameras = Liberty?

by WIZ

Does it make sense that an Ohio Congressman banned the public from recording his townhall meeting but allowed the press to record it?

August 21, 2011

Prayer of the Day

by WIZ

As only NASCAR can fill this hole:

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July 10, 2011

A Web of One

by WIZ

I finished last week Eli Pariser’s book The Internet Bubble. His above TED talk is captioned as follows:

As web companies strive to tailor their services (including news and search results) to our personal tastes, there’s a dangerous unintended consequence: We get trapped in a “filter bubble” and don’t get exposed to information that could challenge or broaden our worldview. Eli Pariser argues powerfully that this will ultimately prove to be bad for us and bad for democracy.

His TED talk essentially captures the main points found in his 250 page book. What he doesn’t cover in those 9 minutes of talking is some background on the engineers and technological goliaths currently taking the internet by storm. He delves into their dreams for the internet (Google hopes to one day not even have a search bar but have an algorithm so good that it knows what we want to search for) and how this new era of internet and social networking is guissed as transparently democratic but is mostly shadowed by ever changing privacy settings and our data (info we share, links we click on, et al.) sold to creepy third party entities.

Pariser’s caveat regarding personalization as contrary to creative, serendipitous living (as well as democracy) is half truth and half inflated out of fear. While our Facebook newsfeeds are taylored by algorithisms that direct us towards things we “may” be interested in (based on what we click on or search for), personalization is personalized for each of us. What I mean is this: if you use Yahoo news as a daily source for news or even Facebook (which believe it or not is rising rather quickly as a place where plethora of people find out the news), you most likely will receive some skewed results. However, if you are similar to me in that I find my news via blogs (all set up through Google Reader), my personalization will be different from yours. Seventy percent (give or take) of the blogs or news sources I check can be classified as left of center. That itself lends towards a personalized experience that differs from a daily intake of The Blaze, The New York Post, and Fox News. With blogs, I choose which to read based on what I like and the quality. These blogs I check do not (yet) personalize what they present to me and the rest of their viewers. You have no choice in that matter, according to Pariser, when you look for the day’s news on Google or Facebook.

One other note: I experimented with another computer (both logged in to our Google accounts) in Google searching the following terms: BP, Barack Obama, dogs, and horses. Each of our results had the same front page results as well as total number of results. This doesn’t conclusively refute Pariser’s argument that everyone has a different Google search experience but goes to show that this whole Brave New World-type internet bubble is not as scary as he may crack it up to be.

June 22, 2011

Lunch Video

by WIZ

The White House presents:

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg announce new graphic warning labels for tobacco products designed to encourage people to quit and young people to not acquire this dangerous habit. June 21, 2011.

June 5, 2011

America is Exceptional and Hypocritical

by WIZ

The first point is a horse beaten to death. Get your fill in the “sermon” by Tim Pawlenty above.

As for the second point, this deals not with politics but with agricultural work. I read this article in a different lens after working on the farm the past week. I have grown up working hard with my dad (who has been a landscaper for 30 years), with my Boy Scout troop creating 13+ feet high campfires and completing maintenance tasks, and now pulling out malta flora rose bushes that are entangled with vines overgrown for the past 10 years.

I take back my part about politics being out of this topic. It is at the center of it. Barack Obama is taking action by requiring all ag workers to be cleared as U.S. citizens before they can work. This sounds pragmatic, but troubling for a few sectors. 80% of the labor force in the ag field is made up of illegal immigrants.  An easy response to that glaring labor need is to hire Americans. The ironic point in all of this is that for as exceptional and great America is, how far advanced, smug, and pompous we are, we (to some large degree) refuse to do this kind of available work:

“We are headed toward a train wreck,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat whose district includes agriculture-rich areas. “The stepped up (workplace) enforcement has brought this to a head.”

Lofgren said farmers are worried that their work force is about to disappear. They say they want to hire legal workers and U.S. citizens, but that it’s nearly impossible, given the relatively low wages and back-breaking work.

“Few citizens express interest, in large part because this is hard, tough work,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsak said this past week. “Our broken immigration system offers little hope for producers to do the right thing.”

Arturo S. Rodriguez, president of United Farm Workers, said migrant farm workers are exposed to blistering heat with little or no shade and few water breaks. It’s skilled work, he said, requiring produce pickers to be exact and quick. While the best mushroom pickers can earn about $35,000 to $40,000 a year for piece work, there’s little chance for a good living and American workers don’t seem interested in farm jobs.

