Friday, March 31, 2006

Friday's Market Report

Helium was up, feathers were down. Paper was stationary.

Fluorescent tubing was dimmed in light trading. Knives were up sharply.

Cows steered into a bull market. Pencils lost a few points.

Hiking equipment was trailing.

Elevators rose, while escalators continued their slow decline.

Weights were up in heavy trading.

Light switches were off.

Mining equipment hit rock bottom. Diapers remain unchanged.

Shipping lines stayed at an even keel.

The market for raisins dried up.

Coca Cola fizzled.

Caterpillar stock inched up a bit.

Sun peaked at midday.

Balloon prices were inflated.

Scott Tissue touched a new bottom.

And batteries exploded in an attempt to recharge the market.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Citizenship Article

I should visit The American Thinker more often. There is an article by Thomas Lifson titled Citizenship: The Precious Legacy which puts a few things in perspective in light of the current immigration issue.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Thoughts on Immigration & Other Social Ills

As most people know by now, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed a bill to the main Senate for debate. The vote was 12 to 6 in favor of the bill which includes provisions such as creating a guest-worker program and giving illegal immigrants the chance to work toward legal status without first returning home. In order to gain permanent residency, illegal immigrants would have to wait six years, pay $2,000 in fines and any back taxes, undergo a background check and learn English.

It has been well documented on several government reports as well as independent investigations that illegal aliens are draining funds from public services such as healthcare facilities and schools. One of the better blogs on this subject that I stumbled across is Border Watch. While the proposed fine and payment of back taxes is an attempt to reimburse the states for these costs, it will fall far short of the actual costs that have been incurred.

NOTE #1: Before I go any further, I do not, like many people, have problems with people legally immigrating to the United States. Furthermore, I have problems from the standpoint of rewarding anyone for committing an illegal act. While I understand the reasons for Mexicans, Asians, and others to cross our borders in search of a better economic life, there is a better, although difficult, legal way to do it.

While the subject of illegal immigration drags on in our government, I have heard a sound bite that I don't think has been explored by many of the bloggers on my blogroll. Here it is:

  • Illegal immigrants are filling jobs that Americans do not want.

Hmmm...Why is that, do you suppose? I can think of several reasons...

The first reason that comes to mind is one that has been floated many years ago was that the illegals are in areas that are logistically difficult to fill. In other words, people are not where the jobs are. In some respects, I can see that, but in others, I don't. As an example of this, how many illegals are employed in the lawn care services based in large cities? There was a report done some time back in a Detroit area paper that stated around 50% of the workers in the lawn care industry were illegal aliens (sorry, can't find the reference). If true, then why?

Which leads to the second reason - The job (or the employer) doesn't pay enough. That's right, an employer would rather pay an illegal immigrant below minimum-wage pay and no benefits. Gee, I wonder why...because it's more money in his pocket, for one!

A third reason is that the illegals will show up to work on a consistent basis. Since they are being paid below minimum-wage they need to show up so they can live. Having been out there working for 25+ years, I have seen up to 15% no-show in some industries, even though some of these workers are being paid far above minimum wage. Employers will give the illegals the jobs because they will show up for work.

Which brings me to why Americans do not want the jobs that illegal immigrants take - we are too damn comfortable in our way of life to work for a living!!

In many respects, people would rather sit back & take unemployment or Welfare than go out & work. The typical person on welfare has a standard of living far above those people living in a country like Mexico. As I understand it, the typical Welfare recipient has a place to live, food stamps to purchase food, a clothing and furniture allowance, and cable TV. True, it's typically not the best place or way to live, but the basic needs are met without working.

NOTE #2: I am not talking about the aged, infirm, or those who are otherwise physically or mentally incapable of working. I'm talking about those persons who believe that Welfare is their God-given right & feel they are entitled to it, and are able to work for a living.

Where I think that both the illegal immigration and Welfare are tied hand in hand is that both are rife with blind-eyed corruption. The employers, out of necessity or greed or both, hire who they can to get the job done. The government, for whatever reason, allows cradle-to-grave Welfare recipients who are able-bodied but do not want to work, and allow the employers to hire illegals without too much fear of arrest or fines.

