Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Video Suggests Saddam Execution Was Carried Out By Shiite Militia Members

A new cell phone recorded video now circulating on the Internet on with audio strongly suggests that the execution of Saddam Hussein was carried out by Shiite Militia group members aligned with radical antiAmerica cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. This new evidence strongly suggests that the Saddam execution was rushed through to satisfy this militia group and the cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, and that the normal path of justice in the "new" Iraq was deliberately avoided. Saddam had more trials pending on far more serious charges and also was facing civil charges in at least one lawsuit filed in the U.S. None of these important cases are likely to be heard except for the civil suit in the U.S. now.

Rather than an orderly execution, done with proper professionalism, it appears from the audio that the executioners were taunting Saddam Hussein with a chant of "Muqtada, Muqtada, Muqtada", and other wholly improper conduct, which seems to suggest that Saddam Hussein was handed over to the same Shiite militia elements responsible for kidnappings, murders, and other crimes against the Sunni civilian population of Iraq. Everyday 5 bodies or more that show the signs of torture and are handcuffed are found in river that runs through Baghdad by police patrols, most probably victims of the same Shiite militia group that carried out the execution of Saddam Hussein. Generally about 50 bodies a day, generally of Sunni citizens are found murdered, torured and handcuffed in the streets of Baghdad. These persons are denied a fair trial as well.

If anything this audio portion of the video seems to suggest that the very unusual execution of a prisoner was carried out only to satisfy this Shiite militia group before a major Islamic holiday. Saudi Arabia has condemned this execution before a major Islamic holiday as entirely inappropriate.

All of this raises serious questions about whether justice was really followed in the recent legal dealings and execution of Saddam Hussein. The question of whether this has become just another killing by the Shiite militia associated with radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr is now raised by the audio clues during the execution. The official Iraqi state version of the execution was supposed to be without audio. But this cell phone recorded version raises serious questions of an improper role of Muqtada al-Sadr's involvement in this affair.

By any reasonable standard, Saddam Hussein was indeed a murderous thug who deserved to be brought to justice. The victims of the far more serious crimes than the murder of 148 Shiites who were denied justice and killed by Saddam Hussein after a failed assassination attempt such as another 5,000 who were killed or worse were denied their justice. But the quick rush to execution in full view of the entire world community seems to point out serious improper involvement by a Shiite militia in Iraq's justice system, strongly raising questions whether innocent Sunni citizens can be afforded a fair trial in such a kangaroo court justice system. The U.S. had a real obligation to be sure that all the charges and victims were heard from before handing Saddam Hussein off to the Shiite militia members for execution.

So far this execution video is not playing very well in parts of Iraq. The chants of "Muqtada, Muqtada, Muqtada" seem to only indicatre that the murderous corrupt regime of Saddam Husein has only been replaced by a murderous sectarian Shiite regime dominated by militia involvement in the police, courts and government. These militia groups when in the guise of Iraqi police leave many in Iraq fearing that they are only there to kidnap or murder them, not protect them as the role of proper police really shoud be. This is not the kind of Iraq that Americans should be proud of helping to build.

AMC's Hornet Nameplate May Be Revived By Chrysler

Strange things sometimes happen in the auto industry. One of the strangest is that the Hornet nameplate may be revived by Chrysler for the third time since the 1950's to be used on the Chinese built Chery automobile to be build in China and sold by Chrysler worldwide. Chrysler has floated a concept car called the "Hornet" recently that is likely the same automobile that Chery will be building as a likely Dodge nameplate marketed model. It could also be possible that another entirely different name may surface in the end for the likely new Dodge line of cars. Chrysler has recently been experimented with intriguing names like "Nitro", etc.

In the 1950's, the Hornet name first surfaced on the Hudson Hornet, a very powerful car that was powered by a twin carbed 308 cubic inch six, that was a big winner in the early days of Nascar forerunner racing. This big six was more than able to keep up with the early V8s of the 50's. Later in the 1950's when the marriage of financial convience brought Hudson and Nash together in what proved to be the biggest corporate merger of all time back then, the Hornet nameplate was retired and more practical economy based compact models with Nash styling replaced the larger and great looking Hudson models. The new AMC Corporation seemed to combine the less than completely beautiful styling of Nash with the engine design durability of Hudson, making AMC cars a worthwhile alternative to the offerings of the big three and Studebaker/Packard for years.

In 1966, AMC built a concept car called the Cavalier that was eventually to replace the last automobile produced by AMC with the Rambler nameplate. In September of 1969, the model was finally ready for production as a 1970 model , but with the Hornet name once more revived as $1,994 base priced economy compact car. Until 1977, these Hornet models gained a reputation for a durable and long running design, when the model was renamed the Concord. In reality, the Hornet design was so durable that these cars served as main product line of AMC cars until the end of the company in 1987, when Chrysler took over as the new owner of the company asets when it really sought to purchase the Jeep lineup of cars from AMC. For 17 model years, some variation of the original 1970 Hornet existed as either the Hornet, the shortened subcompact Gremlin or Spirit models, the four wheel drive Eagle or Eagle SX4 models, or as the Concord. The 1970 AMC Hornet based automobiles then became the longest run ever for an automobile model based off a single original car model, even beating the 1958-1974 Checker automobiles by far.

Now, the only question remaining is whether the Hornet nameplate will find use for the third time since the 1950's once again on the new Chery built automobile line from China. If it does, then it will set it's own record as only the third completely different line of automobiles to use a popular nameplate called "Hornet". Strange things happen sometimes.

Ford Mustang May Be Available As A Four Door Model

In January, Ford will begin showing off a concept car version of the very popular Ford Mustang model that is a four door version, beginning with the International Auto Show in Detroit. Chances are this controversial model is being floated to gauge public opinion for the possible marketing of this controversial model for the popular American sports model car.

Ford has historically been the only major automobile maker in the U.S. to build some unslightly and unusual looking four door models of some popular models. The popular "personal luxury" car the Ford Thunderbird received some controversial looking four door models during the late 1960's. By definition, "personal luxury" cars should have meant some luxury two door models, not a four door version. Nonetheless a few of these Thunderbirds actually sold.

In the 1970's, the new small compact car, the Ford Maverick received some strange looking four door models with a more squared off roofline. The original Mavericks had a sporty almost modern Mustanglike sporty look compared to the more boxy Falcon line that they replaced. Bith the Falcon and the Maverick were very sturdy automobiles, with great low prices. But while the four door Maverick models sold a few copies, they were another strange and clumsy looking Ford ill-conceived four door design. The beautiful fastback lines of the Ford Maverick just didn't loan itself well to a four door version, and the squarish four door models might have been a practical model, but seemed to doom Maverick to never evolving into another sporty Mustanglike car which was entirely possible with it's original sporty design. But with only a six cylinder available for the first models, and only a 302 V8 Grabber model added some time later, Mavericks just never received the performance upgrades to make them anymore than a low priced economy car.

Some aftermarket companies offered some fibreglass conversion kits to create a sports two door station wagon version of their Firebirds or Camaros. And these looked very good. A few persons even created some Mustang sports station wagon models by grafting on a Ford Falcon back, with good results. But the four door Mustang concept car is likely another ill-conceived Ford four door model, that maybe a few buyers might actually want, but most sports purists will only berate as simply ruining the car, not improving it. If buyers want a four door model, then let them buy some family sedan grocery getter, but leave the beautiful Mustang alone. Another clumsy looking Ford four door model of a car never ever really designed to be a four door model is really not needed.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Western Ally, Ethiopia Defeats Islamic Militia Grip On Mogadishu

U.S. and Western governments gained a critical victory this week when their proxy war agent, Ethiopia was able to defeat the Islamic militia groups that gained conrol of Somalia's, capital city, Mogadishu. These Islamic militia groups were openly aligned with Al Qaeda and likely would have allowed this terrorist organization a geographically critical area to plan and carry out attacks in Africa, the MidEast of even Europe.

The U.S. State Department was mum whether there was military aid or other covert aid offered to Ethiopia's air force or army. However 1,500 U.S. military personel could easily have acted as advisors due to their close stationing in nearby Dijbouti. And U.S. military satellite assistence may have been funneled to Ethiopia as well. With U.S. forces tied down in Iraq and Afghanistan, there was likely some sort of concentrated covert CIA and U.S. military attempts to aid Ethiopia to fight the Islamic militia groups that seized control of the capital of Somalia a few weeks ago.

If indeed there was a U.S. proxy war against the Islamic militias in Somalia, which seems more than reasonable given the high stakes involved, then this was a very successful covert action. It also marks the first major return to covert warfare on this scale since the Reagan Administration. While the Islamic militia groups are vowing a return to power in Mogadishu, nonetheless they have taken a huge hit that will take some time to recover from for some time.

Several factors helped to make this a quick successful operation. The Islamic militia groups were unprepared to withstand air force attacks, and the operation was quick enough to knock these groups out despite a flow of arms and aid from Syria, Libya and Yemen. With this flow of outside arms into Somalia, Western powers no doubt mounted a counter offensive by arming Ethiopia with both arms and the military intelligence necessary to help return the government of Somalia to control over the Islamic militia groups.

With the bloody fighting between Islamics and Christian in Darfur in Sudan, likely the next major battlegrounds for open warfare between Islam and Western faith will be in North Africa. The escalation of combat in Somalia this past week is another example of this trend of conflicts.

William Peterson Leaving CSI, At Least For A While

The great actor William Peterson is leaving CSI for at least a while. Signs of his slow burnout with the series have been a poorly kept secret in the press as well as in the show's scripts for at least some time.

Despite being involved in the production of the program, as well as one of the main characters of the ultrapopular series, Peterson wanted to spend more time on other acting opportunities such as stage work or cinema. Strangely, "MANHUNTER", a 1986 film starring Peterson seemed the lay some o the basis for CSI series despite a noticeable relationship to the SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. In many ways, Peterson now seems a bit typecast as a crime fighting investigator sleth of some sort.

Peterson is likely to do some stage acting in Providence and even teach a seminar at Williams College before makng a late return to CSI before the season is out in May. Whether Peterson will return next year remains a huge question at this point. But things may be pointing in the direction of Peterson being written into some sort of season finale write-out, or even only returning once every so often as almost a guest star.

