What is Alan Doing Right Now?

Showing newest 19 of 27 posts from April 2008. Show older posts
Showing newest 19 of 27 posts from April 2008. Show older posts

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Corn: Not the Great Savior

With a rising corn demand, can we finally stop subsidizing it? Due to ethanol requirements, there are more ethanol plants, and therefore corn is in higher demand. This demand causes the cost of corn to go up, and thus people who use corn to feed cattle, hogs and chickens are having to raise their costs and pass that on to the consumer. Perhaps you have noticed that the cost of eggs has increased about 50% in the last two years? Other goods are going up more slowly.

The government is requiring 10% ethanol to reduce foreign dependence on oil, and to make the situation worse, motor-fuel blenders receive a 51 cent subsidy for every gallon of corn-based ethanol used through the end of 2010, thus encouraging price gouging by farmers selling their corn! Then the greens argue that ethanol was a way to slow climate change, but a study published in Science magazine Feb. 29 concluded: "greenhouse-gas emissions from corn and even cellulosic ethanol exceed or match those from fossil fuels and therefore produce no greenhouse benefits."

I never liked all of this and its good to see that others are finally getting behind me! Criticism is coming form the World Bank who's President said, "While many are worrying about filling their gas tanks, many others around the world are struggling to fill their stomachs, and it is getting more and more difficult every day." And as one man on the street simply put it, "The ethanol is hurting us... It hasn't lowered our fuel prices at all, and it has increased feed costs."

In International News

Some Hawaiians want their sovereignty back, and with current problems in the United States government, who can blame them? Before you post comments about how this is not "international news" remember that if they got their sovereignty back then it would be! One State Senator said, "This is the manifestation of the frustration of the Hawaiian people for the loss of sovereignty and land." Other State Senators believe that he just wants to ensure himself a position in any new government be formed. The Hawaiian Kingdom Government decided that it would take over historic Iolani Palace, which served as the residence for the island's last ruling monarch, and are currently carrying out the "business of what it considers the legitimate government of the islands." For those who need a history lesson, Hawaii became the 50th state almost 50 years ago in 1959... it's been under protest for almost as long as the whole issue with Israel.

Perhaps the Hawaiians just need some free Viagra! In Chile one town began handing out the little blue pill to senior citizens. The Mayor explained, "an active sexuality improves the overall quality of life." 34 other municipalities are planning similar programs. Here in the United States your doctor can just give you a free sample even if you don't need it... or you can buy it on the street for $2-5 per pill.

Meanwhile, the quality of life in Hebron is guaranteed by the Islamic Charitable Association, a group that Israel says is a front for Hamas to promote violent ideology in school and fund extremist activity. So Israeli soldiers cracked down... by raiding a sewing shop and seizing bolts of cloth. While both Israeli troops and Abbas' security forces have gone after West Bank charities, moneychangers, women's cooperatives and media outlets with suspected ties to the militants, closing the Hebron association is more delicate because it serves thousands of children. "Hamas invests a lot into the education of children ... to teach them extremism ... and recruit them to terror acts. The system is clear-cut, it's meant to finance that," said an Israeli Army spokesman. However, volunteers from Christian Peacemaker Teams, a group of American and Canadian pacifists who work in conflict zones, sleep in the dormitory in shifts in hopes of deterring the army from shutting the facility, "are convinced there is no connection between the charity and Hamas." Perhaps this is sending the wrong message?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Smile, You Are On Trial!

Could a national gang of killers that leaves smiley-face calling cards be getting away with murdering dozens of male college students by making all the deaths look like accidents? Two retired NYPD detectives have been working to link 40 drowning deaths of healthy young men, and now want the FBI to get involved in a case that may stretch 11 states. One detective said, "They're happy, as most serial killers are, and very content with their work and what they're doing and the fact that they're thwarting police." NBC reported: “The idea of some sinister national gang out killing young college men is a hard theory to sell.” We are due for a good murder mystery... and this could make for a good movie! So far the FBI does not buy it. What do you think?

In International News

In another criminal matter, the former chief prosecutor for terrorism cases is now arguing on behalf of a terrorism suspect. "Independent legal experts have criticized the commissions process because its rules allow hearsay or coerced evidence with the approval of a military judge; defendants are barred from using habeas corpus petitions to force a review of their detention; and convictions can be decided by panels of serving military officers without a unanimous verdict, except in capital cases." So I understand the desire to ensure a fair trail, but lets remember... these people were detained rather than than just killed, which is what most countries other than the United States would have done to suspected terrorists.

Also on trial are Tariq Aziz, Saddam's brother Watban Ibrahim al-Hassan and his cousin known as "Chemical Ali." Aziz's son said, "The Iraqi government also wants to avoid the public criticism for keeping an ailing man in prison for five years without presenting any charges against him." A judge with the Iraqi High Tribunal, which is prosecuting offences of the former regime, said the charges against the defendants would include war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. If convicted, the men could face a sentence of death by hanging.

For the first time in over 10 years, Cuba will convene a Communist Party congress, next year. Since Raul took over, life has been made easier and less restrictive for ordinary Cubans. The Congress could put someone else in the driver's seat of Cuba, as well as replace members of the Politburo. As a show of international good faith, Castro commuted some death sentences and said, "We have not made this decision under pressure but as a sovereign act as a consequence of the humanitarian and ethical conduct that has always characterized the Cuban revolution." What the heck is going on in Cuba? I just don't get it!

A Dose of Religion

The Soul Factory gave away hundreds of gallons of free gas, so I'm going to give them some free advertising! Come on... what other church has a Krunk Contest or 70s Sunday?

Monday, April 28, 2008

Barbie Best Weapon Against Iran

No need to plan a military attack, especially if we are already outstretched militarily in the Middle East... just airdrop Barbie! Iranian officials find the dolls to be a great danger to the country: "The irregular importation of such toys, which unfortunately arrive through unofficial sources and smuggling, is destructive culturally and a social danger." Iran has introduced twin dolls Dara and Sara, who wear modest clothing and have pro-family stories to promote traditional values... oddly like Barbie they do not work either.

