Saturday, March 21, 2009

SOLVING THE CIVIL DISCOURSE OVER CIVIL UNIONS

The answer is simple. Every couple (any adult couple, straight or gay) is eligible for a civil union, which will be a legal contract issued by the state governments and will include all 1,049 legal benefits now enjoyed only by heterosexual married couples (1,049 as listed by the GAO in 1997).
Those wishing to get "married" before their God are perfectly free to do so, under the rules and restrictions of their particular religion and place of worship. These "marriages" will be deemed religious ceremonies, and as such, not recognized by the federal or state governments, any more than a briss or baptism carries any particular legal standing. Separation of church and state.
Under these rules, government agencies will no longer be issuing so called "marriage licenses," which were misnamed anyway. They were simply permission to enter into a civil union. Those of a religious bent seem to revere the term "marriage." They can still do so without worrying about gays being "married." Gay couples will be proclaimed as legally entering into a civil union, just as their straight counterparts, and perfectly free to look for religious organisations who will facilitate a ceremony for them to proclaim their mutual love and devotion before God.

CONTROLLING BEHAVIORS THROUGH LEGISLATION AND TAXATION

Researched through many sources, including the collective works of Walter Williams, and George Mason University.
Imagine a country where the government regularly checks the waistlines of citizens over age 40. Anyone deemed too fat would be required to undergo diet counseling. Those who fail to lose sufficient weight could face further “reeducation” and their communities subject to stiff fines.Is this some nightmarish dystopia?
No, this is contemporary Japan.The Japanese government argues that it must regulate citizens’ lifestyles because it is paying their health costs. This highlights one of the greatly underappreciated dangers of “universal healthcare.” Any government that attempts to guarantee healthcare must also control its costs. The inevitable next step will be to seek to control citizens’ health and their behavior. Hence, Americans should beware that if we adopt universal healthcare, we also risk creating a “nanny state on steroids” antithetical to core American principles.Other countries with universal healthcare are already restricting individual freedoms in the name of controlling health costs. For example, the British government has banned some television ads for eggs on the grounds that they were promoting an unhealthy lifestyle.
In 2007, New Zealand banned Richie Trezise, a Welsh submarine cable specialist, from entering the country on the grounds that his obesity would “impose significant costs … on New Zealand’s health or special education services.” Richie later lost weight and was allowed to immigrate.
Taxation as a tool to discourage unhealthy behaviors is as popular as ever. Taxation has historically been used effectively to control the consumption of alcohol and tobacco products through federal, state, and local taxes. Despite the addictive nature of tobacco products, studies indicate that tobacco consumption declines an average of 4% for every 10% increase in price. An upcoming Obama "sintax" will add $1 to the purchase of a pack of smokes, and this comes from a closet smoker, ironic at the very least. Not ironic enough for you? The very congress members given the power to regulate our collective behaviors can smoke in their congressional offices, while the general public cannot even smoke closer than 200 feet of an entrance to a public building in California.
Needless to say, the smoking nazi's have done an amazing job on curbing their control on smoking. And it has built their confidence to take on other industries as well. Clearly if one wanted to drastically reduce or eliminate public consumption of any product, one has only to tax it to the point of it not being affordable.
Building on these results, 17 states and the U.S. District of Columbia have placed specific taxes (either through sales or excise taxes) on foods and/or beverages of low nutritional value. The idea is that these taxes will provide a strong disincentive for individuals against purchasing and ingesting these products, resulting in a reduction in obesity counts. For those who still choose to purchase these products, tax revenues from sales could be used to fund healthy eating or obesity prevention campaigns. California's 7.25% sales tax on soft drinks, for example, generates about U.S. $218 million in general revenues annually.
But it won't stop there, threats of sanction or government regulation may force complete industries to self-regulate. Consider the 2006 voluntary agreement signed by soft drink giants Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Cadbury Schweppes, to remove high-calorie sodas from schools by 2009. A 2003 lawsuit filed in California against the U.S. multi-conglomerate Kraft Foods sought to prevent the marketing and selling of Oreo brand cookies, which contained trans fats, to children in the state. The lawsuit was dropped when Kraft announced that it was working to reduce trans fat in its cookies and agreed to cease all in-school marketing.
Another bullet in the gun of the lifestyle police? Zoning laws. Local zoning laws in the U. S. can be used to create a healthier retail food market through several different themes, including (1) rezoning residential areas to restrict development to restaurants that do not serve "fast-food;" (2) providing incentives for developers to offer health food stores among commercial options; and (3) requiring fast food restaurants to offer a minimum number of healthy choices. Zoning laws can justify (1) outright bans of fast food establishments, such as San Francisco's (California) prohibition of "formula retail uses" in a historic neighborhood district, and (2) restrictions, such as the city of Detroit's (Michigan) policy that certain fast food restaurants may not be built within 500 feet of a school.
Is this crazy enough? Take a seat. Lifestyle Nazis aren’t settling on just obesity, they’re targeting meat consumption. Dr. Neal Barnard, president of Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, says, “It’s time we looked at holding the meat producers and fast-food outlets legally responsible. Meat consumption is just as dangerous to public health as tobacco use.” Doing their part to ban meat consumption, professors at law schools such as Harvard, Rutgers, and Georgetown are teaching “animal law” courses. Animals are seen as plaintiffs. Law professors are gearing up by studying old slavery statutes that authorized legal nonpersons to bring lawsuits. Possibly, before long, we might see chickens, cows, pigs, and other critters appearing as plaintiffs in court suing for crimes against animals.
It’s easy to dismiss these people “as only wanting to help” or as having only “limited goals.” Nonsense. These people want to control our behaviors, and take away our individual right to choose. Not all at once, incrementally, like they did on the tobacco industry. Confiscating rights in large chunks creates too much resistance. They started with no smoking on airplanes, to the point where you cannot smoke at all in public in Calabasas, California.
Many of us mistakenly label these people “nannies,” an inappropriate term for those who’d use the coercive, brutal powers of government to impose their values on others. More fitting labels are: tyrants, totalitarians, and yes, Nazis.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

