Monday, December 06, 2004

On Vacation

I should have posted this sooner. I've been on hiatus for a few days and will return soon. I'm currently working on passing a state require real estate course so I can take my license exam. My final is today, so hopefully, I'm prepared.

Stay tuned! :)

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Pulling out of Politics

I think that for awhile, I'm throwing in my hat when it comes to political articles.

Why?

The answer is, simply, I'm tired of it all.

I've pulled one of my articles, because I view it as too inflammatory. So far, I've been flaming the Bush admin, mainly because they're the only people talking right now. The squeaky politician gets the flamethrower. The article I pulled was a little over the top, when I went back and reviewed it.

So, why am I tired of talking politics? Because its like talking to a brick wall. I've spent alot of time trying to bridge the gap between the two sides. I'd like to see the old Republican party make a comeback. I don't like the Neo-Con agenda. I'd like to see the old Democratic party make a comeback. They're starting to sound as bad as the Neo-Cons. I guess we'll call them the Neo-Libs.


Both parties once tried to stand for the little guy. Now, all they really stand for is themselves. I've spent time reading and listening to both sides. Unfortunately, there's not much difference between the parties.

One side hates liberals. The other side hates conservatives.

I published my article, "What Our Nation Needs" on a couple of forums. The conservatives dismissed it. We have the leader that our nation needs, they said. If you actually read the article, you'll see that Bush isn't doing most of the things I talked about. The article could have been titled, "A few suggestions for the president." The liberals didn't dismiss the article. A couple shot it down as anti-feminist because I said "he" and not "he or she". Others decided to debate religion, and the fundamentalists that support Bush, rather than my article. It could just as easily been titled, "What the Democrats Need"

In the end, it all boils down to one thing. Neither side seems interested in healing the nation. Neither side wants to admit it is wrong on some things and right on others. For both sides, its "We're right, they're wrong."

Both sides are intolerant. Both sides are bigoted, just against different people.

Now, more than ever, we need a leader who can represent All Americans.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Al Qaeda Vows to Keep Fighting US

In a taped message aired on Al Jazeera November 29th, the right hand man of Osama Bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahri promised that Al Qaeda would continue to fight against America.

Zawahri mentioned the US presidential election and said that it did not matter who America chose as their next president. This indicates that the tape was made before Nov 2.

Zawahri stated in the tape, "Our final advice to America, although I know they will not heed it: You must choose between two methods in dealing with Muslims. Cooperate with them with respect and based on mutual interests or deal with them as free loot, robbed land and violated sanctity."

US Intelligence agencies have said that they will analyze the tape.

Zawahri went on to discuss the upcoming elections in Iraq and called for other Middle Eastern nations to rise up against the United States.

Zawahri is believed t be in hiding along with Osama Bin Laden in the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Personally, I still don't understand why this man is free. Why are he and his boss even breathing?

What good has fighting the war on terror done us if the men who planned 9/11 are still alive and free to plan further attacks on the United States? The answer is: very little. Bin Laden is still plotting, still receiving aid from his supporters, and has threatened further attacks. The leader of one of the most merciless, murderous groups currently terrorizing Iraq, Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, recently pledged allegiance to Al Qaeda. In order to kill this serpent, we must cut the head off of Al Qaeda. That head is Osama Bin Laden.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

What Our Nation Needs

At this time of division in our nation, many people are asking the question, "What does our nation need?"

It does not need a religious fanatic. It does not need a corporate crony. It does not need a warmonger. It does not need another talking head who recites party policy.

These things we know to be true.

We still leave the question unanswered. What DO we need?

The United States needs a leader. A statesman. Someone like FDR or JFK. Am I stating that either of these two men were perfect? Of course not. No man is perfect.

However, both men were strong willed. Both new how to address the people of the nation. Both worked to restore a feeling of safety and comfort to the people.

FDR was elected during the great depression. He had a plan. He pushed the plan into action. Today, we still have programs he initiated in place. Social Security. Unemployment insurance.

So what plan does this great American statesman, that our nation needs, need? He needs a plan to address terrorism. Not one of attacking other nations, but one of securing our homeland. He needs a plan to secure our borders, to prevent terrorists from gaining entry. He needs a plan to secure our nuclear power plants, our shipyards and harbors. At a time when American should be consolidating our military power at home, we are instead fighting battles abroad and spreading our military too thin in the task.

