Thursday, July 31, 2008

Hitting the Berlin Wall

In history, Berlin is best known for its famous "airlift" and the Berlin Wall.

For Obama, it is just same. He got his "airlift " of a 9-point lead in the Gallup polls a week after delivering his speech in Berlin. Now, figuratively, he has hit the Berlin Wall. After being back here, in America, for a just a week, he, now, has a miserly "one percent" lead in that same Gallup daily tracking poll. Poof! (Click to See the Chart)

No matter what the Obama pundits seem to think, I just don't think that Obama's arrogance and presumption of a Presidency is playing well to the American voter. As I have said many times in this blog, with a higher number of registered Democrats than Republicans in this country, Barack Obama should "naturally" hold at least a 9- point lead in the polls. But, he consistently doesn't. And, the only time he did, he could only hold that 9-point lead for a single day and, then, watch it dissipate to a near tie in less 4 days.

Obama: A Uniter or Race Baiter?

I knew that, eventually, Barack Obama and his surrogates would start using race to attack John McCain and the Republicans. They did it with Hillary Clinton's campaign on a near weekly basis. Anything that remotely smelled like a racist comment was highlighted in the public forum. Does anyone remember when the word "fairytale" (when used by Bill Clinton) was suddenly turned into a racist remark (See Full Story)? I guess Aesop and his fables were really a "secret handbook" of the KKK!

Yesterday, Obama said this: "What they're going to try to do is make you scared of me. You know, he doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills..." (See Full Story) In response to a complaint by McCain, the Obama campaign said that McCain's complaint was "baseless" about playing the race card. I might be wrong, but I don't think there are anything "but" white-guy-Presidents on any of our monies.

Maybe he was talking about the fact that all of our money-Presidents have long hair. Yeah! That's it!

Believe me, this is just the start.

Also, I think Mr. Obama should do a little research (Just a little!) on the currency in America. To my knowledge, we don't have multiple Presidents on our dollar bills as in his comment: " all those other presidents on the dollar bills." If McCain had made that gaffe, the National Press would have said he was senile. And, again, the arrogant Mr. Obama seems to be implying that he has already been elected President by saying: "...all those other presidents". Isn't that rather presumptive of him. I guess he still hasn't come down from his speech in Berlin where he seemed to imply that he was the "leader" of the world.

Another Bad Jobless Claims Report

Last week, there as a jump of nearly 30,000 first time out-of-workers who filed for unemployment benefits. This week was even worse. That number jumped by 44,000 jobless claimants in a single work week with, now, 448,000 "total" workers filing for unemployment (See Full Story).

To put this into some perspective, this kind of jump isn't usually seen unless we have a serious national event such as 9/11 or Katrina or a national labor strike. Usually, increases in the jobless claims will run from an 8,000 to 12,000 increase in jobs per week in a weak economy. A jump of 44,000 is hardly normal!

I still believe that the automatic increase in the New Minimum Wage, that went into effect last Thursday, is at heart of this sudden jump in unemployment. My reason for this are contained in my blog entry titled: "The New Minimum Wage Effect?" (Click to See My Blog Entry). The economy is only growing by, at best, 1 percent. Suddenly, employers across the country are faced with a "Twelve Percent" unearned and automatic increase in their least senior employees.

What would you do if you were an employer and you were already struggling to pay your bills in this soft economy? My guess is that you, too, will let your least senior person go and that's the problem. If I am right, you should see an easing of this situation in the next two job reports. If I'm wrong and this is a trend, we are "seriously" (very seriously) heading for a hard recession.

Image by inoneear's photostream on Flickr with Creative Commons Licensing (Click to View Other Works).

Poppycock B.S.

According to James Clyburn, the House Majority Whip, Global Warming will disproportionately affect Blacks. He has proposed a commission (See Full Story).

I hate to tell Mr. Clyburn that the poor, in general, are also being hurt by his Party's "failure" to drill for more oil in this country. If he believes that higher temperatures (as a result of Global Warming) amid higher energy costs will disproportionately kill Blacks, then more energy from our own drilling might be able to keep the air conditioning on a lot longer and avoid some of those deaths. This is just poppycock B.S. at it's max.

All the poor, in the whole world, are suffering the most due to high oil prices. It doesn't matter if it is poor Black; poor Whites; pure Arabs; poor Asians; or, poor Latinos. The least able to afford high energy prices are going to suffer the most. A 1 or 2 degree increase in the earth's climate over the next 100 years is going to have less of an impact on poor Blacks than a $4 price per gallon of gasoline that eats into their food bill. A food bill, itself, that is rising faster and faster as corn is diverted to ethanol production. And, the poor, more than anyone, generally live the farthest from where they work and are the least able to afford a shiny new Toyota Prius.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Air Head

Forget about drilling. Forget about alternative energy or driving less. Forget about mass transit. And, forget about nuclear, solar, wind, or hydrogen. Barack Obama believes that whole energy crisis can be solved by "just" inflating our tires (Click to see the Video).

I don't remember this fact coming out at all those energy hearings in Congress. I guess Obama has decided to follow Jimmy Carter's lead on handling an energy crisis. This sure sounds a lot like Jimmy Carter's lower-the-thermostat and put-on-a-sweater solution when he was President. That really worked well! If I recall, the lines just got even "longer" at the gas stations!

Always following Obama's lead, I am sure the Democrats of Congress will "start" blaming us Americans for the high gasoline prices because, apparently, we're just too lazy to fill our tires. I guess they'll be dropping their "previous excuses" of big oil profits, SUV's, Bush/Cheney in cahoots with the oil companies, not drilling on 68 million acres, and speculation as the reasons for high gasoline prices. I wondered when the ultimate blame would get around to us!

Image by tempo's photostream on Flickr with Creative Commons Licensing (Click to View Other Works).

The Death of Death in Iraq

Apparently, "our" national media isn't interested in any "good news" coming out of Iraq. Especially in an election year when that news might hurt the Democratic candidate for President. So, instead, you have to go a United Kingdom's press organization, Reuters, to get the skinny on the fact that the United States and coalition military deaths in Iraq have "plunged" (See Full Story). Not just fallen. Plunged!

And, it isn't "only" that there have been so few deaths. There hasn't even been a single U.S. military death since July 17th; 13 days straight! Looking at the tail end of July, one might actually think the war is over. And, it might just be!

When our military was dying by the day, our national media (like the Associated Press and the New York Times) were literally frothing at the mouth to get the news out. It was daily, front-page event. Now, when a month looks to be ending with barely any deaths, they are silent. I think that is totally dishonest.

While, the amount of casualties is low this month, it doesn't mean that our troops are safe. Violence could very easily swing back up. And, as my title might imply, death may not be over. However, there has been a substantial drop in military deaths with each passing month since the Troop Surge began. Only occasionally is that fact even mentioned by our own national press.

Image by tstadler's photostream on Flickr with Creative Commons Licensing (Click to View Other Works).

Welcome to the Nanny State

Yesterday, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously decided to block any new business licenses for fast food chains in those areas of their city that "they" deem to be already "too fat" (See Full Story). Apparently, they seem think that that "cause" of obesity in those "fat areas" is the "availability" of what "they" say is unhealthy food and not, somehow, the underlying human psyche that causes people to overeat. Apparently, they think that their is no "personal responsibly" in people's actions. For that reason, the "mama" City Council of Los Angeles has come to the rescue.

