Friday, March 31, 2006

Vegan Diet Offers Health & Spiritual Benefits

A vegan diet, one that consumes no animal products offers many health and spiritual benefits. Besides proving a respect for the welfare of animals,this diet is free from new health scares such as mad cow disease or bird flu. And when one can practice this sort of denial of foods that harm the welfare of animals, then a person is not prone to the dangerous and harmful addictions of others. It is very easy to say no to all sorts of evils such as alcohol, drugs, caffeine, smoking, all which can have extremely harmful consequences for the users. Practicing this sort of self-control can even lead to a more prayful life and a closer connection to God.

The vegan diet is not without good tasting products that can easily substitute for animal based products. Vitamin enriched soy milk, soy yogart, soy cheese is all available. Good tasting vegan pizzas can be made with either soy cheesse or a variety of great tasting vegetables.

Excellent asian style dishes are a snap by using AFC baked bean curd, a form of baked tofu product that is great for cooking. It has a taste that is slightly on the order of a smoked turkey, but easily replaces pork or other meat in Asian dishes. It can even be sliced and eaten cold as a form of cold cuts with soy cheese or with humas and pita bread.

Eggplant is another great item. Eggplant can be cooked and used as a subsitute for veal or other meats in Italian style dishes. EggplanT has a strangely smokey flavor that is great when cooked, or made into baba ghanoosh, a form of humas made from eggplant.

The vegan diet is high in antioxidants and heart healthy products with plenty of healthy fruits and vegetables. But you have to be sure to add some sort B12 vitamin source such as enriched soy milk, Emer'gen-C brand vitamin drink additives to your diet. Emer'gen-C vitamin drink packets work out very well when also added to products such as R. W. Knudsen brand Simply Nutritious Morning Blend, which includes high levels of vitamin E, C and A. Since there is no natural B12 in most fruits or vegetables, getting this sure source of vitamin B12 is vital. Some forms of nutritional yeast contains vitamin B12, and nutritional yeast has a cheesy flavor and is great for cooking as well. Cheesy flavored instant potatos are a snap with nutritional yeast and soy milk added. Not only is the flavor great, but this makes a great vitamin enriched meal high in B12 and calcium.

By carefully adding dependable vitamin sources to the vegan diet, vegans can prevent any long term blood vitamin shortages from building up. Some of these blood vitamin low levels can have serious health consequences so this is extremely important. Most vegans should consider a blood test at some point to be sure that their blood calcium, B12, and other vital levels of vitamins are high enough that blood problems are not building. But generally high levels of B12 intake each day of 400% or more, and higher levels of calcium along with vitamin D supplements to be sure that the calcium is being effectively used by the bones and the body.

The vegan diet offers a great number of excellent benefits. And it respects the dignity of animals. Some higher intelligence animals such as dogs, cats, monkeys, pigs, horses understand part of our langauge. And many anumals have an advanced compacity to feel love and to give love. Many dogs and cats have a very advanced emotional love bond with humans or to other dogs and cats that proves a very high humanlike intelligence. Some like Rev. Dr. Robert Schuller even has stated that emotional intelligence is the highest determining factor of intelligence, far more than some multiple choice test of knowledge. With some animals having such a high level of emotional intelligence, it proves that they are like junior humans, and also another form of intelligent life that shares our planet. It is only right, just and moral that this animal life is treated with high respect.

The vegan diet respects life. It can draw a person closer to God and to respecting all of his creation. For health and spiritual benefits, the vegan diet certainly fosters self-control and other valuable traits worthy of developing.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Could The Illegal Immigration Crisis Become A Future Military Crisis?

In the 1960's the Kennedy Administration was very concerned after the 1959 revolution in Cuba that put Fidel Castro into power and free elections did not take place six months after this government came into power as had been promised. By 1962, the Castro government, which had some strong early support from among the American liberal community, which at first believed that Castro was merely an agrarian reformer, eventually became a military threat to the U.S. when nuclear missile sites were dug under dummy apartment house structures in San Crystalbal, Cuba. This crisis brough the U.S., Cuba, and the former Soviet Union very close to the brink of nuclear war.

Eventually a deal was reached with the U.S., Soviets and Cubans to withdraw the missiles from Cuba, as well as a publicly claimed but delinked deal for the U.S. to withdraw nuclear missiles set up in Turkey aimed at the Soviet Union.

Could such a new crisis happen again in the near future? Yes.

While the U.S. is caught up in a debate that merely looks at the problem of illegal immigration, there is a sense of rising political tensions in Mexico in South America as more and more proCastro governments win elections in South America. In Mexico, another leftist President, Andes Manuel Lopez Obrador of the Democratic Revolution Party leads in the public opinion polls with 38% support and the more conservative challengers lag behind at 31 and 29% each.

In Venezuela, President Hugo Chavez recruits domestic political strength for himself by antiAmerican tirades and threats. It is only the fact that thousands of Citgo gas stations and oil imports to the U.S. does not prevent more of this antiAmericanism from Chavez. But a large portion of this oil wealth is finding it's way into a military buildup in Venezuela. Venezuela is quickly becoming the largst buyer of international arms in latin America. It is seeking to buy 50 more Russian Su-30 airscraft or 50 Chinese J-10 aircraft. There is also a naval buildup that plans to add another ships or submarines to the military of Venezuela. Venezuela has also adopted Cuban style military uniforms. Alng with a government that that takes a strong antiAmerican line, this government is interested in far more than agrarian economic reform.

In Chile, Socialist President Michele Bachelet takes a far more more moderate left leaning line. Her policies are not strickly aimed at creating U.S-South American tensions like some of the recent South American governments. Her policies seem more aimed at domestic economic reforms as a front line in promotting a sense of social justice in Chile.

But in Bolivia there seems to be more of the Venezuela-type conflict langauge with the U.S. used by the new president in that nation.

What is alarming is that some of these newer leftist governments in South America seek to blame the U.S. for all the economic problems these countries are experiencing. And while the U.S. does share much responsibility for negative influences on the economies of South America such as the dumping of cheap U.S. corporately grown wheat and corn that has driven down wages in Mexico, or has paid poor wages to South American workers in investments that have meant little for the people of South America, it is still a serious matter that these newer leftist governments build their philosophy on antiAmericanism and seem to spend little effort to control the wealthy families in these countries or powerful interests who share a great deal of responsibility for high interest rates in the banks that they control, or low wages in the factories and workplaces they own.

During the 1980's, the Daniel Ortega government of Nicargua represented this same sort of antiAmerica leftism. Even the Communist Party of Nicargua supported the removal of Ortega from power and democratic elections as Ortega did little but drive down the economy of Nicaragua and invite a conflict with the Reagan Administration that led to the use of the illegal Contra efforts by the Reagan Administration. This proCastro form of leftism, that invites conflict with the U.S. rather seeks to repair much of the economic injustice at home represents a real danger to the U.S. in the future.

In states like Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina, a large population of MidEasterners also harbors some terrorist elements that have been involved in Hezbollah backed terrorist bombings of Jewish owned property and organizations.

With a possible antiAmerican President of Mexico with a win by Lopez Obrador, and more antiAmerican governments in South America, these states could form a military alliance and could eventually purchase arms such as Scud missile launchers and arm them with nuclear warheads with the help of North Korea or even Iran in the future. Both Iran and North Korea could hope to further tie down the U.S. in a massive borde security effort to prevent a possible war along the Mexico-U.S. border.

Enough radical states in South America form a future military alliance and could radicalize and indoctrinate the populations of South America for an eventual war with the U.S., making these populations believe that by capturing part of Texas, California, New Mexico or other states could serve some economic benefit to South America.

Leftist movements in Europe often look to reforms they can make at home to make an economy more fair and just. But many of these proCastro elements are far different in ideology as they live on seeking conflict with the U.S. If this grows beyond mere talk could actually present a grave danger for peace betwwen the U.S. and South America.

Leftist agrarian reform in Latin America is one thing. Injustice has been the rule for many years. And the U.S. does share some responsibility for these problems. But any real conflict or threat to the U.S. and a taking of the peace is quite another thing. That should be very alarming for the future.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Israeli Voters Prove Great Wisdom & Maturity In Vote Despite Increased MidEast Worries

The voters in Israel proved a great level of maturity and wisdom in this week's elections, choosing moderate parties such as Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's Kadima and the Labor Party as the parties drawing the most votes. The right wing Likud Party dropped from 38 seats down to just 11 seats, and is now in fifth place among the parties in strength in Israel's parliament.

Likud's drop to fifth place in the parliament even threatens it's future existence as a major party in Israeli politics. Even Shas, a party that appeals to Orthodox Jews who have a longer Middle Eastern background than more recent Jewish immigrants won 13 seats. A Russian immigrant based party, Yisrael Beitenu, won 12 seats.

Voters in Israel could easily have chosen to vote based on fear of the uncertainty of the Hamas government only 100 yards from the border of Israel. Or voters could have voted out of fear for the hawkish Likud Party and Binjamin Netanyahu would likely have championed some Isreali military strike against the potential Iranian nuclear threat in the region. Instead Israeli voters put more continued faith into the peace process with the Palestinians and more hope in the world community role in negotiations with Iran that could possiby peacefuly resolve the nuclear weapons concerns without a military conflict.

In the U.S. the Republican Party still commands the national security "fears" issue, as well as appeals to a strong right wing social conservative movement fueled by many modern Christian churches turning their backs on traditional Christian worship towards politics based churches. In the MidEast, democratic elections have only elected Islamic religious oriented candidates in Iraq or Shiite militia members who represent organizations that continue to participate in abuses against the Sunni ethnic community. In Iran an extremist gained power. And in the Palestinian region, Hamas, a terrorist organization that appeals to both Islamic fundamentalism as well as radical antiIsrael elelments has wrested power from the more moderate elements that were grown from the former terrorist PLO organization.

