Thursday, January 31, 2008

Giuliani/Edwards Quit, Who Will Be Next?

GOP presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani and John Edwards on the democratic side decided to end their campaign for the White House yesterday. Three months ago, both of these candidates had high hopes of being the next President of the United States – but that dream will not be realized in 2008. The riches to rags story of the Rudy Giuliani campaign should be written down on paper so future presidential candidates do not make the same mistake that Giuliani made in his 2008 bid for the White House. Rudy Giuliani's main strategy from day one was to ignore early states like Iowa and New Hampshire and focus all of his attention on larger states beginning with Florida. The sad fact is that once the GOP primaries got to Florida, Rudy Giuliani came in third in a state he campaigned in for months before that state voted. Giuliani now understands that if a presidential candidate ignores Iowa and New Hampshire, that candidate will lose momentum that often times cannot be earned back up.

On the Democrat side, John Edwards also quit the 2008 race for the White House yesterday after campaigning in every state primary, but not winning a single contest. John Edwards' sounds like Bobby Kennedy with a southern accent to me as he ran his campaign for President focusing on giving a voice to the poorest of Americans. Unfortunately for John Edwards, the liberal slogans of the 1960's that Bobby Kennedy successfully used in his campaign, before his assassination, are not supported by most Americans in 2008. While I disagree with most of the political positions that John Edwards took during his 2008 campaign, I do admire him for sticking to what he believes in even when most Americans do not think or believe the same way he does anymore. Unlike the 1960's, most Americans now believe that poor people have a responsibility to pull themselves out of poverty instead of receiving a government check for life. Most Americans believe in helping a fellow citizen out when they fall on hard times, but that help should not last a lifetime, either.

With Rudy Giuliani and John Edwards out of the 2008 campaign for President, the next question is which candidate will be next to quit the race? I think it might be awhile before another high profile candidate quits the 2008 presidential race on either side of the contest. Coming out of Super Tuesday, both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton most certainly will each win some states and on the GOP side even with John McCain now firmly in the lead – Mitt Romney can afford to continue on because of his own personal wealth. The 2008 campaign for President is turning into a real race to the finish which was not predicted early on by most political pundits.

Read more about Rudy Giuliani:

Rudy Giuliani Bets All On State Of Florida
Rudy Giuliani's Campaign Facing Money Problems
Rudy Giuliani Goes Door To Door In New Hampshire
Rudy Giuliani Campaign Losing Momentum Before Iowa
Flu Symptoms Cause Rudy Giuliani To Be Hospitalized

Read more about 2008 Elections:

Fight For Delegates, Democrats/GOP Wide Open Race
Ron Paul Is Authentic In Field Of Pretenders
Clinton/Obama Face Off Saturday In Nevada
GOP Facing 2008 Brokered Party Convention
Election 2008 Making Pollsters Look Foolish

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

John McCain Wins Without Rush Limbaugh Support

If Senator John McCain makes a strong showing on Super Tuesday, he will most likely win the GOP nomination for President in 2008. If that happens it will be against a flood of criticism from nationwide conservative radio talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh. For extreme right wing conservatives, like Rush Limbaugh, John McCain appears more like a liberal Republican than a conservative. Limbaugh, along with other extreme conservatives started referring to moderate Republicans like Senator McCain as 'RINOS' which stands for 'Republicans In Name Only'. Only a few short years ago, if Rush Limbaugh did not approve of a GOP candidate for President of the United States – it would be difficult for that candidate to win the nomination. However, in 2008, John McCain is proving that a person can win the GOP nomination for President without the support of Rush Limbaugh and conservative talk radio.

What is at the root of this change in voter attitude is not a slam against Rush Limbaugh, but a changing of the guard in the Republican Party. Since the days of Ronald Reagan a strong base of social and fiscal conservatives made up the foundation of the GOP. That said, President Bush and out-of-control Washington spending by a GOP Congress destroyed the fiscal conservative leg of that foundation to a point that the only real foundation left in the GOP is with Evangelical Christians. I do blame Rush Limbaugh for turning a blind eye as Republican Members of Congress went on a spending spree when they were in charge of both the House of Representatives and Senate. Rush Limbaugh was quick to challenge anyone that doubted President Bush's wisdom on the War in Iraq or the Terry Schiavo Law, but sat mainly silent as month after month a GOP controlled Congress spent money that they did not have on pork barrel projects - just like Democrats did before them.

Like most other people, I did not think John McCain had a chance to win the GOP nomination a few months ago because of the out right negative comments against him from conservative talk radio hosts. Rush Limbaugh has never approved of John McCain because of a few stands he has taken on issues like campaign finance reform and illegal immigration. However, with or without the support of legendary radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh – John McCain is the odds on favorite to win the GOP nomination in 2008. That fact is an important one which proves that the GOP is changing from the party of Ronald Reagan and transforming itself into a more moderate group of voters.

Read more about John McCain:

John McCain Lead, Real Or Just Mainstream Media Driven?
South Carolina Memories For John McCain Campaign
John McCain Won New Hampshire, What Next?
John McCain Running Against Barack Obama In New Hampshire
Media Hypes John McCain Before New Hampshire Primary

Read more about Rush Limbaugh:

Mike Huckabee Aide Attacks Rush Limbaugh, Mistake?
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

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Bush Earmark Reform That Could Actually Work

Today, President George W. Bush is expected to sign an 'Executive Order' forbidding government agencies from enacting congressional earmarks that have not been voted on by the Congress. This idea is so simple that I am amazed that no President before George W. Bush ever considered trying it. Of course, enacting such an Executive Order in a Democrat controlled Congress is bound to be an easier decision for President Bush to make than when the Republicans were in charge. Put simple, most congressional Earmarks steal money from the American people and that money is used for 'pet projects' of individual Members of Congress, usually in their own districts or state to bolster their reelection chances back home.

For most of my adult life I knew little about congressional Earmarks because they were not used that often as a way for Members of Congress to obtain money for their districts or state without Congress voting on whether the Earmark was a good idea or not. In recent years, Earmarks have gone from a seldom used perk for leaders in Congress to business as usual as almost all legislators used them to personally enrich their own pet projects. I personally believe that President Bush is on firm legal ground with his new Executive Order to slow congressional Earmarks because his order points only to federal spending that was not voted on by all Members of Congress.

I believe it would still come as a shock to most taxpayers that their tax dollars are being spent without as much as a single vote on the merit of that spending taken. Since Earmarks have been in existence, billions of dollars of federal taxpayer money has been wasted in order to build bridges to nowhere and produce four lane highways in locations that see little traffic. Recently, Senator Hillary Clinton tried to get a one million dollar Earmark for a new museum to celebrate 'Woodstock'. With President Bush's new Executive Order forbidding government departments from enacting Earmarks that have not been voted on by the Congress, these previously hidden pieces of 'pork barrel spending' will be brought into the light of day for a vote. Since all votes in the US Congress are made public for all to see, it will be interesting to see how many of these Earmarks will receive a majority vote in the US House of Representatives and US Senate when every Member of Congress is forced to attach their own name to that pork barrel spending project.

Read more about President Bush:

State Of The Union Address Tonight
Did You Know President Bush Was In The Middle East?
George McGovern Wants President Bush Impeached
Is President Bush Arrogant In Private Talks?
President Bush Controls Democrats Better Than Republicans

Monday, January 28, 2008

State Of The Union Address Tonight

Tonight, President George W. Bush will give another 'State of the Union' address and I wonder if anyone will be watching? Most people care deeply about the state of the United States of America, but in recent years it has been tough to get a straight answer about how to solve problems from either President Bush or Democrats in Congress. Most of the time they simply blame each other in a game that does nothing to help with the problems we are facing. In recent years, members of the mainstream media have become so bored covering State of the Union speeches that they started spending most of their time trying to figure out which Senator or Congressman will sit next to each other and/or counting the number of standing ovations that the President receives and comparing that number to previous speeches.

