Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Gorbachev Foundation

Tuesday, 6 February 2007; 10:04

He answered former President Reagan’s call to tear down this wall. In doing so, he effectively ended a war which had occupied my entire lifetime–the Cold War. But, as a man of vision and possibly ahead of his time, Mikhail Gorbachev seems not to now occupy the best of positions in Russian history. That, with the passage of a few more years, may well change–and should. There have been few men as deserving of a memorable place in recent history as Mr. Gorbachev.

Until then, we can still support Mr. Gorbachev through his Gorbachev Foundation. Even better, on March 2, 2007, you can help celebrate a great man’s 76th birthday. Happy Birthday, Mr. Gorbachev. And, thank you.

Home page:
Home page:  Gorbachev Foundation



John Edwards for President

Tuesday, 23 January 2007; 13:10

Somewhere between the very well-designed site of Senator Clinton and the relatively sparse site of Senator Obama is the web site of presidential hopeful, Senator John Edwards. And quite frankly, The Distillery does not like the John Edwards site. Why? It looks very old-fashioned in terms of current web design. (Maybe Edwards’ people should talk to Clinton’s people about that.)

In addition, there is little true integration of video content into the overall design of the site. Instead we find a now too-often-seen page of video links. On the other hand, we do find Senator Edwards holding a live online video discussion on January 24th, following the President’s State of the Union address.

In sum, Senator Edwards’ site falls somewhere in between that of his previously mentioned challengers, Senators Obama and Clinton. Were these Democrats’ web sites to determine our next President, Hillary Clinton would win hands-down, but with Senator Edwards occupying the chair of now Vice-President Dick Cheney. (Hey, it’s a given that the Republicans have shot themselves in the feet the past few years. That said, The Distillery is predicting a Democrat landslide come 2008.)

By the way, those of you looking for a more Republican and less liberal view of politics and the world should definitely visit Be certain to tell him SippinWhisky sent you.

Home page:  John Edwards for President


Barack Obama (for President?)

Tuesday, 23 January 2007; 11:16

Oprah loves him. (Isn’t that enough to become President?) He is almost the quintessential American having a home village back in Africa, but having risen to a powerful United States senatorial position in a very short time and at a relatively young age. (Note: His father is actually from the African village, but Senator Obama–his son–is warmly welcomed there as one of their own.) And, most importantly, there has been much speculation about his running for President in 2008.

To gauge the measure of that speculation vs. reality, Senator Obama has created a web site to explore his options and possibilities. However, how does it stack up against who may be his major competitor, Senator Clinton? Quite frankly, although a decent effort, Senator Obama’s web presence is easily trumped by the efforts of Senator Clinton and her team.

Yes, there is an explanatory video at his site. However, different from Senator Clinton, Senator Obama appears not to have fully committed a significant measure of his (possible) campaign to the internet. Although there is not the feeling of his site being incomplete, it does not have the overall integration of design and interactivity found at Senator Clinton’s site. Is that a shortcoming? Maybe or maybe not.

As at his competitor’s site, we do find video about Senator Obama. And again, we find video discussing his possible presidential bid. That is the extent of it. Might I suggest that Senator Obama look closely at one of his most important target audiences and observe their changing information acquisition habits? A greater and more complete web presence is needed for younger voters and possibly some older voters now disenchanted with the current administration. That said, it is still early. Let’s keep an eye on Senator Obama’s site. I suspect “his people” will not be long in recognizing their oversight and mistakes.

Home page:  Barack Obama – Obama Exploratory Committee


Hillary for President

Tuesday, 23 January 2007; 8:57

This is indeed a very different era. We are witnessing changes with politics and the internet as profound was the first televised presidential candidate debate between Nixon and Kennedy. We now have at least three presidential candidates who first disclosed their presidential aspirations via not traditional media outlets, but the internet instead. Of those using the internet, let us first look at Senator and former First Lady, Hillary Clinton.