The actual marines are currently engaged in Afghanistan with the objective to clear the Taliban out of a patch of southern Helmand, where it's been operating with impunity for more than a year. One soldier described why the Taliban in this area is such a deadly enemy: "Most of the people we're going to be fighting have been fighting for 30 years... the stupid ones are dead."

In International News

China finally had a leg of the Torch Run where there were no protests, in fact, tens of thousands of North Koreans came out to see the Torch's first visit to the country in Pyongyang. Since only the most loyal communist elite are allowed to live in the city, its no surprise that there were no demonstrators. This seems to be the first positive note for China regarding the Olympics. The event was quickly overshadowed as a high-speed train derailed injuring 420 and leading to 70 deaths. The Train heading from Beijing to the coastal city of Qingdao - site of the sailing competition during the Olympics in August - hit another train. Hmm... want to bet many sailing teams will elect to drive rather than take the train now?

CIA Director Hayden says that the suspected Syrian reactor bombed by Israel had the capacity to produce enough nuclear material to fuel one to two weapons a year. Sounds similar to what came out of the intelligence community about Iran's program... for the last few years now. The Syrian ambassador brought up a contentious international point, "We remind everyone of the falsifications the U.S. made about mass destruction weapons in Iraq." In response the U.S. said "Doh!"

Your Government At Work

A new report has come out from the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction that shows where the $100 billion + in taxpayer dollars has been going. The special IG's review of 47,321 reconstruction projects worth billions of dollars found that at least 855 contracts about 1,000 were terminated before completion while others are marked off as complete even though they really are not. In summary, "the report paints a depressing picture of money being poured into failed Iraq reconstruction projects — contractors are killed, projects are blown up just before being completed, or the contractor just stops doing the work." Translation: Contractors must be held to the contracts they sign, or pay penalties!

Despite opposition, the Supreme Court has upheld the need to have identification to vote. One would think this would be a no brainer. The opinion said that this was done due to the "valid interest in protecting the integrity and reliability of the electoral process." Some democrats are upset about this because now illegal immigrants will not be able to support candidates who are trying to get benefits for them.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Some Things Never Change

Looks like Mugabe still isn't ready to give up power. Police are raiding opposition group offices and offices of independent election monitors, confiscating material documenting Mugabe's apparent electoral defeat and arresting those who are in the offices. The head of South Africa's ruling African National Congress condemned Friday's raids, saying it appeared "somebody is sabotaging the elections."

So remember a few months back when Microsoft talked about buying Yahoo to compete against Google? No? I don't blame you... I was putting it behind me as well. Seems like there is still no action on that front, and who knows, Microsoft could just pull out of the deal. As one analyst said, "Sometimes the best deals are the ones that aren't done."

Surprise, surprise... Gas prices are still going up. With gas at $3.60 a gallon and oil at $120 a barrel, I am glad that I'll be moving into the city where I can walk more and drive less. One analyst said, "I've got to think we're close to the end on increases." When asked if gasoline prices will continue to increase, my magic eight ball said: "As I See It, Yes."

Food prices also continue to rise, in fact it is estimated that they have risen over 80 percent in $the last three years. The UN Secretary General said, "This steeply rising price of food — it has developed into a real global crisis... The United Nations is very much concerned, as (are) all other members of the international community." Just like every other issue the United Nation takes on... nothing will actually happen.

There is still a "real possibility" that the Beijing Olympics will be disrupted by terrorism or anti-China groups. The head of Interpol said, "These activities could range from disruptive behavior, like blocking major transportation routes or infrastructure or interfering with competitions, to more violent acts like assaulting Olympic officials or athletes or destroying property." Based on the track history with the Torch Run this far, I don't think it takes Interpol to figure that out.

The IAEA is as worthless as ever. While Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, chastised Israel and the United States for the lengthy delay in informing IAEA about the alleged Syrian reactor, he had nothing to say to Syria or North Korea about the matter. Had he read the comic to the right, or the news coming out of Syria in September of 2007, he would have known what was "NOT" going on. Syria's Ambassador to the UN said, "We should be very careful and cautious with regard to all these kind of allegations. Anybody could fabricate anything these days." With the help of North Korea, one could even fabricate a nuclear weapons facility!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Who's Got Nukes Now?

The world is still trying to cope with North Korea having nukes and Iran "maybe" having them, but now there is another player in the field, Syria. The White House sees Syria's nuclear reactor as "a dangerous and potentially destabilizing development for the world." It would seem that Israel bombed the reactor seven months ago... yeah, I missed the memo on that one too! Once again, Israel takes nuclear proliferation into it's own hands to prevent because the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) just can not seem to do the job. In fact, IAEA was briefed only recently on the event. U. S. intelligence believes North Korea aided Syria with its nuclear program with the intention to produce plutonium. I bet this will add wondrous new dimensions to the the talks with North Korea. For now neither Syria nor North Korea are talking about the incident, and Syria has even put up a building to cover the bombing site. A literal "cover up" if you will.

Meanwhile, here in the United States, the biggest news is the potential merger between Delta and Northwest. Trust me this is no where near as important as a Syrian nuclear program or the fact that Israel went and bombed it Osirak style. Ironically it will have a larger impact on the average American, and with fuel prices going up one wonders if such a merger will lead to lower ticket prices or just a mini monopoly on certain routes. Also the government has taken measure to protect your insureability and employability from genetic discrimination. But not to worry... the airline could still decide to treat people like freight and charge you by weight.

In International News

Despite constant fighting, reminiscent but more bloody than Florida in 2000 during the U.S. Presidential election, the top U.S. envoy to Africa says that Zimbabwe's opposition leader is in and Mugabe is out: "Morgan Tsvangirai won and perhaps outright, at which point you don't need a government of national unity. You have to accept the result." (Ah, the Irony!) Zimbabweans are still awaiting the results of an official recount, with the opposition accusing the President of 27+ years of withholding them while he plots how to keep power. Some sources claim the 82 year old Mugabe keeps mumbling something about hanging chads.

Finally there has been a leg of the Olympic Torch Run where the Pro-China supporters out numbered the complainers. The three hour event in Australia cost the country about $1.9 million. Australian Greens Senator Bob Brown told Reuters, "Australians will feel a little bit uncomfortable by the fact that communist China came to town and just showed it can buy anything." China, while not picking up the bill for the event did produce sweatshop quality t-shirts and plastic mini torches to commemorate it.