OUR ECONOMY AND THE CULTURE OF FEAR

"Joy cometh in the morning" scripture says. And as much as we all would like it to be true, we know that we are in for some very tough times ahead. For the American workforce, we may have yet to see its darkest hour.
Statistics released Friday indicates that 524,000 jobs were lost in December, and the unemployment rate is currently at 7.2%, a 16 year high. In 2007, 15 million Americans were out of work at one time or another. But this takes into account people changing jobs, or taking a brief sabbatical before taking a new job. This measures a so call "rolling unemployment." The difference now is that 11.1 million Americans are unemployed at this very moment (50% up from last year), and this number is expected to increase up to a conservative estimate of 8% by mid year.
And as staggering as these numbers are, they barely scratch the surface of the current economic stagnation. The so called "total unemployment" figures takes into account those wishing full time work, but taking part time work because that is what is available. Over 13.5% of the American workforce is officially classified, either voluntarily or not, as a "part time" employee, which by law means they cannot work in excess of 29 hours per week. These workers are not guaranteed any benefits, generally have the worst schedules, the lowest pay scales, and have as a side benefit; very little to no employment security. Clearly, these are the ones to go should additional cuts be deemed necessary.
As corporations struggle to survive in this economic environment, some employers are taking the chance to sever ties with their perceived "bottom performers," and this is a good thing, a good first step. This is a healthy thing for corporations, and American business as a whole. Call it a downsizing, a force reduction, or layoffs, the emphasis is on making the workforce healthier, and this is an ongoing process every year for many well run corporations. These reductions are usually slight, and cause the least amount of employee upheaval within the workforce environment. These reductions are accompanied with management directions to "do more with less" or "work smarter, not harder," colloquialisms meant to justify not replacing the departing employees.
Step two in troubling times are to cut back, or eliminate employee incentive programs, eliminate yearly bonuses, eliminating overtime, curtailing employee events (picnics, after hour meetings, weekend out of town management functions, and the like), and to freeze hiring and wage increases. All prudent measures, to be sure, and accomplished with little or no fanfare, or employee blow back. However, most corporations are not finding these measures to be adequate in remain financially viable. Many are reclassifying their employees from a full time, guaranteed forty hour status, to a reduced full time status, and cutting their hours. In fact, the average American worker is now averaging only 33.3 hours per week. This too is a positive step, as it spreads the loss over all of your hourly workforce, and may eliminate the need for closures and layoffs.
However, for many corporations, these measures were not enough. Massive store closures and force reductions are so common place they hardly make page one of our local newspapers any more. Clearly, the leadership of these corporations are facing drastic measures in order to remain "healthy." The steps for a business in financial turmoil are as basic as economics 101. They must drain their inventories and reduce payroll, and we are seeing this with many retailers at present. Obviously, in making their corporations healthier (or at least staying alive), there is a devastating effect on the slowing down of the economy. No new jobs are created, corporations are not purchasing for, or anticipating growth, and the American work force tightens its grip on what resources they do have. The phrase 'disposable income" is all but a distant memory for most Americans at present. These lead to further slow downs in production, reductions in overall sales, and increases in unemployment. Our steps to stay afloat individually are proving cataclysmic to the very economic environment we so desperately need to stay financially viable.
And these are just the hard numbers. What also should be discussed is the effect this is having on the employee and management environment and cultures at present. To be clear, any former positive corporate mantra, or business statement has been replaced by six simple words, "at least I have a job." And this is true from the stock rooms, to the board rooms.
Management, formerly the ones responsible for spreading the positive messages and visions of hope and growth for the corporation, are becoming eerily silent. Their minds and attitudes have been stricken by the "emotion contagion" of the times as well. All reports of other corporations demises have created a culture of fear and paranoia among the healthy corporations, which may lead to overly drastic measures.
For management, this means a rapid willingness to commit "corporate anorexia," a sudden and drastic downsizing meant to stay healthy, which could have far reaching effects on the corporation, most of them unhealthy. This is understandable, as in these financial times, no one wants to add any risk to their dinner plates. The irony being that their rush to risk aversion comes at a time when creativity and optimism is needed most in the workplace.
For the workers themselves, most are in desperate fear of unemployment. Nights are spent reassessing their household budgets, and running the numbers involved if the worst happens, and they become one of the statistics as well. And in this climate of fear, their performance at work deteriorates.
The current culture of fear and anxiety creates a cognitive distortion, and hinders their abilities to concentrate and process information. And while their performances erode, the rumor mill flourishes with every cut, actual or anticipated. Paranoia for their personal futures abounds, and any healthy candor in communication quickly fades away. New ideas are quickly squelched, or not offered at all as corporations are loathe to consider investing in any new program, even when it is aimed at increasing revenues.
Clearly, these times call for the American worker to "keep their heads down, don't rock the boat, and stay under the radar," and this is of course, is as understandable as it is inevitable. But when this paradigm shift in attitude infects the board rooms of America, we insure that the financial obstacles of today will last even longer into 2009, and possibly beyond. I have seen the economic enemy, and to a certain extent, it is us.
I for one, do not see the Obama stimulus package doing much to increase economic confidence whatsoever. As much as I would welcome an extra $1500.00 from the government, as much as an extra $300.00 for employer job creation might sound good in total, the cumulative effects will be slight, indeed. What we need is to remember who we are, and what we can accomplish together. We need to get our swagger back, our collective confidences recharged, and move forward. And yes, we need to spend....but not frivolously. Spend.....on things that are necessary, and produced domestically. Spend........our times not living in fear, but with an appreciation for what we do have, and what we can still acquire. And, spend.....our efforts towards helping others, and asking what you can do to help your fellow man. We will get through this, sooner or later. The choice is largely up to us.

Friday, November 21, 2008

LIFE PLANNING 101

I have spent my career (and life) in management or supervision in one form or another, and in the course of counseling the many employees under my charge, have boiled down my personal philosophy for living down to four basic questions. I think if the young people of today truly put some time into these questions, they might just see the big picture that will unlock their futures.
  1. Who are you?
  2. Who do you want to be?
  3. How will you get there?
  4. What mark do you want to leave on the world?

Who are you? Be honest with yourself, if with no other. Truly who are you? Write it down. The beauty, the scars, the hurts and the fears. Take a personal inventory. Write it down. This is the embarking point for your journey called life. You in no way are stuck here. It really doesn't matter where you start, it's where you are when you quit that matters.

Who do you want to be? Not only what you want to be, or what you want to do, or what you want to own, but who do you want to be? If you are lucky, you have some good role models in your life to emulate. But be your own self, be the best YOU you can possibly be. What, and who you are right now is not the end of it. You can improve and aspire, and change. The only people who are the sum total of their finished personal devlopement and growth, and ultimately, their realistic full potential, are those who have quit. Those who gave up. Those who stopped dreaming and yearning, and those who have allowed themselves to grow cynical. Those who stopped believing that with effort and a modicum of planning, dreams can come true at any age.

How will you get there? Chart a specific course. Very specific. Write it down. Winners plan, and make things happen. Lesser achievers sit back and allow things to happen. Losers wonder what happened. Create a personal road map to guide you along the way. List the people who can help you, the resources you can utilize, the places you need to be, and the education you will need to be ready for the opportunity. This is a living document; amend, delete, add to, and improve it as you grow in maturity and wisdom. There are many paths in life that will take you through your journey. You must keep referring to your map and chart your progress, and look at the direction you are header. Sometimes you might half to take a step back or two, to go forward in the right direction, and that's OK. It's not where you are, it's where you are going that matters.

There it is. Simplistic yes, but effective as a first step for any young person to begin to begin to decipher who they will fit in, or lead, or be in life. A quick, motivational tool that can be used at nearly any age. I will stop here. I have had my employees create personal philosophies, and business credos to help their self awareness; but for now, just four simple, yet complex life questions.