He needs a plan to control government spending. He needs a plan to lower and eventually dissolve the national debt. He needs a plan to bring jobs to the US, not send them abroad. He needs a New Deal.

He needs a plan to enact corporate responsibility. He needs a plan to bring healthcare costs under control and to cover every American citizen with a national healthcare plan. He needs to ensure that illegal immigrants are either urged to earn US citizenship, and not play the green card system for their own personal gain.

He needs to bring taxes in line with wealth. The more you make, the more you pay and vice versa. He needs to protect the American worker, the lower, the middle, and the upper classes. He needs a vision of fair treatment and constitutional guarantees of equal and inalienable rights.

A true statesman would welcome transparency in his government. A true leader has nothing to hide.

He should neither tow the party line nor follow the party creed. He must, most importantly, think first of what will benefit the American people the most. He must be a humanitarian. Yet, at the same time, he must be prepared to defend the American people with military force as a last resort.

He must be willing to compromise on some issues, while refusing to budge on others.

It's a tall order. Some would say that it is impossible to fill. I say that it is not impossible.

We in America seem to have fallen for the myth that a truly great president must be wealthy, college educated, and well-known. I say that that myth is wrong. The greatest thing a US president can possess is a patriotic spirit and a healthy dose of common sense.

Common sense, you ask? Yes, good old fashioned common sense.

I'll give a hypothetical example.

To protect our nation from terrorists, what could a man of common sense do?

First, he must listen to his intelligence advisors. Then he must question their authenticity. He must ask questions, and expect answers. He cannot ignore warnings. We saw on 9/11 what happens when warnings are ignored. If the intelligence groups cannot provide the answers needed, then he must err on the side of caution and then address the issue of inadequate intelligence agencies. He must communicate with the American people on a regular basis. He must reassure the people. He must increase the security at our borders and increase security on our airlines. He must push for standardized training guidelines for security officers.

To pay for this, he must stop wasteful government spending. He must urge congress to actually read the bills that they are voting on. If the result is a slower legislative process, then so be it. We as American people must learn to slow down, to think before we act, to understand before we rush headlong into an issue. The statesman must present this case to the American people. He must then pursue a more progressive tax plan. He must streamline social programs and make them more efficient. He must seek to lower bureaucratic wastefulness and red tape.

Most importantly, the statesman must gather a diverse team of advisors, from all professions, representing the interests of the American people. They must be black, white, Asian, democrat, republican, conservative, liberal, religious, and non-religious, and on and on. He needs to listen to their advice, and weigh the alternatives to determine the best, most effective choice for the American people.

He must remember that he is a federal employee and a civil servant. He must remember that the office of president is not a priviledge, but a job. He must be a man of the people, and a servant of the people.

I believe, that if such a person were to present a common sense approach for the American people, that the American people would unite behind that person. That grass root donations would and could pay for his presidential campaign, without the need for corporate sponsors who would later expect favors.

Maybe its all just a dream, but it is the American Dream.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Hastert Refuses Vote Without 'Majority of Majority'

House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert has brought new lows to partisan politics.

In an inane new policy, Hastert has stopped the Intelligence Bill from reaching the House floor for a vote, because the majority of the Republican majority didn't support it. The Bill, based on recommendations from the 9/11 Commission was popular among the democratic minority. In a Washington Post article, Hastert is quoted as saying that Bills will reach the floor, after negotiations with the Senate, only if "the majority of the majority" supports them.

Earlier, Republicans barred Democrats from participating in the drafting of the 2003 Medicare revision and this year's Intelligence Bill.

Senators from both parties and the 9/11 Commission say the current Intelligence Bill would be law already, if not for Hastert's refusal to let the bill pass with a large bipartisan support.

Hastert's actions treat the House as if it is a one party organization. Democrats need not apply.

Tactics were not the same during the Clinton era, when Democrats controlled the House. The North American Free Trade Agreement was passed with largely bipartisan support. The Majority of House Democrats at the time did not vote for NAFTA. The official vote was 102 Democrats For and 156 Against. Without the support of the Republican minority, the NAFTA bill would have died.

One political analyst did say that similar tactics had been used before, but were not used on such far-reaching issues as NAFTA and the current Intelligence Bill.

