Friday, August 31, 2007
Reforming France's Welfare State by George Will.
The Many Enemies Of George Bush by Victor Davis Hanson
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
But try as I might many times over, I cannot do near as good of a job of conveying my reasonings, as this article published today in USA Today.
Two communities, two miles apart, are the subject of this examination. One used private funds to re-build, the other is still waiting on the government and is nowhere near being back to normal.
This shows that reliance on government is not only a philosophical mistake, but it also just plain foolish. I say this because time after time, it is clearly demonstrated that the government cannot run anything nearly as efficiently, as the private sector (with the exception of public safety). We see it over and over again, yet, there are still many people that have this faulty trust and confidence in a system that cannot do anything marginally well, except levy and collect taxes. And believe me, they are experts at that.
Anyone that thinks that the government is going to do a better job of fixing anything that is broken, would do well to consider the tale of these two towns, featured in this article. Let it be an example of what to expect, the next time someone is tempted to put their faith and trust in a system that is weighed down in so much corruption, bureaucracy, and red tape. There are times that I consider it a miracle, it can cut it's own paychecks. But they are certainly able to do that quite well, wouldn't you say?
I know what some of you are thinking, right about now. You are thinking that if George Bush hadn't put in his crony as Director of FEMA, this wouldn't have happened. Some of you may even be thinking that Democrats would have never allowed this to happen, because they represent the common man, that is to say, they care more about people.
If you are one of these people, ask yourself something. Toss this question around your inquisitive mind: If Democrats are this all-wonderful group of compassionate people that care more about the citizens of the area hit hard by Katrina than does the filthy rich GOP Administration, why hasn't the DEMOCRAT-led Congress failed to do anything to help these people that are still sitting there (two years later), waiting for the government to rebuild their community?
Then in all of you ponderings on that one, let me know what you come up with.
Footnote ~ And while we are at it, consider the government's reaction time in handling the aftermath of this horrible disaster, whenever you are tempted to buy into the notion that the government can do a better job of running healthcare, than the private sector. (While you are at it, take a look at more skewed data being fronted out by ABC's John Stossel)
Five years into a national economic recovery, the share of Americans living in poverty finally dropped.
Despite the declining rate of unemployment we have been experiencing since the tax cuts were implemented, the rate has risen until last year. And as you may guess, this is one piece of data that Democrats have traditionally used against Republicans, especially when the GOP occupies the White House.
While the drop was 0.3% (down from 12.6 to 12.3), you can bet there will still be some harping from some. Take Charlie Rangel, for instance. He can't resist spinning it, despite the fact that the numbers have improved. From the same article:
"Too many Americans find themselves still stuck in the deep hole dug by economic policies favoring the wealthy," House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles B. Rangel, D-N.Y., said in a statement. "Income remains lower than it was six years ago, poverty is higher, and the number of Americans without health insurance continues to grow."
Despite the news, he still cannot resist turning a positive into a negative. I am confident that if Al Gore or John Kerry were in the Oval Office, there would be lavishing praised statements coming from Rangel's mouth. But that's merely the nature of the political beast.
To understand this a little better, I want to point out some things that this report does not address. Let's start with how we compare to other nations.
Many PYY readers are French, so I am sure they will gloat over the fact that in 2004, their poverty rate was 6.2%, about half of the U.S. rate in 2006. And that's okay, they pay a hell of a lot more taxes than we do here, just to get that bragging right. But in Canada, we see that the rate was higher in 2003, at 15.9%. Rangel couldn't resist tying poverty to lack of healthcare coverage, I wonder how he would spin that one.
But, this isn't about who's better or worse, internationally. You can read the table and draw your own conclusions, if that's all you are interested in.
What we have to understand here is, poverty means different things in different countries. In many African nations, poverty means struggling to get food, water, clothing, and shelter. Active disease processes are usually much higher and in some cases epidemic. Much of that comes from the lack of those essentials I just mentioned, some of it because there is not enough medicine, and certainly no preventative care.
So what does this mean for the U.S.? What does poverty mean here?
Today, the Indianapolis Star profiles three different people, with different set of circumstances, with one thing in common: All three are considered one of those 12.3% we had in 2006. These three are the ones that usually get paraded out. The homeless, the single mom, and the elderly are the most recognizable.
With all of this in mind, this still isn't the entire picture we need to see. What you may not be considering in all of this can be found in this NRO piece by Robert Rector, published yesterday. This is particularly important to know and understand, when we are talking about comparative poverty. Poor people in third world countries, struggle with getting the basics needed to sustain life. They have nothing, nada, zilch. But the poor in the U.S. do have assets and this NRO article I am citing, clearly shows us some perspective.
I highly recommend you read it with an open mind, and think about it.
Yes, we have people in this country that struggle. Yes, we have people that are truly poor. But after reading Mr. Rector's piece, one must question the definition of poor, as it pertains to the United States. Because, from where I sit, poor is certainly a relative term and it all depends on who is using it, and for what purpose.
Al Qaeda has an active plot to hit the West.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Assistant Principal Elvena Colbert sent out an e-mail stating that all black male students were to sit on the front row in classrooms.
I guess this caused some confusion and outrage, because the Principal has since overridden the order. But before anyone jumps the gun and cries racism, it is important to note something in this. The AP's name is Elvena Colbert and she is black.
So, Al Sharpton can unpack his bags and Jesse Jackson has no need to clear his schedule. There will be no need for a trip to Beaumont (Texas), after all.
In his first major foreign policy speech as president of France, Nicolas Sarkozy said Monday that Iran could be attacked militarily if it did not live up to its international obligations to curb its nuclear program.
Addressing France's ambassadorial corps, Sarkozy stressed that such an outcome would be a disaster. He did not say that France would ever participate in military action against Iran or even tacitly support such an approach.
