Monday, December 31, 2007

NFL Playoffs Begin With Wild Card Weekend

This weekend the NFL begins the playoffs with 'Wild Card' games from coast to coast. Every professional football fan dreams of the playoffs each year and 2007 is shaping up to be an exciting time for NFL fans once again. In a late season rally, both the Washington Redskins and the New York Giants are playing great football going into this weekends games. The Washington Redskins are heading to Seattle to play the Seahawks while the New York Giants head to Tampa Bay to play the Buccaneers. Since the Dallas Cowboys are my favorite NFL team, I am writing this posting from an NFC East point of view so for those of you that are Seahawks and Buccaneers fans please excuse my bias writing about this weekend wild card games.

Yesterday, the Washington Redskins wiped up the field with my favorite team the Dallas Cowboys, so I give them the edge in this weekends game against the Seattle Seahawks. The Redskins looked like a playoff team yesterday against Dallas which is more than I can say for the Cowboys. On Saturday night, the New York Giants almost upset New England as the Patriots were playing for the first undefeated season by an NFL team since the 1972 Dolphins. Both the Washington Redskins and the New York Giants played better than the Dallas Cowboys who had already won the NFL East and will sit out this weekend of wild card playoff games. I predict both Washington and New York will win their games this weekend over the Seahawks and the Buccaneers.

In the AFC, the Pittsburgh Steelers will face off against the Jacksonville Jaguars and the San Diego Chargers will play the Tennessee Titans in their wild card weekend match ups. While I don't follow the teams in the AFC as much as the NFC I will pick the Steelers to win against the Jaguars simply because I learned a long time ago not only to respect the Pittsburgh Steelers, but to never bet against them winning in the playoffs. In the other wild card game between the Titans and Jaguars I will go with Tennessee because they use to be the Houston Oilers before they abandoned our state. This weekend should provide many good games and next weekend we will see just how good the Cowboys and Patriots are as they come in fresh to play this weekends winning wild card teams.

Read more about the NFL:

Will The New England Patriots Win The Superbowl?
NFL Network Battles Cable During New England Game
Tonight's New England Patriots/New York Giants Game
NBC/CBS/NFL Network To Broadcast New England Patriots Game
Will The New England Patriots Go Undefeated in 2007?

Iowa's Thursday Caucus First Test For Candidates

Thursday night will be the first test of candidate strength in the 2008 race for the White House. As the Iowa caucus nears, polls are showing a tightening of the race both on the Republican and Democrat side. According to polling data, if the Iowa caucus was held today – Hillary Clinton would win on the democratic side while Mike Huckabee would take the honors in the GOP. However, in a world of 24 hour cable news anything can happen between now and Thursday and it is important to remember that in Iowa, voters gather together in a caucus which is much different than a regular election where the winner takes all.

The biggest surprise to me on the GOP side is the slow but steady improvement of John McCain in the polls. Most political pundits had written off John McCain several months ago after he supported an immigration law that most in the party based thought was amnesty. Right now, it appears that John McCain will finish a strong third in Thursday night's Iowa caucus' which is good news for him. On the democratic side, the race has tightened up as well with Hillary Clinton hanging on to her lead by a thread as Barack Obama and John Edwards are gaining ground daily. I believe after Thursday's caucus' in Iowa almost half of the candidates in both the GOP and democratic party will leave the race and those departures will further narrow the gap between the top three candidates in both party's.

Once again today there are news reports coming out about a potential Michael Bloomberg independent run for the White House. Really, I don't know what to think about the possibility of a third party run by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. If he does decide to run for President of the United States he will be a contender because he has the ability to fund his own campaign with his own money. If Michael Bloomberg decides to enter the race for the White House as an independent candidate, there is a real possibility that all three major candidates for President, in the general election, will be from New York State. That would happen if Rudy Giuliani wins the GOP nomination and Hillary Clinton wins on the democratic side.

The presidential election of 2008 is turning out to look much different than people thought only a few months ago and I look for more changes to come as finally people start voting for their favorite candidates.

Read more about 2008 Elections:

New Poll Shows Clinton/Obama/Edwards Tied In Iowa
Iowa Voters Prepare To Caucus Next Month
Ron Paul Should Ditch The GOP – Run As Independent
Democrats Get Friendly Moderator At Debate
Alan Keyes Demagogues GOP Presidential Debate

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Will The New England Patriots Win The Superbowl?

In last nights game between the New England Patriots and New York Giants as the Patriots struggled to earn that perfect season, I began to wonder if the New England Patriots would be able to succeed in all of their playoff games and win the Superbowl this season. It is amazing that this season started off with head coach Bill Belichick being fined for cheating as his agents were caught filming the play calling of the New York Jets. After an NFL investigation that levied the fine against Belichick, the New England Patriots head coach never spoke about that fine again and moved forward to put his football team in the record books.

The New England Patriots are a great football team, but just like the Dallas Cowboys today – they played poorly last night against the New York Giants so this playoff season it is anyones guess as to whether the Patriots can turn their perfect regular season into a Superbowl championship. This weekend, there were many upsets and other almost upsets which includes the Patriots/Giants game last night. Actually, the New York Giants looked pretty good in their game against the Patriots and that good game play is giving me concerns because they could be playing the Dallas Cowboys in the playoffs in just a few weeks. Will the New England Patriots put last night's almost defeat by the Giants behind them when their playoff games begin in two weeks? Hopefully, but momentum is a strange thing that cannot be turned on and off like a light switch.

I believe that the New England Patriots will be playing in this years Superbowl game and yes, in the end I believe they will win that game which will give them not only a perfect regular season, but a perfect season from start to finish. Whether people like the New England Patriots or not, the fact is that they are one great football team that has more talent on their bench than some professional football teams have in their starters. Next year, the New England Patriots will have a difficult time keeping their team together as other, hungry, NFL teams will try and steal their best players through free agency. This year is New England best and possibly only chance to end their season with both a perfect regular and post season record. While I will always be cheering for the Dallas Cowboys, it is hard not to silently be hoping for that unbeaten season for the Patriots.

Read more about the NFL:

NFL Network Battles Cable During New England Game
Tonight's New England Patriots/New York Giants Game
NBC/CBS/NFL Network To Broadcast New England Patriots Game
Will The New England Patriots Go Undefeated in 2007?
NFL Network Ruins Holidays For Millions Of Fans

Favorite 2007 Movie Reviews

Like most years, my wife and I love to watch movies and 2007 was no exception. Listed below are some of the movies we saw in 2007 with brief reviews of each. Happy New Year!

Great Rocky Movie - 'Rocky Balboa' Surprisingly Good
“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.

Amazing Grace Movie About British Slave Trade
The very idea of this movie was attractive to me because the man that wrote the popular song, "Amazing Grace" was featured in this movie as a former slave trader that gave up his lucrative business to seek sanctuary in the teachings of God in later life.

Fracture Movie Both Good And Bad
In brilliant style, Hopkins comes up with a way to kill his wife and not only get away with her murder, but also cause the police detective that was having an affair with her to crack up and eventually commit suicide. In what would be torture for most people, Hopkins planned his moves for a long time to make sure that he would be able to commit this murder and also get away with it in a court of law.

Teen Movie Disturbia Not Half Bad
Some parts of "Disturbia" are silly teenage age stuff that will only appeal to people under the age of 20, but the writing of this movie is fantastic and it is well worth the price of admission. Of course when teenagers are involved there will be a bunch of sexual tension involved in a movie and that is also the case in "Distrubia".

Shrek 3 Movie Myers Murphy Fantastic Review
The dynamic duo of Mike Myers and Eddie Murphy once again brought this animated series to life with their wonderful vocal performances. While watching Shrek 3 today my mind kept going back to how much hard work goes into making an animated movie these day.

Live Free Die Hard Movie Review
Like the other "Die Hard" movies, "Live Free - Die Hard" starts off fast and keeps on gaining momentum throughout this two hour movie.

Cusack Movie '1408' One Man Show
For regular movie goers, the plot of "1408" was pretty predictable until the end, but the ending was really well written because it took the experiences of John Cusack's character full circle in an effort to help this hunted hotel writer get to the point where he could deal with the death of his young daughter years before.

Didn't Like 'Invasion' Movie - Wife Did
While I did not like "Invasion" my wife thought it was very good and right up there with some of the best movies we have seen the past year or so. My wife loves scary movies and I don't think I remember her ever leaving a theater disappointed after we have seen a movie that has a scary script.

