Fareed Zarkaria–U.S.A. having a Prime Minister? Hmmmm?

CNN Contributor - Fareed Zakaria

CNN Contributor - Fareed Zakaria - Photo from Wikipedia

DBN here. It’s August 22. The man on the left is Fareed Zarkaria. He’s currently a journalist with CNN and host of the  Fareed Zarkaia GPS that airs on CNN. This past weekend he made an interesting observation on his GPS website that people took notice. I could not help feeling that what he said raises some very important point.

Mr. Zarkaria had read a website that said, “no country with a presidential system of government had AAA rating from all three rating agencies. Only counties with parliamentary systems have that honor, with the possible exception France, which could be characterized as having a parliament, a prime minister, as well as a president.” This was after the S&P downgrade of United States with that debt ceiling crap that basically froze the U.S. government not to long ago.

He mentioned a Yale scholar, Juan Linz, who said “that parliamentary systems are superior to presidential systems because they allow for greater stability and purposeful action. In a parliamentary, he contended, the legislature and executive are fused, so there is no contest for national legitimacy and power.” 

You can go to CNN to check out that particular show.

Now while that may be true to some extend I think what makes the United States unique is the Three  Branches of Government. (Executive, Legislative, Judicial) If you have parliamentary system, party with the most seats won in the house the person who the leader of the same party gets to be Prime Minister. In the Presidential system, the people get to elect directly the Presidential. Note* in the U.S. we do have the electoral college which is an extra step but I won’t bore you with those details.

By theory the parliamentary system doesn’t usually have the political wrestle matches like what we see in the U.S. I beg to differ. You can look at England’s system. They tend to be pretty civil. But there several other countries with parliamentary systems once in a while look like a boxing match on Saturday night between legislators. A lot of countries have their own various issues unique to them. But when it really comes down to it, you going to have one charismatic person step out and become the person who manages to work his way to the power seat a has that ability to influence. In a way, that not to much different the way the U.S. Congress works.

While the parliamentary system is interesting in it’s on way, I like what we have here in the United States. It’s not always pretty, but somehow it works. Think for a second, Watergate: Richard Nixon under a parliamentary system if the party in charge was in charge (the Republicans) Watergate probably would have remained a second rate burglary crime. Maybe Congress would not have bothered with Iran-Contragate or Teapot Dome.

In all the reality is that we got issues, and they need to be addressed. We can play the blame game and say who is at fault with our system of government. You can say that Congress is the conscience of the President. It would be nice if they would find a way to work together and ensure that we will have a future well into the New Millennium.



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Death Threats to Dave Letterman- Are you kidding me?

Dave Letterman- courtesy photo by Starzlife.com

DBN back again. How’s it going. CNN had a story this morning. Dave Letterman is being targeted by a jihadist website for making a joke about a member of Ai Qaeda. The person of the joke was Ilyas Kashmiri. You can check out the CNN article

here :http://www.cnn.com/2011/CRIME/08/17/letterman.threat/index.html?iref=allsearch

Now this is another example of how this does not make the Muslim religion look very good. Dave tells a joke and someone of the Islamic faith does not like it. He could have called CBS and say.” I did not like that joke it was offensive. Have Mr. Letterman apologize.” No, the person decides that only recourse is to have Dave Letterman killed.

Understand one thing, Dave Letterman is a comedienne, a late night talk show host, an entertainer. He not a politician. He is not going raise my taxes nor is he going to lower my taxes. He not going to declare war on anyone. He is not a threat to anyone. Maybe the joke was not a good idea. It does not give you license to take a person life because he told it on national television.

Now the person who called for the ‘threat’ probably lives in the United States. I would not think someone living the Middle East would be picking up the Letterman show. Because of this person, now Dave is going to be walking around with bodyguards (if he isn’t already)  looking over his shoulder wondering if someone is gunning for him. Al Capone did that crap. It was called the ‘St Valentine’s Massacre’.  And he did it because he did not like someone.

I hope the American Muslim Community takes notice. This is not good. The Muslim Community needs to speak out against such stuff. Violence only gets more violence.