Be sure to put it on paper, and reread it over and over. Say it out loud. And believe. Believe, and aspire, and reach for the heavens.....and never, ever, give up. Dreams do come true, once you stop dreaming, and start doing.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

THE AUDACITY OF AN OBAMA DEFEAT

We are rapidly coming to the end of a history making electoral process, one which has been marked by hotly competitive contests not only between candidates, but candidates who represent entire factions of the American electorate; gender, race, age and social status.
Never before in the nation's history has a Presidential campaign season been so defined by dirty politics, race baiting, economic class warfare, the manipulation by a continuing biased press corps, the evolving role of the blogosphere (and the thousands of voices it has created, and legitimized to a certain extent), and an ever increasing sense that the Presidency can be bought and paid for.
In looking back on the 2008 election, historians and will certainly focus on and examine every nuance of the process from Iowa to the swearing in ceremony. In the words of William Bennett, "they will have to cut down two forests just to have enough paper to write about this amazing campaign cycle."
As of this writing, depending on which polling data you might prefer, Barack Obama seems to be enjoying the benefit of a double digit lead nationally, and an almost deathlike stranglehold on the electoral process, in which the nation is carved into red, blue and battleground states. Clearly, many political pundits are expecting, and near guaranteeing an Obama/Biden win November 4th, a huge increasing in democratic seats in the House, and a possibility of the liberals gaining enough Senate seats to be filibuster proof (60).
So, having said all of that, what if the inconceivable happens? What if the John McCain and Sarah Palin ticket somehow resurrects itself in the next two weeks and wins the election?
Let’s start with Philly Daily News columnist Fatima Ali, who wrote: "If McCain wins, look for a full-fledged race and class war, fueled by a deflated and depressed country, soaring crime, homelessness and economic despair."
I see more, coupled with this, we may see an already fractious nation split in a thousand different ways; urban vs. heartland, rich vs. poor, liberal vs. conservative and the "Joe plumbers" of the country vs. the educated elitists.
It isn't just me. Let's take a look at what James Carville said to Anderson Cooper after the last debate: "Now let me be clear here, if Obama goes in this race with a 5- point lead and losing this election, the consequences are—bull, man. I mean I don’t think that’s going to happen, but I think David it’s a point to bring up. But you stop and contemplate this country if Obama goes in and he has a consistent five point lead and loses the election, it would be very, very, very dramatic out there.“Very, very dramatic out there,” seeming to mean “urban black people taking to the streets in protest, one thing leading to another, and all hell breaking loose. A bigoted, racist comment / interpretation? Yes. Truth is, there will be demonstrations everywhere, especially in the poorer, more urban areas and inner-cities.
David Corbin, a politics professor at The King’s College, contends there is potential for public riots the night of or after the election, if Obama’s lead in the polls does not translate into victory.“I don’t think that’s something that we’ve looked at very closely, and I think that this could be a powder keg here as we get towards that day, given that Senator Obama is an African-American and given that there might be some backlash if he actually loses,” Corbin explains.
Not looked at? Not so, say many senior members of urban police forces, who are gearing up for every possibility. Law enforcement officials say the intense public interest and historic nature of the vote could lead to violent outbreaks if people are unhappy with the results, encounter problems casting their ballots or suspect voting irregularities. Police departments say they cannot rule out disorder and are mobilising extra forces and putting SWAT teams on standby.In Oakland, near San Francisco, police will have tactical squads, SWAT teams and officers trained in riot control on standby. "We always try to prepare for the worst," said Oakland police department spokesman Jeff Thomason.
Right-wing websites and blogs have been fuelling speculation about election unrest with unconfirmed reports of an online petition that pledges "civil disobedience" if Mr McCain wins.Meanwhile, in a blog posting entitled 'A McCain "Win" Will Be Theft, Resistance Is Planned', David Swanson, Washington director of Democrats.com and a board member of Progressive Democrats of America, writes: "If your television declares John McCain the president elect on the evening of November 4th, your television will be lying."You should immediately pick up your pre-packed bags and head straight to the White House in Washington, DC, which we will surround and shut down until this attempt at a third illegitimate presidency is reversed."We may be there for days or weeks or months. But we must be there. We must be there by the millions. We must show each other, and the nation, and the world that we have had enough, that we will not stand for one more stolen election, that we will not give in to fear, lies, theft, and intimidation."Mr Carville told The Hill that "a lot of Democrats would have a great deal of angst and anger," if Mr Obama lost. He predicted that on November 4, "the voting system all around the country is going to be very stressed because there's going to be enormous turnout."
Many will see a McCain victory as proof positive of a racist America, a nation so mired in racial hatred that it took them almost two hundred years to create a civil rights act. A nation with an electoral process so biased, so rigged against anyone other than a white man, that the so called "Bradley Effect," will hereafter be know as the "Bradley Promise." A system so slanted that it validates the race baiting sermons of Reverend Wright, the anti-everything rantings of Louis Farrakhan, and will almost certainly guarantee a large portion of the disenchanted black voters, currently engaged to a large extent, will divorce themselves of the entire political process.
Am I one of many over dramatising the potentials in a defeat of the Obama nation? I don't think so. This is more than the crushing of the hopes and fears of a large group of Americans. This is about faith in our nation, faith in the legitimacy of the election process and the crushing of yet another Black leader in our lifetime. A leader who has instilled a sense of hope and change in the hearts of half of our nation, especially minorities. Especially Black America.
What happens if McCain, an established example of old school white dominance, wins? It will mean to many that "the man" has won again, and blacks have been put back in their place, yet again.
What will a McCain victory mean in two weeks? It will put a racial spotlight on everything in this nation; a nation currently just scratching the surface of the effects from the dismal failure of an eight year Bush Presidency. An nothing, absolutely nothing inflames a political situation in this nation than economic strife.
Am I calling for wide spread riots, enforcement of curfews in our cities, news reports of cops in riot gear seemingly out of control on our streets as they beat back angry crowds of demonstrators? All I am saying is the possibility exists. And all too recent memories of this Los Angeles based blogger bares it out.
And that is the world...."The World According to Kimba."