NOTE #3: The following solutions are simplified. In no way, shape, or form would they be comprehensive enough to cover all situations. Especially after the government gets through with them...

Since it appears that our elected representatives have decided to cave in to the radical illegal immigrant lobby, go ahead and put into place the measures listed above. Pay their back taxes with interest just like any other citizen of this country, and if they have used public services such as hospitals & schools, set up a payment plan for them to pay their fair share. Fine them the two grand (but it would be more if I had my way). If, after a certain grace period, an illegal is found, they are to be deported immediately to their country of origin. No more "do-overs" or grace periods.

Second, companies or employers that hire illegal immigrants would be fined and the company officers jailed. Period.

Next, seal up the borders so that even a jack-rabbit can't get through without being observed. Yes, observed. Electronic surveillance only goes so far - we need people out there that can take quick & decisive action.

State to Mexico under no certain terms that we will not be accepting any more workers that do not come through official channels. I read this over at Mike's America, and does it have me steamed!!

Last, reform the Welfare program so that the people who need it get it and those who don't won't. Welfare is not an entitlement, it is to be used only if you need help to get back on your feet.

Now I know that some of this is a rant, and some of you readers out there will pick this apart - I know there are holes in the above. I understand that's what some of you like to do. That's fine as long as you understand the message and intent of this post. And I hope you do, and comment accordingly...

UPDATE: Look at this post from Michelle Malkin. Is this getting out of control or what?

Friday, March 24, 2006

Thoughts on Iraq

So much has been published, debated, and otherwise discussed as to the situation in Iraq and the resulting political free for all. Here's what I think about the whole affair:

Accusations that the President has engaged in an illegal war are total BS. If you remember, Congress voted to go into the war. Only later when there was political gain to be had did the Democrats renege on their decision (remember the line "I voted for the war before I voted against it!" campaign line?). If these morons succeed in their call to impeach the President, I think they should get right on up there with him and impeach themselves on the same charges.

There have been so many reports of Iraq having or not having WMDs that it is hard to determine what the truth really is. Considering that chemical weapons were used in the Iran/Iraq war, and by Saddam against the Kurdish uprising, anyone with an ounce of common sense would say there has to be chemical weapons with Iraq's name all over them somewhere. Saddam had 9 months to move or hide these weapons before the invasion of Iraq (which he knew was eventually coming). And yes, I know about the documents and the interviews - that doesn't mean anything since documents can be forged (a la Dan Rather) and people fudge the truth to make themselves or someone else look good.

Also along the WMD mis-information line, the intelligence gathering of the United States has been compromised by the increasing reliance on electronic assets (satellites) and a decrease in human information sources. Budget cuts by previous administrations has not helped. Information that was used & presented to Congress and the United Nations came from various other sources such as the British and Israel as well as what sources the United States still had in the region.

The violence in Iraq is mainly coming from two sources. One is from foreign fighters backed by either al-Quaeda or Saddam loyalists, and the other are Muslim religious factions looking for power and control. The first was expected, and has been present from day one. The second has only recently reared its ugly head, and reminds me of the situation in Bosnia. If you recall, when the Soviet Union pulled out of Europe, many of the ethnic blood fueds started right back up again once the Soviets left, and mass killings & genocide resulted.

The reports of a brewing civil war are at this point untrue. What is being reported is the religious strife between the Shites and Sunnis of which Saddam had previously suppressed. However, if the United States pulls out of Iraq at this time, then you can count on a civil war that will consume that country and possibly the region.

Whether or not you agree with the war and resulting occupation in Iraq was necessary, it is now the responsibility of the United States to leave in place a functional, self-supporting government. The US cannot leave Iraq until this is accomplished, which renders the calls for a withdrawel timeline irrevalent. While I understand the calls to bring the troops home, for better or worse, the US must finish the job it started out to do. Iraq is in a very delicate state.

The politicians (along with their mainstream media lackeys) that are leading the charge to pull out of Iraq have yet to put forth any plan that would leave Iraq with a government that can effectively control their own destiny. All that has been put forth is a lot of grandstanding, accusations, and hot air designed to smear & undermine that goal. And it is important that the United States leaves a fully autonomous government in Iraq when the troops do come home.