'P2' Movie Was A Good Horror Flick
While I usually don't like too much blood and guts in horror movies, I know there are some in the audience that will be disappointed without it. 'P2' has plenty of blood and guts scenes, but they did not over do it like so many other scary movies have done in the past.

Popular News Stories In 2007

As the New Year (2008) rapidly approaches next week, I thought it would be a good idea to have a Hutch Report 'year in review' post where some of the most popular stories of the year are listed. Most of these news stories were heavily clicked on by visitors, while others are some of my personal favorites. This blog will start it's third year in 2008 and I am hoping for continued growth in regular visitors during that time. During 2007, this blog has experienced tremendous growth and I thank each and everyone of you for bookmarking the 'Hutch Report' and for visiting on a regular basis. My hope is that 2008 will bring real happiness to you and your family.

January started with a big discussion about illegal immigration as Farmers Branch, Texas was one of the first U.S. cities to try and address this problem:
Local Immigration Laws Considered - Farmers Branch Texas

February brought news of the death of Anna Nicole Smith (age 39) only a few short months after her son mysteriously died in her hotel room after she gave birth to another child:
Anna’s Tragic Life - Smith Dies In Florida Hotel Room

March was the month that all of the democratic candidates for President announced that they would not participate on Fox News Channel debates:
Fox News Removed From Democrats Nevada Debate

April not only brought the depression of filing Income Taxes, but it also brought news of the firing of Don Imus from CBS Radio and MSNBC television for remarks he made about the Rutgers Womens Basketball team:
Don Imus Fired From CBS Radio/MSNBC Cable

May brought an end to a multi-year drought in Central Texas as several feet of rainfall fell within a few short weeks. Lakes went from critically low conditions to overflowing within one month:
Lake Waco Runoff Causes Major Problems

June started with almost no one knowing the name Paul Potts and ended with him winning the 'Britain's Got Talent' contest and receiving a record contract from Simon Cowell:
Paul Potts Opera Emotional Reaction

July proved to be the month that most people around the world finally admitted to themselves that Britney Spears' had mental problems as her life continued to self destruct:
New Britney Spears Tell All Interview Talk

August was the month when 82 year old entertainer Merv Griffin died. Millions of people grieved his passing as his TV programs brought smiles to peoples faces for decades:
Merv Griffin Cancer Victim Dead Age 82

September brought an end to the endless speculation as to whether television and movie star Fred Thompson would seek the GOP nomination for President in 2008:
Fred Thompson To Announce Bid - Thursday

October was the month that Don Imus was reborn with a second chance to host his own radio show as WABC Radio in New York announced his return to the NYC airwaves in December:
Don Imus Return - December 1st On WABC Radio

November was the month when OJ Simpson found himself back in trouble with the law, once again, as he was arrested for a Las Vegas hotel break in:
OJ Simpson Will Stand Trial In Las Vegas

December was the month that brought NFL perfection to the New England Patriots as they ended their 2007 NFL season with a perfect 16-0 record. Three different television networks broadcast this game live to the United States:
Tonight's New England Patriots/New York Giants Game

Saturday, December 29, 2007

David Letterman Returns With Writers/Advantage

The David Letterman owned production company, Worldwide Pants, has made a side agreement with the WGA that will allow his late night show to return next month with full writer support. This agreement between 'Worldwide Pants' and the WGA gives David Letterman a distinct advantage over Jay Leno who also will be returning next month, but without WGA support. According to contract rules, Jay Leno will not be able to write his own material and jokes if those duties were preformed by WGA members before the strike. That means that the Tonight Show with Jay Leno is going to look very different from what fans are use to, while the Late Show with David Letterman will return in it's usual format.

I believe this agreement between David Letterman and the WGA union will work to Letterman's advantage because hungry late night television viewers are more than ready to get back to their normal late night viewing and not something new Jay Leno will have to create in order to satisfy union rules. All of the late night television hosts have been very supportive of WGA members with David Letterman being the most supportive because he has taken sides in this dispute where his support is completely on the side of the striking writers and against his own television network, CBS. In the beginning, Jay Leno showed up at the picket lines of WGA members to deliver some donuts, but since that time I have heard little from him in the way of support for a union which he is also a member.

In the early days of David Letterman's move to CBS late night, he dominated the ratings for many months, but somewhere along the way his ratings started to slip until Jay Leno took the lead and never gave it back. Now with David Letterman's new agreement with the WGA he is definitely in the drivers seat to rebuild his lost ratings as Jay Leno searches for new ways to do his show without union writers. The major difference between Jay Leno and David Letterman in this matter is that David Letterman owns his show and Jay Leno does not. That power of ownership is a definite advantage for Letterman and it will be interesting to see how well he plays this trump card that fell right into his lap.

Experts still believe that the WGA strike will last for many more months and if that is true it will not just be late night television that will suffer, but regular people that will be missing out on their favorite prime-time television shows and also the Golden Globes and Academy Awards could be canceled if other side agreements, similar to David Letterman's, are not made before they are to air early next year. Right now the entire entertainment industry is in shambles because of this strike that shows no sign of ending anytime soon.

Read more about Hollywood Issues:

Rebecca De Mornay Latest DUI Star Arrest
WGA Union – No Globes/Oscars This Year
Jay Leno/Conan O'Brien Return Without Union Support
From Riches To Rags – NBC Television Network
Prepare For Non Stop Reality TV As Writers Strike Continues

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

NFL Network Battles Cable During New England Game

Right now it is half time of the New England and New York Giants game and so far I have seen several commercials run by the NFL Network that are direct slams at major cable companies Time Warner and Comcast. With tonight's football game pulling in ratings from two broadcast networks, (CBS and NBC) and additional viewers on the regular NFL Network channel, the NFL has an opportunity to reach potentially 100 million viewers with their side of the story in this dispute. While the NFL wants all of us to blame our local cable company for this dispute, in reality it is the NFL that is trying to force cable companies to provide the NFL Network on basic cable instead of tiered service.

It will be interesting to see how two of the nations largest cable companies, Time Warner and Comcast, respond to tonight's PR bonanza pulled off by the NFL Network as millions of additional people are seeing NFL Network ads blasting cable companies. I believe in the free market and if the consumer wants the NFL Network on basic cable they will pressure their cable company to offer it that way or they will find another way to get it cheaper. The NFL in this dispute is after one thing and that is more money for it's network and for NFL team owners. I was happy to see the NFL decide to show tonight's game on CBS and NBC. I will be even more interested in seeing how many people watched tonight's game when the overnight ratings come out tomorrow and Monday.

Unfortunately, the NFL is moving slowly to a pay-per-view format which is something I want to see delayed as long as possible. Members of Congress recently threatened the NFL's anti-trust exemption if they did not find a way to work through this dispute without further fan disruption. It was pretty interesting to see how quickly the NFL decided to offer tonight's New England Patriots and New York Giants game not only on one broadcast network, but two at the same time. The power of NFL football was on full display this week when NBC and CBS were willing to dump regular programming just to have a chance at a large audience tonight, even if it is split between two different networks. This fight between billionaire cable companies and billionaire NFL team owners needs to come to an end before next season begins.

Read more about the NFL:

Tonight's New England Patriots/New York Giants Game
NBC/CBS/NFL Network To Broadcast New England Patriots Game
Will The New England Patriots Go Undefeated in 2007?
NFL Network Ruins Holidays For Millions Of Fans
December 22 Dallas Cowboys Game On NFL Network

Could Pakistan Face Civil War After Bhutto's Murder?

The idea that a large and great nation like Pakistan could fall into civil war was probably thought unlikely before Benazir Bhutto was assassinated earlier this week. While I believe a civil war is unlikely in Pakistan, the deciding factor of whether or not this nation of over 150 million people falls into chaos is in the hands of President Pervez Musharraf and the leadership decisions he makes over the next few days. In Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto was a beloved figure that was likely to win election in Pakistan next month when elections were to be held there. However, those free elections are now in turmoil because of Bhutto's murder and regional experts fear that if President Musharraf decides to postpone next months elections, tremendous violence and yes even civil war could follow.