Former communists also had a victory in Napal, where the Maoists will be running the governing assembly. Say good-bye to the 239 year old monarchy, but possibly hello to capitalism despite that the group is still considered to be terrorists by the United States. Now that it comes time for power sharing, the Maoists hope to hold the Presidency and be removed from the terrorist list, while the other two major parties just hope that the Maoists stop killing them now that the elections are over. Seriously... read up on it... thats how they won!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

World of Witchcraft?

Everyone loves magic, but seem to persecute witches. How ironic. In eastern India, police want to display a woman's head in a museum as a lesson... however, I don't think they will be getting the right point across. The woman had her head chopped off after a villager suspected her for causing the death of family members... the police say: "displaying this head in a museum will create a sensation in society and could be helpful in preventing people from taking to such heinous crimes." I see decapitated head of a woman accused of practicing witchcraft and I think... "Gee, I better not practice witchcraft or I'll loose my head."

And speaking of loosing heads... 13 sorcerers have been arrested for using black magic to steal men's penises! Interestingly enough, penis snatching reports are common in West Africa, and witchcraft is widespread. Police arrested the men and their victims to protect them... but they have since been released. Police are just trying to calm to hysteria, "But when you try to tell the victims that their penises are still there, they tell you that it's become tiny or that they've become impotent." I just wonder if they have tried to see if it still works?

Your Government At Work

The government finally got something that works but decided to scrap it, the "Virtual Fence" between Arizona and Mexico has been deemed ineffective, despite what seems to be a good test platform. $20,000,000 buys the government notification that someone is crossing illegally, but "did not fully meet user needs and the project's design will not be used as the basis for future developments." Even though the system did work to catch a little over 3,000 illegal crossers: what is this worth as compared to the several hundred thousand suspected of crossing each year? The Boeing contract was worth $860 million. Assuming the same value per $ that would be 43 times as many people... or 129,000 people and 4 months versus 12 months... about 400,000 people per year. I would think this would be quite effective... no? But then again, how much of your taxes do you want going toward catching people who are illegally crossing the border?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Green Going Too Far?

I love my car, and while it doesn't get the best gas mileage, I am thankful to live in a country that still allows me to drive whatever I wish. For now at least. New laws could limit our vehicle options, where the next generation of new cars and trucks will need to meet a fleet average of 31.6 miles per gallon by 2015, and 35 mpg by 2020. The supposed rational behind the law, "This proposal is going to help us all breathe a little easier by reducing carbon dioxide emissions from tailpipes, cutting fuel consumption and making driving a little more affordable." But for the other side of the story, this means increased costs of vehicles! Rather than force changes on car manufactures why not force fuel companies to make cheaper and cleaner fuels? Perhaps because they supplement more elections and have larger lobbying budgets! Commercial trucks which get much worse gas millage and produce more carbon dioxide are not forced to these new standards. Once again, sticking to the little guy! Will the government drop the Suburbans, Town Cars and Crown Victorias for Escape Hybrids, Avalons and Priuses? Of course not!

Meanwhile, half of the states in the country now have laws that require electric utilities to use more renewable resources. This means that companies have to invest in other sources of energy rather than build gasoline refineries... ie, the price at the pump goes up! I am all for alternative energy, but forcing a company to do it is only going to hurt the consumer at the bottom. Costs are passed down... DUH! So who is lobbying for these changes... all the new companies that have been investing in renewable energy! Thats who benefits... not you the general public. "Some executives lament the lack of a national policy because the patchwork of state regulations pushes investment away from some of the most economical wind and solar projects"... in fact, companies focus on where they can get the best deals rather than what are the best energy prospects.

Mess in the Middle East

Who would have thought that people would be fighting to take credit for the 9/11 attacks? Al-Qaida's No. 2 leader Ayman al-Zawahri criticized Iran for trying to blame Israel for 9/11. Thats right, Al-Qaida wants its credit in order to maintain its position of power in the Middle East, and is fed up with Iran using terrorism to extend its power through Hezbollah. Al-Zawahri said, "Iran's aim here is also clear — to cover up its involvement with America in invading the homes of Muslims in Afghanistan and Iraq." Turning Muslims against Iran... I can't say that this is a bad thing.

The Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, has a different message for it's neighbors:"Many other foreign countries have kept diplomatic missions in Baghdad regardless of security considerations." Despite closer ties with Iran, no ambassador from any Sunni Arab nation is stationed permanently in Baghdad. While about half of Iraq's foreign debt has been forgiven, about $40+ billion, much owned to Gulf countries, has not. Looks like the other countries in the region don't really care much about Iraq's future... makes one wonder why we do here in the U.S.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Problems With The U.S. Military? Never!

Convicted of manslaughter and can't get a job once you get out of prison? Sign up for the military! Thanks to intense pressure to recruit, the Army and Marine Corps are significantly increasing the number of recruits... with felony convictions. One member of congress said, "Concerns have been raised that the significant increase in the recruitment of persons with criminal records is a result of the strain put on the military by the Iraq war and may be undermining military readiness." In response a Pentagon spokesperson replied, "Waivers are used judiciously and granted only after a thorough review... low unemployment, a protracted war on terror, a decline in propensity to serve and the growing reluctance of parents, teachers and other adults to recommend young people go into the military, has made recruiting a challenge." I have no problems letting former convicts serve in the armed forces, but lets not lie to ourselves about this - "low unemployment?" - 250,000 people have lost their jobs this year... plenty of people are looking for jobs, and even the Houston Police Department had to increase their recruitment bonuses to attract people AWAY from the military!

Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Bob Gates, stuck it to the U.S. Air Force for sucking, and not using enough UAVs. Criticizing old ways of thinking, and noting that "Dissent is a sign of health in an organization, and particularly if it's done in the right way." Perhaps these convicts will bring in new ways of thinking? Despite laying out the problems with the Air Force commander's decisions, he did not bring up any of the controversies that have dogged the Air Force in recent months, including the tainted contract to promote the Air Force's Thunderbirds that was worth $50 million. More interestingly, we should all wonder why it costs $50 million to promote a promotions team and wonder what their website cost to produce!