While the ratings on CSI remain very strong, early in the season, GREY'S ANATOMY gave the series a huge run for it's money. While no longer the top series in the U.S. , CSI is often beaten by DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES or other programs, and the return of AMERICAN IDOL in January will only push down the ratings of many programs by a tick or two.

Fans of Peterson and CSI can only hope that his exit from the program will only be temporary. But the smart money says that it's probably doubtful that Peterson will stick around very long. He's a very fine actor who brings a great deal of class to the series. His educated and classy banter seems to remind me of the witty exchanges in THE AVENGERS more than anything. So far no other actor in this series has been able to replace this style, and fall more so into a typical crime drama type acting style, although the program always remains interesting by breaking new ground with writing or plot experiments.

Peterson's intellectual acting style will be greatly missed from CSI, which has served as perhaps the finest showcase of his skills outside of the excellent MANHUNTER.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Daimler Chrysler Will Give Chinese Automaker Chery First American Market Toehold

German owned, Daimler Chrysler AG, has signed an agreement with Chinese automaker Chery for production of small Chinese made subcompacts ro marketed by Chrysler worldwide under either Chrysler or Dodge nameplates. This will a Chinese automaker the first invasion of the American automobile market and likely only worsen the trade deficit with China as higher value goods such as automobiles begin to replace smaller goods as prime imports to the U.S.

High pollution levels as well as safety concerns of some models have slowed the Chinese entry into the U.S. market. But with these issues resolved, China stands to gain a significant share of U.S. automobile sales over time with low priced, high mileage automobiles.

While the trade deficit with China is indeed staggering, China tends to use part of this money to purchase U.S. Treasury Bonds, and now controls $200 billion of these, or the second highest foreign figure next to Japan. This makes both nations vital to preventing out financial collapse as a civilization on hand, but also our financial masters on the other hand.

The loss of manufacturing jobs in the U.S. is simply staggering though. One state, North Carolna, has witnessed 60% of it's lower skilled manifacturing jobs leave to China and other low wage states over the last ten years for example, with most job losses within the last five years. To say the least, this is simply a mounting crisis for the U.S., which is quickly moving to becoming a low wage service job economy.

Saddam Hussein Executed In A Land That Seems To Resolve Most Things In Blood

The execution of Saddam Hussein seemed to be just the closing chapter that you'd expect to see in the bloody and violent land of Iraq, where mercy, morality, and religious maturity seems to be in very short supply. Sunni radicals will likely only use this death only to inspire more car bomb attacks to quiet the celebrating Shiites in the streets of the Sadr City slum and elsewhere in Iraq. This society just never seems to evolve beyond a continued cycle of violence.

Earlier this year, right here in the U.S. we saw just the opposite of the prehistoric moral values of many in Iraq, with the outpouring of mercy towards the family of the gunman who murdered some little Amish girls at their schoolhouse. Some Amish community members even attended the funeral of the gunman as a display of the power of their faith to offer mercy and forgiveness to those totally undeserving of mercy and forgiveness. Compared to some in Muslim community who insist that they are religious, but take lives over a cartoon such as the controversial Danish ones, there is tons of religious value maturity lessons that could be taken from the Amish example.

The execution of Saddam Hussein is only a postive event in Iraq if you think that the country doesn't have enough sectarian tensions and inspirations for Sunni and Shiite violence towards each other.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Why John Edwards, Why?

In this season of holiday giftgiving, John Edwards has decided to give the growing ranks of Democrats running for president a gift of himself. But you have to ask why?

In 2004, when John Edwards was a senator from North Carolina and a strong candidate in the Democratic primary campaign for president as the runner-up to John Kerry, Edwards was really at his peak. His standardized "Two America's" stump speech rang a responsive chord among many voters. But as the vice presidential running mate on the losing John Kerry ticket, Edwards failed to add very much to the ticket. Edwards failed to even carry his home state of North Carolina, helping to seal the doom of the Kerry/Edwards ticket. It is also unclear whether Edwards even has the popularity left at home to be even re-elected senator in North Carolina should he ever decide to run again, let alone stand a chance of being elected president.

By any standard, Edwards is a youthful, great looking candidate, but that's hardly the substance grounds to make him president. And as a product liability attorney, Edwards did bring some irresponsible companies to justice to force safety improvements in unsafe products. But the 2004 general election exposed too many shortcomings with both Edwards as well as John Kerry, badly damaging both, virtually ensuring that neither will ever be president or even vice president.

John Edwards stood his best shot at becoming president in 2004. That ship has long since come and sailed. The Clintons are far more skillful at fundraising and campaign organization than any potential Democratic rival to climb over, especially a John Edwards who will no doubt run far weaker this time than last. This time, he likely won't even be asked to join the vice presidential half of the Democratic ticket. Why run this year John Edwards, why?

Ford And Toyota In Some Reported Technology Talks

At the request of the ailing Ford Motor company, one of the two last American automobile manufacturers, Toyota has been summoned into high level talks. While some reports claim that the talks may be only limited to Ford seeking fuel efficient technology help from Toyota, which is considered to be the leading expert at hybrid and other fuel saving technology, there is always the strong possibility that some sort of affiliation or merger talks could result at some point.

A merger could certainly fulfill many important business goals for Toyota, giving them a far deeper inroad into the vast American automobile marketplace. For Ford it could become a lifesaving business move, although it would more than likely become a disaster for high paying American manufacturing union jobs and hit the United Automobile Workers Union very hard. Most union jobs that pay as much as $60 or more an hour could give way to $15 an hour nonunion jobs and loss of some or all retirement or health care benefits.

If the talks between Ford and Toyota result in merger or buyout talks, Toyoya could purchase a 51% share in Ford and have a dramatic impact not only on the marketing of Ford and Toyota products in the U.S. , but it could become a real bodyblow to the UAW and the future of American labor unions role in representing and organizing American manufacturing workers.

If anything the Ford and Toyota talks do represent some desperation on the part of Ford to remain in the automobile manufacturing business, as the American manufacturer's line of automoblies has shrinked from the much larger line of the 1960's and 1970's.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Gerald Ford

The passing of any American president is indeed a sad affair, even if you do not agree with their political views. After the nightmare of Watergate ruined the American public trust in the American presidency, former House Minority Leader, Gerald Ford did attempt to run the presidency in an honest manner compared to the scandal ridden Richard Nixon Administration.

Gerald Ford became the only unelected president in American history, but served for one of the shortest periods ever at only two years before losing to Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter.

While Ford did manage to build on the Nixon overtures to China with a second visit since the Nixon years, and continued "detente" with the Soviets as well as signing the Helsinki Accords, many other foreign policy objectives as well as domestic policies were more failure prone.

When the Khmer Rouge Communists seized control in Cambodia and seized the American merchant ship, Mayaguez, in international waters, Ford launched a botched rescue mission to the wrong island that lost the lives of 41 U.S. Marines and wounded 50 more, and killed 60 Khmer Rouge Communists. Poor U.S. intelligence failed to note that the crew of the Mayaguez had already been released by the Cambodian Communists before the U.S. troops lost their lives.

Rather than use the bold wage and price controls of the Nixon Administration, Ford instead encouraged the use of WIN buttons by the public, which stood for "whip inflation now". This was of course a laughable failure, with gas prices and other prices suffering from sharp inflation.

Ford failed to prevent the fall of Saigon to the North Vietnamese military drive in 1975, and force the parties that signed the 1973 peace agreement in Paris to respect their signatures intent on the document. This resulted in mass evacuations to the U.S. of Vietnamese who had ties to U.S. forces from the U.S. Embassy in Vietnam as North Vietnamese tanks rolled into Saigon.

In 1976, Ford nearly lost his party's nomination to a strong challenge from the far more conservative Ronald Reagan. Ford seemed to mark the last of the mainstream conservatives by the Repulican Party before pulling much farther to the right after Reagan became president.

Despite being involved in politics since 1948, and a longtime member of Congress as well as the House Minority Leader, Ford seemed unable to work as well with Congress as even Richard Nixon, with many veto battles with Congress rather than coopersation and compromise.

As an expresident, Ford was often seen playing golf while Jimmy Carter built homes for low income persons or Bill Clinton and George Bush were involved in humanitarian fundraising efforts. But his wife, Betty was often a popular first lady figure.

Twice mentally ill women made attempts on his life, including one associated with the murderous cult of Charles Manson. Thankfully alert secret service agents foiled both bizarre attempts. But Ford was also well known for some clumsy falls, which became the subject of many Chevy Chase jokes, of which Ford did share some good hearted laughs from. Thankfully Ford was never seriously injured from these falls. But Ford managed to give the nation more safety and security scares than any president in recent memory.

By no means will Gerald Ford be remembered as a great president. But he was an honest man who mainly served as a caretaker president while the nation looked for someone better to represent them. Ford does deserve the high honors that the small number of men who served as president have been bestowed. It is indeed a sad day for America regardless of your politics.

U.S. Military Considers Adding More Noncitizen Soldiers

With the loss of about 3-5 U.S. soldiers in Iraq each day, with about another 172 wounded each day, or the loss of about U.S. Army battalion a month, U.S. military recruiters are allowing more and more compromises to normal military recruiting qualifications. There are now rumors that the next step will be the use of more noncitizen recruits.

Some minor criminal backgrounds are being excused. Older soldiers are now allowed to enlist up to the age of 42 from the previous cutoff at age 35. And more noncitizen military recruits are now under consideration. For some noncitizens this could result in a faster path to citizen as a recruiting lure. So far in Iraq, 300 Hispanics, both citizens and not have lost their lives. If a faster path to citizenship is offered to deal with manpower shortages for the continued polce efforts in Iraq, then more Hispanics and others may join the U.S. military, but risk their lives for a country some may not even be a citizen of.

Intel Plans To Build New $1 Billion Dollar Semiconductor Plant In Vietnam, Which Will Likely End Many U.S. Jobs

There is some news out of Intel that cannot possiby be good news for U.S. workers. Only weeks after the Bush visit to Vietnam, and Congress offering further support to more open trade with Vietnam, Intel is taking full advantage to set up a $1 billion dollar semiconductor plant in Vietnam. Once this plant is built, thousands of American workers will likely lose their jobs.

