CB’s Green Report: Beetles & Bills

Our western forests are under attack. All across the west, a bark beetle, which is the size of a piece of rice, is turning grown trees into red dust. The New York Times reported recently that “Montana has lost a million acres of trees to the beetles, and in northern Colorado and southern Wyoming the situation is worse.” Forest consultants are worried that the beetle, whose Latin name means “tree killer”, could end up in the Great Lakes. Several landowners are actually cutting down trees to prevent the infestation.

Obama means business with global warming initiatives. During a climate change conference in California on Tuesday, President-elect Obama (via video) “repeated his campaign vow to reduce climate-altering carbon dioxide emissions by 80 percent by 2050, and invest $150 billion in new energy-saving technologies.” And it appears Congress is listening….

Global warming bills on the horizon. Democratic Senators are already planning to introduce global warming legislation at the beginning of the year. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), who is the chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works committee, is planning to create legislation that will directly address Obama’s promises to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Speaking of emissions. And the 2009 Green Car award goes to the 2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI. The announcement was made Thursday at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Although there has been a lot talk about hybrids and plug-in vehicles, the 2009 Jetta TDI is “clean diesel” powered. The Green Journal wrote: “The 2009 Jetta TDI breaks new ground in the field of clean diesels, achieving emissions certification in all 50 states without the use of special additives or extraordinary measures.” And for those of us that are fuel conscious, the Jetta gets an amazing 41-mpg on the highway!

Obama Wins….Yes We Did!

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

“Yes, we did” was the resounding chant last night at the California Obama Headquarters event in downtown LA at the Hyatt Century Plaza Hotel. As Obama won the key swing states of Ohio, Virginia and Florida, the chant became louder and louder among the several-thousand strong throng of supporters and activists. The words turned from a murmur into a roar when CNN reported that Senator Barack Obama had been declared the next president of the United States of America.

For many people, the cheers turned to tears. And the crowd began hugging, kissing and high-fiving each other. “Obama! Obama! Obama” would erupt from all corners of the room. People of all races, ethnicities and ages turned to their neighbors beside them and said, “Yes we did. Yes, we did.”

As Obama’s victory speech was played on the big screen, the crowd watched with full attention. Men and women of all ages really began to cry with Obama’s mention of history being made.

I spoke to a middle-aged black man who was in tears during Obama’s speech. He said, “I can’t believe it. I thought I would never live to see the day when an African American was elected president.”

I also spoke with a 31-year-old white man named Mark Lafferty, who said he had never been more proud of this country. His words were reminiscent of Michelle Obama’s words only months ago.

The celebration really began after Obama’s speech ended and the balloons and confetti filled the room. His supporters worked, played, prayed, cried and now… partied together as their candidate made history for the American people.

Comedian David Allan Grier, DJ Z-Trip, artist Shepard Fairey, Mayor Villaraigosa, spoken word artists Sekou Andrews and Steve Connell, and gospel group, Mary Mary, took the stage to kick off the celebration.

And all throughout the night, you could feel energy of the room vibrating and hear someone chanting: “Yes, we did” with a face full of hope for tomorrow.

Note: Also posted at Pop + Politics

McCain Supporter: Obama is a Muslim

Are you interested in what Obama is up against in the campaign for president? People still believe that Obama is a Muslim. In the video above, a McCain supporter practices free speech at an Obama rally. He’s concerned about our country electing a Muslim at this point in time. Although I am a big fan of free speech, I would have hoped the “McCain-ite” would have checked out the facts. To set the record straight: Obama is not a Muslim. Just say you don’t like him. Check it out.

-The Caramel Bella

CB’s Daily News Break: A Quake & A Possible Landslide?

Early Wednesday morning a 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck southwestern Pakistan, killing at least 170 people and leaving an estimated 15,000 people homeless. Rescuers are currently digging and searching for survivors in the a remote valley in Baluchistan, a province bordering Afghanistan. The worst hit was a British hilltop village of Ziarat and eight surrounding villages. “There is great destruction,” said Ziarat Mayor Dilawar Kakar to Associated Press. “Not a single house is intact.”