In a nutshell, Hillary’s people fully get the internet. Senator Clinton’s web site is replete with video and interactivity. In fact, video can be found on every page of the section About Hillary. And, we’re not seeing rehashed TV commercials, either. We’re witnessing a true understanding of the internet and its audiences. It appears we can take Senator Clinton at her word. She is not only beginning a bid for President, but even now is having a “conversation with the American people.” Yes, Hillary gets the internet–and The Distillery’s vote.

Home page:


2006 Nobel Prize Awards Ceremony

Monday, 11 December 2006; 11:45

We have all heard of dumb geniuses, right? Well, you will probably not find many such persons among this year’s cadre of Nobel Prize winners. But also, the Nobel Prize committee is not so dumb as not to recognize a changing of the guard online. And just what is meant by that?

Instead of the usual boring fare previously found at the Nobel Prize web site, with one notable exception highlighted here several months ago, we now have an on-demand video presentation of the 2006 Nobel Prize Award Ceremony. And at only 71 minutes long, they must have limited the recipients’ time to make their acceptance speeches. (Are any as good as William Faulkner’s acceptance address for the literature award in 1950?) Surely, there had to be more hot air in the Stockholm Concert Hall than that. On the other hand, the relatively short length just might inspire a few future Nobel laureates to have a look at the pomp and circumstance surrounding one of the world’s most valued awards.

Home page:  Nobel Prize
Home page:  Nobel Week 2006 (for more multimedia content)

Alfred Nobel
Photograph of Alfred Nobel News (Minister Louis Farrakhan)

Tuesday, 19 September 2006; 14:12

I have never been entirely certain what to make of The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. However, that is from a perspective of personal beliefs. What about from The Distillery’s perspective? There we find certainty. News and Minister Farrakhan clearly “get” the internet. The site is replete with multimedia content. Might this be a function of a superb orator understanding how to reach people? Quite possibly so. Of significant interest is finding Link TV, described as Television Without Borders and:

…an alternative to the narrow one-sided ‘Middle East’ reporting of CNN, FOX, NBC, ABC, CBS, NPR and others. Visit LinkTV for news from the Direct perspectives of Lebanon, Iran, Syria, Israel, etc.

The Distillery finds a virtual cornucopia of other rich media content. In fact, it finds an example of the very sort of rhetoric (September 11, 2001: Fact and fiction According to Loose Change Documentary) that gives pause to fully endorsing Minister Farrakhan, although he proclaims himself a scholar and vessel of truth. On the other hand, one finds a link to an unedited CBS 60 Minutes interview with Iranian President Ahmadinejad. Elsewhere throughout the site, numerous and diverse webcasts, interviews, and podcasts are found.

Whatever your ideological feelings about Minister Farrakhan and his mouthpiece, News, you must agree both are instep with technology as a tool to reach (and preach to) the masses. Both make their messages more accessible than what we find from many Fortune 500 companies. Well done, Minister Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam.

Home page: News
Home page:  The Nation of Islam

H.M.L.Farrakhan meets Cuban leader, Fidel Castro

Boeing: Integrated Defense Systems

Wednesday, 9 August 2006; 13:21

2005 was a banner year for weapons suppliers like Boeing and its Integrated Defense Systems division. The Distillery can find no joy in that observation.

Home page: Boeing IDS

AH-64D Apache Longbow photo graphic

Take Back the Capitol

Sunday, 6 August 2006; 17:38


Are you better off now than you were four years ago?

It’s the economy, Stupid!

Those two lines are well-remembered sound bites from previous U.S. presidential elections. For the next presidential election we have, Take Back the Capital, an open source political video project and clip contest dedicated to overturning Republican control of Congress in the 2006 November election, and guided primarily by Sim Sadler, a well-known filmmaker, video artist, and editor out in Los Angeles. It appears Sim and a few of his friends (i.e., video artist Fernando Sanchez, writer/director Paul Liggett, activist Joanne Weldman, and assorted aliens) have grown weary of the current administration and its seemingly incessant blunders. And, they would like your help.