Intel hires a large work crew in Oregon and other states, and will likely see many good American jobs disappear to Vietnam, where teenage children often live in dormatories at factories like NIKE shoes and work most days of the month producing goods to export to the U.S. With very low wages, teenage labor, and beatings of these children sometimes reported at workplaces, Vietnam presents a very controversial place for many American brand name goods to be produced.

There were likely heavy lobby efforts by American business interests for the Bush White House and Congress to further liberalize trade with Vietnam as big American business interests seek cheaper labor sources and the elimination of more American jobs.

Execution Of Saddam Hussein Could Only Inflame Iraqi Violence

With sensitive negotiations at a last ditch attempt to form a political unity government among Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish parliament moderates hung-up by the lack of support by Shiite partisan Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, and greatly increased sectaian violence, the planned execution of Saddam Hussein could further inflame the endless cycle of Sunni and Shiite sectarian violence.

By any objective standard, Saddam Hussein was a cruel, dishonest and corrupt leader directly responsible for so many deaths. But with the political situation so tense in Iraq, it would be far better to offer Saddam Hussein the mercy that he denied so many others at this point. It would be far better for him to quietly rot away in a prison cell and not remain a factor in the Iraq tensions, rather than become a new flash point for more sectarian violence.

The execution of Saddam Hussein with the next 30 days will only inspire Sunni extremists to commit more violence against Shiites, and the Shiites will only respond with more violence against Sunni citizens.

At this time, it is far better that the people of Iraq learn a lesson of mercy than learn a lesson of justice.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

It's All Lost In The Translation For Some Right Wing Blogs

There are a few problems translating Arabic and Middle Eastern names to English because of the mechanics of this language with a far different alphabet that English. You'll find Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki sometimes spelled Nuri by some news sources. Libyian leader Muammar al-Gaddafi often has his name spelled Qadhdhafi or Khadaffi due to translation difficulties his name into English.

A few weeks ago, a few right wing blogs such as Michelle Malkin and Flopping Aces really stuck their necks out in an absurd premise that claimed that AP made up news that six Sunni worshippers were burnt to death in a Mosque attack by a Shiite mob, quoting one U.S. CENTCOM Navy officer and the Shiite militia group dominated Iraq Government Interior Ministry that claimed that one AP source for the story, an Iraqi police captain called "Jamil Hussein" does not exist. Now comes word, that the name was badly translated into English, where Captain Jamail Hussein is the better translation of the name.

AP has long used Iraqi police captain Jamail Hussein as a source and reporters have visited his office at an Iraqi police station over the last two years. Recently Michelle Malkin was even invited to visit Iraq to be taken on a tour of Captain Jamail Hussein's police station, to prove that AP considers him a credible source of information according to at least source. As far as I know neither Michelle Malkin or Flopping Aces have run a retraction that they were wrong for smearing the reputation of AP over their absurd premise based solely over the mistaken translation of an Arabic name.

The fact is some right wing blogs made up a absurd smear of the credibility of the news media, which endanger their lives to bring the world public the news from many dangerous areas, and these right wing blogs speak with far less credibility. And when someone like Michelle Malkin is offered the opportunity to see first hand just how wrong her Iraq reporting is, by actually visting Iraq, then she fails to take up the offer or run a retraction for her absurd false claims against AP.

Whether it's someone like smear journalism queen, Ann Coulter, who has outrageously infered more than once that some public officials deserve violence, or those like Michelle Malkin and Flopping Aces that botch up the facts in wholly inept attempts to construct silly conspracy theories, many right blogs simply become an exchange for ignorance and wrong facts and absurd theories. Some on the right may think that ignorance is a political ideology. It's not. It's still just ignorance.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Music Legend James Brown Passes Away

It's a very tough Christmas morning today, with the sad passing of Soul music great, James Brown. After at least 5 decades on influence on music, James Brown, cast an indelible stamp on music and remains one of the greatest performers of all time. His vastly energetic style, his sheer cool factor, helped to make him one one of the most enduring and respected figures in American music despite some personal and legal setback problems.

Brown spent this weekend giving toys to poor children , and had many future gigs set for the coming weeks, including a New Year's gig. But after not feeling well, checked into a hospital and soon passed away from illness possiby pneumonia.

Brown's songs may not have always had the catchy hooks that every slick top 40 song had, but always had a deliberate but sometimes subdued energy and inventive coolness, and willingness to seek out a new creative style. In fact many of his songs often lacked broad commercial appeal, yet overall he rated as one of the most popular singles and albums artists of all time, right after Elvis. Despite songs often without the commercial slickness of many transitory artists that came and went, Brown managed to continue healthy record sales quietly among loyal legions of fans all races. Even White R&B influenced acts like The Rolling Stones and Mick Jagger seemed influenced by both the stage presense and R&B music stylings of Brown.

Brown managed to leave a great and deep imprint on American music. A true legend. An irreplaceable talent. A great, great performer that will be deeply missed. At this point no real artist stands to leave as much influence on music as James Brown has done. An amazing life to say the very least.

The Pope Offers Christmas Pleas For An End To War And Prejudice

Every year, the Pope offers perfectly good and reasonable pleas for what should be considered basic human decency, such as this year's call for an end to war and prejudice. Every year these pleas mostly fall on deaf ears.

Today is a good example. American troops find themselves at risk in danger on patrols in Iraq. If they didn't go on these missions, then only more Iraqi civilians or American troops will die of future violence. It's a cycle of violence without reasonable end.

In Jerusalem, it is another tense Christmas, however there are improved signs of Israeli Prime Minister Olmert hoping to forge better relations withe the relatively moderate Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas. Israel will free up $100 million in funds tied up since Hamas swept elections, if the funds can be directly sent to hospitals and not aid Hamas. But Palestinian President Abbas did attend Christmas church services in Jerusalem, signaling a form of moderation and respect for the Christian community.

In this coming year, both Israel and the U.S. will likely seek ways to improve the standing of Abbas and undermine his Hamas opponents. This remains the one best hope for improved peace in the MidEast. The situation with the Palestinians may show some improvement and peace may make some small advances. This isn't the sweeping end to war or prejudice that the Pope would like to see, but it's at least one small positive step in that direction.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Prisoners In Multnomah County, Oregon Are Denied Spiritual Gifts From Churches At Christmas

Prisoners in Multnomah County, Oregon, which includes Portland and Gresham are actually denied spiritual gifts from Churches this Christmas. Tough regulations such as mail size restrictions actually ban churches from mailing Bibles, books, or other spiritual materials to prisoners of the large Inverness Jail. This has to be one of the only jails in America that restricts spiritual gufts to prisoners. Normally, both the right to an attorney and the right to spiritual counsel are not restricted by a jail system, as court cases have clearly defended the right of prisoners to both legal and spiritual counsel.

Prisoners are under such tight restrictions that they must make their own Christmas cards to send to outside family members. Many prisoners receive no visitors. But a few good prisoners will share "canteen items" such as snacks with other prisoners who have no visitors this Christmas or in exchange for Christmas card artwork. Some prisoners with very high skills in artwork or other talents are behind bars this year, many for alcohol or drug offenses.

Life is very tough for unloved prisoners with no vistors this time of year. These persons may have done some wrong, but churches or other forms of holiday cheer should be allowed to help these persons this year. And prisoners should have the constitutional right to receive Bibles or other spiritual help items. Persons in prison need your prayers and support. Society has a big stake in the redeemption and salvation of these persons who are in unlucky situations for a wide variety of reasons. Scripture also makes it clear the duty that persons on the outside have towards prisoners. Just because someone has sinned is no grounds for others to deny love or compassion towards those trapped behind bars this Christmas.

The Worst Christmas Songs Ever

April Winchell, the daughter of the late great Paul Winchell, has a radio show in California with a great multimedia website that compiles some of the very worst Christmas songs ever made. You can find April's website at and click her multimedia link.

You'll find mindnumbing and funny Christmas selections from Jay Leno, Jack Webb, William Hung, Tom Lehrer, Walter Brennan, Tommy Faye, Porky Pig, Mae West, Regis Philbin & Donals Trump, The Dickies and some misguided rappers as well as a Jimi Hendrix New Year's Day ditty. There's also some outrageous and awful Beatles and Stairway To Heaven cover songs.

These songs are legal downloads that can be saved to a program such as MusicMatch and you can burn your own funny Christmas songs CD from the many titles listed. Some incredibly funny stuff to make an alternative CD to all the other sappy seasonal stuff out there. Enjoy. Merry Christmas to all!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

The Strange Connection Between Your Astrological Sign And Your Driving Record

President of , Lee Romanov has an interesting study of the strange correlation between the driving records and astrological signs of drivers. Supposedly, based on the records of 100,000 drivers, Romanov seems to suggest that a person's birth sign does correlate with better or worse driving skills, accidents or tickets.

As examples, Romanov claims that those with the most accidents tend to be those born under the Libra, Scorpio and Capricorn signs have the highest number of accidents, while Leo, Cancer and Gemini have the least automobile accidents.

This is an interesting conversation piece to checkout and see what you think.

Most astrological content is simply written by paid feature writers for newspapers with no real connection to a constant formula to draw from. It is mere fiction writing. But this feature by Lee Romanov has some real basis in actual statistics. Romanov also has a new book called "Car Carma" as well.

MAD MAGAZINE Chooses It's 20 Dumbest People, Events and Things Of 2006

MAD MAGAZINE just released it's answer to the establishment's TIME MAGAZINE with their 20 Dumbest People, Events and Things issue. This is a great counter to TIME's, "Person Of The Year" issue. Unlike TIME, MAD makes some good sharp use of satire and parody to lampoon the simply awful and paint them up as bad as they should really be viewed.

Some top picks this year include the Iraq War quagmire, with a great chess set illustration, drunken Olympic skier, Bode Miller, the Cheney shooting accident, Richard Hatch, head butting soccer star, Zindine Zidane, smear journalist queen, Ann Coulter, with a great "Basest Instinct" movie poster, Mel "Kampf" Gibson, the passion of the anti-semite, tainted spinach, YouTube, Floyd Landis, North Korea nuclear test by "The Nutty Aggressor", "Muslims Gone Wild", Barry Bonds, Issac Hayes quits South Park, K-Fed raps, Mark Foley, Paris Hilton's vow of celibacy, John Mark Karr and other goofballs and events that helped to make 2006 a supid year.