Israel faces real national security threats that easily could have added to MidEast tensions had they chose the Likud Party instead of the center-left coalition of Kadima and Labor to lead the next government. These voters deserve great world admiration for a very wise choice for their future. Despite the potential threat from Hamas, the hand of Israel remains extended for the continued peace process talks with Hamas. Despite a radical government in Iran that openly threatens Israel with wild and irresponsible statements, the trust of the people of Israel in the world community remains strong. Despite the U.S. missteps in Iraq, which has increased regional instability, lead to Islamic extremists or religious elements tightening control in the region as less moderate secularism, Israeli voters decided not to add to the problems of the region and voted heavily for a reasonable path in MidEast affairs and in their own domestic policies such as issues dealing with the workinh people of Israel.

The world should praise Israel's wisdom they displayed. Very commendable to say the least.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

3 Million March In French Protests Over Labor Law Changes By Conservative French Government

Unlike the U.S., the students and workers of France are willing to protest the antilabor actions of the conservative French Chirac government that would make it easy for employers to layoff workers under 26 in the first two years of employment. The claims are that this needed to for France to better "globally" compete with the world, which are right wing code words for the intended outsourcing of jobs to labor cheap states like China and India. Under the conservative Chirac government, 10% of French workers now suffer from unemployment. Outsourcing of jobs will only worsen the blight of French workers.

It has been the steady goal of the conservative Chirac government to pander to the big corporate interests just like the Bush Administration has proved to be masters of. However, with strong and viable Communist and Socialist organizations and strong labor unions, French workers are able to use the power of public strikes and demonstrations to assert worker's rights power that are reacting to the steady roll back of labor protections enacted under the former Socialist leader, Francoise Mitterand.

In the U.S. the power and influence of Socialist and Communist organizations that fought against the huge depression-era unemployment of the early thirties largely disappeared with the labor reforms enacted under Franklin Roosevelt such as the WPA and the NRA. But this gradually gave way to worker complacency, and a decline in worker respect for labor unions as a vital tool to counter the awesome power of management. In the Democratic Party, large corporate donors gradually watered down support for prolabor legislation.

By the late 70's when Hubert Humphrey was dying of cancer, he was only able to get a symbolic version of his Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment Bill passed in a heavily Democratic congress. This bill had no teeth to make the full employment, figured at only 3% a national priority for the American government and working people of the U.S.

Today the government of the U.S. is heavily dominated by big corporate power, and both the Republicans and many Democrats are the tools of this power, where the federal minimum wage has been stuck at $5.15 an hour since 1997.

By comparison home prices increased by over $30,000 just last year alone in cities like Portland, Oregon. And affordable housing for low wage working people is becoming very scarce. Gasoline has spiked to nearly $3.00 a gallon after Hurrican Katrina, and is now back on the way up to near $3.00 a gallon by this summer as tensions with Iran and Nigeria drive up the world commodity market prices for a barrel of oil to over $65.50 as of this morning. An increase of over $1.30 since yesterday. Yet the minimum wage of working people remains stuck at the federal level. But some states such as Oregon actually have seen a rapid increase in job growth with an steady series of increases in the minimum wage to the second highest level in the nation.

Workers in France see events such as the weak state of labor unions in the U.S. and a right wing government that panders to outsourcing of American jobs to labor cheap states such as China or India, and with a 10% unemployment rate in France, nearly double the U.S. rate, workers and students are very wary of any change to Franch labor law that will make job outsourcing far easier by allowing workers under 26 to be face easy layoffs and increased threats of outsourcing to labor cheap states.

Whether workers in France will succeed in preventing the loss of French jobs to outsourcing remains to be seen. But unlike American workers, such as those at GM who are suffering fresh job layoffs from the same GM CEO who made an early priority the raising of his salary into the millions of dollars, French workers are willing to engage in a class struggle for survival against the wealthy class interests who see wage labor as a mere commodity to achieve high profits, while a job is an important difference between being homeless and starving or not for the French working class.

New Bill In Congress Seeks To Ban Insider Trading

There is a new bill that is being proposed in congress that seeks to ban insider trading by members of congress and their aides. Whether this bill will garner much support or not is a good question.

But for now members of congress can own stock in a corporation and know that a future appropriations bill will cause the stocks value to rise and make a handsome profit. It is also possible to sell stocks short that may be subject to some sort of congressional probe or action.

Many persons enter congress and the senate as wealthy. With extra money that can be made through insider trading, it is possible to become a millionaire in office.

It will be interesting to see how congress will respond to this challenge to this major loophole in ethics that allows members of congress to have a close relationship to the very same corporations that they are regulating or appropriating funds for.

Monday, March 27, 2006

The Failure OF NAFTA And Other Free Trade Agreements Is Driving The U.S. Illegal Immigration Crisis

Poverty conditions that are side effects of the failure of "free trade" agreemnents such as NAFTA are driving the U.S. illegal immigration crisis, where an estimated 12 million illegal immigration mainly economic refugees, many of whom watched their wages decrease by 1/3 in Mexico as a result of NAFTA is driving poverty conditions similar to the economic conditions that created the wave of Irish immigration to the U.S. as a result of the poverty created by the potato virus induced famine.

Some large U.S. corporate farm concerms pushed for NAFTA in order to create a market for their cheaply produced corporate farmed wheat and corn. This created an economic tidal wave for Mexico, which is a far more agarian economy than the U.S., where this developing world economy is heavily dependent on massive agricultural labor than the U.S. This had the effect of driving down farming related wages by a full 1/3 and forcing many in Mexico into poverty and starvation. There was no way that Mexican families who are more dependent on farm income related wages could hold onto their farms or survive a radical 1/3 cut in income.

NAFTA rippled all through Mexican society, creating a tidal wave of poverty and an economic refugee crisis for the U.S.

NAFTA propelled Mexico into the worst economic crisis conditions in over 60 years, including a huge two million plus surge in unemployment, huge interest rate hikes that closed more than 28,000 businesses in Mexico, and resulted in poverty conditions where many homes and farms were lost. More than 50% of Mexico's population is now in "extreme poverty" since NAFTA, a huge increase in homelessness and starvation in which running across the U.S. borders to seek even minimal work as a gardener or lowly paid food service worker seems better than starvation or death in a Mexico economy destroyed so that wealthy U.S. corporate farm interests could increase profits by upseting the normal wage labor status related to homegrown Mexican agriculture.

There is also a political tidal wave of proCastro antiAmerican governments winning elections in South America. One of these leftists is likely to win the next Mexican oresidential election, putting a proCastro, proCuba govenment right on the U.S. border and setting the U.S. up for a serious conflict of values between nations right up to the border. With so much poverty increasing in South America thanks to NAFTA, CAFTA and other "so-called" free trade agreements, the wave of antoAmerican governments will only increase in South America, encircling our Southern border with hostile states.

In the U.S. the political right is torn apart by silly discussions of building a fence that will cost billions and billions of dollars. Yet nations such as China built the Great Wall, and it never kept British imperialism or Japanese military agression out of China. For every wall built, there is a shovel or ladder sold.

Much of the American right is intellectually unable to comprehend much more than a merely racist antiimmigrant mindset. There simply is not the intellectual compacity to look at the tidal wave of poverty that NAFTA set into motion in Mexico, driving wages down by a 1/3 and driving up unemployment, homelessness and starvation that is fueling both the illegal immigration crisis in the U.S. and a wave of antiAmericanism that is electing a wave for proCastro governments in South America.

Many American idustrialists and others in the business community profit from either the dumping of corporate agriculture cheaply produced corn and wheat dumped on the Mexican economy and destroying the lives of miliions of Mexicans, or by exploiting the labor of legal or illegal economic refugees and immigrant in low paying agricultural or food service jobs in the U.S. that do not pay a living wage here, and are hard pressing state governments in states such as California with burdensome health care or social service costs.

There is no real discussion in Congress for addressing the real roots of the Mexican poverty crisis that is rooted in the extreme failure of NAFTA, CAFTA and other "free trade" agreements. For this reason this poverty crisis will only worsen for those in the U.S., Mexico and in South America.

Sunday, March 26, 2006


Former Republican political strategist turned registered independent voter, Kevin Phillips has written a very worthwhile work in his newest book, AMERICAN THEOCRACY. This former strategist for Richard Nixon's 1968 successful Presidential bid has joined other former Republican strategists such as Ed Rollins in their misgiving about the change in role that the Republican Party has undergone with George W. Bush.

Phillips makes no apology that he does not like either George H. Bush or George W. Bush. Both are seen as managing to preside over a 50 point drop in approval ratings, where their White House's place in history was laregely destroyed by MidEast or economic related problems. Phillips even blames something in the Bush "genes" for this tendency towards inviting a wholesale swarth of destruction whenever a Bush is put in charge of the Amnerican presidency.

But there is also a larger essay by Phillips noting a rise of a Southern culture and a Protestant Evangelism that is radically transforming American society as much as other religious fundamentalist movements are transforming the MidEast towards radical fundamentalist politics. This religious society is being seen by Phillips as having Bush as their current leader, however his own deceptive misjudgements are having severe consequences for American society as mounting problems are driving his public approval ratings rapidly downward.

From both the fine work from Phillips as well as some supporting appearances promoting his book, one gets the perfect vision that Bush is presiding over a Nerolike decline of the American empire.

Indeed Bush even has stated the goal of leaving the final resolution of the Pandora's Box of Iraq up to the next president to resolve. Not only is this conflict at stake, but also a failed Bush Doctine of MidEast Democracy that has brought Iran greatly increased regional clout and sets the region up as a strong contender for the tinderbox point for a the next WWIIItype conflict over their quest for nuclear arms, as well as bringing the terrorist organiztion, Hamas, into power in the Palestinian Authority region area. And increased economic problems such as a greatly worsened national debt, greatly increased foreign debt as treasury bonds held by Japan, China and South Korea, greatly increase, and serious economic declines in American production of goods reduces the U.S, down to a mere "vendor" economy status.

Indeed, Kevin Phillips makes a very compelling case of the problems that Mr. Bush has created in the negative transformation of the Republican Party into the closest thing American democracy has yet seen as a religious party, as well conditions that spell out the steady decline of the U.S. as a society that mirror other collapsed societies such as Rome.

The "Vendor" Economy vs. The Immigration Tension Problem

Huge Latin rallies in major American cities highlighted that many Latins are angry at being made a scapegoat for larger problems in American society.