I'm sure that President Bush will praise the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan for a job well done tonight when he addresses Congress and the nation. Then he will proceed to talk about how his tax cuts need to be made permanent. On a few occasions, President Bush will praise a regular citizen in the House Gallery for doing some kind of heroic work for his or her country. How do I know this? Because each speech that is given by the President of the United States in a State of the Union address seems to be cut from the same template that has been used for over one hundred years. Within the State of the Union speech template there will be red meat politics for conservatives to chew on so Republicans will be able to jump to their feet and cheer while the Democrats remain seated and looking stoned faced. Then President Bush will make moderate comments that both Republicans and Democrats will agree with which will cause the entire Congress to jump to its feet and cheer.

My opinion is that State of the Union speeches by the President of the United States should only be carried on one television channel. It is a waste of television air time to keep showing the same old State of the Union address year after year that was produced from the same old template. In no way am I trying to blame President Bush for this issue, because Presidents from both major political party's have used this same speech template for their State of the Union addresses, as well. Put simply, watching the annual State of the Union address on television is boring and that is why so few people watch it unless the US is reading for war. Like millions of other Americans, I will skip watching the State of the Union address tonight because I have already seen it before.

Read more about President Bush:

Did You Know President Bush Was In The Middle East?
George McGovern Wants President Bush Impeached
Is President Bush Arrogant In Private Talks?
President Bush Controls Democrats Better Than Republicans
Will President Bush Stop Iran's Nuclear Program?

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Fight For Delegates, Democrats/GOP Wide Open Race

The campaign for the Democrat and Republican nominations to run for President in 2008 is turning into a real competition. On the democratic side, all three top candidates have several delegates to their name with Barack Obama currently standing as number one. On the Republican side, the same story is true with all three top contenders with almost the same number of delegates with Mitt Romney currently with the most. On Super Tuesday it will be interesting to watch and see if either Obama or Romney are able to break out from the pack and plant their campaign flags strongly in a front runner position. For the Republicans, the upcoming Florida Primary could mess up Mitt Romney's plans to go into Super Tuesday as the GOP candidate with the most delegates as current polls show John McCain leading in the Florida Primary that will be held this week.

In the race for the democratic and GOP nominations for President, all that really matters at the end of the day are how many delegates that are won. When GOP and Democrat leaders set up the path a candidate must travel in order to win their party's nomination for President, both political party's desired a quick and easy path for the eventual winner to travel. However, in 2008 that clear and easy path to a party's nomination has been cluttered with more than one candidate that wins early and starts building a base of support for the general election. Today, both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have a 50/50 chance of winning the democratic nomination for President. On the GOP side I give a greater edge to John McCain because I believe, in the end, he will edge out Mitt Romney for the Republican nomination.

In the same way the general election is decided by electoral college votes, the path to both the GOP and Democrat nominations for President will be through earning enough delegates to win the party's nomination. If by some chance no one candidate has earned enough delegates to win their party's nomination on the first ballot, then all delegates are freed from their candidate obligation and they are then free to vote for whomever they desire on the second and subsequent ballots. This process is referred to in the history books as a brokered convention. It has been decades since the last brokered convention and neither party or the delegates that represent those party's wants to see a fight among delegates at their nationally televised convention. However, like it or not – this year a brokered convention is a possibility for both major political party's and for political buffs like me, it would be more interesting to watch than the average boring conventions I have witnessed over the past 20 years.

Read more about 2008 Elections:

Ron Paul Is Authentic In Field Of Pretenders
Clinton/Obama Face Off Saturday In Nevada
GOP Facing 2008 Brokered Party Convention
Election 2008 Making Pollsters Look Foolish
Obama/Clinton, Let's Play Nice For Now

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Reviewing Hotel Safety After Las Vegas Fire

Most certainly all hotels that line the Las Vegas strip will be reviewing their safety rules after a major fire destroyed most of the upper section of the Monte Carlo hotel yesterday. I remember hearing a news bulletin on CNN reporting this fire yesterday while I was working in another room. As I made my way to the television to see and hear more, I thought back to 1980 when eighty four (84) people lost their lives in another Las Vegas hotel fire at the MGM Grand. After that terrible fire twenty eight (28) years ago, new and more strict laws were passed in Nevada. These new laws required working sprinkler systems in all Las Vegas hotel rooms and the importance of those new laws was on full display yesterday as no one lost their life as a result of the Monte Carlo hotel fire.

I have visited Las Vegas on many occasions over the years, but I have never stayed at the Monte Carlo hotel. On my last visit to Las Vegas, back in 2001, my family stayed at the New York, New York complex which is right next door to the Monte Carlo. On several occasions during that trip I remember walking down a walkway that connected New York, New York to the Monte Carlo. For those of you that have never visited the Las Vegas strip, most of the hotels are interconnected either through an underground tunnel complex or through a raised walkway above the street. Put simply, moving between major hotels in Las Vegas is a simple process because most of the time a visitor never has to cross a busy street just to make their way to an adjoining hotel. On the news yesterday I heard that the Monte Carlo has recently been remodeled. On my last visit to Las Vegas my only experience with the Monte Carlo was walking through their casino area in route to somewhere else. That said, I do remember the Monte Carlo casino looking old and rather dirty back then. Especially considering how nice, modern and clean that the New York, New York hotel appeared right next door.

I am not a big fan of heights in the first place, so when I see a major fire burning at a large hotel like the Monte Carlo yesterday – I am so thankfully that I was not staying there at the time this fire broke out. Modern safety features like a working sprinkler system and the quick and effective response of the Las Vegas fire department brought this potentially deadly fire under control without loss of life. After the Monte Carlo hotel fire was extinguished and I learned that everyone was out of harms way, I wondered to myself how the hotel would reunited their previous guests with their personal belongings and cloths? With potentially 3000 people being displaced to other hotels, the idea of reuniting all of those people with items left in their hotel rooms after the hotel was evacuated, must have been a huge undertaking.

Read more about Major Fires:

Electrical Fire Damages VP Dick Cheney's Office
Malibu Homes Burn As Wildfires Continue
Firefighters Display The Best This Country Has To Offer
Are Environmentalist Responsible For California Wildfires?
San Diego Wildfires Threaten Thousands Of Homes

Friday, January 25, 2008

Ron Paul Is Authentic In Field Of Pretenders

Like most of the country, I am not a supporter of Ron Paul. However, there is a trait that Ron Paul possesses which no other candidate in the 2008 race for the White House can claim. Ron Paul is an authentic man that seldom reads political tracking polls and more importantly he does not have dozens of political consultants checking the daily public mood so he can go out and tell the voters what they want to hear. This authentic trait in Ron Paul is a breath of fresh air to millions of Americans and that is the reason, I believe, he not only is still in the 2008 GOP presidential race – but it is also the reason why he is able to raise millions of dollars in campaign cash from donors over the Internet.

For lack of a better term, most candidates in the Republican and Democrat Party's, come across to me as 'cookie cutter' candidates. These candidates hire dozens of political advisers that spend most of their time reading the latest daily tracking poll and then they set out to rearrange their candidates positions to reflect that days new poll. Since I first started listening to Ron Paul speak during this years race, I do not think I have heard him deviate one time from the principles he outlined from day one. As people around the country try and figure out the Ron Paul phenomenon using the same old political formulas they have used for years, the real reason that Ron Paul successful raises so much money and has die-hard supporters could be as simple as he is an authentic man running against a bunch pretenders.

There has been talk for years about the need for a viable third party in the United States. Millions of Americans have been disgusted with the partisan mudslinging that Republicans and Democrats have used to get reelected for a long time. However, without a strong and intelligent person of principle leading the effort to start such a party, it will fail and never gain traction in future elections. While I do not support Ron Paul for President of the United States, he does have the best chance in a generation of putting together a grass roots movement nationwide to make a third party a reality. That said, if Ron Paul decided to start a third party as it's first presidential candidate he would most likely lose his first race for President of the United States. However, he would be making a real contribution to this country in upcoming elections because I have no doubt that Ron Paul would work to exhaustion to make sure that his new political party did not stray into the same old political games as the GOP and Democrats. Even if Ron Paul does not win the GOP nomination for President. I'm sure that the country has not heard the last of this authentic man who stands up for his bedrock principles above everything else.

