Saturday, March 24, 2007

Stroke Scares Family - Mother-In-Law Visits Emergency Room

My mother-in-law suffered a small stroke last week and in the process gave the entire family a big scare. She is 71 years old and has suffered few medical problems over the past few decades of her life. These small “mini strokes” are very common in older folks and many times occur with the absences of major symptoms such as a noticeable decline in motor skills or paralysis in either the arms or legs. Luckily, my niece was visiting my mother-in-law when this small stroke happened and she noticed right away that something wasn’t right with her grandma and called her mother to report grandma’s symptoms.

After many tests were run at the hospital, the doctor reported that my mother-in-law had suffered a small stroke and that in her case, short-term memory was effected instead of motor skills and/or speech. These were the symptoms my niece noticed when she was visiting her grandma. Over a period of just a few minutes, my mother-in-law could not remember where the milk and chicken in her refrigerator came from, even though she had just purchased them at the grocery store the day before. Then after further questioning she did not remember her brothers visit or my wife’s telephone call only one hour earlier.

My uncle suffered a stroke about six months ago, so I remember many of the symptoms that surround this medical event. His stroke resulted in more side effects and required several months of rehabilitation. The doctor recommended treatment for both my uncle and mother-in-law revolved around blood thinning drugs like aspirin and the close monitoring of blood pressure and salt in the diet. With all things considered, my mother-in-law was very lucky she only suffered a small stroke with few side effects. I look at events like this one as a wake up call for everyone one of us when it comes to our own good health and mortality.

My wife and I have both decided to start taking 81 milligrams of aspirin each day as a preventative measure against future strokes and heart related problems. This simple medication, discovered years ago to treat pain, has turned into one of the best preventative medications ever found in the treatment of stokes, circulatory problems and some types of cancer. I hope and pray that my mother-in-law lives a long and healthy life, because she is a wonderful person and one of my best friends. I was telling a coworker last week about how blessed I was to have a nice mother-in-law because I know many other people have less favorable things to say about their own mother-in-law.

Related: Life After Stroke, Uncle Suffered Stroke, Sharon Near Death, Aspirin Ibuprofen Study, Pain Reliever Issues

Sunday, March 18, 2007

President Bush Tries To Revive Dead Immigration Reform

President Bush is back in the United States after a tour of Latin America where foreign leaders lectured him about US immigration policies. The President is in favor of liberal immigration reform that if enacted would be a huge amnesty program for tens of millions of immigrants that migrated to the US illegally. Without much doubt, most Republicans are in favor of stronger border enforcement, which puts President Bush at odds, once again, with his political base in the GOP. Personally, I like the ideas put forward by President Bush on immigration reform, but very few other Republicans feel the same way.

Now there are even some misgivings among Democrats on immigration reform and as one television commentator stated today, if the Congress and President can not get meaningful immigration reform passed by the end of this summer, all hope will be lost for passage because of the 2008 presidential election season. The problem I have with President Bush’s stand on illegal immigration from Mexico is that his policy is in complete conflict with his stand on other types of immigration from other countries. By allowing the US border with Mexico to remain relatively free of enforcement, the United States is setting itself up for an increasing number of terrorist to enter the US via the US/Mexico border.

President Bush most likely remembers what happened to Governor Pete Wilson in California when he lead Republican efforts to deny social and health services to illegal immigrants in that state. The resulting backlash against all Republicans in California was swift and lasting even until this date in history. However, politically correctness in California is often times no where close to the same thing in other more conservative parts of the United States. The immigration issue could tare the GOP apart if not handled in the right way and I do not believe inaction is the proper course of action for the GOP or Democrats in Congress. There are so many political games being played right now between Republicans and Democrats over the Iraq War that very little is being said or done about illegal immigration.

The longer it takes the federal government to step up and do its job in reforming immigration laws, the more local city governments will be passing their own laws both in favor of and in opposition to how immigrants will be treated in their city. As this continues to happen, the entire country will start falling into chaos because disputes between cities will most likely start to break out because the federal government has not set up a unified standard of conduct when dealing with people that immigrate to the United States illegally. I know immigration reform is a political “hot potato”, but the first politicians that comes up with a good and fair way to reform the system while at the same time proposing new and better ideas for protecting the US southern border, will be viewed as a hero by both sides of this tough political issue.

Read more about Immigration: Laws, Politics, Fence, Mexico, Latinos, Compromise, Reform, Congress, Legal, Frustration

Dead Immigration Reform

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Living In Fantasy Land - Hollywood Tabloid Style

It never fails to amaze me that hundreds of new people visit this blog when I write something about Hollywood and the rich and famous people that call that strange city home. Inside most people there is a desire to live a life of leisure without the constraints of low bank accounts and morality restrictions. Of course, most people consider the lifestyles of Hollywood celebrities to be something more of a fantasy being brought to life instead of anything real. Most people around the world are bored in their everyday lives and as they go through this boring existence, something exciting like a Hollywood actor or actress getting out of control does help break up the boredom of the day.

The daily tabloid television shows like “Inside Edition”, “ET” and “The Insider” have found themselves with loads of new material to report on the last few months. From the death of Anna Nicole Smith, to the near breakdown of Britney Spears to some of the strange behavior of some at the Academy Awards, there has not been a lack of juicy little stories to report to an eager American public. The latest rumors going around television tabloid shows is that Britney Spears has found love in her rehab center and while this may not be big news, it does help, at least a little bit, to explain why she has been acting in a strange way now for many months.

It is pretty clear that Britney Spears is suffering from some kind of co-dependency problem and while I am not a doctor or a medical professional, people who suffer big breakdowns after a big breakup are most likely people who suffer from this problem. Early in my life I found myself with this same type of co-dependency problem after my first marriage ended in divorce. Of course, I did not discover this fact on my own, but only after hours of intensive therapy did I discover and later correct this issue that had dogged me my entire life. Since money is no object for Britney Spears, if she kicks her drug and alcohol habit and receives medication and treatment she should be able to rebuild her life in the right way.

Another big story that everyone is talking about is the ongoing paternity battle over the late Anna Nicole Smith’s young daughter. In a world of accurate DNA testing this whole issue should be a non starter for the tabloid press, but since Anna Nicole lived in the Bahamas instead of on the mainland of the United States, legal problems with Bahaman law are starting to show their ugly heads right now. What is at the heart of this paternity battle is one man by the name of Howard K. Stern and his desire to raise a child that is most like not his own for the single purpose of having a claim on millions of future dollars Nicole Smith’s estate will inherit. It is difficult for me to see Howard K. Stern on television without getting sick to my stomach. While there is no proof as of yet that he was responsible for the death of Anna Nicole Smith or her son Daniel several months ago, the whole situation surrounding both deaths do stink to high heaven in my opinion.

Tabloid television should have a field day for the next six months to a year just covering the Anna Nicole Smith and Britney Spears stories without anything new popping on the scene. However, there will be new stories happening because that is what always happens when fortune, fame and Hollywood are all mixed together.

