Saturday, December 20, 2008

Jewels On Your Crown In Heaven

The easiest route any of us can take is to pop off at the least little thing. It's easily done and we see it on blogs, at work and in our media every day. The wiseguy attitude as personified by popular culture is viewed as an acceptable response to all questions and concerns. I admit, I can be pretty quick with a quip, although I do try to put some thought into things. But there are those out there who simply spout off because they truly think they are the belly button of the universe and all things should bow down to their will.

Back a few years ago-okay many years ago before cable-I would be bored on Sunday and would watch some of the television preachers. One that caught my attention was an African American preacher who talked about how every good act was a "jewel on your crown in heaven". I really liked that imagery then and I like it now. I like the idea of shining like the stars and becoming dazzling in spirit.

So here's my proposition-for the Christmas, Hanukkah and holiday season but also for all seasons-stop before you speak. It's easy to get offended over the most petty and cursory of slights, but quite often when out in public, individuals stop seeing working people as people. I have worked in retail, my kids do currently, and you would be shocked at what passes for normal in even the more upscale retail stores. Could we stop seeing all other people as drones and begin seeing them as people? That sales clerk may have learned her job will go away after the season. That man who cut you off could be heading for a job interview. That kid who put something on top of your bread could be helping to pay for rent. You don't know what they are dealing with-all you know is that you are mad. Ask yourself this-if the world ended right at that moment, would whatever is bugging you really matter? Choosing to defer your momentary anger or to act graciously when slighted is a sign of being a true adult. Lashing out in anger is the act of a self-pitying child. Don't you want jewels on your crown?

By the way, this doesn't meant we can't disagree because everyone has the right to their own opinions. And this doesn't mean we can't complain when we are honestly injured or shorted. But the way we choose to do these things make up far more of the measure of a person than what car they drive or where they live. Reach out, seek those who need a smile, compliment those who work hard and get little in return, act politely even when others do not and find opportunities to respond in a positive way even when you are the injured party. The ability to do this is called Grace. But if you prefer, consider each selfless act another bright and shiny jewel on your crown in heaven.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Prayer for the Middle Class

Dear Lord,
We thank you for what we have.
We appreciate what you have done for us.
Please, though, Lord, remember that we are weak
We cannot know what tomorrow brings.
We hope, but we also fear.
We aren't asking to get rich, Lord, we are simply asking to get by.
We've been promised hope by politicians and business leaders and evangelists
But that kind of hope is just for show, it's not the substance that we need.
So, Lord, if you can find a way to do it
Please remember us and bless us in spite of our weakness
Or perhaps have mercy on us because of our weakness.
Watch our leader, give them wisdom.
Watch our enemies, and allow them to open their eyes
And watch those who have their own avarice, greed and vanity in the forefront
Before the needs of those who want or suffer.
For this we pray, in Thanksgiving to You.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Four Bad Bears- Not a Bedtime Story

If you feel the need to get any more depressed over our current economic fiasco, feel free to meander to the linked blog and take a gander at the graph. I am at the point that I am planning to build an ark because if it rains any more like this, there's gonna be a flood.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

What Would a Statesman Do?

There have been countless queries of what would Jesus, Ghandi, and other do in various ethical situations. I think in this day and age what we need more in Washington is a true "statesman" And by that I mean that we need someone who is willing to rise above the party biases and make moves towards truly creating changes in the economic environment that will benefit everyone. And that is not to say a socialist view will make the cut. In regards to the Big Three automakers, this problem is especially vexing. By allowing them to go bankrupt, the nation risks allowing hundreds, perhaps thousands, of smaller suppliers and their companies to go belly up. Most large corporations have enough hard cash and materials that they can sell their way out of bankruptcy. Not so with small manufacturers, specialty suppliers or mom and pop companies that do contract work. So it's not so easy to simply let the Big Three slide. On the other hand, it is foolish to reward bad business practices to be rewarded. The idea that CEO's, higher administration and corporate boards should still make out like bandits in spite of their failure to achieve is the antithesis of what free enterprise is about. That's the one thing that liberals don't seem to grasp-freedom allows you permission to succeed or fail on your own recognizance. It is also problematic that the domestic auto industry has been plagued by the two pronged attack of expensive union contracts and burdensome legal demands and intervention created by the government. This has almost nationalized the auto industry without papers.

So what do we do?
First, let them go bankrupt. A wise executive would be on the phone to the heads of Nissan, Honda and Toyota talking about the opportunity to buy into the American market with a set American profile. Like it or not, there are still folks who are born into Chevy or Ford families. Create the situation where Congress butts out and allows the market to work. As the value of GM, Ford and Chrysler stock dips, help these other manufacturers to see this as a chance to broaden their market with already recognizable brands. Hopefully both President Bush and PE Obama are currently doing this behind the scenes.
By allowing this bankruptcy to proceed, this would negate overpriced American union contracts that have made American cars too costly for their reliability. When Honda can get higher quality for $42 per hour per employee cost while GM stumbles with $71 per hour per employee cost then there is something wrong with the system. Let this streamline and make American auto manufacturers return to their primary status as car makers. This would also cause some overpaid top brass to move onto other lines of business. A bankrupt company can't provide golden parachutes before they pay bills, so that would solve the bloodletting that some CEO's seem to do before they leave.

There is no good way to do this. Frankly, you shouldn't prop up support for products that aren't in demand. That is what we have been doing with corn via ethanol and with cars via bailouts. While there is not a good solution, someone has to be willing to make the hard decision to allow the markets to work. There's a reason why we don't have many farriers and wheelwrights anymore-their services aren't in demand. So why should taxpayers support companies who are too bloated and overcontrolled to make the moves they need to make in order to be profitable? This won't be popular with unions. It won't be popular on Wall Street, but if this truly is a "global economy" as the pundits claim, then it's time to really let it work. and believe me, I say this as someone who has a husband who is job hunting. This isn't a good situation. But I don't see throwing more money at it as being a win-win either.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Media Bias: A Writer's Personal Angst

I don't usually post things in their entirety. But this is such an important topic and ABC has such a history of burying stories that make them seem unbalanced or unAmerican, that I felt it needed to be recorded somewhere. I have include the link to the story in the title.

"Media's Presidential Bias and Decline

Columnist Michael Malone Looks at Slanted Election Coverage and the Reasons Why


Oct. 24, 2008 —

The traditional media are playing a very, very dangerous game -- with their readers, with the Constitution and with their own fates.

The sheer bias in the print and television coverage of this election campaign is not just bewildering, but appalling. And over the last few months I've found myself slowly moving from shaking my head at the obvious one-sided reporting, to actually shouting at the screen of my television and my laptop computer.

But worst of all, for the last couple weeks, I've begun -- for the first time in my adult life -- to be embarrassed to admit what I do for a living. A few days ago, when asked by a new acquaintance what I did for a living, I replied that I was "a writer," because I couldn't bring myself to admit to a stranger that I'm a journalist.

You need to understand how painful this is for me. I am one of those people who truly bleeds ink when I'm cut. I am a fourth-generation newspaperman. As family history tells it, my great-grandfather was a newspaper editor in Abilene, Kan., during the last of the cowboy days, then moved to Oregon to help start the Oregon Journal (now the Oregonian).

My hard-living -- and when I knew her, scary -- grandmother was one of the first women reporters for the Los Angeles Times. And my father, though profoundly dyslexic, followed a long career in intelligence to finish his life (thanks to word processors and spellcheckers) as a very successful freelance writer. I've spent 30 years in every part of journalism, from beat reporter to magazine editor. And my oldest son, following in the family business, so to speak, earned his first national byline before he earned his drivers license.

So, when I say I'm deeply ashamed right now to be called a "journalist," you can imagine just how deep that cuts into my soul.