I think he did well in saying this, because it needs to be said. (That is not to say that I think we should be in a hurry to do so.) And, I do agree with the assessment in the second paragraph.
The real beauty in this is not the fact that he said it. He said it, and he said it for a reason. But the real effectiveness is in what he didn't say. He's a skilled politician, no doubt he figured his statement would be featured for the next news cycle (or two). No doubt he knew the message would get to the Iranian leaders. I am positive he knows that others will get it, also.
He knows the Iranians need to hear it. Imagine how concerned they must be, knowing that they aren't dealing with Jacques Chirac and his policy of inconsistency, anymore.
You see, I think Sarkozy gets it, for a good many reasons. I think he understands that Iran's nuclear program is a threat. But more importantly, think he knows there's a real risk Hillary may very well get elected next year, putting the U.S. in a weaker position (and if she doesn't, the GOP could get someone elected that doesn't know squat, about foreign policy). Knowing this as he does, Sarkozy wants to be in a position to take the lead, should the next American President be capable of dropping the ball on this Iran issue. He knows it's that important.
He gets a lot of things that many Frenchmen do not give him credit for. He sends his Foreign Minister to Iraq to help, because he knows things have to get on track. (His FM gets it too.)
He knows that the instability is not good and he wants to help. He's not burying his head in the sand or wagging his finger in judgment about either the inefficiency of the effort (or the reasoning behind it). He knows that's not important now. What's important is the "here and now", as it pertains to the future. He understands the current reality in the international world and thankfully, his critics can be damned.
And wouldn't you know that after this statement was reported, Iran has made a move in the right direction?
Not a real strong move, but it's one that is minutely measurable. It may be just words, but you have to put all of this into proper perspective. Iran is used to saying it's not going to do anything, but now it is. That's no reason to celebrate, but we still have something to work with. We see an opportunity.
Not only does he show he understands Iran and Iraq, look at what he has to say about Russia:
In another break with the Chirac regime, Mr Sarkozy hardened his tone against Vladimir Putin, saying Russia was using its oil and gas wealth with "brutality".
Does anyone really think Chirac would have the courage to say something like this?
Before, Chirac didn't give a damn about anything, if it didn't have to do with embarrassing the United States. He wouldn't have openly helped us for anything, and for sure he didn't much. In fact, him and some of his countrymen actually love to take public pleasure in gloating about the stalemate that had become Iraq, prior to the surge. Now, France has someone that is in a position to help and is actually trying to get a feel for things, so that he may be able to assist in preserving Western freedoms that we all enjoy.
He takes a lot of heat from those that aren't fans of the U.S. and/or its policy. But despite that fact, he's still carving out his niche because he knows that if the U.S. fails in Iraq and Iran gains nuclear capabilities, France will not benefit. He knows it and he believes it.
I think he's read the old quote from FDR:
“Do what you feel in your heart to be right - for you'll be criticized anyway.”
Don't think he has the same motives Chirac did. This is a very different man with a very different ideology and worldview. He knows that all of us that enjoy freedom must be able to work together, if we will be successful in creating a real peace. He may be liberal by American standards in many issues, but when it comes to the well-being and security of the free world, he's with us. He may disagree with specifics, but he gets the big picture. He's the man France needed. If America makes the wrong choice in 2008, he may turn out to be the man the world will need.
As you may have guessed, Neal Boortz has offered to step up to the plate and has taken Mr. Bartlett to task for the inaccuracies that seem to come from either, Mr. Bartlett's ignorance or his blatant attempt to skew facts for his own purposes.
This proposed Fair Tax is the fairest method of taxation, I have ever heard of. Yet, many in the Washington circles don't like it and want to demonize it. Why don't they like it? I am sure there are several reasons, but the ones that come to mind are obvious:
1. The rich will have to pay their fair share, without their customary large deductions and write-offs. And we all know that Democrats and Republicans alike, want to have these deductions.We have people who are of great wealth that finagle their taxes in such a way, they show little or no income on April 15. yet they own yachts, wear Gucci, have mansions in several parts of the country/world.
2. It will weaken the federal government's power over the people. The tax will be voluntary, in the sense that: If you don't buy something, you will not pay anything. The current source of their power exists in the present income tax system, whereby, a portion of our income is demanded and taken before we ever see it. This means it's involuntary.
I have often said that people have become so accustomed to their net pay, they often forget about the gross pay. Income taxes get sucked out and we have all learned to live with it. We really do not miss it, when it is withheld without our consent. But if we all got our entire check on payday and had to write out our income tax check on a weekly, bi-weekly, or however basis, we'd all be in a foul mood on payday.
And really now, who cares how the government gets their money as long as they get it, right? Why not put more money in our own pockets and still let the government have theirs, at the same time? I cannot imagine one good reason why, the American people are so dense that they cannot see this and will not put massive amounts of pressure on the candidates to address this issue. It's a no-brainer.
If you haven't read the Fair Tax Book by John Linder and Neal Boortz, maybe it's high time you do.
Monday, August 27, 2007
"He has exhibited a lack of candor with Congress and the American people and a disdain for the rule of law and our constitutional system. I strongly urge President Bush to nominate a new attorney general who will respect our laws and restore the integrity of the office."—Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.
Unlike Democrats, he lied. I strongly urge the President to appoint someone that I approve of, because I am Ted Kennedy. I am smart enough, good enough, and doggone it, people in Massachusetts keep re-electing me.
"Alberto Gonzales was never the right man for this job. He lacked independence, he lacked judgment, and he lacked the spine to say no to Karl Rove. This resignation is not the end of the story. Congress must get to the bottom of this mess and follow the facts where they lead, into the White House."—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.
I don't like him, I never liked him. He didn't stand for what I thought he should stand for. Now, Congress must waste more taxpayer dollars, trying to dig up more dirt that we can pin on the President.