With less than a week until the presidential election, many people have decided to vote early. And in key swing states like North Carolina, Nevada and Colorado, the number of Democrats early ballots outweigh Republicans ballots nearly 2 to 1.

So, does the electoral math add up to an Obama landslide? According to the most recent Associated Press-GfK poll, Barack Obama is leading or tied with John McCain in eight key states: Colorado, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia. This poll also showed Obama winning in states among early voters. Furthermore, “the polling shows Obama holding solid leads in Ohio (seven percentage points), Nevada (12 points), Colorado (9) and Virginia (seven), all red states won by Bush that collectively offer 47 electoral votes.” Based on these results, if Obama wins these four states or a magical combination of two or three of them with significant amount of electoral votes, he would almost certainly become president.

Barack Obama takes his final campaign plea to the airways. Tonight, Obama will go on national TV with a 30-minute infomercial about himself and his campaign. Even with the math beginning to add up on his side, many political strategists wonder if Obama’s infomercial could backfire on him.

And just a day before Obama’s video, CNN’s Campbell Brown reminds the American public that Obama reneged on his campaign finance promise. Obama’s decision to not take public financing allowed him to raise more than $600 million dollars (more than Bush & Kerry raised in 2004) so far, and buy 30 minutes of airtime for his infomercial on five different networks.

Although the presidential race has not been decided, a group of conservatives are discussing the political impact of Gov. Sarah Palin. If McCain and Palin win, she puts social conservatism in the White House. If the Republican ticket loses, she will be a potential presidential candidate in 2012 and leader of the social conservative movement. Is Palin the future of the Republican Party?

Perhaps showing she can strut her own stuff and agenda, Republican vice presidential candidate Palin is in Toledo, Ohio Wednesday speaking on her favorite topic, energy. Palin has called for a “clean break” from the Bush Administration’s energy policies, which she says are too dependent on foreign oil.

And in money news, the Fed is expected to cut the key interest rate by a half-point to help combat the worst financial crisis in 70 years and keep the country out of a deep recession. If the slash happens, the federal funds rate would be lowered to 1 percent. This possible interest rate cut caused European stock markets to trade mostly higher on Wednesday. And the U.S. stock market was slightly higher Wednesday after “one of the biggest single-session gains in history” on Tuesday.

Some good news: gas prices continue to fall. For the past 42 days, gas has steadily fallen to a 3-year low. Gas hasn’t been this low since Aug. 18. 2005.

Caramel Bella’s Photo Gallery from the DNC 2008

Yes… I know I am slow. Take a look at my pictures from the Democratic National Convention. You’ll see some political and celebrity greats like Jesse Jackson Jr., Rev. Al Sharpton, Essence’s Susan Taylor, Tatiana Ali and more. What a blast!


The Caramel Bella

Lawyers Gear Up for an Election Day Fight

As the American public ponders who they’ll vote for in the 2008 presidential election, lawyers behind the scenes are gearing up to ensure that everyone’s vote counts.

In the battleground states like Florida, Ohio, Colorado, Virginia, and Nevada, the Democratic and Republican parties are deploying teams of lawyers at the polls to ensure that bureaucracy and voting violations don’t take place on Nov. 4.

The Ledger.com of Lakeland, Florida reported Oct. 5:

“In the past, the Election Day process wasn’t considered to be as crucial as the campaign that led up to that,” said Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer. “Now we see that the Election Day process is equally as important, or more so.”

Since the historic 2000 election between Al Gore and George W. Bush, voting will never be the same. Many people still remember the notorious “hanging chads” in Florida and going to bed on the eve of the 2000 election thinking Al Gore had won the presidency bid. Since this debacle, Help America Vote Act (NAVA) of 2002 was passed to nix punch card (read: chads) voting systems, create the Election Assistance Commission to watch over Federal elections, and establish minimum election administration standards. Thus, lawyers are showing up at the polls, especially in key swing states, to ensure NAVA is followed to the letter.


Caramel Bella @ The DNC: Are Hillary Dems Just Misunderstood?