Now, of course, there's always been bias in the media. Human beings are biased, so the work they do, including reporting, is inevitably colored. Hell, I can show you 10 different ways to color variations of the word "said" -- muttered, shouted, announced, reluctantly replied, responded, etc. -- to influence the way a reader will apprehend exactly the same quote. We all learn that in Reporting 101, or at least in the first few weeks working in a newsroom.

But what we are also supposed to learn during that same apprenticeship is to recognize the dangerous power of that technique, and many others, and develop built-in alarms against them.

But even more important, we are also supposed to be taught that even though there is no such thing as pure, Platonic objectivity in reporting, we are to spend our careers struggling to approach that ideal as closely as possible.

That means constantly challenging our own prejudices, systematically presenting opposing views and never, ever burying stories that contradict our own world views or challenge people or institutions we admire. If we can't achieve Olympian detachment, than at least we can recognize human frailty -- especially in ourselves.

Reporting Bias

For many years, spotting bias in reporting was a little parlor game of mine, watching TV news or reading a newspaper article and spotting how the reporter had inserted, often unconsciously, his or her own preconceptions. But I always wrote it off as bad judgment and lack of professionalism, rather than bad faith and conscious advocacy.

Sure, being a child of the '60s I saw a lot of subjective "New" Journalism, and did a fair amount of it myself, but that kind of writing, like columns and editorials, was supposed to be segregated from "real" reporting, and, at least in mainstream media, usually was. The same was true for the emerging blogosphere, which by its very nature was opinionated and biased.

But my complacent faith in my peers first began to be shaken when some of the most admired journalists in the country were exposed as plagiarists, or worse, accused of making up stories from whole cloth.

I'd spent my entire professional career scrupulously pounding out endless dreary footnotes and double-checking sources to make sure that I never got accused of lying or stealing someone else's work -- not out of any native honesty, but out of fear: I'd always been told to fake or steal a story was a firing offense & indeed, it meant being blackballed out of the profession.

And yet, few of those worthies ever seemed to get fired for their crimes -- and if they did they were soon rehired into even more prestigious jobs. It seemed as if there were two sets of rules: one for us workaday journalists toiling out in the sticks, and another for folks who'd managed, through talent or deceit, to make it to the national level.

Meanwhile, I watched with disbelief as the nation's leading newspapers, many of whom I'd written for in the past, slowly let opinion pieces creep into the news section, and from there onto the front page. Personal opinions and comments that, had they appeared in my stories in 1979, would have gotten my butt kicked by the nearest copy editor, were now standard operating procedure at the New York Times, the Washington Post, and soon after in almost every small town paper in the U.S.

But what really shattered my faith -- and I know the day and place where it happened -- was the war in Lebanon three summers ago. The hotel I was staying at in Windhoek, Namibia, only carried CNN, a network I'd already learned to approach with skepticism. But this was CNN International, which is even worse.

I sat there, first with my jaw hanging down, then actually shouting at the TV, as one field reporter after another reported the carnage of the Israeli attacks on Beirut, with almost no corresponding coverage of the Hezbollah missiles raining down on northern Israel. The reporting was so utterly and shamelessly biased that I sat there for hours watching, assuming that eventually CNNi would get around to telling the rest of the story & but it never happened.

The Presidential Campaign

But nothing, nothing I've seen has matched the media bias on display in the current presidential campaign.

Republicans are justifiably foaming at the mouth over the sheer one-sidedness of the press coverage of the two candidates and their running mates. But in the last few days, even Democrats, who have been gloating over the pass -- no, make that shameless support -- they've gotten from the press, are starting to get uncomfortable as they realize that no one wins in the long run when we don't have a free and fair press.

I was one of the first people in the traditional media to call for the firing of Dan Rather -- not because of his phony story, but because he refused to admit his mistake -- but, bless him, even Gunga Dan thinks the media is one-sided in this election.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not one of those people who think the media has been too hard on, say, Republican vice presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin, by rushing reportorial SWAT teams to her home state of Alaska to rifle through her garbage. This is the big leagues, and if she wants to suit up and take the field, then Gov. Palin better be ready to play.

The few instances where I think the press has gone too far -- such as the Times reporter talking to prospective first lady Cindy McCain's daughter's MySpace friends -- can easily be solved with a few newsroom smackdowns and temporary repostings to the Omaha bureau.

No, what I object to (and I think most other Americans do as well) is the lack of equivalent hardball coverage of the other side -- or worse, actively serving as attack dogs for the presidential ticket of Sens. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and Joe Biden, D-Del.

If the current polls are correct, we are about to elect as president of the United States a man who is essentially a cipher, who has left almost no paper trail, seems to have few friends (that at least will talk) and has entire years missing out of his biography.

That isn't Sen. Obama's fault: His job is to put his best face forward. No, it is the traditional media's fault, for it alone (unlike the alternative media) has had the resources to cover this story properly, and has systematically refused to do so.

Why, for example to quote the lawyer for Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., haven't we seen an interview with Sen. Obama's grad school drug dealer -- when we know all about Mrs. McCain's addiction? Are Bill Ayers and Tony Rezko that hard to interview? All those phony voter registrations that hard to scrutinize? And why are Sen. Biden's endless gaffes almost always covered up, or rationalized, by the traditional media?

Joe the Plumber

The absolute nadir (though I hate to commit to that, as we still have two weeks before the election) came with Joe the Plumber.

Middle America, even when they didn't agree with Joe, looked on in horror as the press took apart the private life of an average person who had the temerity to ask a tough question of a presidential candidate. So much for the standing up for the little man. So much for speaking truth to power. So much for comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable, and all of those other catchphrases we journalists used to believe we lived by.

I learned a long time ago that when people or institutions begin to behave in a matter that seems to be entirely against their own interests, it's because we don't understand what their motives really are. It would seem that by so exposing their biases and betting everything on one candidate over another, the traditional media is trying to commit suicide -- especially when, given our currently volatile world and economy, the chances of a successful Obama presidency, indeed any presidency, is probably less than 50/50.

Furthermore, I also happen to believe that most reporters, whatever their political bias, are human torpedoes & and, had they been unleashed, would have raced in and roughed up the Obama campaign as much as they did McCain's. That's what reporters do. I was proud to have been one, and I'm still drawn to a good story, any good story, like a shark to blood in the water.

So why weren't those legions of hungry reporters set loose on the Obama campaign? Who are the real villains in this story of mainstream media betrayal?

The editors. The men and women you don't see; the people who not only decide what goes in the paper, but what doesn't; the managers who give the reporters their assignments and lay out the editorial pages. They are the real culprits.

Bad Editors

Why? I think I know, because had my life taken a different path, I could have been one: Picture yourself in your 50s in a job where you've spent 30 years working your way to the top, to the cockpit of power & only to discover that you're presiding over a dying industry. The Internet and alternative media are stealing your readers, your advertisers and your top young talent. Many of your peers shrewdly took golden parachutes and disappeared. Your job doesn't have anywhere near the power and influence it did when your started your climb. The Newspaper Guild is too weak to protect you any more, and there is a very good chance you'll lose your job before you cross that finish line, 10 years hence, of retirement and a pension.

In other words, you are facing career catastrophe -- and desperate times call for desperate measures. Even if you have to risk everything on a single Hail Mary play. Even if you have to compromise the principles that got you here. After all, newspapers and network news are doomed anyway -- all that counts is keeping them on life support until you can retire.

And then the opportunity presents itself -- an attractive young candidate whose politics likely matches yours, but more important, he offers the prospect of a transformed Washington with the power to fix everything that has gone wrong in your career.

With luck, this monolithic, single-party government will crush the alternative media via a revived fairness doctrine, re-invigorate unions by getting rid of secret votes, and just maybe be beholden to people like you in the traditional media for getting it there.