Read more about 2008 Elections:

Clinton/Obama Face Off Saturday In Nevada
GOP Facing 2008 Brokered Party Convention
Election 2008 Making Pollsters Look Foolish
Obama/Clinton, Let's Play Nice For Now
GOP Candidates Compare Themselves To Ronald Reagan

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Federal Tax Rebates Coming Soon, June 2008

Looks like Members of Congress and President Bush are nearing an an agreement that will put a bunch of money into the US economy this June. Both Democrat and Republican leaders in the Congress said today that a deal is close and rebate checks of $300 per person and up to $1200 per family could be mailed out to Americans starting in June. Unlike the previous government rebate in 2001, all Americans that pay federal income tax or social security taxes will be eligible for the rebate. Since some American taxpayers get more money back from the federal government than they pay in through withholding taxes during the year, in the previous federal rebate they were excluded when it came time to mail out the checks. However, this time those Americans will receive a rebate check too, but not as large potentially as Americans that pay both income tax and social security taxes.

As it stands right now, individuals that pay in no net federal income tax for the year will receive a rebate of $300. Families that pay in no net federal income tax for the year will receive $600 plus $300 for each dependent child in the family. For individuals that pay both federal income tax and social security, they will receive a rebate of $600. For families that pay both federal income tax and social security, they will receive a rebate of $1200. If an individual earns more than $75,000 or a family earns more than $150,000 they will not be receiving a rebate under this program. Remember that these money amounts are still subject to change in the days and weeks ahead as the US House of Representatives and the US Senate work out the final details. That said, the start of the summer of 2008 could be a bright one for most people as much needed money will be showing up in the mailbox just in time for summer vacation.

There is a downside to all this free money that the federal government will be sending out to millions of Americans this summer and that downside is that the government does not have the money in the bank to honor all those checks. Instead, the US federal government will go into the world marketplace and borrow the $150 billion plus that it will take to make these rebates viable and our nation will go further into debit in the process. The timeliness of these check arrivals is good because when they start arriving at the beginning of the summer, most people are likely to start spending that money. The only way these federal rebates are going to help the struggling US economy is if everyone spends the money. With these rebate checks reported hitting mailboxes during the first part of June, then I think it is likely that most of this money will be spent and that will give a big jump start to the US economy, even though it will be short in duration.

Read more about the Economy:

Buy Gold, Hunker Down And Wait It Out
Bear Market Out Of Hibernation, Big Bull Sleeps
Federal Reserve Stops Price Plunge For Now
BOA Joins Citibank With Huge Quarterly Loss
Fed Acting Like Enron In Some Ways

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Buy Gold, Hunker Down And Wait It Out

The last time I remember seeing economic conditions this bad was back when I was in high school and Jimmy Carter was the President of the United States. Back then as stocks fell and interest rates climbed to previously unheard of levels, an old timer told me once that the best thing to do was to 'buy Gold, hunker down and wait it out'. As a kid, I thought that old guy was suffering from some kind of old age illness when he said that. However, today as the price of Gold soars and stocks continue to slide – that old man seems much smarter today than he did 35 years ago. During good economic times, Gold merchants are always trying to get the average investor in invest in that precious metal, with few takers.

However, with world economic conditions showing weak signs of growth and as the US dollar continues to tank against other world currencies – most long term investors would have been wise to have bought some Gold back when it was trading around $300 per ounce. That said, investing in Gold is very boring most of the time. The past few months Gold has been setting new records, but for decades the price of Gold stood at about $300 per ounce and moved little from day to day. Right now Gold investments are exciting because the price fluctuates wildly every day and Gold's overall market trend has been heading higher in recent months. That said, I would not be a buyer of Gold at $800 per ounce even though the worldwide economy and markets might go through several more months of pain before things start to turn around.

Like most other people, I wish I would have bought some Gold back when the price was around $300 per ounce. However, if I had owned Gold for several years and it did not move up I would have probably sold my stake in Gold when it hit $400 per ounce and missed this tremendous increase, anyway. Investments in Gold are the longest of long term investments and act nothing like world markets of stocks and bonds. Only people with the most patience investment horizon will ever profit from investments in Gold. Right now most of the money being made and lost by Gold investors is in the futures market. While I have never been fond of futures trading, some people have done quite well with these types of investments and for the short term trader that wants to take advantage of the current volatility in Gold, futures are probably the best way to go. Just remember that futures trading is very dangerous and should only be conducted by market professionals.

Read more about the Economy:

Bear Market Out Of Hibernation, Big Bull Sleeps
Federal Reserve Stops Price Plunge For Now
BOA Joins Citibank With Huge Quarterly Loss
Fed Acting Like Enron In Some Ways
It's The Economy, Stupid All Over Again

January 23, 2008 Archives

Bear Market Out Of Hibernation, Big Bull Sleeps

While the word is not officially out yet, it is becoming more clear everyday that US stocks have entered a 'Bear Market'. For many people under the age of 30, they have not seen a Bear Market in their adult lifetime and more than anything else the current Bear Market on Wall Street will be a valuable learning lesson about capitalism for young people. In addition to younger people that have never witnessed a Bear Market, older people that got caught up in the easy money hysteria of the past few decades are going to remember some of the lessons they already knew as their stock portfolios and mutual fund monthly statements start to decrease.

There has been so much credit based spending in the United States over the past 20 years that the downward pressure on the stock market was bound to catch up with everyone, soon. Just yesterday, I saw a television commercial for a local furniture retailer that invited customers in with the promise of no payments for over a year. Credit based spending has been driving the US economy higher over the past five years with few stops to rest. However, the upcoming Bear Market will put a stop to many of the easy credit offerings that now litter newspaper ads across the world. Bear stock markets begin when the raging Bull of economic capitalism gets out of control and easy money via credit is available to all whether they have earned it or not.

Much to my surprise, a few years ago even people with poor credit and/or employment history were being offered home loans by some large and reputable lenders. Actually, when that practice started happening – that was when the real Bear Market started, even though few people could see it at the time. Bear Markets are a successful mechanism to ring out bad business decisions and unchecked greed from the markets. Any time huge businesses start making loans to anyone and everyone that applies, a Bear Market is just around the corner. It is fun to run with the Bulls, but eventually even the strongest Bull gets tired. Right now a well rested Bear is ready to come out of hibernation and rule the markets for awhile. Considering how long that Bear has been asleep, it might be quite some time before it goes back to sleep again.

During Bear stock market declines there will be every type of get rich quick scam available showing up to try and separate people from their money. However, if a person has invested in good companies and their time horizon is greater than 10 years before needing to sell. Then staying in the market is probably the best move and making a choice to stop watching financial television shows would probably help the long term stock investor sleep better at night.

Read more about the Economy:

Federal Reserve Stops Price Plunge For Now
BOA Joins Citibank With Huge Quarterly Loss
Fed Acting Like Enron In Some Ways
It's The Economy, Stupid All Over Again
Stock Markets Crash As US Recession Fears Increase

Federal Reserve Stops Price Plunge For Now

After a tough day yesterday and at the opening this morning, US stocks on both the NASDAQ and Dow are starting to appear more stable. This stability is the direct result of the US Federal Reserve lowing a key interest rate by 75 Basis Points (¾ percent) before yesterday's opening bell. Financial experts from around the world are challenging the wisdom of this massive interest rate cut in light of what is really happening in the US economy. The United States prides itself on free markets where strong companies, with sound business plans, succeed and weak companies fail and go out of business. This act of removing weak companies must be allowed to happen or the entire US system will fail to work properly.

The free market has a way of fixing itself when excesses cause it either to surge too high or fall too low. Too much government interference with a free market could cause that market to stop working properly and it could damage it in the future. While most people do not enjoy the prospect of a Bear Market, they do help the overall free market system correct itself from Bull Market excesses. If the US Federal Reserve steps into the markets too often in order to stop or delay a Bear Market, the whole system could eventually collapse. Hopefully, members of the US Federal Reserve are making judgments based on long term financial models and not on political concerns because 2008 is an American presidential election year.

Company stocks that make up stock markets around the world must be allowed to correct or the entire system will eventually fail. In my view, the less any government interferes with the private sector through stock manipulation, the better. Unfortunately, millions of people around the world have bought stocks without studying how equity investment works. Many of these uneducated investors wrongly believe that stocks should only go in one direction, upward and they get very impatient when stocks or mutual funds they own start to lose value. Just like the seasons of the year change from hot to cold, so does the interest in any one company or market sector. The world is changing so fast right now that it is difficult to know which way ever changing technology will move in the future.