How might you help? You can:

submit a short video clip (a sound bite, a slogan, a gesture, a dance step, etc.) in response to the question “Why must we overturn Republican control of Congress?“. The best clips will win cash prizes and be compiled into a fast-paced music video by producer and editor Sim Sadler, which will be offered for viral distribution via e-mail/cell phone/iTunes ahead of the election.

What’s in it for you? Read on:

The 3 best clips will receive cash prizes of $500, $250, and $100 as chosen by our panel of judges (to be determined). All other clips used in the final video will receive an honorarium of $20. Prizes will be awarded by October 15, 2006.

Not bad, eh? If you think this is your calling, surf on over to Take Back the Capital and review the project’s complete details and all its requirements. You might win a few bucks and/or possibly launch yourself into a new career. At the very least, you’ll have opportunity to meet a few movers and shakers out in L.A.

A sampling of Mr. Sadler’s work:

  • Talk Therapy: Dr. Phil vs Bill O’Reilly
  • Hard Working George: The President’s verbal virtuosity
  • Arnold Debates Himself: The Action Hero vs the Governor
  • The Bush vs Chaney Debate: The Vice-President has second thoughts about GW

    Entries ( Take Back the Capitol

    Sim Sadler video still graphic


    Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

    Thursday, 3 August 2006; 14:03

    How much power is there in video for persons holding political offices? One person who certainly knows is The Terminator, now the governor of California. (Another was former President Ronald Reagan. This President? He’s clueless. Did you see him talking to Britain’s PM Blair with a mouth full of food? I know his mother taught him better than that.)

    Have a peek at this video of Governor Schwarzenegger, a.k.a. The People’s Governor, visiting heat-beleaguered farmers in California’s Central Valley region within the past week or so. (He’s not wasting time getting those videos online, is he? As noted, he knows the power of video.) You might next have a gander at Gov. Arnold announcing the creation of the California Hall of Fame.

    Great PR, Gov. Arnold. You learned a great deal from saying nothing throughout entire movies. Wait a minute. I’m mistaken. One time you did say, “I’ll be back.”

    Home page: California Office of the Governor

    CA Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Britain's PM Blair photo graphic

    Trudell the Movie (John Trudell)

    Thursday, 3 August 2006; 12:32

    Bob Dylan referred to [John] Trudell’s spoken word/rock and roll album AKA Graffiti Man as the ‘best album of 1995.’ Northwest Native activist Janet McCloud referred to Trudell as .. one of the greatest poets of all time.” Kris Kristoferson referred to him as “a lone wolf.” Not only a profound orator, he is a significant political figure in the more recent history of the Indian people’s movement.

    “Crazy Horse, we hear what you say. One earth, one mother…. One does not sell the earth…. How do we sell our mother?” ~John Trudell, Crazy Horse

    Who is John Trudell? You may not know who he is, but in addition to the persons mentioned above, Angelina Jolie knows him well enough to be the executive producer of his recent recording of Native American music, Bone Days, featuring cuts such as Crazy Horse. Jackson Browne knows him to the extent that he has produced many of Trudell’s other recordings. He is also friends with Sam Shepard, Val Kilmer, and Wilma Mankiller (former tribal chief of my other nation, the Cherokee Nation). In other words, how is it possible that you do not know of him?

    John Trudell also has a movie, Trudell the Movie. Broaden your American culture horizons and take a few moments to view the trailer. (Look for Watch Trailer in the lower-right of your screen.) Also click on Multimedia for additional film clips, some of which did not make it into the final cut, and a few clips of his music.

    In fact, you will find the song, Crazy Horse, in its entirety there. It contains a line that reminds me of a question posed by one of my favorite poets, Pablo Neruda. In his The Book of Questions, Neruda asks, “Does smoke talk to the clouds?”

    Home page: John Trudell
    Home page: Trudell the Movie

    Addendum: John Trudell is a great songwriter. After you have listened, each of his songs at the movie’s web site can be culled from your Temporary Internet Files folder as full-length MP3s.