According to the Post Article:

Some congressional scholars say Hastert is emphasizing one element of his job to the detriment of another. As speaker, said Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute, "you are the party leader, but you are ratified by the whole House. You are a constitutional officer," in line for the presidency after the vice president. At crucial times, he said, a speaker must put the House ahead of his party.


Hastert chooses to put his party ahead of the House, and in doing so, he is putting his party ahead of the American people and the Constitution.

Irony in U Minor

I heard a great joke today.

Q: What's the difference between the Ukraine and the US?
A: When Ukrainians feel an election was stolen they do something about it.

In what can only be seen as an ironic situation, the US is over in Europe helping the Ukrainians sort things out. Maybe their explaining butterfly ballots and pregnant chads.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych was announced initially as the winner of the Nov. 21st presidential election with a 49% to 47% victory over challenger Viktor Yushchenko. Yanukovych has yet to announce that he won a broad mandate. Yushchenko has accused the government of election fraud, and his supporters have gone on a national strike. Current Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma warned the protestors that there might be unnamed "consequences" for their actions. I wonder if Ukraine is where John Ashcroft is retiring to.

President Bush also made a statement:

"There are a lot of allegations of vote fraud that places the validity of their elections in doubt,'' Bush told reporters in Crawford, Texas. "The international community is watching very carefully. People are paying very close attention to this and hopefully it will be resolved in a way that brings credit and confidence to the Ukrainian government."

I wonder where this sudden statesmanship was in 2000? In the Ukraine, Bush is supporting a recount. The Russians want to leave it up to the courts.

Don't worry, I got the tag number of that big semi-load of irony that just ran over the US.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Bush Promotes Abstinence, Not Condoms

Parent's which do you prefer, that your teenagers be told by their teachers not to have sex, or that they be told not to have sex, but if they do, how to use a condom?

Pushing his religious beliefs on America's youth, George W. Bush is pushing for funding that would continue a 1996 program to teach abstinence to teens, rather than birth control and sexually transmitted disease prevention. His, and other's argument is that the only 100% certain way to prevent pregnancy and STD's is not to have sex at all.

One counter argument is that the only 100% certain way to prevent car accidents is to quit driving. Yet the government funds seat-belt laws and education.

In a perfect world, everyone would wait until they got married before having sex. Oh, wait - not everyone in this nation has the right to get married. Gays have been losing that battle. In Bush's perfect world, there wouldn't be any gays either. That's a topic for another day.

So far, the only studies available show no reliable evidence that teaching abstinence has made any difference in teen sexuality since the abstinence programs began. Of course, supporters of the idea say they need longer studies. They're waiting for a study scheduled to be complete in 2006.

While I admit, abstinence is a good idea, let's be honest. How many people do things because it's a good idea?

Teen pregnancy is down, but teens continue to make up about half of the new cases of sexually transmitted diseases each year.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for abstinence before marriage. I think its a good thing. I also understand the reality. Just because you tell someone not to do something doesn't mean they won't. Just as we tell drug addicts to use clean needles, we should tell teens that if they refuse to be abstinent, they should use a condom. In George's world, though, it's his way or no way. You either abstain from sex or suffer the consequences. Telling teens to use a condom is immoral.

While condoms aren't perfect, they are one of the best methods we have to prevent AIDS and other STDs. I'd rather my kid watch a teacher put a condom on a banana than watch my kid waste away with AIDS. I can teach abstinence at home, where it should be taught in the first place. Guess I'll be teaching them how to use condoms too. Imagine a college aged person, legally an adult, who's never been taught how to use a condom or prevent STDs or pregnancy.

And if the abstinence classes fail? We end up with more and more unwanted teen pregnancies and abortion rates rise. Use condoms, prevent more abortions. George doesn't see the connection.

Too bad his dad didn't use a condom.

The Things I'm Thankful For

It's that time of year again. The Holidays are upon us. Tomorrow begins the usual Christmas shopping madness. But that's tomorrow.

Today is a day for remembering the things that matter most to us. In the spirit of this day, I present to you my list of things I am thankful for.