Fast paced world changes will create even more volatility in stock markets which is a good thing. Volatility is very effective at removing uneducated investors from the market and replacing them with people that better understand how equity markets work.

Read more about the Economy:

BOA Joins Citibank With Huge Quarterly Loss
Fed Acting Like Enron In Some Ways
It's The Economy, Stupid All Over Again
Stock Markets Crash As US Recession Fears Increase
Tuesday Could Bring Big Trouble For US Stock Prices

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Fred Thompson Drops Out, Who Benefits?

After Fred Thompson pulled out of the GOP race for the White House today, some people are asking – was Fred Thompson really ever in this race to win in the first place? While news of Fred Thompson's departure from the GOP field will hurt many people that thought he was the right man for the job, it will help the other candidates still in this race, especially Mike Huckabee. In New Hampshire and also in South Carolina, Fred Thompson and Mike Huckabee split the Evangelical Christian vote and now with only one candidate really going after that segment of the Republican Party, Huckabee has to be the winner after today's Fred Thompson announcement.

In fact, after the Florida Primary there will most likely only be three candidates still left in the GOP field running for the nomination. Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani and John McCain will remain and Mike Huckabee could still be in the race if he places at least second in Florida. However, if Huckabee finishes in the back of the pack in Florida – he is pretty much toast going into Super Tuesday. Just like in last night's debate among Democrats where only the top three candidates debated, the same kind of picture will emerge inside the Republican Party over the next couple of weeks. In addition to Huckabee being finished without a strong showing in Florida, Rudy Giuliani could face the same fate if he does not win Florida.

Some people can make the transition from movies and television to politics like Ronald Reagan did many years ago, but most people cannot. Fred Thompson is the later as he tried and failed to take his popular name recognition and win the GOP nomination for President. I wish Fred Thompson well in his future acting jobs because that is where he truly shines in life. November's election is going to be a huge battle between totally different ideas and before a winner is announced next November, there will be plenty of back and forth jabs by both sides. Fred Thompson was not ready for prime-time this election season as more seasoned politicians proved to him that it takes more than a southern drawl and Hollywood acting experience to become the nominee of the modern day Republican Party.

Read more about Fred Thompson:

What Happened To Fred Thompson, Is He Still In The Race?
Gun Control Will Guide Fred Thompson Against Rudy Giuliani
Fred Thompson's First GOP Debate Tuesday Night
Fred Thompson Better As Potential Candidate
Fred Thompson Plays President For Real

January 22, 2008 Archives

Hollywood View Of Movie Quality Confuses Nation

This morning, nominations for the 2008 Oscar ceremony were announced and just like in years past – most of the top nominated offerings have never been seen by most American movie patrons. Since I was a little kid, I have wondered why members of the Motion Picture Academy of America have such a different view of movie quality than the average person? On most things from morals, to politics, to movies – the Hollywood elites seems to be almost total opposites from the people that shell out money to see their motion picture productions.

People are different in Hollywood than in other parts of the United States in almost every way. I don't know if it is real elitism that is at the root of this difference, but it does play a part. True snobs always consider their intellect superior to the average man or woman and more than likely that snobbish attitude is why little known or seen movies get nominated for Academy Awards. The funny thing about elitist snobs are that usually they are not that talented outside of their chosen field. I have always believed that actors or directors in Hollywood would be living off of welfare if there were not movies to act in or direct. Few have other talents outside of acting and directing and that lack of a fall back career could also lead to snobbishness which is really just another form of personal insecurity.

Back to the Oscars, this year will be filled with endless nominations for films that hardly anyone cares about except the people that made them. However, there may be some good news about this years Academy Awards. That being that unless there is a settlement of the current writers strike in Hollywood, there may be no Oscars show to watch. It seems like every year there are fewer movies released that have widespread public appeal. Last years top movies like 'National Treasure' and 'I Am Legend' will not be featured at this years Oscar ceremony, even though millions of Americans decided they were great movies by shelling out their hard earned dollars to go see them. I really could care less if the writers strike prevents the Oscars from being shown on television this year. While millions of people do watch this annual program, it does get quite old for me listening to snobs congratulate other snobs for over three hours on national television.

Read more about Hollywood Issues:

Kiefer Sutherland Released After Serving 48 Day Sentence
Jay Leno Defeats David Letterman In Late Night Ratings
Mountain Man David Letterman Returns To Late Show
No Ache Breaky In Miley Cyrus' Hannah Montana Heart
David Letterman Returns With Writers/Advantage

BOA Joins Citibank With Huge Quarterly Loss

It was no surprise to anyone today when Bank of America (BOA) reported huge losses last quarter. Just like Citibank before them, BOA finds itself having to write down millions of dollars worth of losses in the sub-prime lending market and probably under the surface the next big problem for both BOA and Citibank will be extremely high credit card charge offs. As the US economy continues it's slide toward recession, large banks like Citibank and BOA will continue to feel pain because these giant banks are involved in every aspect of American life both from a business and individual perspective. As BOA and Citibank recorded record profits during US and worldwide economic expansion, now they must take that terrible ride back down to reality.

Recently, Citibank on two different occasions made trips to the Middle East in search of much needed liquidity. Since I am not a financial expert, I do not know if such a trip is emanate for BOA, but I would not rule it out. In many ways it is embarrassing to me to see large American companies being force to travel overseas to the Middle East and ask for money like beggars in the street. However, in this brave new world of globalization that all politicians seem so fond of – that is exactly what has been happening in recent years as more of our American dollars are finding their way to the Middle East because we import so much oil from there.

As President Bush said in a 'State of the Union' speech many years ago, 'America is hooked on oil' and he is so right about that fact. With mountains of regulations and lawsuit threats every time someone whats to explore for new oil supplies in the US, most oil companies have just moved overseas to friendlier nations. That outsourcing of US oil production is not only effecting American jobs, but also it could cause our great nation to fall into recession this year. While I have no personal ill will toward nations in the Middle East that are willing to step up and bail out large banks like Citibank, it does hurt my pride as an American that this once powerful economic nation has allowed itself to become a beggar nation because of over regulation and a clear case of short sightedness.

Many years ago I watched a movie called, 'Rollover' which dramatized the world in which we are living today. Let's just hope that the real United States of America does not end up like that fictitious one in the movie or we are all in for a bunch of pain in the future.

Read more about the Economy:

Fed Acting Like Enron In Some Ways
It's The Economy, Stupid All Over Again
Stock Markets Crash As US Recession Fears Increase
Tuesday Could Bring Big Trouble For US Stock Prices
Grim Economy In 2008, Fed Chairman Bernanke

Monday's Dem Debate, Candidates Acting Like Children

Last night CNN had another debate among the democratic candidates and unlike previous CNN debates this one only had three participants. John Edwards, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were invited to last night's debate and things did get a bit heated between Clinton and Obama. However, in the end it appeared to me like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were acting more like children playing in a sandbox than serious contenders for the democratic nomination for President. Almost everyone in America believes that our country is on the wrong track, but rather than facing up to this nations problems, Clinton and Obama went after each other with pointless personal attacks. In the end it was John Edwards that came across to me as looking the most presidential.

Real Americans are concerned about our economy more than anything else, but rather than talk about real cures for what ails us, both Obama and Clinton continued to go after each others voting record and trying to one up each other over the Iraq War. Outside of last nights debate, I can't remember the last time I heard bad news coming out of Iraq. Instead, since last years troop surge things on the ground in Iraq are getting better – but apparently no one told Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama about that little bit of good news. The American people have move on past the War in Iraq and are now concerned with domestic issues like the suffering US economy. However, even when these candidates talked about domestic issues last night – that once again turned into a battle of whose Universal Health Care plan was the best.

For months almost everyone, both Democrat or Republican has predicted a democratic win in this years presidential contest. However, it is possible for the Democrats to snatch defeat from the arms of victory if they are not careful. Nothing angers the American people more than for a person seeking national office to not understand what is happening in their own backyard. Too many times, campaigns are gear around months old talking points and no one gets around to changing them. Right now, the top two democratic candidates of Obama and Clinton are using talking points that are months old. If the Democrats want to really win in 2008, they must get on the same page with the American people and quit fighting with each other like children on a playground.