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Trying to be a Helpful Person

DBN here. Good morning. It’s Sunday July 31. Today I want to talk to you of the unusual situation I saw early this morning. I’m a jogger. I try to make it a point to run 4 miles every other day. So today was my day to jog. I get up around 5 A.M. to get myself ready, and I’m out the door. It’s a little on the dark side. The sun hasn’t quite gotten up and it’s also cloudy.

I’m doing the usual 4 mile trek. I gone right about 2 miles when I saw the ‘unusual situation’. I pass right by a man lying face down on the sidewalk. Now, I’ve run this route pretty regularly for the pass couple of years and this is the first time I’ve seen a person on the ground like that while running.

Now, that I gone by him, I’m thinking ‘what’s this guy’s problem?’ He could be a homeless person trying to find some place to sleep. Or maybe it’s someone who had too much to drink and couldn’t make it home. Then I started thinking, what if this person had a serious health problem. Then there was the possiblity of a homicide.

Great, as I’m jogging the final two miles I’m thinking should I have stopped. I didn’t have my cell phone on me. As I’m jogging, I never carry a cell. I have enough problems carrying my house keys in my left hand. I could have stopped a car and ask if they had a cell. Being Sunday morning, traffic was very light.

I could have run to someone’s house for help. Thinking about it now, that would have made good sense if I had thought about it at the time. Most people are not awake at 6 A.M. on a Sunday morning.

Okay, so I formulate a plan. As soon as returning to my apartment, I’ll hop in the car and drive back. If the man is not there or at least if someone else called 911 and emergency personnel, then there is nothing to worry about.

So, I got into my car, drove the 2 miles to the location. Sure enough, the man is still there. Now, I am worried. It’s been a better part of a half hour and the guy hasn’t moved. I put the car into park and turn on the flashing hazard lights and appoached the man. I gently try to wake him and he doesn’t move. I try a couple of more times. He still doesn’t move.

I’m looking a man lying prone face down. I’m beginning to think the worst. This time I got the cell phone with me and dial 911. I describe the situation. Within five to ten minutes the Fire Department truck is the first on the scene. The firemen come on and check the guy. One fireman tries to wake him and a second is checking his body. The second fireman says the body is still warm. Fortunately, the guy is still alive. So the firemen try harder to wake the guy up and finally he moving about. By this time, the ambulance with the paramedics has arrived.

I notice this particular person has a spiderweb tatoo on his elbow. No big deal, a lot of people have tatoos. A couple of the fireman on the scene had tatoos. I have a sister that has a tatoo. They finally sit the guy up. Turns out he was at a party and had way too much to drink. It was too far of a walk home and just decided to sack out on the sidewalk.

Now, I mention the tatoos. When they sat him up I saw his face. On the right of his cheek was a swastika. Okay now I’m really thinking. The fireman notice the swatika as well. They ask him a couple of question to make sure he okay and if he needed an ambulance. They ask him wake day it was, and he said Sunday. Then they as him who the President of the United States was. There was no response. I can guess how he feels about President Obama.

As it turns out the person didn’t really need any help to get home. One fireman says they get calls every so often about people who had too much to drink and find themselves sleeping on the sidewalk. No harm no foul, right? They thank me for calling and went ahead and returned home.

As I am writing this piece, I’m wondering is this guy going to appreciate that a concerned human being who he doesn’t even know was watching out for him. Most likely he’s embarassed that the Fire Department and Paramedics were called. I would be too if I was in his shoes.

But here’s the kicker. I am an African American. I don’t know the person. We probably will never cross paths again. But if I been more agressive trying to wake him up only to find the swastika on the side of his face, would that have change the whole complexion? I am a stranger, concerned for the life of another human being who just happen to caucasion. I personally believe I would do the same thing again if the occasion came about again.

This leads me to another question. What if it was another African American, Latino American or Asian American that came across this man? What if the person is Jewish or Muslim? What if the person was Homosexual? What if the person was a Republican Conservative or Democrat Liberal? Would any of them stopped to help? It could have been a real tragedy. Someone could have easily come by and stuck a knife in the person’s back. If that happen, then the area would have become a crime scene. The man would have another victim.

The one thing I did notice from the time I first saw the person until I returned in my own car, that was about a half an hour. Granted it was a little dark and the strip of road has a forty mile an hour speed limit. So it could have hard to see the person lying on the side. As if got lighter, I would have thought someone else could have call 911. Maybe someone else could have done something. But I was the one who saw it. I just couldn’t walk away. Who knows? That person could have been in serious trouble. Maybe it’s something to learn.

