For 8 years I could not listen.

Jon Stewart nailed it on the head with this incredibly funny bit from his show last night. For 8 long years I have been unable to abide by the simpleton shaming our country and our standing in the world. To listen to him speak was painful. So, whenever he’d come on the teevee, I had to mute it or change the channel. I was only able to read about what his latest ramblings were.

But, now I can actually listen to an intelligent and articulate man for the next 4, or hopefully, 8 years. I cannot begin to express how wonderful that truly is.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

FORECLOSURE: The Forgotten Victims Left Behind

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Golden Retriever Sydney, a victim of foreclosure

I believe there is nothing more important than “family”. And, to me, families are not complete without their beloved animal companions. And, because animals continue to depend on us for their wellbeing throughout their lives, they conceptually are viewed in the same way as children are. Can you imagine the pain of having to give up a child? Honestly, I cannot. It is simply unfathomable.

The nationwide foreclosure crisis, due to financial problems caused by the many subprime mortgage lenders, has forced millions to move out of their homes. But, truly, the forgotten victims are the beloved dogs and cats left behind.

Rescue experts want pet owners to give their local shelters a call before they give up their pets. They say there’s a much better chance that way of finding a new home for abandoned animals.

Any shelters can offer referrals so pets can end up with a new family, just like Sydney did. That avoids the need for abandonment altogether. Shelters say while dogs and cats are abandoned in equal numbers, it’s much harder to find new homes for felines.

So for families in crisis, animal experts urge you to find a friend, a neighbor or a shelter as a last resort, but never leave your pet behind.

Be sure to click on 2-year-old Golden Sydney, one of the furry loves recently at the Sacramento SPCA, to see a video of his status and this plight.

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RealtyTrac reports that from October 2008, home foreclosures have increased 21 percent from September 2007; one in every 475 U.S. housing units received a foreclosure filing in September 2008.There are no words to the video below, only Paul Simon’s moving “American Tune” song playing.

And I don’t know a soul who’s not been battered
I don’t have a friend who feels at ease
I don’t know a dream that’s not been shattered
or driven to its knees
but it’s all right, it’s all right
for we lived so well so long
Still, when I think of the
road we’re traveling on
I wonder what’s gone wrong
I can’t help it, I wonder what’s gone wrong

“Borat” really made this voting video fun!

To the very end, Sacha Baron Cohen was hysterical.

Five More Friends

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Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Snoop Dogg, Harrison Ford, Julia Roberts, Ben Stiller, Will Smith, Steven Spielberg, Justin Timberlake, along with Sacha Baron Cohen as Borat, Zach Braff, Colin Farrell, Neil Patrick Harris, Scarlett Johansson, Shia LeBeouf, Tobey Maguire, Ryan Reynolds, and Jason Segal, are featured in a second of a series of public service announcements to encourage American youth to vote in partnership with Google, YouTube, Declare Yourself, and MySpace. The non-partisan PSAs, produced by DiCaprios Appian Way, were created to engage and inspire young people to vote and participate in the upcoming election.

I’m sorry, but this is really too funny.

There’s a parrot (named Smokey) out there who chants the Barack Obama slogan ‘Yes we can!’ and barks. CNN’s Jeanne Moos reports.

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Houdini is a 1-year-old Quaker Parrot who is Barack Obama’s #1 Supporter. He starts off warming up then says “Go Obama Go” … “Obama for President”… “Houdini Needs Change”… “Vote for Obama”… “Yes We Can”… “Go Obama Go”

Golden Retriever Cleo for President

2008 Whag Party Convention

The 2008 Whag Party Convention was held in Golden, Colorado, August 25 through 28, coinciding with the Democratic Convention in nearby Denver. While Barack Obama delivered his acceptance speech in hot and smelly Mile High Stadium (renamed Invesco Field by, no doubt, rich Republicans), Cleo delivered hers in the cool mountain air at Red Rocks Amphitheater in nearby Morrison, CO. Cleo chose Red Rocks to emphasize her firmly held belief that America was a better place when everthing wasn’t named after a corporate logo. In her speech, Cleo called on John McCain to repudiate persistent rumors that, if elected, McCain will attack the national debt by selling Exxon Mobil the right to rename the United States.