Sunday, September 14, 2008

THE POLITICAL MALAISE OF THE AMERICAN ELECTORATE

There was a long period in American history when elections were waged on economic issues powerful enough to define the two major parties and divide the public. These issues stemmed from Americans' deepest hopes and fears, and had the power to cement their loyalty to a party and draw them to the polls.
As the economic issue weakened, a large set of less comprehensive issues emerged. Civil rights, street crime, school prayer, and welfare dependency were among the earliest of these issues, which were followed by others including abortion, the environment, education, and global trade. All were important, but they intersected with each other in confounding ways. And none had the reach or the endurance of the economic issue. The emergence of the so called religious right have changed this somewhat, as religious conservatives may completely base their Presidential votes based one two issues, and two issues alone....abortion rights and gay marriages.
During any given election cycle, there is a myriad of small to medium sized issues being debated, but the issues were too crosscutting and too numerous for either party to combine them in a way that could easily satisfy a following.
By the 1970s, self-described independents accounted for a third of the electorate. People also found it increasingly difficult to think and talk about the parties. Americans were better educated than they had been in the 1950s, but they had a harder time saying what the parties represented. In the 1950s, less than one in ten had nothing to say when asked in polls what they liked and disliked about the parties. By the 1970s, three in ten had nothing to say. This has brought on a large spectrum of platforms and beliefs in the republican party alone, from the Religious conservatives at the far right, to the moderate conservatives at the left of their party. In order to attract the support necessary for election (and more and more, that means independent voters), it is very common for a candidate to soften, or abandon their core principles altogether and go running to the political center. No more proof of this is needed than the creation of the term "flip flop," which is widely bandied about in today's media.
Americans who today have a party loyalty and an awareness of the parties have a voting rate more than twice that of those who call themselves independents and who cannot find words with which to describe the parties. The change in party politics helps to explain why, disproportionately, the decline in participation has been concentrated among Americans of low income. Although a class bias in turnout has been a persistent feature of U.S. elections, the gap has widened to a chasm. The voting rate among those at the bottom of the income ladder is only half that of those at the top. And as their willingness to actually vote recedes, so does their political power, thus politicians today need only pay a momentary lip service to the issues which are crippling them, and resulting in a feeling of despair, and a lack of hope.
The change in party politics also helps to explain why candidates now have trouble crafting messages that voters find compelling. Candidates have never had so many communication weapons at their disposal, yet they have never found it so hard to frame their message. Campaign messages today are strikingly different in the wide range of issues they address, the contradictions they contain, the speed with which they turn over, and the small percentage of voters with whom they resonate. But how do you craft a platform and message, let alone a public perception of a candidate given the 30 second demands of today's media availability, and the anemic attention span and political tolerance of the American electorate?
Today's quick sound byte mentality also feeds the very poison that infects American politics today, the propagation of half-truths and lies in order to frame a public opinion of a candidate, no matter how untrue or factually baseless it may prove to be. Witness the complete failure of the Obama campaign to dispel the rumors surrounding him up to today that he is a practicing Muslim.
And, as this political culture we have so skillfully crafted over the course of the last five generations perpetuates itself, more and more voters will abandon the political party system, feel increasingly more disenfranchised from the system, which will perpetuate in lower and lower turnout.
It has been statistically proven that the changing demographic of the American voters is such that we may have only 6 or 7 additional Presidential primaries in which the majorities are comprised of whites. Needless to say, any future hopes of either party for a sustainable future depends entirely on the recruiting and including of minority members, and the Democrats have perennially succeeded to do so.
However, will this changing demographic so radically alter each party that we may be heading towards a three or four party system such as in Great Britain? I hope so. For as with diversity comes an inability of the two major parties to dominate, and in fact, drown out any hopes of a tertiary party's hope for mainstream attention by the media, as now demonstrated by our public debating process.
Now more than at any time in our history, we need to reexamine our entire political process, and the manner in which we elect our representatives at every level. And that means media communication, the electoral college, the manner in which we register new voters, right down to the process we use to cast votes. We simply cannot go any longer with a disinterested, apathetic electorate, which will almost certainly be a breeding ground for political corruption, lies, and half-truths. This is more than a call to correct our political process, it is a call to cure the symptoms that may adversely change our democratic system itself, if you care.

Monday, September 01, 2008

WHEN IT COMES TO SHAWN: HOW LOW CAN TMZ GO?

This is yet another hate filled article from the bastards at TMZ.com, a web site completely made up of people who are total wastes of human flesh. In this case, they take a wonderful person like Olympic gold metal gymnast Shawn Johnson, and publicize the fact she bares a slight (and I do mean slight) resemblance to the puppet Topo Gigio. Completely unfair, and not clever, or amusing. I am very happy to say that once they put this on their web site, thousands of readers sent e-mails of protest to TMZ, and they pulled it from their site.

But they couldn't stop there. They had to continue their barrage of hate against Shawn, for this Ortega taco television commercial. Admittedly a low budget production with questionable copy for these superstar athletes to recite. However, for TMZ to go after 16 year old Shawn for the unfortunate script ("it makes my taco pop"), and in such a profane and vulgar way is despicable.
Shawn Johnson has done nothing to you but put the face on the Beijing Olympics, with displays of sportsmanship and dedication to her sport. She is the all-American girl of the Olympics, and for a web site to make such efforts to tear down one of the few true heroes for our children is reprehensible, and uncalled for. We need to reward our children's heroes, not tear them down. Shawn Johnson stands for something sorely missing in our world today, someone with character and morals. Someone parents would be proud their children chose to emulate. With all of the unfortunate child stars on the scene today worthy of your attention, please leave Ms. Johnson alone. She doesn't deserve it, and neither does the nation who fell in love with her this Olympic season. Let's hope Shawn finds what her earrings represent....peace.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

10 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT McCAIN

  1. John McCain voted against establishing a national holiday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Now he says his position has "evolved," yet he's continued to oppose key civil rights laws.
  2. According to Bloomberg News, McCain is more hawkish than Bush on Iraq, Russia and China. Conservative columnist Pat Buchanan says McCain "will make Cheney look like Gandhi."
  3. His reputation is built on his opposition to torture, but McCain voted against a bill to ban waterboarding, and then applauded President Bush for vetoing that ban.
  4. McCain opposes a woman's right to choose. He said, "I do not support Roe versus Wade. It should be overturned."
  5. The Children's Defense Fund rated McCain as the worst senator in Congress for children. He voted against the children's health care bill last year, then defended Bush's veto of the bill.
  6. He's one of the richest people in a Senate filled with millionaires. The Associated Press reports he and his wife own at least eight homes! Yet McCain says the solution to the housing crisis is for people facing foreclosure to get a "second job" and skip their vacations.
  7. Many of McCain's fellow Republican senators say he's too reckless to be commander in chief. One Republican senator said: "The thought of his being president sends a cold chill down my spine. He's erratic. He's hotheaded. He loses his temper and he worries me."
  8. McCain talks a lot about taking on special interests, but his campaign manager and top advisers are actually lobbyists. The government watchdog group Public Citizen says McCain has 59 lobbyists raising money for his campaign, more than any of the other presidential candidates.
  9. McCain has sought closer ties to the extreme religious right in recent years. The pastor McCain calls his "spiritual guide," Rod Parsley, believes America's founding mission is to destroy Islam, which he calls a "false religion." McCain sought the political support of right-wing preacher John Hagee, who believes Hurricane Katrina was God's punishment for gay rights and called the Catholic Church "the Antichrist" and a "false cult."
  10. He positions himself as pro-environment, but he scored a 0—yes, zero—from the League of Conservation Voters last year.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Saturday, January 05, 2008

2007: ANOTHER BLESSED YEAR


Our annual "Clambake on the Beach" camping trip
Yes, we know....those aren't clams
Our annual "New Years Day sushi "party

