Monday, June 30, 2008

The Presidential Campaign: Hyperbole and Invective

At a time when the nation faces an energy crisis, a housing crisis, and the strong possibility of the economy slipping into recession, America needs a political dialogue from the presidential candidates that focuses on these issues and how they plan to solve them. Unfortunately what we get from most of the media is a never-ending flow of hyperbole and invective. Anytime either candidate says anything that can be taken out of context it is immediately done, so that the media has an eye or ear catching headline to attract its audience. When Senator McCain says something that can be interpreted as him misunderstanding what's going on, the "age issue" is frequently brought up. Republicans shout that "Obama is the most liberal person ever to run for the presidency." The implication being he will turn us into a quai-socialist state. News: we are one already. Obama is accused of having a plan for Iraq that will lead to a disastrous defeat for this nation and catastrophe for the Middle East. If Obama is elected, there will be US bases in Iraq for some time to come. None of this addresses the key issues that we need to hear about.

In an article in the Chicago Tribune, Mark Silva was stated the following:

“It's probably time to stipulate that John McCain and Barack Obama are good
Americans. It may also be time to acknowledge that McCain is not "confusing
the basic facts and reality'' in Iraq, as Obama's chief foreign policy adviser
has suggested, and that Obama is not "wedded to defeat'' in Iraq, as McCain's
chief foreign policy adviser has suggested. And McCain's campaign may be a lot
of things, but it's hard to believe, as Democratic National Committee Chairman
Howard Dean said on cable news TV this week, that it's "sleazy.''

Yet, in the over-the-top environment of an over-heated presidential campaign, still in the early stages of a five-month marathon, hyperbole is the stuff of headlines.
And misconceptions run so deep, and are so readily misconstrued by
opponents and sheer mischief-makers, that now the Obama campaign has launched a rumor-control Web-site which finds itself addressing the rumors that the
on-again, off-again, flag-pin wearing senator from Illinois refuses to say the
Pledge of Allegiance. See Obama pledge - from that day in June 2007 when he
presided over the Senate. “

Silva goes on to address what I believe is one of the major roots of the problem “All this is worth remembering as the surrogates of the presidential campaign step forward to say things that the candidates themselves are loath to say - and there is a reason they let other people do this sort of talking for them.”

Between the media's thirst for sensational headlines and the presidential surrogates misquoting, misstating, and generally twisting the opponent's words into a political pretzel, we end up with a lot of words with little useful meaning. All too often political campaigns end up being to quote Shakespeare "full of sound and fury; signifying nothing."

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Senator McCain Doesn't Know the Price of Gas

According to the Huffington post and several other sources a reporter from the Orange County register asked Senator McCain what was the price of gas. The senator replied that he didn't know and it was some time since he actually pumped his own gas. The purpose here is not to take a pot shot at Senator McCain. Rather, the real issue is that so many of our leaders are out of touch with the day-to-day realities with which we must all contend. Does Senator Obama fill up his gas tank? Likely not. He's under heavy Secret Service protection and these agents and others drive him around. But before he became a candidate, did he do this? Does Senator Clinton go shopping at the grocery store and know the price of a gallon of milk? I don't know, but these things are very important if you say that as president of the United States you are going to work hard for the people of this country. Talking to the people about these problems isn't enough to gain a full understanding of what people are concerned about. Perhaps it should be mandatory for the presidential candidates to go shopping at the grocery stores, pump their own gas, and actually pay their own bills.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Investing with the Television Talking Heads

There is probably no worse investment decision you can make then one based on investment advice of the people you hear on CNBC or any of the other television networks. Almost all of the people they have on the TV giving you investment advice make a living from selling stocks. That should give you a big clue right there. These people make money from selling stocks; if you're not buying stocks they're not making money. Sometimes, as in the present circumstances when the market is terrible, the best thing you can do is not buy any stocks.