While Democrats were laying out secluded “Free Speech Zones” and going over security measures for their convention in Denver, Whag Party officials unveiled a time honored, but largely forgotten, approach to dissent and security at their convention. “Anyone who had a gripe just raised their hand, and the chairdog called on them to say whatever they wished,” the officials said. “Cleo will run the country as best she knows how, but it never hurts to listen to those who may disagree with you,” said a campaign spokesman. Although several hundred thousand protesters showed up at the convention, they all changed their minds and bought Cleo 2008 bumper stickers for their cars and bicycles after they met Cleo and heard her speech.

There were no lavish parties sponsored by special interests at the Whag convention, because Cleo thinks they are silly and boring, and she doesn’t much like people who think a dog’s friendship would ever be for sale to the highest bidder. Instead, Whag Delegates gathered in a local park before Cleo’s speech, where Cleo led her supporters in singing Kumbaya, accompanied by several supporters who brought their guitars to the convention. After speech, Cleo went home and slept on her couch.

A poll taken after the convention showed Cleo still trailing Barack Obama and John McCain, but gaining ground. Cleo said that the polls didn’t bother her because, frankly, most of her supporters have better things to do than talk on the phone all day. “If you want to help the campaign,” Cleo said, “skip the polls and send an email to CNN or Fox or whoever your favorite media outlet is and suggest they go to www.goldenbarker.com.”

Humane Society Legislative Fund Endorses Obama-Biden

Senator Obama is featured in book about puppy mills, A Rare Breed of Love, with this photo of him holding Baby, the three-legged poodle rescued from an abusive puppy mill operation.

Press Release: Humane Society Legislative Fund Endorses Obama-Biden

One of the guiding principles of the Humane Society Legislative Fund is that we evaluate candidates based on a single criterion: where they stand on animal protection policies. We don’t make decisions based on party affiliation, or any other social issue, or even how many pets they have. We care about their views and actions on the major policy debates relating to animal welfare.

It stirs controversy to get involved in candidate elections. But we believe that candidates for office and current lawmakers must be held accountable, or they will see the animal protection movement as a largely irrelevant political constituency. In order to have good laws, we need good lawmakers, and involvement in elections is an essential strategy for any serious social movement, including our cause.

While we’ve endorsed hundreds of congressional candidates for election, both Democrats and Republicans, WE’VE NEVER BEFORE ENDORSED A PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE. We have members on the left, in the center, and on the right, and we knew it could be controversial to choose either party’s candidate for the top office in the nation. But in an era of sweeping presidential power, we must weigh in on this most important political race in the country. Standing on the sidelines is no longer an option for us.

I’m proud to announce today that the HSLF board of directors — which is comprised of both Democrats and Republicans — has voted unanimously to endorse Barack Obama for President. The Obama-Biden ticket is the better choice on animal protection, and we urge all voters who care about the humane treatment of animals, no matter what their party affiliation, to vote for them.

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has been a solid supporter of animal protection at both the state and federal levels. As an Illinois state senator, he backed at least a dozen animal protection laws, including those to strengthen the penalties for animal cruelty, to help animal shelters, to promote spaying and neutering, and to ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption.  In the U.S. Senate, he has consistently co-sponsored multiple bills to combat animal fighting and horse slaughter, and has supported efforts to increase funding for adequate enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act, Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, and federal laws to combat animal fighting and puppy mills.

In his response to the HSLF questionnaire, he pledged support for nearly every animal protection bill currently pending in Congress, and said he will work with executive agencies such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Interior to make their policies more humane. He wrote of the important role animals play in our lives, as companions in our homes, as wildlife in their own environments, and as service animals working with law enforcement and assisting persons with disabilities. He also commented on the broader links between animal cruelty and violence in society.

Obama has even on occasion highlighted animal protection issues on the campaign trail, and has spoken publicly about his support for animal protection. In reaction to the investigation showing the abuse of sick and crippled cows which earlier this year led to the largest meat recall in U.S. history, he issued a statement saying “that the mistreatment of downed cows is unacceptable and poses a serious threat to public health.” He is featured in Jana Kohl’s book about puppy mills, A Rare Breed of Love, with a photo of Obama holding Baby (shown above), the three-legged poodle rescued from an abusive puppy mill operation, and his political mentor, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), is the author of the latest federal bill to crack down on puppy mills.