1. I am thankful for my wife. She's beautiful, caring, and intelligent. I have been blessed with her companionship for 7 1/2 years now. She has been there for me, before I knew I was ill, and even more after I discovered my illness. She has done so much to help me through the roughest of times. In a twist of fate, she's sick today and it's been my turn to repay some of the wonderful care she has given me. God has a funny way of reminding us sometimes just how important some things are.

2. I am thankful for each and everyone of our men and women in uniform. You make America proud. We civilians may not always agree with our leadership. In fact, we rarely do. Few Americans, however, can deny how important each and every soldier we have in this great nation is. You are an extension of our liberty, and an extension of ourselves. You have served valiantly. Thank you.

3. I am thankful that the majority of Americans are not left or right wing extremists. Yes, the extremists get more air time, but it is the majority in the middle who makes up the true heart of the great American Republic. Keep standing for America, and she will keep standing for you.

4. I am thankful for the founding father's of America. Men like Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and George Washington had the foresight to build one of the longest standing democratic nations in the world. We should all strive to be more like them.

5. I am thankful for God, and Jesus Christ. The gift he gave goes beyond words. Though I often rail against organized religions, I never rail against the creator of all that is. Sometimes, the children do not reflect the teachings of the father. We should all strive to be better children.

The list goes on. There are numerous friends and relatives that make up the rest of the list. There are events that changed my life. Some were bad, some were good, but all of them taught me something important.

Finally, I'll leave you with just a small bit of advice that I have found helpful over the years. Seek to understand every person you meet. Put yourself in his or her shoes, and imagine walking a few miles. Sometimes, it'll change the way you perceive your own steps.

Happy Thanksgiving, and God Bless America.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Blair to Face Impeachment Motion

Opposition party members in the United Kingdom Parliament will be putting forth a motion on Wednesday, Nov. 23 demanding debate concerning Prime Minister Tony Blair.

The impeachment motion calls for debate regarding "gross misconduct" in leading Britain to war against Iraq. It is the first such motion to be presented in Parliament since the 19th century.

Due to a large majority in the House of Commons of Blair's Labour party, the motion is predicted to have no effect on Blair legally. However, the motion could bring up what some see as an embarrassing situation for Blair. Blair admitted earlier this year that intelligence on which he based his case for war with Iraq was wrong. The intelligence indicated that Hussein had banned weapons ready to be used.

Blair is up for re-election in May of 2005 and has revealed that his campaign will focus on crime and terrorism prevention.

As for my take on things, I would think that the fact that this is the first time that the power of impeachment has been used since the 19th Century would be an embarrassment to Blair. It was certainly embarrassing to Bill Clinton when he faced impeachment hearings during his time as US President. However, Blair has sometimes been a voice of reason concerning issues in Iraq.

Conservative Groups Target 'Kinsey'

Those Conservative Christian Groups are at it again. This time, they're protesting the film, "Kinsey", a film about Alfred Kinsey. Kinsey was a sex researcher 50 years ago.

The groups involved say that Alfred Kinsey is partially responsible for the rise in sexually transmitted diseases, pornography, and abortion.

They also claim that he interviewed pedophiles and included children in his studies of human sexuality.
Director of Concerned Women for America's Culture and Family Institute, Robert Knight made the claim that Kinsey was the "godfather of the homosexual activist movement, the campaign to mainstream pornography, and even the campaign to strike down abortion laws." Knight also said that Kinsey should be compared to Josef Mengele, the infamous Nazi scientist. Let me get this straight. A man directs a large part of Concerned Women for America and speaks for the organization. What next, a guy running the National Organization for Women?

What it all boils down to is that these groups don't want you, as an adult, to view whatever you see fit to view.

They don't like it that you might see a movie about sex and learn something or come away with ideas that they don't support. Their tactics are as old as their arguments.

Was Kinsey a monster? Probably not. Was he a saint? Probably not. He was a man who wanted to understand something. I don't claim to have all of the facts about the man.

That doesn't give me the right to say you should or shouldn't be able to watch a movie. Even if I had every possible fact on hand about the man, I still wouldn't have that right.

A representative for Fox Searchlight Pictures, which produced the film hit the issue squarely on the head.
"In an effort to censor our filmmaker, Bill Condon, and his creative vision, a group of organizations called for protests of 'Kinsey' as it opens in theaters across the country. We will not stand by and allow this to happen," Fox said in a statement.