This kind of action is just the beginning of the Nanny States of America. The liberals, who all talk about freedom, are set to take those things away from us that are, in their minds, bad for us. They are ready to punish us all for the faults of others. They have already gone to war over cigarette smoking and had some significant impact. Empowered, now, it's food; unhealthy fat foods and trans fat foods. Are you eating bacon and getting too many nitrates? What about those sugary sodas and cereals. Too much coffee? Is liquor next? What about gambling? You know, high heels can cause problems in women's backs and ankles. And, any sunscreen that is less than SPF 45 should be banned, too!

Obesity is a problem in this country. But, I have a clue for those politicians who think they control it by shutting down businesses. The expanse of Fast Food chains in this country is a "symptom" and not the cause. If someone is already fat, they are going to eat; whether or not a McDonald's is either open or nearby. They will get fat eating two or three or, even, four hot dogs at a time and in their own homes. Most fat people eat too much for the calories that they expend. A fat person will sit down and eat a whole 10 oz. bag of potato chips (or larger) and get 60 or 70 percent of their daily calorie intake along with double the fat intake for a normal person.

A lot of "the" fat problems we have in this country stem from the parents. All too often, parents use food to provide a form of "comfort" for their kids. A kid cries and they shove food into their mouths to either keep them quiet or to "comfort" them. Kids don't know what is happening to them. The are being conditioned. All they know is that "food" will make them feel better. At that age, they aren't thinking about heart problems, diabetes, etc. But, their parents should be. On top of that, the parents would rather their children "video game" than shoot hoops. In cutting back on expenses, school districts have eliminated or minimized physical education and recreational recess.

As you can see, over eating can be part of childhood conditioning. That conditioning drives the fast food restaurants. The Fast Food industry, in order to compete with each other, follows the demands of its customers. If the consumer wants "super size" and is willing to pay for it, the fast food-ers will oblige them in order to stay competitive. In America, Americans have demanded increasing serving sizes by rewarding those restaurants, who comply, by giving them their business. And, I'm sorry Los Angeles, it isn't the other way around!

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Denver: Let's Have A Party!

For decades, the Democrats have been known as "tax and spenders" with spending usually exceeding their budget. So, it is no wonder they are spending more money in Denver for their convention than they have in their "own" budget (See Full Story). Denver is typical of their fiscal mismanagement. It's something in their genes!

Think about this when they, the Democrats, promise that national health care will be "covered" by ending the Iraq war and taxing the rich. Or, when those same funds will be used to cover their "green" jobs plan. Or, a permanent tax rebate for those who don't pay any taxes; college tuition tax deductions; and all the other "spending" programs that they have "planned" when they and Obama have complete control. Spending that seems to be 3 or 4 times greater than any planned increase in tax revenues. Think about that! Think about the Denver example!

Image by iDanSimpson's photostream on Flickr with Creative Commons Licensing (Click to View Other Works).

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Bridge to Nowhere Guy Might Have Found A Bridge to Somewhere. Like Jail!

Today, Alaska Republican, Senator Ted Stevens was indited for failing to disclose the possible improper use of funds (See Full Story). You'll remember Ted for his famous "Bridge to Nowhere" funding.

When it comes to ethics, the Republicans just "can't" stay out of court. If anyone should be blamed for losing both Houses of Congress, it should be themselves. Between over-spending and the taking of money under the table and lying to the Feds, the Republicans have got themselves a public relations nightmare. The pile of Republicans for ethics violations just keeps piling up. Scooter Libby. Duke Cunningham. Alphonso Jackson. Tom Delay. And, the list goes on!

While Ted Stevens has been only indicted, the timing of his "court activities" is terrible. It comes just 3 months before the general election where Republicans may lose 20 or more House seats and 5 or more seats in the Senate. And, God only knows how it may impact John McCain's election hopes!

Image is official government photo and is in the public domain.

The Pathetic McCain Campaign

John McCain is fighting a losing battle with the national media in this country. The national press has literally "set the stage" in both this country (and in the world) that has Barack Obama "front and center" with John McCain hiding in the shadows. It seems like the only way McCain can get noticed is by throwing rocks and rotten fruit at the back of Barack Obama as he "plays" to the massive audiences. This tends to make John McCain look petty and almost pathetic. The best example of this is McCain's TV ad that seems to "singularly" blame Barack Obama for high oil and gasoline prices (See Video).

People should not be surprised. This is the same thing that the media did to Hillary Clinton. Hillary responded, then, as McCain, now, by going negative on Obama. And, as we all know, Hillary's chances of being President were dashed.

I don't think John McCain can do much to get the press to focus in on him; except to avoid any more gaffes which the press seems to gleefully report on because it implies age-related questions about him. McCain should stay positive and push good and rational ideas. If he does, I think it is Barack Obama who will ultimately change the focus back to John McCain. I think it will be Barack Obama's stubbornness on the "Troop Surge" in Iraq that will cause the press to shift focus onto McCain. It will be Obama's stubbornness in "bucking" the 75% of the people, as shown in the polls, who want us to drill for our own oil. It will be his insistence on raising taxes in the midst of a possible recession that will get focus back to McCain.

The national media might be biased but they aren't totally stupid. They have proven, time and time, again, that they can turn from "falling all over themselves over someone" to being blood-thirsty sharks. Usually, this happens when they sense blood in the water and when public opinion shifts. John McCain should understand this. He was the "Obama" that the press couldn't get enough of during the 2000 Presidential campaign. Hillary was that "Obama" type of candidate when she ran for the Senate.

McCain should just be patient. You can sense that the tide might be turning on Obama. I think his time will come in both public opinion and in the media (once again) when it becomes clear that we are getting a lot of olde-tyme Democratic political hooey from Barack.

No Soy, Boys!

According to another one of those limited studies, eating as much as a half-serving of soy per day could result in men having a lower sperm count (See Full Story). It's obvious, now, that macho men and men who want to be macho shouldn't be eating veggie burgers and washing it down with a swig of soy milk. That Tofu Turkey that Ray's mom made for Thanksgiving in Everybody Loves Raymond comes to mind. Frank had it right! Real men should eat real turkey for Thanksgiving.

The only problem with this whole soy thing is the country of China. Soy, especially tofu, is really big in China. With nearly 1.4 billion people, you've got to wonder how many people they "would have had" if they "hadn't been eating" all that "soy" over the last few centuries!

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Monday, July 28, 2008

Bump. Bump. Whose got the Bump?

I am sure the Obama handlers are running around in circles (like Moe and Curly) trying to figure out the latest USA Today/Gallup poll results (See Full Story). Instead of showing a "bump" for Obama following his extremely well publicized and well covered trip to the Middle East and Europe, it shows that McCain actually got the bump. McCain now enjoys a 4 point lead over Obama in that poll. This compares to a 6 point drubbing at the hands of Obama; just a month ago. What a difference a month can make! A real "shocker"!

Of course, the Obama people will probably discount this poll because it is so far off the mark with the other polls that have been taken. And, they should. This poll is totally inconsistent with the other major polls being reported within the last few days. However, if others do start showing a similar reality, then Team Obama should be worried. It might just be that all the "dancing" by Obama on issues like Iraq, the Troop Surge, drilling for oil, etc. is taking its toll. We'll have to wait and see.

Image by lars hammar's photostream on Flickr with Creative Commons Licensing (Click to View Other Works).