"Attorney General Gonzales' ability to lead the Department of Justice had been undermined by his serious errors in judgment and conflicting statements. I am hopeful that the President will name a strong successor who will begin to restore confidence in the department."—Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine.
I am running for re-election in a blue state, so I must distance myself from anything Bush stands for (in order to have any chance, of winning).
"It has been a long and difficult struggle but at last, the attorney general has done the right thing and stepped down. ...We Democrats implore you (Bush) to work with us. Don't choose the path of confrontation and throw down the gauntlet we are willing to meet you in the middle of the road. All we ask is that you choose somebody who puts the rule of law first. we're not looking for confrontation here." - Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.
We implore the President to appoint someone that I approve of or it'll be a cold day in Hell before he gets any nominee, past me.
Greece is burning and they say the fires were started by arsonists. 99.9% of the Platoists in Europe and 99.8% of the ones in the rest of the world, would love to get their hands on this guy. What a mangled mess they would be. Rise up Platoists, exert your influence, and avenge this act of blasphemy. Are you going to let a conspiracy threaten your cherished symbols without a response?
You know? It's amazing. If it's wrong for Republicans to play the religion card (and I believe it is), why isn't wrong for a Democrat? Just asking.
But in all fairness here, just as we slam him when we think he is wrong, we must also say when we think he is right:
It turns out that Sen. Obama would seek the wise counsel of one Sen. Richard Lugar in foreign policy matters, if elected. Regardless of whether he means it or not, it looks good on paper. I firmly believe that there is a good possibility, if Dick Lugar had been elected President in 1996, we would not be in the mess we are in today. He is a smart and wise man that may have been able to prevent or forestall 9/11. But, we'll never really know for sure. He's on the downside of his career, so the pressures of another campaign would not be in his best interests, now. However, he would make a fine Secretary Of State.
Michael Vick hasn't disappeared from the front page, yet. Hell, I bet if you'd slept the last two weeks away, you'd never know it when you woke up. Here is a pathetic excuse of a human being stealing the thunder from the usual cast of miscreants that call themselves pro-athtletes.
Two things haven't happened in this story.
1. I didn't win it. If I did, I wouldn't tell you anyway. But take my word for it, I didn't.
2. I haven't even been to Richmond, Indiana. Well, if the truth be known about it, I have. But it was in 1966, I just passed through. I was on my way with my dad to Wright Patterson Air Force Base's Aviation Museum, in Dayton, Ohio. There was no lottery then.
So, unless I was sleep-driving one night and bought a ticket at a Speedway Gas Station, in Richmond, then drove back without incident, I am not the winner. But, just to be sure, I'll keep my eyes out for a strange ticket laying around with the numbers 2-8-23-29-35 Powerball 19 (just in case).
But I have to say:
More than anything, I won my lottery, when I found that my wife was going to be okay. I wouldn't trade her for that winning ticket (or ten more just like it), ever. In fact, so serious am I about never wanting to experience anything like what we just went through again, I have already informed her that if she dies on me now, I will kill her. ;-)
Friday, August 24, 2007
Thanks for reading.
UPDATE (25 Aug 07):
Mrs. Sunsett has been discharged from the hospital and is currently resting comfortably at home. She is not 100%, but certainly feeling better than she was feeling.The most serious of potential causes of this unexpected illness have been ruled out for now. But, it may take awhile before she gets back to her old self.
Many thanks for the kind words, thoughts, and prayers, through the comments and through the e-mail. Mrs. Sunsett also sends her thanks, as well.
(As you may have surmised, the weekly Another Blast From The Past feature will not appear this week. I know some of you look forward to it, but I just don't have the energy to put one up. Hope you understand.)
Thursday, August 23, 2007
When we hear that the WHO (not the rock band, but the World Health Organization) ranks the U.S. healthcare at 37th, do we even ask what it's based on?
Well, John Stossel of ABC News has something to say about these questions. Here is what he found.
The thing that is necessary to understand in this, what will work in one country, may not be what will work in another. Michael Moore and company want us to buy into the single payer system like Canada has, but doesn't ask the tough questions to find the drawbacks to such a system.
Here is a story that resonates all over the Canadian nation:
(Hat Tip to Mustang of Social Sense for this video)
I know that some would point to the French system, which scores high in many surveys. But I would have to ask: Would that system, could that system, work here?
I have my doubts.
The U.S, is a much larger country than France. The federal government is a much greater bureaucratic mess than most people can imagine. And as one who has worked for three different levels of government (federal, state, and county), I can safely say that you'll never find a a government entity that can run anything more efficiently, than the private sector can (except maybe public safety). I have seen the incompetence the laziness, and the inefficiency, firsthand.
Much of it comes from red tape and bureaucracy. And I have no reason to believe that healthcare run by the government, would fare any better than the other government programs, or the Canadian model.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Here is the IHT's article for instance:
After years of shunning involvement in a war it said was wrong, France now believes it may hold the key to peace in Iraq, proposing itself as an "honest broker" between the Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish factions.
I wish them good luck, with that. And I am not being sarcastic, when I say it.
I say it because, there's a lot of bad blood between these factions, which is why I have thought the best course of action was to have three autonomous regions, from the start. (But, hey, nobody asked me. I never got a call.)
The shift was one of the most concrete consequences yet of the thaw in French-American relations following the election in May of President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose administration no longer feels bound by the adamant refusal to take a role in Iraq that characterized the reign of his predecessor, Jacques Chirac.
If I might insert my thoughts here, I would say that the reason this policy appears to be changing is simple:
Under Chirac, the underlying philosophy was to not trust the United States. In fact, the passive-aggressive nature of the French government under Mr. Chirac, basically told me that there was a hope that this would somehow weaken the U.S., so that the world would turn to Europe, with France being the driving force. France not ratifying the EU Constitution threw a wrench into this equation, which ultimately led to Chirac's exit from both the world stage and his own country's, as well.