Already, dozens of conspiracy theories are being spread throughout Pakistan from the manner in which Benazir Bhutto was killed to conflicting stories about whether or not she was shot before a suicide bomber blew himself up. Right now Pakistan is fueled for an explosion of violence and revenge killings and only President Musharraf has the power to start putting the pieces of his broken country back together again. The first step President Musharraf should take is to not cancel next months presidential elections in Pakistan, instead he should push forward with those elections. Second, Musharraf must place the highest priority on finding out who was responsible for planning Benazir Bhutto's death and making sure those responsible at the highest level are brought to justice. As President Bush said in the days after September 11th, 2001. 'We will bring those responsible to justice or we will bring justice to them'. President Musharraf needs to be just as firm in statements to his own people as President Bush was after September 11, 2001.

Right now I am not sure which way President Musharraf will be inclined to move in the next few days, but my hopes and prayers are that he will not crack down once again on the people of Pakistan and further delay free elections in that country. One thing the United States could do to help President Musharraf in Pakistan is to once and for all find Osama bin Laden and either capture or kill him. Most likely bin Laden has been hiding out in northern Pakistan now for several years and during that time he has been able to release a steady number of video messages to the world via the Internet. President Bush should make his number one priority the next few weeks and months the capture or death of Osama bin Laden. That one act would be the best gift the United States could give to a grieving and angry Pakistan.

Read more about Pakistan:

Benazir Bhutto Assassinated After Pakistan Rally
Musharraf Holds On As Pakistan Slides Toward The Abyss
Father Kills Three (3) Daughters In Pakistan Honor Killing
Earthquake Death Toll Rises To 40,000 - Pakistan/India
Help Is On The Way After India/Pakistan Earthquake

Dallas Cowboys Face Hungry Redskins Sunday

While the Dallas Cowboys earned their playoff birth several weeks ago, the same is not true for the Washington Redskins. However, if the Redskins are able to beat the Dallas Cowboys tomorrow – they will earn a Wild Card Playoff birth. The past few weeks the Dallas Cowboys seem to have been in some kind of slump. They have managed to win most of their games, but the ease at which they won games at the beginning of season season has been absent the past month. To me, in NFL football momentum is everything and right now the Dallas Cowboys are lacking in momentum and that concerns me going into the playoffs.

If the Dallas Cowboys slip up tomorrow and let the Washington Redskins beat them then I am concerned for the Cowboys playoff chances this year. It does not help matters that Terrell Owen will not be active in tomorrows game and from the latest weather reports, the weather is going to be less than favorable for the Cowboys when they play in Washington D.C. tomorrow. Earlier this week it was rumored that Terry Glenn would be making a come back this week in place of T.O., but late word yesterday didn't look promising for his return during the Redskins game because of fears that he could re injure his knee on a wet and slippery football field. In my opinion, it will be the match up of Tony Romo and Jason Whitten in the air and good backfield running by Marion Barber that will be the difference between victory and defeat tomorrow afternoon in Washington.

The Dallas Cowboys have always found a way to make big plays to pull off long shot victories this season and I hope tomorrow will be no different. Tony Romo, while one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, is still a young player that is not seasoned when it comes to playoff experience. Romo needs to play well tomorrow against the Redskin to help rebuild his confidence which has looked shaky ever since Detroit almost beat the Cowboys one month ago. I look and hope for a good game tomorrow from Jason Whitten and Tony Romo. If these two great football players are able to click in the right way and at the right time, the Cowboys will easily beat the Washington Redskins on Fox Sports Sunday late game.

Read more about the Dallas Cowboys:

Terry Glenn Replaces Terrell Owens In Cowboys Game
Will The Dallas Cowboys Make It To The Superbowl?
Romo Leads Dallas To Charlotte Saturday Night
Ban Jessica Simpson From Tony Romo Football Games
Mistake For Dallas Cowboys To Look Past Philadelphia

Tonight's New England Patriots/New York Giants Game

I must admit I am excited to watch the New England Patriots play the New York Giants tonight as the Patriots play for the first unbeaten season for any team in the NFL since 1972. I was a young boy living in the Texas panhandle when that Miami unbeaten season took place, but I can still remember grown ups at the time all abuzz about Miami possibly going undefeated that year. One thing that New England's potential unbeaten season has been able to accomplish that millions of fans and even Members of Congress have been unable to do is get tonight's Patriots/Giants game not only shown on free nationwide television, but the Patriots success has caused that game to be broadcast on both CBS and NBC as well as the NFL Network on cable and satellite.

While anything can happen in the NFL on any given week, I would not bet anything against New England losing tonight's game against the New York Giants. History and momentum are on the side of the Patriots in the game tonight and unless New England just doesn't show up to play, they should have an easy victory against the Giants. As most of you know, I am a true blue Dallas Cowboys fan and I have been pleased with their play on the field this year as well. However, right now no other NFL team is even close to the quality of the New England Patriots team both on offense, defense and special teams. Even though I have never been a Patriots fan I have noticed myself during commercials of the Dallas Cowboys games sometimes switching from Fox Sports over to CBS to catch a few plays in the Patriots games when they are broadcast here in Texas.

With the NFL's decision to allow tonight's Patriots/Giants game to be broadcast on nationwide free television, maybe there will be further cracks develop going into next year that will allow most people to subscribe to the NFL Network via cable or satellite at a reasonable price. It is possible that tonight's New England Patriots and New York Giants football game could attract ratings close to or even better than some Superbowl games. The NFL is Americas favorite pastime right now and with an exciting game being played tonight on two major broadcast networks and nothing but re-runs on most of the other channels, there could be in excess of 100 million people tuning into the New England/New York football game tonight. Go Patriots!

Read more about the NFL:

NBC/CBS/NFL Network To Broadcast New England Patriots Game
Will The New England Patriots Go Undefeated in 2007?
NFL Network Ruins Holidays For Millions Of Fans
December 22 Dallas Cowboys Game On NFL Network
Pay Per View NFL Football Games Next?

Friday, December 28, 2007

Rebecca De Mornay Latest DUI Star Arrest

On October 30th, 'The Hand That Rocks The Cradle' and 'Risky Business' star Rebecca De Mornay was arrested in Hollywood for DUI. Mornay is just the latest in a long line of Hollywood stars that have been arrested for driving drunk and in recent months the California Court System has been cracking down on an ever increasing problem. Actually, I am pleased to see Hollywood police/courts start to punished actors and actresses that somehow believe they are above the law. Almost every night, the Hollywood paparazzi films Hollywood stars visiting night clubs and after several hours of drinking they are once again filmed climbing back into their car to drive. It's amazing to me that many of these habitual party celebrities are not arrest every night for DUI in Hollywood.

From Mel Gibson, to Kiefer Sutherland and Rebecca De Mornay the idea that it is cool to drive ones car while drunk is not a good example for other people around the world that tend to follow the lead of these celebrities. California and the other 49 states have tough DUI laws for a reason and that reason is to save the lives of innocent people on the roadways. While I might seem to be jumping on celebrities too much because thousands of people around the country are arrested for DUI each day, those other DUI cases are not front page news in the same way as a Hollywood star like Rebecca De Mornay. While reading a forum about this subject earlier, several people were asking why these rich Hollywood stars do not hire a personal driver when they go out and party? I think that is a great question, because most famous Hollywood celebrities can certainly afford a personal driver to keep them from driving drunk.

It would be nice to think that Hollywood would clean up it's act after beautiful Rebecca De Mornay was arrested for DUI, but I doubt if her arrest will make one bit of a difference in the attitude of the famous that somehow think they are above the law. One of these days, some famous Hollywood star is going to kill someone in a major traffic accident while driving drunk and when that happens, maybe then the shock of the death of another human being will wake them up. However, no one can really be sure if someone else's death will effect anyones unsound reasoning when they climb behind the wheel of a car after having one too many at their local bar or pub. While millions of people follow the every move of many famous people, I certainly hope they do not start to emulate them when it comes to drinking and driving.

Read more about Hollywood Issues:

WGA Union – No Globes/Oscars This Year
Jay Leno/Conan O'Brien Return Without Union Support
From Riches To Rags – NBC Television Network
Prepare For Non Stop Reality TV As Writers Strike Continues
Hollywood Writers Strike - Will Anyone Really Care?

New Poll Shows Clinton/Obama/Edwards Tied In Iowa

There have been so many conflicting polls being released in the run up to next months Iowa Primary that for the most part I have started to just ignore them. The most interesting poll released to date came out today and showed Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards all tied in Iowa. I wonder how many of these polls are conducted by either the campaigns themselves or pollsters that are pulling for one candidate and they hope to influence voters by showing their favorite candidate either in the lead or in contention to win? Iowa has always been a hard sell for Hillary Clinton to make, so most of her attention has been focused on New Hampshire instead. Until the past few weeks, John Edwards was firmly in the lead in Iowa because he has spend a bunch of money advertising there and also he has been in Iowa so much over the past year he might have shook every citizens hand that lives there.