And besides, you tell yourself, it's all for the good of the country &

This is the opinion of the columnist and in no way reflects the opinion of ABC News.

Michael S. Malone is one of the nation's best-known technology writers. He has covered Silicon Valley and high-tech for more than 25 years, beginning with the San Jose Mercury News as the nation's first daily high-tech reporter. His articles and editorials have appeared in such publications as The Wall Street Journal, the Economist and Fortune, and for two years he was a columnist for The New York Times. He was editor of Forbes ASAP, the world's largest-circulation business-tech magazine, at the height of the dot-com boom. Malone is the author or co-author of a dozen books, notably the best-selling "Virtual Corporation." Malone has also hosted three public television interview series, and most recently co-produced the celebrated PBS miniseries on social entrepreneurs, "The New Heroes." He has been the "Silicon Insider" columnist since 2000."

Friday, October 24, 2008

How Come They Are Doing This to Military Voters??????

The Democrats, alleged umbrella party of all that is warm, squooshy and nice, wants "everyone" to vote. Homeless people, people here illegally, people in prison---they should all vote.
Not the military. This happened during the Gore campaign as well. In Florida, military votes were tossed as well. Could it be because of a technicality. Or is it because the military has voted for McCain in epic numbers according to polling? At any rate, this should be something that raises suspicions of even the most benevolent of apologists.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Democrat Shall Rat Them Out-Journalists Fail at the Truth

Well worth a read. It's something I have been saying since the earliest primaries. The media has become so entranced by the sound of their own voices and by the way they can shape the opposition that they have lost sight of what should be their jobs:

If you had any personal honor, each reporter and editor would be insisting on telling the truth — even if it hurts the election chances of your favorite candidate.

Because that's what honorable people do. Honest people tell the truth even when they don't like the probable consequences. That's what honesty means . That's how trust is earned.

Barack Obama is just another politician, and not a very wise one. He has revealed his ignorance and naivete time after time — and you have swept it under the rug, treated it as nothing.

Meanwhile, you have participated in the borking of Sarah Palin, reporting savage attacks on her for the pregnancy of her unmarried daughter — while you ignored the story of John Edwards's own adultery for many months.

So I ask you now: Do you have any standards at all? Do you even know what honesty means?..."

Story here

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Economic Terrorism And this Election

(Cross posted at
Imagine if instead of bombs and weapons, if terrorists used our own economy against us? What would be the outcome? Jimmy Carter lost an election because of overt terrorist actions. The Twin Towers were bombed out of existence as the result of overt terrorist actions. But what if terrorists, rather than loading planes with suicide bombers intent on a paradise complete with 72 virgins, instead focused on the grease that runs us, and by that I mean money.

There have been signs before, but we didn't grasp them. The precipitous rise in oil prices when the supplies were adequate. The strange altering of the international economic landscape as the EU tried to circle the wagons and much of Asia, especially China, used fire sale prices to entrench themselves in the American economy through purchasing corporations outright or making them partners with factories in less expensive Asian locations. Who benefits from this?

On one hand, you can say that stockholders benefit because they see return on their investments. But if you undercut the value of dollars, then you shortchange the value of the return. CEO's might get a golden parachute, but if their worth is based in corporate stocks, then their parachute could crash and burn just as easily as the average worker with a 401K.

The push of the federal government as far back as the Clinton years to make home loans to underserved communities is documented fact. There is no argument over that. The way they were implemented and the type of Congressional manipulation that put these funds into play in risky, often unqualified loans is part of the story. Franks, Dodds and other do not want that story out in the press. So what better way to distract the American public than to create a diversion. In this case, it's a pretty catastrophic diversion.

But who would have the economic leverage to pull of such a stunt? And why would they do it? My money is on George Soros and his like. They want to push America to a socialist reality at all costs. And they mean to force us if we won't go willingly. By pulling money for no particularly good reason from the stock market, they create the type of emotional response that makes other less financially solid stockholders leave as well. And if you force the market lower, you can come back in and buy the same doggone stocks at fire sale values. If in addition, you can to stage manage the economic views of the media to support your candidate, then you can shape the vote. If that's not warping the intent of the freedom of Americans to vote, then I don't know what is.

Mark my words-you heard it here first. If the day after an Obama election, the market soars to 14000, the you will know that we have been had, that our votes were bought and that our legislators have sold out to the highest bidder. Don't believe me? Then read on...
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Friday, October 03, 2008

The VP Debates: The Media Chooses, You Lose

So once again our mainstream media has weighed in with what they think is best for all of us. See, we, the American public, are too stupid and ignorant and attached to our religion and guns to really know what's what. Frankly, it's a wonder we can feed ourselves. You may think I am over the top on this, but there are countless blogs, wikis and other media out there who not only think we are wrong to support conservative ideals, but that it is the result of a mental deficiency. So the Media, in their gracious benevolence, has once again chosen for us. They have decided that Joe "I'm An Average Guy" Biden won. Frankly, I don't think either candidate did a bang-up job, but the constant self-congratulatory tone of the Obama campaign has worn thin.

But more than that attitude thing, I am truly wondering if the mainstream media has given up all pretenses of impartiality. The choosing of Ifill for the moderator was questionable considering her worshipful attitude towards all things Obama. But the way the media has chosen to ignore some very worrisome and possibly disastrous economic attitudes on the part of Joe Biden, is frightening.
To quote "Average Guy at the Home Depot" Joe, "
"we should be allowing bankruptcy courts to be able to re-adjust not just the interest rate you're paying on your mortgage to be able to stay in your home, but be able to adjust the principal that you owe, the principal that you owe. That would keep people in their homes, actually help banks by keeping it from going under"

Excuse me? Banks are businesses. They run on the money they make from LENDING MONEY. That's known as INTEREST. The interest is set by the government not to exceed certain rates, but there is a great deal of leeway and consumers are more than welcome to shop around for better rates. Herein lies the problems. Congress literally forced lenders to make loans available to what is termed "underserved populations." The reason Congress did this was , according to them, to get rid of the vestiges of redlining and racism in the system. Instead, what really happened is that borrowers who could not prove income, had horrible credit history or who didn't have the financial stability to afford the lower interest rates of a conventional 30 year fixed loan, were leveraged into loans that had balloons that would rise after a certain amount of time or loans that were interest only. The stated reason for these types of loans to even exist was to help subprime borrowers improve their credit and possible refinance at better rates. Instead many of these borrowers went for the maximum amount they could acquire and when the balloons went up, they couldn't pay the mortgage. Now while this is sad, it's not like this was foisted on them by jackbooted thugs in dark alleys. These were free American adults signing contracts where all of the details are laid out in copious minutae. Every payment, every escalation, every interest rate is spelled out in writing. Why is it that only the people that PAY THEIR LOANS ARE GETTING SCREWED?

In the end, it's popular now to picture CEO's with golden parachutes getting the largest portion of the bailout. And maybe to a certain extent that's true. But what's really happening is that this is keeping the lights on at the bank on the corner and making payroll for the tellers and loan officers who don't have those cushy jobs. It's easy to blame some guy who gets away with a cushy retirement, but why is it that the media doesn't want to place the blame where it really belongs, on borrowers that didn't pay for their loans.

And this is why Joe Biden and Barak Obama should scare you silly. They have no intention of shoring up the banks for longevity. They simply want them shored up for now. They intend to allow judicial fiat to rip profits from banks. That means that people who actually put money into banks could see their interest and deposits dwindle as more people discover that paying out a loan is foolish when the government will bail you out. And what about retirees who have stock in bank corporations? They will also see their stocks value erode. This isn't the first time this has happened. My parents lost $200K when the savings and loans went belly up thirty years ago. There are still a few people around who should remember that. Unfortunately, none of them are running for president this year. Watch your pockets-these guys are NOT your friends.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Here's What a "Community Organizer" Does

There's been a great deal of debate over the role of community organizer in one's resume. In most cases, I assumed it was the role of volunteering to tutor in reading with the local library, coaching children's sports teams or doing something such as leading a Scout troop. But evidently, I couldn't be more wrong because in some cases "community organizing" means setting up programs to indoctrinate young people into the PC mode of performance. Here's a quote from the article linked below. I would warn you, if this is what is meant by the activation of America on the part of the Left, then we are in huge trouble here.
Full story here
"Our alumni are more than twice as likely as 18-34 year olds to . . . engage in protest activities," Public Allies boasts in a document found with its tax filings. It has already deployed an army of 2,200 community organizers like Obama to agitate for "justice" and "equality" in his hometown of Chicago and other U.S. cities, including Cincinnati, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, New York, Phoenix, Pittsburgh and Washington. "I get to practice being an activist," and get paid for it, gushed Cincinnati recruit Amy Vincent..."

"If you commit to serving your community," he pledged in his Denver acceptance speech, "we will make sure you can afford a college education." So, go through government to go to college, and then go back into government..."

Not all the recruits appreciate the PC indoctrination. "It was too touchy-feely," said Nelly Nieblas, 29, of the 2005 Los Angeles class. "It's a lot of talk about race, a lot of talk about sexism, a lot of talk about homophobia, talk about -isms and phobias."

One of those -isms is "heterosexism," which a Public Allies training seminar in Chicago describes as a negative byproduct of "capitalism, white supremacy, patriarchy and male-dominated privilege...."

Now tell me again how the role of a community organizer is beneficial in the role of president. Tell how a "community organizer" will govern. Is this not an attitude of imposing ones individual socio-economic and political views onto someone else using the pressure of the office? And why are more people not concerned about the prospect of a very real erosion of the freedoms we hold? Right now, I know people who will not publicly state their personal conservative views for fear of retribution. And the Left says conservatives are fascists? I hate to be a gloom and doom deathsayer, but if Obama wins, watch the courts flood with cases of alleged discrimination based on the most tenuous evidence. While real racism should be rooted out and destroyed, too many people will see this as a chance to get a free paycheck on the taxpayers dole. And that along with all the other freebies Obama is promising should warn you off immediately.

While you are at it, you may also want to ponder where a young Barak Obama got the funding to attend Harvard. Here's a link that illuminates that aspect of his past and should make you wonder a little bit about the types of international alliances he would forge. It should also make you curious about where his campaign money originates and how it is being handled.

Story here.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

I Am Sarah Palin.

I am Sarah Palin.

Like her I work for a living. I have kids, which I love very much. I married my high school boyfriend. I went to college outside the Ivy League. I worked for the issues in my church, in my community and at my job that I felt were important. I am outspoken and I am intelligent in a way that an Ivory Tower advocate cannot be. I have screamed my head off at soccer games, football games. I have argued with teachers and principals. I have had many successes in life and with my family.

I have also had those failures that prove I am human. And what is more, I am not alone. I am every woman who ever bounced a check, had a fight with her husband, embarrassed her kids or dented a fender. I am also the woman who gloried in the successes of her children-no matter how insignificant. I am the woman who defended her loved ones even when the outside world sought to tear them down. I have dried tears from my children's broken hearts. I have helped type essays. I have called on the phone to get people to vote. I have done all that and more.

Sarah Palin, her life, her experiences and her honesty speak to me far more than the ramblings of someone who has never really had to work to make their way in the world. And those words that she speaks may seem like political rhetoric to those who do not and cannot understand. But she speaks for me, to me and people like me.

I am Sarah Palin.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

I Said It Was Time For A Woman

I had said all along that time was way overdue for a woman to be in the upper levels of power in our nation. But I didn't want it to be the conventional liberal women such as Pelosi or Clinton. I wanted a strong woman with convictions and values. I think we have that in Sarah Palin. I am so excited by her nomination for VP.

What I have found appalling is how the usual suspects in the liberal media are already on the path of character assassination and slander regarding Palin's resume. They have claimed that her youngest child is actually her grandchild. This assertion not only wounds her, but both of her daughters. The "proof" was the oldest child holding the baby-something that happens in families-but I guess liberals wouldn't have a clue about that. Secondly, the liberals at The Daily Kos and and Arianna Hufflepuffle's site are putting down her college education because she's just from Idaho. Excuse me? Do they not get in the least how freaking SNOBBISH they sound? It's like a meeting of the Atlanta Junior League! Then there's the downgrading of her professional experience as a *gasp* reporter. I bet the Fourth Estate is not too happy to have someone who knows their tricks of the trade. And finally, the Neo-marxists are denigrating her political experience as a mayor, then governor in Alaska. Both of those roles involve balancing budgets, implementing reform and producing position outcomes-somthing that the Congress-approval level at 9%-hasn't been able to do.

So what is the problem with Palin and why are the liberals screaming? Maybe its because they know in their hearts that this could be what changes the political tide for the Right.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Cutting Teachers Off At The Knees

The DISD, herein known as That District in Dallas, has once again hit a new personal low. In their dubious wisdom, the board has decided that homework won't be given if it will lower a student's grade, no grade lower than a 50% will be given and if a student retakes a test, the higher score will be used.
Story here

*slow simmer*

This is ridiculous. And it's also probably the result of a teacher publicly outing a coach for placing pressure to pass a student/athlete. Ironically, while this played out in the press, the adminstrators and coaches all seem to be pretty much in place. The teacher who reported the actions was non-renewed-educationspeak for "fired". How is this going to work? Kids can do nothing and get a 50%. They are free to sleep, to be disruptive, to generally cause havoc. And they don't really have to stretch to learn ANYTHING. The problem is that they will still have to pass state mandated tests-TAKS this year, end of course testing next year. How is that going to play out? How are kids who have partied their way to a 50 going to pass a state test? And when they don't, who will be blamed?

Answer: The teachers. The teachers will be blamed for all miscues, failures and mistakes. They will lose their jobs. And frankly, at this point, working at Walmart might be a relief.

The Dallas Independent School District has decided they won't teach anything to a student that doesn't want to learn. And they will blame teachers when these same students fail.

Yeah, that's fair. *sarcasm*

I understand that not all students learn at the same speed. My district even has reteach/retest policies in place. But we do expect students to turn in work. We do expect them to learn. And frankly, for students that do nothing in my class, I have given scores lower-much lower-than a 50%. To give a student that much for just showing up is tantamount to paying a clerk for showing up at the door, but still doing nothing. This is just another great example of nanny state mentality and the acceptance of mediocrity as the norm. And this is why we are playing economic catch up with the rest of the world.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

McCain, Not Obama, Right This Time

Courtesy of the Chicago Sun Times

August 12, 2008

Mention Georgia a few days ago, and most of us would have thought of the state evoked so sweetly in "Georgia on My Mind," the classic tune sung by Ray Charles. Very few of us had heard of the South Ossetia province of Georgia, the nation with the misfortune to have Russia as its neighbor, until war broke out last week.

Like Kosovo, Bosnia, Kuwait and other unfamiliar places before, Ossetia reminds us that a small, remote corner of the globe can explode into an international crisis. One who was up to speed on Georgia and the menace it faced from Russia was veteran Sen. John McCain. He had visited the Caucasian nation three times in a dozen years. When fighting erupted, the presumptive Republican presidential candidate got on the phone to gather details and issued a statement Friday summarizing the situation, tagging Russia as the aggressor and demanding it withdraw its forces from the sovereign territory of Georgia.

It took first-term Sen. Barack Obama three tries to get it right. Headed for a vacation in Hawaii, the presumed Democratic candidate for commander in chief issued an even-handed statement, urging restraint by both sides. Later Friday, he again called for mutual restraint but blamed Russia for the fighting. The next day his language finally caught up with toughness of McCain's.

Making matters worse, Obama's staff focused on a McCain aide who had served as a lobbyist for Georgia, charging it showed McCain was "ensconced in a lobbyist culture." Obama's campaign came off as injecting petty partisan politics into an international crisis. This was not a serious response on behalf a man who aspires to be the leader of the Free World. After all, what's so bad about representing a small former Soviet republic struggling to remake itself as a Western-style democracy?

The comparison between the two candidates served to emphasize the strength McCain's experience would bring to the White House in a dangerous world.

Obama's favored approach to international issues, diplomatic talks, failed to stop Russia's invasion. Vladimir Putin, a KGB bull in the former Soviet Union, wants to restore Russia as the supreme power of Eurasia and, to that end, bully former vassal states like Georgia out of their democratic ways. The fear is that Ukraine will come in his cross hairs next.

However the world's newest war ends, America's leadership must recognize and respond to the underlying dynamic of Russia's resurgent aggressive instincts -- the power bestowed on Moscow by its oil and gas riches.

While we don't get fossil fuels from Russia, Western Europe does, and the Kremlin's energy might is fueled by the worldwide demand for oil. Developing U.S. domestic energy sources and alternatives to oil will only enhance our national security and, by reducing the world's petroleum demand, undermine the economic, political and military advantage vast oil and gas reserves give to unfriendly powers like Russia, Iran and Venezuela.

Obama calls for transforming America's economy in a decade. He's got the right idea -- long term. But short term, this nation must push for energy security on all fronts -- now. That includes new offshore drilling for oil, which Obama loathes, and new nuclear plants, which he views with aversion. We can't just wait for breakthrough technologies for wind, solar and biomass energy.

McCain has got it right in advocating new offshore drilling and a federal push to add 45 nuclear generators over the next two decades. Given the evidence of Russia's energy-fueled aggression, he should abandon his opposition to drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve and to extending subsidies he favors for nuclear energy to include renewables.

As Georgia burns, we need to light a fire under all the talk about energy security and start doing what it takes to make it happen.

Friday, August 01, 2008

American Travesty

The linked story is to a fund raiser for the families of Ramos and Campeon. If you are unfamiliar with the case, these are two border guard charged in what amounts to a tainted trial of the shooting of a drug runner. The special prosecutor sealed key documents with the court's approval. When those documents were unsealed and shown to former jurors, they were appalled at the malfeasance and misplacement of justice. Now these families are suffering. They have lost everything. If you want to offer meaningful support, please consider donating to this cause. As for all the apologists for illegal immigrants everywhere, it's funny how emotional you are about keeping families together, but I guess that only applies to illegal immigrants, not citizens doing their jobs.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Obama is Just Scary

And just what, pray tell Mr. Obama, is the mission of the "civilian force" you propose? Are you going to enforce your socialist liberal values upon those who chose to oppose you? Will knocks at the door in the night signal your opponents precipitous demise? Frankly, having read history, this sounds like a little group that terrorized German Jews in the 1930's. So is that the kind of starry future you propose? I used to think at least that you were reasonable, but it has become obvious that the hubris from public acclaim and the money of those who want to control the United States from behind the scenes has led to into a very dark place indeed. Be afraid, America, be VERY afraid.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Whither Obama?

The linked blog brings up some of the doubts that are arising the longer this campaign persists. While there are some issues presented with McCain, Obama has been so hyped by the Democrats that the idea that he has weaknesses is almost alien. I think that's why you are seeing such shock demonstrated in the media regarding his recent statements.

What Does EXTRA----mean?

It used to be that extracurricular activities went on outside of school hours. That's pretty much the definition of the term. Now, coaches in the state of Texas want to make sure that student athletes can get credit for all four years of athletics. They site the danger of attrition if this doesn't happen. Really? Do you really have athletes dropping out of varsity football to take APFrench? I mean, it could happen, and I know kids who are in athletics and advanced courses, but is this really necessary? I think what bugs me is that this goes into the whole erosion of the class load. Right now in Texas students are required to take four years of the four core classes, plus economics, government, health, fine arts and two years of foreign language. That's a pretty full plate especially if a kid has to backtrack a couple of times. So why are coaches doing this? In my experience, coaches get hired first and fired last. Is there really that much danger of a coach losing a teaching job? Our AAAAA team has 75 students and TEN ASSISTANT COACHES!!! That's a 1:7.5 ration. Compare that with the average English class that has 32 students and the differences are amazing and appalling. I hope the TEA doesn't buckle on this because this smacks of being just another jobs program for coaches. They get precedence already, they don't need this ruling.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

And We're Supposed To Teach Their Kids

This story deals with a robbery. The 41 year old robber goes in to rob the Pizza Patron. He slaps a 17 year old, who was bigger than him. The kids goes nuts, knocks the guy out and starts wailing on him, when the other clerk says "Stop, that' s my dad." Yes, here's a girl who is working to earn money and deal old Dad and Mom are casing the joint for robbery. What is it that these people don't get? And now do you see why teaching is becoming so difficult, when we have parents who have no standards or ethics or morals and yet we are supposed to drag these kids to literacy in spite of their parents. Sheesh!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Tony Snow

It's with much sadness that I heard of the death of Tony Snow. He was only 53 and at the top of his game. No matter what your political views, Tony was always informed, genial and ready to talk. What I found truly appalling was the number of idiots who took the opportunity of his death to vilify him. There are people I don't like in this world, but I doubt very much that I would take the time to virtually dance on their graves. I hope his wife and kids didn't see some of the postings. In fact, the comments section of the Washington Post was removed, probably due to this travesty. Shame on you. I understand political differences, but I truly do not understand the kind of rabid behavior espoused by some political groups. I know I saw the same type of venom after 9/11-largely from California based PAC's. It's really ironic that Obama claims fear of a swift boat type action, but has been creating this type of politicial disinformation since Bush got in office. It makes it so much clearer why I cannot be a Democrat.

As for Tony, he lived a full life, saw a great deal of the world and loved his family first and work second. He died too young. Rest in Peace. Condolences to your family.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Your Democrat Congress @ Work

Last time elections rolled around, there was the overall feeling by the voters that they needed to cast off the Republican party. They didn't do it because things were bad, but instead because the media and the DNC told the American public they were bad. In the two years since the Democrats have taken the reins of Congress, precious little has been done in the way of creating progress. Pelosi is bottling up legislation that could make domestic drilling possible which in turn would eventually lower some of the cost of living. Instead, they are promoting only alternative sources for power. Never mind that the social elite, like the Kennedys, don't want their scenic horizons marred by wind generators. Instead they want them invisible, which of course means, out west. I am not sure how they are going to reconcile PETA's designation of wind turbines as detrimental to bird life. Likewise, we cannot use nuclear because of a move twenty years ago. We can't use hydroelectric power generation because of environmental PAC's that don't like it. Instead we are supposed to use the fluctuation nuances of wind power-which dies in the afternoon during peak usage, and solar, which isn't potent enough to generate power for more than an incremental amount of what we use. As for those electric cars, still limited by battery capacity and the hybrids still use gasoline. Here's what the Democrats have done for you. They have forced corn based ethanol, using bad science from Brazil's sugarcane based ethanol. They have bought votes from key farm states via subsidies. The results are that animal feed is higher, meaning all animal products from meat to dairy are also higher. Don't kid yourself, this isn't accidental. Part of the world wide green intiative is to cut meat consumption. I have even heard lectures on the news about how we are supposed to consider how much water it takes to produce food before we buy it.



"...The percentage of voters who give Congress good or excellent ratings has fallen to single digits for the first time in Rasmussen Reports tracking history. This month, just 9% say Congress is doing a good or excellent job. Most voters (52%) say Congress is doing a poor job, which ties the record high in that dubious category.

Last month, 11% of voters gave the legislature good or excellent ratings. Congress has not received higher than a 15% approval rating since the beginning of 2008....:

Full Article Here

Friday, June 20, 2008

Scandal Brewing OR Who's Under the Bus This Week

The media has given a free pass to the Democrats by and large because the president and Republicans in general were a more popular target for venom and ridicule. So here we have this economic situation fueled largely by dropping dollars from the mortgage "crisis" (did you ever notice how every liberal issue is a "crisis"?) Anyway, where is the outcry in the media about these stories? They go very high up in the DNC echelon and hardly anyone is giving them page one treatment. Where's the angst folks? Where's the accusations and calls for censure? Pay special attention to the very close alliance between current and former Countrywide executives and the Obama campaign. Heck, one of them is vetting potential VP candidates. *pensive" Do you think that the views potential candidates have toward litigation of the folks involved with subprime loans will play into who is chosen? Just wondering
Story One
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Saturday, June 14, 2008

About Eggs

(Cross posted at N.I.C.E.)
Remember when you were nine or ten and you sent away for the packets of seeds or greeting cards to sell? Remember how reluctant neighbors and relatives were to buy those seeds? But you had already made PLANS. You were going to buy a horse or travel the world or get a new mitt. You mother at some point told you
"Don't put all of your eggs in one basket." meaning that you can't assume that because something is supposed to work out one way, that you can insure it will work out that way.

Now consider ethanol. Our Congress has virtually forced corn based ethanol down our throats. Never mind that it was based on erroneous assumptions that we had endless supplies of corn. Never mind that the model it was based upon used more efficient sugar based ethanol. Never mind the way it slows down the refining system with the way it has to be handled. Never mind that corn is a source of animal feed and as such has forced the prices on all animal based food items to rise precipitously. No let's just go on our merry way and assume that because we are nice people and think good "green" thoughts, everything will be hunky dory.

Well boys and girls, everything is NOT hunky dory. In fact, with the recent rain and flooding, corn crop projections are lower. Do you think the good farmers and farm corporations are going to say no to ethanol subsidies? Do you think Congress will back away from keeping the likes of Al Gore and George Soros happy? Of course not. So read the story below and start finding a way to grow, hoard or otherwise obtain your own food because unless something changes soon (and not in the political acceptable way) food is going to skyrocket.

Story here.

Friday, June 13, 2008

New Blog

Because I have gotten fed up with the nonsense coming out of the minds and mouths of our elected officials, I have decided to start another blog for discussion of removing incumbents from office. When our founders were deciding who would govern, I am sure they didn't have in mind that anyone would willingly stay in office for an entire career. The system was designed that individuals would do their public service for awhile and then go home. What is missing from today's political scene is the going home part. How do we have anything remotely resembling true representative government when we have folks like Senator Byrd, who by all accounts is very feeble and only conducts subcommittee meetings with the oversight of his aide, or Ted Kennedy, who hasn't been coherent for years even before he became ill. It was never meant to be a lifestyle. Yet our elected officials get health care, retirement and other benefits that most of us can only dream about-and it's all on our backs because we are footing the bills. I will try to post timely links to articles supporting the premise that ALL incumbents need to go home. Right now much is made in the media of how low President Bush' rankings are, but few people know that Congress, the Democrat controlled Congress, has much lower rankings. They are doing nothing to benefit anyone but themselves and their cronies. So give it a look-see, the link is in the blog title for this article.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Who's In Your Corner (Not!)

You can turn on any newscast and the top story is the economy. The corollary story is the price of oil. Supposedly, people think the President has the power to "do something about the price of oil." Not so. The Executive branch can only act upon laws and bills passed by Congress. So what has Congress done lately to lower the price of oil? If the price is based on supply and demand, you would think that the reduced demand, as cited in the news, would help. Not so-the supplies were lowered by foreign producers to keep prices high. So the next step would be to increase domestic production. But the folks who are running the committees in Congress are now headed and filled with appointees from Pelosi and company. So what did the Congressional subcommittee do for you yesterday? They denied any drilling for oil of of Florida. But that's just for AMERICAN companies. It seems that Cuba, China AND India are all drilling from the same oil field just outside the 50 mile line from shore. The rest of the world is profiting from OUR resources, and then selling them back to us for a profit. The Democrat controlled Congress has done NOTHING to stem this, they insist on following a tangential line of quasi-environmentalism that is leading us to deny our own citizens a safe lifestyle. The case could easily be made that if, as many liberals contend, the war in Iraq was for oil, then what policy forced us to be so concerned about keeping safe our energy supply? In short, would we be in Iraq if environmentalists had prevented using our own coal and oil? And remember, while people can point fingers all they want at the White House, it's Congress that calls the shots. Oh, and by the way, the vote broke down by parties-Democrats opposing drilling, Republicans supporting it. Who's in your corner, really?

China Drills While Congress Piddles.
Subcommittee Rejects Drilling

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Everything You Know Is Wrong.

It's funny how politicians predicate their fortunes on what they perceive as a stable and unchanging economic fortunes. They assume that the poor folks they champion today will always be poor, and that the rich folks they villainize will always be rich. Well that's not exactly true. It seems that of men born in the bottom 25% of income, 32% of them end up in the top 25% of income. And vice versa. The Romans used to have a goddess called Fortuna, who was to be appeased for her flippant ways. Perhaps politicians would do well to recall that those they help now, may curse them down the road for punitive taxes.
Story here.
Excerpt-or how to be a high income wage earner:
"1. High-income households are not likely to consist of one person earning a very high income (as is often assumed); rather, they are likely to have two or more income earners:
-In 2006, a whopping 81.4 percent of families in the top income quintile had two or more people working, and only 2.2 percent had no one working.
-By contrast, only 12.6 percent of families in the bottom quintile had two or more people working; 39.2 percent had no one working.
(This is Important)-
The average number of earners per family for the top group was 2.16, almost three times the 0.76 average for the bottom.

2. Census data show a large difference in full-time work and in the number of weeks worked in a year.
-Less than one-third of families in the lowest quintile had a head of household working full-time; in the top quintile, more than three-fourths of families did.
-Thus, average families in the top group have many more weeks of work than those in the bottom and, in the late 1970s, the 12-to-1 total income ratio shrunk to only 2-to-1 per week of work, according to one analysis.

3. Workers tend to start out at a low income, increase their earnings with experience, and then have lower incomes late in their careers or in retirement. For example, peak earnings typically occur in the 35-to-54 age group. However:
-In the bottom income quintile, only one-third of households are headed by someone 35 to 54; whereas, in the top quintile, more than half of household heads are in that age range.
(I want you to consider seriously the large number of single parent families in certain demographic groups AND the much earlier age of first pregnancy for those single mothers-THIS more than anything is a predictor of poverty.)
-The bottom group also has a much larger proportion of household heads more than 75 years of age — 11.5 percent versus 2.3 percent for the top group.
(This is also the result of drug/alcohol abuse that has left many grandparents in charge of raising grandchildren. So the sex and drug revolution did produce some casualties.)
-The bottom also has more young heads of households ages 15 to 24 — 10 percent

So, if you want to be wealthy, get an education, don't do drugs or alcohol, and don't have babies out of wedlock. Gee, where have I heard this all before?

Monday, June 09, 2008

It's Not Easy, or Cheap, Being Green

An interesting break down of what Texas would have to pay in terms of higher costs for energy if certain measures make their way through Congress is Here.
The entire study is HERE
Just keep these number in mind when you vote.

Rewriting History

One of the scariest aspect of political correctness is the rampant attempt to force errant facts into the mix. Facts, as they say, is facts. Yet folks like Spike Lee play fast and loose with history and try to shape it into their own image. If this were a movie about the Buffalo Soldiers, it would be ridiculous and out of place to have Anglos, Hispanics and Asians in roles that they did not fulfill during that time in history. During WWII, like it or not, American forces were largely segregated. A majority of the soldiers who fought and died on Saipan, Iwo Jima and other islands in the Pacific were anglo. That may not go down well with Spike Lee, but once again, it's either factual or it's not. By the way, Lee's own racial tunnel vision is open to view because he failed to acknowledge one of the Iwo Jima heroes, Hayes, who was Native American. By the way, how many non-stereotypical, rhythmless anglo people has Lee featured in his recent epics? Isn't stereotyping a kind of racism? Where are the non-smart Asians and the legal upscale Hispanics in Lee's movies? I guess it's easy to throw down with someone who is forty years older than you, but when it comes to brass tacks, Lee, you don't have a clue what fairness really is.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Conquered From Within

In the bad old days of the Cold War, Moscow claimed that they would never need to use nuclear weapons, because they would ultimately conquer us from within. Likewise, the capture of American captives pushed Americans to vote Jimmy Carter out of office due to his lackluster attempt to deal from a position of equanimity rather than dealing with the preservation of the United States as his goal. So witness this spike in oil prices
Ask yourself a few questions-
Who is raising the prices?
Answer: speculators, foreign investors and producers-this is obvious because although consumption is dropping the prices continue to rise. As I have stated before, this is just the commodity equivalent of the flipping of real estate that precipitated the mortgage situation.
Who benefits from a weakening U.S. economy?
Answer: China, India, the Middle East, oil producing nations and Europe. By the way, someone might want to enlighten them to the legend of the "Goose and the Golden Egg."
Who bears the burden of cost?
Answer: American taxpayers
What could be the ultimate goal?
Answer: A crash on the American stock market with the goal being to overtake us economically, from within.
Who bears the burden/blame for opening our borders without imposing tarriffs and insisting on trade equivalence?
Answer: Washington-from Executive branch to the Congress they have opened our borders via NAFTA, they have refused to impose limits on illegal immigration which erodes our per capita resources. Someone needs to tell them the story about "The Emperor's New Clothes" and "The Little Red Hen".
You may think I am weighing in as an alarmist, but when you see the amount of investment in American companies by foreign investors, there is ample cause for concern. Congress can point fingers all they want at the White House, and there are reasons that the Executive branch has failed to stem this situation, but Congress has had a one party majority for TWO YEARS. And in that time they have done nothing to help develop companies and the related jobs on our own soil nor have they allowed Americans to find and use domestic resources for our own welfare. Isn't it about time we stop the beauty pageant nature of this campaign and start demanding some serious answers that don't involve smoke and mirrors?

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Crazy Much?

This guy obviously has some beef with his employment, but if this wasn't just a staged stunt, I wonder how close we were to seeing yet another in a series of workplace assaults. Frankly, I am surprised that it doesn't happen more often, especially in school settings. Strange days indeed. - Watch more free videos

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Grade Fixing

This isn't the first time that a prime athlete from a championship level high school team has had the path made smooth for them and it probably won't be the last. What I find troubling is how many administrators allow coaches to bully teachers into changing grades for star athletes. Many of these students are recognized for the athletic ability early in middle school. From that point on, it is a struggle between the easy life of allowing the system to cover or the real educational experience where you win and lose on the field and in the classroom. What is more problematic still is that the teacher who made this public had taken reasonable action to allow the student to bring up his grade, but the student seldom attended class. After the teacher returned the grade to a failing level, the student was moved to another, probably more amenable, teacher. A former English teacher from this same school confirmed this complaint and a petition of twenty teachers have met with the Dallas ISD officials for quite awhile to make this situation change. But in the end, due to site based management, administrators have a great deal of power in saying who will stay and who will go. The teacher that made this story public is going to see his job eliminated by, you guessed it, the administrator-Mrs. Dixon-who supported and instigated much of the grade changing. I know it seems like I am beating the same old drum, but people at some point we have got to stop glorifying athletics over academics. We aren't doing these students any favors by passing them up the line because at some point, their eligibility runs out. And without job skills, they will end up the walking wounded that haunt crack houses and show up on "Cops". I kid you not, I can see the writing on the wall with some of these students. It's pretty scary.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Educating Homeless Children

There is no question that our poorest children are not well served by our society. If their parents are well enough to have a job, the children often end up cycling through schools, relatives and addresses and the result is there is no continuity in their educational experience. It used to be that parents would try to stay in one place for most of their children's school years because of the old addage "Give your children roots, and wings!". These days, we have parents who think nothing of burdening very young children with the adult responsibilities of feeding, clothing and housing the family. This is the reason so many children drop out of school, to work. But in doing so, they also leave behind huge opportunities to learn life and professional skills which will help them avoid the pitfalls of homelessness. So in the linked story, Chicago schools are proposing to create boarding schools for children from homeless families. Right now there's a great deal of outcry regarding putting a wedge between parents and children. That is a concern. But what bothers me much more is that schools are already in the position of feeding, providing health services and providing after school care, so how much more can we provide or should we provide? I can see that there are economic concerns about providing housing and services for children, but on the other hand, aren't we practically doing that now?

Let's look at the positive side. Without having to strive to provide housing, meals and clothing for their children, homeless adults can get on with the business of healing and finding meaningful, sustaining work. And without having to shift schools on a whim, our poorest children will have the educational opportunities afforded by having a stable living situation. While this is definitely a solution that must have the bugs worked out, with the sword of AYP and NCLB, our schools have to demonstrate that ALL populations are improving. Sadly, that simply will not happen if children are relegated to homeless shelters with parents who cannot or will not take the necessary steps to improve their lives.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Our Demanding Society

The basic laws of economics centers around the
concept known as "supply and demand".

For example, let's say you really like Chocolate donuts, and in fact everyone you know likes Chocolate donuts. If there is only one donut shop in town (which in fact would be a local monopoly) they could charge five bucks a donut if they wanted, because there was no other way to get scrumptious, delicious, warm chocolate donuts. Now let's imagine if in this same town, a SECOND donut shop opened up. They could set their price at four dollars, which would still be high, but lower than the existing shop. The other shop would lose business and be forced to LOWER their prices in order to stay competitive.

Later on down the road, a corporate bakery makes donuts by the dozen, lowering prices because now chocolate donuts were plentiful and even though the local donuts were more expensive and probably tasted better, people were willing to take a lower quality product to save a few bucks, just so long as they had the appearance of being people who could afford chocolate donuts. The local stores would downsize or close due to the overabundance of donuts, allowing the corporate bakery to make ALL the donuts for the area. But with rising costs of retirement, insurance and disability, the corporation found itself top-heavy with overpaid management and overpaid line employees. So to save the brand at all costs, the company would fire domestic employees and move the entire factory overseas-where the managers would still get hefty incomes, but the line works were paid in dollars per week instead of dollars per day. The citizens still wanted to have those desirable chocolate donuts, but now in order to keep a profit for stockholders, the company has eliminated jobs that allow money to return to the economy.

On top of that, let's assume that Congress, concerned about the increasing girth of its citizens, decides to limit the number of yummy chocolate donuts that can be made in this country. Now imagine that a factory in Indonesia makes really cheap chocolate donuts. They could sell them for a dollar a DOZEN. That would drive out the local shops and corner the business with lower grade, cheaper quality chocolate donuts. Add that the dollars would only flow OUT of the country, creating an economic vacuum. They would outsell the American corporation, buy them out and before you know it, the only thing Americans have to show for their trouble is way too much of a belly from gorging on chocolate donuts. The only solution to save the economy is to permit chocolate donut shops to open and produce the SUPPLY that the public DEMANDS.

Now let's talk about gasoline. It comes from oil. A barrel of oil yields just about 17 gallons of gas. And that's before the spa style additives demanded by certain states. Believe it or not, we have oil resources in our national territory, but we can't access it. We can't even think about accessing it. And furthermore, if you read the web, we should feel virtuous for not allowing American countries to access American resources for the benefit of the American public. Who is running this show anyway and who is in their back pocket?

While I do think that corporate honchos are getting far too much compensation for what they actually do, and while there are probably layers of management that could disappear tomorrow without ill effects, the key issue to gas prices is SUPPLY AND DEMAND. Corporate profits have remained steady. You hear the astronomical numbers of gross income, but not the facts regarding the increased cost of everything from exploration to transport. Our economy demands oil and gas. And whether you like it or not, that's not going to change very soon. For all of the pie in the sky promises, there are few meaningful alternatives right now. You can talk electric hybrids, but there are still questions about the environmental impact of the batteries, and you can talk electric cars, but if you charge a car using conventional power sources, you are using coal or natural gas-both questionable sources in terms of the environment. We can't build nuclear, we can't harness enough wind or water power, we simply don't have a viable delivery system for biodiesel or other sources. In short, we are left stranded by the same Congressional do-gooders who claim to have our best interests at heart. Our Congress has patted themselves on the back for limiting exploration off of Florida, off of the West Coast, the East Coast and Alaska. Never mind that Castro and his friends are there pumping away to have oil that will be refined in Venezuela. There comes a point in time where you have to put aside your petty bickering to look at the greater good. What good comes of $4.00 per gallon gasoline? What good does it do other than make those who struggle even less able to survive. If you answer that it makes people use mass transit, then you are a self-centered boob. While it may allow some to consider those options, how many more will it limit in terms of their ability to hold a job, go to school or get medical services? It's time to be big boys and girls and allow limited drilling in ANWR, and on the coasts. And it's time to remind those folks in Washington, who's boss.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Danger of the "Over-Promise"

Most businesses, especially sales, will say that in order to keep customers happy, you don't over-promise. You don't promise things sooner than you reasonably think they can get there or you run the risk of making the customer mad. I am betting there's not a single person out there who went to a one hour photo booth and didn't expect their photos in sixty minutes. One of the biggest gripes people have regarding businesses these days is the lack of customer service, and disappointment over delivery, specs and such play into that.

Witness the Democratic National party line where they are promising virtually everything to virtually everyone. Because of the image of the DNC as the Big Umbrella party, their party platform must address every single demographic minority's view in order to maintain the perilous status quo. Be they gay or straight, atheist or fundamentalist, regardless of religion, union, job or gender, every single person's needs MUST be addressed, even when they conflict (as in the current primary race between a woman and an ethnic minority) or when they fly in the face of common sense. Take just one example-energy. The environmentalists have been violently opposed to nuclear power for decades even when their European counterparts embraced this source.
So that leaves
solar-which doesn't have the battery or generating ability to date,
wind-which has the same problems,
hydraulic-which is also being fought by environmentalists who want to do things like get rid of Glen Lakes Dam,
coal-which they don't like even though it is our most abundant naturally occurring source of energy
natural gas-no ability exists for average folks to access this for cars at this time.
biodiesel-which is being scuttled by higher source material costs
or oil-which Cuba and China are taking from right under our noses off the coast of Florida because the Congress and DNC are so much in the back pockets of environmental groups.

And this is just one issue. Pick another-single payer healthcare, the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, taxation, states rights, eminent domain, drugs, illegal immigration, voter ID-pick any issue and they have promised to any and all that their dreams will be fulfilled. Just as if the Magic Fairy showed up or a Genie in a bottle granted three wishes. But when you read such stories as those, there's always a catch or a moral attached. The moral to this story is that if you promise everything to everyone, somebody is going to be disappointed. And with the fervor and anger that has driven the last four years of media hype, if all that is on the winner's plate cannot be delivered in record time, there is going to be serious implications for the mid-terms. Lincoln said it best,
"You can fool some of the people all of the time,
and all of the people some of the time,
but you can't fool all of the people, all of the time"

Let's me add to that: "And payback is a *****"

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Israel: The Real History

It has been a constant puzzle why leftists and liberals, including some prominent members of the Jewish community, continue to support politicians that espouse the elimination of Israel. This has been a cornerstone of much of the foreign policy of the liberal side of the aisle and it continues to be a cause celebre for those who are either ignorant of the goals of Hammas and their ilk, or ignorant of their own status in the world. In short, why would someone like Barbara Striesand support the militant governments that would shoot her on sight simply for her heritage, whether she practiced her faith or not? Read this commentary, which is a very thoughtful and thorough analysis of the history of the creation of Israel and the history of its oppression by neighboring Arab states.
Commentary here

Who Is Making Money On High Fuel Costs?

It would seem that Hillary Clinton let the cat out of the bag by trying to get Congress to pass a fuel tax holiday. While the margin of profit that oil companies make has been pretty consistent at around 8%. Granted that's better than some companies, but much less than say, Google, which had a 25% profit. To quote from CNN-which is not usually an apologist for big oil companies-

"...Even though many oil companies are reporting record profits, many people forget just how expensive it is for energy companies to engage in the oil business.

The average net profit margin for the S&P Energy sector, according to figures from Thomson Baseline, is 9.7%. The average for the S&P 500 is 8.5%. So yes, energy companies are more profitable than many others...but not by an inordinate amount.

Google, for example, reported a net profit margin of 25% in its most recent quarter. Should we have an online advertising windfall profit tax?..."

CNN Money April 29, 2008

So exactly which entities have the most to lose if gas taxes are cut? Not the oil companies, their taxes are paid before it hits the pump. But local taxing umbrellas such as counties, states and even the federal government have a great deal to lose if such a tax holiday were passed. The Obama camp is trying to rally union opposition by citing the possibility of losing construction jobs. But then again, is this real shrinkage of the domestic job market, or will it give construction companies the incentive to stop hiring people who are not here legally? And when it comes to tax dollars going into Washington D.C. , Texans are only getting about seventy five cents or so for every dollar we send. So where's the rest of the money? We could go into the scenario from "It's a Wonderful Life" where the function of the savings and loan is explained, but the simply matter is that the money Texans don't get back in the form of projects is political payola for things like ethanol support subsidies, pet projects and celebrity endorsed programs which due to their cost only help the already wealthy. In short, while there's a noticeable reluctance to address the issue, the federal government, state governments and local towns and cities are reaping a bountiful harvest of sales taxes that become exponentially higher when they are based on per dollar sales. Everyone wins, except the consumer. Maybe someone should read them the story about the Goose that Laid the Golden Egg before all of our gooses are cooked.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Problems with Cults

I know that there are lots of different religions in this world.
I also know that there are lots of charlatans that take advantage of people seeking freedom from the pain of lonliness, isolation, pain or whatever.
I came across this testimony from a man, a fairly well known actor, who left the cult known as Scientology.
Here's my issue. I think that some so-called churches exist just for the benefit of the pastors or managers. I think that some so-called churches perpetuate a system of power over others with the sole purpose being to gain financially. There's no question that in any of the variety of polygamous groups, welfare fraud is a common problem. Likewise, cults prey on people who are missing something in their lives. And in the end, they become even less than they were. At any rate, despite the language, watch this video. It's pretty raw, but insightful.

Scientology: Jason Beghe Pt 2 from Mark Bunker on Vimeo.