Importantly, Obama’s running mate, Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) has been a stalwart friend of animal welfare advocates in the Senate, and has received high marks year after year on the Humane Scorecard. Biden has not only supported animal protection legislation during his career, but has also led the fight on important issues. He was the co-author with Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) in the 108th Congress on legislation to ban the netting of dolphins by commercial tuna fishermen. He was the lead author of a bill in the 107th Congress to prohibit trophy hunting of captive exotic mammals in fenced enclosures, and he successfully passed the bill through the Senate Judiciary Committee.

On the Republican ticket, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has also supported some animal protection bills in Congress, but has been inattentive or opposed to others. He has voted for and co-sponsored legislation to stop horse slaughter, and voted to eliminate a $2 million subsidy for the luxury fur coat industry. But he has largely been absent on other issues, and has failed to co-sponsor a large number of priority bills or sign onto animal protection letters that have had broad support in the Senate.

The McCain campaign did not fill out the HSLF presidential questionnaire, and has also not issued any public statements on animal welfare issues. He was silent during the downed animal scandal and beef recall, which played out during a high-point in the primary fight. Yet he did speak at the NRA convention earlier this year, and is the keynote speaker this weekend in Columbus, Ohio, at the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance rally—an extremist organization that defends the trophy hunting of threatened polar bears and captive shooting of tame animals inside fenced pens.

While McCain’s positions on animal protection have been lukewarm, his choice of running mate cemented our decision to oppose his ticket. Gov. Sarah Palin’s (R-Alaska) retrograde policies on animal welfare and conservation have led to an all-out war on Alaska’s wolves and other creatures. Her record is so extreme that she has perhaps done more harm to animals than any other current governor in the United States.

Palin engineered a campaign of shooting predators from airplanes and helicopters, in order to artificially boost the populations of moose and caribou for trophy hunters. She offered a $150 bounty for the left foreleg of each dead wolf as an economic incentive for pilots and aerial gunners to kill more of the animals, even though Alaska voters had twice approved a ban on the practice. This year, the issue was up again for a vote of the people, and Palin led the fight against it — in fact, she helped to spend $400,000 of public funds to defeat the initiative.

What’s more, when the Bush Administration announced its decision to list the polar bear as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, Palin filed a lawsuit to reverse that decision. She said it’s the “wrong move” to protect polar bears, even though their habitat is shrinking and ice floes are vanishing due to global warming.

The choice for animals is especially clear now that Palin is in the mix. If Palin is put in a position to succeed McCain, it could mean rolling back decades of progress on animal issues.

Voters who care about protecting wildlife from inhumane and unsporting abuses, enforcing the laws that combat large-scale cruelties like dogfighting and puppy mills, providing humane treatment of animals in agriculture, and addressing other challenges that face animals in our nation, must become active over the next six weeks to elect a president and vice president who share our values. Please spread the word, and tell friends and family members that an honest assessment of the records of the two presidential tickets leads to the inescapable conclusion that Obama-Biden is the choice for humane-minded voters.

Come play ‘Palin as President’

Click on Palin and then keep clicking away .......

Click on Palin and then keep clicking away .......

This is really incredibly clever. The folks who put this together are truly on the ball. They will be updating this page daily until November 4th so you need to try and find out what is new each day.

If you watched the debate last night, you will recognize the new addition immediately (hint: look to the right window).

Be sure to click everywhere and some places you need to click repeatedly to see further options. I am really impressed and cannot imagine the work involved. And, I am looking forward to what additions they will have in store for everyone.

My hubby, though, is not seeing the humor as he does not think it is in the least bit funny that this pistol packin’, animal hatin’ momma could be so close to achieving this position.

Self-Proclaimed Hero Scott Shields: Lessons in Humility

SEE IMPORTANT OCTOBER 15, 2008 UPDATE HERE.

