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George Zimmerman Found Not Guilty

Mallet Detail

Honestly, I didn’t think the jury would have decided so soon or gone with a not guilty verdict. However, we are a nation of laws and that is to be respected.

Now is the time to step up and reject the hate that has been allowed to build with the help of news outlets such as CNN and MSNBC over the past 17 months.  Using anger to publicly advocate murder,  Associated Press Reporter Christina Silva tweeted at 10:09pm: @cristymsilva: “So we can all kill teenagers now? Just checking.”  

Not cool, Christina.  See what you helped create:

Alright, how about a rather different approach – forsake mass murder and direct  this energy into creating something positive in your community. Do something good in the next few days – check up on an elderly neighbor, volunteer at a food bank, buy a random person a cup of coffee.  Whatever.  Remember the life of Trayvon Martin with an act of kindness, not an act of violence.


Royal Baby Watch

Baby Booties

Check out the up-to-the-minute rumors, speculation and most likely announcement of the upcoming Baby Cambridge arrival on Twitter hashtag #RoyalBaby. I’m leaning towards a girl for Wills and Kate Cambridge.

What do you think? Or are you wondering who the heck are Wills and Kate?


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How to Lose Friends and Influence Counter Protests

Fluffy afternoon clouds

See Texas state house protests.

There seems to be a tempest in a teapot in the Texas the past few weeks.  A successful filibuster in the Texas state senate ast week prevented the passage of SB5, even thought it had enough votes to pass on its own merits. A new proposal was drafteted and SB1′s key points are as follows:

  • Protects an unborn child rights earlier at 5 months instead of 6 months.
  • Raises the standard of care requirements at abortion facilities to be the same as ambulatory surgical centers, which provide cataract surgery, ear tubes, and carpal tunnel surgery, all of which have less risk of hemorrhaging than an induced abortion.
  • Raises the standard of care requirement for physicians that provide abortion services by requiring that these physicians have admitting privileges at a local hospital within 30 miles. Admitting privileges are a general quality indicator of peer review and competence for physicians. All current abortion facilities in Texas are within 30 miles of a secular hospital.  More than half of known abortion providers in Texas already have admitting privileges.
  • Ensures that the standard of care for the use of Ru-486, also known as Mifepristone, is within FDA requirements and the guidelines of the American Congress of OB/Gyns. This means you must receive both doses of the drug at a safe abortion facility and follow up within 14 days of the last dose. It also means you can not use, this drug after 7 weeks.
  • This bill DOES NOT close down abortion facilities, shut down women’s health clinics, or cut women’s health services.

Measured, balanced and safe for women. Far less restrictive than our European counterparts.

Since the filibuster erupted, there have been two dueling sides camped out at the Texas State House.  I’ve been watching closely to see how both sides would present their case within the context of a public protest.  The following are my observations on the presentation and messaging of both sides and how this will reverberatein the Texas state house and across the nation.

The pro life movement galvanized its forces after the filibuster and asking them to don blue shirts.  A good choice in color as blue is seen as trustworthy, dependable, and committed.  They pro life supporters assembled to pray, sing Amazing Grace, present articulate and passionate testimonies. I did not spot on obsenitites on any sign held by them or their children – the messages were compelling and on point.

The predominate Twitter hashtag used by the prolife crowd #Stand4Life has been very active the past few weeks. This hashtag has trended nationally during this debate in Texas.

What I can observe is the pro-life side has a cohesive positive message paired with likeable supporters who consistently present compelling counter reasoning to the abortion on demand supporters.  In truth, this SB5 has the votes to pass in the Senate. It passed out the Texas House with four more votes than the preceeding bill. This shift in votes is a telling sign that pro life messaging is working.

The counter protesters are those supporting abortion on demand and aim to stop SB5 in the senate.   Their color choice is orange, a contrasting color to blue.  So far, supporters have donned bloody butcher aprons, let children hold signs with abusive language, and dragged grumpy cat into this fray. They sporatically break into chants of  ‘Hail Satan‘ around the capitol building. Yes, there have been arrests within the orange division.

Oh yes, the hail satan meme has its own hashtag on Twitter aptly named #hailsatan and has been disavowed by those who practice satanism.

From a marketing and messaging perspective, all I can see is a flaming train wreck. I did not embed the images from the orange crowd because they are not safe for work or when children, friends and family are around.  This is a huge problem if the images you are presenting have to be shielded from different age and social groups. The message being broadcast needs to be cast as broadly as possible, the images breaking the surface are not ones you can share widely.

Just when I thought this mess could not get worse. It did. Enter the idea of #BroChoice.  @Popehat tweeted exactly what I was thinking when I first came across this meme on Twitter.

This final image represents to me what flushing your message down the toilet looks like.