DBN has Spoken


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Amy Winehouse

Amy WineHouse– photo courtesy of People.com

There’s a bit of sad news out of England. Amy Winehouse passed away Saturday July 23. She was only 27 years old. I first got exposed to her listening to her music on a flight from L.A. toWashington D.C. She  had a soul that was vivid and unique. It had that straight up feeling and look right out of the 1960’s. Clearly, she was a very talented singer.

Unfortunately, she also left this world way too soon. She was a victim of rapid rise to the top only to fall even faster to the bottom. I have to say my favorite song is ‘Back in Black. The official music video shows her going to a funeral of a loved one. At the tail end the video we are left with the words
R.I.P — The Heart of Amy Winehouse
That sort sums it up. She was a troubled young woman. Rehab did not work for her. Hopefully she is in a better place now.
Amy Winehouse
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End of an Era- Shuttle Atlantis Final Flight

Space Shuttle Atlantis Launch- photo courtesy Lagunabeachbikini.com

DBN here. I’m sitting in my apartment in Southern California watching the final touchdown of the Space Shuttle Atlantis. I am sadden that this is the last flight of the shuttle. Due to budget cuts it is being put into retirement. I wish it could have continued to have more flights, but like all good things it must to a end. It was fitting that it ends in a perfect flight.

It’s hard to believe we been flying the shuttle for 30 years. I remember the first flight. It took a while after several delays. It was John Young and Bob Crippen taking the very first flight in the shuttle Columbia. That was in 1981. I was in my fourth year in college at the age of 22. Ronald Reagan was the President. It was Dan Rather on site for CBS covering the first launch. The Internet was in its infancy. Today in 2011 at the age of 52, I’m watching it via the Internet through NASA TV.com. My, how time flies.

This ship has logged a lot of miles and made a lot of history. It docked with the Mir space station, launched the Hubble telescope, and help build the International Space Station. Let’s not forget those in Challenger and Columbia who gave the lives in their dedication in the mission of the shuttle program.

Listening to the NASA announcer give the play by play, you can hear the sadness in the voice. The United States will not have anymore manned flights for the next several years. So what does that mean for the U.S. space program. Without the Space Shuttle we will have to hitch rides on the Russian Soyuz  to the ISS. Hopefully by 2020 we will have a new manned transport program in place. Also, it is hoped that the civilian and commercial operation will start dominating the future missions.

Anime Video 'Rocket Girls'-- photo courtesy kuroanime.com

That reminds me. Being a big anime fan, there’s a video call ‘Rocket Girls’. The story is about a Japanese high school girl in pursuit of finding her lost father who gets talked into becoming an astronaut for a civilian space commercial project. Ironically, there is a mission where they have to work with the Space Shuttle Atlantis in trying to save a planetary probe mission to Pluto. It’s fantasy, but it illustrates where the future of space travel could be heading.



Chris Ferguson-Commander– photo by NASA

Doug Hurley- Pilot – Photo by NASA

Sandra Magnus- Mission Specialist – Photo by NASA

Rex Walheim-Mission Specialist- photo by NASA


The photos above are the last Space Shuttle crew members of STS 135.

Special Thanks for Dedication and Hard Work for a great flight. You make the United States proud .

As the flight control team shake hands with emotion of a job very well done. This is not the end of humankind future voyage. Shuttle Atlantis will be heading for permanent display at the Kennedy Space Visitors Complex.

By the way, John Glenn just celebrated his 90 birthday. He’s the oldest astronaut to ever ride in space. He rode in the Space Shuttle Discovery STS 95.



John Glenn – as Space Shuttle Astronaut – photo by en.wikipedia.org
John Glenn- as Mercury Astronaut- photo by historylink.org




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Two Major TV Icons

Hello Folks, DBN here. I just want to talk to you about a couple people that we lost in the month of June. These two gentlemen probably are among the most recognizable characters that have ever graced the Television World. I’m talking about James Arness who played Matt Dillion on the series ‘Gunsmoke’ and Peter Falk who play the police lieutenant in ‘Columbo’. The images of these two actors are forever imprinted on my brain.