Read more about 2008 Elections:

Clinton/Obama Face Off Saturday In Nevada
GOP Facing 2008 Brokered Party Convention
Election 2008 Making Pollsters Look Foolish
Obama/Clinton, Let's Play Nice For Now
GOP Candidates Compare Themselves To Ronald Reagan

Fed Acting Like Enron In Some Ways

This morning, the US federal reserve stepped into the financial markets by lowing the discount rate it charges banks for overnight loans by ¾ of a percent. This big move by the federal reserve was made in an attempt to stop the financial bleeding of the past few days in worldwide stock markets that made it's way to Wall Street this morning. Most expert believe that the US economy is heading for recession in 2008 and the powers that be at the federal reserve are trying to stop or delay that process. In a crazy way, what the U.S. government is doing by way of the US Federal Reserve is trying to convince people not to sell their shares of stock by artificially inflating the price of those shares through fed rate cuts.

This technique of trying to manage a free market system reminds me in some ways of how top management at Enron tried to hype their own stock to employees when everyone at the top knew that the bottom was about to drop out. This morning's fed rate cut was done for no other reason than to try and prevent a stock market sell off. Didn't Ken Lay try some very similar things with Enron stock to get people to hold onto their shares while he and others were in the market dumping everything they had? Now I'm not trying to accuse the federal government or the federal reserve of illegal activity like what happened at Enron. The only reason I am pointing out this comparison is to say that free markets must be allowed to fall, just like they are allow to increase. When any government agency tries to manage a free market, all they are really doing is putting off the pain to a future date when that pain will be much worse because of their interference.

Right now everyone in Washington D.C. seems to be on the same page when it comes to offering some kind of financial incentive to get consumers back to spending money at the retail level. Most ideas revolve around the federal government sending out rebate checks to Americans that range anywhere from $500-$800 with the hope they will spend that money and give a short term boost to the American economy. While this approach will help, in the short term, the US economy – the government that will be sending out that money will have to borrow it because they are already spending more money than they take in through taxes each day. In a way, this proposal is like a parent constantly getting cash advances on their Visa card to bail out one of their children. That money will need to be paid back someday and the longer the parent/government wait to replay it, the larger that amount grows.

Read more about the Economy:

It's The Economy, Stupid All Over Again
Stock Markets Crash As US Recession Fears Increase
Tuesday Could Bring Big Trouble For US Stock Prices
Grim Economy In 2008, Fed Chairman Bernanke
Is Citibank In Financial Trouble, China/Kuwait Rush Cash?

Monday, January 21, 2008

It's The Economy, Stupid All Over Again

I remember being frustrated by the first campaign for President by Bill Clinton as he hammered the first President Bush over tough economic times. Fast forward almost two decades and once again it will be the economy that could decide which candidate wins on election day. Bill Clinton was very successful talking about how bad the US economy was under the direction of President George HW Bush. In fact, he was so successful hammering away at a bad US economy that he beat the first President Bush in that election.

Right now, another President Bush's term is coming to an end and once again the economy is going to be one of the biggest issues in this falls campaign. I can't remember which Bill Clinton aide first coined the slogan, 'It's the economy, stupid' – but I think it was James Carville. Over and over during Bill Clinton's first campaign for President, I heard that slogan so many times I thought it was going to make me sick. Remember, I was not then and I still am not today a big fan of former President Clinton. That said, I certainly respect anyone that has the strength and the intelligence to run a successful campaign for President and the use of the term it's the economy stupid was a successful call to action to keep Bill Clinton's campaign workers and voters focused on his presidential bid.

While I usually have voted for Republicans because I prefer a more optimist view of life in the United States, I must admit that at the end of President George HW Bush's first term and now at the end of President George W. Bush's second term – the economy both times seems to be worse when the Bush's leave office than when they arrived. That reality is going to hurt whom ever the Republicans decide to nominate this year. In many ways, the GOP as a big tent party is in shambles in 2008 as less than well known or like candidates compete for the GOP nomination for President. If Bill and Hillary Clinton are smart, they will pull that old 'it's the economy, stupid' slogan back out and use it against Republicans this fall. As the mortgage market and stocks continue to slide, the economy will quickly become the number one issue on voters minds come November.

Read more about the Economy:

Stock Markets Crash As US Recession Fears Increase
Tuesday Could Bring Big Trouble For US Stock Prices
Grim Economy In 2008, Fed Chairman Bernanke
Is Citibank In Financial Trouble, China/Kuwait Rush Cash?
Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo's $100 Million Severance

January 21, 2008 Archives

Stock Markets Crash As US Recession Fears Increase

Tomorrow, Tuesday, should be an interesting day on Wall Street as US markets open to news of a worldwide stock sell off today. While most financial experts are trying to put the best face forward on a potential stock market sell off tomorrow, in reality the pain felt around the world today will put tremendous pressure on the DOW and NASDAQ at tomorrows opening bell. Decades ago, the United States was still able to mainly separate itself from events that happened overseas. However, in recent decades globalization has brought all world markets together to a point where when one country falls, the rest of the world falls right along with it.

As I watched stocks fall from Asia to Europe today, my mind keep thinking about the hundreds of thousands of people that will be forced to sell stock in the US tomorrow just to met margin calls and other financial obligations because of this massive worldwide stock crash. I have seen the US stock market regain strength in late date trading before after a huge morning loss. However, I do not think that is in the cards for tomorrow morning as over leveraged people from around the world will be forced to sell securities by their brokerage firms. Add to the fact that this latest worldwide stock sell off was generated because of concerns about the US economy and there will be little good news to rally the stock market in afternoon trading tomorrow.

The term 'Black Monday' has been used for a long time to describe an unexpected stock market sell off on a Monday morning. The only good news I see coming out of Wall Street trading tomorrow is the fact that almost everyone is predicting that the market will close down on Tuesday, so if Wall Street continues in it's dysfunctional style – the DOW will be up at the end of the day. While there are many people that try to play the opposite game on Wall Street, it will take nerves of steal to be buying stocks at the opening bell tomorrow. Will the DOW rebound? Of course it will, it is all just a matter of time. Just like the US economy cannot ride high all the time, neither can the US stock market. There will be pain on Wall Street tomorrow and hopefully at the end of the day the word 'record' is not being used by people that report the news.

Read more about the Economy:

Tuesday Could Bring Big Trouble For US Stock Prices
Grim Economy In 2008, Fed Chairman Bernanke
Is Citibank In Financial Trouble, China/Kuwait Rush Cash?
Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo's $100 Million Severance
Michael Dell Rebuilding His Computer Company

Kiefer Sutherland Released After Serving 48 Day Sentence

Early this morning, 24 star, Kiefer Sutherland was released from a Glendale California jail after serving 48 days for DUI and for violating his probation from a previous DUI conviction. Sutherland is best known for his larger than life portrayal of Jack Bauer in the hit Fox Television series, '24'. A humble Kiefer Sutherland has been asking forgiveness from his family friends and coworkers because of his failed attempts to stop drinking alcohol. Most likely, Sutherland is an alcoholic and a treatment facility will be his next stop not only to control the addictive nature of this disease, but also help with the underlying problems that often times lead to alcohol abuse in the first place.

Jail officials said that Kiefer Sutherland was a model inmate that gave jail officials no trouble during his month and a half stay there. Sutherland was reportedly assigned to the laundry room at the jail where he did his daily work without ever complaining. I certainly have a great deal of sympathy for Kiefer Sutherland because I personally have known people that have fought the daily cravings of alcohol sometimes successfully and sometimes not. The road to recovery for an alcoholic is a long road that never ends for true alcoholics. The process of AA and other treatment programs involve a one day at a time approach filled with the support of other people who are also suffering with alcoholism.

While I am no great fan of the Fox Television Show, '24', I have watched it from time to time and Sutherland's character, Jack Bauer, does carry that show for most regular viewers. Right now, Kiefer Sutherland needs all the good friends he can find. In Hollywood sometimes it is difficult to find real friendships because the narcissism in Hollywood culture runs deep. Hopefully, Kiefer has a good friend or two that do not drink and who also can help keep him clean and sober. It may be awhile before Sutherland can return to work on '24' because of the writers strike, so hopefully he will be able to find something else, beside work, to occupy his time as he works toward recovery.