Failed "free trade" policies such as NAFTA have driven down wages in Mexico, where large U.S. corporate agriculture businesses drove down wages by about 1/3 in Mexico with cheaply produced corn and wheat products dumped on the local markets. This had a devastating impact on local economy conditions in many parts of Mexico, making entire families economic refugees that settled in the U.S. either through legal or illegal immigration.

This in turn has made California unrulable for either Democrat Governor Gray Davis or Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger, who have great difficulty managing a state budget overwelmed by the effects of an economic refugee problem where the borders of California are overwelmed by a flood of both legal and illegal immigrants, many of the poorest needing state social services such as health care as many of the low paying U.S. entry jobs do not provide for basic benefits as health care. These immigrant families work, but often the wage provides so little that the state budget must subsidize their wages with state benefits.

The U.S. is a nation of immigrants, both legal and not. And these immigrants cannot be blamed for seeking their own economic survival for their families. Terrible imbalances in "free trade" policies create major economic problems in states like Mexico, creating a wave of immigration to the U.S. for economic survival.

At the same time, many Americans are becoming economic refugees in their own land, as cheaply made foreign imports flood the American store shelves, and higher wage factory jobs are in real decline. History as well as social sciences such as anthropoly dictate that no society that is reduced down to a mere "vendor" economy status can survive for very long. Anthropology case studies note that even the most primitive of world societies at least produced their own "pottery" items as the most basic production and commerce item. But the U.S. has become a Wal-Mart style "vendor" economy for big box stores with low wages below real living wage levels, with few job related benefits acting merely as "vendors" for Chinese or other low wage foreign made goods.

The U.S. is facing the decline of their economy, where no real management from the White House or Congress exists to prevent the slide into another failed empire such as Rome for the U.S. Immigration tensions are a prime problem created by a competition for low wage jobs between American workers and immigrants seeking their economic self-survival, as well as problems that state governments face in the humanitarian dispensing of vital services that overwelmed by economic problems far larger that state governments can manage. Some world societies such as the UAE where 80% of the workers are foreign exist because of economic opportunity far in excess to local labor levels. But in the U.S. there is a struggle for survival that fuels a labor crisis as wealthy economic interests both foreign and domestic salvage the U.S. economy looking for higher and higher profits while workers, both American and immigrant struggle for a share of low paying jobs in a declining American society ready to join ancient Rome.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

The MSM Is Still The Popular Choice

One popular conservative myth being promoted is that huge rejection of the MSM is underway by the public. The false premise in this is that their out of the mainstream political ideology is somehow the "mainstream" ideology. To bolster this false myth, some out of context newspaper circulation or evening news ratings are used.

However, MSM newspapers and evening news are still the overwelming choice of viewers, with "conservative" leaning news programs a distant place back in the Nielsen ratings.

The network evening news from NBC, ABC and CBS draws 9.7, 8.7 and 8.1 million viewers according to the latest March 13-17 ratings posted by Nielsen Media Research. By comparison THE O'REILLY FACTOR draws just 2.3 million viewers and HANNITY & COLMES draws just 1.5 viewers.

If the "conservative" ideology is as popular as conservatives claim, then news programs that reflect that view would draw better ratings, but if MSM news draws a little less than 30 million total viewers and the highest rated "conservative" program draws only 1/10th of that audience, then it is easy to see how conservatives inflate the claimed "popularity" of their out of the mainstream political views.

And with newspaper circulation, a few declining circulation figures for some newspapers are used to claim that people are rejecting popular choices such as the New York Times. Yet it is seldom mentioned how the Moonie owned conservative newspaper, THE WASHINGTON TIMES lags in circulation compared to many titles or that circulatuion figures for most papers only reflect increased media competition from more papers, broadcast, radio and Internet news.

Conservative leaders like to play strange little mind games with their followers, creating myths that their philosophy is somehow mainstream, or that there is some sort of mass public rejection of political views more liberal than their own. But like most other conservative myths, the reality of circulation and Nielsen rating figures clearly proves that their viewpoints are the minority viewpoint, and most of the public does not follow their version of the news with their spin on events and items.

Some Stories Don't Remain Inspirational For Very Long

The MSM constantly looks for a good news story. There is so much bad news out there with Iraq and such that a good inspirational story really catches the public's imagination. However it seems that some inspirational stories don't stay that way for very long.

A few years ago what started out as an inspirational story that a strange little boy whose rat acted nervously awoke him and he got people out of a burning apartment building. A few days later the story turned to dust when it was indeed this disturbed boy who set the fatal fire that took several lives.

The MSM was excited about the NY autistic high school 17year old boy who scored 20 points in 4 minutes in the last regular season game of the year. Both the boy and his coach began to tour the country and do all the talk and news shows. More than 25 movie offers came in. Even the President had to meet with the boy. But when the same Rochester, NY team played for the state high school championship recently, there was no way that the coach would let the autistic boy play in the game. Only in a game in which the autistic boy could do no harm, during what was "garbage time", was he allowed to suit up and play. It was another inspirational story shot down in flames.

This week another inspirational story hit the dust. A family from Ashland, Oregon survived for 17 days in a mobile home that was snowed in. Right away the talk shows and news paraded the story as another great inspirational story. Again a flood of movie offers came in. But once again something came along to rain on this parade. The grandparents it seems were involved in a drug distribution scheme in Arizona and had outstanding warrants there.

The media wants that feel good story and hunts dilligently for it. But with more information, so many of these inspirational stories seem to go up in flames. Reality sure seems crummy sometimes.

It Must Be Cruise Ship Disaster Season

Not since the days of GILLIGAN'S ISLAND, have so many cruises turned out badly. And not for any time in recent memory have so many cruise ship disasters taken place in so short a number of days.

Earlier this week the fatal South American tour bus accident hit the headlines. Then about a day later, there was the fire abroard the ship that destroyed 150 cabins, killed one, and injured 11 more.

Then yesterday a sternwheeled style cruise ship on a seven day tour up the West Coast hit a sandbar in waters off Washington state.

Why bad events somehow happen in three's is a real mystery.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Charlie Sheen Joins The Absurd World Of Conspiracy Theories

On TWO AND A HALF MEN, Charlie Sheen plays the more sensible one. What a great actor he is. In real life he now advances those who believe in absurd 9/11 theories.

In order to subcribe to such absurd theories you have to discount all credible evidence such as the cell phone calls made by passengers on the hijacked planes, evidence that the some of the hijackers spent money at a nightclub the night before and credit card and other receipts remain, and the fact that millions watched the second plane hit the second tower live on TV programs such as NBC's TODAY SHOW.

Crazy conspiracy theories attempt to claim that a military missile hit the buildings, or that explosives even set up by the government downed the buildings. However, 9/11 did terrific damage to the U.S. economy costing the nation billions and sending the U.S. into recessionlike conditions that greatly hurt all 50 states. There was absolutely no financial advantage in the government staging such an attack. And billion had to be spent on upgrades to national security, all at great expense to many important priorites such as education or other important items for society.

The Twin Towers fell because the planes had managed to ruin a fire proof covering the steel structures that hold these buildings up, and with the superhot fire from aviation fuel, these structures had their steel frames virtually melted by the heat which caused a structural collapse in both buildings.

No world government has ever caused itself the huge economic damage or expense that the 9/11 attacks caused. The attacks were clearly the act of terrorists who intended to hurt the U.S. just as terrorists have hurt other nations with terrorism.

Charlie Sheen would be far better to stick with acting rather than helping to advance absurd conspiracy theories which are in no way helpful to his career.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

People Rush To Pay $24,000 For An Absurdly Small Car

Unbelievable some in the public are rushing to plunk down $24,000 to $30,000 for an absurdly small car known as the Smart Car.

These little cars are just 8 feet 4 inches long, or about four feet shorter than even the BMW Mini Cooper. They are hardly bigger than a glorified go-cart. And the Smart cars only seat two, have only 61 horsepower in their tiny 3 cylinder engines, and only have a top speed of 85 MPH. The 40 MPG mileage could be better for a car of this absurdly small size, and problems meeting U.S. pollution standards make the sale unlikely in states such as California, New York, Vermont, Maine and Massachusetts.

But the big question is why? A car this small should be far cheaper in price, offer better mileage, pollute less. And for around $26,475, a person could buy a really nice car like the new Hyundai Azera which is a terrific automobile for the price.

Why pay $24,000 to $30,000 for a little car so sparse in creature comforts when perfectly nice cars exist for half that price or great cars like the Hyundai Azera exist in that same price range. Why people buy the cars they do is as much a mystery as why they choose their politics or religion it seems.

But you still wonder, why?

The Afghanistan Case Of The Death Penalty Against The Christian Convert Proves The Comeback Of The Taliban's Rule

In Afghanistan, the power of the Taliban and the comeback of their rule is no better illustrated that in the death penalty case against Christian convert, Abdul Rahlman. Rahlman converted to the Christian faith about 16 years ago while working with a Christian humanitarian group in Afghanistan.

There is all evidence that in the mountainous areas of Pakistan as well as in the village areas outside of Afghanistan's capitol city, Kabul, that the Taliban is once again gaining strength. There have even been some films made by the Taliban in Afghanistan that openly display executions against dissidents from the Taliban rule, where bodies are openly drug through the streets and heads hung on pikes in public squares.

It is also likely that Osama Bin Laden freely operates in this area and that the both the Taliban and the Al Qeada organization finance themself by selling drugs through the organized crime owned nightclubs in Macau, and make arms deals with North Korean generals and international arms dealers here. Even insurgent forces in Iraq freely buy international arms from places such as Italy where new handguns are very common that are produced in Rome's handgun factories.

International Christian Concern's latesy newsletter details abuses against Christians in Pakistan, Turkey, India, Venezuela, Uzbekistan, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Iran, Russia, China and Nigeria. A longer special feature highlights the dire state for Christians in Cuba. Often Christians do not send their children to Communist Party run schools because teachers pressuring students for sexual favors in exchange for advancement to the next grade level is so common.