SB5 will pass but the resounding change will be in the public perception of both sides of this issue. I like vibrant debates on issues. In this case there is a clear winner from a marketing/messaging standpoint – Life wins in Texas.

Beguiling blue

UPDATE: 7/13/2013 – Love wins.  By a vote of 19 to 11 HB2 is finally passed.

What are your thoughts on the messaging strategies employed by both sides? Do you feel their message has been adequately conveyed to the public?


Home Brewing Batch #1 – Bavarian Weizen

Bavarian Weizen

I have a long history of baking bread whic makes brewing beer  a natural extension in my mad culinary skills.  This weekend I invested in a brewing kit combined with a light summer bavarian wheat beer ingredient kit. Home brewing beer is a science and an art.  It does take a bit of work to create the fementing mixture, but it is well worth the effort. Also, it is a great opportunity to learn new skills while creating a delicious product.

This is Wort


First you need to create a mixture called Wort which starts with adding malt extracts to water. This recipe called for two types of malt extract – a dry and liquid malt extract which adds fermentable sugars for yeast to feast upon.

Adding bitter hops

During the boiling process, hops are added bitterness to balance the sweetness of unfermented malt sugars while adding preservative and clearing properties to the mixture.  Hops are added at different times during the boiling process depending upon the result desired.  This recipe calls for two types of pelleted hops to be added at different intervals during the boil.

The wort is chilling out.

After boiling for like forever,  the wort is chilled and tranfered to a fermenting bucket before adding liquid yeast.  Once the wort reaches the desired temperature it is transferred and filtered into a fermenting bucket and more cool water is added.  After confirming the temperature of the water is at the right temperature, it is time to take a small sample to test the specific gravity before adding the yeast product.   One the yeast is added, give the mixture a good stirring.  Seal the lid, attach airlock and place fermenting bucket in a warm area with little light exposure.  10-14 days later the yeast should have some sweet  Bavarian Weizen beer that is ready to be bottled and aged.

Fermenting Away!

During this process, I kept a strict eye on sanitizing every item that came in contact with the bubbling wort mixture. In addition,  I thorougly cleaned and dusted every inch of the kitchen before creating the wort mixture and banned the dogs as well.

So far, I noted strong bubbling in the airlock today. My fingers are crossed that this brew turns out well as I plan to give away the finished product to friends and family. Oh, okay, I’ll keep a bottle or two.


Meet Penny

Meet Jewel

Welcome to the family, Penny!

Penny is the newest addition to our family of pets. She is a mix of Chihuahua, Fox Terrier and Yorkie.  Just three years old, she is a bouncy ball of energy as well as a snuggle bunny.  She is quickly becoming my little shadow following me everywhere and snuggling next to me every chance she gets.  The prince of the house, otherwise known as Buster, seems non plussed by this new arrival and tolerates her presence.  I have noticed that Penny’s interest in his chew  toys has made Buster more interested in playing with his toys.  Buster has been far more active than usual and I’m so happy to see him interacting with his toys and with Penny.

So far, Penny has not displayed the same adversion to the camera as every other dog I’ve owned. I’m already behind post processing photos of this cutie-pie and have several snippets of video of her playing with her favorite ball. Here is one made a day or two after I adopted her. She has an exhuberant way to play fetch:

I missed having my little shadow follow me around and Tiny will always have a place in my heart.  Penny has her own personality quirks that are slowly manifesting as she adjusts to her new home; but one thing is clear, this is her forever home.

Welcome Penny!


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Keeping Cool in a Heat Wave

The next couple of days in Philly are going to be a steamy hot mess. Philadelphia public health has shared a few tips to help keep you safe and cool during this excessive heat wave;

Tips to Keep Cool

  • Drink plenty of water. Avoid alcohol and caffeine.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose clothing.
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat, or use an umbrella for shade.
  • Slow down—rest in the shade or a cool place every chance you get.
  • Stay in during the hottest part of the day (10 am to 2 pm).
  • If you do not have an air conditioner, visit a senior center, a shopping mall, a public library or a friend who has air conditioning.
  • Use a fan. Keep your windows open.
  • Take a cool shower or bath.

This would be good weekend to take a break from running or any outdoor excersize. Yes, you can afford to stop for a day or two and chill out at home. For me, I’m taking this weekend to set up a home brew kit.

Also, check on your elderly neighbors and friends, if you need help please contact the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging Senior helpline – 215-765-9040

Have fun and stay safe this weekend!


July 4th – Independence Day

Happy 4th! I hope you are all enjoying the day.

It would not be Independence Day with out this unforgettable scene from ID4:

Speaking of Independence Day – I congratulate the citizens of Egypt for their persistance in holding their elected officials accountable to their promises and actions.

Obama administration backed Egyptian president, Mohamed Morsi, ushered into power with the so called ‘Arab Spring’ has been ousted as president by Egyptian military leadership.