Double Talk on Iraq

The Obama "Spin Machine" has been working in hyper-spin ever since Nouri al-Maliki, the Prime Minister of Iraq, expressed his opinion that American troops could be out of Iraq by the end of 2010 (See Full Story). Suddenly, this comment by Nouri al-Maliki has become a certification of Obama's 16-month withdrawal plan and, in turn, a rejection of McCain's draw-down of troops as the conditions improve on the ground. But, let's be realistic about what is really being said. Nouri al-Maliki is saying, right now, that he "thinks" it would be OK to remove troops by the end of 2010. That's 30 months from now. Let's not forget that, last year, Obama was all for "yanking" the troops out of Iraq "by" March 2008; and, if he could, he would start puling the troops out, today, using his 16-month time frame. He would have pulled troops in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008. He has clearly "implied" this in his numerous campaign speeches. You tell me. How is pulling all the troops out in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and by March of "2008" somehow "consistent" with having our troops out at the "end" of 2010?

At the "very" end of January of 2007, Barack Obama introduced his Senate bill: "Iraq War De-Escalation Act of 2007" (See Full Story). If it had been up to Barack Obama and his Senate proposal, we "would" have been pulling the troops out of Iraq in early 2007 and, at a time when the fighting in that country was at its "peak" and with U.S. Military deaths running above 130 deaths per month. Now, he says that no one really knows what would have happened it we had proceeded with his plan instead of the "Surge". I guess he seems to think that reducing troop strength at the literal "height" of fighting would have rendered the same or better results than the "Surge". That's a military strategy that I had never quite heard of!

As mandated by Obama's "Iraq War De-Escalation Act of 2007", our troops "wouldn't" have been pulled out of Iraq based within Obama's current 16-months time frame; but, instead, in about a year. And, worse yet, his Senate bill would have completely blocked the "Troop Surge" that has literally stabilized the country in the last 10 months. Now, if you listen to Obama, he claims that he hasn't changed his position on our exit from Iraq. Also, now, he seems to imply that he was sure that the additional troops (the "Surge") would have had a positive impact on the war. However, back then, he claimed that additional troops would have "escalated" the fighting and made things worse in that country.

I have no better proof that John McCain was right and Obama was wrong on the "Troop Surge" than this article, "Analysis: US now winning Iraq war that seemed lost," by the hardly-ever-positive-on-Iraq Associated Press (See Full Story). Also, it should be pointed out that there has only been "eleven" military deaths in Iraq as of today. The lowest number in any month, ever. Further, there hasn't been a single military death in Iraq since July 17th; eleven days. This is the longest stretch ever since the war began. The previous record days without a death was 4 days. In the darkest days of that war, there were no less than 6 military deaths per day; every day.

In recent interviews, Obama has made it clear that he will maintain a residual force to protect our embassy and to continue to train Iraqis and ferret out Al Qaeda. This clearly implies a long-term committment in Iraq. A committment that Obama chided McCain for when McCain said we could be in Iraq for 50 or 100 years. Again, McCain was right.

Too many of Obama's comments and policies have been totally wrong; like the effect of the "Troop Surge" or the "Gun Ban" in Washington D.C. But, Obama will never admit that he was wrong. The liberal press has generally ignored this obvious stubbornness. However, we are now seeing some of the most liberal newspapers in America getting on his back for his failure to recognize the success in Iraq (See Full Story) At least John McCain, when he was on the wrong side of Immigration, said that he "got the message" and changed his position!

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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Europe Loves Obama

Well, the eagle has landed! That's right. Barack Obama is now back in America from the Middle East and Europe.

Did they love Obama in Europe or what?

So, why so much love for a guy who has only limited experience in government and, especially, foreign policy? You have to know that they would just love him for no other reason other than he will get America out of Iraq. After all, the Germans and the French have always been peeved, big-time, after breaking up their cozy business relationship with Saddam Hussein.

Maybe Europe loves him because of his commitment to bigger and bigger corporate taxation? That should help those European Union and less-taxed companies like Bayer and Airbus to increase their sales in this country. Maybe it's because Obama will clamp down on free trade agreements which, too, should make European products an easier sell in other countries? Maybe they love Obama because they see him as weakening our military power through nuclear disarmament and through the blocking of missile defense and other advanced programs? Europe has always hated our position in this world as a military superpower!

I think they love Obama because he appears to be the "European" President of the United States that they have "always" been waiting for. A socialist. A man who can break America's strangle-hold on low unemployment. A President who will dampen capitalism. A President who will leave the bad guys of the world, like North Korea and Iran, alone to do their bad little things. No more cowboy as President! A President who they think can turn America into a social morass of one failing big-government social program after another; just like Europe. That's why I think they love him!

Image by Matt Ortega's photostream on Flickr with Creative Commons Licensing (Click to View Other Works).

Finally, An Obama Bump?

Both the Rasmussen and the Gallup daily tracking polls are showing a bump for Barack Obama as a result of his whirlwind trip to the Middle East and Europe. He now has a 6 percentage point lead over John McCain in both polls. However, this is about the same place he was just three weeks ago. Prior to this, he had slid to only a 1 or 2 percent lead. So, is this a bump? Or, was last weeks' slide to 1 or 2 percent, a dip? Bump or dip, I still think Obama's poll numbers aren't that good. Democrats in this country outnumber Republicans by 43% to 33%, respectively. That's a 10 percent lead. If you assume that Obama's poll numbers have to include some independents, that means that quite a few Democrats "aren't" arbitrarily buying into his candidacy.

The screen-shot (above) is from (Click for a link).

Note: Since writing this, the Rasmussen poll has slipped to a 5% lead for Obama. Gallup, on the other hand, is showing a continuing swing for Obama with this morning's lead extending to 9%; the greatest lead Obama has ever had in this particular poll. At the same time, McCain has slipped to his lowest poll percentage of 40%.

The Two Americas!

John Edwards, the former V.P. and Presidential candidate, always talks about the "Two Americas".

Yes, he's right. There are two Americas.

In one America, there are faithful men who stand by their wives while those women struggle through a possible life-ending event like breast cancer.

In the other America, there are the slime-balls who cheat on their wives while their wives are going through a possible life-ending event like breast cancer. Maybe even have a kid, to boot!

Which America is John in? (Click to see Answer)

Right now, "only" the National Inquirer and Fox News are reporting on this bombshell. The very protective-to-Democrats national media has conveniently kept silent on this. I would think that any Obama V.P. hopes are now gone for Mr. Edwards. And, my guess is that he won't be filling any Obama Cabinet positions, either!

Image is Official Senate Photo and in the public domain

The New Minimum Wage Effect?

Last Thursday, the Jobless Claims number jumped to 406,000 new claims from the week's previous claims number of 372,000 (See Full Story). This was an unexpected jump and, it was one of the reasons, besides the decline in existing home sales, that caused the stock market to tumble almost 300 points for the Dow Industrial Average. On that very same day, the minimum wage was automatically set, by law, to increase from $5.85 an hour to $6.55.