Monday, December 24, 2007

Sunday, December 23, 2007

NO APOLOGIES

I am a liberal.
I make no apologies about it, although over the last 8 years, I certainly get the idea I should. I have always had conservatives spout off the bromide, "If you are under 25, and aren't liberal, you don't have a heart. If you are over 25 and aren't a conservative, then you don't have a brain." Unconvincing logic, to say the least.
I am a liberal.
Liberals are for peace, through strength. Through diplomacy. Through intelligence, not a half cocked, no plan, personal agenda at what ever the cost. I know it was about the oil, so....where is it? We should be wading in oil by now. I know it wasn't about Hussein, there are plenty of dictators worse than him you could topple.
I am a liberal.
Liberals are for helping others. I just don't mind, I like it. I like that my money goes to social programs. I would like to think my tax dollars go to house a homeless person, and feed someones family, or help them get into college. I like knowing S-chip helps families get their kids the health insurance they need, and can't afford.
I am a liberal.
Liberals think there is a nobility in helping others. Does it make the recipients of the financial help weak? They probably already are, I guess, but let them join the club. We all are weak in a way...we all have faced disfortune in some manner or another. We have all needed help at some time or another. I wish I could remember the biblical quote...something like "he who does for the lesser of them, does unto me," or something like that.
That is what it means to be liberal.
I heard Ron Paul today say he voted against Katrina funds because why should the government step into a situation involving people who voluntarily lived in that area prone to flooding and hurricanes? Why reward them? That is what it means to be a conservative. No social programs, no charity, smaller government, cut spending, blah, blah, blah.
I am a liberal.
Liberals know there are people out there desperately in need. The government has to help them. They are Americans for God sakes...or does that mean anything to you?
Conservatives talk all day long about terrorism, radical Islam and illegal immigration, but the only ones they really talk about keeping out are Mexicans. Bigotry at its finest. You see the liberals encompass every race, every creed, and every color. We are the party of the people. All the people, even the ones who need help.
I am a liberal.
Don't worry, we won't spend as much as you morons have over the last seven years. You just won't like who we spend it on. You'll spend billions killing people, but cry like babies over the millions we want to spend on a social program.
I am a liberal.............. with no apologies whatsoever.

Monday, November 19, 2007

ONLY BEATING OREGON AND USC WILL SAVE YOU THIS TIME


Should he stay, or should he go?
To the right is defensive coordinator De Wayne Walker pointing the way, and I agree.
Karl Dorrell must be fired in order to salvage a football program on its last legs with its losing record, and inept play calls(and I do mean inept....he has been criticized by television commenter's for his wacky decisions over and over). Three QB's have gone down, and I don't care. He must go. We are UCLA, and we demand at least respectability.
Many worry about our ability to recruit without him. I worry about our ability to recruit WITH him. Cut your loses, bite the bullet, and make a move for the future. Not an easy thing for me to write, after all, he is basically a neighbor, but your 15 minutes are over. Good bye, and good luck.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

TWO EASY WINS BECOMES A NIGHTMARE WEEKEND FOR LOS ANGELES

The Bruins, desperately in need of a non-conference win (remember the shellacking we got against Utah?), looked forward to dominating the hapless (5 losses in a row) and offenseless (dead last in rushing yardage in all of the Division I schools) team from the Notre Dame boys school. However, the injury to their starting QB Cowan, stupic penalties taken, and some truly inept play calls (passing with a 4th and 1 from midfield?) insured that the Bruins, which fell from the Top Twenty ranked schools before their demise in Utah, will never be seen again. I can only hope that even with another win against USC this year, our head coach, and anyone calling offensive plays this year, will be sent packing. And this is not easy to say, as our Coach is actually a neighbor of mine (well at least a couple of miles away). Sorry coach...see you at Starbucks. I do appreciate the tackling technique shown in the picture above, and to be fair, the defense is much improved this year...when they aren't incurring penalties.

It had to happen sometime...but to the 41 point underdog Stanford Cardinals? Game replay tapes have shown the USC Trojans were largely defeated due to the Stanford teams repeated eye gouging of our beloved Trojans in the eyes with their slide rules.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

SENATOR CRAIG...PERVERT, GAY HOMOPHOBE, AND A VICTIM OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY? GIVE ME A BREAK!!!

Once again, the Fox news "journalists" have tried to blame the actions of the conservatives...you guessed it, on the Godless dogma, the party of sin, the Democrats. Get a fucking clue, folks. Do you really think we positioned a cop in stall number four in the Minneapolis Airport in the hopes a Senator would stop by and try to engage in homosexual sex acts in a public stall?

Fox news (Hannity, Prager, et al)....wastes of human flesh.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

YOU CAN'T GO HOME AGAIN?


The pictures to the right are of Arlington, Vermont, famous for maple sugar, being the former home of Norman Rockwell, and the birthplace of yours truly. This time of the year, we have the social event of the year, Norman's Attic, a yearly neighborhood tag and home made products fair. They line their booths on main street on a blue skied, lazy 70 degree day, and the town comes to life. How I wish could be there today. This is the blurb from the neighboring (we do not have a truly local paper) newspaper, the Bennington Banner....

ARLINGTON - The Manchester and the Mountains Regional Chamber of Commerce is calling for residents, local organizations, crafters, merchants, antique dealers and tag sale rs to participate in the 13th Annual Norman's Attic Craft Fair and Community Wide Tag Sale. The event will take place on Saturday, Aug. 11 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Arlington, the long-time home of Norman Rockwell.

I say that my hometown does not have a newspaper, and in fact we still do not. In fact, we still do not have many things in my hometown that you are accustomed to. Crime and bigotry, for example. A police department is another thing we don't have. In the rare times we need one, we pay the Manchester, or Bennington police department to come over. We don't have a fire department like you may have---ours is all volunteer. How about a traffic jam? None in Arlington. In fact, to this day, they still do not even have a traffic light, only stop signs.
Add to this leaves that explode once a year, snow that is absolutely beautiful for the first week of winter (and a genuine pain in the ass the rest of the time), friendly, genuine people, and wildlife....deer, fish and clean, pure streams, and you get a small picture of my hometown. Did I mention covered bridges? Yep, we got em, and I grew up playing on them.
So, cancel your trip to Europe or Hawaii this year, and chart a course for Vermont this year. Vermont, the fourteenth state (we were a part of the thirteenth as well), a place where you can smile and start up a conversation with anyone and get a conversation and a smile in return. Vermont, a place where the pace slows down, but the energy never does. Vermont, a place where you can still leave your doors unlocked and sleep comfortably. Vermont, the Green Mountain state is a state of mind as well. Nobody visits Vermont and goes away unchanged. Vermont, the way life used to be, and still is for the lucky few that still reside there.



Sunday, August 05, 2007

PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE QUESTION: WHO IS NOT WEARING A CHEAP TOUPEE?