If Iraq dissolves into chaos, anarchy, and civil war, the impact on the region (and the rest of the world) would be enormous. I predict that the radical Islamic clerics would take over much as they did in Afghanistan. Any & all freedoms that the Iraqi people gained after Saddam was toppled would be gone, and al-Quaeda would find another home in which to mount attacks on the rest of the world. The United States would be percieved to be weak and vulnerable, and would have a bigger target on the country (and populous) than what it does now.

Bottom line is that the United States finishes the job and leaves Iraq when the Iraqi people are capable of supporting themselves and their government can control their own country. Any other action negates the sacrifice of our soldiers, and does nothing to secure the freedom of a formally oppressed people.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Is It Unpatriotic To Not Buy American Cars?

Delphi, GM, and the UAW announced yesterday afternoon that they have reached a tentative agreement concerning wages & benefits for Delphi workers. I've only heard bits & pieces of the agreement, and have yet to look it over, but make no mistake - the troubles for GM, Delphi, and the UAW are far from being over. Considering that Dana Corporation, another automotive parts supplier, recently filed Chapter 11 demonstrates that domestic car parts suppliers are in as much trouble as the automakers. What is also apparent is that Dana did not have the same UAW pension/benefits burden as Delphi, and that is cause for concern.

Coincidentally, the following article was sent to me this morning, and I felt that it had to be passed on to the readers of this blog.

Is It Unpatriotic To Not Buy American Cars?
By Roger Simmermaker, Special to FCN Online

As I sat in an Orlando studio on Jan. 24 waiting to be interviewed on Fox News' "Hannity and Colmes" for the first time, that seemed to be the question I was going to be asked to answer if the introductory comments were any indication. In the studio in New York was Malcolm Bricklin, founder and CEO of Visionary Vehicles, who plans on importing cars from China by 2007. Ford had just announced plans to lay off 30,000 workers, and since even Mr. Bricklin (to his credit) says he doesn't want to see so many Americans join the ranks of the unemployed, it was a good question to ask. But the show started with asking Mr. Bricklin a different question and by the time the cameras pointed to me, I was given a different question as well, so I never really got to answer it.

But as I continue to think about it since that interview, the answer I would have given to Sean Hannity is the same as my answer today: If it's unpatriotic to destroy the American middle class, then it's unpatriotic to not buy American cars. As a country, we're drowning in a sea of red ink, and as consumers (those who really should know better, anyway) we're drowning is a sea of "what's in it for me."

Since President Bush has all but ruled out any government help for either Ford or GM saying they have to make a product that is "relevant" (did you know Mr. Bush himself owns a Ford pickup truck?) it's up to the American consumer to realize that a bankruptcy for Ford or GM or both is definitely not in the national interest. Not only would hundreds of thousands of workers lose their jobs, but about 450,000 retirees would be de-funded. These retirees on fixed incomes would see smaller pensions and reduced medical benefits. The workers that remained would see massive cuts in benefits as well.

Big deal, you say? At least American companies still offer their workers pensions. According to a recent article in The Tennessean, Nissan North America new hires won't be able to count on a company pension when they retire. And if you work for Nissan and didn't happen to reach the age of 65 by the end of last year, you won't be participating in the company-sponsored medical plan either.

If American companies can't remain successful and shoulder the burden of health care for their workers, the rest of us will likely pick up the tab in the form of higher taxes through expanded entitlement programs, which are already growing at a rate of 8 percent a year.

84% of all federal spending of our tax dollars already goes towards the "big three" untouchables: interest on the national debt, national defense (including homeland security) and entitlements such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. So much for conservatives who wish for smaller government. Generally speaking, few of us want to invite more government intrusion into our lives. But a significantly smaller government these days would result in benefit cuts that would ultimately affect all of us. The days of those who want tax cuts because it means more money in their pockets and means benefit cuts only for someone else are over.

So what's your reason for not buying American cars and trucks? I've heard (and disproved) them all but I'll list a few of the more popular ones here:

1. Quality. According to the latest J.D. Power & Associates Long-term Dependability Survey, Lincoln, Buick and Cadillac all made the top five for 2005. Lexus was number one and number two was mysteriously not reported by the CNN story highlighting the survey. What's even better (if you are a fan of American automakers) is that the average dependability of all GM and Ford models combined was greater than the average dependability for all the Japanese models combined.