Read more about Hollywood: Narcissism, Drugs, Oscars, Britney, Cruise, Choices, Movies, Anna, Lohan, Federline

Hollywood Tabloid Style

Daily Archives: | 02, 04, 07, 10, 13, 16, 19, 22, 25, 28

Conservatives Urge President Bush To Fight Back

Most politicians never sink below 30 to 35% in public opinion polls because the political base of their party is very reluctant to abandon a fellow member. However, in the final two years of the presidency of George W. Bush there might be a total and complete meltdown in political support of his presidency because, on the street, I am hearing even staunch supporters of George W. Bush starting to waver in their support of the President. There are many different reasons why a political party’s base will abandon the party leader and President George W. Bush’s father was the last to see enter party erosion of this political poll numbers.

The first President Bush lost support of base Republican voters because he lied to them with his “no new taxes pledge” at the GOP convention. There are very few things that will cause the party faithful in the GOP to abandon their leader quicker than an outright lie to the base. Another recent President that lost the faith of his political base was Richard Nixon when he got caught up in the “Watergate” scandal back in the 1970’s. The reason President Nixon was shunned by his own party faithful had less to do with the crimes he committed and much more to do with the cover-up and the lies that followed as he tried to sliver out of personal responsibly in the whole Watergate fiasco.

Yesterday, Donald Trump joined hundreds of others around the country in calling President George W. Bush the worst president in US history. I am starting to hear comments like Trump’s from other regular Republicans as well and if President Bush doesn’t do something soon to improve his image with the GOP based he is in real danger of going down in history as one of the worst President’s of the United States in the history of this country. What could be the catalyst for the final plunge in public support for President Bush is the whole “trumped up” scandal revolving around fired US Attorneys. In a move the still surprises me, President Bush is sounding like a guilty man when it comes to these legal firings instead of defending his constitutional right to fire these government employees at will. The political base of the Republican Party is confused and angry that President Bush is acting like a lamb, instead of a tiger when it comes to his powers as President of the United States.

If President Bush does not stand up and start fighting for what is right in the United States, soon, he will lose the support of the 20 to 25% percent of hard-core conservative Republican voters. If and when that happens his political poll numbers will drop like a rock and he could very likely go down in history as the worst US president. If this happens it will indeed be a sad story in future history books as both he and his father both squander public approval ratings in the 90% range and ended their political careers with the American people desiring to see them leave office sooner rather than later.

Read more about President Bush: Polls, Iraq, War, Troops, Barney, Change, Pelosi, Politics, Father
Related: Republican Frustration, Right Wing Politics, Changes In Congress, Rudy Takes Lead, Church State Issues

Bush Fight Back

Political Extremism Rules - Where Are Moderates?

I remember hearing Nancy Pelosi say that within the first 100 days of a Democratic control of Congress there would be a “minimum wage” increase. Well, it has been over 100 days since the Democrats have taken charge of both houses of Congress and I have not heard anything lately on the news about the minimum wage going up anytime soon. What I am hearing is a bunch of junk about stopping the Iraq War with non-binding resolutions, which is a total load of crap in my opinion. Pelosi and other Democratic leaders promised more than they could deliver on the Iraqi War situation and hard core liberals are holding their feet to the fire trying to force them to live up to the promises they made. In the process, good ideas like raising the minimum wage are getting push aside in favor of stupid non-binding resolutions to stop the War in Iraq.

I am becoming more convinced every single day that neither major political party in Washington DC is able to come close to making good on the campaign promises they make to voters every two to four years. Everyone in both party’s work overtime to try and make themselves look good without doing one darn thing to make changes to the status quo. Right wing radio talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh are having a field day bring the inaction of the new Democratic Party to the attention of the American people, but what Rush isn’t pointing out so clearly is that the Republicans have done a bad job as well when they were in control of Congress. The American people are fed up with both the Republican and Democratic Party’s and desire a third alternative to just more of the same.

Several months ago I wrote here about my desire to see Rudy Giuliani run for the presidency as an Independent candidate. While that was not meant to be in 2008, there is still a huge vacuum that needs to be filled in US political leadership. The correct road to rebuilding American will not be found traveling either left or right, but instead down the center of the political spectrum. There was a time in the United States when extremism was treaded like a dreaded disease. However, in recent years the kooks on both the far right and left have somehow got in charge of running the federal government. I believe this happened because the vast majority of voters became disillusioned with both major political party’s when the sold out to their various extreme elements and stayed home on Election Day because of the lack of moderate choices.

The United States is like a large ship in the Ocean. It will take years for this great country to right itself and get back on the correct moderate track when it comes to political elections. Right now all that is happening every two years as the US House of Representatives turns over is one extreme replacing the other instead of the real changes that are needed. I for one am tired of having such a limited choices when it comes to political direction in Washington DC and I doubt if I am alone in wishing that real moderates would create a third party and draw the best talent available from the GOP and DNC to lead this new party for moderation. The United States voters are interested in real leadership at this time in history and just more of the same from the Democratic and Republican Party’s is not leading us to where we need to go in future years.

Read more about Moderates: Hope, Race, Rudy, Election, Pelosi, Compromise

Where Are Moderates?

Friday, March 16, 2007

US Style Economy - Downside To American Capitalism

Whether everyone likes the idea or not, the United States form of capitalism does have some draw backs to go along with the positive effects of competition. One of the biggest draw backs is being felt right now by shareholders of public companies that were involved in the “sub prime” real estate lending market. When inflation became a concern, the US Federal Reserve did what it always does and starting raising interest rates. During the years of low interest rates many leaders decided to toss the old rules for borrowers out the window and adopted new rules that allowed almost anyone to receive a home loan with little thought about the future.

Like always, the future does appear eventually and its time is now. The year long actions by the US Federal Reserve to increase interest rates is now leading to record home foreclosures and in the process many mortgage brokerage companies are coming up short on their balance sheets. Another effect of higher mortgage interest rates will be a reduction in home construction and that trend will cause employment to suffer in upcoming months. The US economy history is filled with many “boom and bust” periods and the US real estate market is just the latest to travel down this road. Low interest rates inflated the construction jobs markets and caused a glut of new homes around the country, many of which cannot be sold for a profit at this time.

Along with the euphoria of the housing market of the last decade will now come pain as the real estate and home mortgage markets begin to cool off once again. Modern times are very much different than they use to be because with the advent of fast and easy credit, downturns in something as huge as the real estate market will have a larger effect on the United States than they did in future corrections. In the upcoming months, many companies involved in the real estate loan market will fail and those failures in return will cause many people to lose their jobs, but the upside is that the glut of new homes will slowly be reduced to the point where this whole cycle will start all over again. People that fail to study history and US business cycles will fall prey to these normal patterns and jump back into real estate speculation again once this downturn bottoms out and prices start rising again.

In the upcoming months we should all prepare ourselves for many stories on television news and in newspapers about the pain that is being felt by people involved in the real estate market and in the home mortgage business. These stories will sound very similar to the one we heard about ten years ago when the US stock market went through a similar downward spiral. Rather than being a “chicken little” and declaring that the sky is falling, the truth is that “boom and bust” cycles are the norm in the US economy and while most folks would prefer a more balanced way of doing business, that is impossible in a US styled capitalistic government where competition will always rule the day.