Compared to the nerfball soft MSM publications which merely only suggest that perhaps Iraq may be a quagmire, or tamely suggest other notions that the public has long since accepted , MAD acts without the retraints of the nonsatire magazines, and skillfully uses parody, lampoon and satire to editorialize persons and events. Compared to spending about five bucks for TIME for their bad funhouse mirror looking "Person Of The Year" cover this year, MAD managed to more intelligently cut through all the nonsense and give you a good laugh as well. This is $3.99 well spent. Buy this issue if you do anything this year. This is a real keeper.

As Elderly Struggle To Pay High Prescription Costs, Drug Company Offers $200 Million Dollar Retirement To CEO

Corporate arrogance and lack of accountability is alive and well in America. After stockholders were angered at Pfizer for offering a huge retirement package to former CEO Henry A. McKinnell, and helped to force him out of the CEO position, new papers filed with the SEC show that McKinnell will get every cent of a $180 million retirement package beginning in July, plus a possible $18.5 million more contingent on future Pfizer stock performance.

Investors in the stock market are shortchanged on dividends when huge sums of money flow into the pockets of corporate executives and out of the company, and elderly persons struggle to purchase vital prescription drugs, cutting back on food or splitting pills in half to help make ends meet, while many dollars are added to the cost of every single prescription to pay for corporate greed and salaries that reach into the heavens. Even Scrooge himself could hardly do one better than Pfizer this Christmas season. Christmas for one former CEO; a lump of coal for everyone else.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Labor's Christmas Wish List

Labor unions have good reason to ask for a few favors from the new Democratic controlled Congress and Senate, as they were vital to the victories the Democrats gained in November. While nonunion voters including many poorly paid minimum wage workers only supported Democrats by a bare two point margin, union voters supported Democrats by a remarkable 74% for Congress and 76% percent for the Senate. With about 25% of households representing at least one union member, these votes in heavy favor of the Democrats were the vital key to the big gains by the Democrats.

Despite 40 years of Democratic leadership in Congress before the 12 year rule of Republicans masterminded by Newt Gingrich in 1994, Democrats in congress were soft on many issues involving working people and unions. This time around, they would be far wiser to pay attention. Many in Congress owe a huge debt to the union voters this time around.

Labor's goals appear modest, but would involve huge personal gains for working people in general. Improvements in health care or insurance, retirement security, an increase in the minimum wage, the right of workers to organize into unions, increased workplace safety, good well funded public education for children, creating good jobs with good wages are all goals that would leave American society much stronger. This is one Christmas wish list that the new Congress should pay special attention to. America would be better for it.

Trump And Rosie;The War Of The Rosie

The verbal battle between billionaire businessman Donald Trump and comic Rosie O'Donnell has continued to heat up during the last couple of days, leaving many celebrities and fans of both caught between. It's almost like a child watching their two parents fight, with torn emotions that love both. But the verbal handgrenades launched by both Trump and O'Donnell took an ugly turn when Trump threatened a lawsuit against O'Donnell.

In reality, there is increasingly less legal grounds to sue comics for jokes than there used to be at one time. The landmark U.S. Supreme Court case involving a Hustler Magazine parody involving Rev. Jerry Falwell helped to improve the legal status of comics to parody other celebrities, even if their facts are grossly distorted or just plain wrong. There appears to be far less legal grounds to pursue libel cases against what is recognized as comedy or satire. Comedy has also seen some increasing grounds for protection against obscenity actions as well. At one time a comic like Lenny Bruce was so persecuted for his humor, that NY police used to attend his shows with a laptop tape recorder, and while Bruce was in jail, political and social critic comic, Mort Saul used to fill in for his gigs at comedy clubs until Bruce was out on bail. Police would tape Mort Saul, who never used outrageous language in his political comedy routines. Bruce eventually took his own life. In recent years, Bruce was given a posthumous pardon by the Mayor of NY for his past obscenity charges. In recent years, the band Two Man Live Crew was acquited of obscenity charges in Florida for their absurd and over the top material. Some jurors even asked the judge for the permission to laugh during the trial to avoid contempt of court or other juror impropriety. Comedy is now given wide means in the legal system for artistic freedom.

In the case of Trump and O'Donnell, some of the allegations that each other charged were exaggerated or less than completely accurate. Both have suffered some business setbacks. During the early 1990's many businesses owned by Trump such as casinos hit some very hard times. Even the Trump Plaza was forced into Chapter 11 bankrupty protection by 1992. Part of the eventual recovery plan by Trump reduced his share of ownership to just 27 percent, with stockholders now controlling a majority share in his business interests, now renamed Trump Entertainment Enterprises. At one point his debt totalled $900 million in personal debt, and $3.5 billion in business debt. Today, after emerging from business reorganization, Trump is still estimated to be worth about $2.5 billion dollars, probably considerably less than his once pre90's value. But his name is still associated with success despite some huge financial setbacks. His NBC TV show, THE APPRENTICE has seen much softer ratings than previous years, where NBC is waiting until January to premiere the show. The Martha Stewart version of the show was a quick ratings failure. And his personal relationships with women including divorces have been well documented in the press.

Rosie O'Donnell started out as a stand-up comic. She eventually gained a vastly successful talk show, that often donated large amounts of money to charities that aided children. A magazine that was named ROSIE fell into eventual hard times with insufficient advertising to cover publication costs, and editorial conflict between O'Donnell and the magazine staff including a lawsuit that was dismissed in court, where the judge found insufficient grounds to grant either side a judgement. Rosie O'Donnell eventually decided to leave her talk show, and raise her children and only do Stand-up comedy on a limited basis, and her former show was a quick failure with new hostess, comic Caroline Rhea, and only limped through just one season before cancellation.

There certainly is enough setbacks and personal garbage that can be dredged up to smear both celebrities. And Trump would be wise to put his efforts into making his January APPRENTICE show the best that he could. Soft raings could signal cancellation of this series this time around, as not being on the Fall NBC Schedule was a sure sign of ratings weakness. The continued public fight with Rosie O'Donnell can only poison some viewers from watching his show. And Trump would have a hard time promoting a lawsuit against O'Donnell, as previously stated, legal actions against comedy face a real uphill effort. The viewing public has largely proven that they like Rosie O'Donnell. She may be loud and outrageous, and not absolutely accurate in all of her statements, but she has proven to be a potent ratings powerhouse both with her own show and on THE VIEW. Other comics such as David Letterman, Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien have taken funny swipes at "The Donald" before. Trump should learn to ignore the comics and do the best he can with his business and APPRENTICE tv show. Unlike emerging from personal or business setbacks, winning a battle with comedy is a sure losing effort. Coming into office, president Richard Nixon once hoped and didn't want the press and comics to mock him the way they did LBJ. Look at where that got him. Comedy will survive no matter what the target of the joke thinks. That's been proven.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Ernest Hemingway Museum Cats Could Use Matlock

The 46 cats that are descendents of the cat owned by famous American author, Ernest Hemingway could sure use a good attorney. The U.S. Department Of Agriculture is pushing for fines of $200 a day unless the museum is licensed as animal display site such as a zoo, circus or similar animal display site. An attorney for the home and museum of Ernest Hemingway, Cara Higgins will have to defend the cats against a lawsuit filed in Federal Court in Miami against the famous Key West landmark. Trustees maintain the property that the cats reside on, and charge a small admission fee to tourists to view the house and museum.

For some legal reason, grandfather laws are not being applied to this museum which opened in 1964, likely because the issue has been elevated to a federal case. But the fate of the 46 cats, most of which are the slightly uncommon polydactyl types with six toes may be at stake. The museum certainly does not have vast funds to contest a huge federal case. But the cats are well cared for at the site, with no good question about their welfare really at issue.

Polydactyl cats have a relatively uncommon recessive gene that dates back to preshistoric times that allows many of the cats to be born with 6 toes that have the appearance of thumbs or little hands on the cats. These cats were well loved by author Hemingway, and have been permanent residents of his home which was made into a museum after his death. In May, 7 more of cats were born on the site, with all but six with polydactyl traits.

Hopefully the lawyer for this small museum can defend the right of the cats to continue to live at their own home. But with Miami awash in problems with drugs, gangs, and violent crime, it seems absurd that a small museum with a few cats as permanent residents should warrant a Federal Court case. But then again, Florida courts are famous for absurd cases while serious crime flourishes. Regardless, these poor cats might need the services of Matlock not to lose their home. Will this become a landmark Supreme Court case if the federal case goes badly for the museum? Will the cats have to testify for the defense? The questions can go on.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Mt. Hood Rescuers Deserve A Huge Thanks

Hood River Sheriff, Joe Wampler, very regretfully and sadly called off the search for the two missing Mt. Hood mountain climbers today, who even the families seem to be accepting as likely presumed dead, perhaps as a result of an accident such as falling off a 2,500 foot high glacier, or under an avalanche.

Sheriff Joe Wampler is intend a tough man, who has heroically kept order in his county of Hood River for years, as well as led many other search attempts both for missing persons or even dangerous wanted persons. But even this brave and tough man could barely contain his tears and sadness. He so much wanted to bring back two live survivors of this tragic mountain climbing accident. This sheriff helped to keep the rescue attempts running, days after hope appeared to be fading. The news media also helped to keep the rescue attempts alive by making a major public interest story out of this, maintaining public support for continued efforts to rescue these mountain climbers long after hope was beginning to fade. Yesterday, Sheriff Wampler and other rescuers were deeply concerned when a camera carried by deceased contained photos of only limited mountain climbing gear and supplies. This meant that food or vital supplies were not adequate for long survival, or a safe downhill climb from this very dangerous side of Mt. Hood in very cold and windy winterlike conditions including wind gusts up to about 100mph.