2. Too much emphasis on "gas guzzlers." The hypocrisy in this statement is rampant since most people who make it are ardent supporters of the "free market." The trouble for these hypocrites is that a major free market principle is the law of supply and demand. According to Seattle Times columnist Shaunti Feldhahn, consumer demand for big, bad SUVs has doubled in the last 15 years. So much for the argument that American car companies aren't building what consumers want to buy. Just like American companies have been scrambling to satisfy the one percent of car buyers who want hybrids, Japanese car makers have been scrambling to catch up to Ford and GM by offering bigger and badder behemoths (at even worse gas mileage ratings than American SUVs). GM has more models with over 30 mpg. highway (2006 EPA estimates) than any other auto maker. Last month I revealed that my 1996 Lincoln Town Car now has over 160,000 miles with no signs of letting up. What I didn't mention is that my car has averaged 24 mpg since September 2001, which is a result of combined mostly highway driving during the week and mostly city driving on weekends. Not bad for a big luxury car.

3. Foreign car companies will pick up the slack. This argument implies that the hiring of American workers by foreign companies would never take place if there weren't layoffs by American companies first. Even if you view foreign investment as a good thing -- which it isn't -- foreign companies will still invest in America even if we support American companies so they can actually retain our own workers. This argument is almost as bad as the one that implies we need to destroy American manufacturing jobs in general so we can move American workers into high-tech jobs. Why not let the college graduates strapped with tens of thousands of dollars in student loans and other debts take these jobs, and protect American workers in the jobs they choose to have now?

4. American companies can do better. Better at what? What will it take for more American people to root for the home team again? Do you only root for your hometown sports team when they are winning, or do you root for them even when they are down -- no matter what? Let's see. American companies GM and Ford have won numerous quality awards, they have more domestic plants, employ more American workers, support more retirees along with their dependants and families, pay better wages than the non-union foreign-owned plants, have a higher percentage of domestic parts in their automobiles, pay more taxes to the U.S. Treasury, give more to charities for the benefit of this country, and donate more in the wake of disasters like 9-11. Need I go on?

5. GM and Ford need to make cars Americans want to buy. I saved this one for last since it the most ridiculous statement of all. General Motors has the highest market share of any automobile company. To say the company that currently sells more cars and trucks to more people than any other company in the industry -- even if that market share is falling -- is truly ridiculous. Yes, I know Toyota is gaining on GM and may overtake them this year (in worldwide market share -- not U.S. market share -- where GM has roughly twice the market share of Toyota) and GM used to command around 50 percent of the domestic market. But let's be reasonable, shall we? What company in any industry in today's super-competitive economy can command 50 percent of their market? Not even Coke or Pepsi can do that. Which reminds me -- Pepsi recently passed Coke to take the top spot in the beverage wars. Is Coke number two now because they aren't making beverages Americans want to drink? I haven't heard that one yet. Only in America and only in the automobile industry could number two be declared a loser brand. And only if it's GM, not Toyota.

The struggle for GM and Ford to regain much needed and much deserved traction has increasingly become a media war. And it's not just a media war as I reported in my September 2005 article titled Media Bias Against American Automakers. The bias towards foreign automakers has extended from journalists and other newsmakers to everyday Americans with vendettas against their home-team companies in the form of letters to the editor and blogs on the Internet. The Wall Street Journal recently ran a story titled "Are Rumours Hurting Sales" reporting on a Los Angeles resident who started a Web log called "GM Can Do Better." It's not that this individual has not heard the reports of numerous quality awards bestowed upon American automakers. It's that he's skeptical the reports are true.