Read more about the Economy: Cools, Spending, Rates, Declines, Cycles

US Style Economy

Daily Archives: | 02, 04, 07, 10, 13, 16, 19, 22, 25, 28

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

General Peter Pace Makes Homosexual Comments

General Peter Pace, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has found himself in hot water recently over the issue of homosexuals in the military. All general Pace said was that “he believed homosexuality was immoral”. While millions of Americans agree with his statement, his comments have started a firestorm of criticism and debate among other people that do not agree that homosexuality is immoral. It is difficult for me to believe that a man could raise to the position of “Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff” and not realize that saying such a thing would cause his words to be used against him by people that disagree with his stand on this issue.

There are two things for sure in this discussion. First, there are gays in the military and second, there will continue to be gays in the military no matter what General Pace or anyone else says about this issue. I remember when President Clinton was in his early days as President of the United States and he tried and failed to get homosexuals the right to live openly in the US armed forces. Eventually, President Clinton adopted the “don’t ask, don’t tell” plan that is still in effect today. With all of the real world problems facing the US military in Iraq these days, why the “Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff” decided to make such a blunder at this point in time is beyond me.

Too many times politicians in Washington try and change the subject, when that subject does not play well for them in the press. Right now, the War in Iraq is not a pleasant subject for the Bush administration or the military, so maybe General Pace would prefer to talk about gay soldiers than to discuss the current military’s role in a bogged down war? No matter what General Pace was thinking when he made his comments the other day, his comments have backfired on him and most certainly his days as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are not numbered in days, not weeks or months. General Pace’s position at the Pentagon is a purely political position and he knew that fact before he accepted the job.

When high ranking members of the US military are spending their time thinking about whether other members of the military are homosexual or not, they are taking valuable time away from planning victory in Iraq or even fixing problems at military hospitals. I like General Pace and I hate to see him leave his position as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but he knew his comments would explode against him and now he will face the wrath of an angry nation that is not exactly on friendly terms with Pentagon leadership right now because of the Iraq War. The job of the military is to fight and win wars, not debate the morality of homosexuality in the US armed forces.

More about the Military: - Violence, Rumsfeld, Coverage, Drinking, Dead

General Pace Comments

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Stuck In Iraq - Bush Poll Numbers Continue To Fall

If any casual observer still had doubts about how low the publics trust and confidence has dropped for President Bush they only need to look at the latest poll numbers released this morning by CNN about the War in Iraq. For the first time in my memory more people want the US Congress to run the US war effort in Iraq than the President of the United States. Of course, if the American people are upset with how the War in Iraq is being fought today under the leadership of President Bush, they certainly would be depressed if Congress took over the daily operations of that war.

I think what this new poll is really saying is that the American people are tired of watching young Americans dying in a war without end and most people doubt the real intentions in President Bush’s heart when he made the decision to attack a nation that had not attacked the United States, first. No one with a decent education really believes the US Congress would do a better job at fighting a war than the President. It is the large amount of public distrust in President Bush and VP Cheney that is driving this frustration. After 911, most people in the United States from all political stripes put their faith in President Bush to right a wrong after our nation was attacked by terrorist.

In the months after 911, many Americans who did not vote for President Bush learned to respect his leadership of our country during those long depressing days and most people respected the way he went after Osama Bin Laden when it was discovered that he was the person responsible for 911. However, a short time after 911 the Bush administration was already setting it’s sights on Iraq and in the end, I believe, they used the public anger over the 911 attacks to settle an old score with Saddam Hussein, that lingered after the first Gulf War. Most Americans believed in their President during those initial days and months after 911 and it was relatively easy for President Bush to talk the American people into almost anything after that terrible attack on the American homeland.

Now we find ourselves in a terrible situation in Iraq and while the conversation among political partisans has evolved into a “cut and run” versus a “stay the course” strategy; all most Americans see is a war without end where young Americans are dying every single day for no reason. It would be a terrible decision for the US Congress to try and run the war effort and most people understand that fact down deep inside when they take the time to think about it. However, the trust in President Bush’s leadership has dropped so low that almost anyone would be preferred to lead the war effort over him. I do not know what was in President Bush’s heart when he took this nation to war in Iraq, but I do know that the whole Iraq War situation has turned into a national disaster for the United States.

It would be stupid to pull out all US troops at this point and it is equally stupid to increase troops there, as well. I believe Iraq is in a classic civil war situation and no amount of troops will be effective in that country until the citizens of Iraq decide they are tired of killing each other and start learning to accept the differences of their neighbors. Until that day comes, the United States is stuck in a country with a “no win” situation and everyday our nation is stuck in Iraq with no solution in sight will be another day most Americans will continue to blame President Bush for talking us into going to war there in the first place, without thinking out the post war consequences in advance.

Read more about Iraq: - Troops, Failure, Civil War, Lost Cause
Read more about Bush: - Obsession, War Plan, Draft, Stubborn
Related: Bush Fight Back

Stuck In Iraq

Hillary Clinton First - Then Barack Obama - GOP Plan

The powers that be in the Republican Party have a game plan for victory in 2008 that can be found Monday-Friday on hundreds of radio stations across the United States. I call this plan the first Hillary then Obama plan because it is difficult to take down two candidates as different as Clinton and Obama at the same time with the same rhetoric. No person has ever been opposed more than Hillary Clinton has been by the far right wing of the Republican Party. Hard-core conservatives have hated Mrs. Clinton since before her husband was elected as President of the United States. Just when staunch conservatives had victory in site in 2008 running against Hillary Clinton, then Barack Obama appeared on the scene to offer a real life alternative to Senator Clinton. Right now, conservative radio talk show hosts are trying to build Barack Obama into some kind of “Superman” because he is challenging the once thought inevitable nomination of Hillary Clinton as the Democratic candidate for President of the United States. However, don’t be fooled by this bait and switch tactic. If Obama becomes the front runner for the Democratic nomination these same conservative radio talk show hosts will turn on Obama in a heart beat and mock the failures of Senator Clinton at the same time.

Conservative radio talk show hosts are really nothing more than “talking heads” for the RNC and other conservative organizations. While Rush Limbaugh and others will try and convince their audiences to the contrary, they are really nothing more than convenient puppets to the real powers that be in Washington DC. The reason this is so apparent to me is that radio talk show host like Limbaugh know their enemy so well. How is it they know how liberals operate if they do not operate the same way themselves, but for a different master? The past few weeks Rush Limbaugh and other conservative talk show hosts have found a way to magically say the exact same thing, but using different words. Could it be less of an ideological approach to the Clinton and Obama campaigns and more a GOP head game toward the so-called party faithful? You will have to be the judge of that, but my opinion is that right wing radio is just another tool of real heavy weights in Washington DC within the Republican Party and their number one goal is to win at any cost.

I am not a big fan of either Senator Clinton or Obama and most of their stands on the issues of the day are far too liberal for my pallet. However, over the past six years I have learned not to trust conservatives either because of the leadership of President Bush and some Republican Members of Congress and yes, some radio talk show hosts as well. Most of the time ideologues control all aspects of leadership in Washington DC and I personally am tired of both sides of this tired old conservative v. liberal debate that pits both sides against each other as enemies. Once again, I hope and pray that some kind of moderation will be found in congressional and presidential leadership in the near future. While Obama and Clinton fight it out for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States, the other side of extremism, in the GOP, is trying to raise its ugly head and derail the Republican front runner Rudy Giuliani from getting his party’s nomination because he isn’t the same type of conservative as Limbaugh and Bush.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again. The time is right for a middle of the road politician to lead this country. From where I sit the only candidate that can both protect this land from criminals and terrorist while at the same time push moderate social values is Rudy Giuliani. In my opinion, this mans time has come and he can and will win the general election in 2008, if GOP extremist don’t derail his candidacy because of their extreme ideology.