In Cambodia, the fragile democracy is being threatened by by wealthy interests connected to international drug trade, big tobacco, big building and real estate interests, and other big money are creating a climate in which a crackdown on dissent flourishes and big money intersts increasingly rule the government.

The U.S. may have some serious flaws. But there's very evil world that exists outside of it's doors.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Instapundit's Challenged Analysis Of Mine Safety

One popular theme in the sureal world of the right wing political Blogs is a constant zeal to attempt to undermine the credibility of the MSM. The problem is that their attempts at undermining the MSM's credibility usually come up far short of influencing few more than the true believer's of the right wing gospel of myths and false doctrines.

Instapundit's latest attempt to hurt the credibility of the NEW YORK TIMES over a feature about mine safety really came up short. According to the Instapundit analysis, because somehow they claimed that that there were less deaths during the Bush Administration years than the Clinton years, there was a nonsensical attempt to make it appear that Bush Administration appointments of coal industry executives and lobbyists to major appointments has had no impact on mine worker safety. It was even claimed that less mine deaths occured during the Clinton years than the Bush years.

But this is a statisticly troubled analysis. There are thousands of less coal mine industry workers in states like West Virginia than during the Clinton years. When the number of deaths is based on the number of coal mine workers, there is no suubstantial change or difference in deaths where the death rate remains actually remains virtually constant.

The problem is also not addressed that Canada has made mining more safe than in the U.S. where higher mine safety standards are required. In a recent Canadian accident similar to the one that took 13 lives in the Sago Mine accident in West Virginia, every life of every Canadian miner was saved because of the use of a safe room where the miners waited until a successful rescue was launched. The Sago Mine not only did not have this higher safety standard, but was a nonunion mine in which a bankruptcy judge threw out the mining union when the previous owners declared bankruptcy. Union membership allows for job security from termination when safety complaints are made by workers. Nonunion miners will often say nothing about workplace safety problems because of fear of losing their job. It is only after some accident or problem that is reported by the mine owners themselves that a prblem is fixed or a fine imposed by the Mine Health & Safety Administration.

Many of the fines are mines such as Sago were as little as $60, which is hardly an incentive to making needed safety repairs. Of course no mine owners want to see workplace accidents that injure or kill their workers. But without tougher standards such as those in place in Canada, more accidents will likely occur in the U.S. And while 16 West Virginia miners lost their lives in January, in China where safety standards are far worse, 16 miners lose their lives each day.

And the Bush Administration has actively opposed some improvements in mine safety such as opposing a provision to make conveyor belts from fire resistant materials. But with the appointment of coal mine industry lobby attorney, John Roberts, to the U.S. Supreme Court, it is highly unlikely that worker safety will advance very much in the courts, and with a number of coal industry execitives appointed to the Mine Safety & Health Administration, it is also unlikely that improved safety equipment such as newer communications equipment, safe rooms, fire resistant gear, or other life saving tools will see much of a chance for mandates as they do in Canada.

The far right always looks for a way to justify profits above people. They often see no balance in the reasonable use of life-saving tools if they cost money. And when some of their Blogs like Instapundit attempt to justify the weakening of the safety of mine workers by the appointment of many coal industry executives to leadership of the Mining Health & Safety Administration under the Bush Administration with a statisticly flawed analysis that misses the fact that less workers are in the industry than some years ago, and that weaker safety mandates in the U.S. than in Canada take lives that are saved in Canadian mine accidents.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Only In Texas

Sometimes some of the wierdest news comes from Texas. Oprah was once sued because she made some comments about meat that some in the Texas cattle and meat industry tried unsuccessfully to contend as "libel" against the industry. Somehow Oprah just saying that she might not eat some meat frightened the Texas cattle industry enough to sue her.

And a Texas housewife who ran parties that sold novelty sex toys in a manner similar to Tupperware parties, was once arrested on felony charges because of regressive Texas laws against junk sex toy novelty items like this.

Now, a new example of "troglodyte snakehandler minded" state legislature inspired nonsense from Texas has popped up to give the nation a big laugh once again.

Big corporations are discovering the tax benefits of having some small time rachers stick a few head of cattle on some grassy area of large corporate property.

One large office complex that served as a corportate headquarters was able to slash their taxes from $157,000 a year down to just a $1,000 a year by allowing an elderly man to have a few head of cattle to grase on a grass area on the office complex property. And in another case, a megabox store was able to cut their taxes from $200,000 a year down to just $3,000.

Suddenly instead of paying higher corporate rates, big corporations are now reclassifying themselves as grazing land for cattle, and getting bargain basement tax rates.

What can I say. Only in Texas.

Can Things Possiby Get Worse For The James Bond Franchise?

A few days ago I wrote about concerns that many fans of the James Bond franchise had about new actor, blonde haired Daniel Craig, who lost two teeth during a stunt gone wrong, his inability to be able to drive the manual transmission in the Aston Martin, and his dislike of guns.

To many fans of the franchise, some wonder if James Bond has gone soft, or whether the franchise is worn out. Some might wonder if this means a "kinder and gentler" James Bond who would appear in watered down titles like ON HIS MOTHER'S SECRET SERVICE, COTTONFINGER, NERFBALL, LIVE AND LET LIVE, or other lame versions of the franchise. Others say that Daniel Craig will work out fine and both Dame Judi Dench and former James Bond actor, Rodger Moore have risen to the defense of new actor Daniel Craig.

But just when the worst of the critical opinions of the public may be over, two silly new examples put more absurd spotlight on the franchise. Daniel Craig offered to do a "full Monty" nudity if called for, for some strange reason recently. This has never been in any James Bond film, so why this was even brought up is something of a mystery.

But now, and even much worse, the 55 year old New Zealand born director of DIE ANOTHER DAY, Lee Tarnahouri, was arrested in California a few days ago dressed in drag of all things, and charged with prostitution solicitation.

Of all the James Bond films, CASINO ROYALE, is becoming the one with the most controversy so far. All the salary and lawsuit over royalty antics of Sean Connery and other disputes are being displaced by this problem plagued new film.

When it finally appears this November on the big screen, many might watch this time merely because of all the bad publicity and the interest it spurred. Sometimes even bad news is good news it seems.

SOUTH PARK's Own Religious Cartoon Controversy

It may not be as serious as the riff over the cartoons that offended those in Islam, but Issac Hayes who played Chef in the SOUTH PARK cartoons has quit over the cartoons portrayal of Scientologists. Since many South Park cartoons are quickly thrown togeher in about 6 days time, it is highly likely that by Wednesday evening's new season opener episode this riff with Scientology may well be a topic.

Rather than being apologetic enough to lure Issac Hayes back, instead the creators of the program offered a statement further satirizing the Scientologist faith. Things could get very interesting around SOUTH PARK very soon. All this publicity certainly won't hurt the new season ratings.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Become A Member Of Congress: Earn $165,200 A Year & Don't Show Up For Work Much

Here's a great job opportunity: A job that pays $165,000 a year. You don't have to show up for work much. And you get great "fact finding mission" vacation opportunities and can have plenty of time to spend with any number of 16,000 lobbyists. What job is this, well it's the life of those in Congress.

So far this month members of Congress have met for about 87 hours, an especially gruelling schedule when you consider that on March 6, members of Congress got together for a marathon 5 minute session. But then a few days later on March 13, another long 7 minute session was held.

Leadership of the U.S. Senate has found it difficult to bring bills through Congress as their work hours have been so few. In fact this may go on record with only 97 workdays this year, the least in the last 20 years.

And while gifts valued at more than $50 are banned by supposed ethics laws, some members of Congress have been able to accept as much as $57,000 at one time in lobbyist or corporate gifts of some sort while taking a "fact finding mission vacation" in popular European travel spots or domestic trips to plush golf courses.

And there's even more benefits. Rep. Tom "The Hammer" Delay, has managed to set up a political action committee in which $500,000 in donation payments were paid to his wife and daughter.

So why sign up some fast food fry cook job kids. You can become a member of Congress, earn high pay, not show up for work much, take great vacations, get great gifts from big business lobbyists.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

The Bush White House As "Baghdad Bob"

On this third anniversary of the start of the 2003 war in Iraq, there is more continued nonsense from the Bush White House to explain the events on the ground. Just as the absurd propaganda statements of "Baghdad Bob" denied American military activity clearly seen in the background shot of some of his statements that seemed totally disconnected from truth, the Bush White House also makes themselves seem seem like laughable liars who describe an elusive "progress" not really seen by most in the American public, and reflected in sharply sagging public opinion polls.

Halliburton, reconstruction contractors and the Iraqi government have combined together to total more than $8 billion in missing funds or work not done that was paid for by the U.S. government.

The average person in Iraq has less access to clean water or use of electricity than during even the worst days of U.N. sanctions under Saddam Hussein according to even U.S. military statements.

Car bombs, suicide bombings, and routine militia brutality against civilians is much higher than even a year ago.

Moderate former Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi considers Iraq to be in a state of "civil war". And bombings of Shiite and Sunni holy Mosques and landmarks and militia murders of as many as 86 Sunni men in a single day last week in Baghdad are more proof of this.

The U.S. continues to train a largely Shiite military force, of which not a single battlion is completely combat ready to attack Sunni insurgents, yet the U.S. ignores the constant level of Shiite militia organized violence and torture against the Sunni population. The U.S. is clearly taking sides in the sectarian conflict only insuring that no real peace or unity government can ever be achieved that will bring in most Sinni elements because of this two-faced and one sided policy that ignores terrible Shiite militia abuses.

The new government has taken all three months to finally meet. And this meeeting lasted just 40 minutes because of sharp differences between the Shiite and Sunni members of the government, only illustrating that little real consensus or unity exists in the government.

How is this dire situation described by the Bush White House? A White House "Fact Sheet" issued just this week has largely ignored all the problems since 2003 that have deeeply worsened the American effort in Iraq and instead made a few constrasts with the days of life under Saddam Hussein, but also ignoring that U.N. sanctions were largely to blame for many of the diificult life problems in those very tough 12 years.