In International News

The Olympic torch ran into complications again, this time in Malaysia, where one man was wearing a T-shirt reading “Beijing Torches Human Rights.” Others protested for Free Tibet, and the biggest incident involved a Japanese family who held a Tibet flag. Hundreds of Chinese nationals confronted them at Independence Square, the relay’s start, and hit them with inflated plastic batons. Some of the Chinese shouted “Taiwan and Tibet belong to China,” as suspected the Japanese family was arrested and the attackers left alone.

Ah the separation of Church and State... and tenet in American Democracy, but a gap that seems to be shrinking by the day. At least we don't live in Paraguay where a Roman Catholic Bishop was just elected president. Well yes, he did step down from his religious post before running, doesn't anyone else have a problem that he lived his life for his faith, but was so willing to give it up for political power? Even more interesting was that the Pope doesn't seem to mind. Meanwhile in Brazil, a priest was carried away by balloons. While originally using the stunt as a fund raiser, search efforts for him are not costing the Brazilian government lots of money!

Carter appears to have worked at a wonderful peace deal in the Middle East this time around... Hamas will kinda recognize Israel and pledge for peace in exchange Israel gives up territory it took at the end of the 1967 war. In essence Haman is saying, "we will stop being terrorists for 10 years, if you give into all of our demands, but after 10 years we will go back to being terrorists." Carter says that Hamas wants to be peaceful neighbors, but the U.S. State Department who knows that Carter is an idiot said, “Hamas does not recognize Israel’s right to exist, it has not eschewed or walked away from terrorism and violence, nor has it said it will honor any of the previous agreements that have been made with the Israeli government.” Thankfully Israel isn't stupid so no one will be taking this deal.

Science In Your Life

After sampling over 4,000 people's pee, we have learned there are cultural differences in metabolism. In the future, urine might help shed light on diabetes, atherosclerosis, obesity and even cancer. And you thought it was only useful as a drug test! Perhaps pee will also help with anti-aging studies since many doctors are finally embracing that form of medicine. Makes sense, if people live longer, then will encounter more illness and keep the medical industry growing!

Surprise, surprise... cable is screwing people over! People pay for HD and get crap... thats why I just stick to the computer. Between streaming video from network websites and Hulu I can avoid dealing with cable companies!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Middle East Update

For the last two months it would appear that the Pakistani ambassador to Afghanistan has been held hostage by the Taliban. Oddly enough, no one seemed to noticed until now. It makes one wonder what else has been going on in the Middle East that we missed out on. For example did you know that Iran and Afghanistan have been fighting? It would appear that an Iranian patrol entered Afghanistan, Afghan police were dispatched and subsequently a teacher from the village ended up dead. Go figure? Thankfully the Afghanis are finally doing the job that the U.S. Special Forces had been doing for them for the last 6 years, and may eventually replace the need for U.S. troops to be in the region. I've been saying to focus on training and it seems that people are finally listening!

Remember the lesson on Supply and Demand you learned in high school economics? Well throw that out the window, when talking about oil prices. OPEC Secretary-General Abdullah el al-Badri said Sunday, "Oil prices, there is a common understanding that has nothing to do with supply and demand." Translation: "OPEC will not be increasing its output because we have you over a barrel. Muha ha ha ha... Muha ha ha ha." Meanwhile, a lost group of Palestinians who somehow got stranded on the Iraq-Syria border are looking forward to their new home in Chile. So far almost 80 Palestinians have settled in Chile and it is expected that they will be asking for their own country soon.

Now spend some time on this week's International Relations Lesson...

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Getting Louder with Steven Crowder: Fear the Russians

I have a man crush on Enrique Iglesias.

That has nothing to do with this blog at all, but I just wanted to put it out there.

It's on the table. Do with it what you will.

I've been house-sitting for a real estate agent in Simi Valley for the past couple of weeks, which is (as many of you know) home to... The great, late, Ronald Reagan. I think we can all agree, that the man was a badass.

It takes a fuzzy pair to stair down a dude like Gorbachev.

Have you ever tried to stare down a Russian? It's virtually impossible. They have cold, lifeless eyes. Eyes that stare right through you... They have devil's eyes.

If you ever go into a rough area of town, and watch the tough "gangsta's", you'll see that they avoid Russians (particularly the fresh off of the boat variety) like the plague. While the American thug culture, over the years has bred an intense, angry scowl, the Russian stare says "I don't need to try and look hard/bad.... I'm simply going to kill you."

Why do "American Gangsta's" fear them? It's quite simple.

While many people in America try to complain about how "tough" life is, or how "hard they've had it," they know that it's nothing compared to the people abroad. These thugs who say "Man I was raised in the streets," know deep down, that the crazy Russian dude next to him, probably had to fight a bear for his food, or kill his neighbor for toilet paper.

That was a complete exaggeration of course, but you get the point.

Many Americans are whiny. They complain about all of the problems that they've had, and the troubles they've faced, while foreigners come here, face even MORE adversity... and flourish. My hats off to them.

Now, I'm not for illegal immigration by any means... However, I can't help but admire the work ethic of these people. They come to this country, to work long hours, for little pay and are grateful for it. What we consider "poor," they consider a "great life." It's really a testament to how great this country really is, when you think about it.

Please don't misinterpret what I'm saying, as me telling you to be happy with mediocrity. What I'm saying is "If there's something you want in this country go out and take it." Especially if you were born and raised here, are in your youth and are able-bodied... You really have no excuse.
Life is hard... Deal with it.

There's a big pie out there, go out and get a piece.

Whether you're black, brown, red or white... Go out and get a piece.

And if we want to get into the whole "Who's more oppressed" contest... I think we can give it to the Russians.

Look at combat sports... They say that historically, the more oppressed people of the times, have controlled combat sports.

For years it was the Irish, then it was the blacks (or Afro-Americans as they like to be called)... And now, it's the Russians.

That's just science people.

How is this relavent to politics, you ask?

It's not. I just like to talk about how tough Russians are. Not only is it cool, but by default, it makes The Gipper look even more awesome.