Read more about Barack Obama:

Hillary Under Attack From Barack Obama
Barack Obama Against Most Military Action
Oprah Helps Barack Obama Raise Money
More People Contributing To Barack Obama
Barack Obama The Money Raising Machine
Obama Bores Voters
Obama Receives Protection
Obama Schiavo Comments
Barack Obama Hype

Monday, March 12, 2007

GOP Candidates Debate Church State Issues

Fred Thompson, former Senator from Tennessee turned star of the popular television show “Law and Order” is considering a run for the Republican nomination for President of the United States in 2008. Thompson has a very likable personality and he is a “true blue” conservative that religious right voters will most likely love. With the runaway success of former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani in recent polls, I didn’t think it would take long for religious leaders to find another candidate to challenge Giuliani in the upcoming Republican primaries. Fred Thompson should make for an interesting candidate because of his abilities as an actor and a staunch social conservative. However, I believe most Republicans are ready to go in a different direction right now and while religious conservatives pretty much had their run of the Republican Party for the past six years, many folks in the GOP are ready to see the Republican Party move in a different direction.

The very idea that Giuliani is able to poll so high with social conservative voters in spite of his stand on abortion and gay marriage proves that even hard-core social conservatives have seen the light and realized that religion belongs in the home and churches and not in the halls of Congress or the “West Wing”. It is difficult for people with strong religious beliefs to not express those moral values when they show up to vote for candidates. However, there is a danger in allowing religion to become too entrenched in government and that is why for centuries people of faith have worked hard to keep church and state separate. President Bush ran for office and proudly expressed his Christian views during the campaign. However, during President Bush’s term in office I have become concerned with some decisions he has made as President with the Terri Schiavo decision at the top of that list.

There are hundreds of religions that populate the world and they are best practiced in family homes and churches around the country. A belief in God is something almost all Americans hold in one way or another and in my opinion that is a good thing. However, many religions are in conflict with each other and while everyone that has deep religious convictions believe their idea of God is right, many others will have a different view of who and what God stands for. This is why any President of the United States should put his own personal religious beliefs in the background when he serves as President of the United States. Non Christians are suspicious of President Bush in the same way devout Christians were suspicious of John F. Kennedy when he became the first Catholic President.

The good thing about Rudy Giuliani is that he is a tough leader that knows how to fight crime effectively and I have no doubt he will bring that same toughness to the war on terrorism as well. However, Giuliani will not try and bring religion into the White House and impose a certain faith of religion on the American people. I think it is great that some people have a strong religious faith as their foundation for life and there is no doubt that a faith in God has helped many people recover from negative influences in their life revolving around immorality and substance abuse. There is a place for religion in the United States and that place is the home and churches around the country. Religion has no place in government and as history has proven time and time again, when church and state become too interconnected, society will most certainly suffer negative consequences.

Read more about Religion:

Religion Gone Wrong
War About Religion
Following Blind Faith
So Much Extremism
Plan B Fight

Daily Archives: | 02, 04, 07, 10, 13, 16, 19, 22, 25, 28

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Fox News Removed From Democrats Nevada Debate

Last week liberal extremist in the Democratic Party were successful in stopping Fox News from participating in an upcoming Nevada debate featuring that party’s candidates for President of the United States in 2008. The first candidate to openly question the wisdom of having Fox News participate in a Democratic Party debate was John Edwards. Both Democrats and Republicans must deal with a small percentage of party faithful that are what I call 100% folks. These are the true believers either in liberalism or conservatism and they do not want to deal with anyone that does not share their religious zeal when in comes to politics.

Everyone knows that Fox News slants far right in their coverage of political debate, but doesn’t it make sense to try and reach out to new voters in a new forum if you really want to see public changes that will effect a political issue? That type of openness makes sense to me, but I’m not a true believer in either the far right or left in US politics. The problem with these extremist true believers is that they have no desire to reach compromise with their opponents and also they have no desire to even hear what the other side has to say about the issues of the day. Extremist desire to force their ideology down the throats of others with a stick rather than trying to bring people along with reasonable debate.

The Democratic Party has a huge problem with far left activist because this small minority of voters carries considerable weight in early primary contests, but their political views will turn off almost all-mainstream voters. The Republican Party has the same problem with extremist social conservative voters as well and it is a careful balancing act for both major party candidates because what works in early primaries will certainly lead to defeat in a general election. This early sell out by Democratic candidates to the far left extreme of the party will come back to haunt them down the road because at some future date and time conservative outlets like Fox News will be needed by the Democratic Party to reach middle of the road Republicans that might switch candidates as the general election draws closer.

I am on record here promoting the idea of another political party in the United States that appeals to moderate voters from both the Democratic and Republican Party’s. Moderation is lost in both major US political party’s right now, so millions of people are not served by the two candidates that eventually compete for this nations highest office. There is a good chance that in 2008, Rudy Giuliani will win the Republican nomination for President and I have great hope that if Rudy does indeed win, he will lead the United States in the same way he lead New York City. A good balance of a tough stand on lawlessness and terrorism with a more liberal approach to social issues might just be a winning formula in 2008 and could pave a new road to a return to moderate politics in the United States.

Democratic Party leaders in Nevada made a huge mistake in removing Fox News from their upcoming debate. This decision was made on raw emotion and not intellect and just like most other emotional decisions, time will prove what a mistake it was to snub Fox News just because that networks political opinions were not in line with some extreme leftist in the Democratic Party.

Read more about Fox News: - Sham, Regan, Simpson, Negative
Read more about Democrats: - Blowout, Hoyer, Kerry, Politics

Fox News Removed

Listening To Rush Limbaugh's Daily Radio Show

For the most part I gave up listening to right wing radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh several years ago when I noticed that their extremist ideas about the United States were doing more harm than good. Overall, I believe a conservative view of this world makes more sense than a liberal one but there are problems with both ideologies because people in the middle get totally ignored. Last week I decided to once again listen to Mr. Limbaugh and for the most part I was very entertained listening to his radio program. However, once the “Scooter” Libby verdict was announced his show began to drift into areas that had less to do with right and left politics and more to do with extremist ideology. As last week dragged on, the making of excuses for a member of the Bush administration that was convicted in a court of law caused me to go back to FM radio and music once again.

The main reason Rush Limbaugh is so successful is not because of his right wing stands on the issues, but because on most issues Rush is able to express his opinions in a very funny way. I look at Mr. Limbaugh as an entertainer with a conservative point of view. Other conservative talk show hosts say basically the same things as Rush Limbaugh does, but for the most part they are boring and do not thrust entertainment into their programs in the same way as Rush does. In a way I was having the time of my life listening to Rush Limbaugh on the radio last week before the Libby verdict was announced. My political point of view has changed dramatically since President Bush and Congress stuck their nose into the Terri Schiavo case, but for the most part I still believe the government should live within its means and not mess around with nation building around the world. These are two issues that have been ignored by the new Republican Party and these issues played a role in the Democratic defeat of GOP members of congress last November.