TERROR ALERTS

The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent terrorist threats and have raised their security level from "Miffed" to "Peeved." Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to "Irritated" or even "A Bit Cross." Londoners have not been "A Bit Cross" since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies all but ran out. Terrorists themselves have been re-categorized from "Tiresome" to "A Bloody Nuisance." The last time the British issued a "Bloody Nuisance" warning level was during the great fire of 1666.
Also, the French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from "Run" to "Hide." The only two higher levels in France are "Surrender" and "Collaborate." The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France's white flag factory, effectively paralyzing the country's military capability.
It's not only the English and French that are on a heightened level of alert. Italy has increased the alert level from "Shout Loudly and Excitedly" to "Elaborate Military Posturing." Two more levels remain: "Ineffective Combat Operations" and "Change Sides."
The Germans also increased their alert state from "Disdainful Arrogance" to "Dress in Uniform and Sing Marching Songs." They also have two higher levels: "Invade a Neighbor" and "Lose."
Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual, and the only threat they are worried about is NATO pulling out of Brussels.
As for the Spanish, they are extremely excited to see their new submarines ready for deployment. These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms so the new Spanish navy can get a really good look at the old Spanish navy.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

HAPPY 139TH BIRTHDAY TODAY


The 14th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified on July 28, 1868, and granted citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States,” which included former slaves recently freed. In addition, it forbids states from denying any person "life, liberty or property, without due process of law" or to "deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of its laws.” By directly mentioning the role of the states, the 14th Amendment greatly expanded the protection of civil rights to all Americans and is cited in more litigation than any other amendment.

Friday, July 27, 2007

AN HONEST LOOK ABOUT DISHONESTY

When I was a mere lad, my father and I would watch old movies together. Well, not exactly together, my spot was in front of the tv, in case my father would want the sound lowered, or the channel changed (no remotes back then...what a concept!!).We would watch John Wayne, Spencer Tracy, Clark Gable, James Stewart and Gary Cooper movies. All portrayed men, gentlemen most of the times, characters with honor, and morals and principles. They reflected their times, and served as role models to all those who watched their collective works.
For me, my favorite was Gary Cooper, who always portrayed quiet, gentle men who would go to the ends of the earth to protect his own, and would rather die than sacrifice his scruples. These were the days when men were men. These traits seemed to rub off on the American public as well. Honesty was the way of the world, and a lie was a lie was a liar. Class and dignity reigned supreme.
They were gentler, and much safer times. My brothers and I would take off from the house on foot, and would spend the day at the park, or wherever. My parents never worried about us. The world was a safe place. No molesters, no perverts, no exhibitionists, just decent folks.
My parents taught us the old fashioned Vermont values, including Sunday school every week at the local Baptist church.Once I found a wallet full of money. To be honest, we had just moved out from Vermont, and we could have used the money. Probably a lot more than the owner. But, my father insisted, and we turned in the wallet to the local police department. Given that same situation today, I suspect most children would take the money, and throw the rest away. The temptation would be too great. No moral dilemma here.
Recent times have completely reversed the trends established by our ancestors. Look at the last decade alone. Clinton lied about his affair, then lied about it under oath, for which he was impeached, but remains a hero in the hearts of many people today. Today's professional baseball players, who once grew up idolizing heroes like Willie Mays and Lou Gehrig, now attempt (and succeed) in getting into the record books with performance enhancing chemicals. Hardly any penalty or stigma for them. As a matter of fact, Barry Bonds is fast becoming the all time home run leader. No penalty, only rewards, for what really amounts to nothing more than cheating.
You hear whispers of cheating in all pro sports nowadays. Football, baseball, hockey, hell even Lance Armstrong, and he was just riding a damn bike for gawd sakes. No penalty, no stigma.Which bares out this question.
When did it become socially acceptable to lie, cheat and steal?
When did it become OK in the hearts and minds of Americans today?
Martha Stewart goes to prison for stock fraud, and immediately goes back to her billion dollar career. No hard feelings Martha. No mea culpa necessary. Mark Foley, house committee chairman for the caucus on missing and exploited children, just forced to resign for sending perverted messages to very young, basically children. No shock, no horror. He is undoubtedly negotiating a book deal as we speak. I wonder who will play him on the Lifetime movie of his exploits?
Children today are growing up as empty, ignorant shells of human beings, to a large extent. Their education is so poor, they can't even spell the name of the teacher they slept with last night. This emptiness will be filled up. Oft times, it will be with drugs and alcohol. Some will seek comfort and social acceptance with adolescent sex to fill the void.
And how can they grow up correctly? They have absolutely no role models to emulate. Just Madonna with her metal cone shaped bra, and others of her ilk shaking their bodies in front of the camera as if there was a strippers pole and a crowd of dollar bill fisted marines on leave. I won't even go into todays music, and the examples these "artists" set for the youth of today.
The media doesn't help. TV today is filled with sex and violence. Even programming on childrens networks have to be monitored closely for content. Disney, once the standard bearer for decency, has even crossed the line.Smart, prudent parents attempt to shield their children from this world. They expect their sons to wear their hats frontwards, and call adults "mam" or "sir." They raise their daughters to be little women, not like the girls out in the world today, wearing skin tight sweat bottoms with messages across their asses. They approve of their friends and associates beforehand. More than likely, they must foot the bill for a private school in order to accomplish this.
Now, I don't want to bring back scarlet letters or anything, but with the penalties for misbehavior so low, and any sense of standards increasingly non-existent, something surely has to give. Will we ever see a renaissance of old fashioned morals return? Not in my lifetime I am afraid.
Surely everyone must admit that each subsequent generation is less and less adept at teaching their children about character, honesty and morals, let alone manners. As we become more and more tolerant of offensive behaviors, the line of simple decency doesn't get blurred, it gets wiped away. And with it, the crime rate goes up, and simple comon sense values goes away.
In my day, my parents sweated bullets over the prospect of my smoking pot, or drinking (which I did, of course, after all it was the seventies). Parents today actually seek out doctors who will give their children medication. After all, my child has OCD, or attention deficit syndrome, or whatever the latest crock of shit the medical and pharmaceutical industries are shelling out to us.
Where did all these new fangled diseases come from? Where did all of these perverts and child molesters come from? Were they in hiding during my childhood, or are we breeding genetically defective people now days? Are the lines becoming blurred? Is their even a line drawn anymore? Is what was outrageous behavior before suddently acceptable? It is all up to us, and our parenting skills, I am afraid.
So if your child exhibits poor manners, if they grow up ignorant to the concept of right and wrong, if their behavior is so egregious your parents and grandparents are left spinning in their graves, don't blame the media, or anyone else for their development.
You see, for the most part, the enemy is you.

Friday, July 20, 2007

DEFINATELY NOT "NO HARM, NO FOUL"

NBA referee Tim Donaghy is at the center of an FBI organized-crime probe after he allegedly made bets on basketball games, some of which he was officiating, the Post has learned. Donaghy, a 13-year veteran of the NBA, resigned from the NBA two weeks ago. The investigation, ongoing for the past year, focused on allegations that Donaghy, 40, was making calls to affect the point spread so that he and mobster cronies could cash in on large bests. The bets involved thousands of dollars and occurred during the 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 seven seasons. Donaghy knows of the investigation, originally reported on by the Post, and is planning on turning himself into officials next week.
Is anything sacred in sports anymore? Baseball bats "juiced up", athletes taking steroids and performance enhancing drugs, and referees with gambling problems falling under mob influences, and calling games to guarantee wins on bets totalling into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Now you know why the Pete Rose situation has been handled in such a manner, and he will never, ever be back into major league baseball. This is the worst possible scenario for any organized sport. Click on the links to the New York Post, whose investigative reporters cracked this story wide open.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

CAN'T PARIS GET SOME REFUGE?