The celebrations in Tahir Square are incredible! Check out this video posted on Sky News of the Egyptians celebrating the removal of Morsi.

Doug Ross has a gallery of photos of protestors in Tahir Square holding signs that are not deferential to Obama.

The damage done by the Obama administration and then secreatary of state Hilary Clinton with their Middle East doctrine will take decades of careful handling to repair.

Your thoughts on Egypt’s Independence Day?


News Bites


This coming days will be a busy ones for me. I’m looking forward to attending Close Encounters..with M. Night Shyamalan – clips and conversation with Carrie Rickey tomorrow night at the Perelman  theater.  I’m looking forward to learning new stuff during this event and writing about it on the blog.  During the weekend, I’ve a 10 mile training run scheduled and I’m adopting a dog on Sunday. Also, did you know it is the season for pickling cucumbers and beets?  Let me tell you, there is nothing like a good pickled beet salad. Anyone who tells you differently is an idiot.

I’ve a lot on my plate in the upcoming days, yet the world still turns and drama occurs daily.  While I’m out living life, here are a few news items that have caught my attention. Feel free to leave your thoughts on this topics in the comment section.

1. Some data points to think about regarding DOMA – via The Foundry.  There is way too much rhetoric being flung about regarding DOMA and the SCOTUS ruling. I want to inject a bit of measured data into this discussion, also I want my readers to have access to reasoned facts instead of flaming rhetoric.

50        The number of states whose marriage laws remain the same after the Court’s marriage decisions.

38        The number of states with laws defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman. That includes California, where the scope of today’s Prop 8 decision beyond the specific plaintiffs will be the subject of ongoing debate and, most likely, further litigation.

12        The number of states that can now force the federal government to recognize their redefinition of marriage. The Court struck Section 3 of DOMA, which means that it must recognize same-sex marriages in states that redefine marriage.

1          The number of sections of the Defense of Marriage Act struck down yesterday (Section 3). Section 2, which ensures that no state will be forced to recognize another state’s redefinition of marriage, is still law.

0          The number of states forced to recognize other states’ redefinition of marriage.

The important news you may not be hearing is that the U.S. Supreme Court did not redefine marriage across the nation. That means the debate about marriage will continue. States are free to uphold policies recognizing that marriage is the union of a man and a woman, so that children have a mother and a father.

2. Regarding the SCOTUS decision on Prop8 – I am troubled – not by the content of Prop 8 but the undermining of basic democratic self governance. The people of California voted for Prop8 twice and their will should be respected by all. Equality cannot be forced, it must be earned. That is the ugly marketing truth the gay and lesbian community have not learned as of yet.  Inexplicably.

3. So who, outside the dayside producers of MSNBC, didn’t see this confirmation coming? IRS auditor reconfirms conservative groups, not liberal groups were targeted by the IRS.    It seems the IRS is truly the bogeyman we all loath and fear.  Now would be a good time to start discussion on how to reign in and defang this beast.

4. What in the name of physics is causing this ancient Egyptian statue to rotate? I’m hoping one of my NSA watchers could anonymously comment on why this is happening.  Don’t worry, I won’t tell :)


5.  ICYMI – It appears a pork laden amnesty bill passed Senate scrutiny today and all reports point to it being DOA in the House.


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Snark Factor Tonight!

Listen live to the Snark Factor every Wednesday night at 8pm EST on FTR Radio where I will be joining Fingers Malloy, Irish Duke to bring news bites at the top of the hour followed by sparkling chats with invited guests. If you are a fan of my blog, you’ll know that I have an eclectic taste in news of the day.

On tap tonight:


Texas SB5

S.E. Cupp moving on from  MSNBC’s ‘The Cycle’.

Home brewed beer!






David Gregory Goes Squirrel Hunting

PRISM gum. Should I be concerned? #NSA on Twitpic

Should I be concerned?

Bravo to David Gregory with his totally void of  fact question asked to David Greenwald in regards to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden:


DAVID GREGORY: To the extent that you have aided and abetted Snowden, even in his current movements, why shouldn’t you, Mr. Greenwald, be charged with a crime?


Glenn managed to shred David’s line of questioning with this stunning rebuttal.


David’s question was successful in deflecting attention from this devastating leak which is seriously damaging the credibility of the Obama administration. The chattering class on Twitter today was abuzz over the guilt or innocence of a journalist rather than questioning why the administration along with the NSA are more interested in spying on Americans  than terrorists.

What is horrifying about this revelation by Edward Snowden is how easily the data can be exploited for political purposes. Don’t think for one second that the DNCC or David Axelrod would refrain from employing data mining strategies within this mountain of data to search for potentially damaging  or embarrassing opposition research.   Is this the new normal for modern day politics?  I’m not sure – is this 2013 or 1984?

Thoughts? Comments?  Use the comment box below.


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