I can disagree with everything Rush Limbaugh is saying on his radio program and still enjoy listening to his show. Rush Limbaugh is a very funny man if you take his comments with a grain of salt and lighten up and not get angry when he expresses opinions held by most people on the far right of the Republican Party. In recent years the political divide in the United States has grown and neither side has any desire to listen to people on the other side of the debate. On most days it seems like Democrats and Republicans consider people with a different point of view from their party as enemies instead of people that also care about their country, but believe they have better ideas. Rush Limbaugh causes many extremist on the far left politically to lose sleep and work overtime trying to find a way to silence his conservative opinions. What these extremist liberal folks don’t understand is that millions of people would like to silence them as well.

I will probably stop listening to The Rush Limbaugh Show again for awhile until this whole “Scooter Libby” situation fades away. However, when Rush Limbaugh is just sitting around three hours per day talking about conservative issues and interjecting humor into the mix, his radio show is very entertaining and fun to listen to.

Read more about Rush Limbaugh:

Left Tries to Silence Rush Limbaugh
Rush Limbaugh $10 Federal Cigar Tax
Rush Limbaugh Fairness Doctrine Threat
Rush Limbaugh Wins Big On Immigration
Rush Leads GOP To Defeat
Bush Versus Rush

Debating Energy Prices - Americans Feeling The Pain

Gas prices are rising once again and along with this increase in price there is additional pain on people that either use their vehicle for business or must commute many miles each day to work. This problem of ever increasing gas prices revolve around regular folks like you and me and our desire to have affordable energy while at the same time protecting the environment. In olden days, when there was a big demand for petroleum products, free enterprise would step forward and satisfy that need without a care in the world when it came to the environment. However, the issue of energy is a much more complex problem today because in a nutshell, most people want to have their cake and eat it too when it comes to energy issues.

Like everyone else I want to purchase gasoline for my car and electricity for my home at the lowest price possible. Also, like you I am concerned about the environment and the pollution concerns that always face mankind when increased production of fossil based fuels are considered. This middle ground for most consumers is at the heart of the energy crisis that faces all nations at this point in history. While some US states and foreign nations work overtime to drill in all locations to find additional sources of petroleum, other states and nations put restrictions on the discovery and production of energy within their borders and in off shore locations. This all or nothing attitude has turned the issue of energy production into a political “hot potato” that has different factions lining up against each other all over the world.

Even the most extreme conservationist realizes down deep inside that for the foreseeable future, petroleum products will be needed to keep the world economy operating and protect nations from unemployment and war. On the other side, the “drill our way out of the problem folks” also know down deep inside that uncontrolled oil drilling could leave this planet in a disastrous condition if not kept under strict controls. The real energy answer will be found in the middle and most people do not want to take the time to alter their thinking when political discussions always drift to one extreme or the other. When I was growing up in the mid 1970’s, I remember taking a trip to Dallas Texas and staying in a downtown hotel. When I woke up the next morning the Dallas skyline was filled with so much smog that I could not see tall buildings a couple of blocks away. Those days are long gone from Dallas Texas and most other major cities within the United States.

What happened was that the federal government decided to put controls on private business in order to clean up the air in major cities around that United States. Mandates on auto emissions and other industrial controls cleaned up the air enough in Dallas and other major cities to the point where people could see more than a few block in front of them on a bad smog day. Very few people talk about smog anymore because even in high smog locations like New York City and Los Angeles the problem has been solved for the most part. Now everyone in the United States is faced with the question of how clean should our air be and how high of a price are we willing to pay for that clean air? Young people do not remember the big pollution days of the 1960’s and 1970’s and many of them do not realize how bad some cities appeared back then.

I remember those days and I have no desire to go back to a major city skyline that obscures the beauty of the tall buildings because of local smog alerts. That said, I do not want to pay five dollars per gallon of gasoline to do my daily duties either. There has to be a middle ground in this energy crisis and I refuse to believe the gloom and doom scenarios put forward by Al Gore as well as the “man can’t hurt the environment” scenario spouted daily by Rush Limbaugh and other far right conservatives. One-thing liberals and conservatives agree on is that we all want cheap fuel alternatives that don’t destroy this planet for our children. Unfortunately, the entire issue of energy has become so politicized that common sense and a desire to reach consensus has been tossed out the window in favor of placing blame on energy policy failures to the opposing political party.

My hope is that more moderate leaders will be found to step up to the plate and find good energy alternatives that don’t pollute this planet. There are some good ideas on both sides of the extremist arguments about the future of energy, but neither side has all the answers and the real solution will eventually be found in the middle of this political debate.

Read more about Energy: - Prices, Politics, Cars, Sources
Read more about Oil: - Pipelines, Congress, Nature, Citgo

Debating Energy Prices

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Great Rocky Movie - 'Rocky Balboa' Surprisingly Good

After months of deliberation, my wife and I went to see “Rocky Balboa” at our local dollar theater today. Right before we left for the theater we saw an advertisement on television talking about the upcoming release later this month of this movie on DVD. When I first heard the news that Sylvester Stallone was going to make another Rocky Movie I started to laugh because the idea of an old Rocky Balboa fighting a younger person in the boxing ring was something hilarious to contemplate. However, my earlier lack of good expectations about this movie was premature and wrong-headed. The movie we saw today reminded me of the first Rocky Movie when an unknown actor by the name of Sylvester Stallone made a name for himself as a mainstream actor.

“Rocky Balboa” was well written and in many ways a “chic flick” for most of the movie. After the death of his wife, Rocky was drifting through life as a restaurant owner spending most evenings telling old war stories to eager restaurant patrons that still loved the Rocky of old. To add to the stress of losing his wife to cancer, Rocky found himself going through a tough patch of road with his son. As Rocky’s son tries to create a life of his own, he is dogged by the reputation of his father and struggles to find his own identity. As this fine movie progresses, Rocky finds a young woman that he had given good advice to years ago and starts a friendship with her and her young son. Without giving away too much information about this movie, I will say that Stallone was true to the memory of Rocky’s wife and no inappropriate behavior was introduced into this movie.

It really surprises me how Sylvester Stallone managed to write another good episode in the Rocky series of movies. The last two Rocky Movies were really bad and I had given up on any new script ideas that could bring this winning formula back to life. However, Stallone did a fantastic job recreating Rocky Balboa with this new movie and while the original idea of having Rocky fight again did seem stupid, by the end of this movie I became a true believer in that concept. Within the next few weeks, “Rocky Balboa” will be released on DVD and millions of additional people around the world will discover what I did today and that is Rocky Balboa is still a great story for a motion picture.

Rumors around Hollywood were running wild when Stallone was trying to get this new script and project funded by a major motion picture studio. Sylvester Stallone said in a recent interview that it was more difficult to find the funding from a major studio to produce Rocky Balboa than the first Rocky Movie back in the late 1970’s. However, in the end Stallone was successful in getting his movie made and I for one am so glad he did. If you liked the first Rocky Movie you are going to love “Rocky Balboa” in a local theater or on DVD later this month.