The American public and the families of the missing mountain climbers owe a huge thankyou to Sheriff Wampler and the other police, National Guard unit members, volunteers and others who braved frostbite injuries and risked their own lives in this very dangerous search and rescue mission. Some of the National Guardsmen are veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Some of their helicopters were used in these wars. And the danger they faced on Mt. Hood was just as serious as dangers in Iraq or Afghanistan. The value of a human life is so high in the United States that every life matters, and the rescuers really put their lives in danger to find these missing climbers. The public can never repay this bravery and the very determined search efforts. On behalf of all Americans, Thank you.

Miss USA Incidents Amuse Public, But May Indicate More Serious Issues

The American public is laughing at the problems with the Miss USA incidents and the involvement of the owner of this event, Donald Trump. However, far beyond the humor that the public is finding in this, there may be signs that some delayed female juvenile delinquency issues may be at stake.

The public may find female juvenile delinquency related behaviors funny or interesting because they often involve a form of inappropriate sexual acting out as a form of rebellion rather than the violence or violent crime related activites that are often associated with males. The fact that young women in their 20's who have lived more controlled and regulated behavior in their teens, but then acted out in wholly inappropriate behaviors in their 20's means that they simply delayed their delinquency tendencies and delayed their long supressed tendency to want to rebel.

On one hand, some will dismiss the conduct of Miss USA as merely a "country bumpkin, acting out for the first time in the big city". This is only true in the sense that the tendency to rebel was long surpresed by the fear or desire to please parents or conform to local social and religious norms. It could explain some of the behaviors of Tara Conner, Miss USA from Kentucky, or Britney Spears from Louisiana. However, there also seems to an apparent lack of some social controls present, that could result in some tragic consequences. The public conduct of Britney Spears apparently has reached such a pont that she was even recently booed at a Los Angeles Lakers basketball game by members of the audience, who may now feel that she far exceeds the values accepted by Los Angeles citizens for a young woman or young mother. There are press reports that child welfare authorities are beginning to take interrest in her conduct.

There are always those, especially males willing to pay for the outrageous sexual acting out of young women as adult entertainers for example. But they are acting as enablers for many young women who know such behavior is not morally acceptable, but enjoy it as a form of rebellion, while a few more are simply in it for the money. Often where no real money is involved, is where there seems to be a clearer link with delayed rebellion or delayed juvenile delinquency tendencies.

Even if such behaviors do not immediately appear destructive to these young women, still the real risk factors remain that uncontrolled rebellion can have serious consequences in some cases. Tragedy can even result in some cases. One of most important factors in parenting is to inspire structure and values in the lives of children. Faith in God can also establish a moral framework that can distinguish between "having fun" and engaging in potentially self-destructive conduct.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Zimbabwe's Mugabe Drifts Even Father Towards Dictatorship

Zimbabwe's President, Robert Mugabe, has taken a new step drifting even father towards dictatorship. The parliament under his control has stretched his term by another two years. Unlike South Africa, which has remaimed a far more democratic state, Mugabe's Zimbabwe has become virtually as bad as some other African continent dictatorships. Mugabe once claimed that he would rule Zimbabwe for the next 100 years, and after surpressing political opposition and opposition parties, Mugabe is well headed down the path of becoming an African continent Fidel Castro.

Mugabe holds a claimed 8 educational degrees, however 6 of these are from "distance learning" educational institutes. He was the leader of the Marxist Maoist influenced ZANU army of the 1970's that was heavily financed by China to overthrow the White government of Ian Smith. After intervention by Henry Kissenger, the White government stepped down and free elections were held in Zimbabwe. Mugabe assumed power in 1980, but has steadily ridded himself of political opposition to retain power.

Mugabe tried to reform the social situation in Zimbabwe with radical land reform policies that were not really very fair or very well thought out. But other policies such as his claim that HIV does not cause AIDS have hindered AIDS control efforts in his nation. And extremist attacks on homosexuals on "moral" grounds were little more than genocide against this minority group of citizens. Mugabe has proven himself to be a bad leader, and without free elections, no better political alternatives exist. South American troublemaker, Hugo Chavez, has embraced Mugabe, like other rotten world leaders he supports.

Problems such as poverty or AIDS in African continent states are only worsened when bad political leaders like Robert Mugabe complicate these problems with their terrible leadership. Zimbabe needs political opposition parties, and a government that rules through effective leadership on issues like poverty and AIDS, not one that rules by dictatorship, torture and starvation as political weapons. South Africa present a far better role model of moderate democracy in the region.

Ahmadinejad's Extremism May Be Wearing Thin Among Iranians

There is beginning to be a few hopeful signs that the confrontational political extremism of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is beginning to wear thin both with many Iranian voters as well the ruling religious council clerics. Early returns from lower level elections held in Iran this weekend show that moderate conservatives as well as the few reformers allowed to run for office by the ruling council of religious clerics did very well. In addition some signs of concern that Ahmadinejad is failing to improve Iran's economy and other broken promises that first brought him into office, instead focusing on dangerous confrontation with the West is risking Iran's image in the world community among the ruling clerics as well as many voters.

Hopeful signs included weekend protests against Ahmadinejad that denounced him as a "dictator" and burning his image in public places, as well as a huge turnout among the huge population of Iranian voters under 35. These can all be seen as hopeful signs that a military conflict with the West and Iran might be able to put off or even avoided for some time. Whether Ahmadinejad begins to turn more moderate now, or acts even more extreme remains to be seen. But his erratic rule could be ending soon, one way or the other, maybe even by removal by the ruling religious council who may feel that Iran's world image is being ruined by Ahmadinejad who may even get Iran involved in warfare with the U.S. or Western world. Iran's nuclear program may be a source of Iranian national pride, but many in Iran draw the line at this program creating nuclear arms and dragging Iran into a serious war with the U.S. or other Western world states

Class Conscious Christmas Gifts 2006

For those late, in fact really late, Christmas last minute gift shoppers there are some great class conscious Christmas gifts that should really help to inspire the spirits of those who support the struggle of working people for a better lifestyle in 2007. Here's a few top picks for class conscious gifts for even the most discerning labor conscious persons:

DVD-NORTH COUNTRY: Beautiful South African-born actress, Charlize Theron understates her good looks to play a very serious role of a woman who helped to break the gender barrier while working in Iron Mines in Minnesota. She also championed the first class action lawsuit on behalf of sexual harassment in the workplace. A very inspiring tale. Available for around $15 or less.

CD-CLASSIC LABOR SONGS FROM SMITHSONIAN FOLKWAYS: The Smithsonian is well known for some superb jazz, folk, and other significant recordings. One of the best is this collection which includes classic figures from the old American left including depression artists like Woody Guthrie, as well as Paul Robeson, Joe Glazer, Hazel Dickens, Pete Seeger, John Handcox, Anne Feeney, Utah Phillips, Joe Uehlein, Florence Reese, Baldemar Velasquez and others from the classic American left. And this CD will only set you back about $10, hardly a "king's ransom" in the scheme of things.

DVD-THE ROSA PARKS STORY: Angela Bassett plays an excellent role in this biographically based feature film on the inspiring life of Rosa Parks whose courageous stand against segregation in the Montgomery, Alabama bus system helped to trigger the growth of the American civil rights movement and end segregation laws and open up opportunities to all persons, regardless of their race or ethnic background. America still struggles with racism, yet it was one woman who refused to give up her seat on a bus that helped to fuel the struggle for social justice in the U.S. An excellent and inspiring DVD available for around $15 or less at video retailers nationwide.

CD-HAIL TO THE THIEVES VOLUME III: SONGS TO TAKE OUR COUNTRY BACK: This 20 song CD includes artists such as Billy Bragg, Anne Feeney, George Mann, Utah Philips and others in a great class CD sure to inspire the heart of anyone interested in the struggle of working people for better wages, union organizing and and more democracy. A real class conscious deal at just about $15 at better CD retailers.

DVD-THE BIG ONE: A lesser known 1998 documentary by Michael Moore that focues on companies "downsizing" American workers while raking in the big profits. Some funny sharp humor manages to punctuate the very serious topic of job layoffs by corporations and exports of their jobs and the buying and selling of workplaces that American count on for their employment. Not a bad gift at around $20.

CD-NATALIE MERCHANT, THE HOUSE CARPENTER'S DAUGHTER: Not a bad at all folk music oriented album with the working class anthem, "Whose Side Are You On", included. A decent collection of good music for around $15.

DVD-THE PAJAMA GAME: This 1957 Doris Day classic is actually very entertaining while dealing with the struggle of workers for a 7 1/2 cent salary increase with management at a pajama factory. Today the struggle is with cheap labor overseas, but this dated classic will entertain both Doris Day fans as well as those who support workers struggles. Well worth the $20 price for the DVD.

DVD-THE TAKE: This film about auto workers who occupy their plant in the wake of economic collapse in Argentina , helps to educate about the serious ecenomic problems in South America and lack of social justice that are fueling the recent growth of left leaning governments in these nations. A very fine and serious film well worth giving as a gift. About $30 average for this 2004 film.

A few more real gems exist out there. But these are a few good best bets to consider.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Tragic Incident On Mt. Hood Calls For Three Specific Actions To Avoid Future Incidents

The tragic incident on Mt. Hood in Oregon really calls for at least three specific rule changes for mountain climbers on this mountain to protect their safety in the future:

1. During months of extreme cold or dangerous conditions, mountain climbing should be banned beyond so many feet that could be considered safe for climbers.

2. All mountain climbers attempting higher level risky climbs during the safer months of the year should be required to post "rescue bonds". This should deter less experienced climbers.

3. The third condition is that all mountain climbers should be required to wear tracking devices in the event of a needed rescue.

Iraq's Refugee And Economic Problems And Low Per Capita Income Level

On CNN and some cable business channels, the Kurds in Northern Iraq are advertising for business investment, referring to their nation as Kurdistan, almost hoping that no one will realize that it's actually part of Northern Iraq. There are some pockets of relative middle class affluence in some portions of Baghdad. And with perhaps the largest undiscovered oil deposits in the world, possiby as much as 220 billion barrels, or the equivalent of a 98 year supply of oil for the U.S. But what spoils any of these hopes for a surging ecenomy in Iraq and fuels a growing refugee crisis, is the 1,100 acts of violence each day in Iraq according to the report by the Iraq Study Group. With no real stability, and near complete anarchy in many Iraqi areas, there simply is not the stability for stable investment for any viable Iraqi economy to grow and help to reduce the unemployment rate in Iraq which may be as bad as 60% overall.