At a time like this people should be more concerned with capital preservation and capital gains. Unless you are willing to do a significant amount of homework you are better off sitting on the sidelines and watching the carnage from a safe distance. Today, while I was on the treadmill at the gym, I was listening to CNBC when they introduced two stock analysts. The first one began immediately by saying it was time to "buy the financials." I almost fell off the treadmill from astonishment. The savant's reason for buying financial stocks was that they were at a seven-year low and now was a time to begin accumulating them. The problem with this logic is that for the past eight months people on television have been telling us poor suckers at home that it is time to buy the financials because they have hit bottom. Well for the past eight months the financial stocks have found bottom after bottom after bottom.

This doesn't mean there aren't some stocks that shouldn’t be bought. These are ones that sold off significantly from their highs, but their fundamentals are very strong and will continue to be so throughout this bear market. There are very few such stocks, and one characteristic of the current market is that there are wave after wave of what is known as sector rotations. This means that a group of stocks that had been hot and going up, is suddenly sold leaving you holding a good stock at a bad price. So whenever you are watching television and someone tells you to buy a stock, the best thing you can do is turn on the comedy channel and you get a real laugh.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Real Recession and Statistical Recession

Recent reports of significant declines in auto sales and home sales gave further evidence of an economy in serious trouble. Major department chains are scaling back plans for new store openings and increasing numbers of vacant stores are appearing in shopping malls and strip malls. But the government keeps issuing its own reports telling us that there is no recession. An article in the Wall Street Journal stated that, "Stronger gains in consumption and exports pushed U.S. gross domestic product higher in the first quarter, revised government figures showed, further evidence that the U.S. avoided recession in the early part of the year albeit with anemic growth."

The economy is headed downward regardless of these statistics. Wealth is disappearing as housing prices decline and stock portfolios values decline. The signs are all around us but apparently these things don't count as long as the government is able to produce statistics that say we aren't in a recession. If your basement is flooding, but the government says there are no flood conditions, what are you to believe?

Christian Leaders Speak Out for Obama

Dr. James Dobson recently attacked Barack Obama for a 2006 speech that Obama gave on his Christian faith. Does he speak for you? A coalition of pastors and other Christians, lead by Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell are standing up for our Christian faith and supporting Barack Obama.

read more digg story

Gas could fall to $2 if Congress acts, analysts say

Limiting speculation would push prices to fundamental level, lawmakers told

read more digg story

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Obama Calls For Closing "Enron Loophole"

The “Enron Loophole” -so named because it was added at Enron’s behest- has kept the Commodity Futures Trading Commission from overseeing the oil futures market and investigating cases of excessive speculation, the campaign explained in a policy paper. Obama would close the loophole by requiring that US energy be traded on regulated exchanges.

read more digg story

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Karl Rove: America’s Arrogant Social Misfit

Karl Rove is the sort of guy who if he went to his senior high school prom most likely stood on the side looking at everybody with a date. His skills as a cutthroat political adviser were never questioned until he helped steer President Bush and the Republican Party off the cliff in the 2006 elections. This morning he spoke with utter gracelessness.

ABC News' Christianne Klein reported that at a breakfast with Republican insiders at the Capitol Hill Club this morning, former White House senior aide Karl Rove referred to Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, as "coolly arrogant."

"Even if you never met him, you know this guy," Rove said, per Christianne Klein. "He's the guy at the country club with the beautiful date, holding a martini and a cigarette that stands against the wall and makes snide comments about everyone who passes by."

Most likely, Karl Rove looks at Barack Obama and sees a man that he wishes he could have been but never was. Instead, he chose a path in which his ability to do significant harm to others has played a vital part. Former Alabama governor, Don Siegelman, was recently released from jail on a conviction he attributed to Karl Rove. Hopefully this travesty of justice will be a Christmas Eve nightmare to a Karl Rove, a man that makes Scrooge look like Gandhi.

McCain 2005: Give Gitmo Detainees A Trial Or Release Them!

Despite John McCain's outrage last week that the Supreme Court ordered Gitmo detainees know why they were being held, or released -- Political Base has stumbled upon a McCain appearance on Meet the Press in 2005 where he argued they deserved trials, going so far as to say "if it means releasing some of them, you'll have to release them." Shameless.

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Thomas L. Friedman: Mr. Bush, Lead or Leave!