* Getting Louder with Steven Crowder is a weekly feature on Steinberg For Congress

Friday, April 18, 2008

It's Alive!

The socialist utopia is alive and well in cyberspace. Despite that the Soviet Union collapsed over 15 years ago, the use of the ".su" domain name is on the rise. "Russian nostalgia for the Soviet empire is part of the story. Nashi, or "Ours," is a pro-Kremlin youth group that gained notoriety for raucous protests against Kremlin critics. The group loyally praises President Vladimir Putin at "nashi.su," though it denies its choice of the ".su" domain was meant to send a political message." It's not just die-hard communists, but also entrepreneurs as ford.su is held by a Moscow mechanic and apple.su is up for trade for a new laptop! Some wonder if women.su is run by Putin, who recently proclaimed "I like all Russian women." It might be jointly run by Italian leader Silvio Berlusconi, since these world leaders are quickly becoming tabloid material.

Who's not alive are the 20,000 people have been killed on Mumbai's notoriously overcrowded train system over the past five years. Some think that the DC metro is crowded during rush hour, but no one gets crushed, run over or electrocuted... at least not regularly! The trains are considered the lifeline of India's financial capital as they carry 7,000,000 commuters a day. One railway commissioner said, "No other city in India has so many people traveling by one mode of transport. There are a minimum of 10 deaths daily on the railways." These odds of dying are worse than Detroit or Baltimore combined!

Crime and Society

Cops are so close to criminals that it can be easy to cross the line, and that is what happened with a Oklahoma Sheriff who was charged with coercing and bribing female inmates so he could use them in a sex-slave operation run out of his jail. His chief deputy said,"We are stunned." The question I have is are they stunned that he was doing it or that he got caught? In a county of only 26,000 people how can the undersheriff not know what was going on?

Do you want to be an armchair border patrol officer? Rather than sit on top of your barn and try to pick off illegals as they cross the border, which sounds like a video game concept waiting to be made, people sit at their computers across the country and watch via a webcam to report people illegally crossing to the proper authorities. One TechnoPatriot said, "Sometimes it can be discouraging, but knowing that I'm attempting to do the federal government's job helps inspire me." If only federal employees felt this way about doing their job!

Your Government at Work

If airport security was not bad enough, now with new body scanners already in use in LA and NY, TSA gets to peer beneath your clothing! The biggest concern is privacy, as one might think, since the 3D black and white on are par with a Rodin sculpture. An ACLU director said, "The images that I've seen are quite revealing... I guarantee you that as this gets more commonly used, you'll be seeing these images on the Internet." In the meantime, TSA screeners across the country are getting more training... which based on previous posts on this blog is obviously needed! The head of the TSA described the purpose of the training, "We have to prepare for attacks that don't fit our procedures... such as the traveler who stuffed a block of cheese wrapped in wire into a checked bag." Screeners will also get a new uniform and badge so that they can be more easily confused with police and to give them an even larger chip on their shoulders. Great use of your tax dollars, no?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I Want Candy!

First there there was candy cigarettes... now there is candy cocaine! Cocaine mixed with candy powder is generally less potent, but recently the DEA has seized last month a full-strength powder into which strawberry, coconut, lemon and cinnamon flavoring had been chemically synthesized. At $1,100 to $1,400 an ounce, I don't see many kids confusing this stuff with candy. And for addicts... why not just buy regular powder cocaine which averages only $600 to $700 an ounce?

Your Government at Work

For $736 Million you too could own an embassy in Iraq. That was the final price tag for the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. Thank constant attacks on the not so permanent shacks and tents that made up the U.S. mission as the only reason that the building was finished so quickly!

Meanwhile in Pakistan, despite $10.5 Billion in military and economic aid, terrorists still operate freely! A spokesman for the National Security Council said, "This is going to be a long battle against a determined enemy and I can assure you that the president and his national security advisors focus on this every day and will continue to do what is necessary to protect the American people." Half the money was to reimburse Pakistan for military options along the Afghanistan border, but obviously those operations have not been so successful. And I'm sure that such missions do a lot to protect the American people!

A Dose of Religion

Pope Benedict XVI met with victims of clergy sex abuse, as a gesture of atonement for the shame of the church. Over 4,000 priests have been accused of molesting minors in the U.S. over the last 50 years... $2 billion has been paid out in settlements, and six dioceses have been forced into bankruptcy. One of the victims recounts the experience, "I said, 'Holy Father, you need to know you have a cancer in your flock and I hope you will do something for this problem; you have to fix this." While often time cancer is eradicated, the Pope did not offer to put the offending priests to death. Another victim who prayed and talked with Benedict said, "I believe we turned the pope's head a little in the right direction." I'm not going to touch that one... and I hope neither do any of the other priests. In his public mass in Washington, D.C., Benedict said, "Your ancestors came to this country with the experience of finding new freedom and opportunity." No one expected priests to abuse them once they got here.

Next time you are on an airplane, be sure to pray in your own seat. An orthodox jew said his prayers near the lavatory on board a United flight being boarded at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Who can blame him? But when he was urged to take his seat he ingnored the order. "When the man finally stopped praying, he explained that he couldn't interrupt his religious ritual and wasn't trying to be rude. But the attendants summoned a guard to remove him." Note the order of events... he stopped praying and then he was removed. So logically the flight could have just gone on as scheduled... but no, someone had a hard on for power and had to waste more time having him removed. In case you are curious, the prayer took 2 minutes!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Can You Believe it?

Pirate attacks are up! Pirates are not just in the Caribbean... or your local movie theater... rather they are a world wide pandemic. Or at least a small problem for those who sail on the high seas. Show of hands? Yeah... didn't think so. "For the first time in the last decade ... Indonesia is no longer ranked with the highest number of reported incidents." That right... it's now the 2nd highest behind Nigeria. I can understand pirates in the shipping lanes in the far east, but what the heck are they doing off the coast of Nigeria... and better question, why are boats going past there?

Floating cloud ads? Using a mixture of soap-based foams and lighter-than-air gases, a company has made Flogos, which are about two feet long and nearly a foot wide, and generally last anywhere from a few minutes to an hour. The inventor of Flogo says, "It does not pollute the skies," assuming you like seeing floating advertisements.

