Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Oscar Night Shows Narcissism Hollywood Style

In a land called Hollywood, there are popular movies most people enjoy watching and then there are quality movies that only the elite consider as great because of their superior intellect. While this attitude is present 365 days per year, Oscar night is the worst and once again in 2007 Hollywood returned to the Kodak Theater to award Oscars to movies the public, for the most part, had shunned. Although most people will never see movies that win Academy Awards, almost one billion people, worldwide, do tune into watch the annual Oscar bash. Some people enjoyed tuning into see what their favorite actor or actress is wearing while others enjoy watching the facial expressions of the rich and famous when they find out if they won or lost an award.

I enjoy visiting our local dollar theater on the weekends and in recent years most new release movies are showing up at discount theaters within a month of their first release. This occurs because either the movie flops within days of its release or there are a bunch of new movies competing for available screen space. I personally thought 2006 was a good year for movies with a wide variety of decent flicks available to watch on most weekends. Some of my favorites included “MI:III”, “Devil Wears Prada”, “Click” and “RV”. For me, attending a weekend movie is more fun during the summer months because here in Texas the outside temperatures get really hot during June, July and August and a cool movie theater is an appealing break from the outside heat.

On Oscar night, 2006, Jon Stewart hosted the awards show and while most people thought he did a good job, I did not feel the same way. After reflection I believe I was expecting more from Jon Stewart because his show on Comedy Central is so funny my expectations going into the 2006 Academy Awards were just too high. Also, I believe it was a mistake to have a political comedian host the Academy Awards in an election year because people with strong political beliefs will be offended by almost any type of comment a comedian makes while the political debate is already at the boiling point. It also could be that Jon Stewart has found his best platform for his type of comedy on Comedy Central five nights per week. Just like in the days before television, some sure-fire radio stars could never make the transition from radio to the new medium of television, either.

Elite’s inside Hollywood are always trying to find movies that appeal to there inter soul that usually revolves around liberal political beliefs. In 2006 the odds on favorite to win the Oscar for best pictures was a movie called, “Broke Back Mountain”. I have not seen this movie and most likely never will because the subject matter of the movie is something I did not consider as good entertainment. To me, the whole idea of the movie “Broke Back Mountain” was to try and impose Hollywood values and beliefs on everyone else. In the end, “Broke Back Mountain” did not win the Oscar for best picture. The movie that did win, “Crash” was also a Hollywood insider movie about the problem of racism in the United States. I did finally rent “Crash” on DVD and I enjoyed this movie very much because it talked about a serious issue in a funny way that made me think about racism from several different points of view.

Movie remakes seem to be the best ideas of the day when it comes to new movies made in Hollywood. Last year we saw movie remakes of popular television shows like “The Dukes of Hazard” and even another movie in the “Rocky” series called “Rocky Balboa”. Most of the time I hate these movie remakes because the copy usually isn’t as good as the original and most of the time Hollywood remakes popular television shows and old movies because there is less risk of failure when a proven idea is recreated once again. However, the whole idea of movies is based on taking risks and hopefully in future years the writers and directors on the west coast will get back to making more original movies that espouse the views and values of most Americans.

Related: Hollywood Tabloid Style

Narcissism Hollywood Style

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

TXU Goes Green - Will Not Build New Coal Plants

One week ago, TXU was fighting some city, state and environmental leaders here in Texas to get approval to build new coal powered electricity plants around the state. Dire warnings of potential brown outs and other various scenarios were said to be on the horizon, in the near future, if they did not obtain approval to build these plants. Then early this week, a private company said they were purchasing TXU and now all of a sudden there will be more electricity than anyone could need and add to that, great news, a price reduction of 10% to most current TXU customers. This new private company says they can do all of this without building most of these new coal powered plants, as well.

While I believe that the new TXU positive stance on the future electrical needs in Texas are a little too rosy, the previous “gloom and doom” scenario of TXU corporate management was too dire as well. Almost everyone in the world agrees that global warming is a real problem and caused by man, these days and regular people, even conservatives are starting to question the need for these old coal plants in a modern world. It just doesn’t make sense to continue to pour new financial resources into technology that could be replaced with better alternatives. The universe is filled with substances that will produce energy without polluting the atmosphere and people of all political stripes are beginning to demand something be done about air pollution.

I have written before about how some states like Florida and California have forbidden the offshore drilling for oil in their coastal waters and I have been very critical of their actions in the past. However, after TXU tried to push additional coal power plants on the State of Texas the past few years, I now understand why citizens of Florida and California are so reluctant to allow oil companies to clutter up either beautiful coastline and possibly pollute the ocean with oil spills. While I don’t consider myself an environmentalist by any stretch of the imagination, I certainly have changed my views on oil and utility companies behaviors and I now believe these companies should be watched like hawks when they propose using old technologies to solve new energy needs.

Like most other political discussions, there are political extremists on both sides of the energy debate. Al Gore is on one side of this debate and people like Rush Limbaugh are on the other. Both extremes are wrong and regular people need to ignore public figures that give dire warnings about any type of energy production. As they should ignore people like Rush Limbaugh who have their heads in the sand to the point they will not even admit the existence of global warming as a scientific fact. Real solutions are always found in the middle of ideological debates and the middle will be where we eventual find solutions to future energy needs and global warming. The good news is that political extremist from the right and left have had their day, but their days of being able to con the American people with their extremism are numbered.

In the past year, even some large oil companies have finally admitted that global warming is real and now that the new TXU is admitting this too, in a round about way, the US will now start to move in the right direction. The biggest danger now is that the United States will move too fast and too far in the other direction and start listening to radical left wing groups that don’t believe in any product that burns fossil fuels. Hopefully, the political discussion and future solutions to energy problems will become a mainstream debate where moderation becomes the buzzword of the day. In this area the grass roots will lead reluctant politicians to the correct solution whether these political leaders want to go there or not.

Read more about New Technology:

Future Internet Problems
Money Changes Size
LCD or Plasma?
Evolution of Pirates
Movie Machine Problems

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

Monday, February 26, 2007

Making Right Food Choices - Fast Food Improving

As worldwide populations continues to live longer, most of us have decided that if we are going to be alive on this Earth for possibility several extra decades, we would like to live healthier lives. So millions of people sit down at their computer screens and search the Internet for healthier diets to extend not only their physical strength but their mental capacity as well. For hundreds of years, mankind has known that breakfast is the best meal of the day and modern day capitalism is catching up quickly with most international restaurant chains offering breakfast at their locations. Even the largest restaurant chain in the world, McDonalds, will soon offer their breakfast menu 24/7 in most of their locations.

Of course, McDonalds, being the largest restaurant chain in the world; they have suffered their fair share of food controversies. Over the years, food crazies have tried to force populations into eating healthier by forcing restaurants chains to prepare their foods in different ways by using healthier oils and the reduction of trans fats from their food preparation processes. There is no doubt that trans fats are a bad thing that should be removed from all food processing; it is just the way the (food police) have tried to mandate this change that makes me upset. Most people know the food process at McDonalds is not healthy for them, but they eat there anyway because they like the taste of the food.

Another area where I get angry at the, so-called, food police are in the public school systems. The extremists are trying to force children to eat healthier by removing soda and candy machines from school campuses. Yes, we should all care about what our children put in their bodies, but most Americans feel very uncomfortable when crazy left wing groups decide what is best for not only themselves, but for everyone else as well. I am a big believer in teaching people what is best and then letting them make their own choice as to what is the right course of action. Too many times, special interest groups and government get together and decide what is best for everyone else and then mandate change on a population that is sick of government interference.