Bush declared that America was “addicted to oil,” and, by gosh, he was going to do something about it. Well, now he has. The new Bush energy plan: “Get more addicted to oil.” It’s as if our addict-in-chief is saying to us: “C’mon guys, you know you want a little more of the good stuff. One more hit, baby. Just one more toke on the ole oil pipe."

read more digg story

Monday, June 23, 2008

Senator McCain 100% Lobbyist Free

The headline of this post, which is painfully ironic, is about a United States senator who for some time presented himself as a reformer, and stated that he fought for greater transparency regarding the official activities of lobbyists and the disclosure of how candidates and campaigns are funded. An article in ABC news on January 29, 2008, stated "McCain has 59 lobbyists raising money for his campaign, more than any of the other presidential candidates, according to the latest finding from government watchdog group Public Citizen."

The story only gets worse from here. In widely publicized recent news the American public has learned about the so-called "Enron loophole" which exempts energy speculators who make trades electronically from US regulation. Recent testimony before a Senate committee revealed that unregulated energy speculation accounts for between 20% to 25% of the jump in oil prices.

Wendy Gramm, wife of former Senator Phil Gramm of Texas, joined Enron's board after chairing the Commodities and Futures Trading Commission, where she issued regulations that legalized the type of electricity trading that helped Enron make millions in illegal profits. In 2000, then Senator, Gramm helped pass legislation which made the Enron Loophole permanent. Phil Gramm is now a lobbyist for UBS, a Swiss banking Corporation. Mr. Gramm is Senator McCain's campaign chair and economic adviser.

The list of lobbyists working for Senator McCain is quite lengthy. One egregious example cited by the Daily News are "John Green, the senator's chief liaison to Congress, and Wayne Berman, his national finance co-chairman, billed more than $720,000 in lobbying fees from 2005 through last year to Ameriquest Mortgage through their lobbying firm." With lobbyists working for Senator McCain in senior positions who are tied to the run-up in energy prices and the housing crisis how can Senator McCain make objective decisions regarding two of the most critical issues facing this country.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Twelve Obamas

In an Article in the New York Times on June 20, 2008, David Brooks presented an Op-Ed Column entitled "the Two Obama's." In a thinly veiled sarcastic case, Mr. Brooks described the " Dr. Barack, the high-minded, Niebuhr-quoting speechifier who spent this past winter thrilling the Scarlett Johansson set and feeling the fierce urgency of now and the " Fast Eddie Obama, the promise-breaking, tough-minded Chicago pol who’d throw you under the truck for votes.. This pretty much sums up Mr. Brooks's opinion of Senator Obama, although he goes on to cite specifics to support his argument.

In thinking about this dichotomous presentation of Senator Obama it occurred to me that why stop at just "Two Obama's." Why not take this further and present all the possible Obama's in a revelatory act to fully elucidate the public as to the true nature of Senator Obama. Below I have presented the "The Twelve Obama's," which I think paints a more detailed picture of Senator Obama and what he stands, or pretends to stand, for. (Please note that my tongue now goes into my cheek).

The Obama that presents the politics of hope and the idea that we can change things for the better.
The cynical Obama that uses the politics of hope and change merely as a means to get elected President of the United States.

The Obama that converted to Christianity and is courting the evangelical vote.
The Obama that is still secretly a Muslim and waiting to subjugate Christian America.

The Obama that has collected hundreds of millions of dollars from small campaign donors.
The Obama that has secretly been bankrolled by big-money lobbyists and big-time backers.

The Obama with a brilliant mind that uses language to lift the spirits of his listeners.
The Obama with a brilliant mind that uses language to use people.

The Obama that knows he is going to have to take on most of Washington to get anything accomplished.
The Obama that's going to rejoice when he is elected president and forget everything he said during the campaign.

Many more couplets are possible, but I wanted to make a point not a long list. However, if any of the readers of this post have any ideas please feel free to include them in their comments. Also be sure to send a copy of them to David Brooks at the New York Times.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Baby Boomers Become Seniors

Baby boomers despite their best efforts find themselves growing older and many have now passed age 60. This frightening thought has led to new vistas for people that thought they would be perpetually young. In an article in Minyanville, a web site for investors, Scott Reeves comments on the behavior of the baby boomers and what they are doing to fight off what Scott calls, "approaching geezerhood."

