Monday, October 31, 2005

VP Dick Cheney May Testify In 'Scooter' Libby Trial

The special prosecutor in the CIA leak case has hinted that Vice-President Dick Cheney may be subpoenaed to testify in the case against I Lewis "Scooter" Libby, about what he told Libby about covert CIA official Valerie Plame. This might turn into an "executive privilege" case that could make administration plans to put this whole CIA leak situation behind them a pipe dream.

The Bush administration has long fought to keep conversation made between administration officials and other folks, private. This policy goes back to pre 9/11 days when they refused to discuss conversations between VP Dick Cheney and oil company executives that were conducted at the White House about energy policy proposals to be included in the Bush administrations "Energy Bill" which was being considered by Congress. Environmental groups were left out of these discussions.

If the Bush administration continues this "executive privilege" argument, then there is no way they will get anything done over the next couple of years. They will be tied up in red tape and legal ease which will cause them to hunker down in the White House and just answer charges on a daily bases.

There are some bad apples in this administration and the president needs to figure out who they are and get rid of them before his whole administration goes down the tubes. The President believes in loyalty and that's a good thing. However, if he wants to be able to do anything over the next few years he will have to remove folks that will destroy the administration via litigation.

I personally believe he will continue down this same path and that journey will be his undoing. I don't think he believe that anyone did anything wrong, so he will back them 100%, instead of throwing folks overboard in the middle of a storm.

Not many people in the U.S. believe in this "executive privilege" exemption anyway. We are a free and open country. If someone comes into the White House and recommends something to an elected official, then they need to take ownership of that idea and not try to make suggestions and then hide under the rug if their comments become public.

We are suppose to be a free country!

Sunday, October 30, 2005

President Bush's Next Pick For The Supreme Court

The speculation on who President Bush will nominate for the Supreme Court next is at a fever pitch tonight because the White House has indicated that the president will announce the name tomorrow.

From all reports, President Bush will nominate a very conservative person to replace Harriet Miers who withdrew her name from consideration last week. In that strange city called Washington D.C., Harriet Miers is the person that is reviewing the possible contenders and making recommendation to the president.

As I said the other day, if President Bush nominates an extreme conservative candidate, he is in for the fight of his life in the U.S. Senate and in my opinion a filibuster is not completely out of the question.

The president is said to be very interested in getting conservative voters back on his side and this may be the step, he believes, will get them back on board for other things he would like to accomplish in his second term. For some reason the president has conservative Republicans confused with conservative activist.

The latest polls suggest that conservative Republican voters were perfectly happy with the Miers nomination. It's only the loud, extreme conservative leaders that opposed her nomination. So in reality what the president is doing is trying to silence a few loud, but powerful conservative extremist politicians, special interest groups and radio talk show hosts and ignoring the real voter base of the party.

This is exactly what happened in the Terri Schiavo case where most Republican conservatives didn't agree with the president or the Republican party leaders, but their concerns were ignored in favor of party extremist.

This fight should be fun to watch and the battle will unite the conservative party extremist which truly believe that a good fight like this will help the president in the long run. I believe they are wrong and only time will tell who is right.

Bill Gates Donates $258 Million For Malaria

The richest man in the United States is proving once again that he is not going to just sit on his wealth and become even richer. Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, has made a $258 million contribution to help in the research and treatment of Malaria. This deadly disease effects millions of people around the world and is a major killer of children in Africa. This is just the latest contribution by the billionaire philanthropist who is especially interested in fighting disease on the African continent.

Governments around the world have spent billions of dollars on similar projects in Africa, but in recent years much of that money has dried up because of government corruption in many of the countries. Some leaders just confiscate the aid and don't distribute it to the people that really need it. Some governments even use the financial and food aid as political weapons to defeat opposition parties that want to compete for power.

Bill Gates may be hated by millions of people in the United States for being a greedy billionaire, but he is definitely loved by charitable organizations and the poor in Africa. Gates is making a difference and putting his money where his mouth is with these type of gifts.

There are no laws that force rich individuals like Gates to give away this kind of money, I hope they do it because they feel blessed by the financial rewards they are able to achieve because of the freedom they enjoy in the U.S.

I think some of Microsoft's business tactics are down right evil, but if they are going to be allowed to make this kind of money, the least they can do is give some of it back to the people that need financial help the most and don't have big named stars or charities raising money for their various needs. There is no telling how many lives will be saved with this kind of a large contribution.

Unlike government aid, Gates probably has this money tied to real results or the funds pipeline is cut off. This will make the $258 million more like one billion if it were given from government to government without any type of accountability on how the funds are used.

Halloween Fun Back Then and Now

When I was young back in the 1960's, one of my favorite days was Halloween. I couldn't wait to head out and go door to door for that annual treat or treat night of fun. I grew up in a small town in the Texas panhandle and the biggest thing my parents had to worry about was making sure that we didn't run out in front of a car.

Now days, there are all kinds of things besides a moving vehicle that parents have to worry about on Halloween night. I just watched a story on FoxNews about how several states require sex offenders to stay inside their house on Halloween night, with the porch light off and not answer the door if someone rings the bell. This is understandable and I doubt if many people disagree with this law.

Then there is the problem with people putting things like nettles and or sharp objects into candy. Also a parent has to worry that some creep will try to poison the candy they are handing out to their kids. In some cities, hospital emergency rooms will x-ray candy for free in an attempt to protect kids from candy that has been violated. This x-ray technology won't stop the poisoning threat, so if parents are smart that won't let their children eat candy that is not sealed and it's original packaging.

While my parents had to worry about us running out in from of cars, they didn't really worry about speeding drivers that were not paying attention to the road on Halloween night. Today they have to worry about drivers that don't pay attention even when they know that children will be on the streets everywhere. There are even some folks that try to hit kids with balloons and eggs while they are walking down the street. These are really sick people.

Parents, let your kids have fun on Halloween. However, don't take your eyes off them for a second.

Microsoft/Real Networks Dominating Online Music

Now that Microsoft and Real Networks have teamed up to battle leader Apple in the delivery of music both online and in other digital formats; the big question is, who is going to dominate the next five (5) to ten (10) years of music? The old line record companies are not going to last, in their present form, in the long run.

These record companies have become greedy and have infuriated their customer base by filing legal actions, via RIAA, against consumers who download music online via Kazaa, Winmx, Morphis, Gator and other services. While they have every legal right to prosecute folks that download music, from a public relations (PR) standpoint it's a stupid, short sighted idea that will eventually cause their destruction.

Other companies will start stepping up and offering music contracts to rock groups, teen idols and country music stars that will compete directly with these old companies and when this happens they will be finished.

It is so surprising that such a hip industry in so old fashion when it comes to the deliver of their product, music. If they had their way, we would still be listening to eight (8) track tapes in our cars and vinyl records at home. On one side of this business, which includes stars and producers, they are very hip and modern in their thinking, but the executives at the top don't seem to change with the times and eventually this will lead to their destruction.

I can see a time when Apple, Microsoft and Real Networks will start their own music companies and compete with the giants of today. When this happens, the current music companies will be put out of business. This is when their greed will be remember and they will not have any good will with their customer base to sustain them against the new competition. I still remember how they completely put "Napster" out of business.

I'm forty six (46) years old and not one of their regular customers, but I do know and work with younger folks and they are fed up with the major music companies and would love to stick it to them if there was real competition in the market place from other companies. This RIAA move the record industry implemented will go down in history as one of the dumbest corporate decisions in history.

Are Schools Overreacting With Dress Codes?

I man that I work with was talking the other day about how he and his wife are going to have to buy new cloths for their kids because school officials have changed their dress code after only three (3) months this year. I don't have children in school, but his conversation did catch my interest, so I ask him what kind of changes were involved.

He said, the boys couldn't wear baggy pants anymore and the girls had to stop wear a certain kind of shoe. I think schools need some kind of dress code or there is no telling how some kids will show up for class. However, these issues were known three (3) months ago and the school should take more time thinking out their dress code BEFORE children start going to classes.

My coworker doesn't make a lot of money and his wife is a stay at home mom, so they have to budget their money just to get by each month. Purchasing school clothing and supplies are a major expense for them and it is tough to go out and buy new cloths for their children, again, just because school administrators didn't get the dress code right to begin with.

I'm not one of those people that think schools are the bad guys. I think most folks that work in our education system are heros and deserve our thanks and support. However, school administrators seem to be a different kind of individual.

It might be they are so restricted in disciplining students on an individual basis by rules and regulations that broad changes like this are necessary just to correct the actions of a few. However, when their requirements become a financial hardship on people that are not to blame, that is not the right way to handle a situation.