Chirac may have cared some about peace and stability in the Middle East, except when the Americans figured into the equation. His support of a brutal dictator named Saddam Hussein, tells the story here.
But somehow, I think that President Sarkozy has a different view.
He does not envision a revival of the Roman Empire, with France driving the train. But, he sees the need for peace and stability in Iraq, as well as, the entire Middle East. Most importantly, he also sees the need for the U.S. to remain a strong ally of Europe. Because he knows what is looming on the horizon.
Don't think that he doesn't understand there are threats arising in the distance that will only serve to complicate matters more, than they already are. Don't think that his world view is void of reason and understanding about a new power structure that could someday threaten the existences of free nations, everywhere.
What he and his diplomatic corps can do about the violence in Iraq, remains to be seen. It's going to be tough, if not downright impossible. But, it's good to know that we seem to have re-gained an valuable ally that is willing to explore the possibilities, instead of pour salt on the wounds and take potshots at every twist and turn.
The people of France can rest assured there will be no troops sent, I seriously doubt any of that has been discussed. But, opening the door to diplomacy with France being an honest broker in the process, should be welcomed by all parties, especially those that truly value freedom.
Monday, August 20, 2007
MR. GREGORY: “Fatally flawed” how?
MR. ROVE: She enters the general election campaign with the highest negatives of any candidate in the history of the Gallup Poll.
MR. GREGORY: The president has much higher negatives than she, however.
MR. ROVE: She enters the presidential contest with higher negatives. The only person who come close is—she—her’s are at 49--the only other candidate to come close was Al Gore with 34, I believe.
MR. GREGORY: And how does that hurt her?
MR. ROVE: Well, it just says people have made an opinion about her. It’s hard to change opinions once you’ve been a high profile person in the public eye, as she has, for 16 or 17 years.
No doubt, Democrats (and Hillary supporters in particular) will spend the next week demonizing Mr. Rove for that statement. (And understandably so, because it's not what they want to hear.) However, if we objectively analyze this statement, we find there is much truth to it. It's not a partisan comment, it's based on solid polling data (something that Dems will point to when they favor them, but discount, when they don't).
Here is the Gallup Poll that Mr. Rove seems to be referring to.
The particular poll's results were reported in May of this year. But, somehow, I get the distinct feeling that many of her supporters will discount this, as old information. And in the meantime, they will want to use this as an excuse, making it a valid reason to refute what Rove said. But the numbers are there to back this up.
In no way does Mr. Rove (or anyone else with an ounce of political wisdom) discount the fact, she can win the election. Nowhere does he imply this, so it cannot be said that this is a politically partisan statement. Had he said, "she cannot win because she is fatally flawed", this would qualify as partisan. But, with the numbers being there, we have to accept that Mr. Rove was being honest and accurate in his wording.
Saturday, August 18, 2007
The first song I remember hearing on the radio was one that I thought sounded very much like the Atlanta Rhythm Section. In fact the first time I heard it, I thought it was their newest hit. But I soon found out differently and later found APP to be one of the more versatile groups of the late 70s and early 80s. The instrumentation in his songs are second to none, and includes a variety of different instruments to produce one of the more unique sounds ever in the history of rock music.
Their first hit (from the I, Robot album) is one I think many of you that are my age will recognize. Here is I Wouldn't Want To Be Like You:
From the same album comes one of my favorites. It is the song that immediately follows on the LP. Here is Some Other Time:
Here is a song off of the Eve album that didn't get much airplay, it is a catchy little tune that really accentuates the unique talent and versatility of AP. In some sense it has a little early sixties melody. Here is Winding Me Up:
At the height of their popularity, APP was known as a studio band. I cannot ever remember a live tour, when they were at the pinnacle of their success. Not until after they fell off of the musical radar screen did they decide to do live gigs. Here is a live version from the 2004 tour. It includes two songs, one you'll recognize as the musical piece played during the introduction of the Chicago Bulls, Sirius/Eye In The Sky:
But, those are just two areas that China has sought to keep up with (or outdo) the imperialistic United States of America. Here are two more areas that you may not have considered:
We have a bridge collapse.
They have a bridge collapse.
We have a mining accident.
They have a mining accident.
And judging from the casualty totals in these disasters, it looks like they are winning.
But seriously, they have built an economy on stealing copyrights and patents. In many cases, they have companies that have used sub-standard ingredients and/or parts to use in products that are being sold in the American market. And we are buying them up, putting more money in their pockets.
But here's something to think about in the midst of all this: I bet they don't use substandard parts and ingredients, when building their tanks, ships, subs, weapons, and ammo.
Frustrated with the volume of interest group forums and non-party sponsored debates, Sen. Barack Obama's campaign manager has put his foot down: Obama won't attend any more debates that aren't sanctioned by the Democratic National Committee, and he won't accept any more invitations to speak at candidate forums.
In a memo the campaign will post on its website shortly, campaign manager David Plouffe writes that Obama has already spoken at 19 different candidate forums and has participated in seven full debates and is committed to attending a total of fifteen debates.
The official PYY translation:
Sen. Obama will not risk making any more misstatements, which could become detrimental to his already floundering campaign.
Bad move, if you ask me. Why, you ask?
He is already losing ground, due to his inability to speak without showing off his naivety. I cannot imagine he will gain any ground by saying nothing. Or maybe, his campaign manager thinks he can gain ground by saying nothing, relying on 10-20 second sound bites to get his already weak and faulty message out.
But that could work against him, and it would if I were advising one of his opponents. I would simply make the case against him by using 10-20 second sound bites of him saying the ridiculous things that he has already said. And believe me, there is a database of those things the size of Texas.
Friday, August 17, 2007
President Vladimir Putin said Friday that he had ordered the military to resume regular long-range flights of strategic bombers, a show of Russia's resurgent military power which comes amid a chill in relations with the United States.