Scott describes what he terms "brain goosing games and exercises driven by Boomers who suddenly find themselves fat and forgetful in their 60s."

In order to keep my own brain fit in agile I play chess online and poker every Monday night. You might think that playing chess requires more brainpower, but you've never had to guess what the Monday night poker crew has in their hands. I also play Scrabble once a week with my partner who beats me with increasing regularity with her fondness for seven letter words.

Scott's final conclusion is that, "Boomers are in a sweat about losing their marbles. Of course, this is all new and no single brain workout can guarantee that cobwebs won't envelop the brain. Maybe if folks just stayed active and engaged with life, brain function wouldn't fade as quickly."

Excuse me while I eat my buttered popcorn and watch the Simpsons on my 54 inch widescreen TV

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Shocking Secrets of Liberals Exposed

For several weeks I have been receiving e-mail after e-mail from the Human Events Book Service, which publishes ultraconservative books and other materials. I hesitate to disenroll from these e-mails because the book titles and descriptions are so entertaining and informative. I had never realized the true nature of liberals before reading this information. Mostly the titles and descriptions speak for themselves, but I have taken the liberty of adding a comment after each one.

The Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning by Jonah Goldberg"Fascists!" "Brownshirts!" "Jackbooted stormtroopers!" Such are the insults typically hurled at conservatives by their liberal opponents. But who are the real fascists in our midst? In Liberal Fascism, National Review columnist Jonah Goldberg shows that the original fascists are really on the left -- and that liberals, from Woodrow Wilson to FDR to Hillary Clinton, have advocated policies and principles remarkably similar to those of Hitler and Mussolini."Comment:
Bet you didn't know Hitler and Mussolini were liberals.

The Really Inconvenient Truths: Seven Environmental Catastrophes Liberals Don't Want You to Know about Because They Helped Cause Them by Iain Murray.There is a header next to the book which states "Why environmentalists are the environments worst enemy."
Comment: Just as many of us suspected, Al Gore is the cause of global warming.

"52 Most Dangerous Liberals in America" 2008 Edition Card Deck“We’ve always known that liberals aren’t "playing with a full deck," but it’s never been more evident than during the 2008 Elections. National conservative weekly Human Events has identified which liberals to keep an eye on during the 2008 elections. Each card in the brand new 2008 Election Edition of the "52 Most Dangerous Liberals in America" Card Deck features a "Dangerous Liberal" and a self-condemning quote to back up why that particular Leftist has made the cut to be included in this notorious deck."
Comment: This puts to rest any fears that the ultraconservatives aren't playing with a full deck.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Bush Unhesitatingly Defends Administration Policy of Torture

President Bush said that those who question what his administration is doing at Guantánamo Bay and Abu Ghraib are "slandering America" when asked about this by Adam Bolton, political editor of Britain's Sky News. The president was responding to Bolton's statement that many who say some of the Bush administration's torture and detention policies represent "the opposite of freedom."

This comes at a time when the Supreme Court recently ruled that the "terrorism suspects" at Guantánamo Bay have a right to seek their release in federal court. In its ruling the Supreme Court stated that Bush's policy compromise "the Constitution's guarantee of liberty."

The Bush administration had defended the use of "water boarding," which is a form of simulated drowning, as an interrogation technique despite the widespread opposition to the use of this technique. Earlier this year, the administration had finally admitted that the use of water boarding could be used in so-called "extreme circumstances." This came after years of denying that the detainees at Guantánamo were being tortured.

President Bush and his administration continue to act as they see fit in defiance of public opinion and an even when the Supreme Court rules against them. This has been the policy of this administration in its response to defending this country against terrorism. The fight against terrorism is of the utmost national importance, but it should not be used as a means for violating the law and illegally reducing the freedom of the citizens of this country, as well as international laws to which this nation ascribes.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Saving Afghanistan Lost in the Focus of the Iraq War

While the war in Iraq gets most of the attention, the war in Afghanistan has become a struggle whose outcome is no longer a certainty. The Taliban, which had been almost on the verge of extinction, is now a potent force once again in Afghanistan. More US troops are needed there as soon as possible to stem the tide of increasingly successful Taliban military power.