In my own personal life I have decided to make some moderate changes that I hope will help my health not only today, but also in the years to come. One of these changes is to eat a handful of Walnuts every single day. After months of researching healthy foods on the Internet, I now believe that Walnuts could be nature’s perfect food. Not only does this nut have high fiber content while at the same time tasting great, but it is loaded with Omega 3 fatty acids that are proven to extend life and reduce the risk of some types of heart disease. For most of my life I have been a big red meat eater and for most of my life I have struggled to maintain a healthy body weight. My hope is that over the next few years I will be able to substitute Walnuts for most of the red meat I usually eat and hopefully my health and weight issue will return to normal.

While vitamin supplements are certainly no cure all for a human being, I personally don’t think there is any harm in take a multivitamin once per day as an insurance policy against not getting the RDA of what my body needs in the way of vitamins and/or minerals. If we baby boomers are going to live decades longer than our parents and grandparents, maybe we need to start figuring out ways early on to not only extend the time frame of our existence, but the quality of our lives as well?

Related: Omega 3 Walnuts, Friday Night Food, Diet Reflects Attitude, Healthy Meal Choices

Right Food Choices

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Divorce Never Simple But Survivable With Time

Search the term divorce on any major search engine and dozens of advertisements will appear promoting simple and inexpensive divorce options. While the mechanics of getting a divorce can be simple, there is nothing simple about the heartache that goes along with the breakup of a long-term marriage. Divorce is worse when there are young children that are still living at home during the breakup. Most of the time, children do not understand why mom and dad are breaking up and sometimes they think mistakenly that they are the cause of their parent’s divorce.

Without a doubt, the worst time to be going through a divorce is during the traditional holiday season from the middle of November through New Years Day. For most families, the holidays produce lifelong memories of happy times and family enjoyment. Add to the normal stress and sadness of a divorce the holiday season and there is a real possibility that some people will become depressed. When my first marriage broke up after seven years, the separation process started along with the holiday season. I remember how depressed I felt during that first holiday and I know others have also felt the same way.

There are times when a divorce is in the best interest of all parties involved. A few months ago I wrote about the pending breakup of Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown and my thinking that divorce was the right option for them. However, another high profile divorce involving Nick and Jessica did not seem as clear cut because the problems they were having seemed to be short term in nature, but the decision to get divorced was followed through on anyway. Sometimes young people make a snap decision to get a divorce when time and therapy, often times, would have solved their problem.

Of course one thing effects the length of a divorce proceeding more than anything else does and that is money. When two wealthy people decide to get a divorce, most of the time the final divorce ruling is delayed for months because of arguments over money and property. Possessions that took decades to accumulate are often times attached to various feelings that are brought to the surface during the breakup of a marriage. My guess is that if everyone were rich, most divorce proceedings would also take months to decide. However, since most divorces are poor, the act of getting a cheap divorce is something most people chose because debts are something that can’t be divided up in the same way as property or cash.

While the actual act of getting a legal divorce may be simple and inexpensive, there are real pains attached to a breakup. It makes no difference if a couple is rich or poor the pain is the same and nothing will heal a broken heart with the possible except of the passage of time.

Divorce Never Simple

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

Changes In Congress - Democrats And Liberal Extremist

Before congressional elections last November, the Republican controlled Senate and House of Representatives were, nothing more than a “rubber stamp” machine for President Bush. The American people solved that problem by giving the Democrats control of both Chambers of Congress and in the process changed the tone of relations between President Bush and congressional leaders. The United States works best under divided government. When either the Republicans or Democrats control both the Congress and the White House, government becomes too extreme. However, divided government leads to more moderate legislation and that is a good thing for most Americans.

Early last year as Republicans worked hard to maintain control of Congress they were filmed acting in a silly way that only caused more Americans to desire a change in leadership. One of the funniest things I saw on television last year was a picture of Republican leaders standing in front as a gas station, as prices were going through the roof, pledging investigations of big profits being earned by oil companies. What made this scene so silly was that most of these Republican leaders were given thousands of dollars worth of campaign contributions from these same oil companies they were pledging to investigate.

Some people become concerned when Congress does not work all the time passing legislation. However, I like a do nothing Congress because when these members are all getting along it usually leads to poor legislation and/or tax increases on the American people. Most Americans want to be left alone and not told by elected leaders how to live their lives. Too many times elected leaders make decisions on what is right for everyone solely based on their own political ideology and that usually ends badly because people do not want elected leaders trying to run their private lives.

A year before last November’s elections, it became clear that Republicans in the House and Senate were not listening to the American people and were drifting into their own world behind the leadership of President Bush. This listening problem happens when leadership at the White House or Congress remains in the same hands for too long. This is not a Republican problem, but issues of good people being forced to live around bad special interest groups that drag them down over time.

Right now the US Congress seems to be working well under the control of the Democrats. However, there will be problems down the road if Democrats are able to continue their leadership of the Congress for too long. Last year, I thought the Republican controlled Congress’ was finally finding its voice when the Bush administration wanted to sell US ports to the UAE. In the end, however, it turned out that Congress was only able to stand up to President Bush on that one issue and unable to investigate a President from their own party as public discontent over the Iraqi War dragged on.

Related: Republican Frustration, Right Wing Politics, Rudy Takes Lead, Church State Issues, Bush Fight Back

Changes In Congress

Mary Winkler Trial - Preachers Wife Faces Justice

One year ago, one of the biggest news stories involved a preachers wife, named Mary Winkler, who for some still unknown reason, shot her husband in the back. After a short-lived attempt to escape with her two young children, Ms. Winkler was arrested for the murder of her husband. In the weeks that followed, television and radio talk shows speculated about why this well loved young women took a shotgun from the closet and ended the life of her husband.

Over time, the story of why Mary Winkler shot her husband began to fade from public view and in a surprising move, Winkler was granted bailed pending her trial. In recent weeks, Mary Winkler has been spotted in some surprising locations including a nightclub where she was reported seen drinking and having a good time. Mary Winkler is either a sociopath or suffering from a mental breakdown. I do not understand why this mother of two is being allowed to walk the streets pending her trial when, in most cases of murder, defendants are remanded to custody pending their trial?

Scientist and mental health professional have debated and studied the issue of women killers for decades because the reasons why women commit murder are usually totally different than men and they occur much less often. At some future date, Mary Winkler will be put on trial for the murder of her husband and I have no doubt that her murder trial will be covered extensively by the national news media. There will always be interest in a trial revolving around religion and murder, when a young and innocent looking mother of two commits a crime that is not understood by most people.

While the modern world has created more opportunities for women to work and earn similar incomes to men, along with those opportunities comes stress. In the past, the place of the man as the breadwinner and the wife as mother and housekeeper were roles that almost everyone understood and subscribed to. While change is a good thing, it does cause a few people to break mentally and this is why, I believe some women will suffer mental breaks and become just as violent and deadly as some men.

In some cases, a changing world and modern day stresses have nothing to do with the reasons why women commit murder. The biggest case of domestic murder committed by a woman was in the Andrea Yates case in Houston, Texas. We all remember the horror of that day when Ms. Yates completely lost her mind and killed her four young sons by drowning them in the bathtub. One jury convicted Andrea Yates of murder and sentenced her to life in prison. However, after an appeals court overturned her conviction and granted her a new trial, a new jury gave her the correct sentence of not guilty by reason of insanity.

While modern day stress most likely did not drive Andrea Yates to commit murder, her weird and controlling husband, Rusty might have played a factor. Mr. Yates apparently saw the warning signs that Andrea was suffering from mental problems and he apparently did not follow through strongly enough, to keep her on medication and in mental health treatment before her mental breakdown. Of course, my opinions of Mr. Yates are based on news accounts of the Andrea Yates trial because I do not know this man personally. We all know how misleading the major news media can be at times, so I could be completely wrong about Mr. Yates actions when he was married to Andrea.