Read more about Hollywood Issues:

Jay Leno Defeats David Letterman In Late Night Ratings
Mountain Man David Letterman Returns To Late Show
No Ache Breaky In Miley Cyrus' Hannah Montana Heart
David Letterman Returns With Writers/Advantage
Rebecca De Mornay Latest DUI Star Arrest

Research Scientist Look Crazy With Dysfunctional Studies

Once again today another group of scientist released a study where they determined that caffeine might increase the risk of miscarriage in pregnant women. Thirty years ago, when I was still a young man – people looked up to scientist because they usually had all their facts and research together before they went public with their finding. However, in recent times so many scientist are doing research on the same subject that conflicting study results are being released almost on a daily basis. It wasn't that long ago that people were encouraged to drink coffee for a number of good health benefits and now here comes another study that claims caffeine is bad for some people.

It's not just coffee, but everything from red wine and olive oil to plan ordinary aspirin have seen their fair share of conflicting scientific evidence. In fact, I believe this conflicting science is turning scientist into modern day weathermen that can't even figure out if it is going to be hot or cold tomorrow. What is at the root of this problem with scientific research is that most of it is being funded by marketing companies that work for big business. Rather than hoping to find out if their product is healthy for people or not, many of these large companies want to see their product proven effective in large research studies whether the facts bear out that finding or not. Research scientist are not stupid and they know where their funding is coming from and what will happen to it if they come up with the wrong conclusion.

Frankly, I have stop listening to most of these endless research studies that try to prove whether or not something is good and healthy for me. Instead, I have gone back to plain old common sense because no matter what these so called experts say today – they are likely to change their minds in the near future. When corporate money drives research then there is no way an honest answer can be found. While one company wants to see one set of results, another company needs to research to say something else. Just like in recent weeks we have witness the unraveling of poll predictions in this years presidential elections because of pollster bias, the same has been happening for years with research scientist who know that their funding will soon dry up if they don't find a way to make their findings palatable to the companies that fund their research.

Read more about Health Research:

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?
New H5N1 Bird Flu Fears - Germany

Tuesday Could Bring Big Trouble For US Stock Prices

One big website today had the headline that it was good that the US Stock Market was closed today because world markets traded lower almost across the board. Of course, the US Stock Market was closed on Monday in celebration of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King. However, tomorrow US markets will open once again and if today's big worldwide decline in equity prices continues to Wall Street tomorrow then it could be a 'Black Tuesday' as US stocks fall further. The big factor driving stocks lower across the world is the direct result of a loss of investor confidence in the US economy.

Several months ago it became clear that huge losses in the sub-prime mortgage market were starting to take a toll of some of the biggest banks and investment brokerage firms in the United States. That mortgage bad news was followed by increasing rates of credit card delinquency's and a slow Christmas shopping season put investor confidence at the lowest levels in decades. Now all of this bad news is making it's way to Wall Street in a big way and the painful losses seen the past few weeks could become much worse when US stocks start trading again on Tuesday. The business talking heads have been all over television the past few weeks talking about how good the current stock market correction is for the market in general. However, I believe we are witnessing something much worse than a 10% correction in stock prices because the reason stocks are declining in price is not due to them being overpriced, but instead prices are falling because the US economy is weak.

Members of Congress and President Bush have agreed on little the past year since Democrats took over control of the House of Representatives and Senate. However, both the Congress and President are looking for ways to jump start the US economy so it does not slip into recession in 2008. The biggest ideas being floated involve giving a $500-$800 one time tax rebate to people so they can go out and spend that money in retail stores. While this idea is a feel good approach that will have short term benefits – in the long run it is out-of-control spending by government and regular people that is leading to US economic problems. Spend is good for the economy, but if too much of that spending is being generated by credit cards or some other buy now and pay later type of program then it will be bad for the long term growth of the US economy. I look for stocks to trade much lower on Tuesday when US markets open once again.

Read more about the Economy:

Grim Economy In 2008, Fed Chairman Bernanke
Is Citibank In Financial Trouble, China/Kuwait Rush Cash?
Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo's $100 Million Severance
Michael Dell Rebuilding His Computer Company
Wall Street Could Once Again Face - 'Black Monday'

Is Barack Obama Running Against Bill Clinton?

This morning, Barack Obama has turned up the heat on former President Bill Clinton and accused him of lying in order to help Hillary Clinton's campaign for President. In one of the most troubling statements I have heard during this presidential campaign season, Barack Obama said something to the effect that people expect a former President to be more truthful when making statements. When I read that comment I had to laugh because hardly anyone in the world thinks of honesty when they think of former President Bill Clinton. In recent memory, only President Nixon lied more than Bill Clinton did while serving as President of the United States.

Today's statements by Barack Obama will once again remind many voters of his lack of experience in public life. While Obama is trying to be politically correct when going after former President Clinton, Bill Clinton's approach is more direct and, most of the time, right on the money when he goes after Obama. Barack Obama is learning for the first time what Republicans have known for years and that is the team of Bill and Hillary Clinton are the best campaigners in the business. If Barack Obama really wants to win the democratic nomination for President, he must stop talking in politically correct terms and fight back like a man against Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Using a strategy of letting former President Bill Clinton do the dirty work for Hillary while she remains above the fray did not seem like a good idea to me several weeks ago. However, just like in campaigns of the past – the Clinton's are always two or three moves ahead of the competition in political campaigns and most likely they knew how Barack Obama would react to their words before he ever said them. Unfortunately, Barack Obama is not in the same league as the Clinton's when it comes to running a scorched earth political campaign. Barack Obama seems like a nice and likable man which in the end will be used against him by the Clinton's.

The only way to beat Bill and Hillary Clinton in a presidential campaign is to get as dirty as they are and stick with it until you win. I do not think that Barack Obama is a negative campaigner at heart which could cause him to eventually fall victim to the 'take no prisoners' approach of Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Read more about Barack Obama:

Will Barack Obama Win New York State Against Senator Clinton?
Hillary Clinton Barack Obama's Vice President?
Hillary Might Go After Barack Obama's Muslim Religion
John McCain Running Against Barack Obama In New Hampshire
Barack Obama The Candidate To Beat In 2008?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Is Washington D.C. The Hollywood For Ugly People?

For a long time I have heard people joke about the fact that most politicians are just like Hollywood stars with the exception that they are not physically beautiful. Both Hollywood stars and politicians seem to revel in the spotlight of public attention and both seem to want power to go along with that public admiration. I'm not totally sure when I first heard this similarity between politicians and Hollywood stars, but I think it was years ago on the Rush Limbaugh Show. When I first heard that reference I laughed and just went about my daily business. However, as the years have gone by and I have started looking at the similarity in personalities between Washington D.C. politicians and Hollywood stars, I now believe Rush Limbaugh might have been correct in that statement.

In recent days, politicians from both major political party's have been making their way to late night talk shows like Jay Leno and David Letterman. Most political pundits wrongly believe that these trips to TV talk show are all about getting votes in the upcoming primaries. Yes, getting votes is important. However, I believe there is more at work here than just getting a political message out to the voters. Instead, I believe most of these politicians feel right at home on usually celebrity driven late night talk shows. The draw of the spotlight, rather than true political change, does attract politicians from all over the country to celebrity talk shows like a moth to a light. Of the current group of politicians running for the White House this year, the best looking two are Mitt Romney on the GOP side and Barack Obama for the Democrats.

All the rest of the candidates look more like the guy or girl next door than some famous Hollywood actor or actress. The real draw of celebrity whether as an actor or politician is something that burns down deep inside the individual involved. In some ways, Hollywood stars and Washington D.C. politicians are interchangeable in all ways except in the area of personal beauty. Both actors and politicians have a great desire for personal wealth, but what really gets them out of bed in the morning is power. It is no secret that some of the biggest donors to Washington D.C. political campaigns are the richest stars in Hollywood. Also, it is true that at every opportunity – Washington politicians buy plane tickets to head out to Hollywood to hobnob with famous people that look at these politicians themselves as instruments of power. While some GOP politicians love to use Hollywood excesses to gain the votes of conservatives, many of these same politicians are all too eager to show up on Jay Leno or David Letterman to hang out with people they accuse of being the enemy in campaign speeches.