In a news release today Afghan officials say hundreds of Taliban fighters have taken over several villages just outside Kandahar, southern Afghanistan's largest city, and NATO and Afghan forces are redeploying to meet the threat. Mohammad Farooq, the government leader in the Arghandab district of Kandahar province, said around 500 Taliban fighters moved into his district. Arghandab lies just north of Kandahar city -- the Taliban's former stronghold.

The push into Arghandab comes three days after a Taliban attack on Kandahar's prison freed hundreds of fighters. Last Thursday, NATO spokesman Mark Laity said NATO and Afghanistan military officials were redeploying troops to the region to "meet any potential threats." Laity said the jailbreak put more militants into the region

US-led coalition force will suffer more casualties and take longer to secure Afghanistan's lawless border with Pakistan without more troops, a senior US military official said on Thursday. Vice Admiral William Sullivan also expressed concern that Pakistan will remove troops from its side of the border as part of peace deals the new government has struck with militants in the tribal areas.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Separation between Church and State: Still a Good Idea

Politics and religion have always been intermeshed in this country, but in recent years this enmeshment has accelerated greatly. Two factors contributing to this have been the conservative Republicans building a base that was dependent upon significant participation by the Christian evangelical movement in America, and the struggle regarding a woman's right, or lack thereof, to have an abortion.

The issue in the 2008 presidential election year couldn't be clearer. In a recent article in the New York Times, Timothy Egan pointed out that, "Romney who declared this year that ‘freedom requires religion,’ and Mike Huckabee, who called himself a "Christian leader" advocated the amending of the Constitution to follow Biblical principles. Both men are being touted as running mates for McCain." Huckabee's proposal to amend the Constitution to follow Biblical principles is the precise reason what the First Amendment was written to prevent. Surely Huckabee is aware that there are Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, and many others of different faiths that do not adhere to "Biblical principles." Jefferson and Madison would have been appalled by the notion that freedom requires religion and a proposal to amend the Constitution to follow Biblical principles.

The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

The precise meaning of this statement has been argued over for the last 200 years. At issue, is the attempt to discern what was in the minds of the founding fathers when this amendment was included. In his letter to the Danbury Baptists in 1802, Thomas Jefferson stated, "I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;" thus building a wall of eternal separation between Church and State.

In 1980 Ronald Reagan stated that "Government was the problem not the solution," and became president because the people bought into his notion of less government rather than more. Present-day conservatives have strayed far from Reagan's conservative notions of government and are proposing government intervention into areas of our lives long held private.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Ann Coulter’s America: 100% Al Qaeda free since 2001

If the title of this blog doesn't make sense to you that's because I'm rephrasing the piece of e-mail I received from Ann Coulter that didn't make sense to me. It was entitled "Bush's America: 100 Percent Al-Qaeda Free Since 2001," by Ann Coulter. I don't know why I received this because I’m not a radical right conservative, a general conservative, a moderate Republican, or even a Republican for that matter. However I was the unfortunate recipient of this e-mail which it had been captured and destroyed by my spam filter.

Does Ms. Coulter want us to believe that no single member of Al Qaeda has been in America since 2001? Surely, one Al Qaeda operative must've been able to sneak into the country through the thousands and thousands of miles of coastline and borders. Was she referring to the fact that there have been no more explosions caused by Al Qaeda since 2001? If so, she should have said so.

This was the same Ann Coulter that talked to Donny Deutsch about the perfection of Jews. The transcript with appropriate commentary as presented in a Fox news release is presented below.
In response to a question from Deutsch asking Coulter if "it would be better if we were all Christian," the controversial columnist responded: "Yes."

"We should all be Christian?" Deutsch repeated.

"Yes," Coulter responded, asking Deutsch, who is Jewish, if he would like to "come to church with me."

Deutsch, pressing Coulter further, asked, "We should just throw Judaism away and we should all be Christians?"

She responded: "Yeah."

Coulter deflected Deutsch's assertion that her comments were anti-Semitic, matter-of-factly telling the show's obviously upset host, "That is what Christians consider themselves: perfected Jews."