So there you have it. Foreign car lovers will believe it if Toyota wins an award. But if General Motors' Chevy Impala is documented to have fewer customer complaints than the Toyota Camry, foreign car lovers will grasp at different false reasons to justify their foreign purchases. But the facts are in and their arguments no longer hold water. I'd almost be willing to bet these American car bashers haven't test-driven an American car in years. Right now it doesn't matter that GM has 82 major plants in America and Ford has 35. What matters is that Toyota, Honda and Nissan have eight plants each. It doesn't matter that Toyota and Honda average 65 to 75 percent domestic parts in their U.S. built cars while GM and Ford average 80% to 85%. If these percentages ever reverse, then it will matter to foreign car lovers. Facts simply don't matter to them when they don't happen to be in their favor. To them, as Business Week reported Dec. 12, 2005, "the economy is unstoppable as the Indianapolis Colts" and foreign purchases have no national negative effect. If you watched the Super Bowl last Sunday you probably noticed that the Indianapolis Colts weren't playing.

I'm sure that this article will not sit well with those who automatically receive it as part of their free "Buy American Mention of the Week" subscription and advocate the demise of GM and Ford. And I'm also sure I'll receive many "unsubscribe" requests as a result. But I don't really care. I don't like writing for people I don't like any more than I like giving speeches to groups I don't like. These articles are not designed to make anyone feel less of an American for their past foreign purchases, but rather they aim to persuade American consumers to make the right purchases in the future.

Those who do agree with the facts and the opinions I have presented, I urge you to forward or distribute my auto industry articles to fellow Americans that need to see them. Simply visit <> to see the auto industry articles I've written since May 2005. I'm not sure how much time GM and Ford have left to turn things around given the obstacles they must overcome that have been put there for bogus and unpatriotic reasons. And remember, the next time someone accuses you of questioning their patriotism because of their foreign car, tell them that if it's not unpatriotic to destroy the American middle class, then it's not unpatriotic to buy foreign cars!

Roger Simmermaker, author of How Americans Can Buy American: The Power of Consumer Patriotism, published this article on his Web site, <>.


Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added ...

commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

Yes, I've now added to this blog. Do not dispair!! I will copy your comments to this blog as soon as humanly possible given the time constraints that I find myself in.

In the meantime, let me know what you think about the changes to this blog.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Fixed, But More to Come

Well, got through the posts, so if I missed something somewhere, please let me know.

And while I was in here, I thought (in typical engineer fashion), let's change the look again. So, I did.

Hope everyone likes the reformatting of the blog, and there will be some more changes soon. Looking at installing Haloscan soon. A few of you have gotten me convinced that this would be a good thing.

Have a great weekend.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Mystery Solved in Time for 75th Post!!

Yes, this is the 75th post for Tom's Common Sense. Who would have thunk it?

OK, folks, I think I know what happened to the posts. When you have a double-carriage return, Blogger puts in a paragraph command (HTML <p> and </p>) or two line breaks (HTML </br>). Their system must have stripped (oh!) those out.

That's the good news. The bad news is that I have 74 posts to correct...


Thursday, March 16, 2006

Uh Oh...

Somewhere along the line, Blogger just took all the carriage returns out of all my posts!! Now all the nice formatting has been wiped out.

It may take a while to get this straightened out as I can't just figure out what happened.

Stay tuned - same bat-channel, same bat-cave...

EU Language Agreement

The European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the European Union rather than German, which was the other possibility.

As part of the negotiations, the British Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a 5-year phase-in plan that would become known as "Euro-English".

In the first year, "s" will replace the soft "c". Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy. The hard "c" will be dropped in favour of "k". This should klear up konfusion, and keyboards kan have one less letter.

There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the troublesome "ph" will be replaced with "f". This will make words like fotograf 20% shorter.

In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible. Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling. Also, al wil agre that the horibl mes of the silent "e" in the languag is disgrasful and it should go away.

By the 4th yer people wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing "th"with "z" and "w" with "v".

During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary "o" kan be dropd from vords kontaining "ou" and after ziz fifz yer, ve vil hav a reil sensibl riten styl. Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivunvil find it ezi tu understand ech oza. Ze drem of a united urop vilfinali kum tru.

Und efter ze fifz yer, ve vil al be speking German like zey vunted in ze forst plas.