Congress Considering Cutting Some Medicare Benefits

With the federal budget growing at an unbelievable rate, the Congress is looking for ways to save money. The latest proposals are to cut Medicare and Medicaid benefits. Republican Congressman Joe Barton of Texas is leading the movement to make these changes, but I don't see him getting that much traction with this legislation because next year will be dominated by the Congressional elections and it's hard to get elected by cutting benefits to the largest voting block, senior citizens, in the country.

It's going to be more difficult in the future to keep cutting spending on the old and the poor instead of repealing some of the tax cuts that were given to the rich. This is always a balancing act between rich and poor interests and I believe the past five (5) or six (6) years the pendulum has mainly swung to the side of the rich and tax cuts and it's probably time for it to swing back to the side of the poor. I thought the tax cuts were a good idea when the federal budget was under control, but now with increased military spending and a slow economy, the government needs more money and if they are going to cut benefits to the old and poor, then the rich have to stand up and pay something, too.

It's too bad that the Republicans and Democrats can't agree that when times are tough that everyone must sacrifice something for the greater good. The Republicans are going to want to keep their tax cuts even if it puts the poor in danger and the Democrats are going to want NO program cuts, even if there is abuse and fraud in some of them. This hard headed thinking is what gets us into a mess in the United States all the time. It's caused by special interest groups that only care about their causes and don't look at the whole picture.

With the federal budget deficit so high, a mix of program cuts and tax increases are the only way to get some kind of handle on this situation. Sure, everyone wants things only their way, but that's just not going to happen this time. Hopefully, moderates in both political parties will come together and work out some kind of solution. It's not a good idea to have the conservatives or liberals come of with a money saving plan because it will be so one sided that it will never pass the Congress and get signed by the President.

New Orleans Cops Fired For Abandoning Post

News reports immediately after Hurricane Katrina were apparently correct about dozens of police officers abandoning their posts in New Orleans during the chaos of the storms aftermath and many of those officers are paying the price for this action by losing their jobs.

Forty five (45) police officers were fired last week for abandoning their posts during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. While New Orleans is a large city with a police department that numbers over one thousand (1000) members, this does seem like a huge number of desertions among professional law enforcement officers. Most police officers will rise to an occasion like this and work, without sleep, for days to help the public that needs them.

I think there is something much deeper wrong here than meets the eye. There must be some kind of problem in the recruiting standards of the department. I would think that most potential police recruits would go through background checks and personality testing to weed out problem individuals before they are hired. There could also be problems of corruption within the chain of command which would take a normally good individual and turn them bad when they see their supervisors involved in wrong activity.

None of us will forget the television images of the people in New Orleans begging for help in a city that was out of control because there didn't appear to be a police presents, anywhere. I saw a few officers interviewed that said without electricity they were unable to communicate with their bosses, so without instructions they just went home. This explanation doesn't apply to a professional police officer. The good officer doesn't need a supervisor to tell them what to do in a situation like this, their instincts kick in with their training and they just go to work helping people and keeping order in the streets.

There is always good in any bad situation and the good news here is that these police officers are no longer on the job and most likely should have never been hired in the first place. Hopefully, their replacements will be more in the traditional mode of the professional law enforcement officer. "To protect and serve", not to pillage and flee.

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Saturday, October 29, 2005

Good Picture of Scooter Libby Available?

I'm wondering if somewhere in this world there is a good picture of Scooter Libby? The media has found a terrible picture of this guy and they keep showing it over and over again. They did the same thing with Michael Jackson's and who could forget Nick Nolte's mug shot that was shown at least one hundred (100) times of late night television. They just love to make people look bad.

Of course, if the roles were reversed they would think it was unfair to show a picture of them in this same manner. Just image all these television reporters and anchors with mug shot photos without any prep work or make-up. I'm sure they would look worse than Scooter Libby.

The guy has been indicted and faces a long road head of him. You guys give mobsters like John Godie more respect than Mr. Libby. Maybe you're just more afraid of him. Let's try to play fair and give this guy the benefit of the doubt until he has his day in court.

Life Imitates Art - Libby v. Zigler

While watching the news tonight on CNN and MSNBC surrounding the "Scooter Libby" resignation, my mind went back in time to last Sunday night when I was watching the NBC television drama "The West Wing". On that episode, Toby Zigler, (Richard Schiff) confessed to leaking classified information about a military space shuttle program to the president's lawyer (Oliver Platt) and was fired by President Bartlet (Martin Sheen).

The end of this episode showed Zigler being stripped of his White House credentials, escorted off the White House grounds by secret service agents and driven away, at night, in a dark car. I just saw the same type of thing happen with Scooter Libby and it looked very similar to what I saw on the TV show on Sunday.

Wow, this was kind of strange to watch. The folks at this TV show could not have known this was going to happen exactly this way when they filmed this episode, but the subject matter the show and real life were very similar. The major difference is that Schiff's character, Toby Zigler was fired. Scooter Libby resigned after his incitement was handed out today and he didn't confess to illegally releasing classified information.

There are some other differences, too, but the major script of last weeks show and real life White House events today were strikingly similar and the timing was unbelievable. We always hear about life imitating art, but sometimes art imitates life, too. This is one of those cases.

Wonder what's going to happen this Sunday night on "The West Wing"?

Business Greed Is Not Good For Government

As a young ideological man, I heard someone say that, "the government should be run like a business" and at the time that sounded pretty good to me. In the 1970's when I turned eighteen (18), there were all kinds of problems with the government and at that time big business was considered a good thing because they provided families with income, benefits and a stable life.

Over the years, my opinion of big business has changed drastically. By no means should we run the government like any big business I've seen lately. If the government was run like big business, when workers started making more than minimum wage, they would just ship them out and hire cheaper labor from India to replace them.

How about those oil companies? If the government was run like them, we would all have to suffer so a few fat cats could get even richer than they already are and we would have to listen to them talk about how bad their life was as they cash their multi-billion dollar dividend checks. Hang on while I dry a few tears.

Maybe we should run the government like "Tyco". I'm sure the President and Congress would like that. Ten thousand dollar golden shower curtains for all members of Congress. Wow, who wouldn't like that idea? I'm sure it would be a hit with Congressional spouses.

Better yet, maybe we could have states bid for each other in a hostile take over. The losing states would have to be replaced and all citizens either fired or eliminated entirely so the winning state could just confiscate their raw materials and then declare bankruptcy when their finished.

I hope you get my point. There is nothing magical about big business anymore. There is no loyalty there at all to workers that spend their lives creating something special. At the first opportunity the powers that be will dump the company for a nice cozy retirement for themselves and leave the folks that did the heavy lifting out in the rain.

We need business and government. Because without government, there would be no rules for big business and without some kind of check and balance system, corporate greed could destroy the entire country.

Moderate Discussion About Political Extremist

With the withdrawal of Harriet Miers as President Bush's selection to sit on the Supreme Court, the proper role of religion in politics has created a healthy discussion about what part, if any, religion should play in such matters of government. If you talk to ten people about this issue, you're likely to get ten different answers about how much religion should enter into politics.

Like all political discussions, you've got the extremes on both sides of the argument. Those on the far right believe that religion should play a major role in court selections and in who serves in political office. The other side doesn't think religion should play any role in politics at all. In fact, they are even against prayer in any type of government building or setting.

You know me, the Mr. middle of the road guy. I think the truth is in the middle of this discussion as well, not at either extreme. When the extremist run the government, which is what has happen in Washington D.C. over the past twenty (20) to thirty (30) years, you get some very bad laws and public policy that keeps changing drastically depending on who is in power at that particular time.

The polling organization say that there are more of us "in the middle" than both extremes put together, but we don't have a real voice in politics because we don't make a lot of noise and pound our fist in anger on national television. We just want politicians to make sound judgments on what's in the best interest of the country. However, that's not what really happens.

Most politicians are in bed with either the far right or left wing in this country. Even though they may make up only twenty (20) to twenty five (25) percent of the actual population, they do make a lot of noise, go on television and pound their fist and most importantly raise millions of dollars to give to elected representatives, so they can win again on election day.

While both political extremes go about their daily business of fighting with each other, there is one thing everyone in the middle can take to the bank. Come election season, both extremes will all of a sudden see the light and become moderates, too. Why? Because they can't win without us folks in the middle and this fact just drives the ideologues on the right and left, nuts. See, they think we are just weak and won't stand up for what we believe in.

What they are missing is the fact that we are standing up for what we believe in, moderate, careful decision making that is not based to emotional extremes. See the folks in the middle don't hate the people out there in the extremes, like they hate us. We just feel sorry for them and hope they find some peace in their life, someday.

Rosa Parks Capital Rotunda Honor

The first woman to receive the honor to "Lie in State" in the United States Capital Rotunda will be Rosa Parks. What a wonderful choice and a great honor for her friends and family. Ms. Parks is a true American hero and has change millions of lives just by making a brave choice a long time ago. When she refused to give up her seat to a white man on that Montgomery bus, major changes that needed to take place started happening in this country.