I'm Jewish and I was terribly offended by her ill considered, thoughtless, and thoroughly anti-Semitic remark. So were my Christian friends none of whom have ever said, or thought of themselves as "perfected Jews." When Ann Coulter sends me any information , I have to consider the source. I suggest you do the same. In this case the source to put it mildly, is very, very eccentric.

The Recession That Isn't a Recession

There seems to be some question about whether the American economy is in recession. On one hand we have the president of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, stating on June 10, 2008, "The Federal Reserve is not currently forecasting a recession.” On the other hand, Martin Feldstein, president of the Cambridge group that is considered the official word on economic cycles, stated on March 15, 2008, "The United States has already slipped into a deep recession that could be the most serious since World War II.”

It's good to know that the people in charge are in agreement about what is the current state of economic affairs. Denial has been a continuing symptom of our current economic crisis. According to an Associated Press Release on July 26, 2006, Bernanke told Congress that the once high-flying housing market appeared to be experiencing a safe landing. “The downturn in the housing market so far appears to be orderly," Mr. Bernanke said during a hearing before the House Financial Services Committee. Since that prediction, the country has experienced the worst housing crisis since the Great Depression. So much for the safe landing.

The so-called "subprime crisis" was also minimized month after month until it exploded and resulted in the sudden takeover of Bear Stearns by J.P. Morgan. A study cited by a Reuter’s press release in early March 2008 concluded that, "The bottom of the subprime crisis has not yet been reached." The predicted economic impact cited in that study is far too complex to be cited here.

What we have is a pattern of continual minimizing of serious economic problems. Why is this occurring? Are the powers in charge simply behind the curve and unable to comprehend what is coming next, or are they deliberately minimizing known severe problems. Why would they do the latter? A friend of mine suggested that they do the latter because they do not want to panic people which will cause even worse economic problems. That's an interesting hypothesis, but the problem with that approach is twofold. One, it prevents adequate planning on the part of the public. Secondly, when the crisis explodes people lose faith in those in charge and people are even more likely to panic.

As the computer said towards the end of 2001 A Space Odyssey, "Nothing can go wrong, can go wrong, can go wrong,…………………………

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Real Cost of Illegal Immigration

Illegal immigration is one of the most contentious and important issues facing this country today. A key aspect of the debate and disagreement on illegal immigration relates to its costs. Based on my review of six studies I came to the conclusion that no one really knows the cost of illegal immigration. There are two main problems. Almost all of the studies purporting to document the cost of illegal immigration are written by groups with a particular point of view. I will say more about this later. Secondly, the economic benefits of the illegal immigrants in this country have typically not been adequately addressed.

The Eagle Forum produced a well-documented report addressing many of the cost factors in illegal immigration. However, it is important to know that the Eagle Forum has been a leading advocate for the pro-family movement since 1972 and is therefore not without its biases. The report is worth reading if you are interested in more details about this issue. The Center for Immigration Studies sponsored a report written by Stephen Camorata written in 2004. This report focused on the "High Cost of Cheap Labor." It is important to know that The Center for Immigration Studies is a Pro-immigrant, low-`think-tank which seeks fewer immigrants but a warmer welcome for those admitted. Therefore it too has its own particular point of view. The report is important because it addresses the cost-benefit aspect of illegal immigration, which has all too frequently been neglected.

Some of the costs of illegal immigrants are obvious and indisputable. Examples of these include costs incurred by hospitals, costs incurred by the states and federal government to incarcerate illegal immigrants convicted of crimes, and costs to local school systems.

Mr. Camorata documents important "benefit" issues such as the fact that, "On average, illegal households pay more than $4,200 a year in all forms of federal taxes. Unfortunately, they impose costs of $6,950 per household.” It is important to note that in addressing taxes paid by illegal immigrants Camorata neglects to factor in sales taxes paid for food, clothing and other purchases made by illegal immigrants and property taxes paid by the illegal immigrants. The reduced cost of services and products as a result of the cheap labor provided by the illegal immigrants has a significant but unknowable effect on the overall cost of living in this country. This is particularly true in the construction of housing where many illegal immigrants are employed.