James Arness as the one the only Matt Dillon

James Arness played the dedicated U.S. Marshall in Dodge City. For 20 years from 1955 to 1975 he was Matt Dillion. I believe that is the longest continuing live action character in prime time history. (Milburn Stone, who played Doc Adams, also was with the series for its entire run). Mr. Arness was a larger than life man at 6’7″ tall. ‘Riding tall in the saddle’ was not a cliche because he really was tall in the saddle.

Interesting to note, Mr. Arness was also a WW II army veteran and received a Bronze Star and Purple Heart for wounds he suffered at the Battle of Anzio.  He was also the older brother of Peter Graves ( another TV icon from the series Mission Impossible playing Jim Phelps). Mr. Graves died last year at the age of 83.

Before ‘Gunsmoke’, he was in two major hit sci-fi movie, ‘The Thing from Another World’ where he played the big tall mean scary alien. (Great Casting!). There was also ‘Them!’ In that he was a a FBI agent battling giant mutant ants. His film debut was in the Academy award winner ‘The Farmer’s Daughter.’ He played a brother to Loretta Young character. (By the way, Loretta Young won Best Actress for her role in the movie).

Another movie he played in was ‘Big Jim Mcclain’ with his close friend John Wayne. They played U.S. government investigators searching for communist spies. It’s ironic, because the ‘Duke’ was originally offered the role of Matt Dillion. Mr. Wayne turned it downed but suggested that Mr. Arness play the role. And that would make history for the next 20 years.

Mr. Arness was part of the original cast that included Milburn Stone, Amanda Blake as Miss Kitty, and Dennis Weaver as Chester Goode. I’m sorry to say, all have passed away. Thank god for DVD.

James Arness after ‘Gunsmoke’ would do other roles. He play Zeb Macahan in the television version of ‘How the West Was Won.’ There was also a short lived TV show as a police detective in ‘Mclain’s Law’. But later in the 1980’s he would again reprise his signature role as Matt Dillion in five made for TV Gunsmoke movies.

Peter Falk was an interesting man. He wasn’t tall nor handsome, but he left a mark on TV just like James Arness. He played the scrumply dressed Lt. Columbo. Every show he was matching wits with the murderer and at the end he always got the criminal. The culprit planned the perfect crime only to face the stumbling cop with cigar and old 1959 Peugeot 403 convertible that always looked like it was ready for the junkyard. Inside Columbo’s head was really a brilliant detective that Sherlock Holmes would be taking notes from. Mr. Falk won four Emmys for his role

Peter Falk in his role as Lt. Colombo

Columbo was not the only role Mr. Falk played.  He played a violent gangster  Abe Reles in the film ‘Murder Inc’ and the comedy ‘Pocketful of Miracles’. Pocketful of Miracles also starred Glenn Ford, Hope Lange, and Bette Davis. In each of those role he would receive an Best Supporting Oscar nomination.

He was in the insanely funny movie ‘It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World.’ Also ‘The Great Race’ with Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, and Natalie Wood. He was a sensitve husband in the movie ‘A Women Under the Influence’ directed by his good friend John Cassavetes. There was also the former CIA agent in ‘The In-Laws’. Don’t forget the story telling Grandfather in ‘The Princess Bride’.

Looking back at his career, it’s amazing to see what a truly gifted actor he was. In each role he played you don’t forget the character. He could do drama, and he could do comedy.

Mr. Falk played the role of Colombo from the first made for TV movie ‘Prescription Murder’ with Gene Barry in 1968 until 2003. Unlike Gunsmoke, Colombo was not on air continuously. However it was a role that Mr. Falk would continue to revisit in a series of made for TV movie long after it’s initial NBC Mystery Movie run.

Peter Falk also had a glass eye due to surgery for retinoblastoma when he was a young child. Despite that he still went out and played organized baseball and basketball. In a way it added to his work as an actor. He was also an artist. If you visit http://PeterFalk.com you can see some of his works.

So you see these two gentlemen and try to compare them in a way. One was lean and tall, the other short and stocky. Both playing law enforcement characters and both always got the bad guy. They created great memories on TV . As Colombo would say “Just one more thing,” both these shows are on DVD.