Yes, its that ugly demon of censorship again. And it's the Christian Conservatives, the ones who claim to want freedom, who want to impose this censorship. What happened to conservative support of a free market?

I find it heartbreaking that God gave us free will, and it is the so-called Christians who want to take it away. Alas, this has been the situation for nearly 2000 years.

Dolphins Save Swimmers

While vacationing in Cancun, Mexico a few years back, I took advantage of an opportunity to swim with captive dolphins at Cancun's largest water park. The experience is one I'll never forget. Even before that enlightening experience, I had admired dolphins. Afterwards, I regard them as one of the most fantastic creatures sharing this planet with mankind.

There are many stories of dolphins assisting shipwreck victims and swimmers. This one was pulled straight from the headlines.

On October 30th, 2004, a group of New Zealand Lifesavers were swimming off of Ocean Beach near Whangarei on the North Island of New Zealand when they found themselves surrounded and being herded by dolphins.

One swimmer tried to drift away from the group, but found himself being herded back by the dolphins. Then he saw the reason. There was a nine-foot great white shark about six feet from where he was swimming.
The swimmers spent 40 minutes surrounded by the dolphins. They were then able to swim safely back to shore.

Dolphin researchers pointed out that dolphins attack sharks to protect themselves and their young. This friendly pod apparently decided that the human swimmers were in danger, and rushed to protect them.

If ever there was a story that made you want to buy only dolphin-safe tuna, this is one of them.

During my time in the water with the dolphins that I was blessed to swim with, I found myself feeling one of the most profound peaceful sensations. I don't attribute this to any magical or new age mythos concerning dolphins. I attribute it to being in contact with one of God's most intelligent and loving creatures.

There have been stories of dolphins attacking swimmers by ramming them with their snouts, but in all cases I've ever seen, the swimmers were doing something to harass the dolphins.

Be nice to the dolphins. Someday, they might just save your life. I'm sure those four New Zealand swimmers would agree.

***Editor's Note*** Here's your chance to save the dolphins - visit Oceana.org.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

The $28,000 Cheese Sandwich

I guess I should file this story under 'J' for 'Just Plain Weird.'

The AP news service released a story today about a 10 year old cheese sandwich that sold for $28,000 on E-Bay.

The sandwich, made 10 years ago by Diana Duyser, a work-at-home jewelry designer, is believed by Duyser to contain an image of the Virgin Mary. This I had to see. Oddly enough, the toast marks on the sandwich do resemble a face. As far as whose face it is, well, that's another story. It could be pop-star Madonna, Mary Queen of Scots, or even the Virgin Mary. It's so vague that it could be anyone.

Duyser, however, is convinced. After making the sandwich 10 years ago, Duyser took a bite and then noticed the face. She then put the sandwich in a plastic container filled with cotton balls and kept it on her bedside table. She claims that it has never once shown signs of mold.

The people with the free cash to pay $28,000 for a 10 year old cheese sandwich turned out to be the online casino, GoldenPalace.com. You can see a pic of the sandwich there and judge for yourself. The CEO of GoldenPalace.com says he'll use the sandwich to raise money for charity.

E-Bay originally pulled the auction, on the grounds that they don't allow 'joke auctions.' They re-instated the auction once they had confirmed that Duyser actually owned the sandwich and intended to sell it.

Now, I think I'm going to go meddle about in the kitchen. I think I remember one of my frying pans had a scorched area that maybe looks like Sarah Jessica Parker. At $28,000 a pop, I can retire after a few hundred cheese sandwiches.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Conservative Group Calls for UN Expulsion from US

A California-based right wing group called Move America Forward is calling for the US to kick the UN out of America. They claim that the UN acts as a safe harbor for terrorists. The group's main website has a link to a petition for supporting removal of the UN. They have also launched a TV ad campaign with the same purpose.

The group's site claims that they are non-partisan. Interestingly enough, their webpage also lists their board of directors. Five are listed as either being republicans, working for republicans, or being conservative, and one is a US Marine. The group is chaired by none other than Howard Kaloogian, who takes credit for starting the 'Recall Gray Davis committee', which led to Gray Davis's ouster and Arnold Schwarzenegger's election in California. Strangely, they don't seem to think that this makes them a partisan organization. Don't get me wrong, I like Arnold, and if he were able to run in 2008, I'd vote for him. However, a group of Republicans getting together to oust a Democratic governor is definitely not non-partisan politics.

