Ask Mitt Romney about the hostility towards Mormonism across the Christian evangelical community and observe how Republicans embrace the tactic of repeating Senator Obama’s (Islamic-sounding) middle name and watch widespread bigotry crawl out of its corner.

As of February 29, 2008…

The American Bigotry Hierarchy is:

• Religion
• Gender
• Race

Let’s play the Family Feud!

By the way, if Barack Obama were a Muslim, Jew or Mormon, would he be disqualified to be President?

As we congratulate ourselves for voting for an African American, we ought to recognize that ignorance and bigotry remain a large stain on the American fabric.

The time is now to thank your mentors and heroes!

Please Say Thank You, my latest column for District Administration Magazine, is a reflective piece on the role mentors play in each of our lives.

Please read my latest article and share your thoughts here on the blog.

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Pakistan’s telecommunications regulator said Tuesday it has lifted restrictions on YouTube that knocked out access to the video-sharing Web site in many countries for up to two hours over the weekend.

Sure, they switched YouTube off due to an “offensive” clip, but then they reopened the system. Many school district use prior restraint and protect kids and teachers from the 21st Century.

Read the article

A kid just sang “Jailhouse Rock” on American Idol. This week’s theme is music of the 60s.

Jailhouse Rock was recorded by Elvis in 1957.

A few weeks ago, “Dance War: Bruno vs. Carrie Ann,” had a motown theme. Most of the songs performed were not recorded by Motown artists.

How hard is it to get such basic facts correct?

If a kid sings a 50s song during 60s week of American Idol, shouldn’t they be disqualified? Surely the musical director for the show knows that Jailhouse Rock is not a 60s tune.

OK, maybe I watch too much television.

(2/17/08 Apple Reality Distortion Field)

I just walked 20 blocks in the rain to the flagship Apple Store on 5th Avenue in NY. I wanted to buy the new Aperture 2. I’ve surrendered a couple of hundred thousand of digital photos to Aperture and the new version promises to be at last usable. The speed of the previous version is excruciating.

As a big Apple fan and stockholder, I was thrilled to see the store packed with customers on a rainy Sunday evening at 11:30 PM. There is a $99 upgrade path to Aperture 2, but not from education/academic versions. So, I’m out of luck, but at least I can save $20 off the retail version as an educator, right?

OF COURSE NOT. “You can’t get the Apple academic discount in the Apple store. Why not order the software online and wait for it to arrive?” asked the store employee. I figured that if I walked back to my hotel, I would make up for the price differential and surrendered more money to the Apple Gods.

As I went to pay I noticed customers on either side of me purchasing five iPhones each. “Woo hoo! Perhaps my stock will rebound,” I thought to myself.

Not so fast, the clerk swiped the credit card of the customer to my right, read the display and exclaimed, “You’ve already bought five iPhones! Her arms scooped up the product he was trying to buy with actual money.”

Apparently the Apple Point-of-Sale system is sophisticated enough to detect if someone buys lots of iPhones, but not capable of giving me the academic discount.

Back at my hometown Apple Store I’ve watched customers turned away for trying to pay cash for an iPhone even when purchasing other items as well. Using legal United States tender is some sort of no-no for iPhone customers!

I realize that people are hacking the iPhone, but do not understand why that is a problem for Apple. Even if they lose the kickback they may receive from AT&T, they still made money on the device.

As an Apple stockholder who lost more 1/3 of value since January, I want Apple to make lots of midnight iPhone sales. I don’t care if people are crushing the iPhones and snorting them!

Either should Apple!

I was exiting the subway at Rockefeller Center when I heard horns blaring and sirens wailing up 6th Avenue. Hundreds of (luxury) cars and SUVs full of exuberant flag-waving Kosovoans were jamming traffic and ear drums in all directions.

My first thought was that Kosovo won a soccer match, but then I noticed all of the American flags.

This was no celebration of a sporting victory. Kosovo, with the help of the Clinton Administration and NATO, had earned their independence from Serbia.

Congratulations Kosovo and Americans from Kosovo!

I love NY!!