In the upcoming months, the name Mary Winkler will once again be on the front pages of newspapers around the country. I am interested in finding out the real reason why she shot her husband. Most likely the truth will not revolve around the constant speculation that was heard in the first few days after she was first arrested.

Read more about Criminal Behavior:

Simpson Getting Paid
Teachers With Guns
Sick Criminal Behavior
Day In Court
Rush To Judgment

Friday, February 23, 2007

Britney Spears Is One Messed Up Girl

Rather than laughing at the strange behavior of pop star Britney Spears, I have become concerned that she might go completely off the deep end if she doesn’t stay in rehab. When it was first announced several months ago that Spears was divorcing her husband Kevin Federline, I made several uninformed comments about his abilities as a father. With the aid of time and hindsight, those comments by me were totally wrong and I apologize.

In reality, it is Britney Spears herself that is suffering from mental problems and/or drug abuse, while Federline has left the public scene to take care of his two children. Yesterday, reporters spotted Spears heading back into a rehab facility she had just checked out of the day before; her mother accompanied her. Apparently, Federline has agreed to take care of the couples two small children until Spears can get her life back in order. To me, K-Fed appears to be the real adult in this messed up situation.

Everyone has seen Britney Spears actions either in other Hollywood personalities, suffering from mental or drug abuse issues or someone in their own family. Unfortunately, there are hundreds of people that make money from photographing the personal self-destruction of Britney Spears, so the best place for her to be, at this time, is hidden in a well-guarded rehab facility.

From singers like Keith Urban to famous radio talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh to actresses like Lindsay Lohan, the abuse of drugs and/or alcohol is a real problem in the entertainment industry. Reading between the lines, it now appears that Britney Spears mother does have her daughter’s best interest at heart because of the action she took to get Britney back in rehab. Spears mother is approaching this situation from a “tough love” point of view, which is difficult to do, but necessary if she wants to save Britney’s life.

People have enjoyed watching the rich and famous make a mess of their lives for decades. In the 1970’s, TV shows like “Dallas” became popular because they portrayed a rich and dysfunctional family environment. Watching the self-destruction of celebrities from the comfort of our own homes has become an obsession for some people, but at the heart of funny tabloid stories are real people with real problems. As I wrote the other day, there are good people in the entertainment business like Carrie Underwood. However, I believe Ms. Underwood is the exception and not the rule because of the temptations and money that surrounding the world of entertainment.

There has always been problems with drug and/or alcohol abuse in the Hollywood community and that will not change. The only real, long term, solution for Britney Spears is to stay in rehab long enough for her brain to rewire itself and to stay away from other out of control people like Paris Hilton. Rehab is sure to fail if the affected person does not change their behavior and the types of people they chose to associate with.
Messed Up Girl

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Rudy Giuliani Takes Lead In Nationwide Poll

In a poll released today, former New York City major, Rudy Giuliani took a commanding lead among all potential candidates in the race for President of the United States. Even with Giuliani’s liberal views on social issues, most Republicans like his approach to leading the United States in a post 911 world. To be honest, I would have preferred to see Rudy Giuliani run for the White House as an independent candidate because there will be some groups on the extreme right that will do anything in their power to keep him from getting the Republican nomination.

The American people spoke loud and clear last November when they turned both Chambers of Congress from Republican hands to the Democrats. The main reason this was done is because the American people lost faith in President Bush and his war policies in Iraq. The other main contender for the Republican nomination for President is Senator John McCain from Arizona. In 2000, Senator McCain tried to win the Republican nomination as a maverick politician fighting an establishment type of guy named George W. Bush. McCain failed in 2000, so he decided to change his approach entirely and try and run as the best friend of ultra conservative voters. This decision on the part of McCain drove most moderates away, while at the same time making conservative voters trust him even less.

While Rudy Giuliani does support the War in Iraq, his approach to world issues is different than John McCain. McCain decided months ago to lock himself to President Bush’s war decisions. Now that public support has gone south for President Bush, John McCain is being dragged down right along with the President. If Rudy Giuliani can win the nomination for President in a very conservative Republican Party he should be unbeatable in the general election. His most likely competition for the job of President of the United States is Hillary Clinton, but her campaign seems to be struggling against the unlikely candidacy of Bark Obama.

Polls conducted in February of 2007 will mean nothing come November of 2008. However, they do give all of us some insight into the thinking of the American people right now and the types of candidates they would like to see lead our country once President Bush’s term ends in early 2009. A decade ago, Rudy Giuliani would not have even been considered for the Republican nomination for President because he is a liberal and a man of questionable moral values. However, everything seems to have changed since September 11th, 2001 and the American people seem to be less narrow minded about moral failings than they were in previous elections.

I personally like the approach Rudy Giuliani takes when in comes to the protection of the United States from foreign enemies and his moderate to liberal stance on domestic issues is a plus in my opinion as well. I am so tired of all liberals being anti-war and pro abortion, while all conservatives are pro war and anti abortion. Extremist have been running the United States government for too long and there is a real chance that a President Giuliani could give a voice to the majority of Americans that are not driven by either ideological side on most important issues.

Rudy might be a great President of the United States and it is looking more likely every day that the American people might just give him that chance.

Related: Where Are Moderates?, Republican Frustration, Right Wing Politics, Changes In Congress, Church State Issues, Bush Fight Back

Rudy Takes Lead

Big Brother Controls - City Anti Smoking Laws

In cities both large and small, anti smoking laws are being passed right and left. Everyone with a brain should understand smoking is bad for a person’s health, but big brother and special interest groups have taken the simple act of smoking cigarettes and turned it into a national obsession. Several years ago, state governments across the US filed class action lawsuits against the tobacco industry in an effort to raise money for medical care those states were being forced to pay for uninsured smokers.

A strange byproduct of those court victories were small organizations that popped up everywhere with money in hand to produce and run some of the strangest anti smoking commercials on radio and television I had ever seen. While these states may have had a case against big tobacco companies on the merits, what happened in the upcoming years turned into more of a circus than a serious discussion of the reasons why a person should not smoke cigarettes.

Millions of people make a New Years resolution to stop smoking each year and millions of people fail because it takes determination to kick the nicotine habit. While it might sound like the perfect idea to give up smoking on the first day of the year, in reality making such a tough choice while drinking and partying with friends causes these slit second decisions to fail, most of the time. People that have successfully given up smoking for years will tell you that even after years of not smoking and an occasional urge will still attack their brain from time to time, so in reality a non smoking is only one cigarette away from getting hooked all over again.

Big brother is a hypocrite when it comes to the issue of smoking because without tobacco tax revenue most states would drift into bankruptcy. However, rather than be appreciative of the income the state receives from tobacco product in the form of taxes, big brother attacks smokers at every turn. Years ago cities decided to put a stop to smoking in government buildings, but they didn’t stop there. Eventually, they moved forward with laws to stop smoking in restaurants and hotel rooms and most recently some cities have passed laws that prevent smokers from even lighting up in the privacy of their own homes.

As a non-smoker I believe people that don’t smoke should stand up for the rights of those that do. Why? Because the next step in this crazy “big brother controlling our lives” story will revolve around food and the types of choices Americans make in their personal diet. The United States of American was founded on freedom of choice and in many areas of life, big brother, is trying to take that freedom away. If people that don’t smoke won’t stand up for people that do, it won’t be long before the government will attempt to control the behavior of others and when that happens no one will stand up for them, either.

I believe governments are naturally prone to take away the rights of people, so if citizens don’t push back when the government tries to control their life, all that is left is a huge government bureaucracy controlling all aspects of life. Older Americans remember a movie from decades ago about a government controlling its citizens. While we are years away from that becoming a reality, these types of big brother controls will occur if people don’t stand up for what is right and defend people they might not agree with on personal choice issues.