One article on their website states:

Are you tired of the constant stream of America-bashing from the shamelessly liberal news media and left-wing politicians who use every negative news story to launch a political attack against our military and our commander in chief?
Then join with the millions of Americans who are uniting to “Move America Forward” to win the War on Terrorism. Join our effort to stand up and support the brave men and women of our Armed Forces who are coming under constant criticism and condemnation from journalists and leftist anti-war activists.


Nope, nothing partisan in that, not at all.

The main thrust of the whole thing with the UN, is apparently from their site, based on the current 'Oil for Food' scandal and the UN's refusal to back the US invasion of Iraq.

I'll readily agree that the UN is in need of some work. However, talk of scrapping the only international body that attempts to oversee world peace is a little over the top, in my opinion. I think the UN would benefit if Kofi Annan stepped down, especially after recent allegations. However, the US isn't entirely blameless here. The Bush administration was adamant about a military assault on Iraq. When weapon's inspections in Iraq resumed and claimed that Hussein was following the WMD destruction guidelines, the administration still wasn't satisfied. Now we have the quagmire that is Iraq.

Now we have a group of Bush supporters trying to convince America that the UN harbors terrorists. Perhaps they missed the attack against the UN in Iraq on August 19, 2003, which killed the UN chief envoy to Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello. Perhaps the terrorists killed Mr. de Mello for harboring terrorists. The UN isn't perfect, but then again, neither are we.

I viewed their ad that they have posted on their site. It's typical political speak, telling a one-sided story. They also have an ad that proclaims that documents were found in Iraq that 'prove' that Saddam had WMD and had 'extensive ties' between Iraq and Al Qaeda. They also have a link to an article posted by the Cybercast News Service that purports to have received these documents from "A senior government official who is not a political appointee provided CNSNews.com with copies of the 42 pages of Iraqi Intelligence Service documents."

My question is this: If the administration has these documents, then where are they now? Why hasn't the administration presented these documents to the world to prove their case? With the recent election, if such documents were available, then surely they would have handed Bush a larger victory. Yet, there have been no news conferences to announce that we have them.

If the documents are real, then America is waiting to see them.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

An Open Challenge to the American People

You're probably thinking that this has something to do with Iraq. Well, it doesn't. I've been writing for awhile now about the division of the American people. So, here's my challenge to all Americans to do something about it.

And the subject is something we can ALL agree on. Well, all of us except the ultra-wealthy oil barons.

The cost of fuel.

You see, we have right now in the US an alternative fuel source. Ethanol. It's already mixed with gasoline in the US market. There are already 79 plants producing Ethanol in the US. Flexible Fuel Vehicles already burn 85% Ethanol and 15% Gasoline in the US. The problem is, most of us have no access to these vehicles or the 85/15 fuel.

Ethanol burns cleaner than Gasoline. It can be cheaper to produce than Gasoline. It's renewable, literally being solar energy converted by corn plants, which in turn is distilled into a liquid fuel.

So, what we have is a fuel that's cheaper and cleaner than gas that is renewable. As a side benefit, we can grow it right here on precious American soil and feed our own farmers instead of middle-eastern terrorists. It's a win-win situation.

Here's the challenge. I'm challenging ALL americans to demand 85/15 Flexible Fuel Vehicles to be made available to the public at a cost comparable to current gasoline vehicles. Until the American Auto Manufacturers agree, don't buy another gas-fueled car.

Some of you will probably say, "That will only make the already ailing economy worse!" You may be right, but the pain would be short term. Within 2 to 3 years, the auto market could recover as more and more americans buy the newer FFV cars so that they can take advantage of cheaper fuel. In the long term, it would be beneficial to the economy by removing the costs of foreign oil. It would also benefit the war on terror. Without the monies derived from oil sales, the terrorist would have to find a new source of funding.

The second challenge is demanding that the oil companies begin converting existing distillation facilities to produce ethanol AND that they agree only to buy corn for ethanol production from American farmers.