So much is going on right now, with a complicated election, touching us all. But the attacks on one’s character and patriotism have been particularly repugnant. It seems that within the divisiveness of McCain’s pursuit of the presidency, the integral constructs of both honesty and humility have been lost.

Matt Langdon, creator of the Hero Workshop program, recently asked the pivotal question, Is John McCain a Hero? Yet, he admits that “an American presidential election is not the place to look for the truth about people.”

McCain’s public persona is very much steeped in the idea that he is an American hero. He leads with his character out front and his service to his country right along side. So, what makes him a hero? McCain’s focus on character first is another possibility for claiming the hero status. His own words describe a desire to act as an example of honour and service for everyone, especially his children. Those same words describe some quiet, everyday heroic behaviour from one of his captors. And yet many would tell you McCain lacks those very qualities. In general, the POW/MIA activist community hates him as pointed out in depth in the Phoenix New Times. Patty O’Grady of University of Tampa lays the cards on the table with some open questions. Her father was in both prison camps that McCain was in.

  • In the interest of full disclosure why do you refuse to release your Department of Defense POW debriefing?
  • In the interest of full disclosure why have you failed to release all military medical records including psychological studies – 1973-1993?
  • Why do you only reference the time spent as a prisoner in the Hanoi Hilton”?
  • When will you provide details about the time spent in the prison referred to as “Plantation Gardens”?
  • Did you ever receive any preferential or atypical treatment while a POW in any location where you were held? How soon and when did you reveal your true identity to your Vietnamese captors – did you simply give name, rank and serial number?
  • Has any other former Vietnam Prisoners of War or Vietnam veteran questioned the record that you claim particularly your claims of “torture”?
  • What was your connection to the “Peace Committee”?
  • Have you ever referenced the “blue files” in any speech that you have given? What are the “blue files”? Where are those files housed? Why do you not want those files released?
  • Have you ever lost your temper with military families who challenged your position?
  • Have you ever acted in an inappropriate way or in a less than gentlemanly manner with any female spouse of any active duty military personnel member?

Eric Wattree says, “A hero is one who acts with nobility of purpose, and selflessly sacrifices his life, or places his life in imminent danger to promote the interests of the nation or his comrades. That doesn’t define McCain…”

In Dr. Mark Strom’s chapter, Humility, from the 2003 book, The Seven Heavenly Virtues of Leadership, he discusses humanity with nobility:

Clearly, humility does not exist in isolation from the other virtues, qualities and arts of leadership. When it comes to leadership there is perhaps one characteristic manner of being that stands out as the natural twin of humility. Humility and nobility. Humility with nobility:

Honor is not the same as public acclaim. Virtue is not determined in moments of public attention to our behavior. Courage, devotion, compassion, humility — all the noble human qualities — are not practiced in pursuit of public approval. They are means to much nobler ends. And they are ends in themselves. Senator John McCain

According to the Concise Macquarie Dictionary, to be noble is to be: Admirable in dignity of conception, or in manner of expression, execution, or composition; imposing in appearance; stately; magnificent; of an admirably high quality.

We are not talking about nobility in the sense of ranks made elite by birth or decree, but of nobility of purpose, and of a personal bearing that befits that purpose.

While I believe the Senator’s statement is merely words put to paper, rather than revealing his true character, Dr. Strom’s article in its entirety is a MUST-READ. I particularly enjoyed his discussion of humility as it relates to other virtues and qualities.

Humility needs to be seen in relationship to our other virtues and qualities. It is inward looking in a way most other virtues are not. Humility is a stance I take towards myself before it is a stance I take towards others. With the possible exception of integrity, the other virtues are mostly a stance we take towards others and the wider challenges of life. I’m not saying that humility is the most important. The virtues need to be seen as interdependent. Each needs to be seen in the light of the others. Humility without compassion, courage or integrity is hollow. Without humility the other virtues may become parodies: Compassion without humility is likely to be patronising. Courage without humility is likely to be foolhardy. Humour without humility is likely to be cruel. Integrity without humility is likely to be self-righteous. Passion without humility is likely to be overbearing. Wisdom without humility is likely to be pompous.