All I can say to this:
I told you so.
First, the article from the WaPo, detailing the action.
The Bush administration has approved a plan to expand domestic access to some of the most powerful tools of 21st-century spycraft, giving law enforcement officials and others the ability to view data obtained from satellite and aircraft sensors that can see through cloud cover and even penetrate buildings and underground bunkers.
Then comes this reaction from the NYT.
For years, a handful of civilian agencies have used limited images from the nation’s constellation of spy satellites to track hurricane damage, monitor climate change and create topographical maps.
But a new plan to allow emergency response, border control and, eventually, law enforcement agencies greater access to sophisticated satellites and other sensors that monitor American territory has drawn sharp criticism from civil liberties advocates who say the government is overstepping the use of military technology for domestic surveillance.
For all of the complaints about listening in on suspected terrorist conversations, profiling of those most likely to commit terrorist acts, and perceived hate speech when someone dares to criticize someone of the Islamic faith; I think it certainly pales in comparison to the potential abuses that something like this can generate, on all Americans.
In no way, would I be willing to support this at any level.
Once in a blue moon, there is a case that I will come down on the side of the ACLU. For all of it's frivolous complaints and actions, this particular case is what the ACLU needs to focus itself on and forget about the petty stuff for a moment. For all of their obstructions and all of the mindless criticisms for Executive proposals and policies, this is where Congress needs to focus their energies, when they return.
I am no lawyer and do not play one on TV, but I certainly can read. And here is what I read from the 4th Amendment of the United States Constitution (with added emphasis from me):
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Captain Ed points out some things, on this issue.
As does Dale, from Q and O. (He gets the Hat tip on this one.)
Bottom line is, this is not good.
I expect a massive outcry on this, from all people that believe in the vision set forth by the founding fathers of this great nation. I fully expect that Democrats and Republicans can set aside their petty feuds for a moment, to mobilize against this. I won't be placing on any bets on it, but if they want to do what's right for the country, they will.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
A bitter blood feud between two rival southern Italian crime families erupted on the streets of a northern German city early Wednesday morning, as the police in Duisburg found the bodies of five Italian men in two parked cars.
There's a lot that can be said here, but let's highlight some of it:
In some ways, two allies in WWII, have chosen very different cultural and economic paths. Germany is a thriving industrial nation that at one time was known for having a strong currency (Deutsch Mark), which for many years post WWII was the backbone of the European economy. The West Germans worked hard and played hard (in the days after the war), rebuilding a modern state that in many ways was the envy of Europe.
But more importantly, I'd like to highlight this: During my two years spent in that nation (1978-80), I found the German people to be respecters of the law and lovers of order. The only reason Germany has had trouble socially and economically in recent years, is due the reunification. Years of Communist rule in the former East Germany has been a drain on those that live in the area that was once West Germany. And to be sure, many former East Germans have had some difficulty adjusting to life in the new Europe. But on this one point let's be clear on something (and make no mistake doing it): Almost all Germans, whether from the former East or West, still have deep respect for law and order.
On the other hand, Italy has seen numerous governments, since the end of the war; and historically, their economy has struggled much more so than their German counterparts. So, in stark contrast to Germany, Italians seem to thrive on chaos and uncertainty. Whereas Germany has progressed, Italy has (in many ways) regressed.
In the days before the unification of the Italian States, rich, powerful, and sometimes ruthless families ruled the peninsula, which once housed one of the most powerful empires in the history of the civilization, Rome. Today, there are still areas on that peninsula that have yet to modernize their thinking, sufficiently enough to shed the image of those pre-unification days.
If you've read Mustangs latest post, then let's do some pondering, shall we?
We know that Rome fell for many reasons, some of which are clearly outlined in Mustang's piece. Many people are very much of the opinion that the U.S. is headed down the same path as Rome. So we see how things are done in some areas that Rome once controlled, which are inhabited by the descendants of that culture. And yet, it should come as no surprise that there is always the distinct possibility of our nation deteriorating further than it already has, maybe to the point the Italian peninsula has managed to reach.
I wonder, how would the U.S look carved up into sections, similar in the manner Italy was, after the fall of the Western Empire? Would it yield the same outcome(s)? Or have we gotten to that point already and just do not recognize it, thinking we are okay? Would we return to a chaotic state like it was in the days pre-WWI, with lawlessness reigning supreme (like in the days of the old west)?
I do not ask these things to be flippant. Because from where I sit, it looks like we are almost (if not already) there.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
If your thinking is based in reality, you'll want to read this.
If not, skip it. It will be a waste of your time.
If you are backing into this post through a link or a search, I recommend reading this post, after you finish Mustang's essay.
From the Indianapolis Examiner (an African-American centered newspaper) comes this story:
"We've got to get the job done there," he said of Afghanistan. "And that requires us to have enough troops so that we're not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous problems there."
As one who personally knows a battalion commander currently stationed in Afghanistan, I feel totally comfortable saying: The Illinois senator's statement is not true. We are not indiscriminately air-raiding villages. Period.
The senator seriously needs to stop talking about things that he knows nothing about. My suggestion to Mr. Obama is for him to get on a plane, go there, and see first hand what is going on there, before he makes any more reckless comments. I would think that his slide in the polls would tell him that his mouth is hurting him, as it did John Kerry in 2004. It's what he gets for playing to the hard left base that is against anything military.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Today, it was announced that Imus and CBS settled for $20 million and currently was involved in talks with WABC, about a possible comeback. Then in an instant, poof, Reuters reports that WABC said it isn't so. So much for that. Then, after the big monetary settlement is announced, another plot twist emerges in this sad saga. ABC is reporting that the first lawsuit from a Rutgers player, has been filed.