I'm sure there are those today that don't understand what the United States was like back then, are wondering why this is such a big deal. In the 1950's, African-Americans were not treated very well in the United States. In fact there were some bigots that didn't even believe that they were full American citizens which is probably how this man on the bus felt when he wanted to take her seat.

For me it's hard to image any real man wanting to take a seat from a woman in the first place, whether she be black, white or green. However, this did happen and in many ways, his actions were positive for black Americans in the long run because it pointed out how some people were treating their neighbors who were of a different race from their own.

I work in a place of business that is mixed with women and several races people. I really don't think much about the gender or race of my co-workers unless someone says something that degrades them in some way or another. Unfortunately, there is still sexism and racism in this world, but thank goodness it's not as bad as it was back when Rosa was riding that bus. I hope in fifty (50) more years that there will be no racism or sexism, but I don't think you'll ever totally wipe it out. We just have to take baby steps and do it a little bit at a time.

It's so great that the first woman to receive this honor by the U.S. Congress is an African-American woman who is respected by all races and genders for the courage to stand up for what is right. Some people still think small choices don't matter in life. Rosa Parks is proof that all choices are what define who we really are inside.

Scooter Libby Was Charged Without a Crime

Here we go again. Another special prosecutor is unable to charge anyone with an actual crime, so he moves on to "Plan B" and charges someone with lying about a crime that he can't charge them with in the first place. This is "kangaroo justice" and the Congress needs to change the law so this kind of stuff quits happening in this country.

The Democrats are all excited about the charges against "Scooter Libby" and they have been on television all day trying to demonized the administration. These are the same folks that thought it was terrible what "Ken Star" was doing to President Clinton. Talk about hypocrites, both major parties are full of them and the law needs to be changed so no one is charged with a crime under these type of circumstances.

In my gut, Mr. Libby did exactly what the special prosecutor claims he did. However, our court system is suppose to be built on facts, not gut feelings. Grand juries are now being used to create fishing expedition by prosecutors looking for a crime to pursue. No wonder everyone with an attorney says, "I don't recall", when asked any question. Don't be definite about anything you testify to or you might be brought up on obstruction of justice or perjury charges because you forgot something or didn't answer the question to the prosecutors complete satisfaction.

Some of these new laws were put into effect after "Richard Nixon" destroyed the trust of the American people during "Watergate". Just like always, the Congress rushed to pass new laws without thinking out the total consequences of their actions first. Now we have this special prosecutor law which needs to be changed or totally eliminated from the books. No one should be charged in this country for not telling the truth about a crime that can't be proven. I'm shocked that the Supreme Court hasn't throw this whole thing out as unconstitutional in the first place.

If someone breaks the law, then prosecute them and make them pay for their crime. If you can't prove a crime, then that's just how it has to be. It's call the "criminal justice system", not the I'm a prosecutor and if I can't convicted you on the evidence, I'll get you on something else, system. If leaders in both political parties could get their hypocritical heads out of the sand long enough to see that this type of law serves no one, maybe they would step up and remove these kind of charges from the American legal system.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Big Profits Create Problems For Oil Companies

When do big corporate profits create big corporate problems? When you're an oil company and you just made the biggest quarterly profit in history while at the same time your industry is causing the rest of the country to head toward recession.

It doesn't help the oil industry when it's own special interest group says just a few days ago that major oil companies are hurting from high crude prices just like everyone else. What? I hope next week they will explain their definition of the word, hurting.

Big oil companies have suffered from image problems for decades. At first I don't think it was because they made so much money, it was just the way they explored for their product without any concern for the environment. About one hundred (100) years ago, they would just drill anywhere they thought there might be oil and when they found it they would have dozens of oil platforms within a single city block which looked terrible.

In those days when they went into an area and didn't find crude oil, they would just abandon the area and leave all the equipment and platforms laying around for someone else to clean up. Basically, they acted like scavengers that just took what they needed and then left when it was gone.

Then came the great depression and the only people that seemed to be making money were the oil companies. Hollywood helped destroy their image with the movie "Giant" which featured rich oil executives flaunting their wealth at a time when most of the nation was financially bankrupt.

Remember "J.R. Ewing"? This was televisions turn to show the bad side of oil executives in the TV show "Dallas". For much of the 1970's, this was the highest rated show on television with it's biggest audience coming when the person who shot J.R. was revealed.

Some of the publics hate of big oil companies is not justify. We should not dislike companies just because they made a profit on a product we as a society have become addicted and dependent upon. They didn't force us to get addicted to their product. However, when they make statement like, "we are hurting along with the rest of you", they are making a huge public relations mistake. It would be best to just say nothing at all.

It's Friday and I hope all of you have a great weekend. I need to fill my car with gas this afternoon and on the positive note, it will cost sixty (60) cents per gallon less that it did one (1) month ago. While I'm not going to thank the oil companies for that drop in price, it will create a few extra dollars for other stuff this weekend.

Press On Steroids Over Washington News

While watching the three major cable news channels today, it almost looked like some these reporters and anchors were either on steroids or speed. They were almost hyperventilating at all the news that was happening, all at once, in Washington D.C.

I shouldn't be surprised, most folks that get into the news business don't do it for the money, they want to be in the thick of breaking events whether in a war zone or in the nationals capital. This was a big news day by anyone's definition. Here a brief recap of some of what happened today.

President Bush's choice to be the next associate justice at the Supreme Court, withdrew her name from consideration which opened up the speculation game as to who the president will select next.

A federal grand jury is about to indict members of the Bush administration for leaking the name of a covert CIA official in an attempt to discredit her husband who was negative on the subject of whether the U.S. should go to war in Iraq.

President Bush flew to Florida to offer condolences and aid to the people effected by Hurricane Wilma. His public approval rating is at an all time low and even his base of supporter have been less than glowing in their appraisal of his job performance.

On a normal day, any of these three (3) stories would be the lead headline on the broadcast network evening newscast and on the front page of most major newspapers. However, these stories all took place within the past twenty four (24) hours and the professionals that cover the news were just beside themselves with energy and enthusiasm while doing their jobs, today.

Conventional wisdom would say that sometime next week President Bush will appoint another person to sit on the Supreme Court and that person will have a proven conservative track record on issues like "affirmative action" and abortion. This is going to turn into one of the nastiest fights between the Republicans and Democrats the nation has seen in a long time, but it's going to happen and I don't have a clue whether a far right conservative can get enough votes to win nomination in the senate. Robert Bork certainly didn't get confirmed when he was nominated.

The latest speculation on the CIA Leak investigation is that presidential advisor "Karl Rove" will NOT be indicted at this time because of lack of evidence. However, Vice-Presidential chief of staff "Scooter Libby" will be indicted within the next few days. If true, this news will hit the White House hard because, Libby, has daily access to Vice-President Cheney and is in the inter circle of power at the highest level of this administration.

In Florida, they will continue to clean up a mess of a different kind. A hurricane mess which still has millions of people without power in the "sunshine state". President Bush will probably go down there again several more times before the holiday season. After his poor initial response to the victims of Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana, I don't see him making that same mistake again.

With more big news certain to break tomorrow, I hope the folks at the major cable news networks took some time last night to get some rest and maybe refill their high blood pressure medication. They may need both in the days and weeks to come.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Harriet Miers Withdraws Name For Supreme Court

Today, conservatives in the Republican party are thrilled by the Harriet Miers decision to withdrawal her name from consideration to replace Sandra O'Connor on the Supreme Court. No matter how the White House spins this story, it is a defeat for the administration and a huge victory for right wing conservatives.

As I'm writing this story, President Bush is flying to Florida to survey the recent damage of Hurricane Wilma. The president has had a bad couple of months and I don't think he had the political capital necessary to see Ms. Miers nomination through to the end. So, who will be next?

A strong conservative with a written track record as being anti-abortion, that's who. The next candidate will go through a "blood bath" in the United States senate and there is a good chance they will never make it to the Supreme Court, either.

If the next nominee is a strong conservative and doesn't get confirmed by the U.S. Senate, then the conservative movement will have grabbed defeat right out of the hands of victory by their strong opposition to Miers, who would have been confirmed without their strong protest against her.

Sometime you have to pick your battles and the conservative movement felt like this was a battle worth fighting. If the president sends up an ideologue like "Robert Bork" and the nomination fails, then the entire conservative movement will lose political clout, which in my opinion would be the best thing for this country.

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

Conservatives Attack Harriet Miers Nomination

Major far right wing conservative groups began running advertisements on television and in newspapers across the country on Wednesday attacking Harriet Miers and asking President Bush to withdraw her nomination to the United States Supreme Court. Man are they in for the shock of their lives.