Maybe under the examination of a microscope or other close examination method can real tangible results be found to justify real progress in iraq. One day Iran is blamed for efforts to send so many IEDs into Iraq, the next day a statement claims that Iraq is on the the road to "peace", "unity" or "progress".

It is partially this climate of nonsensical statements about Iraq, along with all the falsehoods and nonsense that got the U.S. into this war to begin with that leaves the U.S. public with a sinking feeling about Iraq, also reflected in the sinking public opinion polls.

Without a true policy in Iraq aimed at true sectarian unity by equally objecting to both Shiite and Suuni violence, instead of taking sides with the Shiite community, there is no real long term plan for victory in Iraq. Iraq will either turn into the sectarian bloodbath that is feared after the U.S. leaves or the U.S. will never see conditions really improve with the current failed policy that needs some major revisions if there is any intent for it to work.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Vote For Friday's Most Wacky Political Moment!

Two of the year's most outrageous and unhinged political performances were presented yesterday. You can vote for yesterday's biggest winner:

Nominee One: A technical problem on one of the hard drives called a "filer" at Blogger resulted in a technical problem that brought down hundreds of Blogs for a couple days. While normal persons would accept this as a normal technical problem, over at one "conservative" Website, a number of opinions including a feature brought up absurd conspiracy theories including that because Blogger is owned by Google, and Google donates mostly to Democratic political candidates, then some "conspiracy" to take two political Blogs off the Worldwide Web was at issue.

Polipundit even used this wacky conspiracy theory language to describe the technical problem: "Blogger is owned by Google, whose employees give 98 percent of their political donations to Democrats. Coincidence?" to try to generate a false conspiracy out of this tehnical problem that affected hundreds of Blogs including those dealing with fashion, music, art, movies, families and other nonpolitical topics. In order to accept the absurd conspiracy theory promoted by some over at Polipundit, you'd have to suspend all common sense and accept that in order to remove just two "conservative" George Bush loving Blogs, that hundreds of others with no political nature at all were also removed in some sort of grand conspiracy.

Maybe to some people who don't believe that public opinion polls are even remotely close to actual public opinion trends or that the electronic and print media news does not even closely reflect actual real world events, this wacky conspiracy theory nonsense made some sense. Now today, there is no retraction or apologies offered for creating a silly crisis for what was only about about a two day interuption in service at two "conservative" Blogs and hundreds more Blogs before the technical problem was repaired and service completely restored.

Nominee Two. Oregon's 3rd District Democratic Congressman Earl Blumenauer has put forth another major proposal to withdrawal all the U.S. troops from Iraq. Unlike other Democrats such as Senator Joseph Biden who have wide foreign policy experience, and offer only very careful foreign policy related statements on talk programs, Blumenauer signed himself up to appear on the FOX TV program, HANNITY & COLMES to defend and promote this proposal.

Blumenauer should have expected that Sean Hannity, a staunch conservative would offer some hard questions to Blumenauer about his troop withdrawal proposal. Yet with only a single nonspecific statement by Sean Hannity, Representative Blumenauer fell completely apart and was simply reduced down to a hysterical state and only hollared around like a small child, complelety unable to offer any reasonable arguments to defend his troop withdrawal proposal.

The professors who educated Blumenauer at Lewis & Clark must have felt that all their educational efforts were wasted. All the classes in argument construction, evidence, etc. were totally wasted with Blumenauer who puts forth a major U.S. foreign policy proposal, but was absolutely unable to defend that policy. Next to his "firehat" photo opt while on the Portland City Council that made Blumenauer look like he was part of some special education effort or a "Make A Wish" project, this was by far the most silly Earl Blumenauer performance I've personally ever seen.

By contrast the former Chief Of Staff of former Secretary Of State, Colin Powell, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson has pointed out that the Bush White House at least "cherry picked" information in order to create the drumbeat to war in Iraq in 2003. Any information that proved that Iraq was not a WMD threat was set aside, and only the most questionable of information was soapboxed by Vice President Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, and George Bush. Blumenauer was even unable to match this level of White House "blowhard" factor, by failing to offer any defense at all of his troop withdrawal proposal.

So you have a White House that "cherry picks" information to make a case for absurd and dangerous reckless foreign policy, and a Democratic opposition partially made up of wholly ineffective politicians like Blumenauer who put forth major proposals but cannot even defend their proposals when given the opportunity to do so.

Well there you go kids. You pick a winner. Nominee One, the wacky conspiracy theory to explain the technical problem over at Blogger or a Democratic Congressman who puts forth a major foreign policy proposal, but is wholly unable to defend his own proposal making all the falsehoods and misleading statements of the Bush Administration actually look very authoritive by comparison. I know it's a hard choice, crazy conspiracy theories to describe normal everyday events are pretty darn funny, but also so is a wilting Democratic opposition to Bush Administration proposals that makes the Bush White House look like an Einstein operation by comparison. You decide the more pathetic of the two Friday examples.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Happy St. Patrick's Day

A very happy St. Patrick's Day to all here. I have just a little Irish in me, and I'm always proud of that little portion. I always enjoy Irish-American entertainers such as Conan O'Brien who should offer a very good St. Patrick's Day program tonight.

Conan's St. Patrick's Day programs always have something special that is worthwhile. One of his first controversial moments was a silly little incident that was a parody on Christmas where for Veteran's Day a chair was decorated with lunchmeat. Another silly incident was an untrue joke kidding that Red Buttons was Gay, which resulted in a lawsuit. But his St. Patrick's Day show's have always been funny, great and special. No one seems quite as Irish as Conan, and he offers some of the best St. Patrick's Day programming.

Have a safe and sane St. Patrick's Day today. Avoid alcohol and smokey bars and places, and don't drink under the influence either. You only risk both your life and all of those around you.

U.S. Supports Shiite Side Of Iraqi Civil War

The latest joint U.S. and Iraqi soldier mission is another example of the U.S. taking sides and supporting the Shiite side of the Iraqi civil war.

The latest effort can be justified by the U.S. on several grounds, as it can be argued that it is payback for the damage to the golden domed Mosque and that any capture of arms or explosives saves lives, boh of U.S. soldiers, but mainly Iraqi citizens as well. However, the Iraqi forces are largely Shiite forces attacking Sunni insurgents while the violence of Shiite militia groups goes largely ignored by the U.S.

Shiite Militia members were likely the one's responsible for the execution style murders and strangulations of 86 mainly Sunni men the other day in Iraq. This is largely ignored by the U.S. because the Shiites are the largest secular group in Iraq, and Shiite militia members such as the Badr and Wolf Brigades are members of the new Iraqi government and hold a nunmber of provincial governorships or other positions.

Last year when 120 armed members replaced the secular Mayor of Bagdad in an armed coup with a Badr Brigade militia member, the U.S. did nothing.

A popular TV program features members of the Wolf Brigade brutally mistreating Sunni citizens suspected of insurgent support. It has become sort of like the Shiite version of the U.S. police program, COPS. And much of jail and prison abuse of Sunni citizens suspected of insurgent support has also been by Shiite militia members.

On one hand, the U.S. wants an unity government in Iraq as well as peace, yet on the other hand looks the other way at organizaed Shiite militia violence against the Suuni community. About the only purpose that the U.S. currently serves is that even worse militia violence would result if the U.S. were removed from Iraq.

The U.S. may feel that siding with the Shiite community, whilw even some of the worst violence comes from this side is important because the Shiite ethnic group is the largest ethnic group in Iraq. However the continued violence from the Shitte militia groups such as abducting Sunni men on the street or from their homes and murdering them in some back alley or burying these bodies in mass graves only helps to continue the cycle of violence in Iraq.

The U.S. may feel that for the sake of peace with the largest ethnic group that such violence and lawlessness can be overlooked. But this violence only fuels continued Sunni violence as well as a reaction.

An even handed and consistent policy in Iraq that quells violence of all sorts would be the proper role for the U.S. in Iraq. True national unity and a state of relative ethnic peace is difficult when the U.S. chooses to take sides in the Iraq civil war.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

The Dire Human Rights Situation In Dubai Was Overlooked For Ports Deal By The White House

The proposed ports deal with the Dubai company, DP World may hopefully be a dead issue. But during this debate the White House seemed to ignore some very serious human rights abuses and other conduct by the Dubai government.

The UAE is still a major center of human trafficking, where thousands of child slave laborers still exist. Only recently are child slaves not being used in camel racing, replaced by robots or electronics of some sort.

Over 80% of the current population of the UAE are foreign workers, including child slaves from states such as Pakistan or Africa. The UAE has failed to sign most international agreements that outlaw human trafficking, slave labor, nonpayment of wages and other important human rights issues.

In the U.N, the Dubai government was critical of the U.S. for not suppoting an antiIsrael resolution which branded mush of Israel's self-defense actions as terrorism.

The UAE government does not alow for free elections, and nongovernment human rights groups are actively blocked from forming by the Dubai government.

Heavy government censorship of the airwaves and print media in the UAE prevents major academics and others from offering views critical of the wide state of human rights abuses in the UAE.

In the UAE it is actually a crime for a Muslim to convert to another faith such as becoming a Christian. In many other countries such as India, many nonChristians routinely attend free Christian events such as religious movie showings.

Often the wealthy who own foreign slave workers may engage in sexual abuse of these workers, yet foreign workers have little legal recourse to prevent this abuse and many foreign wokers, perhaps thousands are in UAE prisons with little real legal recourse. In one case a female domestic worker who became pregnant outside of marriage was sentenced under Shari'a(Islamic religious court)law and faces a 150 stroke flogging after she gives birth and is deemed healthy enough to suffer this outrageous torture and abuse.

Amnesty International and others have long been critical of the long history of UAE human rights abuses, slave labor, terrible Shari'a law applied to foreign workers, antiU.S. and antiIsrael U.N. votes and other examples of the UAE being a very poor member of the world community. Yet the Bush Administration chose to ignore all this in their promotion of the Dubai port deal.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Most Inspirational And Least Inspirational Moments Ever Played In Basketball

Yesterday the 17 year old teen who scored 20 points in four minutes in his New York high school team got the honor of meeting with President Bush. It was one of the most warm and human moments ever for Mr. Bush as he very sincerely conveyed his admiration for high school senior Jason McElwain, who has already received 35 movie offers.