As far as I know, no one seems to have put together the new minimum wage rate and the rather unexpected increase in the job's claims that we saw last Thursday. While I have no proof of this, I think that there might be a correlation between the two. Think about it. We are in the midst of an extremely weak economy. Knowing this and knowing that they will be forced to give "unearned" raises to some of their "least senior" employees (and, maybe forcing all other employees to get an unearned, but equalizing, wage increase), isn't it possibile that some employers were actually forced to let people go in order to avoid paying the higher minimum wage? It has been proven, through study after study, that job losses occur as a result of increasing the minimum wage . Just look at this report from 1996 that, I believe, swayed Bill Clinton in deciding to let the individual States determine their own minimum wage levels (See Full Story). If, in the next two or three weeks of jobless claims reports, we see a greater-than-expect drop in the new unemployment claims for that previous week, I think that this would be evidence that jobs were actually lost to the new level of the minimum wage.

I have always been against the Federal minimum wage.

First, it is almost exclusively used by the Democrats as a maneuver to satisfy their political base of both unions and independent low income labor. But, mostly the unions. A lot of people are unaware that many union contracts have clauses that force an automatic wage adjustment whenever the minimum wage is increased.

Second, an increase in the minimum wage can easily be across-the-board wage inflationary. Typically, the Federal minimum wage only affects those entry level positions in any business. When the minimum wage increase occurs, the gap between the least senior and the next level of employee is either closed or can even be exceeded. To compensate for this, the employer must push all of his wages "up" from the bottom. This can be devastating to company who might be barely profitable before the minimum wage went into effect. That could result in tough economic choices; and, usually, jobs or benefits are cut and/or prices are raised. Even companies who are in good shape, economically, might have to raise prices or let people go. You and I eventually pay the price as a consumer for higher prices and as a taxpayer for the unemployment insurance.

Third, and most importantly, a living wage is different from one part of this country to another. It is even different within the urban and rural areas of the same State. What might be a minimum, living wage in rural Tennessee or Mississippi would be pure poverty in places like New York or San Francisco. That's why the minimum wage levels should be set by the individual States (and even cities) and not by the Federal Government. Bill Clinton was right on this.

You will never hear from a Democrat that raising the minimum wage would actually result in job loses. Just as you will never hear from those same politicians that the elimination of Welfare, in 1996, was a social benefit and not "the social disaster" that they had all predicted. When the Democrats raised the minimum wage this time around, they did it to satisfy one of their political bases: the labor unions. It certainly didn't help those low income, non-union employees that may have lost their jobs because of it.

Image by Daquella manera's photostream on Flickr with Creative Commons Licensing (Click to View Other Works).

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Jalapeños: On Notice

After nearly destroying the entire tomato industry in the United States, "our" FDA (Food and Drug Administration) "thinks" they've finally nailed down source of the salmonella contamination that has sickened more than 1,300 people in this country (See Full Story). Now, they are "sure" that it is because of jalapeño peppers that have crossed our borders from Mexico. So, unless your jalapeño pepper has proof of U.S. citizenship, don't eat it. And, eating jalapeños in any "sanctuary city" (like San Francisco) might be especially risky.

I am sure that ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) is in the process, right now, of raiding businesses with suspected illegal immigrant jalapeños.

Image by Mike Licht,'s photostream on Flickr with Creative Commons Licensing (Click to View Other Works).

Wind and Solar: A "Green-Piece" of B.S.

A few days ago, I wrote an entry to this blog titled: "Can You Stick It Where The Sun Don't Shine?" (Click to See that Entry). In that article, I wrote that a substantial amount of redundancy, backup, and expanded grid coverage was needed for either solar or wind to be even close to being both a viable and "consistent" alternative to fossil fuel energy production. Also, at a price, I think, we could never afford.

I find it interesting that the former founder of Greenpeace, Patrick Moore, isn't buying the solar/wind B.S. either. He is a firm advocate for nuclear power as a clean energy source and he lays out the facts for that conclusion in this video (Click for a Popup Link to YouTube). His conclusions are based on a logical and realistic view of overcoming fossil fuel usage in America. No pie-in-the-sky proposals and totally irrational ideology that we see coming from wackos like Al Gore!

It should be noted that Greenpeace is against all nuclear activity.

Image by Markus Merz's photostream on Flickr with Creative Commons Licensing (Click to View Other Works).

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Obama "WE"

The word "we" is such a small word in our language. But, depending how it is used, it has at least two very distinct and powerful connotations. When used by anyone in behalf of a peer group, a group of like-minded people, it expresses a form of "solidarity" among all those in that group.

The word "we" is also used by a "leader" in order to "soften" the harshness of his or her "authority" by slyly asking his subordinates to "agree" to do something; even though, any real disagreement wouldn't actually be tolerated. This is opposed to that same leader giving a direct command. Certainly, "we can do this" is much more acceptable to an employee than "I want you to do" this, or that, or the other thing. This is really a form of reverse psychology and one that is used constantly in business by supervisors/managers and in the social world by teachers, counselors, doctors, psychologists, etc. But, make no mistake, the use of the word "we" in this context strictly implies a form of boss/leader and subordinate relationship.

Barack Obama uses "we" constantly in all of his speeches. Clearly, he uses it in the form of "a leader" asking for people to follow in some endeavor. I suspect it is a technique that Senator Obama learned, quite well, in his role as a community organizer; working in Chicago. This plays well to the domestic crowds that come to see him at his various campaign venues. They clearly see him as their leader and they enthusiastically want to follow him in "all" his "we" and "we can" directives. They certify this committment by loudly erupting in cheers for him.

Yesterday, Barack Obama gave his speech in Berlin, Germany. As usual, he used his "we" and "we can" word technique throughout that speech (Click to see the full text from the Drudge Report). But, unlike here, the crowds weren't in riotous agreement. They were generally subdued; except, of course, when he talked about getting out of Iraq. I think Obama made a mistake by using the "we" technique in that speech. His leadership was being implied in its use and the Germans aren't hardly his subordinates. In fact, most of Europe reacts negatively to America's leadership in anything. And, they don't need another American telling them what to do. In a way, I believe the bloom may have come off the rose in that speech; as far as the Europeans are concerned. But, only time will tell as they finally figure out how presumptive that speech really was.

The Making of A President - AP Style

Yesterday, The Associated Press (AP) provided the consolidated video/audio feed for Barack Obama's speech in Berlin. They had "nine" cameras, at various angles, that would be able to show Obama and show, with intensity, the shots of all those cheering crowds. I'm sure the AP staff and reporters numbered in the dozens. I would guess that the AP must have thought that there would be no better time than now to get some "campaign ad" footage for "their" presumed King and, if they have anything to do about it, our next President.

I don't know what "technologies" and staff numbers AP used to cover McCain's offshore trip of a couple of months ago. But, my guess is that it wasn't nine cameras and all those reporters and staff. My educated guess is that maybe, just maybe, they sent a single Sony HandyCam and a reporter with a Blackberry! Of course, with the AP's political bias, having even one camera to cover John McCain might just be extremely presumptive of me!

Please Note: In a recent Fox News Opinion Dynamics Poll, only 6% of the respondents thought John McCain was getting "biased" coverage from the press. 46% said that Barack Obama was getting biased or unfair coverage by our national media. This comes from a poll where the self-described Democrats outnumbered the Republicans: 46% to 24%, respectively. So, it wasn't "just" Republicans who think that the coverage of Obama is more than just a "bit" much! (Click to see the full poll results as a .PDF file).

Why The "Greening of Energy in America" Won't Happen For a Very Long, Long Time

Right now, we are more than 40 years past the point when the "trashing and contaminating of America" became a national issue and when we, as a country, decided to push recycling of waste. Like the "current" push for green energy and the fight against Global Warming, it was the liberal politicians who pushed for legislation in behalf of the environmentalists. So, where are we now?