Tomorrow, teams of Republican attack dogs will be on their television sets attacking their positions and praising the President for his selection. I saw this happen to me during the Terri Schiavo case when I felt like the President and the Republican Congress had overstepped their power by interceding in a private family matter.

Attacking the other party is one thing, but when you start eating your own, then you have a major problem with your party and as I've said many times before, this party needs a change in leadership. They have the cart before the horse and believe that what they do should just be embraced by the rank and file, even when it makes no sense at all.

Political parties are always bottom up groups of people, not top down. When political leaders get confused about this chain of command is when they are not that far from going home so other more grounded folks can take their place. The Republican party is way past this point and over the next year this fact will become more apparent to leaders as they scurry around trying to hold on to their power.

I saw a group of U.S. Senator on television yesterday talking about how they were going to get the "out of control" government spending under control. Mind you these are the same folks that got us into this mess in the first place, now they want to clean up their own mess? I don't think so.

Some of them are just talking out of both sides of their mouths and most of the general public that pays attention to these kind of issues and vote on election day know that these type of statement are just talk, not action. The Republican leadership had their chance to control government spending and they have just ignored the problem and now look at what's happened.

President Bush has not vetoed one spending bill during his entire term in office. Isn't he suppose to be a Republican? Well, it's time for fresh people in the halls of Congress and in the White House. This group of leaders, just doesn't get it.

Chicago White Sox Are Great - Defeat Houston Astros

I must admit that I'm a little bit sad this morning. My Houston Astros were no match for those Chicago White Sox and this years "World Series" proves that loud and clear. Congratulation to all the folks in Chicagoland who have waited eighty eight (88) years for this moment. You guys have a great baseball team and I'm sure the office buildings in the windy city will be buzzing about last nights game for the rest of the week.

The Houston Astros have nothing to be ashamed of. They had a fantastic year and have proven that they will be a team to be reckoned with in the years to come. I think just about everyone in Texas wanted the Astros to pull this thing off, but it wasn't mean to be and the better team won the series.

I've only been to Chicago once in my life and it was a short business trip which took me to that great city. In fact, I would have never even seen much of the city if my business associated and I had not of rented a car one night and drove around.

Our meeting was at the O'Hare Hilton, which is the same place we were staying for the three (3) days of our trip. Our short visit outside of the hotel took us to some interesting, if not entirely safe, locations in the Chicago area. However, I'm glad we took a good look around, because I'm not sure when I'll have a chance to visit again.

I was thinking tonight about some young boy that is now in his nineties (90's) that may have seen the Chicago White Sox play for the first time when he was young. That person must feel like that kid again tonight after this long sought after victory.

Winning is never sweater than when it takes a long time to achieve. The hard work by team owners, managers and players has finally paid off for the great city of Chicago.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

No Place Like Home During Hurricane Season

Cancun Mexico is one of the most popular vacation spots in the world. However, many folks would just like to get home because they have been stranded in airports and hotels unable to get one of the few seats on fights leaving the area.

It's hard to see this situation not hurting tourism in this Mexican vacation Mecca in the years to come. I don't think folks will even care about the weather unless it's during hurricane season, but this time next year we might be hearing about vacant hotels in Cancun and half price deals being offer by airlines and travel agents.

I've never been to Cancun, but know lots of folks that have including my sister and her husband. They think it's one of the best places on earth to relax and get away from the worlds pressure and stress. I must admit sitting on the beach and sipping on Margaritas does sound appealing while it's snowing back home.

I hope these folks that have been stranded for the past six (6) days there will be able to catch a fight home, soon. It is fun to get away, but as Dorothy said in "The Wizard of Oz", "there's no place like home"!

Middle East Violence Resumes In Israel

After a quite few months, violence resumed today as a bomb blast in Israel killed five (5) people and injured scores of other innocent victims. The blast took place in a marketplace where people were just going about their everyday business when all heck broke loose. Initial reports place the bomber with the radical Palestinian group Islamic Jihad.

It's impossible to have a lasting peace in a region where hatred of the other side goes back thousands of years. There will always be individuals and groups of people that will never believe in peace. These extremist only want total annihilation of their opponent and will never see the benefits of peace, unless their enemy dead.

This type of brain washing is seen here in the U.S. with folks that hate others just because of their sex or ethnic background. Bigotry, is what's going on in the middle east, too, but it's at a later stage of this terrible disease. If left unchecked, the same type of thing could happen in the United States.

We are a young country and don't have thousands of years worth of hatred built up against people we don't trust or like. However, if we were able to live long enough, this kind of middle east madness would become evident in our country, too unless attitudes change.

It's much easier to blame someone else for your problems than to take personal responsibility. Taking responsibility requires one to accept that they made mistakes and make changes to their future behavior. As we've all heard and know in our hearts, change is a difficult thing to accomplish. It's much easier to blame others than to look in the mirror.

Florida Cleaning Up Mess After Wilma

The State of Florida is having a hard time getting the mess cleaned up after Hurricane Wilma and hundreds of thousands of people are still without basic necessities in the state. Lack of food, water and electricity are the biggest headaches right now and tempers are starting to flare in the "sunshine state".

Homeland security chief, "Michael Chertoff", said that power my not be resorted to the entire state for two (2) to three (3) weeks. Without power there are other issues besides basic comfort to consider.

If a city doesn't have power, then gas pumps are unavailable for folks to fill up either their cars or generators. Also emergency services like hospitals and ambulances will eventually run out of fuel for their generator systems and police departments will have to curtail patrols because of lack of fuel.

It's been pointed out many times before in this blog and other places that the U.S. needs to find other sources for energy besides fossil fuels, if for no other reason than to protect the public when disasters like this take place. The wake up bell is ringing loud and clear. Is anyone in government listening? I sure hope so.

Right now all the people in Florida can do is wait and that's not much fun when it's hot and you don't have enough food and water for your family and no fuel for your vehicle. We're praying for you guys in Florida. I hope you get some relief, soon.

News President Andrew Heyward Out at CBS

CBS announced today that news president Andrew Heyward is being replaced by Sean McManus who is the President of CBS Sports. McManus will keep both jobs at the network.

This appears to be the last step in the lead up to an announcement of a new anchor to replace Dan Rather who retired from the evening news broadcast several months ago.

The entire new division at CBS was thrown into chaos last year when evidence from one of their stories for a "Sixty (60) Minutes II" broadcast turn out to be fabricated. Long time anchor Dan Rather was forced into retirement and several executives were fired because of this fraud.

"Face the Nation" host Bob Schieffer has been filling in on the nightly news for months and it is rumored that he would like to be replaced as soon as the network can find a replacement.

I must admit that Mr. Schieffer has done a much better job than I expected since Rather's departure from the network. The "CBS Evening News" has been holding the number three (3) position in the ratings for a long time and the network would like to see this turned around.

The first step will be announcing a permeate replacement for the broadcast which I think will happen by the first of the year now that the old President of the news division has been replace.

Natalee Holloway New Developments In Aruba

One of the prime suspects in the disappearance of Natalee Holloway in Aruba has been caught giving inconsistent statements. Will this new information lead to a break in the case? I doubt it. If this case was going to be solved, it would have been solved in the first forty eight (48) hours. I don't see another "Scott Peterson" type murder trial. This case will probably never be solved, even though most people are pretty sure what happened to this beautiful young woman on her senior trip in Aruba.

After consuming too much alcohol, she ended up with three (3) guys with evil on their minds. Then things got out of hand and she is most likely dead and her body will never be found. This is almost like the perfect crime, but I don't believe for a minute that it started out that way. Most likely the booze started wearing off, there were threats of hell to pay and this poor woman was killed by these young men. This is not the first time something like this has happened and it won't be the last. The media has just got caught up in this story of a pretty young blond woman that had a great life ahead of her that was cut short way before it's time.

I mean no disrespect to Natalee's family, but this story would not still be on the news if she wasn't attractive, blond and young. These three (3) characteristics seem to be what the media needs to keep a story like this alive. Does anyone really believe we would still be hearing about this story if Natalee was ugly, black and old? Of course not, no one would want to hear about that person, so the media would just ignore the story. Is this fair? No it's not and that's why we should resist the temptation to fall into these sensational traps that are designed only to create "outrage" at either the suspects or the authorities investing this crime.

President Announces New Fed Chairman Bernanke

I've gotten so use to Allen Greenspan as the Federal Reserve Chairman, that it's going to take a little getting use to having a new one. President Bush nominated Ben Bernanke to chair this powerful position on Monday. Since I sleep during the day, I didn't get to hear Mr. Bernanke speak during his news conference with President Bush. Did he have a boring voice like Greenspan?