After a chance encounter with Cory F. Heitmeier, a district-level Louisiana delegate, at the Convention Center recently, I asked the following question: Do we really understand Hillary Rodham Clinton Democrats and their position on Barack Obama’s presidential candidacy?

Since Barack Obama became the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate, the media has done a good job of painting Hillary Democrats as bitter, middle-aged women. Well, Mr. Heitmeier was neither bitter, middle-aged nor a woman. In fact, he was a die-hard Hillary supporter, but also optimistic and excited about Barack Obama’s presidential candidacy.

“I do believe on Thursday the outdoor auditorium will be full to capacity,” said Heitmeier. “It will be a historic event that we are going to see a black man accept the nomination of my party. So, how could I not be proud to be an American and to be a Democrat?”

There is also big talk by some political analysts that scorned Hillary democrats are going to vote for McCain. Not only was Heitmeier completely against the idea of voting for McCain but any Republican.

“I am a yellow-dog democrat,” he said. “I will vote for a yellow dog before I ever vote for a republican. So it doesn’t matter who the nominee is at the end of the day. I will support Sen. Obama 100 percent because anything is better than four more years of failed Bush policy.”

He further added that voting for McCain just seemed like a crazy thing to do.

As a Hillary pledged delegate, Heitmeier is committed to vote for Clinton at the DNC. Therefore during role call, he will cast his vote for Senator Clinton. However, when it is time to vote during the November 2008 presidential election, he said, “I will proudly vote for Barack Obama.”

And in terms of Democrat party disunity, Heitmeier disagreed.

“The best thing for the Democrat party was George W. Bush,” said the Louisiana delegate. “We couldn’t have asked for a better person to unify our party.”

Heitmeier said he could understand why the youth is so connected to Obama because he spoke to their younger generation.

“Hillary Clinton was my Obama from a previous generation. She could relate to the people of Louisiana and the youth of earlier generations,” he said.

So, perhaps not all Hillary Democrats are women, planning to vote for McCain, upset about Obama, and creating party disunity.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it all you 24 hour newscycle peeps.

(Also posted at PopandPolitics.com)

Pop and Politics & DNC… here I come..

Pop and Politics

Many of you closest to me know that I am a big fan of PopandPolitics.com. It is a web site all about pop, culture and politics for Gen X and Y. Ever since it was created by Farai Chideya, I was hooked and would consistently check for new posts and updates. So, it was to my big surprise when PopandPolitics.com (P+P) was housed at USC-Annenberg in the past couple of years. And guess who attends USC. Yes, little old me. I am getting my master’s in broadcast journalism there. And now, after a long wait, I am finally able to dedicate writing time (15 hours a week) to my beloved site. And I do mean be-loved.

It is my hope that I will contribute as much to P+P that I possible can. I am looking to grow, develop and strenghten my writing abilities while learning a little more about myself and the politics that I love. We’ll see how it goes.

My first formal assignment will be at the 2008 Democratic National Convention on August 25 in Denver (my birthplace).  I’m excited, nervous, anxious but overjoyed by the tremendous opportunity to be on the ground floor of the next stage of the presidential elections. Hey, this is why I became a journalist.

So, please wish me luck as I continue to share my voice and abilities with the world on PopandPolitics.com.


The Caramel Bella



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my luvs

My Maltese puppy; lazy Sunday mornings; a day at the Beach; Yoga; breakfast anytime of the day; my gurls (and you know who you are); my family (I’m a daddy’s girl); making new friends; Los Angeles & Washington, DC; ocean views; Anguilla; healthy foods that don’t taste healthy; politics; "greenie" things; meditating; natural curls and movies.

Things that work my nerves

Bad drivers, cranky and moody people, lack of sleep, crime, filth

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  • profileCARAMEL BELLA: This is my place to write about my adventures and mis-adventures in this thing called life. I discuss my passions: the environment, politics, art & culture, writing as well as yoga, health and spirituality. The one thing you can expect from this blog is that it is not what you expected. Thanks for reading! To reach me email thecaramelbella at gmail.



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