    John Trudell - Bone Days graphic

    B-SPAN (The World Bank)

    Tuesday, 11 July 2006; 14:45

    Once again, we see a NGO or not-for-profit which is fully in-step with the times. In fact, below is an excerpt from The World Bank itself about the mission of its B-SPAN webcasting service:

    B-SPAN is the webcasting service of the World Bank Group, presenting seminars, workshops and conferences on a variety of sustainable development and poverty reduction issues via streaming video.

    The World Bank and its partners play host to numerous seminars, workshops and conferences where the world’s leading development experts and practitioners discuss the latest developments in a range of sectors, including agriculture, sustainable development, finance, poverty reduction, health, education, governance, environment, energy, infrastructure, rural and urban development, and more. Through B-SPAN, the discussions, debates, and key points of these events can be preserved and made available to a worldwide audience.

    B-SPAN webcasts are free to view. World Bank staff, academics, students, researchers, journalists, NGO representatives, and members of the public-at-large can virtually “attend” events from anywhere in the world where the Internet is accessible. By bringing World Bank events to the computer screen, B-SPAN is an invaluable tool for the World Bank’s missions of promoting transparency and sharing knowledge.

    B-SPAN (presentations listing by title) is clearly not afraid to address some difficult and thorny issues. Below are only a few rich media presentations from The World Bank. Now, if only Nicholas Negroponte can get those $100 laptops to the people who might benefit from the possible outcomes of some of this content. And finally, I draw your attention to Ten Things You Never Knew About The World Bank (non-multimedia). Indeed, who knew?

    Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
    The Ecosystem Approach to Natural Resources Management
    Working for a World Free of Poverty

    World Bank graphic 01

    World Bank graphic 02

    Reebok – “I Am What I Am”

    Friday, 7 July 2006; 2:14

    I didn’t want to be fighting every day. I didn’t want to be selling drugs. I didn’t want to do what everybody was doing in the hood. I wanted to be different. And that’s what Skateboarding gave me. ~Stevie Williams

    Allen Iverson — Father, Aspiring Fisherman, Basketball Star. Carolina Kluft — Heptathlete, Daughter, Olympic Champion. 50 Cent — Dad, Survivor, Rap Superstar. Miri Ben-Ari — Former Soldier, Hip Hop Head, World-renown Violinist.

    Those are a few of the audio-visual portraits found at Reebok’s I Am What I Am web site. In each case, we discover something different about the spokesperson than what we may now believe. And after Michael Jordan never really speaking out, never taking a stand against child labor, nor expressly looking to be a role model (as he sold $150/pair basketball shoes to low-income inner-city kids), this campaign by Reebok is very refreshing.

    It is an interesting approach to selling shoes, which typically serve more as fashion statements than honest-to-goodness athletic shoes. It works for me. Yet then again, maybe I’m not exactly a member of this Reebok campaign’s target audience. After all, Nike remains firmly entrenched as #1.

    Still, The Distillery applauds Reebok for a very socially responsible approach to selling shoes and providing sometimes unexpected role models. I doubt they would sponsor Charles Barkley, even if there was some truth in his [in]famous statement about not being a role model. But maybe, just maybe, Reebok has decided it’s not always about making as much money as possible.

    Are we truly looking at corporate social responsibility? Believe it or not, so it seems. More evidence is found at Reebok’s Human Rights Program. In fact, The Distillery has previously reviewed the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as presented by Reebok. It appears Reebok is indeed the real deal.

    When you finish looking through the video portraits (downloadable to iPods and PSPs), be certain to then look at the Behind The Grind video, a casual and light-hearted look into what makes each spokesperson the person they are, and what they believe. The Distillery very much likes and admires this campaign. In fact, this is one advertisement that parents might like to sit down and watch with their kids. Each may walk away a little more enlightened about some unique individuals, life itself, and life’s choices.

    Thanks, Reebok. I promise my next pair of sneakers will be Reeboks. I think I owe you one.

    Reebok logo Reebok The Pump Match Day Tennis Shoe graphic