You have to love American ingenuity and entrepreneurship. Hollywood Star Trash.com makes a living sifting through the trash of the famous and auctioning the findings on e-Bay. Here are some examples allegedly found in one Paris Hilton's trash. Gourmet dog food cans (empty) went for $305 each. Sold full, the uber-doggie food goes for $35 a case of 12.

A coke can went for $51, and a used toothbrush went for $305.00. One can only hope the buyer will display it as opposed to re-using in it some sick perverted fantasy.
Ahh you have to be an American to understand the buying habits of crazed fans on E-Bay. Imagine, no privacy when you go out, no privacy when you stay in, and now, people are rifling through your trash and making good money to do it. No wonder this little princess is so screwed up.
By the way, the web site also displays the used pack of Zig Zags below for future auction, a shock considering Paris vehemently denied doing drugs on Larry King last week. But this is Hollywood, where everything is a fantasy.

One can only speculate what will be sold on the web site next week.

Don't laugh, I would bid on Sarah Paulson's dental floss, but that is just my sick perversion.

Like you don't have any?





Monday, July 02, 2007

GOD, I MISS NEW ENGLAND

Maine residents, in the great New England tradition, formed a welcoming committee for
King George I and II, and President Putin as well.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

A SAD FAIRWELL TO INTELLIGENT TELEVISION

So, we have viewed the last episode of the much ballyhooed and anticipated Aaron Sorkin teledrama, Studio 60, Live on the Sunset Strip.
But it marked not only the end of a comedy / drama effort by an incredible cast and crew, it marked in large part, the end of an era. The end of intelligent television programming as we once knew it.

As we witnessed Sorkin closing up loose ends in its finale (the birth and adoption of Amanda Peets baby and the much anticipated reconciliation of Matthew Perry and the incredible Sarah Paulson), we were treated to promos from NBC's latest edition, "The Singing Bee," a show which seeks to put an endless parade of no talent contestants through the rigorous paces of trying to remember the lyrics of musical standards.

I will miss this show terribly. The crisp writing, the engaging banter amongst its many capable and engaging characters, and the humor, mixed into story lines which sought to start a public discourse on many social issues of the day. This show, a true rarity these days, sought to be more than the usual pablum designed as filler in between its commercials.

Truth be told, I never did watch this show at its original time slot, the pathetic Monday night at 10pm slot. I, like most of its faithful viewers Tivo's the show for viewing at a more suitable time. In fact, this show was the most Tivo'd show of the this, or any other television season.

There was, if not a public outcry, at least an Internet outcry to keep this show on for another season. Yes, it must have been expensive ( $2 1/2 million as opposed to $600,000 for crap like 1 in 100). You cannot assemble a cast such as this one and go cheap. Perry, Whitford, Stephen Weber, and Sarah Paulson among others.

In cancelling this show, NBC has succumb to the country's low expectations for television broadcasting. OK, so you make a lot of money with the game / reality, low budget, no writing staff, no actors, drivel it produces endlessly.

But by lowering the bar, by producing television geared to the unintelligent masses, you have successfully dumbed down the television public even lower than ever.

And for that, you have proved what FOX network has already proved.

YOU ARE INDEED, DUMBER THAN A FIFTH GRADER.

Shame on you, and the sponsors who are more geared towards making money than making something of their collective talents. Of refusing to elevate a once proud art form.

Of taking the low road in all that you do.

You screwed this show with your ridiculous hype prior to its airing, and the pathetic time slot you gave it. It is almost as if you wanted intelligent television to die off.

You got what you wanted. Congratulations.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

FORMER PNAC FOUNDER LIBBY TOLD A FIBBY

Lewis Libby
Born August 22, 1950 (1950-08-22) (age 56) New Haven, Connecticut
Charge(s)
Perjury
Penalty 30 Months in prison and a $250,000 fine
Occupation former
Lawyer
Along with Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, and Wolfowitz, Libby became part of a network of neo-conservatives who[m] many know as the 'Vulcans' – Mr. Bush's core national security team."
While he was still a managing partner of Dechert Price & Rhoads, Libby was a signatory to the "Statement of Principles" of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) . He joined Wolfowitz, PNAC co-founders William Kristol, Robert Kagan, and other "Project Participants" in developing the PNAC's September 2000 report entitled, "Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy, Forces, and Resources for a New Century". As quoted in Paul Reynolds' BBC News report, David Rothkopf states:
Their [The Project for the New American Century's] signal enterprise was the invasion of Iraq and their failure to produce results is clear. Precisely the opposite has happened. The US use of force has been seen as doing wrong and as inflaming a region that has been less than susceptible to democracy. Their plan has fallen on hard times. There were flaws in the conception and horrendously bad execution. The neo-cons have been undone by their own ideas and the incompetence of the Bush administration."

In 2003 and 2004, intense speculation about Libby centered on the possibility that he may have been the administration official who "leaked" the identity of Valerie Plame Wilson, a CIA employee whose identity was classified. This was a punishment from the Bush administration, who were very upset with Plame's husband, J. Wilson, who confirmed, and made very public the complete falsehood spoken when the Bush administration claimed that Iraq was attempting to secure nuclear "yellowcake" from the country of Niger. Of course, Wilson was only the third in succession of experts who confirmed the lie, which was told in a vain attempt to justify the invasion, and resulting war in Iraq, a war which has fanned the flames of terrorism, and positioned our country in a failing civil war, spend untold billions of dollars, and killed over 3,000 U.S. troops, not to mention the thousand upon thousands of Iraqi's.

Pursuant to the grand jury investigation, Libby told FBI investigators that he first heard of Plame's CIA employment from journalist Tim Russert and that he had forgotten that Vice President Dick Cheney had already told him that information. The indictments charge that all of these alleged statements of Libby's were false, in that Libby had numerous conversations about Plame's CIA employment before speaking to Russert; Russert did not tell Libby about Plame's CIA employment; Libby knew for a certainty that Plame was employed by the CIA; and Libby told reporters that Plame worked for the CIA without any disclaimer that he did not know whether this was true or not. The "false statements" charges in the Libby indictment stem from its allegation that he made these claims to the FBI; the "perjury" charges, from the allegation that he repeated these claims to the grand jury; and the "obstruction" charge, from the allegation that Libby made these statements in an effort to prevent Fitzgerald's grand jury investigation from uncovering the truth.
Noting that "Libby is the first sitting White House official to be indicted in 130 years," CNN News also reported that "At the beginning of Thursday's hearing, Walton told the court that he had received 'harassing' and 'hateful' messages. 'In the interest of full disclosure, I have received a number of harassing, angry and mean-spirited phone calls and messages. Some wishing bad things on me and my family," the judge said. 'Those types of things will have no impact. ... I initially threw them away, but then there were more, some that were more hateful,' Walton said. 'They are being kept."