Well, best case, Americans might be recycling between 10% and 20% of all possible recyclable materials. The actual statistics are complex and difficult to realistically sum up in one, single percentage. One thing is known, we are actually doing worse than we were just a few years ago. As an example, in 1992 we "peaked" on recycling aluminum cans at 53 percent (according to the Container Recycling Institute - Click to See the Full Story). Now, as country, we have slipped to less than a 33% rate. Worse yet, America's fascination with bottled water and plastic grocery bags has created an ever-increasing and a lack-of-recycling nightmare in America. Our ground water is becoming increasingly at risk from the heavy metals are being leached into the soil from thrown-away computers, electronic products, and those highly toxic, long-lasting and rechargeable batteries.

So, to Barack Obama, Al Gore, and the rest of the Democrats and those environmentalists who think we are going to "green" ourselves out of our energy problems, I say: Just look at the lack of any real progress in recycling in this country over the last "forty" years!

The belief that we will become "energy independent" and save this planet in 10 years or, even, 20 or 30 years is just plain folly! Our track record in "recycling" just proves that. And, to avoid drilling for oil, now, while waiting for the "green technologies" to become "a widespread reality" is just another folly!

To my knowledge, the internationally recognized symbol (above) has been contested in court and is now considered to be in the public domain.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Beggars Can't Be Choosers

Yesterday, I was listening to a discussion on "free trade" agreements. Included in the discussion was one of Senator Obama's senior economic advisers; one of the rumored "300" or more economic thinkers he supposedly has on his staff. And, what I heard was disconcerting.

What that adviser said, in essence, was that we "should" negotiate our "labor concerns" into any free trade agreement. His position (and I assume Obama's) is that the United States can both protect jobs here and in the country that we are negotiating with, if we include our socialistic concerns. To me this "idealistic crap" is what you would hear at an elitist dinner party of a bunch of college professors and which, in actual practice, is simple folly. This typifies the kind of "economic" experts that Obama has surrounded himself. In a news article that was primarily written about Obama's chief economic expert, Austan Goolsbee, Kevin G. Hall of McClatchy Paper's Washington Bureau wrote this in April: "Barack Obama is surrounded by bright but untested academic economists who are on the cutting edge of research on health care policy, social insurance, technology and taxes.." The description of "bright but untested academic economists" says a lot. Let's not forget that Obama comes out of a university setting so, it is logical that he would gravitate to the highly theoretical side of economics. If elected, it appears that Obama and his economic team will take our economy and move it into the laboratory as if it was some kind of laboratory rat. And, like a lot of rats in experimentation, well, you know the ending. Obama's "economists" are the kind of people that, if you asked them to build a table, they wouldn't even know where to start. However, if you asked them about the impact of a table on society, they could and would talk all day.

Missing in this whole discussion of Free Trade is the "fact" that we are part of a world economy and we are in the midst of a worldwide "sellers" market. We are the high-priced player in a world of lowering prices and we can't dictate anything. Sure, if we had a "lock" on, say, all the heavy equipment in the world or were the dominant player in electronics, automobiles and trucks, airplanes, and a variety of other industries, we could dictate a lot things. But the reality is that we are a "bit" player, these days, in a world market that is not so picky. We are the beggars who can't be choosers. If we want to compete in a country like Columbia, we can't stand on some idealogical labor and/or social principals. In doing so, companies like Komatsu, Volvo, and Hyundai will have Deere and Caterpillar for breakfast in the heavy equipment arena because countries of those companies are willing to sign trade agreements without trying to impose their own socialistic "values" on their trading partners. While we play the game of waiting for a country like Columbia or South Korea to gravel and get down on their hands and knees and beg "us" for a trade agreement, other countries will quickly "button up" their agreements with those countries and will start selling their wares at prices lower than we can compete with. As a result and all the while we stand on principal, we will "continue" to lose jobs in the "rust belt" of America as we fail to negotiate free trade agreements with country after another.

I guess we could "threaten" importation tariffs against countries who won't accept our "mandated" trade terms. But, since Americans don't even buy American, we will ultimately foot the bill for those tariffed goods because, I think, we will continue to buy those all those "imported" items; but, this time, at the higher, tariffed prices. Also, it sends a "protectionist" signal to the rest of the world. Quite frankly, it shows us to be a bully. That kind of posture will invoke the beginning of trade wars between other trading economies in the world. Because we aren't hardly in the position of either quality, innovation, or price, we will surely lose in that battle.

Barack Obama's chief economic adviser, Austan Goolsbee, is apparently for free trade. However, to me, nothing is free if it carries a truck-full of "conditions" along with it. Ask yourself: Is a prisoner really "free" if he has to wear a monitoring device and can't leave his home? "Restricted" trade isn't free trade. And, America can't dictate trade in this world. We would foolishly try to be a "cartel of one" in world that really doesn't care!

Of course, I could be all wet on this. But, it's my lowly opinion and I'm sticking to it until I am proven wrong!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Emperor's New Clothes

This trip of Obama to the Middle East and Europe reminds me of the story of the Emperor's New Clothes; especially when talking about foriegn policy and military experience. The fact that Mr. Obama is being shown with Generals and foreign leaders (for the very first time), doesn't really make him "what" those pictures want you to think. Everybody around him and the news media knows damn well that he is naked as a jaybird when it comes to military and foreign policy. But, just like in that story about the Emperor, no one is willing to spill the beans on the reality of his nakedness.

Update: Since writing this, this morning, I ran across this opinion piece (Click to See "Obama Faking It" by Maggie Gallagher) which somewhat repeats what I have said in my comments above.

Come Be Indentured In San Francisco

Recently, the City of San Francisco decided to start airing television and radio commercials and billboard advertisements that are designed to tell illegal aliens that they are welcome in their "fair" city (See Full Story). In those ads, San Francisco proudly declares itself a "sanctuary city" where illegal aliens can work without the fear of police harassment and in a city that won't snitch to ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) about them. As a further enticement, they tell the illegals about all the city services they can expect to get when they come to San Francisco. In essence, they want illegals to know that San Francisco is their "promised land" and their "land of milk and honey!" I'm not sure, but, I think these ads should have the background theme playing of this famous Scott McKenzie song:

If you're going to San Francisco
Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair
If you're going to San Francisco
You're gonna meet some gentle people there

For those who come to San Francisco
Summertime will be a love-in there
In the streets of San Francisco
Gentle people with flowers in their hair

All across the nation such a strange vibration
People in motion
There's a whole generation with a new explanation
People in motion people in motion

For those who come to San Francisco
Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair
If you come to San Francisco
Summertime will be a love-in there

I don't know who the City of San Francisco thinks they are kidding. The extremely liberal Mayor and City Council isn't interested in making a home for all these people because of some higher belief that this country should have an "open door" policy on immigration. Instead, I think their motives are selfish. San Francisco is one, if not the most, affluent of cities in our country. They need the cheap labor to walk their dogs and pickup after them. They've got mansions and hotels to clean and landscapes to be meticulously maintained. And, the rich locals (and their kids) "ain't" gonna do it.