Sent from my iPhone

The exclusive private Choate Rosemary Hall school in Connecticut hosted that great American, Karl Rove, earlier this week. Recent Fox News and Time correspondent, Rove, denied media access to the event in which the school’s wacky headmaster compared a student wearing a sweater, instead of the mandated uniform, to jeopardizing undercover intelligence agents and national security by outing Valerie Plame.

Oh, Buffy!

One student really challenged Rove. Thanks to the Hartford Courant for capturing the following exchange.

Then there was Marla Spivak.

Spivak, a senior from Hamden, was one of the students invited to have lunch earlier with Rove. That left her somewhat emboldened as she stood before the crowd and asked Rove to explain how giving gay people the right to marry would endanger other people.

Rove took issue with the way the first gay marriages came about, through the Massachusetts Supreme Court. An issue as important as the definition of marriage should be resolved by a legislature or a referendum, not a court, he said.

Gay couples could gain the legal rights of married couples through legislation without actually getting married, he said.

But wouldn’t creating a separate body of legislation for gay people be creating a separate but equal system, a step back?, Spivak asked.

Rove replied with an answer about Mormons changing their views on marriage to conform with the nation’s laws.

Spivak kept pressing. “You never actually answered, how does it threaten anyone?” she asked.

Rove asked, what’s the compelling reason to throw out 5,000 years of understanding the institution of marriage as between a man and a woman?

What, Spivak countered, was the compelling reason for society to allow interracial relationships when they had once been outlawed.

Then Rove invoked the Declaration of Independence before Spivak interjected that its reference to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” seemed to support her claims.

Their verbal ping pong match tapered off after Rove brought up polygamy and Spivak acknowledged that she did not know enough about polygamy to answer. Rove later asked when she planned to run for political office.

The kids are alright!

Read what a nice guy John McCain is…

I’ve only met him a few times and did say, “Hi,” in passing at the recent MacWorld Expo, but few people have provided my life with more beauty than musician extraordinaire, Herbie Hancock. Tonight, the recording industry came to its senses and named his album, River: The Joni Letters, Album of the Year! Although this album is hardly Hancock’s best or most important, it is quite heartening to see an actual recording artist honored by the Recording Academy.

My most prized possession is Herbie Hancock’s classic LP, Maiden Voyage, signed by all of the musicians on the record. It took me a couple of years, but George Coleman, Freddie Hubbard, Ron Carter, the late Tony Wiliams and Herbie autographed my album.

I’ve been privileged to see/hear Herbie Hancock perform live in a variety of settings, including at the Village Vanguard with Ron Carter and Tony Williams, with his own band and most recently with Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter, and Billy Cobham at Ron Carter’s 70th birthday celebration at Carnegie Hall. Every cell in my body comes alive and wants to scream with joy when Herbie plays the piano.

Hancock is arguably the greatest living jazz pianist and one of the most influential in history. He is also an electronic music pioneer, Macintosh aficionado and brilliant composer. Check out his solo album, The Piano, and have your mind blown by his originality and artistry.

I missed this year’s Grammy Awards telecast while I spent 12 hours flying from Los Angeles to Boston. Watching tonight’s 50th Grammy Awards would have been quite a let down from last year’s 49th Annual Grammy Awards since I not only got to attend last year’s ceremonies and after-party, but my friend, Brian Lynch won the Grammy for Best Latin Jazz Album of the Year for his fantastic recording, The Brian Lynch/Eddie Palmieri Project: Simpatico. I was a new media producer for the project and had the great privilege of attending rehearsals, recording sessions, the record launch in NY and was thanked from the stage of the Grammys! I’ll never forget how loudly I screamed when Brian’s name was announced as the winner. I cannot imagine a greater thrill. I was so proud of Brian and all of the great artists who contributed to the album.
Brian, Sylvia & I at the 49th Grammy Awards (captured on a smuggled in phone camera)

A few months later, I accepted the Jazz Journalist Association’s award for “Best Latin Jazz Album of the Year,” on behalf of Brian and Eddie Palmieri who were touring Europe at the time.
Eddie Palmieri, Brian Lynch & Gary Stager backstage at the Bluenote in NYC