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

January 20, 2008 Archives

NY Giants/NE Patriots Earn Trip To Superbowl

A few weeks ago almost everyone thought that the NE Patriots would be playing in this years Superbowl, but very few people gave the NY Giants much of a chance to earn a bid to this years big game. However, in sub zero weather conditions Sunday night – the NY Giants were victorious over the GB Packers in overtime. Right now, I believe the NY Giants are the best team in the NFL and that includes the NE Patriots. As we saw earlier this year with the Dallas Cowboys, there is a big problem when a team peaks too early. However, the NY Giants are at their peak right now and in a couple of weeks they will be playing the NE Patriots in the Superbowl.

I am going to go on the record today saying that I believe the NY Giants will beat the NE Patriots in this years Superbowl in Arizona. Yes, the Patriots are a great football team – but right now the NY Giants are the best team in the NFL and they should win the 2008 Superbowl. I was amazed at the team worked and the on field play of the Giants tonight in what I call the 'Ice Bowl' game in Green Bay. No matter what the Packers tried on the field, the Giants answer it with even more talent and heart of their own. Personally, I do not like the NY Giants because my favorite team is the Dallas Cowboys. That said, the Giants are not only the best team in the NFC, but in the NFL as a whole.

Superbowl 2008 should be a fantastic game and soon the normal hype surrounding that big game will begin in earnest. From the multi million dollar commercials that will air to all types of talk about which team will win. The build up to the Superbowl is almost as big of a deal as the actual game itself. My wife, who does not like football, does watch the Superbowl with me because she like to watch the funny commercials that are played during the game. In the United States, NFL football is the number one sport. While some people still hold onto calling Major League baseball Americas sport, in reality it lost its first place fan position years ago to the NFL.

I am looking forward to watching this years big game and when all the dust settles, my money will be on the NY Giants to end New England's perfect season on Superbowl night.

Read more about the NFL:

Giants/Packers Fight For NFC Championship in Ice Bowl
NFL Football Dominates TV Ratings This Year
Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy Retires To Tampa Bay
Legendary Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs Resigns
NFL Playoffs Begin With Wild Card Weekend

Giants/Packers Fight For NFC Championship in Ice Bowl

Tonights playoff game between the New York Giants and the Green Bay Packers will find players on a field that is frozen and a game time temperature of below zero. Over the history of NFL football, Green Bay weather has played a factor in many championship games with most favoring the Packers. However, tonight the Green Bay Packers will be playing another team, the New York Giants, that are equally prepared and equipped to play in sub zero weather conditions.

I remember years ago watching my favorite team, the Dallas Cowboys, then coached by Tom Landry playing for playoff victories in Green Bay. On several occasions back in the early 1970, TV crews had one of those now old thermostats on the sidelines to show just how cold it was on the field. I remembered that old thermostats on the sidelines so well because we use to have one just like it hanging in our own backyard. However, few times did our own thermostat fall to below zero in the panhandle of Texas.

Tonight, once again, a sub freezing NFL playoff game will be played in Green Bay. While the New York Giants are equally prepared to play football in cold weather, I give the edge in tonights game to the Green Bay Packers. Just think how much more enjoyable tonight's game would have been for the Packers if the Dallas Cowboys had won against the Giants last weekend? In that event, the Packers would have been traveling to Dallas this weekend where the temperatures are no where close to falling below zero. I guess if the Cowboys could not win the NFC Championship this year they decided to lose the game and force the New York Giants to play in Green Bay under terrible weather conditions.

I have often wondered why Green Bay has never built a domed football stadium. Most definitely the weather conditions in Green Bay would make such a stadium much more comfortable on the players and the thousands of fans there, as well. Probably, the extreme cold weather in Green Bay gives the home team an advantage when it comes to the playoffs and locals would much rather watch a game in the cold and have their Packers win than be comfortable watching them lose. Tonight, we will all once again be able to see if terrible weather conditions help the Green Bay Packers earn their ticket to the Superbowl. This year, the NFC path to the big game goes through Green Bay and tonights 'Ice Bowl' game.

Read more about the NFL:

NFL Football Dominates TV Ratings This Year
Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy Retires To Tampa Bay
Legendary Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs Resigns
NFL Playoffs Begin With Wild Card Weekend
Will The New England Patriots Win The Superbowl?

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Freddie Highmore Brings August Rush Movie To Life

Saturday, my wife and I visited our local dollar theater to watch a movie called 'August Rush'. I had seen this move advertised many months ago, but I wasn't sure at the time if I wanted to see it or not. However, today with few discount movies available we chose August Rush and we were both happy with that selection. Young actor Freddie Highmore did a wonderful job playing a young man that was blessed with a God given talent for music. From birth, Highmore's character, August Rush was able to hear the beauty of music in every day life in a way no one else around him could interpret.

The August Rush character was conceived in a one night stand by a young musically inclined couple played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Keri Russel. After an accident before Rush's birth, his mother was told by her father that the child had been killed. Eleven years later, this big lie starts to unravel as August Rush's grandfather nears death and tells his daughter that her son did not die, but was put up for adoption instead. Most of this movie involves showing the power of music and how music can bring people back together that have been separated for years. 'August Rush' is a 100% fairy tale that was fun to watch. Everyone that has ever had a favorite song that they just can't get out of their head will find this movie very enjoyable.

The name August Rush was given to Freddie Highmore's character, Evan Taylor, by a life long street singer/panhandler played by Robin Williams. Soon after Evan Taylor ran away from a boys town facility to search for his real parents, he ran into Robin Williams character, Wizard, living on the streets of New York City. Almost immediately, Wizard saw the tremendous musical talent inside of Evan Taylor and for the rest of this movie the Wizard tried to keep Taylor from finding his parents, who by that time were actively searching for him along with a child welfare worked played by Richard Jeffries. Just like in any movie fairytale, 'August Rush' has a happy ending which reunited both parents and young Evan Taylor. On several occasion I found myself wiping back tears in this movie. Even though this lost and then found story has been told in different ways over the years in a variety of movies, 'August Rush' was well worth the price of admission.

Read more about Movies:

Jack Nicholson/Morgan Freeman 'Bucket List' Number One
Jason Bourne Movies Consistently Successful
'P2' Movie Was A Good Horror Flick
Didn't Like 'Invasion' Movie - Wife Did
Cusack Movie '1408' One Man Show

January 19, 2008 Archives

Rudy Giuliani Bets All On State Of Florida

Early on in Campaign 2008, Rudy Giuliani made the tactical decision to focus all of his energy and money on large Republican states. That strategy put him at a big disadvantage in states like Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina since those contests occurred before the first big state Florida held a primary. Because Rudy Giuliani bet the farm on only large and delegate rich states he current has fallen out of the news coverage. It is too early to know if Rudy Giuliani's decision to only campaign in large delegate rich states will prove brilliant or dumb, but we won't have long to wait too long before know for sure.

In many ways, the Rudy Giuliani strategy to campaign only in large delegate rich states is smart. While smaller states are currently in the news, they will matter little once Super Tuesday rolls around. If you do the math, Giuliani wins in Florida, Texas, Michigan, Pennsylvania, California and New York would propel him to victory in the GOP. The only downside to this kind of strategy is that the larger states always vote last and valuable momentum is lost to the candidates that seem to be winning it all in the first few primaries. The sad fact is that the mainstream media and most Americans are so short sighted that they only follow daily trends without looking at the big picture in presidential campaigns.

The biggest advantage Rudy Giuliani has right now is that no clear front runner has emerged in the first few primaries, so his big state strategy could still be effective. If one of the other GOP candidates had already won two states and was on the road to win two more today, then Rudy Giuliani might have been toast. However in 2008, Republicans find themselves divided on whom they want to represent them in the November election. That division has kept Rudy Giuliani's hopes alive that once the campaign gets to Florida he will earn more delegates in that one state alone than all the other candidates current have, combined. Since the mainstream media follows the current trend of the day, they will quickly move on to the Rudy Giuliani bandwagon and act like they knew all along that his big state strategy would work. All Rudy Giuliani has to do now is win big in Florida.