It was one of the greatest moments in basketball ever, to see a handicapped young person put on the type of performance you'd expect to see with Michael Jordan at his peak.

Tonight another milestone was achieved when the Portland Trailblazers NBA basketball team manages to only score 5 points in the fourth quarter playing against the New Jerset Nets, the worst one quarter score ever, even worse than the previous 7 point score in the pages of NBA history and statistics.

Despite one player, Zach Randolph, with a $80 million dollar contract, and Darius Miles with a $60 million dollar contract on this team, still the record books of awfulness were broken tonight in a team effort far worse than any team of handicapped players could possibly play by supposedly gifted athletes who earn as much playing in one evening as many persons earn working a whole year in a tough job.

It's the most uninspirational sports story ever told. Will the Trailblazers get to visit the White House and be honored as the worst one quarter NBA team ever?

It's nothing to be proud of and a real heartbreak to their loyal Portland fans. With many players on the Trailblazers just out of high school, maybe they need a kid from form New York that really knows how to score.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


Since her days in SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE and as Elaine Benes in SEINFELD, actress Julia Louise Dreyfus has never been able to find her stride. She has appeared in the quickly cancelled series, WATCHING ELLIE as well as guest appearances in ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT, yet neither captured her greatness in SEINFELD as a strong supporting cast actress. THE NEW ADVENTURES OF OLD CHRISTINE is another failure.

Not only is Dreyfus looking older than her SEINFELD days, but she attempts to have "Elaine Benes" style responses to comedy setups by a cast of mostly forgetable cast members. Only Wanda Sykes is really a worthy cast member. The others are easily replaced.

Every scene reminds you of a bad replay of a a great SEINFELD episode, with Dreyfus phoning in a pathetic replay of a former scene from a far better SEINFELD episode.

Is THE NEW ADVENTURES OF OLD CHRISTINE beyond redeemption? No. But the the chances for a successful program that reminds you of a far better one are limited in my view.

Several years after GILLIGAN's ISLAND, Bob Denver was cast in an awful wagon train based semiremake called DUSTY'S TRAIL. Every cast member and episode was like a horrible version of GILLIGAN"S ISLAND. THE NEW ADVENTURES OF OLD CHRISTINE brings up similar feelings for me. You beg to see the Julia Louise Dreyfus of a few years ago on SEINFELD, who was far better because the entire cast and writing of SEINFELD was far better.

Maybe CBS is counting on viewers to watch anything sandwiched between the very popular TWO AND A HALF MEN and CSI MIAMI. But for me THE NEW ADVENTURES OF OLD CHRISTINE was sort of painful to watch. Whether it can grow on me or the rest of the audience remains to be seen.

Former SEINFELD cast members have also failed with Jason Alexander's terrible ABC TV's BOB PATTERSON and the somewhat better LISTEN UP. Michael Richards flopped fast in THE MICHAEL RICHARDS SHOW, which caught nothing good from his hilarious 9 year run as Kramer on SEINFELD or in the Weird Al film, UHF.

Monday, March 13, 2006

This Week Brings A Fresh Bush PR Effort On Iraq

As the senseless violence in Iraq continues, the Bush White House plans a week of fresh public relations efforts to shore up the lagging public support for the war.

But in reality, about the only real purpose that that the U.S. is serving at this point is preventing an an all-out Shiite militia war on Sunni citizens or a form of MidEast "ethnic cleansing".

With the failed hopes of Iraq becoming some shining beacon of MidEast democracy as an example to the region, instead the U.S. has destablized the state into more of the ethnic violence that has continued since 1922 when British Prime Minister Winston Churchill created the state. Of all the states in the MidEast, the heterogenous population of Iraq and this long history of ethnic conflict only insured that a frustrating chain of violence would be unleashed with any U.S. intervention in the state.

It is almost unthinkable that Mr. Bush can continue to justify the Iraq War as some sort of excellent example of U.S. foreign policy at it's best, in "bringing a better life" to people in a foreign land when all evidence is that the U.S. rid the state of Saddam Hussein only to set free wholesale urban violence.

But in another regard, the U.S. does now have a moral mission to act as a buffer against an all-out war of ethnic struggle between the Shiite and Sunni groups. And the world community also has a moral obligation to stand as a policeman against wholesale violence as well. No good policeman can walk away from crime or violence simply because it exists, although the prospects for a peaceful democracy in Iraq are farther and farther removed by the day.

Many, if not most person in Iraq are probably sick of the violence. Yet there are enough who continue it that it makes a world community role to police this violence while an Iraqi security force is trained.

Iraq will go down in the history books as one of the biggest foreign policy errors in our entire history. Just like the failed U.S. role in Vietnam, or the failed Soviet efforts in Afghanistan, a major power entry into a civil war or a developing world state in which foreign intervention by a major world state only meets with strong and continued resistance.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

The Dubai Government has More Than Enough Other Opportunities To Own Part Of The U.S.

President Bush is still at argument about his claim that the DP World port deal was needed to "prove" some sort of "trust" to the Dubai government. Not only does this miss the security arguments of those who opposed the DP World deal, but there is more than ample opportunity for foreign interests to own U.S. industry.

97% of the U.S. sound recording industry is now foreign owned. 79% of commodity contracts as well as brokerage are foreign owned. 75% of the U.S. motion picture and related sound recording industry is foreign owned. 65% of U.S. metal ore mining companies are foreign owned. 64% of the motion picture video industry is foreign owned.

64% of the American winery industry is foreign owned. 63% of the database and related publishing industry is foreign owned. 63% of the U.S. book publishing industry is foreign owned. 62% of the U.S. concrete and cement industry is foreign owned. 57% of the electrical engine and transmission production industry is foreign owned.

53% of the U.S. rubber product industry is foreign owned. 53% of the U.S. nonmetal mineral industry is foreign owned. 51% of the U.S. plastics product industry is foreign owned. 51% of the U.S. insurance related industry is foreign owned.

50% of U.S. shipping container, as well as the boiler tank industry are foreign owned. 48% of the glass product industry is foreign owned. 48% of the U.S. coal mining industry is foreign owned. 48% of the U.S. sugar production industry is foreign owned. 47% of the nonmetal mineral mining industry is foreign owned.

41% of the U.S. advertising industry is foreign owned. 40% of the U.S. phamaceutical industry is foreign owned. 40% of the U.S. clay and similar products industry is foreign owned. 38% of the U.S. securities brokerage industry is foreign owned. 37% of the U.S. general equipment industry is foreign owned.

36% of the U.S. manufacturing of audio and video equipment and related media products industry is foreign owned. 36% of the U.S. mining related support industry is foreign owned. 32% of the U.S. cleaning products and soap industry is foreign owned. 30% of the U.S. chemical industry is foreign owned. 30% of the U.S. industrial equipment industry is foreign owned.

29% of the U.S. motor vehicles industry is foreign owned. 26% of the U.S. architectural and engineering related industry is foreign owned. 26% of the U.S. credit card and consumer credit industry is foreign owned. 25% of the U.S. petroleum refnery industry is foreign owned. 25% of the U.S. navigational and measuring equipment industry is foreign owned.

25% of the U.S. coal and petroleum manufacturing industry is foreign owned. 25% of the U.S. transportation equipment industry is foreign owned. 25% of the U.S. service and commercial equipment industry is foreign owned. 24% of the U.S. simple chemical industry is foreign owned. 24% of the U.S. investment banking and securities industry is foreign owned.

23% of the U.S. semiconductor and electronics part manufacturing industry is foreign owned. 22% of the U.S. paint, adhesive and related coatings industry is foreign owned. 21% of the U.S. printing related industry is foreign owned. 20% of the U.S. chemical product industry is foreign owned. 20% of the U.S. steel mill and iron ore industry is foreign owned. 20% of the U.S. construction equipment industry is foreign owned. 20% of the U.S. medical equipment industry is foreign owned.

4 out of five American workers actually saw their wages decrease last year according to CBS news.

In addition as high as 64% of major selected industry groups of products including clothing and other goods are imported products. The UAE produces clothing for the J.C. Penney company for example.

45% of the U.S. federal deficit is controlled by foreign bondholders, including Japan at $687.3 in U.S. bonds, China at $252.2 billion, U.K. at $184.4 billion, Caribbean banking centers at $102.9, Taiwan at $71.8 billion, Germany at $63.5 billion, South Korea at $61.7, OPEC at $54.6 billion, Hong Kong at $48.1 billion, and Canada at $47.8.

Mr. Bush may make the claim that no opportunity for the UAE government exists to own part of the U.S. so their "trust" can be somehow proven. Yet all real evidence is that the U.S. is probably the least "protectionist" of almost any world nation or state.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Some TV Shows Get A More Dignified Trip To The Graveyard Than Others

Some TV shows met an undignified and humiliating end this year as some programs such as INCONCEIVABLE, THE BOOK OF DANIEL and HEADCASES met quick ends. Others such as the acceptably decent CBS SciFi entry, THRESHOLD, died a slow death over a number of episodes due to weak ratings. Even the acclaimed, COMMANDER IN CHIEF program may be in deep trouble because of lukewarm ratings, which are ending the also highly acclaimed WEST WING and ALIAS.

The popular WILL & GRACE comedy series will join other notable NBC comedies of the past, SEINFELD, CHEERS, FRASIER, NIGHT COURT and MAD ABOUT YOU, while JOEY, HOPE & FAITH, YES,DEAR and possiby even STILL STANDING are coming to less memorable endings.

For those that love TV, the ending of a series is always sad for the great ones and met with relative indifference about the very poor ones.

Race, Class And Wage Labor

A strange quirk is being noted in comparing the February 2006 labor statistics against those of February 1998. In February of 1998, unemployment rates stood at 3.9% for White Workers, 9.7% for Black workers, and 6.8% for Latino workers.

In February 2006, the statistics stood at 4.1% for White workers, 9.3% for Black workers, and 5.5% for Latino workers.