To me, Barack Obama is the big surprise in Iowa and if he is able to win there early next month, then Hillary Clinton will be forced to pull out all the stops in New Hampshire to try and stop the momentum he will earn with a victory. These early polls really tell us nothing about what will really happen on election day, but they are fun to watch because every time a new poll comes out – all the candidates react either thrilled with the results or if they did badly they try to discount that polls as not reflecting the real attitude of the voters. I'm certain that Hillary Clinton was hoping to be on the road to a coronation by now, but with heavy advertising and one to one campaigning by Barack Obama and John Edwards her coronation has turned into a real battle for the democratic nomination for President.

When push comes to shove I always end up betting with the likely winner and in Iowa I believe the candidate that will win the caucus there will be Hillary Clinton. It is common for poll results to fluctuate wildly in the last week of a campaign and that's exactly what is happening right now. However, once people start showing up at their local caucus location – the familiarity of Hillary Clinton and the love of her husband in the democratic party will carry the day for her. I believe John Edwards will come in third in Iowa which if correct will destroy his presidential aspirations and he will pull out of this race, quickly. Barack Obama, I believe, will come in a strong second in Iowa and that strong showing will propel his campaign forward as the major news media will all but ignore Hillary's win and focus most of their attention on the strong second placed showing by Obama. Now I just have to wait a couple of more weeks to find out if I'm right!

Read more about 2008 Elections:

Iowa Voters Prepare To Caucus Next Month
Ron Paul Should Ditch The GOP – Run As Independent
Democrats Get Friendly Moderator At Debate
Alan Keyes Demagogues GOP Presidential Debate
Democrats Claim Mike Huckabee Has 'Glass Jaw'

New Year Brings Resolutions/Ads For Diet Products

As sure as the New Year will come and go next week, so will the resolutions and diet products that are advertised leading up to that day. Almost as soon as the lights are turned off the Christmas Tree on December 26th, hundreds of television advertisements start showing up encouraging people to buy their product for quick and long lasting weight loss. Of course, most diets that are started by people around the New Years Holiday do not last until the snow melts the next year. However, that does not stop people from making that age old New Years Resolution to lose weight and advertising agencies know all too well when their messages of the latest and greatest diet programs will receive the most attention from the public.

All this week I have seen advertisement for dozens of different new diet programs along with older programs that have been around for years. While all diets work in the short run, most diets will fail over time because it takes real work to lose weight and it takes even more work to keep that weight off over the long term. A few years ago, some friends of mine decided that the Adkins Diet was their answer for an ever expanding waistline because on that diet plan they could have as much meat and fat as they wanted. Of course, any diet program that advertises to people that love bacon, eggs and steak by telling them they can eat all they want and still lose weight is going to be successful in the short term. Of course, what the Adkins Diet does not say is that bacon, eggs and steak lose their appeal without the carbohydrates like bread and baked potatoes to go along with it.

If 2008 turns out to be like other New Years, millions of people will go on some kind of diet or weight management program next week and end that program before the end of January. In the mean time, dozens of diet marketers and companies will make a tremendous profit off of people that believe the first day of the New Year to be the best for making big choices like losing weight. There is an old saying that goes like this, 'patience is a virtue' and when it comes to dieting and long term weight loss that saying is very true. Like millions of other Americans I too am over weight and I often times dabble with new weight loss ideas that might help me lose some weight. However, in the end I always revert back to old habits that caused me to become overweight in the first place. Several years ago I decided to quit making New Years Resolutions and that choice was a good one for me because it is terrible for a persons self confidence every time they tell themselves they are going to do something and then fail because of poor self discipline.

Read more about Weight Loss:

Spare Tire Waistline - Food Police To The Rescue?
Reducing Portion Size To Help Weight Loss
Weight Panic Attack - Are People Getting Too Thin?
Weight Loss Vacation Newest Travel Trend
New Year Means It's Time To Diet

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Barron Hilton Not Pleased With Paris' Lifestyle

Word leaked out yesterday that Barron Hilton has decided to leave most of his fortune to charity when he passes from this Earth. While it's not like Paris Hilton will need to start filling out applications at her local McDonald's, her grandfather is sending a strong message that he not only disapproves of her lifestyle but also her parents that have helped her become the laughing stock of the world. Barron Hilton built the Hilton Hotel Chain into an upscale business that millions of travelers looked to for elegant comfort when traveling away from home. Paris Hilton, Baron's granddaughter, has acted like a spoiled rotten child through most of her adult life and now all she will have to show for her extravagant behavior will be a few dollars thrown at her when her grandfather dies. From my point of view I say, 'way to go Mr. Hilton'. Catering to a spoil child is not the answer for Paris Hilton's out of control behavior – but rather it leads to even more outrageous behavior from her in the future.

I have been wondering to myself for a long time now about how long the well respected Barron Hilton would put up with his granddaughter's behavior and also the poor parenting skills of his son and daughter-in-law. While Barron is a titan of business, his immediate family that bears his name basically are takers that have survived on Barron Hilton's hard work, money and good reputation for years. Now as Barron Hilton is approaching his own death, I'm sure this hard working man is evaluating choices he has made in his own life and how some of those choices might not have been in the best interest of this family. I believe what Barron Hilton is doing with this decision about where his vast fortune will go to upon his death is more a parting shot at his son and granddaughter that have taken his name, money and reputation and dragged it through the mud of tabloid Hollywood, than to benefit charity.

Before I ever heard the name of Paris Hilton, the Hilton name stood for hotel quality when traveling around the country. However, in recent years it has been hard to separate the name Hilton on a beautiful hotel from the immoral behavior of Paris Hilton. Somewhere down deep inside Barron Hilton is very disappointed in his children and grandchildren for ruining the reputation of the Hilton name. Soon, Barron Hilton will pass from this Earth and when he does he will help many great charities with his tremendous gift of support. At that time, his son and granddaughter will be forced to, for once, live on their own accomplishments and in that department they certainly won't live up to the man that made Hilton, a household name.

Read more about Paris Hilton:

Paris Hilton The Real Estate Mogul
Paris Hilton's Neighbors Trilled About Move
Deep Denial In Paris Hilton's Mind
Paris Hilton Falls For Australian Car Thief
Paris - Special Treatment Once Again - Hilton

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

Congress/IRS Delay Tax Refunds for Millions Of Americans

If people needed another reason to dislike the U.S. Congress, today the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) gave almost 13 million Americans an additional reason to be disgusted with the way they do their job. For many years, Members of Congress have been pledging to get rid of the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) – but like most promises made by Congress at election time, elimination of the AMT does not seem to ever get accomplished once they get into power in Washington. So what has been happening the past few years is that Congress has been passing one year extensions to prevent non rich taxpayers from being effected by this ridicules tax, instead of just stepping up and getting rid of it entirely. The shear arrogance of this democratic Congress that openly talks about how much they care about the poor and middle class to let this mistake happen in the first place in inexcusable. Congressional Democrats are so focused on forcing President Bush to remove troops from Iraq, that they have lost focus on regular everyday business that they should be taking care of.

The Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) was passed to begin with because a very few rich people had found a way to work the United States tax system in a way where they didn't have to pay income tax. Of course, this successful and legal tax avoidance by these few rich families could not be left to stand, so the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) was passed to punished those rich families and force them to pay at least some income tax each year. Over the years, millions of poor to low middle income families have improved their annual income to the point where they are now considered rich, even when they are not, because of the AMT. Every year Congress pledges to get rid of the AMT and every year they fail to get this simple job done. This year as Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid tried to attach troop withdrawal from Iraq to every piece of legislation, a little matter of making sure that 13 million Americans got a speedy refund on their taxes somehow slipped their minds until the last minute.

Congress acted so late on approving this years legislation that the IRS did not have time to prepare the proper forms or even get their computer software adjusted for the change. Now the earliest that some people will be able to file for their 2007 income tax refunds will be the middle of February next year. When any Congress becomes obsessed with a single issue like the Democrats have done since taking power last year with the War in Iraq, that Congress does not deserve to be allowed to continue in power by the American people. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid should be ashamed of themselves for letting this happen, but most likely they will once again try to blame their poor leadership skills on George W. Bush and the War in Iraq.