I know my statement isn't very polite to Mr. Greenspan, but he does have a very boring, monotone type voice that is great to listen to when you're having a hard time sleeping. I've told my wife for years that he could make millions of dollars selling those sleeping cassette tapes. All you need to do is pop in a tape with him talking and you'd be asleep in no time flat.

Back when the stock market was fun, I mean when I was making money at it, I would watch Chairman Greenspan on CNBC during his Congressional updates about the U.S. economy. It never failed that after about thirty (30) minutes of listening to him at these hearing, I would be dozing off and get very sleepy. This was back when I slept at night, so I was fully rested when he was testifying before Congress. It was just the tone of his voice that made me want to go to sleep.

If he doesn't want to go into the sleep aid business, maybe he could work part-time as a hypnotherapist. The tone of his voice could make even the most excitable person relax and be open to suggestion. I can see the headlines now, "Greenspan helps millions quit smoking via hypnosis"! He would be a natural at either of these type of positions.

Even though Greenspan is in his seventies (70's), he still has a lot of life left ahead of him and he needs to stay active with that young attractive wife of his, Andrea Mitchell of NBC news.

News Sources - Scooter Libby Indictment Looming

Several major news organization say that an indictment of Vice-President Cheney's chief of staff, "Scooter Libby" is imitate. However, one of these sources, ABC news has been shot down after a network reporter claimed to have two (2) sources to the story and stated that there would be a report on the Monday evening newscast, but the story never ran. ABC brass say that they never had sources for such a story in the first place. I wonder if that reporter is looking for a new job?

I feel confident that there will be indictments in this case, but the special prosecutor is going to take his time and make sure he has a good case before going forward. Remember this special prosecutor has been praised in the past by the Bush administration, so he's no Republican basher. If he indicts people in the Bush administration, there will be big trouble for those involved. I just don't understand why these folks did what they did, when they didn't have to.

The Iraq war declaration was going to win Congressional approval and at the time, most Americans had faith in the war effort and supported the administrations policies. Why they would go to all this trouble to shoot down a person that would not have effected the outcome of their policies is hard to understand.

I do have a theory on this subject, which I haven't seen covered in the major news media. The case against Iraq which was presented to the UN and the rest of the world about the Iraqi's desires to produce a nuclear weapon were mainly important to European allies like Great Britain. My guess is that it might have been impossible to get UK support, if these nuclear threat scenarios didn't have merit. It was very important for President Bush to have Tony Blair and the British on board for the war in Iraq to be successful.

We should know more later this week if anyone is going to be indicted in this case. There is a lot of smoke for there not to be a fire somewhere in Washington D.C. right now.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Media Obsessed With Round Numbers

Have you ever noticed how obsessed the major media is with round numbers? Just take a look at the latest run up hype to the number two thousand (2000) dead soldiers in Iraq. Is the country, any different, with nineteen hundred and ninety nine (1999) or two thousand and one (2001) dead soldiers in Iraq? Of course these number do have a big impact on the several families involved, but as a general rule do round numbers make any difference at all in the overall success or failure of the Iraqi war?

The news business is built on big headlines. It goes all the way back to the first newspapers when large font headlines were shouted out by paper vendors on the street. It's still around today in the broadcast media, but instead of shouting out the headline, they put tremendous weight on the round numbers of dead or whatever else they are trying to promote in that news cycle.

Remember the large round number one hundred thousand (100,000) body bags waiting in Katrina aftermath, or recently fifty thousand (50,000) could die in earthquake aftermath in Pakistan? Each of these stories has a large round number at the base of the headline and nearly all major media use this technique when promoting a news story these days on the broadcasts.

It's important to keep in mind that these type of practices are more of a promotional tool by the media and the public should be lead into a gloom and doom scenario every time they see something like this on the national news. Just look at these headlines as old newspaper salesmen on the street trying to make a few more cents peddling the morning or afternoon edition.

Chicago White Sox On World Series Mission

The Chicago White Sox are a team that is playing like a group of players on a mission. I wonder if the Houston Astros will be able to get back into this series and turn it all around? It's tough to do when you lose the first two (2) games, but it's not impossible.

Both of these teams are new to the World Series, so any kind of previous experience is non existent so, really, anything could happen in the remaining games and that's what is making this years "World Series" so exciting for folks all around the country.

In addition to being a baseball story, this "Series" is a story of two large states that have not had a history in baseball's biggest games. While folks in New York have grown to expect championship teams every year, fans in Illinois and Texas have just been hoping, for years, that one of their teams would make the cut, go to the big game and win it!

This year, one of these states will have a world championship title and the other will have a team that got to the "World Series". Both should be happy, but as a Texan, I sure hope the folks in Illinois are the ones that end up with the team that just made it to the big game. I'd sure like to see that title here in the "Lone Star State" for the next twelve (12) months!

New Law - Vice President Dick Cheney Exempts CIA

A new law being discussed around Capital Hill addresses how prisoners of the United States should be treated. This is a good idea and represents what is great about our country. Now today, I hear that Vice-President Dick Cheney would like to exempt the CIA from this new law.

What he is proposing might be a good idea from the standpoint of national security, it does look awfully bad coming at a time when the Bush administration is involved in a bunch of problems and this new development is just one more incident where their policies will be debated and criticized.

This type of law should pass the Congress with wide bipartisan support, but now, know telling what is going to happen when it finally does reach the floor for debate and consideration. My guess is it will be turned into another political football which will kill the legislation.

I don't disagree that the CIA needs some kinds of leverage when dealing with folks like the 9/11 hijackers, it's just the timing of the Vice-President in his announcement of this opposition which is surpassing. The political machine at the White House doesn't appear to be working without Karl Rove. I guess he's so busy trying to keep from getting indicted that these seemly small details are starting to make the news and hurt the administration.

I do support legislation to force the military and intelligence official to observe some type of discipline when interrogating prisoners. Without guidelines, individual commanders will get into trouble in the field and cause more negative attention on the United States.

This will probably happen with or without a law, but it is a good idea for the Congress to go on the record saying that the people of the United States don't believe in the abuse of prisoners in our custody.

Size Doesn't Count With Hurricane Wilma

Hurricane Wilma may not have been a category four (4) or five (5) hurricane, but it has managed to leave over five (5) million people in the dark around southern Florida. That's a huge number of people without electricity and who knows when the power companies will be able to get the lights back on?

I was wondering the other day how long it has been since some of these power line specialist have been back home to see their families? Between Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and now Wilma their services have never been in higher demand. These power workers are the unsung heroes in the aftermath of these natural disasters, because without them putting in eighteen (18) hour days, it could be months before people had power restored to their homes and businesses.

I've got an Internet friend who lives in south Texas and he works for a power company there. I haven't been able to contact him for a couple of months because he's never at home anymore. He's out working hard everyday in some pretty bad conditions, I'm sure, helping out people that are less fortunate then himself. Sure he makes good money, but what good is the money if you can't spend it with your friends and family?

He loves this work and I'm glad he does. The folks that have not been effect by natural disasters this year in the U.S. are pretty darn luck. It's good to know when it's our turn to be left without basic services like, electricity, there will be someone around like my friend that will work in terrible weather conditions just to get our power back on ASAP.

Washington Feeding Frenzy Over CIA Leak Story

Politicians are doing what they do best, position themselves for the outcome of the special prosecutors investigation into who leaked the name of a covert CIA operative from the White House. The speculation people have Karl Rove and Scooter Libby as potential fall guys in this investigation and other media pundits have the guilt trail heading all the way up to Vice-President Dick Cheney.

Just a few years ago, the Republican leadership had one set up rules for President Clinton, now they want an entirely new set of rules for the Bush administration. It's no wonder that the general public doesn't trust these Congressional leaders at all. The leader of this pack of revisionist Republican politicians is Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson of Texas.

While watching her on television today, trying explain her position, it was sad that such a person represents the great state of Texas in the United States Senate. I use to really believe in this lady, but something has happened to her in the past few years that has turned her into some kind of Washington insider party loyalist that didn't exist when she first ran for Congress. I shouldn't be surprised, this happens to all of them if they stay in office long enough.

Get ready folks for a huge political party fight over the next few weeks. This is going to be like the Bill Clinton investigation, but inverted. All the high and mighty speeches that the Republicans made about honesty and the honor of the Office of President of the United States will now be made by the Democrats and our wonderful Republican party leaders will just accept any kind of illegal problem as ok.

The Republican party has been destroyed by these out of touch leaders and they will be sent home, soon. There is no way they are going to stay in office when they attack their own base of voters just because they disagree with their poor judgment in policy matters. This arrogance will be their downfall, just wait and see.