Libby is also named as a party in an on-going civil suit that Valerie E. Wilson and her husband, former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, have brought against Libby, Vice President Cheney, President Bush's Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove, and former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage.



Saturday, June 02, 2007

BETTING ON OUR FUTURES

Imagine a service which tracks the Presidential races and lays down a betting line for the election. Click on the link above to see the history, and current betting lines, however, here is how it works. The price is how much you have to lay out to receive $100.00 if your candidate wins the National election. The change indicates if the "stock" is rising, or falling. As you can see, Intrade is calling it Hillary by quite a margin so far. personally, I think I may lay out the price on Al Gore, who seems to be quite the bargain. How's that for an "Inconvenient Truth?"
Current Market Value Per Candidate
Candidate... Party.. ..Price .....Change
Hillary Clinton ......D..... .....37.00..... -0.500
Barack Obama ......D..... .....17.30..... -1.700
Fred Thompson ....R ..........12.60..... -1.400
Rudy Giuliani ........R..... .....12.50..... .+0.000
John McCain .........R ..........10.10..... .-0.900
Mitt Romney ........R.............9.80 .......+0.100
Al Gore ..................D.............7.90 .......-0.700
John Edwards....... D ...........3.90 .......+0.100
Mark Warner ........D ...........0.50 .......+0.000

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Sunday, May 27, 2007

THOUGHTS ON IRAQ FROM AN ULTRA-DOVE

I am not a fan of this war. Came out against it well before we sent you in. I thought Karl Blix and the U.N. inspections were going fine. Hadn't found anything. And Hussein seemed to be (finally) cooperating. No connection to 911, no connections to Bin Laden. In fact, Iraq had less connections to the Bin Laden family than our own President. Why put our troops at risk?
Well, Cheney and his stuffed shirt (King George II) insisted and I hoped for the best. And the projections were we would cut through this hapless country like a hot knife through butter. And it seemed we did. You made it through to Fallujah very quickly, and with little resistance or fanfare. I knew when Cheney said you would be welcomed as liberators, conjuring up visions of France at the end of WWII, well, I knew that was political bullshit. I knew. You were in for a long hard battle.
Yet you went in, and took care of business. The massive arsenal of bombs softened them up but good. Then the country started filling up with radical religious fighters, and they fought back. The kind of Vietnamese ground war we simply do not excel in. On their turf. On their terms. With not much of a plan. Clearly, this wasn't a war at all. The so called "War on Terror" was another p.r. scam. This wasn't one army against us, it was small pacts of resistance fighters / terrorists making small deadly stands and scurrying away.
You found, tried and executed Saddam Hussein, but it made no difference at all. He was as powerless as the statue of him you pulled down to the ground amid the cheering masses of Iraqi's. He was as powerless as the U.N. inspectors said he was. For a moment there, we thought you were making headway.
And you risked your lives for a country in civil war, a region that grew to hate us more and more, and for your home country that didn't appreciate the war, didn't understand why we (you) were there, and did not want you there at all. Your country looked at the increasing death tolls and wanted to end this madness.
And why not? The good, peaceloving Iraqi's got the hell out of there if and when they could. Those were the people you were fighting for, scared chickens running out of town hoping you would restore order so they could come back. And after all, was there ever going to be peace in the Middle East? Not for centuries has there been peacein the region. What idiot would possible think we could bring democracy to them and peace would ensue?
Unfortunately from the very start we didn't have the kind of weapons, or even adequate type of vehicles for you, and I am sorry about that. Armored trucks without armor. Troops comprised of rookies, troops comprised of weekend warriors, but you looked out for them. Couldn't even get much of a force from other countries. See, they hated our leader. Refused to help, so there you were, holding the bag. Going it alone.
Trouble was, you didn't know the friends from the foes. Just like Vietnam. Only, we couldn't go in and kill everything that moved in Vietnam. Had to be more selective. Had to send you door to door looking for terrorists, and terrorists don't wear name badges.
We put you into hell, and when it was your time to come back, we told you to stay. And stay. And stay a little longer. Reservists without a fucking clue, scared to fucking death playing a
kill or be killed game they had no experience in.
We didn't give you much of a break, did we? Then the terrorists started playing dirty. Suicide bombers, we called them. Crazy mother fuckers who strapped bombs to themselves, or in their vehicles and detonated them next to you, killing our people, your comrades. Stupid bastards who actually thought they were killing for their god. They would be rewarded for it in heaven. And it worked. They killed a whole lot of your troops. Hard to fight a war against people who will go to that extreme, isn't it?
Now, the majority of this country is against the war. Not against you, we love you. No, we hate the administration, hate the war and we want you back home out of harms way. And as soon as possible. So we played the only cards we had in our hand. Threaten to withhold the cash. We weren't really going to do it, but it was the only way we could try and force a date for you to come home. A Don Quitote-ish gesture to vent our anger and frustration, knowing full well we don't have enough votes to override a veto.
But let me tell you, we are sorry. We are sorry, we think you are heroes, and we can't wait to welcome you home as soon as possible. And as safely as possible. So, thanks from the biggest liberal you will ever know. Thanks for your tireless efforts, for your bravery, and for risking it all for your country.
God bless. I hope you see you all home very, very soon.
So, on this Memorial Day, may it be a day, yet another day,
you are able to stay out of harms way.
It may seem we are against you, but rest assured, we are for you.
And for your ability to reunite with your loved ones very soon.
And in one piece.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

STATUTE(S) OF LIMITATIONS?

We knew this was a good thing, but in the process,

what has it done to this?

HAVE A HAPPY AND SAFE MEMORIAL DAY 2007

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

WHAT YOU CAN GET FOR 13.5 MILLION

Jeb Bush, the president's brother and former governor of Florida, is up for election Thursday
as a director of troubled hospital chain Tenet Healthcare.
Assuming he's waved through, his pay in his first year would come to nearly $37,000 a day.
This is the same Tenet that had to pay $900 million to Uncle Sam last summer to settle charges that it had overbilled Medicare and Medicaid over many years.
Nine hundred million dollars.
The U.S. attorneys announcing the settlement accused the company of "fraud" and trying to "manipulate and cheat the system."
Mike Leavitt, the Health and Human Services Secretary appointed by Jeb's brother George, said the company had "fraudulently abused the Medicare program."
It's also the same Tenet that just paid $80. million to the IRS after an audit found it owed back taxes going back as far as 1995. The company recently had to restate nearly five years of earnings statements after an investigation into its books.
And this is just the big stuff.
Tenet's recent public filings read like a police blotter. One of its clinics in South Carolina performed 436 open heart operations without certification. The company is being sued in California by staff claiming they were systematically short-changed on pay and overtime, in breach of the state's labor code. Three former Tenet staff members, at a New Orleans hospital it owned, are under investigation for allegedly euthanizing four patients following Hurricane Katrina.