Not that I care much about Imus, I told the world what I thought after the story broke; and after a careful review of that piece, I cannot find where I was the first bit understanding of his remarks. In fact, I pretty much told what I thought of the whole "shock jock" talk genre:
You see, Don Imus, Howard Stern, and many others like them, are seasoned old pros at making inappropriate and (downright) offensive comments. It's how they got rich. They are considered the "fathers of the shock jock era", they hold a place in the "who's who of cheap ratings whores". They made their fame and fortune by pushing the boundaries and the people rewarded them with high ratings and fat paychecks, basically for being horses' asses for 3-4 hours a day.
Be that as it may, I cannot help but laugh about the timing of the announcement of the lawsuit. It's certainly one of those "things that make you go hmmm" moments (to say the least).
Normally, one would have to prove that a person's remarks caused actual damages, before there would be a decent lawyer willing to take a case. Psychological damage is the only damage that could have occurred, in this case. I think she walks and talks fine, and has full use of all her extremities. So, physical damage can safely be ruled out.
But I think most attorneys would say that proving psychological damage is much harder to prove, on the whole, than physical. You'd need a judge that would be sympathetic to the plaintiff, so as to make sure the rulings that the plaintiff's attorney moves for, are delivered in the "alleged" victim's favor. You'd need a reputable psychiatrist to explain to and convince a jury that the victim couldn't function, because of the words used to disparage the victim. He'd need to have the ability to counter any court appointed shrink and need to be able to stand up the ruthless scrutiny that the defense would surely put him/her under. So, to put it bluntly, this is a tall order (albeit not impossible).
But given the high-profile nature of this case, I would bet heavily that old Don shells out a goodly amount, to all that put their name on the list. The question in all of this will be, what will be fair? Multiple suits would eat that $20 million up fast, so it might be in his best interests to consider settling before his legal bills start to soar.
Wow. What a ride. First stop was castigation, then termination. After that, it was vindication and now, it's litigation. Next up: Obligation.
From the article:
D.C. resident John Lockwood was conducting research at the Library of Congress and came across an intriguing Page 2 headline in the Nov. 2, 1922 edition of The Washington Post: "Arctic Ocean Getting Warm; Seals Vanish and Icebergs Melt."
The 1922 article, obtained by Inside the Beltway, goes on to mention "great masses of ice have now been replaced by moraines of earth and stones," and "at many points well-known glaciers have entirely disappeared."
"This was one of several such articles I have found at the Library of Congress for the 1920s and 1930s," says Mr. Lockwood. "I had read of the just-released NASA estimates, that four of the 10 hottest years in the U.S. were actually in the 1930s, with 1934 the hottest of all."
What does this prove, you ask? Nothing, in and of itself.
But when you look at the level of carbon emissions in the 1920s and 1930s and compare them with today, it clearly shows that man's link to this global warming phenomenon is as ambiguous as ever. If there was concern over warming back then, without the level of carbon emissions of today, one cannot refute that this is something significant to consider.
This is one reason why I am not buying into this hysteria of man being the cause or of him exacerbating the process. It cannot be proven as many have suggested.
Monday, August 13, 2007
Bush, Sarkozy Meet
In a scene that probably will infuriate many Frenchmen, Presidents Bush and Sarkozy met over the weekend to eat hot dogs and hamburgers. And although the mood is more friendly than in the days of Chirac, I wouldn't bet on any French units shipping out for Iraq anytime soon.
But as I have said in earlier posts, it's refreshing to know that anti-American rhetoric coming from the French government will be more directed toward policy, and there will not be an official policy of undermining everything the American government tries to do. We can all expect Mr. Sarkozy to look after France's interests, which is only right. But other than that, I doubt he will continue the Chirac philosophy of trying to assert France into the midst of every issue. In other words, there won't be a lot of meddling going on.
Romney Wins Iowa Straw Poll
I cannot understand why people put so much emphasis on these things, they count for nothing except fund raising. In this particular state, the GOP frontrunner, Giuliani, hasn't participated much. In addition, there have been reports that Romney stacked the deck a bit, by busing in support from around the state.
Then, there's these two little factors:
1. Nationally, Romney's poll numbers are still averaging in the single digits.
2. How many candidates that win Iowa's caucuses, actually go on to win the Presidency?
So the bottom line here is this: He won a poll that doesn't count. It's like watching pre-season football, something that I refuse to do.
Much to the delight of Democrats and left-wing conspiracists, Karl Rove has announced he will resign at the end of this month. But I must remind them not to be too happy. Who will run the hurricane, tornado, earthquake, tsunami, levee-breaking, and bridge collapse machines, seeing how he is the only one trained on them?
Saturday, August 11, 2007
They were good. No, let me rephrase that: They were damned good. And because they were so damned good, they were damned successful. And why not? They had a such a unique, classy, and elegant style; how could anyone not like them?
They appealed to young and old alike. My father (from the Glenn Miller and Sinatra era) had an old reel to reel tape player, long before 8-tracks and cassettes were out. He had many tapes with many different artists, and he played the hell out of them. He had Glenn, Ol' Blue Eyes, Elvis, Johnny Cash, Tommy Dorsey, and on and on and on. Let's suffice it to say, he had a lot of music, from many different genres. And needless to say, I heard much of it, growing up.
One of those reels could hold up to six hours of music, easily. One of them he had, included a concert performance by this weekend's featured artist, The Supremes. Today when I hear one of their tunes, a smile will almost always come to my face (even if it's just for a short, momentary instant). The memories they bring are endless. Yet, as pleasing they were to the ear, it's hard to know which songs to pick. So I will just have to do the best I can.
First up is a great one, here's My World Is Empty Without You:
Next up we have is a sensual little tune that demonstrated just how versatile this group really was. It only made it to #9, but it was still a pretty good song. Here is Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart:
Another top-notch performance was one that still can circulate around my head for hours. Here is I Hear A Symphony:
But as in all things, there was a time for an end. The group carried on after the departure of Diana Ross, but was clearly not the same. Diana, by herself, was okay. But to me, it seemed a lot of the magic was gone. The girls' voices were so well matched, when they sang together.