Tim Dickinson, in his breathtaking new MUST-READ October 2008 Rolling Stone article, Make-Believe Maverick: A closer look at the life and career of John McCain reveals a disturbing record of recklessness and dishonesty, has truly addressed the character of this man. His lead anecdote and beginning “McCAIN FIRST” story premise frame the tale perfectly:

This is the story of the real John McCain, the one who has been hiding in plain sight. It is the story of a man who has consistently put his own advancement above all else, a man willing to say and do anything to achieve his ultimate ambition: to become commander in chief, ascending to the one position that would finally enable him to outrank his four-star father and grandfather.

It seems that this backdrop so perfectly frames a story that I have been pursuing since shortly after September 11, 2001, as we were jolted by a coordinated attack upon our country—carried out by nineteen hijackers who took control of four commercial airliners. It is hard to believe that it is already two years since I wrote the article, TRADING IN ON TRAGEDY FOR FAME: Succumbing to the Lure of Truthiness. And, looking at this title, it is spookily prescient when we look at the McCain campaign’s incessant POW story push.

But my article is one that detailed a sad case of 9/11 fraud from self-proclaimed Search & Rescue hero, Scott Shields. While I do not believe that the wheels of justice will ever turn in this case, sentencing is scheduled to proceed at the US District Court for the Southern District of New York on October 14, 2008. Unfortunately, I’ve had difficulty generating mainstream interest in this story, and Mr. Shields has caused irreparable damage to the typically unheralded Search & Rescue heroes who are always there for us at devastating urban disasters …. such as that at Ground Zero following the infamous 9/11 attacks. And, he has continued to take money from unsuspecting folks as he touts his purported heroic deeds at trade shows, elementary & middle schools, Boy Scout Group meetings, and more.

Besides his theft of government funds, mail fraud & conspiracy to defraud the US after receiving almost $50,000 from FEMA and the American Red Cross, Scott Shields continues to collect disability for his Ground Zero injuries. Interestingly, despite claims of breaking both knees and an ankle, he was doing just fine about a month later while walking behind Hilary Clinton in the October 8, 2001 Columbus Day parade.

Lt Dan Donadio, head of the NYPD’s canine teams in 2001, had 25 teams on the site round the clock for nine long months, scraping through the pulverized concrete. Scott Shields was down at Ground Zero for a little over a day, but managed to spin his experience into an epic. And, always on the look-out for the next big disaster, he further tried to benefit from the Katrina disaster.

Mr. Shields claimed 847 live rescues, evacuating under 6000 people, and that 11,000 people are alive today because of his group. Yet, rescuers who were there indicated the following: “His numbers exceed the entire 82nd Airborne’s numbers including the Superdome evacuation. So even if he took credit for all of their hard work, his numbers are still an aberration.” … Scott was escorted out of LA and was on the water only ONE DAY. I spoke to the Chief and Superintendent of NOPD. They told me they never heard of Scott and there was NO WAY he rescued 5,000 or 11,000. … In those pictures, if you look, he is in shorts and just shoes, looks like he is on vacation while everyone else has knee pads on and is working, and that was just at camp.”

I have learned that the true heroes out there are not easily found. They do not do this job for the fanfare. They do not have media agents working on getting them mentioned in endless news articles. They are not obsessed with gaining notoriety. In fact, they’d rather not be in the spotlight. Rather, they struggle and train and work hard because they can, because they know they can help a fellow human being. These folks are a gifted bunch, and we do depend on their spirit of giving . . . for that time when it may be our lives hanging in the balance.

Please Do Your Part Too!

 

There are lots of election irregularities, annoying robocalls — you name it — going on in the election this year. There are also extensive reports of machine malfunction and long lines and folks needing to skip voting to get to work.

So, whatever you can do, get out there and vote and make sure your friends and family have all voted. There is nothing more important to do today as this Golden guy below is saying, as his human must be doing while he waits outside.

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UT OH! This is very risque, and probably somewhat true, so if you embarrass easy please DO NOT click here to see this funny Midterm Election Rocks video clip from Jon Stewart’s, The Daily Show. It is definitely not appropriate for young children, or anyone without a sense of humor.