Gas is at an all time high
! It is expected that retail gas prices will continue to go up from the average price of $3.40 a gallon toward $4 by summer. Its not just rises crude costs, but also due to the "change over from winter grade gasoline to the more expensive but less polluting fuel refineries are required to sell in the summer." So in addition to blaming the war in Iraq, the falling U.S. dollar, and the greedy oil companies, you can also blame the environmentalists and the federal government.

Ahmadinejad casts doubt over U.S. version of 9/11 attacks? I can... by claiming the United States used this as a false pretext to invade Afghanistan and Iraq, he keeps Iranians in check by making them think they should fear the West. "Four or five years ago, a suspicious event occurred in New York. A building collapsed and they said that 3,000 people had been killed but never published their names," Ahmadinejad told Iranians in the holy city of Qom. As if there were not enough conspiracy theories already... Thanks! Ironically, the U.S. campaigns toppled the Taliban and Saddam Hussein, which just happen to be the two biggest regional threats to Iran.

A federal prison inmate is on the ballot for Idaho's primary as a Democratic presidential candidate! No, I'm not talking about Clinton or Obama... but rather Keith Russell Judd who is serving time at the Beaumont Federal Correctional Institution in Texas. So now Democratic voters will be able to choose between Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Judd. A state Democratic Party spokesman claimed, "It's a mockery of the system, and it's too bad that this kind of thing can happen." I bet he gets a few votes. However messed up you think this is... in Idaho all the national deligates are picked based on the caucus not the primary... so as theSe state Secretary of State noted, "The good thing is the Democratic presidential primary has absolutely no legal significance."

Special Report: Video Game Politics

For years we have heard politicians talk about video game violence and how it is destroying our society. Now it seems there is a group organized to combat this. It's not often that there is a political cause that gamers will really care to get behind... that is until now! The Video Game Voters Network is a culmination of gamers and other 1st amendment rights activists who are looking to protect legislative threats to video games. "The Video Game Voters Network is a place for American gamers to organize and defend against threats to video games by registering to vote and letting Congress know how important this issue is to the community." Video games are free speech, just like books, movies, or music... but politicians often criticize them in order to draw attention and score points for their political campaigns.

I'll be curios to see where this goes... Kudos to the Entertainment Software Association for coming up with this. Perhaps someone should make a video game out of it?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Government Employees Forced to do Their Jobs

Last year the State Department sent notice that they would be compelling some of its employees to serve in Iraq if not even people signed up for the assignments. Through bribery (aka. danger pay, cost of living adjustments, guarantees of promotions and plum postings later) found enough volunteers. Well, now that those rotations are over the problem has returned. Foreign Service Director General Harry Thomas said, "We must assign to Iraq those employees whose skills are most needed, and those employees should know that they personally are needed." One would think this would be a "duh" statement... why wouldn't the most qualified people be sent to Iraq or Afghanistan? It's called foreign service, not make lots of money while sitting at a desk in Washington, DC service! I say if people refuse to go then fire them. FSO's sign a mobilization agreement much like those in the Department of Defense... if they don't want the job there are thousands in the wings waiting to do it! Heck, there are so many people trying to get the job that there is even a book on how to do it!

If that wasn't enough trouble in the Middle East, former president Carter still has his nose where it does not belong. People like to complain when the United States gets involved in the affairs of other countries... often times someone asks for it to happen... but with Cater, he just does whatever he feels like! Carter's defense, "Since Syria and Hamas will have to be involved in a final peace agreement, they have to be involved in discussions that lead to final peace." To put this into historical terms... this is similar to going to Hitler during World War II and asking how much of Europe he wanted to stop the attacks.

Social Studies in Society

Once again... here is more evidence on why the government needs to get out of the marriage business. Same sex unions in one state might not be recognized in another... so when it's time to dissolve them, it is a difficult thing to get done. If we would just remove the government from the equation, there would not be these issues! Meanwhile, divorce and unwed-parenting is costing tax payers $112 billion a year! The study says, "Because of the very large taxpayer costs associated with high rates of divorce and unwed childbearing, and the modest price tags associated with most marriage-strengthening initiatives ... programs even with very modest success rates will be cost-effective." Call me a cynic, but programs that come to mind should include sterilization.

From birth to death... executions are a hot topic for some, and the death penalty is sometimes considered cruel and unusual punishment. However, in China it's just part of daily life... in fact more than once a day on average! "China executed more people than any other country in the world last year by putting at least 470 people to death." Where does the U.S. rate? 5th with 42 executions. Iran is on the list too... and they have a way to deal with the above problem as well!

In International News...

Thousands of people were forced to leave their homes in Columbia due to a volcano eruption. Ironically the people left due to the flooding rather than the ash or lava. There have been minor eruptions for the last year... but the last full scale eruption was in the 16th Century. No doubt people will blame global warming or the United States for this. (I admit it, I was just looking for an excuse to use this cartoon.)

Monday, April 14, 2008

Iraq's Free Ride Comes to an End

It seems that the American people are tired of footing the bill for Iraqi reconstruction, and rightly so since the country is making quite a bit on it's oil income! Heck, why can't Iraq pay for the rebuilding of their hospitals, roads, and power infrastructure? A new bill in the House would require Iraq to start paying at least part of th tab. It's a great plan, but we can all watch it fail later this year as it gets earmarked to death. Meanwhile, President Bush has already said that Baghdad's latest budget would outspend the U.S. by more than 10-1 on Iraq reconstruction, with U.S. funding for big projects "approaching zero."

In International News...

In Italy, if you make millions and start your own political party you can rule the country! In fact you can even do some really stupid stuff and get reelected! In fact he's already workin on his plan to consolidate power and fix the country. I've been saying its time for a new political party here in the U.S..... perhaps if we had more people who were like Berlusconi?

In Isreal, former president Carter is getting the cold shoulder. So what did Carter do? "Carter angered the Israeli government with plans to meet Hamas’ top leader, Khaled Mashaal, in Syria, and for describing Israeli policy in the occupied Palestinian territories as “a system of apartheid” in a 2006 book." Jimmy, stop trying to reclaim your fame... stick to building houses in the third ward... you are loosing international favor quicker than our current president at this rate!