On the surface some would think that this represents some level of advance for persons of color. But in other ways it probably does not. Very likely many persons of color may now be more employable by business interests because their wage labor costs may tend to be lower than that of many comparable Whites workers.

With a larger growth of "service" jobs in the economy with lower wages generally paid than comparable manufacturing jobs which are in a decline, with 3 million disappearing since mid2000, many persons of color may find their employment more likely, but only because their labor may be valued for less. This is hardly the advance and parity of all persons to be expected in a truly egalitarian society.

In fact, according to AFL-CIO statistics, union workers as a whole have 28% higher wages than nonunion workers. And Black union members have a 29% higher wage than nonunion Black workers. With Latino workers the difference in wages between the two households is 59%. Only in the case of Asian American union members is the difference the less significant 11%.

Some entire businesses will hire all Black or all Latino workforces, not as a sign of racial equality, but as a sign that they are offering low wages to a workforce that will accept the wages, but that do not allow for much class advancement.

And when using race as a class of low cost labor is not cost effective, then outsourcing to labor in China at 24-40cents an hour becomes the next alternative for business seeking to maximize profits while offering little class advancement to workers. Despite all the advances of capitalism within China, for many in China, conditions such as full literacy, life expectancy and other factors as a whole still remain at 100 years behind the U.S.

Friday, March 10, 2006

V For Victory

A broad coalition of members in Congress finally jumped on board the common sense train this week, and helped to sink the DP World port deal for good.

In Canada, just by chance a terrorist was discovered who set up an apartment inside a ship container with food and other arrangements to last a month, as a way of sneaking past U.S. or Canadian security. And with only 1% of shipping containers subject to inspection, the U.S. port security situation remains the weakest link of homeland security. The American public was right to lead such a common sense revolt.

It is also hoped that this revolt will spur tighter security efforts at our ports as well as to limit the sale of vital security sensitive American infrastructure to foreign interests, where somewhere along the line something could go wrong with security and put America at risk.

Supporters of the DP World deal attempted to falsely tar and feather those who opposed the deal as somewhow being "bigots" or anti-Middle Eastern. But this is nonsense, as most Americans recognize that the U.S. has some very good friends in the MidEast. The problem was allowing the sale of vital infrastructure to a foreign interest where something could compromise security in some foreign port and bring a threat to our land.

Wisdom tells the rational person you attempt to avoid an accident or a potential problem. Wisdom finally prevailed in the failure of the DP World ports deal and American port security and homeland security are the big winners.

The voice of the American people moved a bipartisan majority in Congress to common sense. V for victory!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

The Iran Situation Is Beginning To Get Out Of Bounds For Moderates To Control

Besides diplomacy, another possible hope to prevent a major crisis with Iran are moderate forces in Iran. This includes not only a huge population under 30, many of which support a drive towards a moderate democracy in Iran, but also moderate politicians such the former President of Iran, cleric Mohammad Khatami.

Khatami recently spoke at a conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and expressed a view that many in the Islamic world are both tired and disgusted with violence and extremism in the name of religion. And his views also seem to support a nuclear free region in th MidEast. He also supports improved relations with the U.S.

Khatami was President of Iran from 1997 until June of this year when radical hardline extremist Mahmoud Ahmandinejad replaced him the election upset. Khatami was always at odds with hardline clerics, yet he always presented a sensible and moderate path for Iran.

This is still one of the best hopes for Iranian crisis, that moderates who are very wary about a steady path to war can still rescue the situation. But each day as rhetotic grows worse with both the U.S. and the Iranian government exchanging more threatening insults or thinly disguised threats, the chances of moderates to bring this situation back from the brink dim considerably.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Blond, James Blond

The producers of latest James Bond film are running into a few production problems with the use of the new blond haired James Bond, actor Daniel Craig.

There are reports that actor Craig told producers he could not drive the manual transmission in the Aston Martin DB5, and reportedly proclaimed, "ER...I don't do gears".

And the actor had some personal objections to handguns, and stated that, "I hate handguns....I've seen a bullet wound and it's a mess".

During the filming of the very first fight sequence, actor Craig suffered an accidental injury and lost two teeth, and demanded that his own private dentist be flown before filming could resume, according to a CNN report.

For a serious dramatic version of CASINO ROYALE, more true to the original Ian Fleming novel, there are already enough problems that are beginning to look like Woody Allen version.

Blond, James Blond.


Although suffering from many first episode attempts to explain both the premise and the characters, the first episode of THE UNIT was generally a fulfilling one. It now becomes the first major television drama to deal with military responses to terrorism in the changing world as a weekly series.

And it presents another major TV network first, the first use of the fine actor Dennis Haysbert as the first major Black lead actor in TV drama. Generally Black actors have had some strong supporting roles that are not only memmorable, as well as EMMY worthy, but the role of Haysbert, who has one of acting's finest voices, now represents an authoritive actor who conveys a real sense of wisdom and leadership as the commander actor in THE UNIT.

Generally there is a great divide in the viewing habits of Black and Whie viewers according to weekly Nielsen ratings reports. And hopefully Haysbert will inspire more major networks to develop programming around a strong Black lead character. Right now the urban comedies on UPN draw much of the Black viewership, with only the CSI MIAMI drama on CBS making much of a dent into Black viewership demographics.

The Latin market is the other largely untapped market by the major networks, with only George Lopez making much a dent into this market. Normally Latin programming on UHF and Cable draws much of this market.

But besides the very strong acting abilities of Haysbert, THE UNIT features veteran actor, Robert Patrick, who played in T2, but he seemed a little underutilized so far in the first UNIT episode. But as the series extends on, hopefully all these first episode rough spots will iron out as THE UNIT finds a smooth flow and continues the evening's military oriented themes of the highly successful NCIS 8pm opener.

The opening episodes action in Afghanistan, as well as the aircraft hijacking main story, certainly had many good moments. And far from being a recycled version of the older action film, THE DELTA FORCE, this CBS offerings modern weekly tackling of terrorism issues should quickly find an audience. However, it was surprising when the very fine Iraq War drama on Cable, OVER THERE, failed in the ratings.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Classroom Censorship In Colorado

The suspension of Colorado high school teacher, Jay Bennish over his classroom choice of words that unfortunately compared both Bush and Hilter for their global use of military power to extend their influences was unfortunate.

However there is every indication that Bennish is a fair grader who does not hold any personal feelings against 16 year old Sean Allen, who brought a tape of the classroom lecture to a right wing radio program, but whom Bennish feels was an effective classroom voice for the opposite point of view.

Bennish may definately hold leftist viewpoints. But as long as their is an open discussion in class, and all students are respected by a teacher who does grade unfairly,then there should be no concerns about the political viewpoint of teachers or instructors.

The political right always looks for reasons to create a climate of fear and distrust of education, usually with the goal of cutting funds to education. And taking a few moments of ill-chosen words out of context from a classroom lecture and discussion is little more than a right wing lynching of free discussion in education.

A right wing former UCLA group even offers a $100 bounty for "turning in" a taped evidence of leftist professors lectures.

Teachers, professors and instructors should be judged by their ability and whether what they teach is relevant to the classroom material that is being taught. And all grading of students as well well as discussion should be fair.

But it seems an awful lot like Castro's Cuba when the political right wants tapes of examples of leftist lectures and other attempts to silence a classroom's open discussion and learning environment.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Oscar Ads And 60's & 70's Music Anthems Are Big Business

Normally during top rated television programs such as DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES or CSI, ads are a big business, pulling in about $330,000 for 30 sec spots. During the SUPERBOWL they shoot up to as much as $2.4 million for 30eec spots. During the high rated events such women's figure skating in NBC's 2006 Torino OLYMPIC coverage, ads reportedly pulled in $700,000 for 30sec spots. And last night advertisers reportedly paid as much as $1.2 million for their 30sec efforts to promote their wares.

One of the best new advertising campaigns was a new one by JC Penney corporation that makes effective use of several new versions of the T.Rex classic song, GET IT ON(actually entitled BANG A GONG during U.S. release due to the prior release of a hit single by a group headed by the late Bill Chase, called Chase, also called GET IT ON).

Not only is the use of the song very effective as GET IT ON is one of rock music's most durable anthems, but with several new versions of the song, a new level of viewer interest focuses in on the ads each time they are aired.

The use of popular older rock anthems in advertising is a very big business as the young audience that once listened to these songs as counter culture anthems of the soundtrack of their lives, now has aged considerably into a prime market of well heeled conmsumers in the market for high priced automobiles and clothing.

One of the most counter culture groups of the 60's was The Doors, however their classic first 1967 single, BREAK ON THROUGH was the overwelming first choice of Cadillac to promote their high priced automobiles, which 1960's young pot smoking, antiwar youth, has now grown old enough, and establishment enough to now afford.

BREAK ON THROUGH and other Doors classic songs are unlikely to find their way into the current popular use of many classic rock anthems in advertising because of a strange series of in-fighting between former Doors member drummer, John Densmore and family members of the late Jim Morrison and his common law wife, suing other former surviving Doors members, Ray Manzerek and Robbie Kreiger, stripping them of the use of The Doors name with a new lead singer, and the use of licensing Doors classics for advertising purposes.

Some years ago, Paul Shaffer joked with a Jim Morrison-like song use for a fake Energizer Batteries ad. Now this is even more unlikely because of The Doors lawsuit situation. But it is highly unlikely to stop the rest of the "gravy train" of use of popular 60's and 70's rock themes in advertising.

Popular rock themes make a real connection to the formally young demographic buyers who purchased the 45rpm singles and the albums when the songs were chart toppers, but are now more affluent as they have aged.

The popular 60's and 70's anthems of BORN TO BE WILD, MAGIC CARPET RIDE, GET IT ON, FOR YOUR LOVE, GET READY and many more hot anthems are now the popular soundtrack for the aging population that is the drumbeat to drive the wheels of commerce.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Foreign Governments Buying Washington Influence Is Nothing New

The DP World dealings have focused attention on the UAE government which has recruited both Bob Dole and Bill Clinton to various degrees to push along the deal. The UAE government donated $100 milion to the Bush Administration just before this deal started to be promoted.

Such foreign influence in our government is certainly very common it seems.