DBN Has Spoken


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I’m Back

This is DBN— I must apologize for my absence. I having to deal with some personal issues and I been neglecting this blog for far too long. I very much appreciate the attention people have been giving. Some of the posst are kind of unusual but people are free to give there opinions. I am not really into selling any products or making money (since this is a not for profit site). I just want to express myself as best as I can. I am going to try to make a better effort in getting my opinions out there. So if you can, please forgive me. Now on to the show.

DBN has Spoken

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My 1988 Pontiac Firebird

My 1988 Pontiac Firebird — Photo by DBN

Just to let you know, I been trying to put a new header to this blog. I finally am able to post some pictures using my own photos instead of someone else’s. That is my pride and joy –1988 Pontiac Firebird–. The last couple of weeks I had some major work done on the car. Being in California, we got to do the smog test. Turns out it would not have passed. So I got a new engine and new brakes. I also did  a wax job to make the car look pretty. Put on some of that ‘Armor All’ to the vinyl. I added new center wheel caps to replace the ones that disappeared after I bought the car.

I really want to get a paint job. I got the car in 1996. I think the last owner got into a wreck and had the car repainted. The paint job was not very good. You can’t tell by the photo, but up close you can see hairline cracks in the paint. Also, the last owner kept missing the gas cap. Just below the filler cap you can see where the gas ate up the paint. I have to consider the budget. I been thinking of doing Maaco, but they don’t seem get a lot of good reviews from a lot of people on the internet.

I also removed the tint on the driver’s side window. It was starting to peel away. I removed the tint from the hatchback window a good 11 years ago when it was peeling. I had to because I couldn’t see out of the back. I never bothered to get new tinting. I think I may get louver on the back window rather than tinting. Of course, I’m still thinking about it. The passenger side window tint is still up. It’s still good although it looks weird. I might remove that too.

I ordered some replacement lift supports for the hatchback so it will stay up. It gets tiring holding it up with one hand while trying to put something in or get something out of the trunk.

Other than that, this muscle car is ready to shine for another five years easy and beyond. Why do all this? Hey, I love the car. They don’t built them like this anymore. Come to think of it, General Motors don’t build Pontiacs anymore either. At least they were smart enough to bring back the Chevy Camaro. They had to, because Ford hit a grand slam home run when they redesigned the Mustang for 2005. Then there was Chrysler; they reintroduce the Challenger for 2008. About time we Americans had some decent Detroit Muscle.

I love my car. I do not want it ending up in some junk yard.

That’s Me- DBN @ Hoover Dam – Firebird in Background

Here’s a couple of photos. Now you know what I look like. Suprise! In trying to break in the new engine I took a drive to Hoover Dam. She performed like a dream. I was a nice drive on a sunny day.

To the right is the Firebird at Hoover Dam. In the background is the new Mike O’callaghan – Pat Tillman Memorial bridge that just opened a few months ago. (Sorry guys can’t let you see my license plate. Security Thing)
Man that was a fun drive. I will leave it for now. Talk to you again.
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May 23, 2011— Mallard Fillmore Strip

Did anybody see today’s edition of  ‘Mallard Fillmore’? I did as I was looking on the internet. Unlike most people, I get my comics from the internet. Anyway, here’s today’s strip.


5/23/11- Mallard Fillmore by Bruce Tinsley

Now, I have a problem with this. He used the word ‘whacks’. As I recalled they used that word quite a bit in the HBO series ‘The Sopranos’.

Dictionary.com definition —noun: A sharp or resounding blow.  verb:  Strike forcefully with a sharp blow: “he whacked him on the head”. 

Urban Dictionary.com definition— 1. adjective; appalling in nature, unconventional. 2. verb; to strike one with the hand or fist. 3. verb; to assassinate.

I did a straight Google search and came up with these two examples. I looked at the Urban Dictionary. I see the definition ‘to assassinate’. That scares me. He adds the name Obama. That scares me even more. I know Bruce Tinsley is trying to make a point, but his choice of wording is a concern. I don’t think Mr. Tinsley is suggesting going out to assassinate the President of the United States. I honestly believe 99.99999% of Americans would not wish to see that happen. Of course there’s that small percentage that would love to take a shot. I just wish Mr. Tinsley used a better choice of wording.