Related: Sin Tax Explosion, Hate Tax Increases, Smokers Over Taxed, For The Children

Big Brother Controls

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Hurricane Katrina Problems Linger In New Orleans

The very first entry I made in this blog was back in September of 2005 and that short and simple entry had to do with the growing problems facing the people of Louisiana and Mississippi in the days after Hurricane Katrina. Many good things have happened in New Orleans and on the Gulf Coast of Louisiana and Mississippi since that day, but terrible problems still remain and some devastated areas will most likely never be rebuilt.

Over the past year and a half, politicians from both major political party’s and Congressional delegations have visited Mississippi and Louisiana trying to get a handle on the worst natural disaster in US history. While most of these visits seemed to be from self-serving politicians right before last November’s congressional elections, some real work has been done. However, thousands of people are still displaced in cities around the United States and some folks still just want to go home.

There are no lack of jobs available for men and women that work in the construction business as thousands of homes and businesses are still in need of repair and restoration. I commented here many months ago about what a blessing this natural disaster, called Katrina, would be to a US economy that was going down hill because of layoff’s in the automobile industry. This good news does not help autoworkers, but it does help the overall job market that most politicians’ point to, to justify their successes in office.

Along the way to rebuilding New Orleans and other cities along the Gulf Coast there have been problems with government contractors that have taken advantage of a government that was quick to spend money trying and help out suffering people. A special place in hell should be reserved for these kinds of people that steal money from homeless Americans that are trying to rebuild their lives. In addition to the money that is being spent in New Orleans and Mississippi, the federal government should send extra money to state and local government that stepped up and took in these refugees without a moments hesitation when they found their neighbors completely wiped out by Hurricane Katrina.

As is the usual case, the national news media took the easy road when reporting the story of Hurricane Katrina. Most national television outlets descended on the largest city effected by this storm, New Orleans, and spent most of their time covering events in that one city. Thousands of other people in rural Louisiana and Mississippi were also suffering, but for weeks no one told their story. Now there is news out of Mississippi that State Farm Insurance is going to stop issuing homeowners policies in that state, which will further delay the rebuilding process.

In most ways the world has move on after Hurricane Katrina and most people don’t give a second though to the people that are still homeless and scattered around the country. I decide today would be as good of a time as any to remind my regular readers that thousands of people that suffered through Katrina are still suffering. It is a shame that the federal government and insurance companies have still not worked out a plan for who is going to pay for what in this devastated part of the United States.

Related: Mardi Gras Crowds, Saints Back Home, Separating Criminals, Hurricane Katrina

Katrina Problems Linger

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

Spare Tire Waistline - Food Police To The Rescue?

Sometimes I look down at my spare tire waistline and have memories of an earlier time in my life when it wasn’t there. I know millions of Americans do exactly the same thing because the weight loss industry earns billions of dollars every single year. I believe that most diets fail to work over the long run, but all of them are successful in the short term and that is what leads to many of the weight problems in the world today.

Special interest groups or as I refer to them, as the “food police”, seem to be everywhere these days. What really angers me is when these “know it all groups” decide to attack kids that are overweight with their extremist rhetoric. In addition to attacking children for being overweight, many of these groups take their message a step further and hint at bad parenting as a possible cause of obesity in children. I have learned to just ignore these kinds of groups and I wish the major news media would do the same thing. The real goal of food police organizations is to raise more money from government to further expand their control over what the American people eat.

If something old can be reborn into something new with profit potential, marketers in the United States will find a way to do it. In recent years, I have seen brochures from travel agencies promoting something called weight loss vacations to various exotic locations around the world. Call me old fashion, but when I take a vacation; losing weight is not the first thing on my list of priorities. However, thousands of people sign up for these weight loss vacations every year and as I am fond of saying, “to each his own”.

Just like the type of car a person picks to drive, the kind of diet they chose for weight loss also reveals their personality and attitudes about life. Some people decide that only their own weight loss ideas will work, so many of these people will go on restricted calorie diets in a, go it along, approach that can be successful in the short term. Other people decide to take a more group approach to weight loss and many of these types of people prefer a program that instructs them into exactly what food to put into their mouth each day and some allow them to be lectured by others into losing weight.

Some people wake up every year or so, look in the mirror and begin to panic at the amount of weight they have gained over time. Most of these weight panic attacks seem to happen around the end of each year after a couple of months of heavy holiday eating. Diet programs know that millions of people will suffer these weight loss panic attacks around New Years Day and they plan multimillion dollar advertising campaigns around this natural trend. My guess is that 99.9% of people that decide to lose weight by dieting on New Years Day will fail to lose weight over that calendar year.

While there is no current reliable medical science to validate my thoughts about this issue, here they are just for public debate. I believe modern day people are caught in a genetic loop from the past that will be fixed by nature over the next few generations. Only a few short decades ago, mankind was involved in very physical labor types of jobs. In recent years, most people have given up hard labor jobs in favor of easier labor working in front of a computer or in an office type of environment. I believe the genetic make up of modern man is still tilted toward the days of harder labor, which required more calories for daily duties. Over the next few generations, the natural evolution of mankind will automatically make changes to the genetic code and future children will desire less calories to reflect the fast changes that have been seen in more recent times.

Related: McDonalds Strip Search, Healthy Food Kills, Tipping In Restaruants, Friday Night Food

Spare Tire Waistline

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

TXU Expansion Plans - More Coal Burning Plants

One of the biggest issues to face the State of Texas recently is the fast track authority given to TXU by Governor Rick Perry to expand coal burning power plants throughout the state. Today, many city leaders and activist came here to Waco to talk about ideas to stop the building of these new plants in Texas and then to follow up later this week in official state hearings in Austin. Tonight’s meeting was held in Waco, Texas because McLennan County will be the site of four of these new power generating plants and Waco will face the biggest increase in Ozone killing pollution if these power plants are allowed to go online.

The news of these new coal powered electrical plants could not come at a worse time for TXU, the State of Texas’ largest electricity provider. In recent years, this electric utility has doubled the electrical bills of some consumers and most people I have talked with consider the idea of electricity competition that was implemented over the past few years in the state, a total failure for Texas consumers. Over the past few weeks I have listened carefully to the debate about this issue from both the environmental point of view and from TXU officials. Both sides make a very convincing argument, but so far I am coming down on the side of the environmentalist because I have a difficult time trusting the real intentions of TXU.

Almost all scientist now agree that global warming is a real problem and that most aspects of global warming are being created by the burning of fossil fuels by human beings. The fast track authority given to TXU by Governor Perry is an attempt to get these new coal power plants built and running before the Congress of the United States and a more environmental friendly President is elected in 2008. Over the next few years, leaders in Washington DC will be forced to deal with the mounting evidence that global warming is real and is caused by man. Once this happens the real issue will be how to get developing countries to go along with science instead of the monetary benefits of business as usual.

China has the fastest growing industrial economy in the world and in the past they have been unwilling to make changes to the way they do business. Another major country that has a growing industrial economy is the nation of India and they too are reluctant to make changes to help stop activity that is reducing the Ozone layer that protects mankind from huge amounts of radiation from space.

There is no doubt that globalizion is causing the expansion of global warming because the industrial plants that once were regulated when located within the borders of the United States are now being relocated to other nations that do not have environmental concerns as a high priority. Right now the political disconnect between science and government is still in effect, but opinions are changing fast and global warming deniers are starting to fade away into a small group of extremist that wouldn’t know the truth if it hit them square in the face. When I heard on the television news tonight that Waco, Texas had one of the highest Ozone ratings in the world last month, my thinking about what TXU and Governor Perry are planning might not be in the best interest of our community.
TXU Expansion Plans

National Travel Woes - Jet Blue Airline Flight Problems

The past week, much loved and appreciated Jet Blue Airlines ran into a rough time with their customers when bad winter weather caused many of their flights to be canceled. To make matters worse, some Jet Blue passengers were stuck inside grounded airplanes for over twelve hours while at the same time being able to see empty departure gates right outside their windows. While most people expect bad service from public airlines, Jet Blue and Southwest Airlines are usually the exception to that rule.