There's no fear that these immigrants are going to settle-in. They don't have the education to take the jobs away from the San Francisco elite. Also, these "immigrants" could never afford the rent so as to be actual residents . A one-bedroom studio apartment in that city runs a minimum of $1200 a month; with most approaching $2000 a month.(See Full Story). Making only a few dollars an hour, they would be one rich " illegal" if they could even hope to get $1200 in any given month. Even at minimum Federal wage, they couldn't afford housing in that city. The only way they could afford to rent in the city limits of San Francisco is to pile about 10 or more of them into a room. And, I am quite sure those San Francisco landlords, those "gentle people there", aren't going to put up with that. Of course, these "illegals" could "commute" to better serve the San Francisco natives and their rituals of the rich. But, gasoline prices of nearly $5 a gallon in the "Bay" area might stymie that. Further, they might not be as protected outside the friendly confines of the "Sanctuary By the Bay". Without that protection, they could wind up leaving their "heart" and their "job" in San Francisco while some other city and ICE gladly deport their ass back to Guadalajara!

Yes, San Francisco is a "sanctuary" city for servitude. If you are illegal, you can go to San Francisco and you will be indentured without any chains. The contract for indenture is a simple one: they'll keep "quiet" if you just keep working and making "them" happy. They need cheap, menial labor that will keep San Francisco in the style it has always been accustomed to. Cheap labor that has always been part of San Francisco's history. One that stretches all the way back to the legal and illegal steamships that brought Chinese immigrants to San Francisco in the 1800's.

As a final comment. Most illegals don't just come here for themselves. They come to feed their families back home. They need to live cheap and work as many hours as they can to help a lot more than themselves. Most have to send money back home. This seems to be missing in San Francisco calculations to be a "sanctuary" city. With that city's wealth and the inability for illegals to actually live there, San Francisco is bound to attract the wrong kind of illegals than those that they really want. The ones that they will ultimately attract might be "a lot more illegal" than just illegally coming over our boarders and illegally obtaining a false I.D. Mark my words!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Did Obama Say the Iraq War Was Won?

Today, as "originally" reported by the Associated Press (AP), Barack Obama made this statement about Iraq:

"There is security progress, but now we need a political solution"

By him saying "There is security progress," isn't he "finally" acknowledging that the surge has worked? Doesn't the expression "but now" imply that the only remain thing to do in Iraq is to finish the "political" aspect of that war and complete the Democratizing of that country? Doesn't that say, in "not" so many words, that the military victory is ours? I think a lot was said without saying it in that little comment by Obama! Probably, a lot more than he had intended to say.

Apparently, the AP writer who originally repeated that statement by Obama must have realized, too, what Obama had just said and decided to "erase" it as quickly as his little typing fingers would allow him. As I have said before, Barack Obama is the AP's candidate for President and they wouldn't want to expose him to any criticism or questioning that might make him look bad and lose the election. So, within a span of only 5 minutes, that AP writer changed his story as shown below:

I am sure that the words "Oh shit!" were flying around the halls of the AP when they realized the implications of what Obama had said and what their writer, David Espo, had just written. Fortunately, I had cached an image of that story before Espo was able to change it.

Isn't it great when your campaign staff includes all of the staff at the Associated Press, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the L.A. Times, Newsweek, Time, NBC, MSNBC, CBS, ABC, NPR, PBS, and, well, I could just keep going!

Note: You can enlarge the image (above) by just clicking on it.

Fighting Crime; then, Mom and Sis

Christian Bale, the newest Batman in the movie, "Dark Knight," apparently thought he needed a little "tune-up" on his crime fighting skills. So. What the hell! He decide to go a few "rounds" with old Mumsy and his big Sis (See Full Story). Who'd have thought they'd object and run to the cops and squeal! Holy, assault!

I guess the mom was an easy one at age 61. The 40-year old sister must have been a little bit harder to handle; even for Batman. Either way, the crime fighter won.

Pow! Kaboom!

Ladies... Grab your kids and run! This guy's feeling the power!

As Careful Getting Out?

One of Barack Obama's mantras on the campaign trail about Iraq has been: "We should be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were reckless getting into Iraq." But, is his failure to admit that the surge is working and to listen to the Generals on the ground and to back off of his commitment to a 16-month withdrawal from Iraq (from the day he takes office) a "careful" or a "reckless" path? And, is he missing the bigger reasons why being in Iraq is a paramount necessity to our security and the security of the Middle East as a whole?

I think missing in all this anti-war stuff is the fact that Iraq is a central player to the stability in the Middle East. Iraq under Saddam "was" a "destabilizing" factor in the area; an area of constant tensions. With Saddam at the helm, Iraq was a thorn that could easily threaten Kuwait and Iran (which it did), Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, and Jordan; countries with whom all share borders with Iraq. Much of the world's oil (and a key to the survival of the world's economies) would have been at risk in this overall geographic area and with Saddam in charge. People seem to forget his years of war with Iran and his invasion of Kuwait and the near complete destruction of their oil fields. Could the religious and oil rich jewel of that area,Saudi Arabia, have been Saddam's next goal?

As today's democracy, Iraq could act as a stabilizing buffer between all these countries. It could be the shinning example that stimulates the spread of Democracy in that region. But, a premature leaving of our troops from this country could erase all of that. The years of our fighting in that country would all be for naught. We could easily have another puppet country in the Middle East like Lebanon. A puppet that, this time, would receive its directions from the radical and highly unstable Iranian regime.

Iraq is "strategic" to the whole mental and physical health in that area. That's why, except on token occasions to satisfy internal public opinion, you haven't really heard a lot of anger being expressed by neighboring countries over our being in Iraq. The only negative commentary that you ever really hear is typically out of Syria and Iran; and, neither of these countries are to be considered the "good neighbors" in that region.

We should never forget the wrath that Saddam, the Sunni, inflicted upon the Shiites and Kurds of Iraq. A killing field of at least 400,000 people; found in mass graves throughout the country. And, we should never forget the sadistic brutality that was brought against women, men, and children at the hands of Saddam's sons. Doesn't the killing of probably 40,000 people per year in Iraq by Saddam and his sons warrant some intervention by America? Are we so hardened against any war that we can't take any pride in probably saving thousand upon thousand of lives that would have died under any further rule by Saddam Hussein? I realize that deaths occurred because of our invasion. But most of those came from insurgents and Al Qaeda against their own Arab brethren. We didn't go into Iraq to kill civilians. In fact, with smart bombs, etc. we try to make our killing a focus as possible on the enemy and not civilians. No other country in this worldtakes these steps or has the technology to do the same thing.

Obama uses the term "reckless" to describe our entry into the Iraq War. Lost in "his" recollection of lead-up to that war were the months of Security Council resolutions and statements and the months that this country gave Iraq to comply with those resolutions and a return the weapons inspectors. Obama seems to forget that it was France, Germany, and Russia that colluded in blocking any actions against Iraq because of their own, selfish and economic ties with that country. People and, especially, Mr. Obama seem to forget that Congressional approval to go to war was obtained by President Bush in October 2002. The actual invasion wasn't until March of 2003. During those nearly five months, Iraq was given chance after chance to abide by the U.N. resolutions against him. War could have been averted at any time. It was all up to Saddam. Instead, Saddam used this time to hide whatever WMD's he had and to fortify his country in advance of the war. This was no "sneak attack" on Iraq and, I'm sorry, with all the "escape clauses" available to Saddam, it was not being reckless!