I know Mr. Tinsley is  a conservative, and he has every right to express his opinion. I read his comic every day. Sometimes it’s funny. Sometimes it’s not. I also read ‘Doonesbury’. Reading both gives a interesting balance on the issues. That’s good. I don’t think Mr. Tinsley is a bad guy.  However what if someone decides to ‘whack the President’? That would be very bad for this country.

I think about 1968 after the assassination of Martin Luther King. I was 9 years old when that happen. I was living at Andrews Air Force Base outside of Washington D.C. After the assassination there were riots in the urban cities across the U.S. Washington D.C. was not immune from this. My grandmother and aunt used to live on V Street NW. Riding into the city with my family during that time, I remember smelling tear gas. That’s what I fear would happen if President Obama was assassinated. The Secret Service has enough problems on their hands trying to protect the President. They don’t need any more.

Now, I will let you in on a secret. I am an African American. I did vote for Barack Obama for President. I will continue to support and vote for him for a second term. I think he’s smart and very intelligent. He not the perfect President. Neither was George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt,  Ronald Reagan or Bill Clinton. For that matter none of our 44 Presidents have been truly perfect. Who ever becomes the future U.S. President will not be perfect either. All we can hope for is the person will make the right decisions at the right time. Can anybody remember Osama Bin Laden?

Side Note * —Today’s My Sister’s 49 birthday- Happy Birthday, Janice!!!!


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President Obama with National Security Staff watching Navy Operation against Osama Bin Laden-Photo by Getty Images

Since the event of May 5, 2011, there have been disagreements in some public sectors regarding whether or not the death photos of Osama Bin Laden should be release to the public. Already conspiracy theorists want to see the proof that Bin Laden is really dead. They do not trust the fact that he is really dead just became the President say so. To them
the President integrity and sincerity is not good enough.

Should the photos be released? No they should not. There is no need to show the gruesome details of a bloody dead body to the public. President Barack Obama made that decision yesterday not to release the photos. To show such photos would give incentive to those followers to do more harm to the United States. That’s something we do not need. Those followers can believe what they want, but I believe in President Obama that Bin Laden is truly dead. That is good enough for me. Just look at those intense looks of the President
and his staff on their faces as they watched in real time the Navy Seals doing their mission in Pakistan.

Looking at a dead body is not fun when it is up close. This not Hollywood make believe action flick. A person life has been taken. That person is not going to get up again.

Personally I am reminded of a time think of the time in 2008. It was just a week before Christmas. I’m watching TV in my apartment when suddenly I hear 3 gunshots. (pop, pop, pop) I rushed outside to see a man kneeling beside a young African American male on his stomach who had been shot. His young life draining at of him as the blood flowed freely to the ground. There was nothing that could be done for him. The paramedic could only lay a
white sheet over his body. Somebody had a grudge against. That somebody decided to use a gun to end this person’s life.

As said before, this was a week before Christmas. This young man’s family would be crying at a time when there supposed to be joy for the holidays. That young man was not going to be home for the holidays.

I remember back in 1978 the Massacre in Jonestown Guyana. Over 900 men, women, and children committed mass suicide by drinking a punch laced with cyanide. There were photos and video circulation of those 900+ bodies on the ground never to walk or breathe again.

I could go on and on, but don’t get me wrong. Osama Bin Laden deserved everything he got coming to him. I will never forgive him ever for his part on September 11, 2001. I’m
personally glad he’s dead.

It is easy to make criticisms of President Obama. Anybody can do that. But make a decision to risk the lives of military men that could mean their death all to get a mass murder. That also meant killing that mass if he refused to surrender. Can Sarah Palin do that? Mitt Romney? John McCain? Donald Trump? Maybe or maybe not. They are all outside looking in.

President Obama made a decision that he will never forget for the rest of his life. This decision will rank as one of the greatest President decision in U. S. History since Harry Truman ordering the dropping of the A-Bomb, John Kennedy decision to blockade Cuba during the Missile crisis, and Woodrow Wilson decision to enter World War I.

Sending in troops to do a difficult mission is not an easy decision. Killing of Bin Laden is nothing to gloat about.  Who get the blame if there is a failure? The President.  The deed has been done. Give the President praise and at the same time hope he does not have make such a decision again.


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