Read more: Senior Citizen Boxing, Rocky Opens Well, Oscar Night

Great Rocky Movie

My Friend Barbaro - Reflections/Memories Of A Great Horse

The days are getting longer and this weekend most folks in the US will be moving their clock forward one-hour giving them a little extra sunshine each day. Springtime 2006 was the first time I ever heard the name “Barbaro”, but over the past year I not long grew to love that name, but also learned to pray for it and morn it, as well. Of course, I am talking about last years Kentucky Derby winner, Barbaro, who won the hearts of millions of racing fans after his Derby victory and carved a place in the hearts of millions more with his “fight for life” after suffering a grave injury at the start of the Preakness Stakes a couple of weeks later. As the weeks went by, Barbaro underwent many surgeries while his owners paid thousands of dollars to try and do the impossible and save this beloved horse. However, in the end Barbaro was put down because there was little modern medicine could do to prolong his life.

It has taken me more than a month to write this posting because I was one of the millions of people effected by the life and death struggles of Barbaro and at first I was in no conditions to write about “my friend Barbaro”. Some of you might find it silly that a grown man could find himself so attached to a horse that he didn’t raise or even see outside of a television set. I too am surprised about the effect Barbaro had on me, but I am sure other people are just as shock that they found tears in their in eyes when they first heard the news that Barbaro lost his fight for life. During the months long recover of Kentucky Derby winner, Barbaro I read news updates almost daily on the Internet and in my local newspaper about this brave animal. Some days, the news was good and other days reported setbacks. However, I always believed there would be a miracle in the end and Barbaro would be praise and possibly even be paraded in the 2007 Kentucky Derby.

The life and death struggles of Barbaro were not in vein because the decision on the part of Barbaro’s owners to seek medical treatment instead of taking the normal path of putting a horse down immediately after suffering multiple leg breaks helped veterinarians learn new techniques that will help treatments in future accidents. Putting animals down quickly has always been the little dark secret of the horse racing world and to most people this practice seems cruel the average person. However, with little knowledge and a poor track record of saving horses with multiple leg fractures the option of putting the horse down as soon as possible after an injury became common place. I hope that the doctors that treated Barbaro will share their knowledge of what worked and didn’t work in the treatment of Barbaro in the months after his injury with other doctors. Modern medicine has come a long way and my thinking is that Barbaro, in his own way, advanced the art of treating injured horses a great deal.

In a few months it will be time for the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes once again and most likely these two horse racing venues will pay proper respect to the racehorse named Barbaro. In future months and years I feel confident that Hollywood will weigh in on the life and death of Barbaro as well and most certainly I will be one of the first people in the ticket line to watch my friend Barbaro’s life displayed on the silver screen.

Read more: Barbaro Walking, Infection, Recovery, Horse News

My Friend Barbaro

Friday, March 09, 2007

Carrie Underwood Rocks American Idol - Again

The best musical television show on the planet is in full swing once again as “American Idol” grinds through young men and women on their way to the next winner. The talent this year does not seem to be as good as in previous contests, especially with the men part of the competition. In my opinion, the best “American Idol” season took place when Carrie Underwood and Bo Bice were the last two finalist. The men and women competing this year to become the next American Idol are not as good as Carrie and Bo, at least they don’t sound as good at this early stage of the competition.

It seems like scandal is built into the “American Idol” format because every season of this number one rated television show contains at least one scandal to help promote the high ratings this program receives. To date, I have not read any bad stories about Carrie Underwood as her career continues to build to new heights with each passing day. It amazes me that in a world of huge temptations, someone as young and beautiful as Carrie is able to keep her mind focused on her career, instead of drifting into the Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton or Britney Spears mode of conduct. Even for people decades older than Carrie Underwood, temptations have interfered with careers and brought a potentially prosperous talent crashing back down to earth.

Along with great success at an early age comes jealousy and no doubt many other country music singers are jealous of Carrie Underwood because she has come so far, so fast since winning American Idol. Remember last years CMT Awards Show when Faith Hill displayed shock when Carrie Underwoods’ name was announced? Of course later, Faith Hill said she was just joking around and really did like Carrie Underwood, but when I first saw that back stage clip of Faith Hill it did not look like she was joking around to me. To be fair to Faith Hill and other established entertainers, it must be very difficult to watch someone new, like Carrie Underwood achieve successes that took you years to attain. If I were in Faith Hill’s shoes, I would most likely believe that Carrie Underwood has not yet paid her dues, as well.

No matter how you slice it, Carrie Underwood is a tremendous talent and a fantastic role model for other young women that are considering entering the tough world of country music. The 64,000-dollar question remaining is, will she be able to maintain her stability over the long haul or will entertainment temptations eventually drag her down like most other young stars? I have written here before and I will say once again that I believe Carrie Underwood is a special person that understood who she was a long time before she ever enter the American Idol contest. This type of person does not happen without wonderful parents who did something right when it came to preparing their daughter for life. I so enjoy listening to Carrie Underwood sing, but I now think that her voice is not nearly as bright as her demeanor and real world actions that are so unique in today’s modern world.

Read more about Carrie Underwood:

Bright Teams With Carrie Underwood On CD
Carrie Underwood - Good Looks And Talent
Romo Carrie Friendship
Well Balanced Girl
Amazing Young Talent
Underwood Mass Appeal

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Hate Tax Increases From Both State/Federal Government

Just about everyone in the United States hates the idea of his or her taxes going up and I am no exception to that rule. However, there are times when taxes need to be increased and one of those times is drawing closer with each passing day. Soon, millions of baby boomers are going to start retiring and shortly thereafter tremendous stresses will be put on the Social Security and Medicare system. This whole problem revolves around the number of people receiving benefits versus the number of people paying into the system. This is the reason why so many states like Texas are looking for new ways to raise money without increasing income and/or property taxes. In recent months, Texas and other states have imposed huge tax increases on cigarettes and alcohol and further increases are likely to be seen in upcoming years. Even with property taxes at record levels, the State of Texas and others are not collecting enough money to meet their current and future needs. It is not difficult to see where this whole fiscal situation is headed because common sense and a close reading of history will help lead the way. What will soon happen in state capitals around the country and in Washington DC will be a tax payer revolt as government further tries to expand its control over the lives of its citizens with well meaning but ineffective additional social programs.

Another issue that just “burns me up” is corrupt government contractors that rip each and everyone of us off when they under bid their contracts and then double and sometimes triple bill the government for there work. This kind of corruption goes on every day, but it was even worse when hundreds of companies placed bids on rebuilding New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and just took the money and ran instead of doing the work. At one time, being a Republican stood for lower taxes and smaller government, but in recent years it has become harder to tell the difference between Republicans and Democrats in Washington. Both major political party’s have become blinded by special interest groups and many leaders have decided to put there own interest ahead of the citizens they swore to serve. The ever-increasing problem of raising taxes on alcohol and cigarettes is just the latest way Republicans can say that they are for lower taxes, but not really mean it. As long as politicians can raise taxes on certain items that doesn’t effect a majority of their base voters, these same politicians are able to look into the TV camera and say, with a straight face, that they did not increase taxes on people. This is such a fraud.