Rosa Parks Was One Brave Lady - RIP

The news of the passing of Rosa Parks might not mean much to people that are under the age of forty (40) but this woman had more impact on the lives of people around the world than anyone alive today.

So what does a white middle age man know about Rosa Parks. Really, not as much as I should, but the most important thing I know about her is that she had guts and she stood up for what she felt was right and didn't let fear stand in her way.

Her one action, of not giving up her seat on a bus to a white man back in the 50's was the first step in correcting many wrongs that had taken place in United States.

Ms. Parks did something that is not that common in this world. She stood up for what was right and she didn't care what other people thought or what impact that decision would have on her future. She just saw a wrong and stood on principle and that is a wonderful and brave thing to do.

I may not have know this lady, but how could you not like someone that is willing to take such a strong stand on principle. So few people do this anymore that it makes Rosa Parks a true American hero and hopefully some kind of memorial will be created in her honor in Washington D.C in the near future.

All great wrongs are corrected only when someone has the courage to make a stand and refuse to sacrifice their beliefs in the face of the tremendous danger and public ridicule.

Condolences to her family and friends.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Cindy Sheehan Needs Professional Mental Help

Cindy Sheehan so she will be arrested for a second time. She also said that when released she will do it again until President Bush brings U.S. troops home from is now saying that she intends to tie herself to the gate again at the White HouseIraq.

While Ms. Sheehan's original effort in Crawford Texas this summer to get the president to meet with her seemed reasonable, now she looks like an out of control zealot that only cares about getting her own picture in the newspaper or on the evening news.

Her family has pretty much written her off as a kook and it won't be long before even the far left anti-war movement does the same thing. This just proves that there are nutty people on both sides of the political spectrum and once the story starts being more about them than the cause, these type of things start to happen and then the person self-destructs.

Cindy was just not smart enough to figure out, before it was too late, that she was just being used by politicians and special interest groups. There are many cases of where people have been used up by these groups and political figures and then just dumped as garbage when they can't help their cause anymore.

Ms. Sheehan has lost her son, her family and soon she will lose all these so called new friends that act like they really care for her, but they were never her friends. They just liked her when she was helping their cause and once she can't do that anymore, they will be gone like the wind.

I hope some understanding counselor in the Los Angeles area will step up and help her when all this attention goes away. No matter what you may think of her politics, she is still a mother that lost a child and the grief of that loss will grow as attention to her, personally, decreases.

Gas Prices Going Down After Record Increase

In a month of very bad news, finally there is something good to talk about. Gas prices dropped by an average of twenty five (25) cents per gallon in the past two weeks. I knew prices were going down here in Texas, but apparently they are going down nationwide and that's good news for the economy.

Traditionally, gas prices go down after Labor Day, but this year that didn't happen. The reasoning for the delay were the two major hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico in the past couple of months. While the reality of those storms did have an impact on the price of fuel, I believe a bigger effect was caused by speculators in the futures market who panicked and started shorting crude oil at the first sign of trouble.

It's easy to hate these speculators, but they do server a purpose. I told my neighbor, who hates Geckos, that they were really good reptiles because they ate bugs that would normally get into our houses. He told me that be would just keep killing them and let Orkin handle the bugs. I guess my advice didn't convince him that they were good to have a round.

It is good that gas prices are going down, but I hope that we all remember what a hardship these high prices have been and continue to push government and industry to develop other sources of energy so we don't continue to have these type of price spikes in the future. It's time we all started to reduce our usage of fossil fuels and spend the time and effort necessary to develop more dependable energy sources from the wind and sun.

There will be some powerful companies and nations that will not see this change as a positive development. Their financial interest are tied to fossil fuels and they don't want to see anything compete with that product. However, with ever more frequent volatility in the petroleum market place, it will become more likely that competitive energy sources will be developed which will be good for the consumer and the environment.

Children Of Hate - Mother Brainwashes Daughters

I just read a disturbing story on the ABC news website about a couple of teenage girls that spend their spare time recording music about racism that glorifies the Nazis and Adolph Hitler. These thirteen (13) year old girls did not come up with these views on their own.

Their parents have to be involved in spreading this hate and this is child abuse in the purest sense. I do believe in free speech and these folks have every right to express their opinions about the issues of yesterday and today, but when they pass on this hate to another generation it doesn't seem right, but what are we to do?

This is one of those things we just have to put up with if we want to live in a free country. For some reason this family feels like they have not been treated fairly by society, so they are pushing all their hatred and blame on different races of people in an effort not to take personal responsibility for their own successes and failures in life.

Probably this type of hate goes back several generations and no one has yet stepped up and said that they are not going to continue this dysfunctional thinking. So the hate just keeps getting passed on through the years from generation to generation.

We all know that hate is out there and it does raise it's head from time to time. Racism is found in all races of people and it all stems from the lack of ability of some folks to assume responsibility for their own mistakes and problems in life.

Most successful people are not racists because they became successful through accepting when they were wrong, so they could learn from their own mistakes. Racist find it easier to blame someone else than to look in the mirror when things go wrong in their lives.

This story may just be the major media's latest attempt to sensationalize stuff to make the general public angry. It's certainly has been done before and I don't doubt the stories truthfulness. However, finding one case of dysfunctional behavior in a country of three hundred (300) million and trying to pass it off as mainstream thinking, doesn't pass the smell test.

It is sad when there is even one case of this type of hate and I hope in future generations they will find a way to "break the cycle" of this type of behavior.

Related: Racism On Survivor, Crash The Movie, MLK Birthday Celebration, Racism Run Amuck

Children of Hate

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Google 'Jagger' Update Confuses Webmasters

It has been many months since search engine Google had a major update, but it appears that they are in the middle of a PR update right now and the folks at Webmaster World have named this latest update, "Jagger". The sad thing is that this major webmaster forum has had connection problems the past few days and has temporary switched it's URL to What bad timing for a problem like this, but that's kind of how things go on the Internet all the time. I know this from personal experience.

Just like previous "Google Updates", the folks that got better listings think that Google is God and the ones that went down, think Google is the Devil. This kind of talk use to happen much more when Google did their updates monthly. In fact people named these updates and planned their days around them. They were called the "Google Dance" and for several years they were the biggest talk on the Internet. There are no more dances, just updates every six months or so these days.

From a quality standpoint, this new type of update schedule is better for Google users than the old monthly dance. However, webmasters created such a fuss when the updates were once per month that all kinds of free publicity was generated for the Google product without any type of monetary spending on their part.

Money isn't really a problem for Google anymore with their company market cap approaching $100 billion. The next few years will be a bigger test for Google than the past few years. Now they are considered a huge multinational corporation and they will be forced to play by the same rules as other large companies. As we've all seen in the past, some companies do better at this transition than others.

I think Google Inc. will do just fine. They will go through growing pains, but their management staff appears to know what they are doing and they definitely understand that to do well on Wall Street, you must grow earnings and they have definitely been doing that.

SWA Goes Back To Denver Metro Area

Southwest Airlines is returning to the Denver metropolitan area again after a twenty (20) year absence. This latest move is great news for the folks that live in Colorado, because lower airfares are certainly on the way. What is good news for the flying public might be bad news for the other carriers in the area.

Southwest Airlines has a way of charging lower fares and still remaining profitable. I don't understand why the other carriers don't try to learn from Southwest's example instead of criticizing them. My guess is the reason is their "unions" which don't want to give back benefit gains they have earned over the years. While I understand their reluctance to give back hard earned income and healthcare benefits, in this current business environment, they might be left with nothing if they don't give something back to their companies.

Major airlines are declaring bankruptcy right and left these days and without concessions from the workers, all of them expect "Southwest" and maybe "Jet Blue" are not going to making it financially. These darn high fuel cost are the main reasons that airlines can't make a profit and there is no way they are going to get some kind of special deal on the price of petroleum. So the only other way to make money is to get concession from their workers or raise their ticket prices.

Rising ticket prices isn't going to work because the consumer will just go to another airline like Jet Blue and they offer such a better package of services for a slightly higher price that the regular major airlines would never be able to compete with them.

No one wants to give back hard earned benefits. I certainly would not want to either. However, if left with the choice of having a job without as good of a benefit package or having no job and no benefits at all, the later is definitely preferable.

I noticed the price of gasoline has gone down considerable over the past month here in Texas, so maybe if the airlines can hold on long enough, they might be able to see some large savings on the jet fuel cost in the near future.

In the mean time, Southwest will be welcomed, back to Denver, by the flying public, if not by the current airlines and employees there.

Here Comes Hurricane Wilma Toward Florida

In what has to be the most unusual move I've ever seen, Hurricane Wilma has turned due east after hitting the Yucatan Peninsula and is heading for southern Florida. The weather forecasters have been predicting this change in movement for about a week, but I had to see it to believe it. They were right!