China holds $252.3 billion in U.S. bonds. Japan holds $687.3 billion in U.S. bonds. China exported $726 billion in goods to the U.S. last year. A huge trade gap is tolerated from major nations such as these when the U.S. allows them to hold the keys to so much of our national debt.

Former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Mahathir Mohamad stated that lobbyist Jack Abramoff was paid $1.2 million to arrange a White House meeting with President Bush, although he claimed that the Malaysian government was not the source. Early in 2001, Abramoff began collecting lbby fees from various interests to arrange meetings at the White House and other high level influence. Abramoff had reportedly contacted Karl Rove four times to arrange for a meeting between Mahathir and Bush. Malaysia is growing importer of food products into the U.S.

And there is other evidence that Tom Delay was conected to a trip to malaysia in October 2001, and other Congressional members in January 2002 related to lobby efforts of Jack Abramoff who had received $300,000 from the Malaysia government.

While Malaysia may be an ally in the war on terror, still it has a terrible human rights record and Mahathir has also been seen as antisemitic as well.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

The Problem Of The Electoral College

For a society that promotes democracy to the rest of the world, the U.S. has a very undemocratic institution in the electoral college that gives unfairly high weight to the voters of small "red" states and tilts the election process in favor of Republicans. Rather than being truly democratic like a popular vote system, this system only insures that more Republicans than Democrats will be elected president. This is not democracy.

A small state like Wyoming with only 3 electoral votes has 493,782 persons, or roughly 164,000 persons per electoral vote. A large state like Calofornia has 55 electoral votes and a population of 33,871,782 or 615,000 residents per electoral vote. This is a serious flaw woth the electoral college, many small "red" states such as wyoming, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Utah and other find that one popular vote in their state has the same weight as nearly four voters in large "blue"" states such as California or New York.

Three times in American history, Democrats who won the nationwide popular vote were denied the White House in 1876, 1888 and in 2000. It has only been Democrats who were denied the White House because of the electoral college, no Republican candidate for president has ever been in the same position, although some questions about the 1960 vote remain because of votes from Chicage and a vote for some unpledged DEmocratic electors in Alabama. In the 2000 election, Vice President Al Gore won the popular vote by 543,816 votes, yet lost the election because of a 537 margin for bush in the state of Florida for the state's 25 electoral votes. Bush won the electoral college by 271 to 266.

The electoral college forces candidates to ignore states that are a shoo-in, and instead concentrate on states "in play" with the electoral college. John Kerry in 2004 concentrated resources on states that were "in play" as did George Bush, and for that reason many states voters went largely ignored in the election campaign. A popular vote based election process would mean active campaigns in all 50 states where all voters, not just some are important. Had the Kerry strategy worked, with significantly less votes than Bush he would have been the first Democrat ever elected president who lost the popular vote but won the electoral vote.

The current electoral college system rewards small mainly "red" states by giving their votes more weight than the voters in large states. The electoral college gives Republican candidates a built-in advantagein electoral votes. And the electoral college system pretty much guarantees that voters in many states will be ignored and only the states that are sen as "in play" will be rewarded with candidate visits. The system is only like to grow worse as it becomes a race to harness "in play" states with each election cycle.

After the 2000 election it was remarkable that no changes to the electoral college were made by Congress. Future elections are likely to be to thrown into more and more problems if the vote is close unles some changes are made to this system.

Friday, March 03, 2006

NBC Makes The Right Moves For A Ratings Rebound

NBC is finally making the right sort of moves for a ratings rebound. While the 2006 Torino Olympics had mixed ratings results including a low of 14 million viewers for the closing ceremonies, and lows of 16 million for some skiing events, NBC did garner around 26 million viewers for the high interest women's figure skating events. All of this helped NBC to place in the top 20 of last week's programs with the Olympic coverage.

But NBC is making other wise moves post-Olympic moves. DEAL OR NO DEAL is back for a full week this week, and will return on Mondays and Tuesdays after this week. Like the once popular ABC's, WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE, NBC has a chance to play this series out for sometime before audience fatigue starts to set in.

And NBC is greatly improving their ruined Friday night with DEAL OR NO DEAL, LAS VEGAS and the new drama CONVICTION. These are exactly the right sort of moves to improve Friday rather than make it a complete throwaway to the strong CBS lineup. NBC finally realizes that garbage like THREE WISHES, INCONCEIVABLE or THE BOOK OF DANIEL is absolutely not the kind of waste of network airtime to offer up. Compared to the old lineup of DATELINE, THIRD WATCH and LAW AND ORDER:TRIAL BY JURY, this new lineup is the best NBC lineup since these three Friday night programs. This is exactly the kind of Friday night moves I recommended here and on other Websites.

The only weak spot in the schedule is JOEY returning to NBC on Tuesday. While I personally like this show as not that bad of a comedy, JOEY will be absolutely slaughtered in the 8pm Tuesday time slot by AMERICAN IDOL, the quirky drama, NCIS, and will fight it out for the scraps of audience left over from GILMORE GIRLS, THE WORLD ACCORDING TO JIM and any UPN offering. JOEY may only see fourth place in this competition. But until NBC is able to have a better Tuesday night draw, JOEY at least is a decent lead-in to episodes of the outrageous comedy, SCRUBS. Some of last week's jokes were so outrageous that it was surprising a few made it under the network censor's radar.

But NBC should be in a position to improve it's ratings with a stronger second season leading into the May sweeps. And with any viewers who are not fans of the CBS coverage of March Madness college basketball which should bump new episodes of the CSI franchise, NCIS, CRIMINAL MINDS, GHOST WHISPERER and other popular programs as the competition heats up.

NBC should be able to close the ratings gap considerably with all their new improvements to their schedule. It's about time. NBC is a quality network, deserving of some decent programming improvements to add to their other quality programs such as the LAW AND ORDER franchise, CROSSING JORDAN, MY NAME IS EARL and other quality NBC schedule standouts.

All That Glitters Isn't Gary

With the latest outrageous fall from grace of Gary Glitter, even his old CDs and records are not even selling very well on Ebay. His major glitter-era competitor, Marc Bolan and T.Rex contines to sell very well by comparison.

There are 1501 marc Bolan items currently on Ebay, and only 390 Gary Glitter items. Other British pop notables such as Alvin Stardust, The Sweet and Mud have some items listed as well as some sales.

Gary Glitter's music such as "Rock And Roll Part 2" will like;y remain popular during major American sporting events, but Gary Glitter's career seems more than over after his latest brush with the law.

Marc Bolan was killed in a car accident in 1977 when he was a passenger in a Mini Cooper and his head hit the windshield. Many of the older Mini Cooper automobiles did not have locking front seats or seatbelts and were a very unsafe automobile.

"Catholictown" Versus The American Town

On one hand any effort to promote faith in God is usually a positive feature. However in a Florida town, the effort to create a single town largely oriented simply around the Catholic faith is not without serious concerns.

There are certainly problems with the role of seperation of church and state in that can government funds go to fund a community largely built around the feature that only one religious group is welcome. In a state like Utah where the Mormon Church dominates, at least reasonable secular seperation exists between the church and government, although the Mormon Church certainly has a great deal of influence in all public policy decisions.

America was built on the belief of a free exercise of all religion, not communities in which only one faith dominates or promotes their personal church doctrines which are often at odds with Bibical teachings and Scriptural teachings.

For example, the sale of contraceptives will be discouraged in "Catholictown", yet no support in Scriptures exists for this doctrine. Clergy do not marry in the Catholic faith, which may be partially responsible for some of sex abuse problems within the church, and in oppostion to the teachings of Paul in the New Testament who offered marriage by clergy as an optional feature for Christians if they so choose. And further, what sort of religious prohibitions will be placed on popular culture. The concept of "community standards" now means that nothing that ridicules or questions the faith may be allowed, or that unreasonable standards imposed on retailers. What happens when constitutionally protected magazines, newspapers, books, CDs and videos are sold that are frowned on or surpressed in this community. And will all religions really feel welcome in such a community?

The practice of religion was really pretty much intended to reflect the Bibical teaching of "for me and my house" to allow for individual families to worship God, not for entire communities to impose wrongful church doctrines with the blessing of government authority.

Without a doubt most people who live in a community such as "Catholictown" are very good persons and most likely saved. But they are not following strictly Bible teachings and are instead good followers of purely a church doctrine.

Bush Doctrine Will Create New Long Range Problems For India And Pakistan

From the standpoint of serving the immediate interests of positive photo opportunites to appear presidential, the Bush swing through India and Pakistan appear to be successful. However that should not mask some serious problems that nuclear dealings with India and the promotion of the Bush Doctrine of pushing for democracies in states like Pakistan.

In India, while a major state that is certainly mostly friendly of U.S. foreign policy goals is a central nation to maintain strong relations with, still allowing India the use of fast-breeder nuclear reactors is only likely to spin off more nuclear weapons material. This may only set the region up for future arms race difficulties.

And in Pakistan, any push for democracy is only likely to allow radical Islamist or religious extremist oriented parties to capture control of the government and allow Pakistan's nuclear weapons to flow freely around the Islamic worls that are at least now under the control of military dictatorship government that at least is friendly to U.S. goals and maintains some control on these arms.

It certainly sounds very Jeffersonian for Mr. Bush to stand for world democracy. However, poor results in Iran with the radical government there, the Hamas victory in Palestine, the increased power of the Islamic Brotherhood in Egypt, and the dominance of Shiite religious parties and militia members such as the Badr Brigade in Iraq, begin to call this entire Bush Doctrine into question.

In many developing states, society is not yet advanced enough to promote a state of democracy. And in India where moderate religious beliefs predominate, and is a fertile ground for democracy, the opposite exists in other poor states in which radical Islam is taught in many Mosques and the population is more likely to elect irresponsible extremists to power.

The Bush swing through India and Pakistan is likely to give Mr. Bush a small public opinion boost right when two new polls just this week put his performance approval at 34-38%, and his personal approval is as little as 29%. But personal political goals should not interfere with intelligent foreign policy goals. The two goals are not always similar in their end results, whether intended or not.