In a world where politicians know that the voters want lower taxes, these same politicians must find new ways to raise revenue while at the same time convincing voters that they are also against increasing taxes. No one product is as extensively taxed as cigarettes and to make matters worse, government officials have decided to denigrate smokers while at the same time taking their money in the form of taxes to support other pet projects. I firmly believe that most state governments would go into bankruptcy if tomorrow everyone that now smokes cigarettes suddenly decided to quit smoking all at one time. In reality, state governments need a certain number of their citizens to smoke in order to pay for government programs. However, what is currently happening is that state governments are encouraging their citizens to stop smoking, but deep down inside they are praying that they don’t do so. As April 15th approaches, all Americans that owe money to the IRS will be thinking about what they are getting for the taxes they are paying to the federal government. If the American taxpayers would think about the money they are paying the government everyday, instead of just one day per year, maybe our elected official would take the time to budget and raise tax money in a better way than they are currently doing.

Related: Church State Issues, Sin Tax Explosion, Big Brother Controls, Smokers Over Taxed, For The Children

Hate Tax Increases

Daily Archives: | 02, 04, 07, 10, 13, 16, 19, 22, 25, 28

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Deadly Spring Storms Strike Enterprise Alabama

President Bush visited Enterprise, Alabama on Saturday to personally reassure the residents there that the federal government would be working with local and state officials to help rebuild the town. Thursday, an F4 tornado struck Enterprise, Al and took the lives of almost two dozen people. The death toll included several high school students that were taking cover in a school hallway when one side of the building collapsed on top of them. Tornadoes are a bad thing that most people in the southern and central parts of the country learn to live with during the spring and early summer months of the year. While most tornadoes strike in the spring, over the years I have noticed some tornadoes occurring even during the winter months. One such even happened in November of 2005 when Indiana was stuck by a major tornado. Not only is it unusual for a tornado to strike Indiana, but for that event to take place in the wintertime is even stranger. In my opinion, global warming is at least partially responsible for changing weather patterns that cause tornadoes to form in unusual locations and outside their normal time of the year. In recent years, it has become common place for tornadoes to strike in northern states even when the ground is covered with snowfall.

Like most people, I enjoy the springtime more than any other season of the year. In the southern part of the United States, spring starts around mid-February instead of late March. Here in Waco, Texas the past few weeks have been warm, but unusually windy. In May of 2006 an F2 tornado touched down inside the city limits of Waco and caused a great deal of damage to several businesses. My home is only one mile away from where that tornado touched down and I still remember how scary the weather was that night, especially when our electricity went off and our portable radio was our only link to weather information. While growing up in the Texas panhandle in the middle of “tornado alley”, mom and dad taught my sister and I to always respect Mother Nature and to keep a close eye on her during tornado season. There are still some people who ignore weather warnings of possible danger and as I am fond of saying, people ignore Mother Nature at their own risk.

In 2005, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita disrupted the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Most experts predicted another terrible hurricane season in 2006. However, when the 2006 hurricane season ended very few storms showed up and no major hurricanes struck the Gulf or Atlantic coastline during hurricane season. The lack of major hurricanes in 2006 was a welcome blessing to people in New Orleans because it will take many years to rebuild that major city to its former glory. Every few weeks, there are new stories coming out of New Orleans about lingering problems in that city’s reconstruction effort and/or the flow of money into that city from the federal government. While Hurricane Rita also reach Category 5 status in 2005, this major hurricane lost most of its punch before it slammed into Texas. I remember how worried everyone was when weather forecasters were reporting the size and strength of Rita only a few short weeks after Katrina destroyed thousands of homes and killed hundreds of people in Louisiana and Mississippi. The United States dodged a big bullet when Hurricane Rita disintegrated before making landfall on the Texas and Louisiana border.

After the levees broke in New Orleans a few days after Hurricane Katrina, the big debated started about whether people should live below sea level? While many people that lived in below sea level neighborhoods, in New Orleans, wanted to move back to there old neighborhoods; many others decided to start there lives over in other cities around the country. It took over a half a year for the US Army Corps of Engineers to finally admit that there had been substandard construction when the New Orleans levee system was constructed. The Army Corps of Engineers has now promised not to cut corners while rebuilding new levees in New Orleans, but in reality no one is going to really know if these new designs will stand the test of time and the next big hurricane to strike this major city. There are major problems with the weather in springtime all over the United States and even the beautiful State of California is not immune from the wrath of Mother Nature. A little over one year ago, massive rainfall caused terrible flooding in California. Dozens of people were killed and thousands found themselves homeless after torrential rainfall caused flooding and mudslides in both the northern and southern parts of the state. I don’t think there is any location on Earth where sever weather does not strike in one form or the other from time to time.

I cannot end this segment without talking about one of the worse natural disaster in world history. About two years ago, hundreds of thousands of people were killed within a short period of time when a giant Tsunami struck Indonesia and India after a large under water earthquake in the Indiana Ocean. I still remember reading the newswires online that night as the death toll rose from hundreds to thousands of people and eventually to hundreds of thousands of people over the next few days. We all live in an unsteady world where disasters can strike us down at any time of the day or night. Some people choose to blame the victims of these types of major weather events because of their choices of where to live. However, there is no totally safe place to live on planet Earth and while people in coastal areas are more likely to suffer from floods, hurricanes and tsunami’s, other people face earthquakes and tornadoes in greater numbers. Whether a far away land suffers a disaster from a tsunami or when tornadoes, earthquakes or hurricanes strike closer to home, brave men and women rescuers are always around to rush to the aid of their neighbors when Mother Nature demands their presents. People in tornado alley and folks that live near the ocean understand the risk of living in a location that sometimes produce storms of unbelievable strength. What Mother Nature destroys mankind will rebuild and that process has been going on for thousands of years and will continue into the future.

Related: Weird Weather Changes, Ready For Spring, What Hurricane Season?, Texas Spring Flooding

Deadly Spring Storms

Friday, March 02, 2007

Stock Market Declines - October Worries Investors

The month of October has historical significance in the stock market because that one-month has proven to provide many downside surprises even for the most experienced investors. This week, Wall Street took a pause from its ever upward trend and had a one day sell off that resulted in an almost 500 point decline in the Dow Jones Industrials average. Since most people don’t have a clue about the stock market, the vast majority of people just follow the crowd when it comes to stock market timing. Add this to the “panic factor” of some investors that have invested all of their money in stocks and you occasionally get a bad one day sell-off in major stock markets around the world. A few months ago I discussed my opinions about investments in the US and I wrote at that time that I believe when stock prices are rising, the real estate market in declining. Now with rising interest rates on home loans, it makes sense that the smart money is migrating back to the stock market.

Investing in any stock can cause even the most even keeled investor to fall into panic from time to time. In the late 1990’s there were many people, including myself that became hooked on huge triple digit gains in some NASDAQ Internet Stocks. It is hard to control ones excitement when some Internet stocks were gaining over 100% in value every single year. With the middle class in the United States being forced to live without decent wage increases because of foreign labor competition, some people try to use the stock market to supplement their income. This is a huge mistake that will eventually lead to financial ruin if people don’t wake up and realize that stock investment are for risk capital and invested for the long run. With Democrats now in control of Congress, there is a real chance that the US will move toward universal healthcare and that move could put major healthcare providers and insurance company stock in danger of huge future declines. I believe it is just a matter of time before universal healthcare becomes a reality in the United States and it is most likely to occur when Democrats are in control of both the White House and Congress.