Read more about Tax Policy:

Alcopops Latest Tax Target In California
Cradle To Grave Tax Policy Hurts Economy
National Sales Tax
For The Children
Hate Tax Increases

Killer Zoo Tiger Taunted Before Fatal Attack?

There are some rumors coming out of San Francisco today that a 350 pound Tiger that escaped and killed a young boy earlier this week could have been taunted by visitors at the zoo before the attack. Of course, people have taunted zoo animals ever since there have been zoos in the United States – so either the San Francisco Zoo did not properly secure this deadly animal or someone either on purpose or accidentally let the Tiger out of it's confided space. While the whole truth may never be known as to how and why this huge Tiger was able to escape his cage and kill a young man and injure two others, SF zoo official are now planning to install additional security cameras to better keep in eye on visitors and animals in the future.

Even at small zoos there are huge Lions and Tigers on display. I remember a few years ago visiting our local zoo and watching with amazement at how large these beautiful creatures really are. I also remember thinking to myself during that visit about how such a large animal could take down and kill a man in a very short period of time. At our local zoo, the Tigers are kept in a completely caged environment unlike the San Francisco compound which uses high walls and a moat to keep their Tigers confined. The shear terror that these young men must have felt when being engaged by such a large and menacing animal must have been the most terrifying event in their lives. Many of the questions as to whether this Tiger was taunted before it fatally attacked zoo visitors after escaping will eventually be answered, but those answers will not bring back the life of a young man that had his whole life ahead of him.

More than likely all zoos in the United States will now reevaluate the security surrounding displays of their most deadly animals and changes will be made to keep the public safely away from them. Unfortunately in America someone usually has to die before changes are made to improve public safety. While I was surprised yesterday with the tremendous mainstream media coverage of this story, after thinking about it last night it became clear why so many people were interested in reading and watching details of what happen. The fact that most American have at one time or another visited a zoo and have seen similar animals themselves creates interest in this San Francisco Zoo mauling. When people like myself visit a zoo the thought of being attacked by an animal there usually never crosses our mind. Now that someone has actually been killed by a wild Tiger at a zoo, many people will reconsider such visits in the future because their feeling of safety will have been shattered because of this attack.

Read more about Animals:

Ellen DeGeneres - Non Profit Animal Shelters
Supporting Non Profit Animal Rescue Centers
Pet Food Scandal
City Pitbull Laws
K9 Personality Traits

Terry Glenn Replaces Terrell Owens In Cowboys Game

Twelve year veteran Terry Glenn will most likely start as wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys as they play the Washington Redskins on Sunday. Glenn has been recovering from knee surgery since September, but he is believe ready to take to the field to replace Terrell Owen who was hurt in last Saturday's game against the Carolina Panthers. Most of the hype this week revolves around the New England Patriots playing for a perfect season on Saturday night. However, there is importance in the Dallas/Washington game as well, especially for the Redskins because they can earn the final available Wild Game birth with a victory against the Dallas Cowboys. I have been concerned about the Dallas Cowboys for the past two weeks. First, they had that terrible game against the Philadelphia Eagles where angry fans blamed that loss on Jessica Simpson dating Dallas quarterback Tony Romo. Then last Saturday night, neither the Dallas offense or defense look like a playoff team as the Carolina Panthers played them a close game right up till the end.

With Terry Glenn taking the field once again on Sunday, maybe his presents will instill some much needed spirit to the Dallas Cowboys as they prepare to do battle in the NFC playoffs. If Tony Romo and the Cowboys continue to play the same way they have the past couple of weeks, they might not survive long in the playoffs. Fortunately, the Cowboys played well enough during the first part of this season to earn the right to have an off week while the Wild Card teams knock each other off during the first weekend of playoff games. While the addition of Terry Glenn to the roster is good news for Cowboys fans, I am still concerned about Tony Romo. While it is easy to pick on a famous person like Jessica Simpson and blame Tony Romo's poor performances on her, in reality something has not been right about Romo the past couple of weeks and now is not the time for a head quarterback to be losing momentum. In many ways, Tony Romo is the best quarterback that the Dallas Cowboys have ever had and while player slumps are a natural part of the game – no one wants their starting quarterback going into a slump a few weeks before the playoffs begin.

Hopefully on Sunday the Dallas Cowboys will show up to play and defeat the Washington Redskins badly by the end of the game. However, with a potential playoff birth possible for the Redskins if they beat the Cowboys, there is no doubt that the Redskins will play their best on Sunday. The Dallas Cowboys and starting quarterback Tony Romo need a big victory on Sunday to regain momentum going into the playoffs and I certainly hope that by the end of the game Cowboys fans are treated to a blowout which will build needed confidence to a currently deflated Dallas Cowboys team.

Read more about the Dallas Cowboys:

Will The Dallas Cowboys Make It To The Superbowl?
Romo Leads Dallas To Charlotte Saturday Night
Ban Jessica Simpson From Tony Romo Football Games
Mistake For Dallas Cowboys To Look Past Philadelphia
Dallas Cowboys Should Defeat Detroit Lions

Benazir Bhutto Assassinated After Pakistan Rally

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated today after speaking at a rally. Late reports from Pakistan say that Bhutto was shot several times by a suicide bomber that blew himself up after he shot her. This is terrible news for a world that has been on edge since Osama bin Laden slipped out of Afghanistan after September 11th, 2001 and most likely is being hid by like minded followers in Pakistan. Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf is likely to re institute a security crack down there as angry Bhutto supporters will seek revenge after her death. Foreign policy experts believe that Pakistan is the most dangers country in the world right now because it has become home to many terrorist organization that have caused this huge country to become unstable and teetering on the edge of anarchy.

Most troubling to United States diplomats are the presence of nuclear weapons that Pakistan developed because of it's long standing feuded with neighboring country, India. While no one is going on the record in Washington right now and talking about potential Musharraf involvement in this assassination, there is no doubt that such ties will be examined in the days and weeks to come. For terrorist like Osama bin Laden, Benazir Bhutto was a treat to his twisted vision of the world in more ways that one. First, Bhutto's gender was a threat to extremest terrorist who believe that women should not be allowed to lead and second Benazir Bhutto was a true believer in democracy which is in total contrast to terrorist that believe in Islamic leadership.

As Benazir Bhuto supporters grieve at the loss of their leader today, soon grief will turn to anger and revenge against people they believe planned and executed today's attack that took Bhutto's life. All Americans should be concerned with today's assassination of Benazir Bhutto because if a large, nuclear armed, country like Pakistan falls into complete anarchy – all freedom loving nations of the world are at risk of potential attacks that could take the lives of innocent people around the world. The State Departments job of dealing with and keeping Pakistan's President Pervez Musharaf under control just became harder. 2008 will be the year millions of people around the world will be looking at Pakistan and hoping that democracy there does not fail because the alternative government that would be put into place afterward would make Iran look like a peaceful and loving nation.

Read more about Pakistan:

Musharraf Holds On As Pakistan Slides Toward The Abyss
Father Kills Three (3) Daughters In Pakistan Honor Killing
Earthquake Death Toll Rises To 40,000 - Pakistan/India
Help Is On The Way After India/Pakistan Earthquake

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Day After Christmas Shopping With Gift Cards/Cash

While the financial experts were trying to figure out if the 2007 Christmas shopping season was a winner or not a few weeks ago, a new wrinkle has been placed in their tabulations the past five or six years because gift cards and cash are turning out to be popular gifts that get redeemed the day after Christmas. For years I have given cash or Visa Gift Cards to friends and family for Christmas instead of regular gifts and to date I have never had one of these gifts returned because the person did not like the gift. One of the hardest things to do is to figure out what another person really wants for Christmas, so I just quit trying and now give cash or gift cards, instead. While gift cards from Visa, Master Card and American Express are good choices when it comes to Christmas giving – in my opinion cash is a better option because for some reason some people never redeem gift cards so after a few years the issuing company gets to keep that money without selling anything for the money.

It's not just gift cards that don't get redeemed, but tonight on our local television news I heard that over 400 million dollars worth of lottery winnings in Texas alone have never been collected by the winners. I guess people are just too busy or don't feel comfortable spending gift cards when given as gifts at Christmas. Several months ago, I read that major retailer 'Best Buy' had millions of dollars worth of unredeemed gift cards that their customers had never used to purchase merchandise. That high dollar figure is unbelievable to me since I usually try and use Christmas gift cards during a short period of time after they are given to me. While Visa, Master Card and American Express want all of us to give their gift cards instead of cash for Christmas, it might be in our own best interest to just give cold hard cash, instead.