Just a few hours ago, the Pope called for international aid to help the Iraqi refugees in Syria which now overwelm the available housing and humanitarian services such as the Red Cresent that Syria can provide. Between Syria and Jordan, as many as 1.6 million Iraqi refugees may exist, with hundreds of thousands more also living in tent cities within remote areas of Western Iraq.

The continued sectarian conflict in Iraq helps to keep the economy of Iraq the second worst in the MidEast at just $3,600 a year per capita income. Only Yemen is much worse with their coffee export based economy badly ruined due to drought conditions and really sagging at just $751 per capita. By comparison the per capita income in all other MidEast states is far more healthy than Iraq. In the United Arab Emirates it is $39,585, in Bahrain it is $20,500, in Qatar it is $31, 397, in Saudi Arabia it is $15,338, in Jordan it is $4,825, in Syria it is $5,348, in Oman it is $16,852, In Kuwait it is $16,300, in Iran it is $8,400, in Egypt it is $4,317, in Lebanon it is $6,681 and in Israel it is $23,416.

The continued sectarian violence in Iraq is creating a huge regional refugee crisis that only helps to cause new MidEast strains of throngs of poor flooding into Jordan and Syria. And it is possible that only Iraqi Sunni refugees may only feel the most welcome in Syria as well, leaving many Shiites stuck in tent cities in remote areas of Iraq.

The low per capita income in Iraq is only another sign of a huge growing MidEast refugee crisis due to the worsening situation in Iraq.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

CD Albums Increasingly Using DVD Video Content To Spur Lagging Sales

The latest marketing concept to spur lagging CD sales is the increased use of video content. The latest boxset of The Doors and the latest Weird Al album make good use of this marriage of audio and video content.

The Doors new boxset involves 6 CDs and 6 DVDs and has to be the greatest marriage of audio and video technology ever marketed as a mainly audio boxset. The albums sound and video quality are excellent, just as should be expected by any fine product from Rhino records. Far better sound quality than any of the 1980's Elektra records CD reissues of the six original Doors studio albums. Only the awful boxset packaging can really be faulted. To say the least, the packaging is the worst mess I've ever seen. The box itself is very difficult to open and has to be reglued with a clump of sticky glue gum stuff each time it's opened up. What a mess. Just store the six double albums on a good shelf with your regular CDs and avoid reconstruction work on the box each time you want to listen to a disc. For the aging fans of the Doors in their 50's and 60's, this is no kind of packaging to go with. The six booklets that come with each album are also written in very small type, again something that ignores the declining eyesight needs of the aging Doors fans. What The Doors still have going for them is strong legions of loyal fans, still young enough not to need a hearing aid that are still willing to buy repackages of their material for well over $100, marketed as a 40th anniversary product. But, the albums are squeezed in way too tight anyway in the box, despite plenty of airspace elsewhere in the box. The very worst boxset packaging ever, but some of the best sound quality and video content ever. An excellent boxset in every regard except the packaging of the box itself. The definitive collection of The Doors, far better in sound quality than any original vinyl Lp or single or first issue CDs by Elektra. At least twice as good in audio quality as any of these other vinyl or CD releases of the past from The Doors.

Weird Al also has made extensive use of DVD content in his brand new Straight Out Of Linwood CD, that is marketed as a Duodisc, supposedly a CD on one side and a DVD on the other with 6 music videos and a documentary plus the entire album done in dolby 5.1 audio, which would be great if only the songs were much better. Not a single song stood out as very enjoyable to me, compared to any of his previous albums. And going from the very primitive recordings of "Another One Rides The Bus", which sounded like his parents bathroom doubled as his makeshift recording studio to the very crystal clear audio quality of DVD audio dolby 5.1 channel sound is only worthwhile if Weird Al has some good parody material to present. Without good material, this audiophile technology seems like sort of a waste, especially for Weird Al recordings which wallow in their own sheer awfulness. Perhaps the new album was such a disappointing letdown, that the aded DVD content was the only way to make this weak of a Weird Al effort seem worthwhile. Look for this album in future cutout bins.

Another serious problem with the new Weird Al album is that it is not really a music CD at all on one side, but merely a double sided DVD. The audio side simply will not play on almost all CD players unless they are also a DVD player. This limits the usefulness of this disc, almost ensuring that you will not play it all that often like a real music CD you enjoy over and over. Unless you can convert the audio content to a music CD on your home computer so you can take the audio portion with you to play in other devices, then this Weird Al album is pretty much only a DVD, and a DVD only, and not even a great one at that. Largely a failed experiment by Weird Al who is usually far better than this not very good album would seem to suggest. Weird Al was actually pretty good when in the past he claimed to be "awful". But this new album is mostly just plain bad.

Hopefully the marriage of audio and video will only increase. And some true Duodiscs can actually be made in the near future, not just double sided DVDS with limited usefulness as audio CDs.

Time Magazine's Tacky Mylar Cover Betrays Intelligent "Man Of The Year" Choice

TIME MAGAZINE certainly cannot be faulted for a thoughtful and intelligent choice of "You" as the "Man Of The Year" choice. Certainly the newfound power of blogs, video posting sites such as YouTube, and , etc. have had a huge impact last year, including on the political landscape. But what can faulted is the awful cheap and tacky gimmick "mylar" refective cover, which makes just about the worst looking mirror ever. Even the worst funhouse mirror looks pretty good by comparison. Even worst, some of the advance copies that I've seen had awful looking glue bubbly bumpy looking mylar reflective patches. This looks far worst than a kindergarten craft project, rather than a magazine purchased by adults for a grown-up view of their world. Why the choice of a cover that looks like a rainy day craft project for preschoolers was chosen is a very good question.

NATION GEOGRAPHIC magazine has tried gimmick covers before with some great holographic covers that are real classics and look great. By comparison, this TIME cover is just a downright embarrassment.

But regardless of this awful cover gimmick, the content of the magazine is right on the money. Last year, posted videos on YouTube helped to unseat senators such as George Allen. And the power of blogs to moltivate followers of both liberal and conservative candidates has grown to near mythical proportions, helping to deny Joe Lieberman his Democratic nomination, and propelling an antiwar candidate to the nomination, although falling short in the general election.

TIME MAGAZINE deserves praise for their very perceptive choice of the power of the individual to change their world, but only after you get past the laughter of the worst tacky TIME MAGAZINE cover ever made.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Donald Rumsfeld; High Honors For A Job Poorly Done

On Friday, Donald Rumsfeld received very high honors from an elaborate Pentagon ceremony from the President who fired him for his inept job performance with his botched planning and execution of the Iraq War. Never has anyone so fired received such an elaborate send-off. Normally a fired executive just puts their things in a box and walks out the door.

Rumsfeld was a main planner of this war as a member of the Project For The New American Century, the neocenservative organization comprised of defense industry executives, lobbyists and major stockholders who have been campaigning for the Iraq War since at leat 1997 according to their posted documents at which allows you to follow the trail of Rumsfeld, Cheney, Bolton and other member's documents which proves no linkage to 9/11 unless these guys were psyhic way back in 1997 and 1998.

American foreign policy has suffered a world credibility problem because the lies seem to roll so easily off the lips off this administration, especially when President fires Rumsfeld, then both Bush and Cheney sing his praises as "the greatest" Defense Secretary ever. Just like the worn out over use of hysteria and fear for political purposes by this administration, their words are so cheap now that only the very simple or partisan could be swayed by them.

The fact of the matter is that Iraq is not more secure as a result of this 2003 Rumsfeld/Bush/Cheney war. Iran is now more powerful in the region and with a nuclear program stands to gain immensely from from the Iraq mess. Iraq now sees about 1,100 incidents each day according to the report of the Iraq Study Group, taking at least 3,700 civilian lives a month. More than 100,000 Iraqis. most civilians have died so far since the 2003 war, and more than 2,900 Americans have lost their lives, with another 21,000 wounded. with the only real result far less stability in the MidEast.

Despite all of this failure that can be laid at the feet of Donald Rumsfeld, he was highly honored yesterday in an event never before staged for a fired and failed executive leader. At this absurd rate, we might even see Britney Spears so honored for going "commando" recently, which seems to show nearly as much military skills as did Rumsfeld in his grossly failed role.

A Defense Secretary needs to make wise use of our military forces, and carefully plan for their safety and for missions that achieve worthwhile U.S. interest goals. Sending poorly equipped American soldiers in Humvees to their deaths instead of sending them on a better planned mission, with clearly defined goals that actually achieve something, and adequate personal and vehicle armor and equipment is no reason at all to praise a job well done or praise Rumsfeld as the "greatest" Defense Secretary ever. This is a definition of failure. Hopefully Robert Gates will serve our nation and troops far better than Rumsfeld. It's hard to imagine anyone could have done much worse.

Pacific NorthWest Receives Endless Bad Publicity Recently

Washington and especially, Oregon have received far more than their share of terrible publicity recently. Thursday night, hurricane force winds as high as 107mph hit some areas of Oregon and Washington, leaving 1.4 million homes and businesses without electrical power that may take electrical utility repair crews as late as Monday to get the power restored. A Gresham, Oregon family nearly died of carbon monoxide poisoning when these deadly fumes from their garage gas electrical emergency generator soaked into their middle class home, leaving their three youngest children unconcious and the older child and parents seriously poisoned. All six required an emergency hospital visit. 4 other persons died in other incidents including falling trees through houses and accidents. Seattle's Sea-Tac airport lost most power and aircraft in the air had to struggle with high winds to even be able to safely land at the airport operating on emergency power. But this was not the only events recently.

The nation is still folowing the ongoing saga of three experienced mountain climbers stranded on Oregon's Mt. Hood. And this is only the second serious rescue incident recently, as the week before the saga of the James Kim family, who were stranded in the snow on a remote logging road ended in tragedy, when the mother and a 4 year old daugther, and a baby daughter were rescued from their Saab station wagon after the small amount of baby food ran out, and the mother nursed both young girls to keep them alive, and the family even burned the car's tires as a desperate signal and heat attempt. The father, a 35 year old senior technology expert at C/NET was found dead of exposure in shallow water after wandering as much as 16 miles in an attempt to find help in thin clothing and after not eating much more than a few berries and snow water for a week. This deadly logging road has taken other lives over the years. A few years ago a man survived 66 days on this remote logging road before losing half of his weight and starving to death, waiting for a rescue.