In South Korea, it was a black day for love. If you didn't know, South Korea celebrates Valentine's Day, where local custom dictates women give gifts to men. Then in Japan and other parts of Asia (including South Korea), there is White Day on March 14 when men return the favor with gifts for women. But only in South Korea is there Black Day on April 14, where people who have not found love dressing in dark colors and commiserating over meals of black food. What do locals think about all of this? "I had a miserable time on Valentine's Day, felt even lonelier on White Day and now I'm crying over a bowl of black noodles," said an embarrassed young women. Wow... what a lovely tradition!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Letter to the Editor: John McCain Endorsement

This letter was sent to me to be shared...

After long and serious thought, I have decided to endorse Senator John McCain for President.

I have always voted for the person and have not voted for anyone because some political party was telling me who I should vote for. We all know the choices by now and, that said, I do believe that the process of selecting a chief executive is deeply flawed. The words "money" and "special interests" come to mind, among many others.

Here's the way I see it:

Barack Obama, you are a fine public speaker. You are also an extremely liberal Senator from the State of Illinois , which has a long and rich history of political corruption of the first magnitude. You are indeed a child of that system. You have finally insulted my intelligence far beyond my capacity to tolerate your insults. It has nothing at all to do with your skin color. As a matter of fact, it would be so COOL to finally have an African-American for President. What a great statement that would be to the entire world that we are indeed the greatest country on earth! But, unfortunately, General Colin Powell is not running, and YOU are NOT the man for this job!

Barack baby, you want me to believe that you have never heard the sermons of your own pastor, the Right Reverend "God Damn America" Jeremiah Wright. It is a matter of record that this has been your church for over 20 years. It is a matter of record that you were married there by this very pastor, and that your children were baptized there. The good Reverend saw fit to visit Khadafy in Libya with you and to give a lifetime achievement award to Louis Farrakhan, of all people. We have all now seen excerpts of his sermons all over the airwaves by now. And you have publicly stated that this man IS your "spiritual mentor." BUT, your pastor is NOT the reason I am NOT voting for you. His words were disturbing enough, but it is your own HUGE church congregation, seen jumping, hooting and howling to his words in the background that disturb me the most. And please don't tell me you attended church there and never once heard a "discouraging word" in the 20 years you attended there. Don't tell me, that in addition to the good reverend, that you are now not having anything to do with all those other people seen hooting and howling out in the audience in the background of his fiery tirades. Even Oprah Winfrey got disgusted and walked out. I am no Oprah fan, but still she did the right thing.

Now YOU look me in the eye and ask me to believe that you never heard such language in all the years you attended there! This is like me telling you that I attended dozens of Klan rallies’ and never once heard the "N" word. Yep. And Bill Clinton "did not inhale." Yes, Mr. Obama, we all have friends who have said stupid things that embarrassed us, but NOW you have asked me to believe something that is so incredibly stupid that you are telling me that I am just stupid enough to believe you. THAT is the main reason that I will never vote for you. I am deeply sorry, that in a county teeming with enormously talented African Americans who would make a good President, which the political system has chosen YOU. You are a pathetic and plastic excuse for an American, who will not even salute the Flag during the Pledge of Allegiance. God forbid you ever get near the Oval Office.

Now, did I mention Bill Clinton?

AH YES! This brings us to MRS. WILLIAM JEFFERSON CLINTON, who this candidate really is, in spite of all the other names she may care to call herself. This "feminist" piece of work of course would like to be referred to as MS. and we all know who wears the pant suit in that family. MS. Clinton, (sugar), it is just as depressing to realize that there are dozens of women who would also make great Presidents. But, unfortunately, the horrible state of the selection process has selected YOU. Ms. Clinton, I'm sorry, but you could not tell the truth if we water boarded your worthless ass!

Still you play the role of the "embarrassed but dignified noble wife". What utter malarkey! I am not voting for you for a world of reasons, but the main one is the same as not my voting for Senator Obama. You persistently insult my intelligence. It COULD be conceivably possible that you did not know about Monica Lewinsky, extremely remote, but possible if we stretch our imaginations a bit. But you turn around and then ask me to believe that you also did not know about Paula Jones and the legion of other women who were chewed up and spit out by your lecherous excuse for a husband. Puleese turn off this broken record!!!

But let's set aside your hubby's flagrant peccadilloes’. The real reason I will never vote for you is that I don't think the country can survive EIGHT MORE YEARS of Whitewater, Travel gate, File gate, Sandy Berger stuffing his socks with classified intelligence, Janet Reno's goon squad, and the myriad other corruptions that seem to stick to you like your ugly face. So our former President can't keep his dick in his pants. The REAL issue is that he committed perjury under oath when he lied about it and the pathetically-attempted cover-up that followed. Like you, he is totally incapable of telling the truth. He could not do it if you tortured him, and in voting for you, we would get the BOTH of you, all over again. The same folks who could have taken out Osama Bin Laden over 3,000 dead Americans ago!

And please stop telling me that you have "8 years of experience" to lead us. You were the freakin' first lady already, not the Commander in Chief. Jeez! The sum of your "experience" is that of the most worrisome and incompetent meddling in the history of the White House. You even cursed your pitiful staff and the Secret Service agents who were and still are unfortunately charged with risking their lives to protect your worthless, thieving hide, and all at the expense of other people who have to work for a living.

Your single pathetic platform is to finance the illegal drugs, alcoholism and bad habits of the very lowest and most irresponsible freeloaders in America and to then "garnish the wages" (your own words) of every law-abiding and hard-working American to pay for it. This disaster you refer to as "Universal Health Care". Where have you been the last 30 years? Did you not see that socialism is a failure wherever it has been tried? Did you not notice that the Soviet Union has collapsed since it gave no reward to those who worked the hardest for the fruits of their own labors to pay for those who will not??