Airline companies and passengers have seen a sharp decrease in the amount of money paid for seats on airlines since the industry was deregulated several decades ago. However, along with lower ticket prices have come a mark decrease in customer service by most major carriers and the idea of departing many major airports on-time is nothing more than a pipe dream in many large metropolitan areas.

The best flight I was ever privileged to take was on Delta several years ago. That flight was between DFW and Reno, Nevada. We had to rent a car in Reno to finish our vacation to the Lake Tahoe area on the Nevada side of the border. This Delta flight was filled with helpful and courteous employees both on the ground, at the airport, and on the plane during our trip. The thing I remember most about traveling on Delta Airlines was that they allow us to receive free earphones and watch reruns of “Frasier” on the flight both to Reno and on our return flight back to DFW.

When most people purchase a ticket on a major airline their first thought usually revolves around the time the flight leaves the airport and when it arrives on the other end. However, in the back of most passenger’s minds are the safety aspects of the plane and the experience level of the pilots that will literally have the lives of everyone on board in their hands during the flight. While most people never outwardly speak of safety issues, ever since 911 only a fool would board a major airliner without having safety as a consideration in their travel planing.

Just like the price of gas has effected the travel plans of people in their cars. Increasing jet fuel prices have caused the major US airlines to readjust their fairs on a regular basis depending on how much it costs to get these huge planes in the air. On major highways there is overcrowding, reckless drivers and ongoing construction work making travel a nightmare in many parts of the US and those problems are worse on major Interstate Highways like I-35. Interstate 35 runs through the middle of Texas between the DFW, Austin and San Antonio areas and this major Interstate Highway is also overcrowded most of the time because of large truck traffic from Mexico.

I believe Jet Blue will be able to recover customer confidence with their new “customer bill of rights” and most likely now other major air carrier will be force to also address the concerns of their customers with their own bill of rights. While I don’t fly as much as I use to, I do travel major highways like I-35 on a regular basis. There are no real solutions to the growing problems associated with travel and the best thing anyone can do whether they are flying between cities or driving a major interstate highway is to leave as early as possible and expect long delays.

Read more about Travel Problems:

Late Night Drunks
Labor Day Deaths
Slow Air Travel
Traveling With Pets
Vacation Travel Costs

Monday, February 19, 2007

Many Events Effect The Gas Pump Price

It hasn’t been that long since all US citizens were paying almost three dollars per gallon for gasoline with dire predictions of five dollars per gallon prices in the very near future. However, as election time drew closer for control of Congress last November, the price for a gallon of gas dropped steadily to lower two dollars per gallon in many areas of the country. The past couple of weeks I have noticed that the price of gas here in the Waco Texas area has been on the rise once again, but thankfully not at as past of a pace as was seen a year ago.

As the average price for a gallon of gas has risen over the past couple of years, the quarterly and annual profits of the major oil companies in the United States have gone into the stratosphere. While it is true that oil and natural gas companies do spend billions of dollars on research and development for future years, it is difficult for most consumers to understand this fact when they are being charged, sometimes, three dollars for a gallon of gas. High gas prices have destroyed the image of many large oil companies and a Congress control by Democrats will be looking to increase taxes on big oil at some future day.

At all convenience stores here in Central Texas, either pre payment or purchasing with a credit or debit card at the pump has become mandatory. As gas price rose last year, the theft of this product began to increase at the same time. A friend of mine that works at a convenience store told me that there “drive off” rates had skyrocketed along with the ever-increasing price of gasoline last year. While most of this crime was caused by regular criminal types some people would have never thought about stealing gas until the price reached levels that they could not afford the gas to travel to and from their place of employment.

When I was a young boy back in the early 1970’s there was a similar gas crisis, but back then there was still enough competition from gas station owners to often times have "gas wars". Back then gas station owners knew that along with customers for gas also came people that would utilize other services they had to offer like tire rotations, oil changes and battery purchases. However, today the “mom and pop” gas station has become a thing of the past in most cities. Most consumers purchase their gas at convenience stores today and these locations are much less likely to compete to get customers by reducing the price of a gallon of gas.

The only real and long term solution to raising oil and gas prices is for the federal government and business to invest the billions of dollars that will be necessary to develop alternative energy sources to petroleum products. The world is a very unstable place and major energy user like the United States could in future years be held to blackmail if we don’t spend the money necessary to find and use alternative fuel sources. Willie Nelson and others have been promoting and working on alternative energy sources called Bio-Diesel and the use of Ethanol energy is gaining traction too in many parts of the world.

To date, the fear of $100 per barrel oil prices has not been surpassed, but it can and will happen. As India and China continue to grow their economies and already industrialized nations like the UK, Australia, and the US continue to expand, the need for energy will increase along with industrialization. My guess is that within the next twenty years if real and proven alternatives to fossil fuels are not found the world is not going to be a pleasant place to live, anymore.

Gas Pump Price

Here Are My 2006 Movie Favorites

Last year my wife and I saw more movies than we have seen in several years. Of course, we also do not desire to pay more than we have to when visiting the theater so we saw most of these movies at our local dollar theater. Since next weekend the Oscars will be the biggest news of the day I decided now might be a good time to talk about some of the really good movies we saw in 2006 along with a few real duds.

One of the good movies we watched last year was called “Devil Wears Prada”. This movie enabled Meryl Streep to prove to anyone that still had doubts about her acting ability as the years have gone by, that she still has the right stuff. In my opinion, Ms. Streep had the best performance of her life in this movie and she did a great job of making a nice looking woman appear mean and nasty in a very believable way. Another good movie in 2006 was called RV starting Robin Williams. Both Devil Wears Prada and RV were comedies and both made us laugh in different types of ways. However, when my wife and I watch movies we prefer lighthearted entertainment over complicated story lines that take hours to figure out.

Two other good movies we saw in 2006 included Nicholas Cage in “World Trade Center” and a movie called 8 Below. When I first heard about the Oliver Stone movie about the events of 911 from the experiences of two police officers that were trapped in all the rubble and eventually rescued in the most unusual way imaginable, I didn’t think I was ready for that type of drama. However, after the movie concluded, I understood that Oliver Stone had created a masterpiece on film that will be remember among his greatest works. 8 Below is a movie about a rescue worker near the South Pole that owned dogs that helped him in his work. One day as a terrible winter storm was moving into his area, everyone was forced to evacuate for the winter and this trainer was forced to abandon his dogs for months. This is a heart-warming story and people of any age will enjoy the story line of this simple but very effective movie. We also enjoyed the Adam Sandler movie called, “Click”, Sandra Bullock in “The Lake House” and of course the cult classic of 2006, “Snakes on a Plane”.

Now for the bad movies of 2006 and the sad news is that the terrible movies are easier to remember. Leading the bad movies of 2006 list includes “Poseidon” which I believe to be one of the worst remakes of a movie classic in the history of movies. “The Sentinel” staring Michael Douglas as a Secret Service Agent in charge of protecting the “First Lady” of the United States and “Superman” staring Hollywood newcomer Brandon Routh. As an older person who grew up with an image of Superman as Christopher Reeve, Routh’s performance was so unbelievable to me that I will never attend another Superman movie no matter how much hype is put into the promotion of that movie. I’m sure Brandon Routh is a great actor, but he was totally wrong for this role.

With the exception of “Devil Wears Prada” I don’t believe any of the movies I consider to be the best and worst of 2006 are nominated for an Academy Award, but few movies my wife and I enjoy watching are ever nominated for awards. Hollywood has a completely different viewpoint when it comes to movie quality than do the people that watch and rent their works throughout the country.

