Archives for the Month of June 2009 on Through the Magnifying Glass

Fellow Phikap Ed McMahon dies at 86

Reported by NBC News

Ed McMahon died at a hospital in Los Angeles this morning, his agent said today.

The 86-year-old TV personality died this morning at Ronald Regan UCLA Medical Center.

In Memory

Dear NY Yankees re: Nationals June 18 game

Total Delay - Approximately 5 hours and 25 minutes

I really want to see the attendance announcement during the 8th inning. If I see 45-46,000, I really want to shout bullcrap!!! Who can bet only several thousand are still there in the stadium? (About 10,000 were at the game)

I understand that we won't play the Nationals after this 3-game series. I understand the importance of trying to play this game.

I couldn't go today, so my friend and his father went and they waited five hours before leaving. Essentially, they could not get any details from Guest Services. They were told a 3pm start, then a 4pm start, then 5:15pm, and eventually 6:30pm. They were pretty much frustrated just like many other fans.

So the fans that had tickets from the grandstand to the premium seats lose out since they're going to play the game after all. Is that still right after what the fans have endured? Since fans could not leave the stadium during the delay, they were essentially held as "prisoners." It was either stay and keep on waiting, or leave and lose out that $20 to $2000 ticket. Is that still right?

Common sense would dictate that if were 1-2 hours, I am sure fans would tolerate it. But everyone saw the weather outlook. If this game was the last of the season, fans would stay. If this were a game that would determine the postseason, the fans would stay.

So right now the Yankees are basically screwing over 3/4 of the fans that could not stay or did not come because of the weather. Can we at least consider some bit of compensation? Like using our ticket to another game? We are not asking for much, just an opportunity to make up one game.

UPDATE 6/19/09

Yankees announced that fans who could not go to the game or they went home during the rain delay will be able to use their game ticket to another Yankees game for no charge. So fans can still get to see another game, and fans who went are pretty much given a free game. That is good news and most considerate of them.

PETA comments on Obama's fly swatting

What a waste of newspaper space! The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA-nonsense) scolded President Obama for not taking a more humane attitude with the fly he swatted during an interview for CNBC.

PETA spokesman Bruce Friedrich
"We support compassion even for the most curious, smallest, and least sympathetic animals. We believe that people, where they can be compassionate, should be, for all animals."

Give me a second to say "UGH!!!"

It doesn't end there. PETA is sending Obama the Katcha Bug Humane Bug Catcher, a device that allow users to trap a house fly and then release it outside.

Thankfully, White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest had no comment.

Let's hope this piece of news dies quickly.


New Politics or the same old Chicago politics?

Can President Obama explain last week's dismissal of federal Inspector General Gerald Walpin for the crime of trying to protect taxpayer dollars?

Wall Street Journal Article

This smells of political favoritism. I wonder how can we continue to trust Obama's promise of open transparency. In fact, President Obama, as senator, co-sponsored the Inspectors General Reform Act, which requires the President to give Congress 30 days notice, plus a reason, before firing an Inspector General.

How can the White House cite that Mr. Walpin of misconduct and having improper charges on Kevin Johnson? How can they say it was "just pure coincidence" to dismiss Mr. Walpin during the St. HOPE controversy?

Something is quite fishy here.

* * * * * * * * * *

Dailykos is siding with the reasoning that Walpin's investigation was politically motivated because he was a Bush appointee and he was out to get Obama support Kevin Johnson. They cited that acting U.S. Attorney Lawrence Brown (a fellow Bush appointee) questioned Walpin's conduct during the investigation and said he did not have the proper evidence to file charges against Johnson's involvement with St. HOPE. Plus since the relevant authorities determined that no crime had been committed, they allege that Walpin tried to undermine that by appealing to Congress.

Yet they failed to note that Lawrence Brown decided to cut Walpin out of the loop, and arranged a settlement with Johnson that featured a watered down financial repayment and no charges against Mr. Johnson. That was why Walpin went to Congress because he felt that the settlement between Brown and Johnson and St. HOPE did not fit the crime that was committed.