What I have written resolves nothing, but hopefully puts the issue in a little bit clearer perspective.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Macho Man Rush Limbaugh

Jeffrey Feldman reported in the Huffington post that Rush Limbaugh “took time out this week to besmirch McCain's maleness, wondering aloud during if the Republican candidate could really count as 'a man' in the wake of his speech in New Orleans.” Good grief Rush, have you given up Oxycontin and started overdosing on Human Growth Hormone? John McCain flew an A-4 Skyhawk during the Vietnam War, while Rush Limbaugh did not serve in the military, and was reported to have avoided service because of a small congenital cyst. Rush Limbaugh's weapons of choice are bombast and overdoses of misinformation.

In 1967 while McCain was on a bombing mission over North Vietnam he was shot down, badly injured, and captured as a prisoner of war by the North Vietnamese. He spent five and a half years as a prisoner of war, experiencing episodes of torture. The only torture Rush Limbaugh is likely to have suffered apart from any withdrawal from a illegally obtained narcotics, was being unable to heat his meals on a timely basis.

For Limbaugh to have challenged McCain over the air in the manner he did was consistent with his style of meaningless invective. It is often the case that men who challenge other men's "maleness" frequently have strong questions about their own. Does anybody know a whether Limbaugh ever played football, basketball or any other sport involving physical contact with a man or woman?

I assume that Rush Limbaugh is aware of his self-image as he he utters his derogatory comments over the radio. Such comments are intended to provide evidence of his power and whip up his adoring audience into a frenzy. Does Limbaugh really think demeaning people is a sign of power? One wonders. Can we next expect to see Rush Limbaugh take on Randy Savage in a cage match?

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Tom Delay says Barack Obama is one of the Marx Brothers

Thursday, on the conservative Mike Gallagher radio show, former House Majority leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, said "if McCain does not define him as what he is — hey, I have said publicly, and I will again, that unless he proves me wrong, he is a Marxist." Later on that afternoon however, Tom Delay reportedly clarified his earlier remark by saying that Barack Obama is a real comedian, one of the Marx Brothers. When Senator Obama was informed by the comments made by Tom Delay he initially laughed, then wondered out loud which Marx Brother Tom Delay thought he was. Insiders say that Obama's favorite Marx Brother is Chico, because he played the piano so well.

Maybe DeLay thinks he is also one of the Marx Brothers. Probably Harpo, because he frequently had his hands in his rather large pants pockets. Although, in DeLay’s case his hands were generally in the large pockets of lobbyists. One would think DeLay would be careful in making remarks about other people given his own current circumstances. DeLay was indicted on a charge of criminally conspiring with two political associates to inject illegal corporate contributions into 2002 state elections that helped the Republican Party reorder the congressional map in Texas and cement its control of the House in Washington.

DeLay is still a free man pending his trial, but the picture below may be a "portrait" of things to come.
It's good to see the Tom Delay was able to smile about having his mug shot taken. He may not be smiling for much longer.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Will the Democrats Lemming-like Behavior Hurt Obama's Bid to Become President?

Lemmings are small rodents that live in or near the Arctic. Under certain circumstances large migrating groups will reach a cliff overlooking the ocean. They will stop until the urge to press on causes them to jump off the cliff and start swimming, sometimes to exhaustion and death. Political lemmings, the humankind, emulate their rodent cousins when it comes to key elections. Rather than support their party's candidate, they find reasons why it would be better for them not to vote at all, and thereby let the opposition candidate win. While not totally comparable, there is a politically suicidal behavioral element in what my mother used to call, "Biting off your nose to spite your face."

A number of groups that strongly supported Senator Clinton are threatening not to vote for Senator Obama. If you were a Senator Clinton supporter would you really want Senator McCain to be the next president of the United States? You've got to be kidding! Some Democratic women who are threatening not to vote for Obama are making it a feminist issue. I participated in a discussion regarding this on another blog. Is it possible for a woman to call herself a feminist and vote for Senator McCain, a man who allegedly called his wife a four letter word that I won't put in my post. Of even greater importance (one would think), is whether a feminist would would want one or more new conservative Supreme Court justices added so there will be an absolute majority on the Supreme Court who will tell the women of America that they don't have control over their bodies.