And then, there's the third challenge. This one is the biggest, and the most important. I'm challenging all Americans to challenge the Federal Administration to back this idea. Let's see where Dubya really stands on oil. Let's see if he's willing to put his money where his mouth is and back something that can only benefit the American people. Personally, I don't think he has the cohones. He can't back ethanol without ticking off his rich buddies in the oil industry and Saudi Arabia. I don't think the oil execs have the cohones, and I don't think the Auto makers have the cohones. Yes, I'm challenging their manhood.

If you're against cheaper fuel, a better economy, and less money for terrorists, then in my opinion, you must not be an American.

***Edit*** - For more info on Ethanol Fuel, please visit http://www.e85fuel.com/. I also emailed the National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition a copy of this article.

America's Real Enemies Remain Free

In several news reports around the world, America's real enemies show their faces and continue on their path of bashing the US.

In Saudi Arabia, a muslim cleric speaks out against the US, saying that he is against us until death and urging muslims to enslave Israeli women. Jordanian terrorists fighting in Iraq murder Iraqi soldiers, either beheading them or shooting them execution-style.

My question is this: Where are these two countries on the 'Axis of Evil'?

Many have put forth evidence that Saudi oil money has been used to fund terrorist organizations. Jordanians and Saudis have crossed into Iraq and used Jihad to stir up new insurgents.

And yet, we hear little of diplomatic measures to stop these acts. Not a single shot fired. Why? Because Jordan and Saudi Arabia are our allies, of course. With friends like that, who needs enemies? We still continue to buy Saudi oil and the money still continues to filter out to terrorists and insurgents to be used against the US and Israel.

It was the Saudis who required the US not to go into Baghdad after Saddam Hussein in the first Gulf War. That was the cost of using Saudi territory to launch our attacks against Iraq. Now, we have Saudis in Iraq fighting against us.

It's even been reported that two of the hijackers of 9/11 had Saudi agents supporting them during their time in the US.

So, why does Saudi Arabia stand unscathed? Perhaps the rumors of Bush's ties to the Saudi ruling family are true. Maybe they aren't.

Either way, the result for the average American is the same. The Saudi's will continue to fund terrorism. Saudi citizens continue to fight against American soldiers in Iraq. Terrorism will continue to be a threatening shadow looming over our daily lives. Whether we live in an area that is likely to be a target, or we just know someone who does, terrorism affects us all.

I was, and still am against the attack on Iraq. Saddam Hussein was a small fish in a tiny pond. The sharks are still swimming free. If we are going to commit our forces to fight terrorism, shouldn't we be fighting the biggest fish?

Instead, we commit our troops, each one a brave and honored American citizen, to fighting in a backwater nation that had little power to affect us. Meanwhile, the worst enemies of America continue to build their position against us.


Saturday, November 20, 2004

Hypocrisy and the Un-American Way

I've been policing the news sites a lot lately, looking for material here. By 'policing' I mean checking them out and reading.

One article that truly just hit me between the eyes and made me want to rip up my Republican membership and go back to the Independents concerned the film shot and reported by embedded reporter Kevin Sites in Iraq. I started following the story over at MediaMatters.org. One of the articles there caught my eye, so I followed it.

Here's the story. In the forums over at FreeRepublic.com, there's a lot of talk about the story that Kevin reported. Kevin is the guy that gave us the footage of the US Marine shooting the wounded, unarmed Iraqi soldier. Now, I'll admit - I have not seen this footage, so I don't know what it shows - I only know what it reportedly shows. I may cover the report at a later time, but probably not, as it's been covered to death already.

What bothers me is the reaction of so many hard-right people over at a site that is called 'FreeRepublic'. You see, they all think that Kevin Sites should pay. Many just want Kevin removed as an embedded reporter. Some want him dead. His crime? He reported what he saw.

I'm not going to censor any names here. In my opinion, the people spouting this stuff are barely one step above criminal. I'm glad that these aren't the typical 'religious right' people. Any one of these people claiming to be Christian and saying someone should be killed for telling the truth...well, lets just leave it that they obviously missed Sunday School on a regular basis.

Here's what one poster over at FreeRepublic had to say:

To: Poohbah
He's an effin traitor. He is aiding the enemy. He should be tried and killed.
66 posted on 11/16/2004 4:31:36 PM PST by I got the rope
[ Post Reply Private Reply To 57 View Replies ]

There are rational voices over at FreeRepublic. They, however, seem to be being drowned out by the screaming mob, who agree with Mr. I Got the Rope. By the way, many folks consider 'I Got the Rope' a racial slur, since it is referring to a lynching. I say this because I have a relative who was suspended from high school for saying that very thing. Is that an image someone actually WANTS to promote?