The company I work for has given me a small Visa Gift Card for Christmas the past two years. While I am always pleased to get this gift, in reality both last year and most likely this year too, I will leave a few dollars on that card because I can't think of anything else to spend the money on. Just image how much unused money there is on unused Visa Gift Cards and wouldn't that money have been better spent just giving cash to the person instead of the card? When we give cash for Christmas, we always know that all that money will be used by the person the gift was given to. However, with a gift card from Visa, Master Card or American Express we are less sure. In addition to some people not spending all the money available to them on a gift card, the person purchasing the card many times is charged an addition fee for the privilege of giving that card in the first place. In the future, I have decided to just give cash or if that is not practical write a person check or buy a money order to give to friends and family. While gift cards seems to make sense to the giver, in reality many times we end up giving gifts to Visa, Master Card and American Express instead of the person the gift was meant for.

Read more about Christmas:

Planes/Trains/Automobiles – Christmas Travel Begins
Happy Christmas Wishes And All That Holiday Stuff
Christmas Eve Thoughts - Food Family And Football
Colorado Snow Fall Produces Christmas Blizzard
Annual Christmas Party Without Christmas Bonus

Rudy Giuliani Campaign Losing Momentum Before Iowa

When Rudy Giuliani started his campaign for the GOP nomination for President many months ago, he look almost unbeatable as his reputation as a strong NYC mayor preceded him during the days and weeks after September 11th, 2001. Fast forward till today and for all practical purposes the Rudy Giuliani campaign for President has derailed and good fortune may not return to this man that looked like the person to beat just a few short weeks ago. What has hurt Rudy's chances at victory with GOP voters has more to do with questions surrounding his morality than the fact that he did a wonderful job leading New York City after terrorist attacked the World Trade Center there on 911. Almost everyone already knew that Rudy Giuliani has lead a playboy lifestyle with several marriages and girlfriends. However, when news leaked out a few weeks ago that Giuliani used taxpayer money to provide a driver and security for his now wife, back when she was only his girlfriend - trust in Rudy Giuliani started to fade and right now his campaign is on the edge of a complete meltdown.

From the beginning, Rudy Giuliani's strategy has focused on large states that could make any weakness he suffered in the first primary's to fade quickly from public view. However, right now Rudy Giuliani is starting to show weakness even in large states like Florida, so a big loss in either Iowa or New Hampshire will hurt him more now that it would have back when he dominated GOP polls. Ever since Bill Clinton was able to bounce back from extramarital affairs when he was Governor of Arkansas and again as President of the United States – I began to believe that most Americans did not care about morality questions surrounding the commander-in-chief. However, I might have been wrong in that assumption or maybe Rudy Giuliani is not liked or trusted by the American public as much as former President Bill Clinton. Another problem that Rudy Giuliani is facing is a surging candidacy of an until recently unknown candidate by the name of Mike Huckabee. While I believe the Huckabee factor will be short lived once GOP voters start going to the polls next month, right now Huckabee is hurting Rudy more than anyone else.

Another factor in the demise of the Rudy Giuliani's presidential campaign machine is the fact that the War in Iraq is going better and more and more Americans can see a future victory in that country. Unfortunately, Americans have a very short attention span, so when they don't feel threatened they don't look as closely at a President's stand on national security issues. Even a candidate that I had written off months ago because of his stand on illegal immigration, John McCain, is starting to surge in the polls. While most Republican candidates seem to be surging in one way or another right now, Rudy Giuliani's campaign is going down hill and that cannot be a good sign. I still believe that Rudy Giuliani would make a good President of the United States, but questions about his personal life and morality concerns may rob him from having the chance to win.

Read more about Rudy Giuliani:

Flu Symptoms Cause Rudy Giuliani To Be Hospitalized
Judith Regan's Revenge - Smear Rudy Giuliani For President
Will Pat Robertson's Endorsement Help/Hurt Rudy Giuliani?
Rudy Giuliani Attacks Hillary Early And Often
Rudy Giuliani Works Overtime To Win Conservative Voters

NBC/CBS/NFL Network To Broadcast New England Patriots Game

In an apparent cave, the NFL today announced that Saturdays football game between the New England Patriots and New York Giants will be broadcast on three different networks. Both CBS and NBC have said yes to a request from the NFL to broadcast the game so all Americans will have a chance to watch the New England Patriots possibly make history by extending their win/loss record to 16-0. This turn around in attitude by the NFL is welcome news for all football fans and it is regrettable that this decision was not made sooner so Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers fans were not shut out from their game earlier in the season. The strong armed tactics used by the NFL against major cable companies is wrong because for millions of people their cable bills would have been forced higher just to be able to see certain high profile games on a TV network that would be very boring eleven months out of the year.

Today's news about the New England Patriots/New York Giants game being simulcast on two major broadcast networks in addition to the NFL Network marks the first time in 40 years that an NFL football game has been shown on two competing networks at the same time. The only other time that two broadcast networks carried the same NFL football game was back in the 1960 when the NFL and AFL merged their leagues. The very first Superbowl game was broadcast on both NBC and CBS the same two networks that will carry the New England Patriots and New York Giants game on Saturday night. While angry fans did play a part in the NFL's decision to allow broadcast of Saturday nights game, more than likely talk of taking away the NFL's coveted antitrust exemption in Congress was the biggest factor. I knew at some point in time something would have to give in this battle of cable and NFL titans where regular fans of the National Football League were the only losers.

I certainly hope that the NFL and major cable companies reach a compromise in this dispute before next year because most NFL fans are fed up with the name calling by these billionaires that care more about money than the integrity of the game. Both big cable and the NFL are awash with money already and to hold the favorite pastime of Americans, professional football, hostage to their future monetary goals is wrong and it should not be allowed to continue into next years NFL season. This season, two of the Dallas Cowboys late season games ended up on the NFL Network and while my small cable company has decided to add that channel to it's line up – I'm sure a monthly price increase is headed my way soon. There are many things big companies can fight over to make themselves wealthy, I just wish they would leave NFL football alone and broadcast all games to every home in America via free television.

Read more about the NFL:

Will The New England Patriots Go Undefeated in 2007?
NFL Network Ruins Holidays For Millions Of Fans
December 22 Dallas Cowboys Game On NFL Network
Pay Per View NFL Football Games Next?
NFL/Cable Money Feud Disappoints Football Fans

Mike Huckabee Aide Attacks Rush Limbaugh, Mistake?

In one of the strangest twists of campaign 2008, a top aide of Mike Huckabee has insulted one of the most popular conservatives in America, Rush Limbaugh. This insult comes only two weeks before the Iowa Caucuses. My personal belief is that Mike Huckabee has created an enemy that not only has the power to hurt his chances of winning in Iowa, but also could completely wreck his national campaign. For weeks I have been writing here about concerns that I have with Mike Huckabee and how he intertwined his religion with politics when he served as Governor of Arkansas. Now in the most boneheaded move of the 2008 campaign for President, Mike Huckabee has made the decision that it is in his own best interest to attack Americans top conservative, Rush Limbaugh. In a way I am glad that Huckabee has made this mistake because it will hasten the day when his candidacy will no long be relevant. When I see Mike Huckabee on television I envision a wolf and sheep's clothing and he is one scary candidate to me.

Whether most of the country likes Rush Limbaugh or not is not relevant to this latest mess up by the Huckabee campaign. In the GOP, Rush Limbaugh is the most powerful man in the country and if a candidate like Mike Huckabee really wants to win the Republican nomination for President he needs all the conservative support he can find in that effort. There are decisions that Mike Huckabee made while Governor of Arkansas that cause many conservatives to doubt that he is a conservative at all. Huckabee seemed to love to raise taxes and he was a big believer in letting criminals out of jail via clemency or pardon that convinced him that they had found God. Most convicted criminals seem to find God within their first few days in prison, so I am amazed that Mike Huckabee did not release all felons in Arkansas prisons during his term as governor. The decision to attack Rush Limbaugh before even a single Republican has cast their vote in the GOP primary is akin to a democratic candidate attacking the moral values of John F. Kennedy right before voters are asked to support their candidacy.

