Monday, December 12, 2005

Williams to Die

Barring a last second stay by the Supreme Court, Stanley "Tookie" Williams will be put to death tonight at 12:01am (PST). Williams founded the legendary Crips gang in the 1970s, which unleashed a torrent of violence in LA and has spread nationwide. Williams was convicted of killing four people in two 1979 robberies and has never apologized for those killings, something Governor Schwarzenegger cited as a reason not to grant clemency.

Despite being indirectly responsible for many deaths, Williams has seemingly reformed on Death Row. He has authored numerous children's books about the dangers of gangs. He was even nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. People ranging from the Presient of the NAACP, to Snoop Dogg, to Jamie Foxx (who played Williams in a TV movie), to MASH star Mike Farrell came to the defense of Williams. It really seems that the sticking point for Schwarzenegger and others was that Williams never apologized or showed remorse for the crimes that he was convicted of.

No matter what you think about the death penalty this case is remarkable. A man responsible for uncalculable death and mayhem, dramatically changing his tune and becoming a force for good. Anti-gang activists are severely worried about the setback in their mission that will come because of Williams' death. No matter what you think of the man, a man with a powerful voice that he has used for both good and bad will die tonight.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The "War" on Christmas

So I'm sure everyone has heard the right-wingers bitching about the "war" on Christmas. They say that when stores wish people Hayppy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas, the stores are treating observers of Christmas as second class citizens and embracing political correctness instead of embracing Christmas. These right-wing religious nutballs even got mad at the White House for sending out a holiday card that said Happy Holidays, not Merry Christmas.

Memo to all these assholes: Not everyone celebrates Christmas. A lot of people celebrate Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or other holidays. Did any of you brilliant intellectuals realize that Hanukkah starts the day after Chrstmas? Maybe that's why people are saying Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas. Or maybe they are saying Happy Holidays because they don't want to offend a large group of customers. Just because people don't specifically acknowledge Christmas doesn't mean they are anti-Christmas. But, that is not nearly good enough for these anti-anybody but them people.

The fact is that there is no war on Christmas. For years Happy Holidays has been the way to include people, not exclude people. The holiday season is about enjoying family and friends and giving thanks for what we have as individuals and as a nation. We should put these petty squabbles aside and enjoy this joyous time of year.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Senator Menendez?

The big news out of New Jersey politics came from a Washington Post blog that Congressman Bob Menendez cut short a vacation to Puerto Rico to meet with Governor-elected Jon Corzine. Rumors have been swirling since Corzine announced his gubernatorial run who would be the next Senator from New Jersey.

From the beginning the big name has been Menendez. He is the third ranking member in the House and highest ranking Hispanic in either house of Congress. He also has the biggest warchest of any of the Democratic Congresman in New Jersey with about $5 million in the bank.

So why hasn't Menendez been named yet? One word: CORRUPTION. Lest we forget, Corzine is only governor because corruption brought down previous governor Jim McGreevey and U.S. Attorney Chris Christie is the perennial favorite in any Republican race due to his tireless work in prosecuting and convicting crooked politicians. This all despite the fact that he has never run for, let alone win political office.

During the gubernatorial campaign, there was a secondary campaign between Democrats jockeying for position with Corzine. Six of the seven Democratic congressman wanted the seat and were tripping over themselves to do anything they could to help Corzine win. There are others in the running as well, including State Senator Nia Gil.

However, Menendez was always the front runner despite accusations of corruption from having an inappropriate relationship with a staffer and, then after she started her own lobbying, steering contracts her way. There are also accusations coming out of Menendez' own Hudson county of political corruption and doing anything to win.

Corzine has a tough choice ahead of him. Menendez is the only Democratic congressman in NJ with a statewide appeal and the money to run in this expensive state. Don't forget the election is less than a year away. However, Corzine is coming into office with the mantle of cleaning up New Jersey, so can he get away with appointing someone who might have some serious skeletons in his closet? Rumor is that a decision could come as soon as today. My bet is still on Menendez, because money trumps all in politics.

Food for Thought: Did Duke Cunningham's farewell speech remind anyone else of Torch's "When did we become such an unforgiving people?" speech? God you gotta love when these pompous asses get knocked down a few pegs.