So St. HOPE had to pay back half of the $850,000 AmeriCorps grant (with a financial assist by Mr. Johnson). It also required Mr. Johnson to take an online course about bookkeeping.

And the 30-day waiting period before firing Walpin. That was taken care of when they put Walpin on 30-days paid leave, then they will fire him at the end of that.

Plus there's a Walpin allegation that there is a great deal of money that is not being properly allocated at AmeriCorps. Will this be investigated?

From the Democrat/liberal viewpoint, they think Walpin was running a politically-motivated investigation, and drumming up weak charges against Johnson, one of their Obama supporters and now San Francisco mayor.

From the Republican/conservative viewpoint, they think Walpin was fired because he was criticizing a favorite liberal program (AmeriCorps) and going after certain supporters that had the ear of the President.

Can this be solved via independent counsel?

We will always remember June 4, 1989

tank_man.jpgThe events that occurred at Beijing's Tiananmen Square on June 3-4, 1989 will always be remembered by most of the world and the citizens in China who are able to find out the truth despite the web and newspaper censors, and government propaganda. The "tank man," the lone, unknown man who stopped a column of army tanks shall never be forgotten. It is pretty much one of the most recognizable images and is something that I can remember back when I was a 12-year old when I saw the events unfold on CNN.

On the 20th anniversary of the brutal suppression of protestors and citizens in and around Tiananmen Square, the Communist Government of China continues to recognize this event by blocking Twitter, Flickr, MySpace, Facebook, YouTube (already blocked well before), and many other social media and blog sites; bar foreign reporters and Chinese activists from the square; and confined dissidents to their homes or forced them to leave the capital city.

The Chinese government has never allowed an independent investigation into the military's crushing of the 1989 protests. It will be many years before a more moderate and reformed leadership will allow this to happen.

On June 2nd, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H. Res. 489, a resolution recognizing the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, expressing sympathy to the families of those killed, tortured, and imprisoned in connection with the protests, and calling for the Chinese government to conduct a fair investigation and to release those imprisoned for participating in the 1989 demonstrations. Of course, this is a non-binding resolution, but expresses the sense of the Congress.

In Washington, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in a statement Wednesday that China, as an emerging global power, "should examine openly the darker events of its past and provide a public accounting of those killed, detained or missing, both to learn and to heal."

In a statement marking the anniversary, Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou urged China to lift the taboo on discussing the crackdown.

"This painful chapter in history must be faced. Pretending it never happened is not an option," Ma said in a statement issued Thursday.

On June 4th in China, the only place that will publicly acknowledge the event will be in Victoria Park, Hong Kong, where organizers expect a record turnout. There will be rememberance events held around Washington D.C. In London, there will be a vigil held outside of the Chinese Embassy.

Here's a CNN video - first clip shows reporter being harassed by plainclothes policemen using umbrellas to block their camera shot. second clip is web pages being blocked in various Chinese Internet cafes, including a shot of CNN being blacked out when there is mention of Tiananmen Square.

New York Times reported swarms of police agents and plainclothes men covering Tiananmen Square.

Some Internet users tried to evade government censors by referring to June 4 as May 35 on electronic bulletin boards. Others wore white shirts, the Chinese traditional color of mourning, as a silent form of protest.

Related Articles
Associated Press - China bars reporters from Tiananmen; blocks blogs
CNN - Tiananmen Square a watershed story
Mail Online - Twenty Years after Tiananmen Square, blood is still on the hands of China's leaders
Family Security Matters - Chinese People are Human Beings Too
National Post - Tiananmen anniversary: China's democracy deferred
New York Times - Behind the Scenes: Tank Man of Tiananmen
PBS Frontline - The Tank Man
Forbes - China's Iron Grip on History
Wikipedia - Tiananmen Square protests of 1989
Time - Guarding History
China Digital Times - China Hard-Liners Send Troops to Beijing; Zhao Ziyang May be Out (Historical)
BBC News - Timeline: The Tiananmen protests
Guardian UK - Chinese websites mark Tiananmen Square anniversary with veiled protest
Washington Times - U.S. lashes Beijing on Tiananmen anniversary