Related: Hollywood Tabloid Style, Narcissism Hollywood Style

2006 Movie Favorites

I Am Ready For Spring - How About You?

This has been one strange winter here in Texas and around the country. Some days are cold while others are beautiful. Sometimes we experience huge temperature swings even within the same day. This past week, the weather here in Waco has been cold and very windy and in some ways it reminds me of my youth while growing up in the Texas panhandle. I am so looking forward to spring when the grass and trees start to green up and short sleeve shirts, once again, become the clothing choice of the day.

The northeastern part of the United State has been blanketed now for months in above average snowfall. The past few days have produced a small improvement in the weather reports from major US cities like New York, but thousands of travelers are still stranded because of huge amounts of snow accumulation over the past two weeks. The funniest news headline I have seen in years was published on the Drudge Report about ten days ago that said “Congressional Hearing About Global Warming Canceled Because Of Snow”.

Almost every other week in January and February, here in Central Texas, we have experience sudden but short-lived accumulations of ice. In my opinion, when ice forms on my car it is the worst possible thing to wake up to in the morning. The last big ice storm we had was on “Martin Luther King Day” when I woke up to find almost two inches of ice covering my automobile. Luckily, I had some warning from local weather reports on the ten o’clock news the night before, so I purchased an icescraper and had my one gallon jug of warm water ready to go the next morning before work.

While eating at a fast food restaurant the other day, a girl working there told me she was from Denver, but she was living in Waco while attending Baylor University. I mentioned to her the stories I had been reading about the huge snow accumulations in her hometown and mentioned in passing the fact that snow skiing resorts must love this type of winter weather. Surprisingly she told me that most of the large amounts of snow that have fallen in Colorado have fallen in the Denver metro area while smaller amounts of snow have fallen in the mountains. That is strange, indeed.

Even in the US Heartland there has been very cold weather this winter with some parts of Missouri being covered in ice for weeks and residents in some rural areas losing electrical power for up to a month. When I consider an ice storm that is so bad it causes people to lose electricity for up to a month, it causes me to be thankful that my family didn’t suffer a similar fate here in Texas. In this modern day and age it is difficult for me to imagine homes being without electrical power for more than thirty days, but somehow folks in Missouri and other parts of the Heartland have found a way to manage.

We are only a few short weeks away from spring and these cold winter days will soon become distant memories. However, with this winters strange weather pattern, spring, summer and fall should be interesting to watch. My hope is that once tornado and hurricane season arrive in 2007, there will once again be good news to report when it comes to the damage and injuries that are often associated with that kind of weather.

Related: Weird Weather Changes, Deadly Spring Storms, What Hurricane Season?, Texas Spring Flooding

Ready For Spring

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Future Internet Problems Faced By Major Search Engines

My guess is that tens of millions of new pages of Internet content are being added to the World Wide Web every single day, not to mention millions more pages that are removed on a daily basis. In recent years, major search engine Google has done a really good job at finding new pages of unique content and adding that content to their search engine while at the same time removing deleted web pages from their search engine.

I wonder what the future has to hold for Google and the rest of us that depend on a quality search engine to help us find exactly what we are looking for when we fire up our home computers? Yes, the speed of Internet technology is growing at a fast pace, but the sheer volume of new and quality Internet content, I believe, is growing even faster.

The consumer is also becoming more familiar with Internet technology and as more people become more computer savvy they will demand more from major search engines like Google, Yahoo and Live in real time quality Internet search results. Will the smart people in Silicon Valley be able to increase their technology at a fast enough pace to keep up with consumer demand? In my opinion they will be able to keep pace, but there will be some major bumps along the road to success.

The biggest hurdle will be the increasing numbers of people that will be smart enough to game the search engine results through tricks instead of quality content. This has been a problem ever since “Webcrawler” started indexing web content more than a decade ago. I believe that most successful businesses are just one step ahead of the shady business types that are more interest in quick riches than in long term success.

The Internet search business was at a point, before Google arrived on the scene, of completely losing control of search results to spammers and other shady characters. However, Google was quick to find a new algorithm that stopped spamming in its tracks and allowed the Internet to continue to grow. My thinking is that no one company will be able to keep up with the ever growing original web content and the fraud, that goes along with it, on the Internet by themselves. To me, the Internet is like a large water pipe and as the volume of water continues to grow each day, for the most part, that water pipe remains the same size.

IBM announced last week that they and another company have created new technology that could cause current computer chips to become obsolete within the next year. These new computer chips will be over twice as fast as current chips and be smaller in size. With faster chips and new breakthroughs in hard drive technology, major companies like Google might be able to continue to scan and index the Internet in a timely way.

From initial reports, Microsoft Vista is working well for most people and this new operating system platform will be important in continuing to grow the ability of Google and others to keep up with changes on the Internet. If anyone desires to spot a new tread early all they need to do is follow teenagers. Right now teenagers are completely excited about products like uTube and Myspace types of communities. Google along with other major companies have invested in these new types of future companies hoping to learn what the next big trend will be.

In addition to youth communities, Google is attempting to move into old media strong holds like newspaper advertising and radio commercials. While I have no inside information into what Google and others plan to do with these new ventures, my guess is that when most people think of Google they think of something new and not something old. This conventional image problem could spell trouble for Google as newspaper readership and radio listener’s drop because of new types of technology.
Future Internet Problems

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Holiday TV Marathons - Favorites Are 'Cops' And 'Star Trek'

Millions of people will not be required to show up for work tomorrow because of the Presidents Day holiday. It is always nice to receive a day off, but unfortunately millions of other people will not get the day off tomorrow. One huge tradition that started several years ago on cable television is the advent of television marathon shows. My wife enjoys watching “Law and Order” marathons on “Bravo”. While I do enjoy watching the original Law and Order show, an entire weekend of that same program is a little too much for me to take.

On the other hand, my favorite marathon shows occur on “Spike TV” when they decide to run “Star Trek The Next Generation” shows back to back for three full days. I believe someone smart in the TV programming business came up with this idea of running a single television program constantly over a long holiday weekend. Even though no one really sits down in front of their television set to watch 72 hours straight of the same TV program, I’ll bet many people spend a great deal of their time on these long weekends catching up on their favorite television program.

Another TV marathon program I enjoy watching is the old-time Fox Television classic of “Cops”. For years my wife and I have enjoyed watching “Cops” on Fox Television every Saturday night and when one of the cable networks decides to have a weekend marathon of this popular program we are sure to be there watching. We especially enjoy watching the older episodes that have not been broadcast in years.

Maybe at some future date, “TV Land” will decide to run marathons of “The Andy Griffith Show”. As a young boy I watched this program every single week it was on television. Don Knotts was my favorite actor on The Andy Griffith Show and I also enjoyed watching Don on the big screen in classic black and white movies like “The Ghost and Mr. Chicken”. I guess people start to understands that they are getting old when TV Land becomes their favorite television channel.

In future years I would like to see one of the major cable television networks run a weekend marathon of “The West Wing” starting the late John Spencer as the president’s chief of staff. The West Wing was one of the best-produced television shows in years. While I never agreed with the politics of that show, the acting and writing were fantastic. When John Spencer passed away around a year ago I remember feeling very sad at that news because he always played his roles in such a believable way. In future years I can see the “History Channel” running a marathon of The West Wing, but any of the regular cable channels would suit me just fine.