In my opinion no one person in the GOP is more powerful at effecting Republican Primary elections than Rush Limbaugh. When a candidate like Mike Huckabee goes after Limbaugh he not only is offending Rush's 20 million regular listeners, but millions more conservatives that listen to other conservative talk radio shows like Sean Hannity and Mark Levin as well. In my opinion, Mike Huckabee has decided to self destruct his campaign for President and that decision is not only a good one for the Republican Party, but also for the country as a whole. It is a scary situation when a man like Huckabee can really be leading in the GOP primary's when his true calling is preaching in church to people that have the inclination to listen to his religious leanings.

Read more about Mike Huckabee:

Mike Huckabee's Religion/Foreign Policy Scares Me
Mike Huckabee's Weak Performance In Wednesday's GOP Debate
Democrats Claim Mike Huckabee Has 'Glass Jaw'
Mike Huckabee Could Be Dark Horse Winner
Mike Huckabee To The Rescue For Conservatives?

Read more about Rush Limbaugh:

Rush Limbaugh Sets eBay Record With Senator Reid Letter
Rush Limbaugh - 'Inconvenient Truth' Wrong For School Students
Rush Limbaugh Smear Supports Media Laziness Case
Rush Limbaugh Continues To Shame Democrats
Rush Limbaugh 'Media Matters' Smear Failing Miserably

Iowa Voters Prepare To Caucus Next Month

Soon, the voters in Iowa will visit various locations around that state to decide which GOP and Democrat candidates will receive their support for President in 2008. For the past six months to a year, all the major candidates seeking the office of President of the United States have been making the rounds in Iowa, talking and listening to voters concerns. Now the moment of truth has arrived and rather than reading about conflicting poll results that sometimes fluctuate wildly from day to day about who is in the lead, the only poll that really matters will soon take place in hundreds of caucus locations around the state. Today, the favorites to win in Iowa are Mike Huckabee on the GOP side and Hillary Clinton for the Democrats. When I say favorites to win, I am totally basing that judgment on recent polling that shows Huckabee and Clinton in the lead.

In Iowa, rather than having an election where the candidate that receives the most votes wins, voters there prefer to have a caucus system where hundreds of small groups of voters get together and try and reach consensus as a group on whom to support with that states delegates. Personally, I prefer a system where votes are cast and the person that receives the most votes wins. However, in Iowa voters have used this system for years and they seem to like that approach when it comes to deciding which candidates their state will support in the upcoming political conventions. More than likely the polls will fluctuate wildly the next couple of weeks as more people start paying attention to political primaries in Iowa and then a few days later in New Hampshire. 2008 is the first time political primaries have been held this close to Christmas. It will be interesting to see how many people actually participate in elections during the first few weeks of a new year. Conventional wisdom would say that few people will be around on election day to vote, but this year I am not so sure that voters will stay away from the polls in droves because of the vast differences between GOP and democratic candidates stands on the major issues of the day.

The biggest shock to me so far this election season has been the dramatic rise in the poll popularity of Mike Huckabee. As a third tier candidate for most of this election season, Mike Huckabee seemed to come out of nowhere to not only challenge front runners Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani, but surpass them in short order in the run up to the Iowa caucuses. In many ways, Mike Huckabee concerns me because he seems to allow his own personal religious beliefs to guide his public life. While religion is an important factor in the life of a politician, depending too much on faith could lead a President of the United States to drift down a road that most Americans do not want to travel. That said, the other two top GOP contenders of Romney and Giuliani are becoming less attractive to me as well as they continue to campaign around the country. On the democratic side the likely nominee is much easier to spot because that candidate once lived in the White House as 'First Lady'. While the major media is trying to make a campaign out of the democratic party's race for the nomination. I believe most people already expect Hillary Clinton to win easily in most states and be her party's nominee for President in 2008. Soon, voters around the country will be heading to the voting booth to decide which candidates will represent their party in next years election. At that time we will all have a better idea of who really is in the lead in the race for the White House in 2008.

Read more about 2008 Elections:

Ron Paul Should Ditch The GOP – Run As Independent
Democrats Get Friendly Moderator At Debate
Alan Keyes Demagogues GOP Presidential Debate
Democrats Claim Mike Huckabee Has 'Glass Jaw'
Destroyed CIA Interrogation Tapes Showed Harsh Treatment

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Dick Clark Returns To Rocking New Years Eve Show

We are only one week away from saying goodbye to 2007 and rocking in the New Year (2008) with Dick Clark's 'Rocking New Years Eve Show' from Manhattan. A few years ago, Dick Clark suffered a major stroke that caused his speech patterns to sound differently, but his mind is still operating strong and his will and love of life is something I think about often when I am having a bad day. Like millions of other Americans, I grew up with Dick Clark in my life. When I was a kid, his 'American Bandstand' program was a must see every Saturday as new music artist were introduced to the world via his nationwide program from Philadelphia. In fact, dozens of now well known singing stars got their first nationwide exposure via 'American Bandstand' hosted by Dick Clark. Several years ago, 'Dick Clark Productions' produced a television show called 'American Dreams' that my wife and I enjoyed very much. Eventually the TV ratings ax took that show off the air, but in my opinion Dick Clark rightly touch the national feelings of America during the Vietnam War.

In my opinion, Dick Clark has been cued in more than most people as to what has made this great nation tick for almost 250 years. Dick Clark has a way of producing television shows that bring old memories back to life for many of us old timer baby boomer's that gives a positive feeling to those not so 'good old days'. As a young man growing up in the 1970's, Dick Clark was a mainstay in the music business and during the late 1960's and early 1970's – rock n roll music was the main escape from from a messed up world that was involved in a war that no one really believed was in the best interest of the United States. In the Dick Clark production of 'American Dreams', he was able to remind all of us that grew up during that period the issues of the day and also bring back the terrifying thoughts of young men that were soon to be drafted to go risk their lives on the field of battle in Vietnam.

While Dick Clark's 'Rocking New Years Eve Shows' are not about the bad times of the 1970's during the Vietnam War, for me every time I see his face it is difficult to separate the two. Even several decades ago, people marveled at the way Dick Clark never seemed to age over the years. Rumor of fantastic face lifts and other propaganda filled the tabloids about him over the years, but I believe Dick Clark is just a national treasure in the United States that millions of people not only know, but respect. As New Years Eve approaches, I hope for good things in the year to come not only for my family, but for Dick Clark as well. While it might be hard for we old timers to hear the changes a major stroke have done to Dick Clark's voice, in reality he might just be showing the rest of us the way to our own future in a positive way.

Read more about Dick Clark:

Life After Stroke - Dick Clark Shows The Way
Understand Strokes After Sharon/Clark Suffer One
Welcome Back Dick Clark To New Years Eve Show
Dick Clark Returns To Times Square

Holiday's Bring Financial Stress/Depression To Some

As the years have passed, I have notice that while the holiday's create good feelings and comfort in some people – in others the holiday's bring nothing but stress and depression. I'm not really sure why some people become so stress during the Christmas holiday's but I think at the root of the problem it revolves around the day in and day out personality of the person. In life most people either have a 'glass half full' or 'glass half empty' attitude. I believe that people that take problems in life and try to solve them might look at the holiday's differently that another person who feels powerless and under the control of other people and events. Even for the most positive thinkers in the world, the Christmas holiday's can bring stress and can also bring on an occasional outburst of stress produced anger.

In addition to the natural personality traits of the people involved, the financial stress of buying gifts can bring some financially strapped people to crack under the retail pressures that are placed on a family. Millions of Americans are living only one pay check away from seeing their lifestyle completely disrupted. Add to that 'living on the edge' problem, a family with children that expect the best gifts even if the family cannot afford those gifts, a pressure cooker situation can quickly develop which will turn a happy holiday into a nightmare in a very short period of time. While attitude and financial pressures do play a role in Christmas holiday stress, the biggest problem that is faced by people that are angry during the holiday's revolves around depression.

In the world today, there are millions of men and women suffering from depression that have never been treated or they were treated once and stopped taking their medication. For hundreds of years there has been a big stigma against people that suffer from mental depression and that stigma has caused some severely depressed people not to seek treatment options that really work. I read once that the best definition of depression is a persons anger turned inward. That description makes sense to me because I personally know people that I believe are depressed, but they are the last people on Earth that would seek out treatment options that could help them live a happier life. Slowly, but surely people are starting to understand that an illness of the mind is no different than suffering from a physical aliment. However, it will take decades for most of the world to accept that depressed people cannot correct that problem on their own, but rather suffer with a chemical imbalance within their brain that is responsible for their dark feelings inside.