None of these three events are much of a picture postcard to attract tourists to Oregon or Washington. Why so much recent bad publicity at the hands of nature, is anyone's guess. Today the best attempt to rescue the three Mt. Hood mountain climbers will take place, hopefully with a good outcome as 98 mph winds hampered earlier attempts. Hopefully the news for the Pacific NorthWest will start to turn for the better very soon.

Whoever thought that local news was boring, only involving school kids who made paper hats or something.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Three Simple Lessons To Avoid Foreign Policy Problems

Whenever the Iraq War and all of it's bad repercussions are settled, there should be a few important learned lessons that should apply to all foreign policy for all future presidents.

During the Cold War, the U.S. did not like the government of the Soviet Union, yet effectively engaged this government in many ways including diplomatic. When nations at least talk, it tends to often soften hard feelings and may result in better security benefits for the public of both nations, perhaps even a genuine peace dividend at best.

After Iraq illegally invaded Kuwait in 1990, there was near universal world condemnation for this invasion. Countries like Saudi Arabia also even helped to pay the U.S. costs for this war. There needed to be a better peace agreement at the end of this war in 1991 that brought Saddam Hussein to arrest and international trial by world courts for this illegal invasion of Kuwait and other international crimes. His government leadership responsible for this war should also have been brought down at this time as well. This could have been the golden opportunity for the seeds of a new Iraqi Government and society to begin. Instead the second George Bush waits 12 years, with almost no international support this time around, restarts the 12 yearold Gulf War with Saddam Hussein to achieve what the 1991 peace terms did not. And now the country of Iraq is an unstable mess, threatening regional security.

Three lessons for all American presidents to post on the wall: #1.Talk to adversary nations. #2. End all wars with acceptable peace terms. #3.Don't restart old wars if you failed to properly conclude the matter in the first place. There you go, three simple ways to avoid some serious foreign policy problems. Three simple lessons not learned by the current administration.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Bush Still Looking For That Elusive Plan To Win The War In Iraq That Probably Doesn't Exist

One of the last of the "true believers" in the Iraq War has to be the main planner if it, George Bush. By stalling off his planned address to the nation about a change in policy to January gives time for Bush to allow the 8 month long Iraq Study Report recommendations to die a death in the short term memory shortcomings of the American public. It also gives Bush time to propose another unrealistic policy such as increasing troops in Iraq by 30,000 to 100,000 more than the current 140,000 levels in some sort of a desperate last ditch attempt to "win" this unwinnable war.

Besides raising troop levels, which is sure to be very unpopular with the public and fly in the face of the voter's message of the November elections, Bush may seek to replace the main generals involved in the Iraq War effort with some hardliners who believe that the war can still be won. Whether some latter day General Curtis Lemay type military leaders still exist in this day and age, who still believe that you can bomb your way out of any problem is a highly questionable notion. Many generals are more or less reasonable persons and often far more pragmatic about the situation in Iraq than Bush would probably want to hear. At some point even the generals view the situation as hopeless for real world reasons.

In an ideal world, it would certainly have been far better if the people of Iraq would have thrown roses at the feet of invading American and British forces after the 2003 war, as Donald Rumsfeld famously mispredicted. But it was only a matter of time before dead-enders such as Baathists, insurgents such as Al Qaeda agents and others would start a deadly cycle that Sunni and Shiite militia groups would eventually join. It was only a matter of time before the 1,300 year old conflict between the Sunni and Shiite sects would surface in this artificial nation created after WWI by Winston Churchill after oil was discovered in the region. Three Muslim sects with nothing in common were thrown together by Churchill in this new post WWI British occupation state that lasted until the 1958 rebellion in Iraq. This rebellion was inspired by 1956 Gamel Nasser Arab Socialist rebellion related to the Suez Canal rebuff of the British occupation forces in Egypt. After this 1956 rebellion in Egypt, Britain quickly began to lose all colonial occupation control in the MidEast.

In all fairness, Bush may now fear that the consequences of failure in Iraq are so high that no other course but victory is acceptable. Saudi Arabia apparently raised the stakes by threatening to put it's troops into Iraq to fight on behalf of the Sunni forces, which could only encourage Iran to put in it's forces and fight on behalf of the Shiites. The resulting regional war would probably end up with the Saudi oil fields in flames from Iranian missiles before very long, cutting off the MidEast oil supply to the Western world and only inviting Western nation's involvement and a possible world war. Private Saudi support for Sunni militia groups already exists, and Iran is certainly involved with some Shiite militia groups already. Rather than these neighbors of Iraq willing to act as peacekeepers, their role would quickly escalate to direct combatants for the Sunni and Shiite sects of the Muslim faith. Only 15% of the world's Muslims are Shiites, and Iran would have good reason to want to defend one of the only nations in the world, Iraq, with a Shiite majority, besides themselves.

Bush has a personal moltivation to want to see Iraq succeed not only for his place in history, but also because an American withdrawal will likely not result in sectarian peace in Iraq, but instead open up the serious opportunity for a serious regional war. This only illustrates how badly the Bush policy in Iraq has destabilized the region. Bush may be trying to desperately find a way to salvage this disasterous policy in Iraq. But likely too many people are unemployed in Iraq, up to 60%, too many support sectarian militia groups, and no easy way exists to change the minds of a public in Iraq where way too many people support lawlessness and the sectarian violence.

The ideal solution would be for far more persons in Iraq to support civil order, and oppose sectarian violence, and for domestic Iraqi military and police to maintain order, with all outside nations such as the U.S., Britain, Iran and Saudi Arabia out of Iraq. But how we ever get to this point is the vexing question. Bush continues to look for U.S. military solutions to resolve the situation in Iraq that probably don't exist. This is one complex Iraqi society social attitudes problem the U.S. cannot bomb it's way out of like WWII battles planned by General Curtis Lemay. A desire change among those living in Iraq is the key to peace. People in Iraq need to support civil order in their nation and need to be able to honestly and ethicly police their own nation. The U.S. or no other outside nation can really do this for Iraq, despite the political instincts of Bush that still seems to think that the U.S. can fix what we helped to break. Bush continues to look for that military solution that probably doesn't really exist, and will propose more grossly failing policies in January that will only eventually end the region up with the serious regional war that the world does not need.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Conan O'Brien's TV Show Avoids Possible FCC Problems By Creating Absurd Website That Becomes A Smash Hit With Nearly 5 Million Hits In First Week.

I deliberately avoided commentary on this huge story for days because it deals with some mildly offensive themes, which I do not care to glamorize on this Website, which I like to keep grounded in more serious themes, or entertainment news that is significant because it deals with moral or social psychology issues. But this Conan O'Brien story is now simply too big to ignore.

Last week's Monday night, LATE NIGHT WITH CONAN O'BRIEN used another one of their cheap and juvenile costume or character humor bits. This humor program has had a long history of using this cheap stuff for laughs. But sometimes these humor bits including an absurd Frankenstein, a "self pleasuring" bear, or other cheap costume or character bits have proven surprising effective for this program. A few years ago an absurd phenomenon was created when Conan O'Brien created a phony crisis by claiming that the actor that played "Grady" on the 1970's TV Sitcom, SANFORD AND SON was missing. This joke only snowballed and built on itself for days until the actor that played "Grady" was brought on the show as though he was recently rescued from great danger, and given a loud heroes welcome.

Last week, the biggest phenomenon ever for this show was accidently created when a manatee costume was used for a cheap bit that was satire on adult webcams. This silly bit was destined to become a national phenomenon when Conan O'Brien joked about it being from a fictictional website called which has now received over 4.5 million hits by last night and probably about 5 million hits by today in just one week's time.

The fact of the matter was that did not really exist when Conan O'Brien first mentioned the site. It turns out that standards and practices at NBC notified Conan O'Brien that any website mentioned on the air must really exist or the rights to the name must be purchased for 10 years according to some obscure FCC rule. For $159, NBC purchased the name of the website and someone over at the CONAN O'BRIEN show decided to start building the website, which has not only become a PG rated satire on XXX websites on the internet, but has drawn many strange but very talented reader submissions. This website grows bigger by the day, although it includes some outrageous mildly offensive humor that may make some skittish. The website reminds you of a 1970's NATIONAL LAMPOON MAGAZINE gag.

It is interesting that an absurdly silly website like this has really taken off and become probably the biggest phenomenon ever for Conan O'Brien's TV show. It also proves that there is no justice in life, as serious websites like mine and others suffer from far smaller readership of generally less than 250 views a day at the peak of this website when it garnered national publicity for a feature such as an analysis of serious troubles in the MidEast. An absurdly silly escapist website like has become one of the biggest hits ever on the internet, now attracting decent paid advertising by big companies on a banner, and has become a money maker for NBC, which has started cost cutting measires that will result in more cheaper to produce programming next TV season. Why has become such a big phenomenon is probably huge surprise to even the producers of LATE NIGHT WITH CONAN O'BRIEN which will probably see a ratings bounce as a result of this silly phenomenon. The next big marketing of this phenomenon should involve selling T-shirts, hats and coffee cups or manatee stuffed toys. NBC may be laughing all the way to the bank with this phenomenon which has turned out to be a huge surprise hit. Strange things happen.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Whirlpool Acquires Maytag, Eliminates Union Jobs That Can Devastate Small Communities

Whirlpool is the world's largest manufacturer of major appliances, and just like the ocean where big fish swallow up the small fish, Whirlpool acquired the much smaller 113 year old Maytag company recently. For the accountants and executives at Whirlpool, costing cutting became a major priority, and eliminating decent family wage union jobs became a high priority for the Christmas Grinches in the executive offices.

1,800 union jobs and 4,500 jobs nationwide will fall under the Whirlpool ax for thr Maytag workers. And small communities such as Newton, Iowa, Herrin, Illinois and Searcy, Arkansas will face closure, devastating the local economy's of these areas.