Despite my lack of interest in her solo career, she still put together a string of hits. Her style evolved through the 70s, but as far as my tastes were concerned, the sound I heard when she was with the Supremes was gone. Not until the 80s did she intrigue me much. And when she finally did, it was with this one song that I remember hearing on the dance floor, after a few Rusty Nails, when we went out to the clubs. Here is Diana Ross's Swept Away:
Friday, August 10, 2007
But let's look at this for a second. It's true, tornadoes are not nearly as common in this area as the Midwest. It doesn't take a meteorologist to figure it out. But here is a list of tornadoes for the state of New York, over the years. I think you may be interested to see that many occurred long before Al Gore got his platform to create this hysteria.
When you look at the site, be sure to pay close attention to the counties closest to the city. Although there are not many to report, they have had them in the past and it's a safe bet, they'll have them again.
No, Grasshopper. Once again there's no conclusive proof, only suppositions.
There are terrorist camps in the Middle East teaching Mexican culture and the Mexican dialect of Spanish, just so they can blend into the Mexican masses that are pouring into the U.S., like there is nothing there to stop them. That's because there isn't anything to stop them. And I fully expect that when we do get hit again, it may well be traced to Middle Eastern terrorists coming across the porous southern border.
This little revelation is certainly not new and may not concern many people, coming from me. But from this essay yesterday in Newsday, it appears more people are thinking about certain aspects of it.
....the cheap-labor lobbyists, terrorists and world-governing globalists are all moving ahead with their various plans. That's the conclusion to be drawn from an alarming story on the front page of yesterday's Washington Times, which informed us that "Islamic extremists embedded in the United States - posing as Hispanic nationals - are partnering with violent Mexican drug gangs to finance terror networks in the Middle East, according to a Drug Enforcement Administration report."
The DEA document, written and stamped "secret" in 2005, continues with these ominous words: "It is very likely that any future 'September 11' type of terrorist event in the United States may be facilitated, wittingly or unwittingly, by drug traffickers operating on both sides of the United States-Mexico border."
The Times article cited, can be found here. It starts off like this:
A ranking House Republican yesterday demanded a hearing based on recent reports that Islamic terrorists embedded in the United States are teaming with Mexican drug cartels to fund terrorism networks overseas.
When I think about all of the time wasted on Capitol Hill this year, conducting investigations into the matters that only have political implications, I wonder why these people cannot see past their partisan agendas long enough to come to the conclusion that we have serious problems that will not go away, without some attention. Just take a look at all of the hearings that show up on a search for hearings on global warming. Better yet, here's what shows up when you type in immigration. And the list goes on, all you have to do is type in the issue of your choice at GPO Access and you get a list of hearings, in which the majority of them address things that can wait. You do not see important issues like jihadists crossing the border.
So, I guess we will all just wait until there's another attack. Maybe when some Congressman or Senator loses someone important to them, we'll get some action. Either that or they'll blame the Executive Branch for not doing more. It's no wonder why, Congressional approval ratings are so low.
Thursday, August 09, 2007
Reference this story from ABC News and you'll see why I have egg on my face. (Take note because Sen. Hillary Clinton wants to be President and will be in charge of a large nuclear arsenal.)
"I think presidents should be very careful at all times in discussing the use, or non-use, of nuclear weapons," she said. "Presidents since the Cold War have used nuclear deterrence to keep the peace. And I don't believe that any president should make any blanket statements with respect to the use or non-use of nuclear weapons."
It sounded like she understood some things that I'd hadn't thought she did, earlier on. I thought she'd had a sensible moment, in the midst of some not so sensible ones, like this one.
Sen. Hillary Clinton outlined a broad economic vision on Tuesday, saying it's time to replace an "on your own" society with one based on shared responsibility and prosperity..
The Democratic presidential hopeful said what the Bush administration touts as an "ownership society" really is an "on your own" society that has widened the gap between rich and poor
This, in turn, led me to write this in opposition to her political ideological stance.
But let's get back to today's discovery and the present issue at hand, shall we?
From the first-linked ABC article also comes this bit of information that quickly helps shed some light, on her recent chastising of Sen. Obama (for his irresponsible remarks concerning his take on the use of nuclear weaponry):
But in an April 2006 interview with Bloomberg News' Al Hunt, Clinton took the use of nuclear weapons off the table when discussing possible U.S. military options against Iran, if its leaders continue to pursue nuclear weapons.
They are talking about this little statement:
"I have said publicly no option should be off the table," Clinton said, "but I would certainly take nuclear weapons off the table. And this administration has been very willing to talk about using nuclear weapons in a way we haven't seen since the dawn of a nuclear age. I think that's a terrible mistake."
Now, I am sure the word will follow that she (then) was talking about a specific situation in this case, and was speaking more generally after Obama's screw up. And as a result of this little known fact, this somehow makes it all different. But really, what are we to believe, after this overt moment of confusion?
Maybe (just maybe) some of you are thinking to yourselves that you'd like to ask me the age-old, cliched Kung Fu question: So, what have we learned, Grasshopper?
My answer would be:
Master, I have learned that before you give the benefit of a doubt to a triangulator, you must know the heart and soul of that triangulator. You must learn that said triangulator will disappoint the people. Some people one day, others on another day. Which people they disappoint (and in the process alienate) will depend on what day it is and what poll was most recently released.
But seriously and all sarcasm aside, this is why a person that wants to be President must stand on principle. This is a stellar example of why they must watch what they say.
By that I mean, this campaign is going to get dirty. And by digging this up, it only goes to show that the Netroots groups are going to have plenty of negative baggage to dig up on the person they perceive to be an establishment candidate, long before the general election becomes imminent. It's hard to make a chicken out of a bird that once quacked.