It is interesting to see all the dead bodies that you and your hubby have left in your wake. Suicides, mysterious deaths, cover-ups that make Richard Nixon look like a rank amateur. The utter contempt and unbelievable arrogance of some of your strongest supporters, most notably the recently resigned and disgraced Governor Eliot Spitzer, the epitome of hypocritical and malevolent arrogance gone wild, one of your most ardent, wealthy and powerful political supporters. A man the news media refuses to admit IS a "super delegate" in your own political machine, a fine example of your own "adopted" state of New York. No wonder you moved there to run for Senator! The environment there is perfect for the likes of you!

Yes, I would vote for a woman, but I will NOT vote for YOU!

This leaves us with Senator John McCain.

John, you are a flawed man. You are a bit old, a bit looney, and you have a notoriously bad temper. This perfectly qualifies you, in my humble opinion, to lead us for the next eight years. I WANT your trembling hand on the nuclear button.

Think about it.

We have Kim Jung IL, Chavez and Ahmadenijad all running around like lunatics, threatening America and threatening to plunge the world into nuclear Armageddon. We have Putin and the Chinese blustering and rattling their sabers at us. I want John McCain in the Oval Office and I want him to be really pissed off at all these other nut jobs around the planet.

John, once you are elected, I want you to go into the Oval Office and throw one of your perfect FITS. Jump up and down and throw something through a plate glass window. Rip the drapes down and foam at the mouth a bit. And I want the whole thing on camera so that Ahmadinejad can see it. I want ALL of these "world leaders" to lay awake at night and to break out in a cold sweat every time they think of messing with the United States of America .

I want the nuclear button sitting right next to the alarm clock on your night stand. I want pictures of this to be sent to Iran, Russia, China, Venezuela, Cuba, Libya, Syria, Pakistan, and those other assholes in the sheets, the Saudis.

On the domestic front, poor John did try and reach across the aisle to the opposition in a desperate effort to compromise and to get the Congress to do something. You may not agree with his efforts, but at least he TRIED. For all his efforts, all he got handed to him was his head in a basket. The liberals are pissed at him and the conservatives are pissed at him. Just my kinda guy.

I predict that John will select Senator Joe Lieberman as his running mate. Good choice. I want a Jew whose memory of the Holocaust is still fresh in his mind and who is royally pissed off at all of these towel-headed morons in the Middle East to be the next in line if something should happen to John. Shalom, Vice President Joe. One heartbeat from the Oval Office.

Finally…John McCain knows on a most personal level what it is to suffer horrible torture for years and to see others die, right in front of you, for their love of America . When you ask him about it, he will tell you that what he did was "nothing special". Even more incredibly, he states that ANY American who truly loves his country would do exactly the same as he did in that situation. You and I will have a hard time believing that, but the real point is that John McCain believes that about the "average American", and that, dear friends and neighbors, is why I will cast my one poor ballot for on election day for John McCain--warts and all.

God Bless America,

A Concerned Citizen

The views expressed in this letter are of the individual who sent it, and do not necessary reflect the views of this blog.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Ode to the Grounded Airplane

Ah flight... the dream of many and the reality of even more today. Well until recently when FAA crackdowns combined with high fuel prices have led to delays and bankruptcies.

All month thousands of flights have been canceled leaving hundreds of thousands of passengers dealing with delays due to a failure of federal regulators to act on whistleblowers' complaints" about maintenance. "Those scrubbed flights are part of the 'cascading effect'' across the industry since the Federal Aviation Administration acknowledged lapses in its oversight of the airline industry." What happened you may be wondering... well the President of the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists says, "the agency has become so focused on working in partnership with the airlines that it has allowed its safety mission to become a lower priority, in many cases ignoring warnings from its own inspector workforce." This random guy from Kansas City and the inspector general at the Department of Transportation places blame squarely on the government: "This week’s debacle for air travelers is presumably the result of the FAA trying to make up for lost ground — or at least seeking to give the impression of doing so."

But wait... the FAA is only part of the problem. The FAA related issues are effecting mostly older planes, such as those flown American, Southwest, Alaskan, and Northwestern as well as others. In the meanwhile, fuel prices and uneasy creditors has led to five airlines going bankrupt: Aloha, ATA, Skybus, Skyway and Frontier in the last two weeks. These smaller airlines were not as effected by the FAA but still hit a snag. Talk about a timing problem! But don't be surprised to see more go under soon.

Perhaps if we could go back to human powered flight, think of the Greek legend of Icarus... then we would not have to deal with delays. Or better yet... rocket powered planes! Think of this as NASCAR in the air... the wrecks will be so much better! Just wait until the FAA has to try to regulate Pod Racing!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Tibet, Taiwan and China... 1, 2, or 3 Countries?

Despite the problems in Tibet, for the first time since Taiwan and China split, the two sides talked.... for 20 minutes. What brought the two sides together? Money! At an economic conference Taiwan's incoming Vice President said, "Both sides should face up to reality, usher in the future, set aside disputes and pursue a win-win situation." China's Hu said Beijing wanted to "think deep about cross-Straits economic exchanges and cooperation under the new circumstances." Will this lead to an end of the six decades of hostilities? Colin Powell, who was attending the Boao conference, said the meeting was "very good news for the region...The two sides have begun down a new path ... I think we are at the beginning of a new phase in relations between the parties in Asia." What next, will China play nice with Tibet? Based on the recent problems coming out of the region and the lack of economic benefit, I think not.

In International News...

Food prices are going up... here in the United States, no one seem to notice... but in Haiti it's getting rough! Riots over food are becoming more and more common. There are currently 1,000 UN troops in Haiti to deal with the riots. If the money that is spent on these troops was instead spent on food, we could let them eat cake! The government is being blamed for a failure to create jobs and control escalating food prices, and Haiti's Senate ousted Prime Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis over the handling of the crisis. The word from the man on the street? "Most of the time we get up and have nothing to eat. We just pray for the sun to go down so we can go to sleep." I can relate to this... it's hard to sleep when the sun is out.

Your Government at Work

An artillery fragment crashed through the roof of a house in New Jersey and lead to the death of a house cat. The house was just over a mile from where the munitions were being detonated, but "Scientific estimates had indicated that fragments from the explosion would travel no further than 400 meters." Looks to me that someone needs to hire some new scientists!

Want me to address something?

Connect with me at SteinbergForCongress@gmail.com on Facebook or MySpace... I'm happy to give my opinion on any topic!