Read more about Health Research:

WIC Updates Program For Better Mother/Child Nutrition Goals
Attacking Overweight People Different Than Cigarette Smokers
Antibiotic Resistant Staph 'Superbug' Threatens School Kids
Topps/Cargill/Sams Club - E. coli Meat Scare
Teen Suicide Rate Soars - Medicine Warnings To Blame?

Monday, December 24, 2007

Will The Dallas Cowboys Make It To The Superbowl?

I sure hope so, but getting to the Superbowl and actually winning that game are two separate issues. Right now I don't see how the Dallas Cowboys could win against the New England Patriots, but in the NFL anything is possible during any given game. The past two weeks, the Dallas Cowboys have not played at their best and it is anyones guess as to whether this 'Cowboys' slump will end before the playoffs begin in a couple of weeks. Right now, it would be hard for a betting man to wager real money against the New England Patriots. As the Patriots approach their perfect season next weekend, what will it take for an NFC team to defeat them in the Superbowl? The answer to that question is what is on the minds of coaches and fans from Dallas to Green Bay and other potential “Wild Card” teams around the league. I watched the last part of the New England/Miami game tonight and I did not see any weakness in New England's strategy as they easily defeat the Dolphins in the end.

In the 2007 NFL season the New England Patriots have done everything right, but can they turn that regular season perfection into a national championship at next years Superbowl game? Probably yes, because unlike other teams, like my favorite Dallas Cowboys – the Patriots have been able to hold it together from week to week no matter how good their opponents season has been. From where I am sitting, the New England Patriots are the best overall NFL team I have seen in my lifetime and unless something big comes along to throw them off their game, they will be the well deserved Superbowl Champions. Somewhere along the way, the Dallas Cowboys have lost their way and for the Cowboys' team leader, Tony Romo, that derailment could not have come at a worse time. People have been making fun of the 'Jessica Simpson' effect on Tony Romo now for over a week. While I have written about that subject in a tung and check way, the mainstream media has picked up on the Romo/Simpson story and taken it to a whole different level.

While it is fun to joke about Jessica Simpson and her alleged bad luck effect on Tony Romo, in reality she is not the problem facing the Dallas Cowboys as they approach the playoffs. The real problem surround the success that the Cowboys have had this year and the real competition that is yet to come from this 'Johnny come lately' team surround a lack of focus. It wasn't that long ago that Tony Romo was sitting on the bench as the Cowboys' coaching staff was looking around the NFL for the next has been to play as quarterback. Now with Romo in charge of the Dallas offense, it might take a couple of years for him to mature into a real quarterback that can lead the Dallas Cowboys' all the way to a Superbowl victory. One thing is for sure and that is that coach Wade Phillips, Tony Romo and Jerry Jones have made the right choices this season. Whether or not these strong willed men will be able to hold this group of talented players together until the Superbowl, is something else entirely.

Read more about the Dallas Cowboys:

Romo Leads Dallas To Charlotte Saturday Night
Ban Jessica Simpson From Tony Romo Football Games
Mistake For Dallas Cowboys To Look Past Philadelphia
Dallas Cowboys Should Defeat Detroit Lions
Cowboys Beat Jets - New England/Dallas Superbowl?

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

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Terrible Weather Conditions Await Holiday Travelers

For once, I am glad that my family got our Christmas holiday out of the way early because in most parts of the United States the first part of the winter of 2007 is turning out to be a bad one weather wise. For weeks, snow and ice have plagued millions of people from the Heartland of Oklahoma and Kansas to people as far away as Maine. Just today a massive I-40 pile up in Amarillo, Texas caused havoc along with other accidents stretching from the the midsection of the United States to the East Coast. While most Americans have dreams of a White Christmas in the run up to the holiday's, in reality watching the snowfall from a warm living room sipping on hot chocolate is much different that trying to drive in snow blast blizzard conditions. I just finished watching the 10pm news here in Waco, Texas and our low temperature at 7am tomorrow morning is predicted to be 29 degrees. Wow, that is cold for Texas so I can only image how frigid it is further north in the country.

During our weekend travels we did noticed a few accidents along the way, but fortunately they did not seem severe in nature. One of the accidents we saw on Highway 6 between Marlin and Calvert, Texas might have caused some injuries where an 18 wheeler truck hit an SUV and the back part of the SUV was completely caved in. However, as we were being redirected by emergency personnel we noticed two fire trucks at the scene, but no ambulance. I decided that this weekend we would leave early so I could drive as slow as possible. Not just because there was going to be so much traffic on the roads between Waco and College Station the weekend before Christmas, but also because our area of the country has been experiencing high winds now for almost a week. Last night we visited a College Station restaurant that had Direct TV because the local cable company in College Station does not offer the NFL Network. Much to our pleasure, that game turned out with a Cowboys win over the Panthers. As we left that restaurant the wind must have been blowing 30 miles per hour and there was light rainfall, was well.

Now we are home for the real Christmas holiday and this year that is fine by me. Earlier this year both my wife and I were disappointed that Christmas was falling during the middle of the week and without taking vacation days from work we would only have a one day holiday on Christmas Day. All and all everything worked out well and now my wife and I can spend our Christmas morning together, just the two of us with our indoor dogs eating breakfast together. While it is always a joy for us to visit with family and friends, in the end we enjoy our company together most of all and I hope that means that we have a strong and loving marriage. Wherever you might find yourself the next few days, Merry Christmas to all and please be careful on the roadways this holiday season.

Read more about Weird Weather:

More Midwest/Northeast Snow Predicted Tomorrow
Heartland Ice Turns Into Northeast Blizzard
One Million People Could Lose Power By Tomorrow
Some States Flood While Others Dry Up - December 2007
Florida/Alabama Battle Georgia Over Much Needed Water

Real Life Earth Angeles - Hospice Cancer Care

After a whirlwind weekend of Christmas visitation, my wife I am made a short drive from College Station, Texas over to Austin to visit my wife's uncle that was recently diagnosed with lung cancer. In short order his cancer had moved from his lungs to his brain and when we arrived in the early afternoon he was resting comfortable, but clearly weak from the medication he was taking to cope with the pain. Upon entering his home, I had a tremendous sense of 'been there/done that' as I saw him laying on a hospital bed that had been delivered to his home by Hospice. The familiar signs of taking care of a dying patient were everywhere in his home, from the medicine to control his pain and depression to reading materials for the family that were provided by Hospice. The look in my wife's uncles eyes was one of a person that was half here and half somewhere else, but he was not suffering any pain during our visit.

After our short visit, we headed back to our home in Waco and during that one and a half hour drive my mind went back to a time to October of 2001. That month, while everyone on Earth was trying to understand the reasoning behind the September 11th attacks – my family was treating a father that was in the final stages of death from Pancreatic Cancer. There is a certain sense of sadness, but also joy at a life long lived when visiting a friend or family member that is dying of cancer. With both my father and now with my wife's uncle, Hospice is providing both him and the family with valuable information on what steps the body goes through as death approaches. Before dad became sick six years ago, I knew little about Hospice. During dads dying process, Hospice was more than just people providing information and medication to control his pain, but real life 'Earth Angeles' sent by God to help our family cope with the many emotions and fears that families face when a loved one is dying from cancer.

Only a few decades ago, men and women who were dying from terminal cancer were subjected to a medical system that did not know how to treat them in the last few weeks of life. That terrible and inhuman treatment was never displayed for all to see better than in a movie by the name of 'Terms of Endearment'. As a young mother was dying in a Houston, Texas hospital from cancer – in a scene that branded my brain for a lifetime her mother is seen yelling and screaming at nurses to give her daughter a pain shot even though four hours had not yet passed since the last one. Hospitals were never designed to treat the dying, but instead they rightfully were created to treat and heal the sick. Some time between when the movie 'Terms of Endearment' was released and today, medical doctors and hospitals have teamed up with Hospice to provide the type of care a terminally ill person should receive in their final hours of life.

I do not have the words to describe how important Hospice is to the families of dying patients. People in this organization have greater character than anyone I have ever met and to my knowledge they have never let a dying patent suffer because not enough time had gone by since the last pain shot. If your family is ever faced with a member that is terminally ill with cancer or some other disease, please do not hesitate to contact Hospice. Calling them was the best decision my family ever made.

Read more about Cancer News:

Uncles Lung Cancer Has Spread To His Brain
Study Shows Late Shift Has Increased Risk Of Cancer
Hoda Kotb Talking/Fighting Breast Cancer
Litigation Over Asbestos Cancer - Finding New Victims
Sunshine Vitamin D Cancer Prevention/Treatment?