This storm left a bunch of damage in Mexico and is expected to do much the same thing in Florida. Hurricane Wilma is suppose to make landfall some time on Monday as a category one (1) or two (2) storm. While it's strength will not be as strong as Katrina and Rita, it could carry a large storm surge, which we've all learned is the most dangerous part of these Gulf of Mexico hurricanes.

Folks in southern Florida including the Florida Keys have been evacuating for days and there should be minimal loss of life when this latest hurricane hits the United States. Even though loss of life may be reduced because of the long warning time, there will be property damage which will add to the already soaring amount of damage the country has already experience this year.

Yesterday, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) named a record twenty second (22) storm for 2005. The latest storm was named "Alpha". When there are more storms than available letters for the hurricane season, they begin using the "Greek Alphabet" which is why this latest storm is called "Alpha".

Maybe this latest storm will be the last.

President Ronald Reagan's Plane Displayed At Library

In an elaborate ceremony, President Ronald Reagan's Boeing 707 version of Air Force One was dedicated at the Reagan National Library in California today. President Bush, gave a speech praising the many accomplishment of the former president at the ceremony. The President took this opportunity to link former President Reagan with Bush's war on terrorism. This is a stretch in my view, but this is just what politician do when they are in political trouble.

I became a Republican because of Ronald Reagan. His views on smaller government and the power of the individual were something that hit home to a young boy that didn't have any political views in his teenage years. Now in some ways, his actions are being subverted by the current administration and the man isn't alive to say whether he agrees with the current Bush policies or not.

We certainly know that his widow, Nancy Reagan, doesn't believe in the administrations position on "stem cell research" and there is no telling what other issues there might be additional disagreement between the two presidents. I think President Bush based his entire political career on Ronald Reagan, but Bush has made some drastic changes from the Reagan policies which will assure that his legacy isn't held in as high a regard as President Reagan's.

The major difference between President Reagan and Bush is the extent that the presidents allowed the far right conservatives to pursue their agenda. Reagan, was a big tent type of Republican that didn't approve of abortion, but he didn't treat others that had different views within the party as some kind of traitors, like President Bush does. Bush is much more an extremist in his conservative social values than was President Reagan and this one difference is a huge one with millions of Americans.

When President Reagan died, something inside of me died as well. I miss him and believe that he was one true great Republican that could be conservative, without trying to impose his views of right and wrong on other people. He really did believe that the government should mind it's own business and stay out of the lives of it's citizens. Millions of people from all political parties truly loved this man and for good reason.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Google Inc. Is Now A $100 Billion Company

After last weeks strong financial earning numbers, Wall Street is quickly turning Google Inc, into one of the largest corporations in the country. With their stock price gains in the previous few weeks, Google is now twice the market capital size of Yahoo and is right up there with giant corporations which have been in business for decades and have profits that are much higher than those of Google.

While some people are becoming rich off of Google right now, this whole situation smells of an "Internet Bubble" we all lived through about ten (10) years ago which burst five (5) years ago. I would think most people would have learned their lesson after the NASDAQ crash, but apparently not everyone. It's hard to fight the appeal of "easy money". Last time around, Yahoo was at the head of an "Internet Bubble" which left millions of people in financial ruin.

Google has done great things for the Internet and they are a wonderful search engine, but in any kind of reality driven world, they are NOT a $100 billion dollar company and wouldn't even come close to qualify for such a designation for years to come and only after decades of proven earnings performance. I hope this time around folks are not putting their hard earned retirement funds into Google stock exclusively.

Investments like these use to be considered only for people with, "expendable income" they could afford to part with, without financial hardship. However, now a days there are people that are investing income they can't afford to lose, like the kids college funds and retirement savings accounts. I know it's important to keep free markets in this country, but with these kind of easy money stories, many will fall for this latest "get rich quick" story and end up in financial ruin before the story is half way over.

What a shame.

Congressman Tom DeLay's Smiling Mug Shot

Former U.S. House of Representatives himself from this case. DeLay is concerned that the judge will not be able to rule fairly because he is a Majority Leader, Tom DeLay's, arraignment was postponed yesterday when his legal council, Dick DeGuerin, requested that the judge recuseDemocrat and has given money to the democratic political action group,

Maybe Representative DeLay is correct in this motion, but if he's just playing politics with the court system, he is going to be in for a huge disappointed in his "money laundering and conspiracy" trial. Mr. DeLay is a master at politics, but he's in a different game right now and I'm not sure he really appreciates the difference. Surely, he doesn't think that only a Republican judge will rule fairly on his case. Just because he is a total political partisan, doesn't mean everyone else is.

I saw a picture on the news last night of Congressman DeLay's mug shot which was taken when he was booked on Friday in Travis County Texas. He had a huge smile on his face like being booked on felony charges was somehow funny. I don't think his apparent ridicule of the court system is that humorous, but I guess if he feels like he is being persecuted, then his attitude might be that he isn't going to let the folks doing the persecuting see him sweat.

This whole case could turn into an appearence of a "kangaroo court". If that happens then DeLay will win, even if found guilty. This might even be the legal strategy that he and his attorney are pursuing in this case. However, I would think a "not guilty" result would be their best strategy because Tom DeLay is facing many years of time in jail, if convicted of these charges. Maybe they are just keeping their options open just in case he does go to trial and is found guilty of the charges.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Should The UN Control The Internet?

Some countries like Brazil and Iran have been urging the United Nations (UN) to take over control of Internet domain names from the United States (US) and ICANN. Their argument is that the Internet is so worldwide now, that it should be controlled by this worldwide organization. The European Union has also expressed the same feelings on this issue. This is a terrible idea and I hope the U.S. doesn't go along with it.

Minnesota Senator "Norm Coleman" made some good obervations today about how some countries around the world might decide to use this Internet control to stop free speech in counties that do not allow for the freedom of expression. Can you image if China had control over Internet domain names what might happen? They might shut down all domain names that criticized it's policies.

The United Nations has not proven itself as a true fighter for freedom around the world. In fact, it has been more noted recently as a corrupt organization that will make under the table deals with dictators like Saddam Hussein. The "Oil For Food" scandal went all the way to the top of this organization and I don't think they should be trusted with the administration of the most powerful information tool in the world.

The Internet is changing the world and I think that's the main reason that some countries want to get control of it. The Internet was developed in the U.S. and that's where control should remain. Can you image what the Chinese would think if the Internet was invented in China and the U.S. wanted to take control away from them?

The United States should fight this and not allow Internet control to go to the UN.

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Thursday, October 20, 2005

Houston Astros Win Big Against Cardinals

How about those Houston Astros? They are heading to their first World Series EVER after defeating the St. Louis Cardinals in game five (5) of the National League championship. As a Texan, this news makes me very happy. I remember wanting them to win the National League championship back in the mid 80's, but it wasn't meant to be at that time. 2005 might be the year for the Astros to go all the way and win the World Series.

If you believe in stuff like good things coming to people that are kind to their neighbors, then Houston has that rapped up. Just look at the number of displaced people that Houston took in after Hurricane Katrina. Tens of thousand of folks wouldn't of had anywhere to go if the people of Houston didn't step up immediately and offer temporary shelter and housing for the people in Louisiana and their pets in dire need of help. I know this may sound corny to some of you, but I like the idea of good things happen to people that do the right thing.

In addition to the kind things the folks in Houston did for Hurricane Katrina victims, they still found themselves having to evacuate, themselves, less than a month later when their own city was threatened by Hurricane Rita. I think it would be great if the city of Houston had a World Series title they could brag about for the next year.

To those of you that have never visited Houston, it's a huge city that is a melting pot for various types of people from all over the world. Their population base is similar to New York City with large groups of immigrants, and newly relocated people from all over the world. I remember a time during the 1970's when Houston was the fastest growing city in the world. Oil companies and refineries were hiring people from everywhere. In fact the city was growing so fast during that time that you couldn't drop off a U-Haul trailer or truck within one hundred (100) miles of the City of Houston. They already had too many of them.

Best of luck, Astros. I hope you win the World Series!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Category Five Hurricane Makes Wilma The Great

Hurricane Wilma is stirring in the southern Atlantic ocean and has grown from a Tropical Storm to a Category Five (5) Hurricane in less than twenty four (24) hours. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Hurricane Wilma is the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic Basin. Residence in southern Florida and the Keys are evacuating their homes and business ahead of this powerful storm which is predicted to hit their area sometime this weekend.

I don't remember a time when hurricane names got up to the letter "W", but I can't say that anymore. So far in 2005 there have been twenty one (21) named storms. The Gulf Coast region of the United States will see three (3) category five (5) hurricanes this season which in unbelievable. People are not even close to recovering from their losses after Hurricane Katrina and Rita.