To me, an unwavering deadline of 16 months to leave Iraq is "reckless" and hardly careful. A retreat (and that's what this is) can be as dangerous to our troops as it was when they entered that country. As we dwindle-down our troop's numbers, there we be "less" and "less" protection for the troops that remain. The term "strength in numbers" isn't some kind of idle concept. It is a reality that has been proven over and over, again. We should only leave Iraq when the "Iraqi armed forces" have the strength, training, and the numbers to "cover" our remaining troops in the same fashion that they would have been protected by our own troops. That's what's missing in Barack's dictatorial and arbitrary withdrawal plan. To lead means to have the wherewithal to adjust to conditions as they change; not to blindly commit to some politically advantageous end point that the far-left of the Democratic party dictates.

It may very well be that a 16-month time frame for withdrawal is doable. I wrote about this in a recent blog entry (See Full Story). But, maybe, 2 years or 2-1/2 years is more appropriate based on what is happening in Iraq in January 2009. But, there is no mention of that type of "flexibility" coming our of Obama's mouth. You tell me. Is "not" having flexibility in judgment a trait of being a "careful" or a "reckless" leader in getting us out of Iraq? What do you think?

Image by color line's photostream on Flickr with Creative Commons Licensing (Click to View Other Works).

Monday, July 21, 2008

Make Your Voice Heard

If you are tired of the high gasoline prices for the lack of drilling for oil: oil that is available, right here, in the United States...then make your voice heard. An organization called American Solutions, one that is headed up by the former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, is asking for all concerned Americans to sign an online petition (Click to Access the Petition & Site). The petition, which is titled "Drill here. Drill now." will be forwarded to Congress for immediate action to allow drilling in the oil-abundant areas of this country; for Americans.

Don't think that Newt Gingrich and the American Solutions are singularly focused on drilling for oil. Don't forget that Newt and Nancy Pelosi teamed up on this Al Gore-sponsored TV ad to fight Global Warming (Click to see the video)

Like me, Newt and a lot of responsible, but energy-concerned, Americans believe that there are three "parallel" paths to fight the energy crisis and for the energy independence of this country: (1) Domestic Drilling, (2) conservation and, (3) alternatives to oil. Unless we act, our economy, the world's economies (and especially the world's poor), and domestic and global security are at risk and totally in the hand's of some very unstable countries within OPEC. This petition is very important. I hope you will sign it.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Not So Fast, Nancy!

Apparently, the German Magazine, Der Spiegel, conducted an interview with the Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, in which he supposedly backed Senator Barack Obama's plan for a 16-month withdrawal of U.S. troops (See Full Story). That bombshell hit the streets yesterday. Today, the office of the Iraqi Prime Minister is backtracking on that claim by stating that Nouri al-Maliki's remarks were "were misunderstood, mistranslated and not conveyed accurately" (See Full Story).

Yesterday, however, the ink wasn't even dry on the pages of that German Magazine and our Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, had her hat and coat on, with purse in hand, and was ready to have high level talks with the Iraqi government to pull the troops (See Full Story). I am quite sure that not even an "atomic particle accelerator" could have clocked her speed in that effort. I hope she didn't break a heel!

I just wish that and Code Pink "were" as interested in lower gasoline prices as they "are" in getting the troops out of Iraq. Maybe, then, we could see similar speeds out of Nancy Pelosi and "her" fellow Democrats in Congress on the out-of-control oil and gasoline prices in this country!

Pelosi and the Democrats are sure well-read. It never ceases to amaze me how fast they are willing to establish foreign policy based on a "single" article in a newspaper, like the "New York Times", or in a magazine like "Time" or "Newsweek" or, as in this case, some German magazine that is hardly even known to most Americans. Obviously, their reading is somehow "intuitively" tuned into only those news articles and opinion pieces that suit their cause. Somewhere, I do believe, there must be a warehouse full of newspapers and newspaper articles and magazines that have opposing viewpoints and which the Democrats just haven't had a "chance" to read. If so, that would explain a lot of things.

As closing comment, I think this also shows that the liberal "foriegn" press is just as much in the "bag" for Obama as our own national media.

Obama Got Game? Yeah! A Con Game!

Sometimes you have to wonder: What are these media people smoking? The screen shot at the top of this blog entry is typical of the Associated Press (AP) headlines about Barack Obama's "rock concert" and his "B-ball tour" in Afghanistan/Iraq and parts of Europe. The laughable part of this headline is the use of the expression "fact-finding" to describe his trip. Normally, a logical and intelligent person (especially one that would be President) would do their research (first) and, then, formulate their strategy based on the facts that they "had" uncovered. But not Barack "B-ball Barry" Obama! Not him! Before he started his "fact-finding" trip, he released his conclusions in new policy speech (See Full Story).

I think this headline is typical of our national and very left-wing biased media. The AP has decided not to chide Obama on making policy before obtaining the facts. Instead, the casual and uniformed reader will look at a headline, like this, and think Obama is actually assessing the situation in order to develop a policy. Of course, nothing could be farther from the truth. This trip is a lot more about Obama building his resume of countries that he's played basketball in then collecting any facts. That's because Obama, The Magnificent, has already used his crystal ball (I supposed the one labeled Presidential Middle East facts) to develop his policy "before" he left on his facts-don't-have-any-bearing and I've-already-made-up-my-mind trip.

Of course this is so Obama. As an Illinois politician, without any of the "classified national intelligence" facts that were available to his fellow Democrats in Washington, he was able to say that he would "not" have voted for going to war in Iraq. My guess is that Barack used his crystal ball that was clearly labeled " for eyes-only" and "top secret Iraq intelligence" in coming to that decision.

In 2006, he said the Troop Surge wouldn't work and continued with that same opinion (even in 2008) when it was obvious that it "was" working. He said that the D.C. Gun Ban was constitutional before the Supreme Court decided to the contrary. I guess, sometimes, the Obama, The Magnificent, crystal balls aren't always as "crystal" as other times. But, that happens a lot with one of these fortune-teller types.

Usually, these "carny" acts rely on being "long gone" and "well out of town" before you can figure out that what they told you was just a big con-game. But, Obama (with a lot of help from our national media) has the "Audacity of Hope" that you are too stupid to figure this out! That takes a lot of "balls" and those aren't necessary crystal!

Identity Theft: Not So in Europe!

Recently, a friend of mine got hit with a mild case of Identity Theft. I had a credit card number stolen on the internet and was being used to buy iTunes and iPods. So, I decided to research if this was a problem world wide because my card was stolen by someone outside the United States.

I decided to look at Europe and found that Identity Theft was minimal to non-existent; except for a slightly higher rate in the United Kingdom. But, even so, it was still not a widespread problem in Britain. Not even close to what was occurring in this country.

When I looked at the difference between Europe and the United States, it almost exclusively comes down to our use of a Social Security number as a form of national I.D. In Europe, their equivalent of the social security card is only used for retirement and health benefits. Generally, there is a separate national photo I.D. card. Unlike here, you can't use a health and retirement card number to open a bank account or order a credit card. Another significant factor in Europe is that it is illegal (unlike here) to sell or exchange any private information. In this country, there are "snoop" or sites on the Internet that allow people, for a fee as low at $29.95, to buy a limited amount of information about you and put together all that they need to steal your identity.

Last year, more than 3.5% of Americans or 10 million people suffered from Identity Theft, at a cost of $5 billion; and, our Congress is not doing a damn thing about it. They would prefer to spend their time on drug scandals in baseball.