President’s Day is not a holiday for me, but I am lucky because a regular eight hour work day has been reduced to only four hours and that is much appreciated news. No matter what your preferences might be when it comes to cable TV marathons, I hope you are finding something interesting to watch this holiday weekend.
Holiday TV Marathons

Presidential Horse Race - Hillary Clinton/Rudy Giuliani

I enjoy listening to political debate as much as the next person, but in recent times the various campaigns for President of the United States have been getting started earlier every single time. The Presidential campaign of 2008 is continuing that early start tradition with more than a dozen different candidates already announcing their intention to run for the office of President of the United States. According to most pundits, the general election race in November of 2008 will be a match up between Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani. For once I tend to agree with the pundits and a presidential race between these two, larger than life, candidates would be an enjoyable experience for me.

Other possible contenders will try and convince the American people that they have what it takes to lead the US in the right direction. Among those candidates will be Barak Obama and John McCain, but I believe both of these men are second tier players right now because of different reason. Obama is going to have a difficult time getting the Democratic nomination because he is too liberal even for most hard-core liberal Democrats. John McCain will have problems because he will be seen as a less than sincere candidate on conservative issues because of his “flip flop” on these issues after he decided to seek the presidency once again in 2008.

What I like best about a Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani race for the White House will be that no matter which candidate ultimately prevails and becomes the President of the United States, the country will not be lead by an extremist. Extreme ideology has caused major problems for the US over the past few decades as liberals and conservatives have turned the well being of the United States into a blame game where all bad things that happen to the country are the other party’s fault.

Real results and effective government are only found in the middle ground of political debate. It is understandable why many people decide to chose up side and blame all the worlds problems on someone else, but this attitude does not solve problems. In order to solve a problem, ideas from all side must be debated and a real compromise must be reached before good public policy can be found. In recent years, both liberals and conservatives have looked upon the word compromise as a bad word.

I believe that both Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani will lead the United States from a politically centrist point of view and that leadership will be good for the vast majority of Americans that consider themselves moderates. In many ways, President George W. Bush has caused the destruction of the conservative movement in the US and he will be remembered for that in the years to come. Until President Bush and Republican leaders in Congress decided that the government should intervene with Terri Schiavo, I also considered myself a conservative.

The United States of America has found a way to correct mistake over the years and I believe our country will do the same thing again when election day finally arrives in 2008. With the possibility of two moderate candidates seeking the office of President of the United States, the American people will be the winners to matter which candidate ultimately is elected President.

Related: Where Are Moderates?, Hillary Then Obama, Rudy Takes Lead, Bill Backs Hillary, 2008 Presidential Race, Negative Political Talk

Presidential Horse Race

Chrysler Pink Slips - Layoff Prospects Increase

It was bound to happen that UAW workers at Chrysler would face the same layoff prospects as their brothers and sisters at GM and Ford. Last week there was news that 13,000 Chrysler employees will be laid off in the upcoming weeks and to make matters worse this news was given to Chrysler workers on Valentines Day. Now tens of thousands of additional families will be faced with the prospect of either early retirement or polishing up their resumes and hitting the streets in search of new employment.

The very idea of change is difficult at any age, but for people that have worked for one employer for decades it can be life changing. The world has changed so much in the past ten to twenty years that some people will find it impossible to change careers because their learning curve has fallen too far behind. Most people use computers, at home, in their everyday life. However, there is a huge difference in the home use of a PC and older workers finding a new job and being expected to work quickly in an office environment.

I feel badly for these 13,000 families at Chrysler, in the same way I felt bad when the same thing happened at General Motors and Ford. I believe Ford Motor Company has made enough positive changes in their business plan to eventually get back to profitability, but as of yet I am more uncertain about the prospect of GM. There was a rumor late last week that GM might try to purchase Chrysler. I doubt that idea has much merit because GM is still trying to save itself from bankruptcy.

People around the world are facing more new challenges and choices today than ever before when it comes to their careers. The world is changing fast and old careers that provided the foundation and backbone for communities across the country are now fading away never to return. Many years ago when steelworkers were losing their jobs right and left because of cheap imports, I didn’t pay that close of attention to their plight. However, I now know that my indifference to the suffering of those families was wrong and I am not going to make that same mistake twice.

Almost every expert says that a worldwide economy will eventually be a good thing for the United States. While this might be true, there will be tremendous pain in the process and some people will get left completely behind and fade away from public view. I still have hope that Detroit’s big three will find a way to survive, but most certainly their salvation will come with a huge price of lost jobs and destroyed families in the process.

Related: Toyota Leads GM, Ford Motor Troubles, Big Three Down, Trouble In Motor City

Chrysler Pink Slips

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Mardi Gras Crowds Strong After Hurricane Katrina

A couple of years after Hurricane Katrina turned the City of New Orleans into modern day swampland, the crowds have return to this battered city in droves to celebrate the 2007 addition of Mardi Gras. Along with thousands of hard-core party animals comes millions of much needed dollars to help the rebuilding effort. While I have never attended Mardi Gras, I know many people that have attended this annual party and most of them report a positive experience once their hangovers pass.

Most likely Mardi Gras will continue to grow in future years as young and old people a like head back to New Orleans during this festival. Even in the best of human nature there is a need to express a few bad deeds and that is what I believe Mardi Gras represents. From college students to well educated professionals, people head to New Orleans to let their hair down and act a little bit bad once per year.

The disrupted lives of thousands of residents of New Orleans are still up in the air even today because of slow action on the part of the federal government and insurance companies. For a long time I thought this slow reaction time, on the part of government, was designed to encourage the population of New Orleans to start new lives in other cities that are above sea level. However, now I believe the delay is the responsibility of politicians spending New Orleans reconstruction money on other pet projects.

The biggest problem with relocation of so many people is that criminals are relocated along with hard working, law-abiding citizens. Many major cities like Houston have been forced to hire additional police officers because with the addition of people being relocated from New Orleans, the crime rate in Houston has also increased. In hindsight I believe I was incorrect in my previous observations about the wisdom of not rebuilding the City of New Orleans after Category 5 Hurricane Katrina.

I will most likely never attend Mardi Gras because I try and let down my guard down on a regular basis right her at home. However, I do enjoy watching television programs about this annual celebration. Just like watching a train wreck, there is something magical in watching normally well adjusted people going a little bit crazy during Mardi Gras festivities.

Related: Katrina Problems Linger, Saints Back Home, Separating Criminals, Hurricane Katrina

Mardi Gras Crowds

Carrie Underwood Is A Well Balanced Girl

I previously have written about the moral and social problems of young girls in the entertainment business. However, today I would like to write about a young woman that, to date, has been able to keep her feet planted squarely on the ground even though she has become very rich and famous in a short period of time. That girl’s name is Carrie Underwood. Ms. Underwood won the nationwide American Idol competition a few years ago with glowing approval from the judges on that show and millions of viewers that called in week after week to vote for Carrie because of her tremendous talent.

When the Grammy Awards were held a few weeks ago, Carrie Underwood won an award and in her acceptance speech she was gracious to everyone that had helped her career including American Idol. Criticism goes along with success and in recent years, American Idol has received its fair share of condemnation and praise. From what I have read, the entire American Idol competition is very tough and grueling. Most contestants don’t win so the real test of personal character is seen in the losers and how they react to rejection.

After weeks of watching the self-destruction of young women like Anna Nicole Smith and Britney Spears the past few weeks, it is nice to see an exception to that rule. Carrie Underwood is the type of young woman that any parent would love to call their own. She is beautiful, well-spoken and humble even in the face of quick and tremendous success in the music business.

Compare the attitude and moral choices of Carrie Underwood with that of Keith Urban and old-timer George Jones and the popular saying that all young people are bad these days does not hold water. There are some good young women in this world and Ms. Underwood is one of the best. She not only does a great job at singing and entertaining people; she is a positive role model for other young women that desire success without compromising their personal moral principles.

In the news business there is a saying that goes like this: “if it bleeds it leads” and that old saying is truer today than ever before. However, there is a need for good young people to succeed so a role model of their life may be followed by others that are still trying to find themselves. Carrie Underwood is the best young role model I have seen in years and I hope that Hollywood and Nashville don’t destroy her because a clean cut image of success is badly needed in this messed up world.