This type of lemminglike behavior has been seen before, but never more odiously then in the 1968 presidential election. Many of my liberal friends said there was no difference between Richard Nixon and Hubert Humphrey. When I challenged their sanity, they accused me of political naiveté and questioned whether I was really a Democrat. As we all know, Nixon won the election and American democracy was severely threatened. The Nixon Cabinet was the first one since the Ulysses S. Grant administration to be able to hold cabinet meetings in prisons. I had moved by the time of the Watergate travesty and was not able to look my old friends in the eye. I may appear to be digressing, but I'm trying to emphasize the point that rational thinking can often be completely discarded in a heated emotions of political posturing. Stay tuned, this will only get more interesting.

Coming next: the Presidential candidacy of Senator McCain and Republican Lemming-like Behavior.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Senator McCain Overwhelms Senator Obama in First Debate

In a surprising development, Senator McCain clearly won the first presidential debate over Senator Obama. McCain was on top of his game and had all the facts at his fingertips. He spoke clearly and articulately without pausing, and never once hesitated in responding to the questions asked. On the other hand, Obama time and again seemed at a loss for words, mumbled on more than a few occasions, and scratched his head as if puzzled by very direct questions.

Senator McCain presented a well articulated concise and plan for the phased pullout of American soldiers from Iraq and assured the nation that we would be not involved in any long-term commitment there beyond a few critical divisions and an Air Force Base. Senator Obama's response left much to be desired, when he said, "We gotta get the hell out of there," and refused to elaborate on his plans when pressed by Tim Russert.

It was on economic issues that Senator McCain shined brightest. He presented a new five point plan for economic recovery that would reduce the deficit in half within four years and still be able to give increased tax cuts to all Americans. He seemed to have an answer for every critique his plan and had clearly mastered the economic problems and the need for specific solutions on a timely basis. Senator Obama seemed out a loss when asked about his economic plan and continually asked to have the questions repeated. This was clearly a tactic to avoid answering critical questions that all Americans have a vital interest in. It was most embarrassing for Senator Obama.

Lastly, Senator McCain looked at the camera and all Americans and said, "I'm the man to lead you for the next four years and I promise I will implement my entire campaign platform within two years." When Senator Obama questioned him on that, McCain looked him in the eye until Senator Obama was forced to turn away in embarrassment. Senator Obama had some difficulty in finding the camera, and when he did so he resorted to index cards to talk to the national audience. In a nutshell, the whole evening was an embarrassment for Senator Obama and a clear triumph for Senator McCain, most likely our next president.

Monday, June 2, 2008

That’s Not Laughing Gas You're Buying

My partner and I went from Myrtle Beach to Savannah a couple of weeks ago. We got there on a tank of gas, but on the way back I had to fill up the tank again. At that time gas was still under four dollars, but it still cost me almost $50 to fill up the small tank in my Toyota Corolla. $50 for a Toyota Corolla? Is somebody kidding me! I didn't notice anybody around me smiling at that time, and now with the gas over $4 a gallon there's likely to be even less levity at the gas pumps. The people filling up their SUVs need laughing gas to get through the pain of paying for filling them with gas. But then again, they were free to buy more fuel-efficient cars in the first place. But this is America and everybody has a right to buy whatever they can afford. Unfortunately, when richer people decide to make choices that force us to import more oil everybody ends up paying for it.

How did we get to this place where we are dependent upon buying barrels of oil from countries that despise us and our way of life and are all too willing to gouge us out of our last dime? What about our "National Energy Policy?" Oh that, there isn't any. Well, with a president who was in the oil industry, and most of his oil buddies back in Texas run the state, and a vice president who worked for Halliburton, you surely didn't expect a national energy policy. Not that the Democrats have worked any harder at this. Big oil has big bucks and enough lobbyists to spread the wealth lavishly over each and every member of Congress. Hard to keep your mind on a national energy policy when you're sitting down to lunch with an oil lobbyist who is giving you a large check. Well some people are hard at work implementing alternative energy sources. T. Boone Pickens is spending billions of dollars on wind farms in West Texas. Unfortunately that will take a while to change the situation. Ultimately the Japanese will save us. Not intentionally, but rather by making alternative energy vehicles and forcing Detroit to follow suit. Everything will turn out okay, we hope. In the meantime, forget about all those cross-country trips.