Read more about Rudy Giuliani:

Rudy Giuliani's Campaign Facing Money Problems
Rudy Giuliani Goes Door To Door In New Hampshire
Rudy Giuliani Campaign Losing Momentum Before Iowa
Flu Symptoms Cause Rudy Giuliani To Be Hospitalized
Judith Regan's Revenge - Smear Rudy Giuliani For President

Friday, January 18, 2008

Professor Yi Cui Develops Super Silicon Lithium Battery

A friend sent me a story this morning about a breakthrough in Lithium batteries that could change the world forever. Stanford professor Yi Cui has developed a technique that will increase the life of Lithium batteries by 10 times longer than current technology. The biggest market for these longer life batteries will be for laptop computers. Since the invention of portable notebook computers, battery life has ranged from three to four hours. If Yi Cui research is proven correct, future laptop computers could run up to 40 hours before needing to be recharged. This is no small development in the world of battery technology. In fact, Cui's work in the field of improving rechargeable battery life could be one of the biggest events since the invention of the personal computer.

Almost every professional business person carries a laptop computer with them when they travel. Now with Yi Cui's improvement in battery life, these business people could charge their laptop computer over the weekend and potentially have enough battery life to last the entire week. Add to the millions of business people that use laptop computers on a daily basis to keep in touch with fellow employees via email when traveling, millions more people that never leave home on vacation without a portable notebook computer and you have a major breakthrough in battery technology. Not only will Cui's development in battery technology improve the length of time a rechargeable battery last in a laptop computer, but other devices like digital cameras and cell phones could run months before they needed to be recharged.

If this new research by Yi Cui is eventually proven to work as advertised, he will soon be added to the list of richest billionaires by Forbes Magazine. While there is tremendous upside potential for laptop computers and other digital devices because of this breakthrough development, there are other markets that will soon be discovered to be just as valuable and potentially earth shattering for companies and consumers alike. The only missing link for explosive growth in the electric car market has been the short period of time current cars would run before they needed to be recharged. Just image the consumer demand for an electric car that could travel hundreds of miles at 70 MPH on a single charge? We have not heard the last of Yi Cui and if his new development in battery life really works, the world will look completely different 10 years from now.

Read more about New Technology:

Microsoft Wants To Read Your Mind At Work
Steve Jobs Wows Again At Macworld Trade Show
Broadband Internet Service Coming To Airlines
Angry Apple iPhone Customers Demand Discount
Yahoo Email Adds Text Message Feature

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Clinton/Obama Face Off Saturday In Nevada

Since no one can really trust the polls this year, it's anyone's guess as to who will win in Nevada on Saturday. Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are fighting it out for every vote on the streets, in casinos, on television and in a court of law. Just today, a federal judge in Nevada said that the long agreed upon decision by Nevada Democrats and the DNC to allow people to vote at casinos will go forward. In recent days, some that favor Hillary Clinton decided to go to court to stop casino voting because Nevada's powerful Culinary Union decided to back Obama and not Clinton in Saturday Nevada causes.

Democrats across the country have started to discover that their party has two main contenders for the nomination. This real competition is good not only the democratic party, but for voters around the country as both Clinton and Obama fight for their votes. Hardly anyone really thought the 2008 democratic race for the White House would turn out to be as competitive as it has become. Early on, most political experts and pundits all but declared Hillary Clinton the nominee, even before one vote was cast in any primary. However, the voters are proving that political pundits and TV talking heads do not influence them as much as in previous elections – so conventional wisdom on how to win in 2008 has been turned upside down.

Unlike previous presidential elections, Campaign 2008 is turning out to be fun to watch and write about. Not only do the Democrats have a real fight on their hands, voters in the GOP are just as divided between four main contenders. I wrote yesterday about the real possibility that in 2008 the GOP could face a 'brokered convention' for the first time in decades. Is it possible that Democrats and Republican both could have a brokered convention in 2008? Now that would be something to talk about, wouldn't it? While it is less likely that Democrats will face a brokered convention, it is still possible if Clinton and Obama start splitting delegates from the large states once they start voting in February.

Read more about 2008 Elections:

GOP Facing 2008 Brokered Party Convention
Election 2008 Making Pollsters Look Foolish
Obama/Clinton, Let's Play Nice For Now
GOP Candidates Compare Themselves To Ronald Reagan
Massive Voter Turn Out In New Hampshire Primary

January 17, 2008 Archives

GOP Facing 2008 Brokered Party Convention

It has been over 60 years since a political party in the United States had what is referred to as a 'brokered convention'. This throw back to a by gone era was at one time referred to as the 'smoke filled room' where political heavyweights and rich party donors decided which candidate would represent the party during the general election. In recent election cycles, one candidate has always been able to obtain enough party delegates, through the election process, to win on the first ballot at a GOP convention. However, in 2008 the chances of one candidate winning enough delegates to be nominated on the first ballot seem unlikely.

There are really four top GOP candidates that could go into this summers Republican Convention with enough delegates to be considered viable, with none of them having the magic number that it takes to win the nomination on the first ballot. Mike Huckabee, Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney and John McCain will go into this summers GOP convention with a bunch of delegates pledged to them on the first ballot. However, unless something drastic changes – none of these men will have enough delegates to win on the first ballot. The process of selecting a party nominee gets very interesting after the first ballot is completed without a winner.

At that point, all delegates are freed to vote for whom ever they want to. This is where the old 'smoke filled room' comes into play. Of course, with modern day laws against smoking inside of buildings the room will not be filled with cigar smoke this time. However, the process of arm twisting and big time promises will no doubt be the same as it was 60 years ago. For decades, both major political party's have worked hard to make sure that only one candidate has enough votes to win once the convention comes around. Political conventions are designed to show party loyalty going into the general election and not the bitter fighting of a brokered convention. However, for some of us a brokered convention might be the only reason we would waste our time watching the GOP convention in the first place.

Rather than boring speeches night after night that are only designed to pander to the red meat of the party, something really interesting might happen like an underdog actually being nominated for President of the United States.

Read more about 2008 Elections:

Election 2008 Making Pollsters Look Foolish
Obama/Clinton, Let's Play Nice For Now
GOP Candidates Compare Themselves To Ronald Reagan
Massive Voter Turn Out In New Hampshire Primary
Ron Paul Supporters Are Angry At Media

Grim Economy In 2008, Fed Chairman Bernanke

The chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve testified before Congress today and said the outlook for the economy was not strong for 2008. Finally, representatives in Washington are listening to voters back home that have been concerned about the U.S. economy for months now. The sad truth is that there is little Members of Congress or President Bush can do, in the short run, to stimulate the economy. Some Congressmen were talking today about creating a targeted rebate to taxpayers of somewhere between $200-$600, but most likely that won't work. The U.S. economy has always gone through boom and bust cycles and it will continue to do so in the future no matter what elected representative decide to do in Washington.

This boom and bust situation is just an off shoot of capitalism. In a capitalist country, like the United States, during good economic times small companies become large and large companies become enormous as they are bought, sold and merged in a type of business feeding frenzy. Somewhere toward the end of a boom cycle, as good prospects for purchase and merger begin to get harder to find, companies start buying anything. That reality is what is happening right now as major companies, like Citibank, found themselves eager to get into the sub-prime leading market when normally a company of that asset size would look for safer places to invest it's money.

After many years of good economic growth, the United States is now facing a down turn because of excessive risk taking during the boom years. It will be easy for political leaders to blame these latest problems on greed, but in reality the U.S. system of business and commerce requires a boom and bust component. For a company, nothing is more important than growth. Once a business grows all it can in the marketplace, it must find other businesses to either buy or merge with in order to continue it's growth. Eventually, a company cannot grow anymore and once their growth becomes stagnant, investors look for other companies and this whole cycle starts all over again.

The past few years there have been some bad choices made by some really big companies. Those bad choices will now be punished and the pain of these decisions of a few will be felt by all. Unlike other financial downturns of the past, this time it will be the financial markets that will lead to the next bust cycle. As poor lending judgments in the housing and retail credit markets work their way out of the system. This too shall pass and good times will once again come to the United States. However, few people really want to admit to the down cycles in the U.S. economy because quite frankly most people don't want to hear the truth, if that truth is bad economic news.

Read more about the Economy:

Is Citibank In Financial Trouble, China/Kuwait Rush Cash?
Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo's $100 Million Severance
Michael Dell Rebuilding His Computer Company
Wall Street Could Once Again Face - 'Black Monday'
Are American's Recession Fears Justified?
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