James Brown, a spokesman for the Machinists Union MidWest Territory summed up the problem with, " Lousy trade policies and a complete lack on enforcement of anti-trust and other measures to protect jobs and consumers leave American communities devastated". "Manufacturing jobs are the key to a strong middle class, stable families and vibrant communities. We cannot afford to lose them".

This is the trend of the last few years; a White House obsessed with one-sided "free trade" legislation that only encourages continued job exports to labor cheap nations. An antiworker and antiunion bias that favors companies that acquire others only to eliminate jobs not to continue to operate the company, but to resell the business for a profit to others including foreign concerns. Whirlpool reportedly sold Hoover Vacuum Cleaner to a Chinese company, Techtronic for $107 million last week, which effectively eliminates the jobs at Hoover and related brands such as Regina and Dirt Devil.

Small communities count on employment opportunities such as a major town supplier of work. When a large corporation pulls out of small communities, social problems such as increased family breakup, divorce, alcoholism, drug use, child or wife abuse, and crime may result. Right wing "family" organizations seem to miss this fact and are absent on economic issues that are really at stake in family and society breakdown issues created by the breakdown of the manufacturing economy. It should become a vital goal of the new Democratic controlled Congress to reverse this decline of the American manufacturing and the exodus of higher paying union jobs that support a middle class. The Bush Administration has unfortunately played the role of Nero all too well in the last few years, only "fiddling around" as the American manufacturing economy burns down and takes decent paying union jobs with it.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Support Family Living Wage Jobs And Buy Union Made Goods For The Holidays

In this holiday season, progressives should vote with their dollars and buy union produced goods that help to support family wage jobs. These products produced by union workers are not only high quality, but they they allow families to live in a decent home, drive a decent car, have enough food on their table, have health insurance and a retirement plan, and safe working conditions, unlike many nonunion companies that operate mainly to only enrich the lives if their corporate heads, sometimes with salary that runs into the millions while nonunion workers often work for the minimum wage around $5.15, have no retirement, and often seek public assistence from food stamps or public health programs. There is such a clear difference in the quality of employment between the union and nonunionized jobs that it should be a moral duty of progressives to spend as much money with union businesses as possible.

Some great union worker gift ideas include high dollar items such as Harley Davidson Motorcycles, produced by members of the Machinists Union and United Steelworkers members. Harleys are expensive, but what a great gift. They're the yardstick that great bikes are measured by.

If you're not into giving bikes as a gift, then maybe chocolates are more to your liking. Union made brands include Hershey's, See's Candies, Ghiardelli, Brown & Hailey, Russell Stover and even Hostess products. All are produced by union workers.

If giving food items is your style, then union workers are employed at Fred Meyer, Safeway, Albertsons, Haggens, QFC and a few other businesses. And some food priducts such as Smuckers, Darigold, Pepsi Cola, Coca Cola and Franz Bakery support union workers. Among department stores, only Fred Meyer is unionized in Oregon and some other states. Most department stores are nonunion.

If you want to give toys, the U.S. made products by Colorforms, Hasbro, Parker Brothers, Golden Books, Fisher Price, Etch-A-Sketch, Radio Flyer Wagon, Lionel Model Trains, Testor Model Paints, and a few other brands are union produced as long as the items are roduced in the U.S. Lionel Train is partially owned by progreesive singer, Neil Young, who is a huge train lover, and extremely good products that are very collectable and make great gifts.

Among fragrances, some brands such as English Leather, British Sterling, Alberto Culver Beyond, Revlon's Charlie, and a few more brands are union produced and you shoild consider purchasing.

If you like to give tools, then consider union made brands such as Sesrs, Craftsmen, Ridgid, Snap-On, Armstrong and Klein Tools, many of which are guaranteed for life and American made by union workers earning a decent wage.

There are many more items that are both American made and union worker produced, so be sure to check for the union label before purchasing. And sending your items consider either the U.S. Postal service or United Parcel Service which are both unionized, unlike FedEx which is nonunion.

Buying American made goods keeps jobs in the U.S. and buying union made goods keeps good family wage jobs alive in the U.S. There is no better way to wisely spent your holiday dollar this season than to by American and buy union made.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Monday Is The Last Mailing Day To Ship Items To Soldiers In Iraq And Afghanistan

If anyone out there has loved ones in Iraq or Afghanistan, or would simply like to send best wishes or gifts to soldiers to life their spirits, then Monday is the last mailing day to get items, postcards, well wishes, etc. to the soldiers by Christmas. Even if one has serious misgivings about the Iraq strategy, the fact of the matter is that these soldiers face serious danger in a attempt to prevent even more sectarian violence. They are saving lives of Iraq civilians by putting their lives in serious danger. Some U.S. military units will face 2% or more deaths, and 10% or more wounded. This is a great sacrifice and deserves the respect and well wishes of every American as a serious debate on Iraq strategy will ultimately decide how the U.S. mission is best achieved.

Every American should join in a chorus of be well, stay safe, and God bless for the U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Mainstream Republican Senator Gordon Smith Offers A Blistering Attack On Bush War Strategy

Mainstream conservative Republican senators such as John Warner and Gordon Smith are becoming the driving effort to convince President Bush to drastically alter the failing war strategy in Iraq. As late as 2004, Smith was even the Oregon head of the 2004 Bush re-election campaign. Yesterday he offered a blistering attack in an deeply heartfelt speech on the Senate floor calling the current strategy of placing American lives in constant danger by having them patrol the same dangerous streets over and over, risking their lives both "absurd" and morally even "criminal". These are strong words for a sentor who noted that he tried to be a "good soldier" in offering support for the Iraq War policy of both Bush and Rumsfeld.

It is also mainstream Republicans who will likely warn the White House when they think this situation in Iraq is beyond redemption, and it's time to pull the plug. Between the possibility of a violent militia group coup in Iraq, and mounting American deaths in the face of a policing of the sectarian violence that clearly is not working, very soon the Iraq War is likely to break open and U.S. troops will likely begin to come home. Even previously unthinkable prospects such as allowing Syria some role in helping with the Sunni problems in Iraq, and Iran to offer some pressure on the Shiite community were given a boost by the Iraq study group this week. While many are right to be wary of giving Iran or Syria any attempt at boosting their regional power by involvement in Iraq, it is nonetheless a sign of how desperate the situation in Iraq has become.

What gives a Senator such as Gordon Smith so much credibility, was not only his previous strong suport for Bush, but also his deeply religious background as a Latter Day Saints Church Elder. Like the former Oregon senators, Wayne Morse who went from a Republican to antiwar Democrat, or very religious Baptist Republican Mark Hatfield, both of whom found deep moral reasons to oppose the continued Vietnam War, when a deeply religious senator such as Smith begins to break on war policy, then it starts to become a moral cause among many religious persons, creating a powerful argument against any failed policy that does little to stabilize Iraq or prevent more deaths and killing.

Just like the Biblically -inspired quotation, that "the hand writing is on the wall", new events and pressures from influential senators and others will soon result in major changs in the Iraq War policy or soon even send our troops home.

Mainstream Conservative Republican Senator, Gordon Smith Delivers A Blistering Attack On Iraq War Strategy(alternate version)

(Often CD boxsets include many alternate unused versions of the songs. Here's a rarity for our readers here, an alternate unused version of the main feature. You can read and digest both and see what you think about both versions.)

More and more mainstream Republicans are beginning to voice deep reservations about the Bush Iraq War strategy. Another huge defection from the Bush policy in the Iraq War was mainstream conservative Senator Gordon Smith of Oregon, who has maintained the Oregon reputation for independence by offering a blistering and heartfelt attack on the present war strategy. In the traditions of other independent thinking statesmen of the past from Oregon such as former Senator Wayne Morse, a Republican turned antiwar Democrat, and Senator Mark Hatfield, a very religious Baptist who had deep moral problems with the continued cycle of death from Vietnam, Smith, a Latter Day Saints Church Elder, has broken from what he called the "good soldier" ranks of supporting the war in Iraq, and now refers to this war as both "absurd" and the contined cycle of American deaths by failure to change direction as morally "criminal". These are strong and heartfelt words from a very religious and decent man, deeply concerned with the continued cycle of failings to secure peace and safety in Iraq that puts American lives in constant danger.

It is important breaks among Republican senators such as Gordon Smith, John Warner and others that are warning President Bush that there has come an end to accepting his failed policies on Iraq. In 2004, Gordon Smith headed the Oregon re-election campaign for George Bush. Today he raises serious moral questions about his war policy that puts the same American soldiers in death's way by putting them patrolling the same dangerous streets in Iraq, only to face danger from the same bombs because the security situation and war strategy has not adjusted or changed. It is important breaks in loyal mainstream Republican senators like Smith and Warner who will likely force a big change in the Iraq War. Something big is likely to break very soon. Too many bad events are jelling together to force a major policy shift much sooner rather than later.

Friday, December 08, 2006

GM and Ford Disclose Talks To Sell Plants To Chinese Automobile And Parts Manufacturers

On Friday, it was disclosed by both Ford and GM, that both companies are in negotiation with Chinese automobile and parts manufacturers to purchase both closing and closed plants owned by the former American automobile giants. This would give Chinese automobile companies a major advantage to leap into competition with what is left of the dying American automobile industry.

There is not a clear guarantee that would keep many jobs in the U.S., as a Chinese company purchased the defunct British company MG, but did move the manufacturing to the U.S. at wages far below the $62 or more that some some highly professional workers at Ford and GM may earn. Workers could earn as little as $5.15 an hour in Chinese owned companies, with no clear retirement or health care benefits offered.

Given this weeks' bad news of the sale of Hoover Vacuum Cleaners to a Chinese company, Techtronic, and the increases in production of Goodyear Tires, it is yet another huge hit to a declining American manufacturing base, and a clear sign of the powerful growth of Chinese industry. It also speaks volumes about union-busting in America as high paying American manufacturing jobs are becoming a relic of the past just like the Model T.

No archaelogist have ever unearthed a society unable to produce it's own pottery that has ever survived. Even the most backward of world civilizations has been able to manufacture the basic goods it needed to survive. The inability of American society to manufacture and produce it's own basic goods is a clear sign of a society undergoing a deep and severe social regression. You might try clicking the U.S. Army ad that often runs over on my ads column for an employment opportunity.