Hurricane Wilma is a mean looking storm. I was just looking at radar and satellite pictures and judging from it position and the fact that it grew in strength so fast, there could be tremendous damage to the Mexico Peninsula, Cuba and southern Florida. The hurricane is in warm southern waters and it will make landfall much further south than was the case with Katrina and Rita. This means that there will be no time for the cooler waters of the north Gulf of Mexico to reduce the storms strength before landfall.

I just watched a report on CNN. Their local report was showing the traffic heading out of the Florida Keys toward inland safety. Right now they are only evacuating visitors from the area. Residents and business owners will be ask to leave at a later time. This reporter pointed out a funeral home in the area that had just taken down the boarding from it's windows after Hurricane Rita and now they were putting it back up again.

I seriously doubt if experts who designed the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) ever imaged this many strong hurricanes hitting the Gulf Coast in one hurricane season. I know I've never seen anything like this before. One can only hope and pray that next year will prove to be a light hurricane season.

We sure could use one.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Sylvester Stallone Plays Rocky Balboa Again

This has to be the dumbest idea yet out of, no new ideas allowed, Hollywood. Sylvester Stallone has sign up to do another "Rocky" motion picture which will be called "Rocky Balboa" and yes he's going to be boxing in this new movie at fifty nine (59) years old. In this new movie there will be no Adrian, played by Talia Shire, she has died. Not sure what she died of, but old age isn't completely out of the question.

Stallone must be in some kind of financial trouble to have accepted this type of role. It will open him up to all kinds of ridicule because the first "Rocky" movie, which he wrote and stared in, was a labor of love on his part and that movie made him a huge Hollywood star. The only other reason I can think of for him to agree to do another Rocky movie is because he has not accepted the fact that he has grown old and still thinks it is possible for someone his age to compete against a thirty (30) year old, physically fit boxer in the prime of his life.

In one way I'm glad he made this decision because it gives me a chance to reminisce about some of the earlier "Rocky" movies which were some of the best motion pictures every made. There were times, when I was younger, when events in life had gotten me down and those Rocky movies on video tape help to raise my spirits and over all outlook on life. They were written in a way that could uplift anyone that watched them.

I was seventeen (17) years old when "Rocky I" was released. What a wonderfully written script about a boxer from Philadelphia who was given a chance to fight the heavyweight champion of the world. This is like a weekend golfer getting a chance to play "Tiger Woods" in a PGA major tournament. These type of things don't really happen, except in the movies, that's why everyone likes to watch movies based on stories like these.

"Rocky II" was my favorite Rocky movie. I thought it was one of the best written, produced and acted movies of all time. It was also exciting when Rocky won his rematch fight against Apollo Creed, play by Carl Weathers. It was also a good decision on the producers part to stop making Talia Shire look ugly. She is a beautiful woman and it must have taken a lot of work to make her look bad in the first movie. This movie also has one of the best scenes ever in a movie, when Adrian after waking up from a coma tells Rocky that she only wants him to do one thing for her. "Win" the fight. What a wonderful script.

Then came "Rocky III", not as good as the second movie, but still well worth the price of admission. In this movie, a rich and sort of lazy Rocky is challenge by a tough street fighter name "Clubber Lange", played by Mr. T. He did a fantastic job in this movie and it lead Mr. T to many other movie and television parts. The saddest event in this movie was when Mickey, played by Burgess Meredith died. The Mickey character was a major part of what made these movies successful and future movies just were not as good without him as Rocky's manager.

"Rocky IV" started with another major character being killed off. Apollo Creed, died in a fight, which he was to old for, against a huge Russian fighter, played by Dolph Lundgren who was pumped up on steroids. I didn't really like this movie much. The wilderness training that Balboa went through in Siberia looked pretty with all the snow, but the script was lacking the greatness of the previous movies. "Rocky V" was just disastrous and let's not talk about that terrible movie at all.

Anything is possible, so maybe this new Rocky movie won't be a bad as I'm expecting it to be. One can only hope that the writing, acting and directing will be like the first three (3) Rocky movies instead of the last two (2). If they produce anything like the last Rocky movie, their investors are going to be very upset they ever put a penny into this project.

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Monday, October 17, 2005

Outrageous Medical Costs Hit Americans

The cost of medical care in the U.S. has been rising faster than the inflation rate for many years. How much longer will the average person be able to afford the cost of health care either via direct pay or medical insurance? While this is a good question, the answer is, I don't know.

At my workplace and at millions of others around the country, twice a year increases in the premiums for health insurance are a part of normal life now. I notice this change because my employer only absorbs a percentage of the total health insurance cost and I have to pay the difference.

Some people still work for companies that pay the entire cost of health insurance, but that number grows smaller every year. Employers are either requiring the employee to participate in the cost of insurance or they are reducing total benefits. Either way it is costing the employee more money.

What is the root cause of these tremendous increases in health insurance and medical care? The most obvious cause to me is the litigation expense built into the system every time you seek medical treatment. Some doctors spend hundreds of thousand of dollars per year on malpractice insurance premiums.

The biggest cost of malpractice coverage is paid by OBGYN doctors because if anyone delivers a baby with medical problems, the doctor is almost always accused of some kind of negligence. Many attorney's have become millionaires just suing OBGYN physicians for malpractice. In fact, the problem has gotten so bad that hundreds of baby doctors have just left this medical specialty entirely.

Another reason that health costs are rising so fast is something that everyone can relate to. It's called greed by doctors and hospitals. I told a friend the other day, there should be a law that required doctors NOT to own more than four (4) houses. While I made that statement in a joking way, there is some truth to the fact that many doctors like to have nice homes all over the country.

It's also true that most of their patients find it hard to make ends meet. There is a problem with this disparage in income and it will eventually drive a wedge into the trust between doctor and patient if something isn't done to correct the problem.

The final problem is in a place you might not expect, your own house. That's right, we all expect top notch medical care in this country and we intend to get it. Even if there isn't anything really wrong with us, we still want to see our doctor, just to check and make sure. Also, people go to the doctor when they are not really sick. Need a few days off work? Just go to the doctor using your free company health insurance, tell him where it hurts and get a doctors slip that says you don't have to go back to work for a week.

With the new medical privacy laws now on the books in the United States, your employer can't even ask you what's wrong with you if you have a doctors excuse. I'll bet these type of situations cost the medical community and insurance companies a bundle.

It's easy to see who's to blame for high medical costs in this country. Whether doctor, lawyer or patient - Just look in the mirror.

Read more about Healthcare: Prices, Drugs, Vitamins, Plan, Food

Outrageous Medical Costs

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Rebuilding The Dallas Cowboys Under Parcells

The Dallas Cowboys barely squeaked by today in their overtime victory against the New York Giants. The Cowboys turned the ball over four (4) times, but managed to get the win in OT with a forty five (45) yard field goal by Jose Cortez. The final score was 16-13.

Truthfully, the game was a mess for both teams. Neither really deserved to win the game. The Dallas Cowboy team that played today didn't look like the same one that beat the Philadelphia Eagles last week 33-10. What a difference a week can make. While Dallas head coach Bill Parcells said he was happy to get the win, he must be very disappointed in his teams performance on field.

There is an old saying in the NFL that goes something like this, "on any given week any team can win in the National Football League", but the way the Cowboys played today they should adjust that saying a bit to say something like, "on any given week the Dallas Cowboys can blow any game".

Many of you might think I'm being too tough on the Dallas Cowboys, but I'm old enough to remember the first glory days the team had back when Tom Landry and Tex Schram lead them to victories in the 1970's. This was the period of time when the team obtained the name, "Americas Team" and fans worldwide love to watch their games and turned our in the thousands anytime a player made a personal appearance.

Then came those wonder years when Jerry Jones bought the team and hired Jimmy Johnson to be the Cowboys head coach. They were affectionately known as J&J to fans of the team. During this period in the 1990's Americans team the Dallas Cowboys won three (3) Superbowl championships. Then the egos got in the way and J&J couldn't get along anymore, so Jimmy left the team and so did the winning streak.

For the past few years the Cowboys have been going through another rebuilding period just like they did after their success in the 1970's. Die hard fans were very excited when Jerry Jones hired Bill Parcells to coach the team. Coach Parcells is well know in the NFL and has coached winning teams in New York and with the New England Patriots. We still have high hopes that he will bring the Cowboys back to a Superbowl championship, soon.

Weeks like this one are hard for true Dallas Cowboy fans to take. Our team did so good last week and then this week, not so good. I'm just showing the impatience of a fan that not only wants to win, but to do it again ASAP. Patience isn't something a true football fan understands or relates well to.

There is always next week and on the bright side, as coach Bill Parcells said, we did win the game, even if not in the convincing way I would have preferred to see.