“It is extremely difficult, hard, dangerous work,” Rodriguez said.

Last year Rodriguez’s group started the “Take Our Jobs” campaign to entice American workers to take the fields. He said of about 86,000 inquiries the group got about the offer, only 11 workers took jobs.

“That really was thought up by farm workers trying to figure out what is it we needed to do to show that we are not trying to take away anyone’s job,” Rodriguez said.

Several times in those sections Americans are hinted to be unwilling to take some of these available jobs. If such a glaring gap in inquiry and taking a job (86,000 inquiries the group got about the offer, only 11 workers took jobs) is present, can anyone then blame the President and the crummy economy and not their own unemployed self?

Straying away from open jobs has pushed our country to strongly desire comfy, cozy work and benefits that are unsustainable in the long term.Yes, this may be a larger problem in the educational sector than many other jobs, but much of our IT work has too been outsourced.

America the great. America the exceptional. Figure this out (along with our huge prison issue) or continue to sound hypocritical.

June 1, 2011

“Government Cannot Feel”

by WIZ

That the government is out of the realm of Christian ethics and morals is generally what a few critics of my blog/ideas come to the table saying. Government, most notably American government, is not a human, not a Christian, not the church, and shouldn’t be (but still is in some conversations is) expected to uphold Christian morals, ethics, or norms of human compassion (James 1:27 can get us started). It is rather humorous and hypocritical, I find it, when the church tells the state to uphold ambiguous morals on marriage and life but to then ignore others such as caring for the poor, needy, stopping wars, providing safety nets, and condemning capital punishment.

We could continue with the fact that Jesus was killed for opposing a systematic domination of people by a rich, pious few. Keyword: killed, which has been muted over the last two centuries and replaced with “died for our sins”. This is due to many governments since Constantine taking up Christianity as their official or unofficial (mostly a majority) state religion. Once the state is one of ostensible Christian ideals, the tables turn from criticizing government injustices (government and their officials are now sacrosanct) to a domesticated path of radical religion. But I digress.

I thought of this topic when I saw John Boehner criticized by his own flock when he came into Washington D.C. to give a commencement speech to Catholic University:

More than 75 professors at Catholic University and other prominent Catholic colleges have written a pointed letter to Mr. Boehner saying that the Republican-supported budget he shepherded through the House will hurt the poor, the elderly and the vulnerable, and that he therefore has failed to uphold basic Catholic moral teachings.

“Mr. Speaker, your voting record is at variance from one of the church’s most ancient moral teachings,” the letter says. “From the apostles to the present, the magisterium of the church has insisted that those in power are morally obliged to preference the needs of the poor. Your record in support of legislation to address the desperate needs of the poor is among the worst in Congress. This fundamental concern should have great urgency for Catholic policy makers. Yet, even now, you work in opposition to it.”

May 28, 2011

Saturday Morning Video: Benjamin Netanyahu Before U.S. Congress

by WIZ

Drink your morning coffee, sit back, do your Saturday cleaning, and enjoy Bibi’s pep talk to the U.S. Congress (which gave him 27 standing ovations compared to Obama’s 25 before him. When was the last time this happened and it was labeled anything else but unpatriotic and inciting treason?)

Also, when it’s done, check out this map and see how difficult it would be to establish a two-state solution between Israel and Palestine.

May 24, 2011

10 Epic Commencement Speakers

by WIZ

GOOD magazine has a list:

3. J.K. Rowling, Harvard University, 2008: In her speech, “The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination,” Rowling reflects on her experience writing herself out of poverty. She told graduates about the benefits of failure, saying, “failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged.”

May 23, 2011

Tim Pawlenty’s In For 2012

by WIZ

His video:

May 23, 2011

Herman Cain’s In For 2012

by WIZ

His video:

May 22, 2011

Obama’s Speech at AIPAC

by WIZ

Obama spoke this weekend to the pro-Israel Lobby The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Watch it.

Obama, in my opinion, came hard out of the gates in this pep-rally type speech showing total support of Israel. Granted, he was speaking to a pro-Israel lobby group, but can anyone after watching this say he is anti-Israel?

May 21, 2011

Barack Obama on The Middle East

by WIZ

Here is his speech that has all of the Zionists / Israel lovers / Arab haters mad. More commentary to come.

May 16, 2011

Denzel Washington at UPenn Commencement

by WIZ

This was today: