Thursday, January 31, 2008

My New Personal Political Agenda

I am dismayed by the way the primary season has run out. We have Hillary Clinton, actively campaigning in Michigan and Florida-states whose delegates aren't supposed to be seated because they move up their primaries. We have main stream media that is shaping the battlefield for a race between John McCain and some democrat regardless of what the general population wants. We have small homogeneous states picking and choosing candidates for the rest of us based on their limited and largely rural backgrounds. We have this candidate casting stones at the others and in general, if you are like me, you are sick to death of it.

My candidate is out. I really think that Fred Thompson had the most concise and logical platform of ideas. But he didn't run the campaign to the media's liking and so dropped out. Giuliani too, not my favorite but an early frontrunner, was scuttled by a media which wants to heap laurels on two small states and begin the bickering and backstabbing on a national scale. And what of Texas and other states whose primaries are down the road past Super Tuesday? It would seem that our votes don't matter. It would also seem that the candidates simply do not care. Why should I waste time and effort voting for someone who doesn't even know I exist?

So here's my strategy (or stratergery if you prefer.) Since I consider Clinton a vindictive and dangerous nominee who has too much ambition and is too clever by half, in a McCain v. Clinton election, I hold my nose and voter for McCain. BUT.....In a McCain v. Obama race, I choose Obama. Why? you ask. Because:
1. This would lay to rest the use of the "race card" in all public and governmental events.
2. If you are going to elect someone with liberal causes anyway, you might as well go whole hog and pick one that has the liberal street cred. That way when the wheels fall off, it won't be the Republicans stuck holding the bag, again.
3. I think that Obama is calmer, younger and more detail oriented than McCain. His background as a professor would cause him to be more analytical, and although they may not like it, more conservative in the measures he chooses to take. Unlike Clinton, his background is constitutional law and he knows the structure of the government and the limitations of the office of President.
4. The election of Clinton would play into every negative female CEO stereotype and set women back fifty years.
5. McCain is simply not reasonable as has been demonstrated in a number of contradictory stances on many public issues.
6. Clinton has a great deal of political baggage and political payback. The POTUS and Congress are already at their lowest ebb-Congress being lower-than before in history. We really don't need a radical ideologue to cram a bunch of heavy handed programs down the throats of a weakly controlled and slavish Congress.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

How To Tell Governments Apart

This has been posted in various forms elsewhere, but bear repeating. I had actually not seen the second half of this before. It's funny, but sadly true. Thanks to Spikymaxx at MyFoxDFW.com.

"DEMOCRAT You have two cows. Your neighbor has none. You feel guilty for being successful.

REPUBLICAN You have two cows. Your neighbor has none. So?

SOCIALIST You have two cows. The government takes one and gives it to your neighbor. You form a cooperative to tell him how to manage his cow.

COMMUNIST You have two cows. The government seizes both and provides you with milk. You wait in line for hours to get it. It is expensive and sour.

CAPITALISM, AMERICAN STYLE You have two cows. You sell one, buy a bull, and build a herd of cows.

BUREAUCRACY, AMERICAN STYLE You have two cows. Under the new farm program the government pays you to shoot one, milk the other, and then pours the milk down the drain.

AMERICAN CORPORATION You have two cows. You sell one, lease it back to yourself and do an IPO on the 2nd one. You force the two cows to produce the milk of four cows. You are surprised when one cow drops dead. You spin an announcement to the analysts stating you have down sized and are reducing expenses. Your stock goes up.

FRENCH CORPORATION You have two cows. You go on strike because you want three cows. You go to lunch and drink wine. Life is good.

JAPANESE CORPORATION You have two cows. You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk. They learn to travel on unbelievably crowded trains. Most are at the top of their class at cow school.

GERMAN CORPORATION You have two cows. You engineer them so they are all blond, drink lots of beer, give excellent quality milk, and run a hundred miles an hour. Unfortunately they also demand 13 weeks of vacation per year.

ITALIAN CORPORATION You have two cows but you don't know where they are. While ambling around, you see a beautiful woman. You break for lunch. Life is good.

RUSSIAN CORPORATION You have two cows. You have some vodka. You count them and learn you have five cows. You have some more vodka. You count them again and learn you have 42 cows. The Mafia shows up and takes over however many cows you really have.

TALIBAN CORPORATION You have all the cows in Afghanistan , which are two. You don't milk them because you cannot touch any creature's private parts. You get a $40 million grant from the US government to find alternatives to milk production but use the money to buy weapons.

IRAQI CORPORATION You have two cows. They go into hiding. They send radio tapes of their mooing.

POLISH CORPORATION You have two bulls. Employees are regularly maimed and killed attempting to milk them.

BELGIAN CORPORATION You have one cow. The cow is schizophrenic. Sometimes the cow thinks he's French, other times he's Flemish. The Flemish cow won't share with the French cow. The French cow wants control of the Flemish cow's milk. The cow asks permission to be cut in half. The cow dies happy.

FLORIDA CORPORATION You have a black cow and a brown cow. Everyone votes for the best looking one. Some of the people who actually like the brown one best accidentally vote for the black one. Some people vote for both. Some people vote for neither. Some people can't figure out how to vote at all. Finally, a bunch of guys from out-of-state tell you which one you think is the best-looking cow.

CALIFORNIA CORPORATION You have millions of cows. They make real California cheese. Only five speak English. Most are illegal. Arnold likes the ones with the big udders"

Saturday, January 26, 2008

"Me-ism"-Why the Liberals Could Cause our Downfall

I think I will trademark the phrase. It refers to the modern phenomenon where many people think they are what my Mom used to call "the Bellybutton of the Universe." By that I mean, there are folks who think every condition of their waking and sleeping should meet their specific criteria of "good" even when that criteria is totally insane. I blame it to a certain extent on computers. It used to be that you logged on and the window looked the same every day. But then there came a time where people could change their window. They could personalize it-and so began the slippery slope. Now we can change our computer desktops, our cell phones even our charge cards to reflect the "real me". Is this a good thing or is this navel gazing taken to the extreme?

I see this a great deal in schools. We get notes from countless students who all seem to have life threatening kidney conditions that require unlimited access to the bathroom. I am not making light of kidney conditions, but the number of kids with these types of access to hallways and out of the classroom are on the rise. What happened to self-control, or-horrors-going in the more than ample time between classes? There are similar issues with grades. First of all, deadlines mean nothing. If Johnny has a club soccer practice and tuba lessons, then we shouldn't expect him to do his homework-or so the conventional wisdom goes. And heaven help you if a student fails a class because it is never ever EVER their fault.

It goes beyond the classroom. My kids work in a fast food restaurant. Grown people cannot give rational orders. And they quite frequently change their minds between the order and reception of the food. The result is the expectation that their every whim, no matter how outrageous or demanding, will be granted. My daughter quit her job recently after an event where a mother decided to pitch a fit because the fire laws forbade candles in the restaurant for her daughter's party. After bitching out my 22 year old and making two other servers cry, I have to wonder what this woman was trying to prove to her kids? Was she trying to prove that being a self-centered bully is the way to make it through life? I am thinking that is the case because we are raising a generation of children who have never been permitted to learn via experience. They are wrapped in virtual cotton, with parents hovering around them like putti surrounding a Renaissance creche.

On a global scale we have things like Leo Dicaprio telling us how bad we are for not allowing Gore's message of obedience to the Kyoto Accord. While I think we should always seek more efficient and less destructive forms of industry, it would seem that in signing the accord, we would be the only ones in that position. Then there is the question of animal rights. Like it or not PETA, your unwillingness to allow domestic drilling for oil in ANWR has as much to do with this war we are in as anything else. It's easy to say "oh let's just not drive" but that is not reality. Heck, gas is over $3.00 a gallon and I still see folks sitting in the parking lots after school waiting for their kids with their engines running. And by the way, if we did all magically stop eating meat tomorrow, what would happen to cows, chickens and pigs? Are they so endearing that PETA members would willingly take a cow or two home to their Soho loft? Would Paris Hilton turn over her backyard to homeless chickens? Would Al Gore advocate pigs as a means of environmentally safe transportation?

And by the way, the ethanol from corn that was crammed down our throats by Congress-it LOWERS fuel efficiency, it damages older cars and it forces the cost of corn-the main ingredient of livestock feed through the roof. And WHAT the hell did you expect to accomplish? Frankly, I don't know how anyone can look at one thing pushed through by liberals and still claim that they are a viable force. Oh sure, one might get elected, but mark my words, with a goofball Speaker of the House and an ultra liberal President, you will see riots, protests and possibly the biggest overturn of a Congress in history at the midterms. What will you do then?

Environmentalism and Forgetfulness

This from an owner of a supposedly "green" car:
From this site

"The Aptera is a new, much discussed vehicle, a gas-electric hybrid, that the developers claim will get around 300 miles per gallon of gasoline. It will retail for about $30,000. However, it makes sense only for someone who wants to show off his (or her or transgendered) environmental bona fides. As a money saver, it doesn't.

For example, I bought my car (a Japanese compact) ten years ago, and it was one year old at the time. I paid $11,000, which The Inflation Calculator says is about $13,600 today. Gasoline currently sells for about $3 a gallon. If I were to fill up the tank weekly (in reality I fill up far less often), the cost would be about $1560 a year. The Aptera's yearly gas cost would be only about a tenth of that, or $156, for a savings of about $1400 a year.

However, the difference in price between the two cars is over $16,000, so if an Aptera had been available ten years ago, and I had bought it instead, I would still not have saved enough money from lower gasoline costs to make up the difference. Furthermore, you're going to have to replace the Aptera's batteries every 8 years (I think) at huge cost. And even further, despite my car's status as a small car, it's a lot more solid and probably safer than the Aptera, which looks pretty flimsy.

The Aptera's price would have to come down considerably to make it price competitive with most current cars, and you'd still have to get over an aversion to driving in a cramped tricycle."


A comment logged in response to this post:

"I look forward to the day when horseriding as a form of transport make a comeback. That whole cowboy chic is very appealing, Brokeback Mountain notwithstanding."

Reference note in a study about transportation in New York City at the eve of the 20th century:
"The Automobile Age by James J. Flink. MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1998:. Sanitation p.136: Horse manure responsible for the spread of diseases in New York City. Flies which fed on manure also spread disease. Dead horses blocked streets."

The conclusion-too many people are so shallow in their knowledge and so lemming-like in their behavior, that they will buy and use products just because they claim a "green" status. Since our educational system has relegated the study of history to a minor status, we have countless people who like to pretend the Old West or the Victorian Era was a romantic wonderful time. They discount the scourges of disease, death, and danger which were always part of any person's life. Back then, there were no guarantees of survival past infancy. There were no safety nets, no social programs and no taxes to pay for such things. But this is the key problem that I have with so many of those who like to call themselves environmentalists. They want civilization to take a giant step back and they are willing to use any means necessary to do so. They are so ignorant of the realities of life without things like air conditioning, heating, cars, and such that they think doing without would be a picnic. People will do what they can as long as it doesn't negatively impact their lifestyle. And while those folks in the chichi mansions on Cape Cod and Malibu are really good about telling us little folks how we should do without, I doubt very much they would limit their own very large carbon footprints to do the same.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A Sad Day

I was very sorry to hear that Fred Thompson withdrew from the campaign trail. What a sad thing that the only consistent conservative in this campaign was left out of the main campaign largely by a mainstream media that would rather choose for us by only showing some candidates and not all. As for me, I honestly don't know who to support. I know that after reading some very offensive and taunting posts spammed on the Thompson blog, that Ron Paul will NOT be in my short list. Right now, Mitt Romney is looking the most fitting. I honestly cannot stomach Mike Huckabee-I don't trust him. And Rudy Giuliani is simply not going to make much headway outside of his strongholds. As for McCain, he might as well be a weathervane because he, like Hillary Clinton, seems to move in whatever direction the wind blows. Perhaps this is what the media wants, a clear shot to get Barak Obama and his socialist elite friends in office to gut our republic and make us into just another cooperative like the EU. What a sad day. There is still no candidate out there that represents the vast middle of America. We are represented instead by radical ideologues. It's a shame.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Economic Fear And Loathing

There’s been a great deal of economic angst in the Asian markets today, which leads many investors to face tomorrow’s open of the market with fear and loathing. But rather than rail against what may happen, it would behoove us to consider WHY this has happened.

First, like it or not, the United States is largely the world’s greatest consumer. We have the extra cash lying around to purchase a multitude of products that used to be made domestically, but are now made much more cheaply overseas. This is problematic because while our desire for luxury items appears insatiable, there is a limit to all good things. Many corporations deliberately chose to move off-shore to take advantage of cheap labor. Levi’s clothing is just one example; there are more. Other nations actively seek via embargo, trade agreements and treaties to limit imports from the United States. The U.S. in turn does very little to limit the inflow of cheap merchandise. Manufacturers who are greedy or lackadaisical can and have ended up importing shoddy and even dangerous product to the American marketplace. There are those who say the implementation of embargoes would further isolate and limit the American economy. On the other hand, such measures would discourage off-shoring of manufacturing, keeping those jobs here and while growth would occur more slowly, it would become more stable.

Secondly, with the dollar being cheap, there are many many investors from Asia and Europe who have taken on the economic risk of buying American companies. I know this for a fact because I know someone in my family works for one of these companies. The parent corporation is in the U.K. And because the dollar is so cheap, they have also bought many of the competing companies in this same industry. If the domestic economy slows down, those loans to purchase these companies will come due in overseas banks causing a ripple effect to the recession. On a global scale, it is exactly what happened with sub-prime lending. You have borrowers who aren’t quite up to snuff in credit, so the lending institutions or banks charge a premium interest, but defer that for five to seven years based on the assumption or blind hope that the economy will boom and the borrower will make enough money to cover the interest and principle from profit. When the economy slows down, these borrowers are forced to either consolidate companies, take assets and sell them while shutting companies or borrow more money at higher interest,further limiting their capital to grow the company.

Finally, if you look back at the first examples, remember how many times the United Nations would slap the U.S. with one hand but hold out the other for payment of the majority of programs. How many times has the U.S. offered aid for hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, famines and such without any sort of expectation of repayment? Think how some of those nations misused donated goods by filtering them through the black markets. Or note how others asked that our military personnel enter to deliver aid under the cover of darkness so that nobody would know the source of needed assistance. Our money is so welcome, so long as we don't show our faces.


We in the United States are being blamed for a failing global economy, while the rest of the world stands around wringing their hands waiting for someone to do something.They continuously raise prices on goods that are imported to us, restrict exports from us then worry that maybe we won't buy another flat screen TV for junior. They hold this odd expectation that even under the burden of too much regulation and what amounts to a plundering of our assets as an economic anchor, that we can simply pick up the pace and keep going. Everything has a limit. And an economy can only run hot so long before correction must occur. In addition, an economy is not a thing of concrete, it is fluid and runs on money as well as emotions. The stampede to recession has been orchestrated by the media just as it has been feared by overseas investors.

The entire scene can be explained by the story of the goose who laid the golden egg. The short version is that there was a farmer who had a goose who once a day laid a perfect golden egg. The farmer used the eggs to barter for things to improve his life. But that wasn’t enough. So he demanded that the goose lay more eggs. The goose tried to comply, laying as many golden eggs as it could. But even those numbers didn’t satisfy the greedy farmer. The farmer in fact believed the goose was holding out. So the farmer killed the goose, hoping to find golden eggs inside, but all he had left was a dead goose, end of story.

The U.S. is the goose. We have produced in spite of artificial limitations placed upon us by well-meaning but misguided ideologues who would rather see this nation fall into ruin than admit that we could use our own resources rather than extending our wealth to nations that otherwise would destroy us. But when the goose is no more, what happens? Where will those tribal chieftains sell their oil if the United States simply stops buying? Who will buy those expensive electronics from Asia, if nobody can afford the power to run them? Who will buy the glitzy sports shoes, the pricey toys, the bells, buzzers and gizmos, if America’s economy crumbles? We are constantly told how we are in a “global economy” yet when we go to such silly summits as the one held for eco-celebrities in the such South Pacific, it isn’t the other nations that must limit growth, but the United States. It isn’t the other citizens of the world who have to pay the freight, it’s Americans. And let me remind you, that for all the griping about American workers, we are still the most productive in the world-bar none. So when I hear that investors around the world are concerned about our economy, I rejoice, because maybe, just maybe they will get a clue that by cutting us off, they are slitting their own throats.


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Knee Jerk Environmentalism

Part of the problem with the furor that is Global Warming is that it stampedes the true believers into some poorly thought out alternatives. For example, those swirly bulbs that are being pushed contain MERCURY. There have been some claims that they may cause skin problems in people with sensitivity. What sort of disposal systems have been set in place for discarding these bulbs? And before you answer, I want you to consider that if a mercury thermometer is dropped in a high school classroom, the Hazmat teams are called out due to toxicity. I also want you to consider the toxicity of the battery packs of hybrid cars. They are about six times as large, and because our battery efficiency isn't quite what it should be to produce these cars, they still contain LEAD-another toxic heavy metal. While these batteries "may" last six to ten years, what will happen to the environment when these aging batteries begin to fail? And in addition, with a potential cost of over $3000 to replace these batteries, what will happen to cars that are traded in and not refurbished? And before you answer, remember that in some cases governments are giving rebates on such cars. Here's the deal, we have people who are intellectual sheep. While there may be some issues in the environment we can help, there are just as many we cannot. And our environmental "leaders" aren't helping matters. They have blocked the building of nuclear power plants (safely used in Europe for many years), restricted the building of refineries-all the while mandating that corn based ethanol be used to extend the fuel even while reducing fuel efficiency by 15%, and refusing to allow America to explore for oil within our own borders-allowing Cuba to exploit offshore oil fields in American waters. Are they just trying to totally dismantle this nation by their blind allegiance to whatever measure sounds good on paper?
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Friday, January 18, 2008

What's Wrong With Our Schools

Last night I finished grading exams. Sadly, one of the students who most needed to pass did not do so. There are several reasons why this occurred. As a student with learning issues, I did limit the number of potential answers for each question from five to three. I also provided all the classes with reviews and the answers to those reviews which went over all the material for the course. This student chose not to do the review and was really mad when I told her I had no more copies. I run off ten more copies of all papers than I have students. I have told them for awhile that when the papers are gone, they are gone. I gave her some options. She could get a copy of the review to copy in the library from another student. She could write down the words and go over them. Or she could have taken home a book and done her own review. She did none of these things. On top of that, she could have gotten ten extra credit points for a very small assignment that she had to get signed by her parents. She chose not to do that. She also simply did not do one entire part of the test, choosing instead to write notes to her friends. What could have been a marginally passing grade on the test of 72, instead was a 52. I am sure she will be upset, as will her parents, but for the wrong reason. The state of Texas gives few rights to teachers, but one of these is the sanctity of grades. Here is the dilemma. We have parents who have bought into the concept that if their children don't perform in class that it's not due to self-absorption or laziness, it's due to learning difficulties or the massively misapplied label of ADD. I have an ADD child so I know this exists in limited amounts. But there are far too many parents who would rather self diagnose and then get meds or a letter from their pediatrician that parents believe exonerates students from the full responsibility of the standard workload. That's a mistaken concept. Teachers do modify tests and assignments for these students, but the students STILL HAVE TO DO THE WORK. And that's a concept that too many parents and students do not get.

Below is a quote from a book I am reading by Dr. Maureen Stout. The title is The Feel-Good Curriculum:The Dumbing Down of American's Kids in the Name of Self-Esteem.

"...I started to remember other strange conversations with my colleagues. One of the more bizarre occurred at a faculty meeting at which we examined the results of a faculty survey on the purposes of public schooling. One faculty member responded that the schools should be like a womb for students. At first I thought his was a joke and, turning to my neighbor, was about to say what a good one that was when I stopped short. Rather than find this amusing, the group seemed to regard it as a profound statement regarding the public school, and all nodded grave agreement that schools should indeed be like a womb. You may well wonder what the meanst by that. Well, a womb is a warm, secure and insulated environment. The unborn child is protected and nourished until she is ready to face the world and, perhaps most important, no demands are made on her.
This is what professors of education believe school should be like: places in which children are insulated from the outside world and emotionally--not intellectually--nourished. We should expect nothing of them but give everything to them; they should be cared for, counseled, and analyze, and the whole school environment should center on their needs. Schools are no longer for learning essential skills or acquiring knowledge, but for cultivating what Daniel Goleman calls "emotional intelligence": the ability to get along with others, understand one's feelings and one's emotional hang-ups, and generally figure out how to deal with others effectively..."

First of all, the highlighted areas are my own, but I want to comments. Think how many K-3 schools refuse to use things such as rote learning or even numeric grades because of the fear of negative impact on students. Also, I want you to consider how many schools are actively controlling student activities such as meals. Think of how many schools will not allow peanut butter sandwiches for fear of a child having an allergic reaction. At some point, if this child NEVER has to account for what they put in their mouths, they will still have a reaction because they have never been taught NOT to eat the offending food. Instead other students have to do without to accommodate the needs of ONE STUDENT.

On a larger scale, how many programs within our schools are designed to conform to the needs of a few children over the needs of the majority of children? It's become a balancing act between parents who mean well, but who don't want to accept that their child isn't performing up to level, and administrators who fear parents' reactions when their child doesn't succeed. And while I can handle such issues in the classroom, more and more I am seeing kids who are not just tuned into their IPODS and computers all the time, but students who cannnot and will not read. I am going to make a prediction here.


My Prediction: Reading will become such a rarefied skill, that in many cases reading and writing will be given over to specialized technicians who are capable of these skills. Furthermore, the lack of true literacy will re-stratify the nature of our culture with those who are literate controlling the future and the fate of those who are not.

This is why it is very important to look at candidates for more than their views on the war or their political views. Anyone who accepts the concept of "it takes a village to raise a child" is also espousing the views of a nanny state mentality that wants to promote literacy only within those groups that support them. The idea is not to promote education, the idea is to usurp power.
Vote carefully.
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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

They're Here.....

Now the word goes out that in order to support our highway and bridge infrastructure, we need a 40 cent PER GALLON surcharge that will be administered by the government. Do you have any idea how much in taxes we are currently paying?

"The Federal Tax of 18.4 cents per gallon is collected in all states in addition to any state or local taxes on gasoline sales.

Gasoline taxes are levied in various ways in different states. Some states, such as Louisiana, levy a flat rate per gallon. Others charge a tax similar to a sales tax in that it applies to the monetary amount of the gasoline sold. Other states allow local communities to levy gasoline taxes in addition to any state taxes that might be levied."-

Source: American Petroleum Institute 1/13/05

On top of that, we pay state taxes to the tune of approximately 20 cents per gallon. And you can add to that sales taxes which are 8.25% of the total sale in our area. Now I ask you, where IS that money going? And how much in total taxes are we talking about? The first column is oil company profits in BILLIONS. The second column is FEDERAL taxes and the third column is STATE taxes. The last column below is TOTAL TAXES, in BILLIONS. And that is just for the years from 1977 through 2004. Where has the money gone? And you can't just blame President Bush because there have been LOTS of hand in the till.

Total

$643.0

$533.0

$810.1

$1,343.1

State and Federal governments profit from this at the expense of taxpayers. The amount of revenues that are returned to states is not equal to the amount sent to Washington D.C. So where is the money going? Well, when you hear different candidates discuss their many "ideas" and when you have candidates who embrace the concept of de facto socialism by supporting programs that amount to a "nanny state" environment, you will find that money paid into such things as social security, fuel taxes, income taxes and the like, become nothing more than a piggy bank to fund the over 10,000 earmarks that were in the most recent budget. That is TEN THOUSAND special programs, which various Congressional reps have tried to sneak into the program. And then they have the unmitigated gall to ASK FOR MORE? Folks, you had better be paying attention. They ain't no such thing as a free lunch. You can ask for "free" healthcare and "free" subsidy of loans to unqualified buyers. You can punish banks for failing to fund bad loans and then you can swoop in and give BofA a sweetheart deal to restructure the debt, but it doesn't take away from that one bottom line fact-

THE MONEY HAS TO COME FROM SOMEWHERE.

And where that money for programs is coming from is straight from your pocket.

So go ahead, support all those lofty programs and feel good about yourself. Self-esteem is a good thing. But it won't pay the bills. It won't build the roads. It won't feed your kids. It's going to be hard to explain to Junior that he can't go to UT because there are too many people from other nations in front of him. It will be difficult to explain to little Susie that there won't be any more extras in life because all the money will be gone. The spiral of inflation will accelerate and what passes for a Middle Class lifestyle will become a tenuous attempt to avoid poverty. And the way things are shaping up, that is EXACTLY what the liberals in America plan to do.

More information is here:

http://www.senate.state.tx.us/SRC/pdf/trans.
pdf

PS. Texans, you may want to note that although we are still a "producer state" to the extent that environmental groups will let us drill, we are only getting 77 cents on the dollar back in the way of highway funding programs. Anyone who has driven on I35 or I75 in the past five years can testify to the fact that our highways are crowded and getting moreso. Add to that the recent announcement that DART is trying to get away with yet another building delay-Carrollton's corridor was delayed three times-that makes it pretty clear that we don't matter at all to some people in Washington. Look at the map and see who does matter and think about how their politics shape up.

Map Here.
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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Here's the REAL Conservative

There's a number of people, especially in the media, that want to have this political race turn into a cakewalk for liberals. One way that could happen is to have a quasi-conservative win the Republican nomination. Huckabee, McCain, Romney and Guiliani all have a history that is less than stellar in regard to the true conservatism of lower taxes, greater opportunity, national security and dismantling of the nanny net social structure that is gobbling more revenue than it creates. Here's just one example of how some candidates are choosing to hide their political history and run as quasi-conservatives. Look before you vote. And while you are looking, consider a TRUE CONSERVATIVE-Fred Thompson.
Story here.

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Sunday, January 13, 2008

It's Going To Be a Bumpy Year

I am a Fred Thompson supporter. I think he's the only candidate in the race who plans on using the Constitution as the basis for his presidency. I have been leery of most of the other Republicans. McCain is too old, Romney too wooden and stiff, Giuliani is too jokey and insincere, and Ron Paul is just weird. Thompson is all we have ....
But things are starting to get contentious as shown in this video

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Friday, January 04, 2008

"Honor" Killings


We had a tragic double murder in our area this week. Two teenaged girls were believe to be killed by their father, a native of Egypt. He was upset that they were becoming "too American", that they wanted to date American boys and their bullet riddled bodies were found in his taxi at DFW airport. A candlelight vigil was held last night, which the girls' mother and brother attended. They are in hiding because the man who did this is running from the police. What was an area wide manhunt has now gone nationwide and will probably extend past our borders. And in our diverse upscale suburban community, this isn't the first recognized death of a woman by her husband based upon what amounts to tribal beliefs. A few years ago, a woman from Pakistan was burned to death and her husband caught trying to leave the country. We like to encourage diversity and support those who peacefully reside here. But there has been a change. Suddenly people don't want to assimilate, they simply want to export their brand of living here-never mind that that was the roadblock to success "back home" Why is this happening? Because within a small backward segment of humanity, there are people who think that women and children are owned and that the patriarchal legend of controlling every member of the family holds true in the 21st century. I have no doubt that he is being harbored by relatives or friends that hold similar sympathetic views. That is what is common in this situation. The murderer is a member of the family, the family will not turn him over to police. In a recent honor killing in Canada, there were a great number of public statements from the mosques of that area saying that this was NOT a feature of Islam. I agree in as far as that goes. But tribal beliefs, now being exported to other countries, is being tacitly supported by the silence of these religious communities. We are not privy to their worship, nor do they welcome us in any way that seems open or aboveboard. How long are we going to continue to allow these barbarians to exact what amounts to sharia law within our own nation. If executing a criminal who has done serious harm to others is wrong according to the ACLU and other groups, why is the silence so deafening in regards to the untimely deaths of women at the hands of their husbands?