We need a national I.D. card system, but, as usual, the Democrats buddies, the ALCU (American Civil Liberties Union), is dead set against it because of "privacy" rights. I guess you have to wonder what level of Identity Theft would have to get to before a national I.D. card system outweighs the privacy rights; the rights that the ACLU seems to be concerned over. Is it 25%? 50% Or, 100%. Personally, I think "privacy" is the core issue with Identity Theft because "my privacy" is at risk without a national I.D. system. Then, too, whose privacy is the ACLU worried about. The law abider's? Or, the lawbreakers?

(Note: As an additional benefit, a national I.D. system might help in the fight over illegal immigration.)

I have always felt that a simple I.D. card, a typical one that "can be replicated" on the street, is "not the way" to go. I firmly believe the card should be a photo I.D. like any traditional card or driver's license. It should include a hard-to-copy holographic image for control. But, as an additional protective measure, I believe that the photo on that I.D. should be uploaded to a Federal Depository that is accessible to anyone, anywhere in the world. This way, even if I walk into a bank to even cash a check, the person handling that transaction has the ability to go "online" and view my photo and I.D. information in a Federal database. And, they should match your card or, something is wrong! Change access to that database could be controlled by State, Federal and Local agencies; or, the Post Office. There should be no charge for this service. And, finally, any activity that involves product or services being sent to an address other than that shown on the national Federal I.D. database would trigger a notice being sent to the address shown in the database. This way, if someone does attempt to get a new credit card in your name, but a different address, you will be notified by mail or by email or both. The government could collect a small fee for that service.

Image by dumbeast's photostream on Flickr with Creative Commons Licensing (Click to View Other Works).

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Far Left...Center...He's Got Us Covered!

I think this video says it all!

(Click to View As A
Popup Video on YouTube)

Image by Cranky George from Government, Public Domain Photos

A Couple Of "Big" Oil Guys

Over the last two weeks, T. Boone Pickens, an oil-made billionaire, has been airing a TV-ad where he's been telling America we need to get off oil (See Full Story). This advertisement clearly implies "wind power" as the key to our energy independence. Pickens, himself, has invested nearly two billion dollars in creating wind power in the State of Texas.

Texas is an interesting State in our Union. Once, along with Oklahoma, it was the biggest oil producer in the United States. It is the home of many "big oil" companies. But, today, it is already the biggest "wind energy producer" in the country and soon to be even bigger (See Full Story).

What a lot of people don't know about this whole Texas-wind-thing is that George W. Bush started it all when he was Governor of Texas and pushed for and signed into law a wind-power mandate in 1999 (See Full Story). What T. Boone Pickens is doing today with wind wouldn't even be possible without that legislation. If you listen to the Democrats, they would say George W. is in bed with big oil and not interested in clean renewable energy. Right! Now, the nation's foremost, environmentally clean, wind power project has come to fruition from a couple of "big oil" guys. Go figure. (And, don't always believe all the politician's lies and how they portray people!)

Image by ninjawil's photostream on Flickr with Creative Commons Licensing (Click to View Other Works).

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Gore-"e,eee,eee,eee,eee" Details

Yesterday, Al Gore challenged America to get off fossil fuels for all of it's electrical energy production in this country; and, do it within 10 years (See Full Story). He compared putting 300 million people onto non-carbon-based energy production like putting those three men on the moon; a challenge we have never done since, because of the outrageous cost to this country. Anyway, in many ways, that was a just a P.R. stunt in order to beat the Russians into space.

While we are now busy diverting much of our hard-earned income to gasoline for our cars (because of drilling blocked by the Democrats) and because our food costs and other expenses are soaring (again, because of fuel shortages and our Congressional-mandated movement to ethanol), Al wants us to spend up to 3 trillion dollars to save the planet. Given that a trillion dollars is one million, million dollars and that there are 300 million people in this country, that's a "mere" $10,000 for "each" man, woman and child in this country. I'm ready to write Al a $20,000 check for me and my wife. Aren't you? Don't forget the kids! Of course, this is over-and-above what we are already paying and what we will be paying for our energy needs in the future. A cost that seems to be nearly doubling every year. But, Al's just a rich white guy with a life-long Senate pension from you and I, the tax payers, and he can't see any problem with his proposal. Anyway, I can't remember if I, and all the rest of America, during those Kennedy years, personally gave our government 10 grand to go to the moon. Can you? Actually, I don't think I was "even" making ten grand when Kennedy made that proposal! (Actually, I wasn't. And, a lot of people weren't, either. The average annual income when Kennedy was President was about $6700.)

You know, Al's just one funny guy. Every few weeks, he comes up with another laugher. I especially liked his award-winning comedy about Global Warming: "An Inconvenient Truth." Oh! By the way. According to Fox News this morning, while Al was giving his speech yesterday, his entourage of SUV's were parked with their engines running and their drivers cooling off under the blast of their individual vehicle's air conditioners. I guess the inconvenient truth of that "An Inconvenient Truth" is that all his drivers couldn't cool themselves, collectively, inside in an "electrically" air conditioned building while Al was busy flapping his jaws about the use of fossil fuels.

Al and the rest of the Dems just don't seem to get it. First, for every pound of carbon we avoid putting into the world's atmosphere, the Chinese, East Indians, and Indonesians are dumping a minimum of ten more pounds of it into the atmosphere. That's because they outnumber us 10 to 1 and because they have little or no environmental standards in those countries and with unbelievable economic growth. Second, when Al and all his friends negotiated the Kyoto Accords/Treaty, they neglected to mandate carbon reductions for China and India and the rest of the developing world. Third, besides being very expensive to us as a society, it will take just as long to build wind and solar alternatives as it will to drill for oil and natural gas. That's because any additional energy producing activities will be tied up in court in a variety of creative ways. Here's just a few examples of how the building of wind turbines in this country are being blocked and all tied up by lawsuits:

"Virginia Wind Farm Lawsuit" (See Full Story)
"In A Stir Over Wind Farms" (See Full Story)
"Wind farm development lawsuits directed at Town of Cohocton" (See Full Story)

Image by World Economic Forum's photostream on Flickr with Creative Commons Licensing (Click to View Other Works).

Will The Youth-Vote Propel Obama Into Office?

If you listen to the Democratic pundits, it's the youth-vote, a vote McCain just doesn't have, that will give Obama the Presidency. Well, if history does repeat itself, that is probably not the case.

Take a brief jump back to the 2004 election and you will see that the pollster, Zogby, was saying the same thing about John Kerry as late as October 2004; just days before the November elections (See Full Story). As you can see from that news release, Bush was being "trounced" on the youth-vote by a double-digit lead for Kerry: 55% to 40%. Of course, we all know, now, that the only way that John Kerry gets into the White House, since then, is by "invitation - only" or by taking one of the public White House tours.

The youth-vote is totally unpredictable. History has always proven them to have an extremely low voter turnout rate. And, I would think that will be the case this year, too!

Remember the following when you think about the youth-vote: Politics doesn't play well in an iPod; you can't find it in a 6-pack; you can't smoke it and get high; it makes a horrible "first-person-shoot-em' up " video game; and, except for a tiny percentage of fat old white guys in Washington D.C., it doesn't satisfy any sexual urges.

Image by mrfontwacko's photostream on Flickr with Creative Commons Licensing (Click to View Other Works).