This whole thing is disturbing because of the hard-right responses. Several posts on the same forum call for censoring the media. They don't want the truth shown, and if it is shown, it's treason. It is EXACTLY this kind of behavior that is destroying our country. This is just an example of what's going on with the right side. I have yet to find an example like this one on the left side, but if I do, I will scathe them just as hard.

I find it ironic that some of these people on the right consider everyone on the left to be Marxists or fascists. Funny, I don't hear the left screaming for murder and censorship, two very Marxist attributes.

When will the people of this nation wake up? What is it going to take for the left and the right to finally meet in the middle? Must we suffer another blow like the one suffered on 9/11? Are we actually going to tear our nation apart over what boils down to silly misinterpretations about what the other side believes? Are we going to let the extremists on BOTH sides rip us apart?

I've said it before. Divided we fall. From the looks of it, many people have forgotten that gravity works.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Annan May Be Out at UN

According to UNITED NATIONS (AFP), Kofi Annan may be on the brink of being ousted as Secretary-General of the UN.

According to reports, the UN Staff Union is about to issue a history making vote of 'No-Confidence' in Annan. Although the vote of no confidence would not require Annan to step down, it would seriously harm his credibility. It also comes at a bad time for Annan, due to the Iraq 'Oil-for-food' scandal, for which his resignation is being called for.

According to a Yahoo News report, "Kofi Annan is surrounded by corruption, a gang of criminals responsible for some of the worst things that happened to mankind in the 20th century," said one angry staffer, referring to the Rwanda massacres.

So, we just may be about to see some positive changes in the UN. Or, we may be about to see some serious negative changes, depending on whether Annan steps down and who would replace him.

With a change in leadership at the UN, the Bush administration may rethink seeking UN assistance in Iraq. If UN assistance can be obtained, not only would it lend more credibility to the US war in Iraq, but it could also be a step forward to repairing the damaged foreign relations that resulted from the US attack on Iraq.

As usual, I'll keep an eye on this and keep the blog posted with updates.

***Update***

Looks like Kofi caught a break - the resolution has been released. It is highly critical of Senior UN leaders, but does not pin the blame on Annan.

Per a followup Yahoo article, "Union president Rosemarie Waters said Annan nevertheless had the support of the staff union, telling reporters: "He is in a very difficult job under very difficult circumstances. He is doing his best."

Guess we can scratch the idea of the Bush gang changing their minds.

Have You Heard of the Sacred Urns?

Since my last post was about commercials, I couldn't resist this one.

The marketing department over at Sharp has come up with what may very well be the best marketing ploy I've ever heard of to date. In a pitch to get the word out about the new Sharp Aquos line of LCD TV's, they planted the web with several websites referring to Dagobert Steinitz, a fictional anthropologist who claimed to have discovered the ancient, yet far-advanced human species Homo Superus. These super-evolved humans claimed that in 2012, the world would change forever. You can learn more over at Steinitz Puzzlers.

The real game, however, is happening in 2004. Starting Nov. 22, 2004 you could win a complete Sharp Home Entertainment System, including a 45 inch Aquos TV.

I'll be honest, when I first saw the Steinitz Puzzler's site, I thought it was a hoax. The site looks like a cross between a cheesy fiction story and a conspiracy theory page. So I did some research, thinking that perhaps I had an interesting article to toss out to my readers. Then I found the moretosee.com website - which is Sharp's Aquos site. It wasn't until the second visit to Steinitz Puzzlers that I saw the Sharp Aquos link in the upper left-hand corner. Yep, they got me on that one.

Here's the deal - there are tons of clues already released. The final clue, however, won't be released until Nov. 22, when the contest begins. The first person to send in the correct location of the missing 3rd Urn wins.

Think you can handle it? It might be worth a nice LCD TV, if you can beat the other folks who are trying to solve the puzzle. On the other hand, its an entertaining read, even if you don't participate.

Now, why can't they make all commercials like that? Entertaining, interactive, and fun.