US history is filled with Bull and Bear Markets and most of the time average investors never learn the lessons of history when it comes to financial decisions like purchasing stocks. In the late 1990’s, millions of people lost billions of dollars when the NASDAQ stock market collapsed and while it is easy for people to see with the aid of hindsight now why that market collapsed. At the time with all that euphoria it was not nearly as clear cut of a potential disaster than it eventually turned out to be. Some Internet Stocks of today remind me of the late 1990’s because they seem to rise everyday with little, obvious, downside risk. Google is one of those stocks and many people worry about the stock price increases at this huge company over a short period of time. One thing does separate Google from high flyers in the late 1990’s and that one thing is that Google makes a lot of money. In the early days of the Internet very few companies earned a profit and no one back then earned anything close to what Google earns these days. I still believe the best way to gage the future of the stock market is to watch the housing market closely. As big money leaves the real estate market is usually migrates into the stock market in one way or the other.

There is no doubt that stock investments are successful over the long run, if the investor remains diversified in many different companies and sectors. However, some CEO’s do make mistakes either in judgment or they commit outright fraud, which causes some people to avoid investing in the stock market. Last year, CEO Patricia Dunn of Hewlett Packard was so upset that someone, on that companies board of directors, was leaking confidential company information that she hired a private detective to investigate her own board of directors to discover that persons identity. No case of CEO fraud has come close to the exploits of Ken Lay at Enron. Lay’s smooth talking style allowed him to convinced Enron employees to continue to purchasing company stock, while he and a few other top executive were selling all of their shares on the open market. Every now and then someone like Ken Lay will come along that has the intelligence to build a great company, but lacks moral redeeming values when mistakes are made and a stock price decline is inevitable. Ken Lay died shortly after his court conviction, but many former Enron employees will never forget how this one man ruined their retirement plans.

The one constant in the stock market is the boom and bust cycles that happen from time to time. No stock market will go up all the time and no market will continue to drop, forever. It is always best to buy a diversified portfolio and hold those investments for ten years or more. Some people have personalities that will never enable them to invest in the stock market because of the daily worry factor that effects their life. These types of people should stick with T-Bills, bonds and old fashion CD’s at their local bank. I have made so many mistakes investing in the stock market over the years, I have decided to put what little money I do have only in safe investments. In closing I would like to pay tribute to the late Louis Rukeyser that hosted “Wall Street Week” for years on PBS. Mr. Rukeyser did more to teach Americans about the stock market than anyone else did in the 1980’s and 1990’s and he will certainly missed (by many people, like myself) that trusted his opinions. Louis Rukeyser had a way of explaining the stock market in layman’s terms with a smooth delivery style and a huge smile upon his face. Investing in the stock market should be fun, if it is not fun for you I would recommend getting out of the market entirely and placing your investments in place that guarantees the principle and pays a regular rate of interest.

Related: US Style Economy, Follow The Money, Bipolar Stock Market, Boom And Bust, Finding Good Investments

Stock Market Declines

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Right Wing Politics Dominate The Republican Party

Political denial is something every major party suffers from at one time or another. In the lead up to last November’s congressional elections, the GOP was suffering from political denial and in the end that “head in the sand” attitude cost them control of Congress. In the lead up to that election the tried and previously successful GOP propaganda machine was put into action to save the last two years of the President George W. Bush presidency from a democratically controlled Congress. However, in the end, the propaganda machine proved unsuccessful in 2006 because the American people were discussed with President Bush and his handling of the War in Iraq. Ever since the loss of the US House of Representatives and Senate, most GOP insiders have been infighting and trying to find some fall guy to blame their misfortunes on. I believe they need only look in the mirror to find out who was to blame for the GOP defeat in 2006, but such acts of healthy reflection are not the normal behavior of career politicians.

One of the biggest issues that separate Republican politicians from their rank and file voters is the issue of illegal immigration. A vast majority of Republicans believe that immigration laws should be enforced and even strengthened. President Bush has worked against grass roots efforts to strengthen immigration enforcement and the president has gone in the opposite direction of his core constituents. Before last November’s election, President Bush did try to find a compromise, but in the end he was unsuccessful because his core plan still involved amnesty for many current illegal immigrants. With no firm plan of action in place to address the issue of illegal immigration and a President of the United States fighting against his own rank and file, it is hard to see how Republicans could have united the American people behind their vision of immigration reform. In addition to angering base conservative voters, the GOP managed to anger Latino’s as well because of their anti immigration approach to this issue.

Another issue that hurt the GOP in 2006 was the issue of “stem cell research”. Under the leadership of President Bush, the Republican Party had drifted too far to the right. This sharp right move was seen most with the issue of stem cell research. Most Americans believe that the US government should put additional money into stem cell research to find cures for deadly diseases. In many close congressional races in 2006, Republicans came up short of votes on election night because of stem cell research ballot initiatives. While Texas Governor Rick Perry has always been one of the most conservative politicians in the country, he stunned many hard-core conservatives with some of his most recent decisions after last November’s election. After receiving campaign contributions from a major drug company, Governor Perry decided to mandate by executive order the vaccination of young schoolgirls against a specific STD that can cause cervical cancer later in life. Governor Perry angered many supporters on the far right with this decision and even some people on the far left did not appreciate his use of an executive order that may eventually be found unconstitutional after future court challenges.

There are few things that far right wing conservatives hate more than abortion and a new medicine called “Plan B”. If memory serves me correctly, Plan B was developed in France as a “morning after pill” to prevent pregnancy. Far right conservatives have always considered this type of birth control as abortion, even though most Americans do not agree with their assessment. Religious leaders fought long and hard to prevent this prescription medications from going over the counter for sale in the United States. However, in the end the FDA did approve “Plan B” for sale over the counter in the US, but the long hard fought battle of conservatives to limit consumer choices for birth control did hurt the GOP at the polls. Even the largest retail chain in the United States, Wal-Mart found itself in the “Plan B Debate” with it’s on again, off again, approach to offering this simple pill in thousands of their pharmacy locations nationwide. In the end Wal-Mart decided to allow Plan B in it’s pharmacies because of litigation concerns.

As a former conservative Republican, I can not fail to mention the biggest issue to face rank and file GOP voters in a long time and that issue revolves around Terri Schiavo. No one issue has even shown the major differences between fiscal and social conservatives, as did the fight over the life of this one woman in Florida. Before the Terri Schiavo Law, I never questioned my conservative beliefs or the real motivations of the politicians that lead the Republican Party. However, on Easter Weekend 2005, my entire political life changed when President Bush few back from his Crawford, Texas ranch to sign a law that imposed religious beliefs on a family facing a life or death decision. One of the original supporters of the Terri Schiavo Law, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, told CNN months later that he found out the hard way that Americans and Republican Americans do not want the Congress or President getting involved in these types of family decisions. In November 2006 I did something I had never done before in my life and that was to cast a straight party vote for Democrats on Election Day. I have voted a straight party ticket for Republicans dozens of times, but this one issue of Terri Schiavo caused me to become concerned about the extreme right movement of the Republican Party. While right wing politics dominate the radio airwaves, in reality many regular Republicans have left the GOP and some of us will not return until moderation, once again, takes the party back from extremist social conservatives.

Related: Dead Immigration Reform, Republican Frustration, Changes In Congress, Rudy Takes Lead, Church State Issues, Bush Fight Back

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