Read more about Carrie Underwood:

Bright Teams With Carrie Underwood On CD
Carrie Underwood - Good Looks And Talent
Romo Carrie Friendship
Underwood Rocks Idol
Amazing Young Talent
Underwood Mass Appeal

Does Britney Spears Have Mental Problems?

New pictures have emerged on the Internet of Britney Spears sporting a new hair design or should I say NO hair at all? Rumor has it that Ms. Spears checked into a rehab facility a few days ago and checked herself out of that same facility only 24 hours later. Then within the next day she decided to get a new tattoo and shave her head completely bald. Could Britney Spears be suffering a complete mental breakdown? I don’t believe anyone should doubt that possibility after watching the young and beautiful Anna Nicole Smith die, recently.

Fame, fortune and youth do not go well together in Hollywood California and hardly a week goes by that the world is not informed by some tabloid that another young and beautiful girl has been checked into a rehab facility for either an alcohol or drug problem or both. Too much money and too much attention at a young age is not a good formula for life, but that is exactly what young successful girls receive when they are attracted like bee’s to honey in the magical world of Hollywood.

Everyday is a new learning experience of all of us that try and find the best way to live by making the right choices. In a place where the wrong choices are rewarded while the right ones are ignored must be tough even on older people. However, when a young girl under the age of 30 finds herself surrounded by unlimited temptations before her brain has had a chance to mature must be almost impossible.

The Internet will be filled with terrible stories about Britney Spears the next few weeks as more and more people learn about how she shaved her head after only spending one day in a rehab hospital. Rather than criticize Britney, I will be praying that somehow and some way she will see that she does need either drug or mental treatment and I will also pray that she receives that help before she slides further toward the point of no return.

Read more about Britney Spears:

Britney Spears Tell All Interview Talk
Britney Spears Should Focus On Her Kids
Britney Self Destruction
Britney Federline Kids
Spears Letterman Show
Britney Spears Baby

Monday, February 12, 2007

Day For Love - Valentines Day Brings Lots Of Smiles

On Wednesday, millions of people will express their feelings of love by buying gifts of chocolate, roses or in some cases diamond rings. Of course, I am talking about Valentines Day, which comes around every year whether we like it, or not. Someone at my office was joking the other day about Valentines Day when they said that the whole idea of having a day that is designed to express love was created by Hallmark cards. I don’t know if that is true or not, but the way this man expressed his opinion did cause me to laugh.

I don’t see anything wrong with a day designed for expressions of love. Yes, women enjoy Valentines Day more than men and maybe that is the way it is suppose to be. Most years I pick the roses over diamonds and chocolate which suits my wife just fine. She loves chocolate, but as the years have gone by it has become more difficult to keep her weight down, so why buy something that will be enjoyed today and worried about tomorrow? Most women love diamonds, but some of us guys find our bank accounts a little bit low this time of year for such an expression of love.

All week long I have noticed a marked increase in the number of television commercials for jewelry stores in my area. Valentines Day could very well be the biggest holiday each year for jewelry stores and now with the advent of quick and easy credit, many folks will decide to make a major purchase without the need to shell over thousands of dollars of cash at the time of purchase. In the past and probable today as well, the entire diamond business is not a business at all because one small group of people controls the world market price. While this is good news for them, this group has caused everyone else to pay artificially high prices for the worlds hardest substance and most cherished gift.

I personally enjoy receiving gifts that are more practical like a new wallet or wristwatch. Most men do not enjoy receiving flowers or boxes of chocolate, so in reality women will need to spend more time thinking about what they are going to give for Valentines Day than men. This is good news for men because most of us don’t like shopping in the first place and if the entire gift giving experience is made to difficult we will mess it up every single time. To the regular readers here, I wish each of you a Happy Valentines Day and may your expressions of love be well received by the person you love most on this Earth.
Day For Love

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

Anna’s Tragic Life - Smith Dies In Florida Hotel Room

As I was performing my daily duties last week, I heard a report on the radio that Anna Nicole Smith had collapsed, been rushed to a hospital and then died. Whether my thoughts about her death are correct or not will be proven right or wrong over time, but one fact will not change and that fact is that Anna Nicole Smith lead a very unconventional life during her 39 years on this Earth. Even though I never personally knew Anna Nicole, she did live in Mexia, Texas in her younger years, which is only forty miles away from my hometown of Waco.

From listening to the coverage of Anna Nicole’s death first on the radio and then later on television I compared, in my mind, the coverage of this event to the death of a sitting President. In some ways the major news media and not just the tabloids went out of their way to offer up live news coverage of Anna Nicole’s death in a fast paced and non-stop manner. While the news coverage I listened to on the radio was based more around the facts, the cable television coverage was already turning into pure speculation within a matter of hours after her death.

On Friday a Florida Coroner announced that the results of his autopsy did not show any signs of foul play, but a complete picture of what caused Anna Nicole’s death will not be known until toxicology results are finalized in about one month. At this early date it does seem logical that Anna’s death will have something to do with drug abuse and/or suicide, but I am old enough to know that many times evidence will prove conventional wisdom completely wrong. It is sad when any person this young dies in such a sudden and unexpected way.

In Anna Nicole’s short 39 years of life she seemed to go through her daily activities free from any kind of boundaries. This type of lifestyle is fantasized about in the hearts of many people, but the reality of consequences discourages most people from living in such a caviler manner. While millions of people see their own life as boring and unimportant, in comparison to the many problems and early death of Anna Nicole Smith their lives now may have new importance and meaning. In my opinion Anna Nicole Smith was only acting the part of a happy human being. Down deep inside her heart was certainly troubled with problems that were created by her own hand because she made a choice to live a life free from reasonable boundaries.
Anna’s Tragic Life

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Modern Hollywood - Alcohol And Entertainment Connection

Country Music Singer Keith Urban has been out of rehab now for several weeks and hopefully he will be able to live a clean and sober life from now on. Urban is just one of the more recent members of country music to be forced into rehab because of a drug and/or alcohol problem. In the old days, a problem with alcohol was usually covered up and if illegal drug use was a problem, nothing was ever said about it because of the conservative religious beliefs of many country music fans.

In the 1970’s it was well known that country music legend George Jones had a sever problem with alcohol abuse, but he was on a short list of performers that were thought to have a problem. In the really old days, Hank Williams and his son Hank Williams Jr. had problems with alcohol, but their problems only effected their personal lives and not their professional singing careers. Living a clean and sober life is more important in the country music world than other forms of music because the country music fan base is very conservative. However, as millions of new and younger fans are born each year, the taboo of having an alcohol or drug problem isn’t a career killer like it once was.

I have written often about the rich and famous having problems with drugs. After reflection I do believe these types of problems are worse in the entertainment business than in regular life for one simple fact. That fact is that rich and famous folks are better able to afford drugs and alcohol. Most likely millions of additional people around the world would also fall victim to drug abuse if the money to purchase their drug of choice was not an issue. It is common knowledge that Lindsay Lohan has been in and out of rehab several times and her running buddy, Britney Spears will most likely follow soon after her bitter divorce from K-Fed is finally settled.

There is another side issue to all of these drug problems in the entertainment business and that issue is a lack of morals in the industry. Maybe because of the creative nature of music and entertainment, old fashion moral values seem to be non-existent in the entertainment world. As an old fashion kind of guy I believe that people should do the right thing because it is the right thing to do. In so many areas of entertainment the right thing is judge to be whatever will bring in the most cash. There are good and decent people in the entertainment world, but with tabloid television and magazines everywhere that only wish to reward bad behavior, those few that are living a sober and moral life are not written about very often.
Alcohol And Entertainment