I am not a huge supporter of Amnesty International or the UN. However, there is one area in which I believe they are right. Honor killings, bride burnings and other types of attacks largely against women are a serious side effect of illiteracy and ignorance. The reason that I am bringing this up is that I believe the tragic murder of two young women is directly related to patriarchal belief that women and children are chattel to be bartered and should be restricted and treated as such. When this type of cultural overlay runs up against modern freedom as practiced in the western world, there are going to be those who resist. This isn’t the first time we have had such an instance. There was a bride burning in Carrollton not so many years ago. And there is speculation that retaliation against women in arranged marriages is largely underreported due to fear or retaliation, lack of trust for authorities and little means of escape from what should be labeled as an abusive situation. Please note, this isn’t a byproduct of Islam, although many like to put it in those terms. Instead it’s a cultural phenomenon that has been perpetuated by tribal beliefs that supersede the structure of national laws. Although widely condemned, such honor killings as well as forced suicides are not unheard of in many parts of the world, most notably Asia and India. The movement of people to new lands has exported this barbaric system around the world. I wonder if police departments would look further into some disappearances, some redacted accusations and some “accidents” resulting in the death of a woman or child, if they wouldn’t find suspicious circumstances anticipating such a sad end. Here’s what I found in a short research. You can find more detailed and still sadder stories. I just wonder if we witnessed another such instance in Lewisville this past week.

As of 2004, honor killings have occurred within parts of various countries, such as Albania, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Ecuador, Germany, India, Iraq, Israel (within the Arab, Druze and Bedouin communities)[8], Italy, the Palestinian territories, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Uganda, and the United States.[citation needed]

According to the UN:

"The report of the Special Rapporteur ... concerning cultural practices in the family that are violent towards women (E/CN.4/2002/83), indicated that honour killings had been reported in Egypt, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan, the Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, Yemen, and other Mediterranean and Persian Gulf countries, and that they had also taken place in such countries as France, Germany and the United Kingdom, within migrant communities." [9]

Sharif Kanaana, professor of anthropology at Birzeit University states that honor killing is:

“A complicated issue that cuts deep into the history of Arab society. .. What the men of the family, clan, or tribe seek control of in a patrilineal society is reproductive power. Women for the tribe were considered a factory for making men. The honor killing is not a means to control sexual power or behavior. What's behind it is the issue of fertility, or reproductive power.[2]

An Amnesty International statement adds:

“The regime of honour is unforgiving: women on whom suspicion has fallen are not given an opportunity to defend themselves, and family members have no socially acceptable alternative but to remove the stain on their honour by attacking the woman.[13]

Islamic religious authorities prohibit extra-legal punishments such as honor killings, since they consider the practice to be a cultural issue.[15] They believe that since certain pre-Islamic cultures have influence over a number of Muslims, murderers of females use Islam to justify honor killing, but claim there is no support for the act in the religion itself. The death penalty cannot always be applied in the Sharia as murders are a type of "qisas" ("retaliation") crime 2-178. This means that the deceased's family should be offered the choice of capital punishment or "diyya" ("blood money") and no execution can take place without them opting for death. Because a relative(s) is usually responsible for the honor killing, it is unlikely that the deceased's family will punish one of their own for the crime.[16] However other punishments can be legislated and the murderer cannot pardon himself.[17]"

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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Those Who Do Not Learn History....

The story that is linked in the headline is one that interests me because it states some ideas that I have expressed in my classroom and to family and friends. There are those in our society who like the idea that history is dead. They see no reason to learn history, to know history or to take away any lessons from history. I think that's a huge mistake.

And there must be some credence to this because every successful military academy includes a history of war and battles that includes studying the tactics of the ancient Romans, the medieval Turks and the modern Japanese. What bothers me is that in the general population we have children and ADULTS that do not know their own nation's history, nor do they have anything other than a shallow grasp of the history of man. These same people can quote chapter and verse on the latest showing of "Heroes" or tell you the entire genealogy of the kids in "Gossip Girl", but they have no knowledge or interest in obtaining knowledge about the measures that created our modern society.


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