If someone stood on principle, there'd be no need to worry today, about something one said 1, 2, 5, 10, or more, years ago. If one realized that what a person said today could/would come back to haunt him/her (when they least need it to do so), you could safely bet that they'd be much more mindful of their statements. But when you see a person putting their finger in the wind at every opportune moment and fashioning their speech for that same moment, you will see someone that will need to answer for something they say in that opportunistic moment, down the road; especially after they have criticized someone that wants to beat them in a campaign.
Use all of the qualitative political analysis, you want. This is a result of bad advice, based on a total disregard for the intelligence and integrity of the American electorate. And for one dull and lackluster moment, I bought into it.
1. Keith Olberrmann - Consistently at the bottom (or near the bottom) of the daily cable news show ratings. There's a reason for his dismal performance, he represents the noise-making far-left wing of the Democratic Party and there aren't as many as they would have us believe.
2. Union membership is way down. This is why unions are targeting Wal-Mart. They are on the verge of becoming irrelevant and it's quite possible that the bulk of the American people don't care about them, as much as they once did. They are a part of the shrinking power base, therefore, their influence is diminishing.
If I am wrong about either of these reasons, the viewership will continue to be low in the next debate. If I am right, viewership will climb back up.
Police in Arizona said two unidentified men tossed a bottle filled with acid at a Phoenix area mosque early on Monday, splashing a caustic chemical near a Muslim cleric involved in a high-profile discrimination suit.
A Glendale Police Department spokesman said two men driving in a red car threw a soda bottle filled with acid and a reactant at the Albanian American Islamic Center of Arizona, in Glendale, west of Phoenix, around 1 a.m. (O800 GMT) on Monday.
Two wrongs don't make a right. Just because someone has done or is doing something that a specific person does not agree with, we cannot have vigilante justice. People cannot take the law into their own hands in a civilized society.
I know, the person that appears to be the target is probably a despicable individual, set on waging a court fight that most Americans feel is dead wrong. But, to do something like this only gives groups like CAIR more ammunition in future cases, and puts the perpetrator in the same category as the despicable human beings that want this nation destroyed.
Greg, a regular commenter here at PYY, has pointed something interesting out, in the comment section. I think it is worthy of being added to the main post.
From AZ Central.Com comes this article, with this portion being pertinent to the subject matter (emphasis is mine):
The incident occurred about 1 a.m. Monday when a bottle with a swimming-pool chemical and a reactant was tossed by a passenger in a red car and landed on the street outside the structure, which is a converted mobile home with no outside markings to identify it as a mosque, Toomey said.
So, unless there is strong evidence that these bozos knew the converted mobile home was being used as a mosque, it's going to be a tad bit difficult to prove this as a hate crime. (At least as far as my understanding of the law is concerned.) This little tidbit of information calls into question the reliability of the media in this matter. And it is certainly not the first time that the media has exaggerated an event, with the specific intention of sensationalizing it.
If that's not enough to persuade you to start thinking along these lines, here is another piece of information that murks up the "hate crime" allegation:
Since Friday, there have been three similar instances in the same area in which devices were tossed from a moving vehicle, Toomey said.
If you ask me, this is beginning to sound like an incident that is being blown up (just a bit) to sell more papers and generate unnecessary attention. I know groups like CAIR eat this stuff up, as is evidenced by this snippet from the same article:
A spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, said the group is grateful for the attention being given to the Mosque incident by Glendale police.
I bet they are.
"We appreciate the professional response of the local law enforcement authorities and urge the FBI to add its resources to the investigation," said Ibrahim Hooper, the CAIR national communications director in Washington, D.C.
Thank you for helping us make more mountains out molehills, as we are running out of frivilous accusations. It makes our job easier. We urge the FBI help us in our struggle to create a mythical set of circumstances, in which we can exploit to the nth degree, to achieve this objective.
Meet Jerome B. Armstrong. He is a lot of things too.
He is a political consultant, blogger, writer, a Democrat, a secular progressive, and now, he has a new name that can be used to sufficiently describe him.
From the SEC comes this judgment:
U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Litigation Release No. 20228 / August 7, 2007
SEC v. Sierra Brokerage Services, Inc., et al., United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. Civil Action No. C2-03-326
On July 26, 2007, the Honorable John D. Holschuh, U. S. District Judge for the Southern District of Ohio, entered a Final Judgment as to defendant Jerome B. Armstrong ("Armstrong"). The Final Judgment permanently enjoins Armstrong from future violations of Section 17(b) of the Securities of 1933. The Final Judgment further orders Armstrong to pay disgorgement in the amount of $5,832, prejudgment interest of $3,235, and a civil penalty of $20,000. Armstrong consented to the entry of the Final Judgment without admitting or denying the allegations of the Commission's Complaint, except as to jurisdiction.
The Commission's Complaint, filed on April 14, 2003, alleged that beginning on March 6, 2000, Armstrong touted the stock of BluePoint Linux Software Corporation ("BluePoint") by posting unsubstantiated, favorable buy recommendations on the Raging Bull internet site. Armstrong posted over eighty such recommendations during the first three weeks that the stock of BluePoint was publicly traded. According to the Complaint, Armstrong praised BluePoint's investment value and encouraged investors who were experiencing trouble having their orders filled to keep trying. The Complaint further alleged that the promoters of BluePoint were secretly transferring stock in three other companies to Armstrong at prices below the then current market for those three stocks and that Armstrong made at least $20,000 by selling the shares he received from the promoters of BluePoint. The Complaint alleges that Armstrong did not disclose in his internet postings that he was being compensated for making the postings.
The name? Greedy Capitalist, a term that those who will likely flock to his defense have routinely thrown around at many others, who acted in the same manner that he has acted.