If zis mad you smil, pleas pas on to oza pepl.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

More Drive By Blogging

It's pretty sad that Americans know more about a cartoon than the First Amendment. The article is here.
Isaac Hayes is quitting his role as Chef on South Park. Apparently, South Park did a spoof on the Church of Scientology, of which Hayes is a member of. He didn't have any problems spoofing other religions, so what's the problem, Isaac? Can't take the heat just like the Moslems? Hopefully, the Scientologists won't be going on a rampage any time soon...
HR1606 is expected to come up for vote in the House this week, probably tomorrow. The text can be found here. The bill is:

  • Paragraph (22) of section 301 of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (2 U.S.C. 431(22)) is amended by adding at the end the following new sentence: `Such term shall not include communications over the Internet.'.

Now I admit that I haven't researched this act, but the pundits that I was listening to made the claim that this bill would be the slippery slope that would assault the First Amendment's free speech provision. Can anyone wade through the legalese of the 1971 law found here and see if this is true? I don't have my legal hat on tonight, and it has been a long day.

Monday, March 13, 2006

On the Road Again (Not Again!!)

Yep, headed out on the road again tomorrow for the rest of the week. Hate being away from the family...

Anyway, will try & do some more drive by blogging, & maybe finish up a couple of posts. Depends on how much stuff gets thrown at me.

Have a safe week, everyone.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Laws of Golf

With spring trying to break through here in Michigan, I thought this would be a nice respite from all the serious topics that I seem to post. I got this from a church golf outing, and thought I would pass it along.


Laws of Golf

As every golfer knows, there are 103 things to keep in mind and perform each time you address a golf ball. However, very few golfers are aware that there are Laws of golf that also affect our games. Note that these are not found in the official Rules of Golf.

Law #1: No matter how bad your last shot was, the worst is yet to come. This law does not expire on the 18th hole since it has the supernatural tendency to extend of the courts of a tournament, summer, and eventually your lifetime.

Law #2: Your best round of golf will be followed almost immediately by your worst round ever. The probability of the latter increases with the number of people you tell about the former.

Law #3: Brand new golf balls are water-magnetic. Though this cannot be proven in the lab, it is a known fact that the more expensive the golf ball, the greater its attraction to water.

Law #4: Golf balls from the same sleeve tend to follow one another, particularly out of bounds or into the water (see Law #3).

Law #5: Golf balls never bounce off the trees back into play. If one does, the tree is breaking the Law of the Universe and should be cut down.

Law #6: No matter what causes a golfer to muff a shot, all his/her playing partners must solemnly chant "You Looked Up" or invoke the Wrath of the Golfing Gods.

Law #7: The higher a golfers handicap, the more qualified he deems himself as an instructor to his playing partners.

Law #8: The person you would most hate to lose to will always be the one who beats you.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Are We Pavlovian?

Something I wrote in the previous post got me to thinking (which is going to get me in trouble again). Why was there such a huge backlash on the terminal deal with Dubai? Was it xenophobia as the Republicans state? Is it a knee-jerk reaction to anything Arab? Or are we just so hyped up on anything that has to do with the Middle East we reject it out of hand?

In many respects, it's probably all of the above and then some. We have been conditioned through so many events since 9/11 that we are suspicious for all of the right and wrong reasons. It's no wonder given the current state of the world.

I believe it's our wonderful media's coverage of the Middle East and Islamic related events that shapes our opinions and perceptions. After all, if it bleeds, it leads, and there is a lot of blood being shed in the Middle East and elsewhere. Couple this with the anti-American sentiments being displayed on the 6 o'clock news & fearmongering from various political concerns, and the Dubai deal was doomed to fail as will any other large business venture with a Middle Eastern concern or company.

The other half of this is the continued violence worldwide that is linked to the Islamic religion and the Middle Eastern countries that the criminals are citizens of. The tolerance of many people & governments is being stretched to the limits with various reactions ranging from appeasement to defiance. For instance:

  • Since 9/11, terrorist attacks attributed to Islamic extremists have taken place in Spain, France, and England.
  • Immediately after the 9/11 attacks, our media showed people dancing in the streets in several Arab countries, chanting "Death to America."
  • Riots in France have been linked to out of work Islamic youth.
  • Iran has stated repeatedly that they want nuclear weapons, and have threatened violence if they don't get them. One does have to wonder why they need them.
  • Terrorists from Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and other countries are in Iraq fomenting unrest and attacking our soldiers.
  • Reaction to the Mohammed cartoons has been outrageous considering that the same or worse critical cartoons have been leveled at the Jewish and Christian religions.
  • The kidnapping and execution by beheading of innocent civilians continues.
  • Reports of attacks upon non-Muslim women by Muslim men have been reported. These attacks include beatings, rape, and murder.
  • European countries are caving in to Islamic demands for censorship of their media where their religion is concerned.
  • Many of the countries of the Middle East are ruled by kings, despots, & dictators, and the populations are mostly uneducated.
  • Most of the time when the media shows pictures or video of the Middle East or other Islamic countries, we are shown killings, bombings, and violence with the requisite puddles of blood splashed liberally across the screen. Additionally, radical Imams are quoted with hate speeches calling for the killings of all non-Muslim people.

Where this ends up is that many people are afraid. Yes, afraid of what these people are going to do next in the name of their religion. While there are fanatics everywhere, none have proved to be as frightening or as widespread as these. While 9/11 was primarily a terrorist attack, do not forget that the religion of Islam was used to provide the attackers with a reason to kill themselves and as many others as they could. It does not make us xenophobes, racists, or bigots, it just makes us extremely careful almost to the point of paranoia.

Was I in favor of the Dubai company running the terminals in six ports? Not really, but I honestly don't know if it would make any difference. There are other foreign countries such as Communist China that have contracts running terminals, so what is the difference between China and Dubai? Probably none, although the political climate would not permit it at this time. Personally, I would like to see American companies running the terminals, but we are in a global economy, and that's a topic for another time...

Friday, March 10, 2006

Dubai Deal

Listening to the radio coming back home, I listened to Rush Limbaugh read excerpts from the following article at American Thinker. Somewhat interesting after the this deal has apparently fallen through.

Now while I admit to having misgivings on this deal (and I still do), I didn't have any idea that so many of our terminals were under the control of foreign companies or interests. Not what I had thought at all.

Regardless, this entire episode has been mishandled by the Bush Administration. Perhaps if it had not seemed to be so clandestine or "under the table" might have changed public opinion. Or maybe our mindset has been changed to reflect a certain amount of paranoia where there is a Middle Eastern country involved, especially with our thoughts on 9/11, Iraq, and Iran. What do you think?

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Drive By Blogging

Travel gives one a chance to listen to the radio. A few things that caught my attention are:
Is there no shame? Once again, a death has been politicized by people without conscience. Dana Reeve, the widow of Christopher Reeve, died a couple of days ago. Politicians used this opportunity to plug embryonic stem cell research, and bashing the Bush administration for not supporting the research. Where will the grandstanding end, and respect for the deceased begin?
The proponents of embryonic stem cell research only show one side of the research. What is not brought out in all of the press releases is that this line of research shows the least amount of promise. What has shown the most progress is research using bone marrow stem cells and umbilical cord stem cells. Both of these avoid the ethical problems of growing human embryos for this research. Why? What I think is going on is that if embryonic stem cell research is found to not be viable, then the abortion rights activists have one less argument for the "procedure."
There is a great political division in this country. Red State or Blue State. Looney Left or Radical Right. Conservative or Liberal. Democrat or Republican. It seems that we are in the extreme where there is no middle ground. It seems that it will not stop any time soon, especially with the prodding of the media. How they love conflict since it brings headlines and rating points.
There is some hope for the youth of America. Saw that there is a student in Michigan proposing that a day, March 26, be set aside to honor our soldiers. Didn't catch the name, but it sounds good.
Sounds like the port deal is dead. Probably just as well.
Tennessee appears to be following South Dakota's lead on restricting or banning abortions, although slower.
Three college students have been arrested for the arson of those churches in Alabama. Thought it would be a great prank...idiots.
Finally, does anyone else think that the Oscars are basically a bunch of back-slapping Hollywood elites? Here's a link to a Ben Stein article that really puts things in perspective.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

On the Road Again...

No, please don't sing it!!!

Actually, it's more like the movie Planes, Trains, & Automobiles...

Posting has been delayed due to the trip, but I'll be back (thank you, Ah-nold!).

In the meantime, everyone have a great week.

Monday, March 06, 2006

No Abortion Law in South Dakota

Today, South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds signed a law that bans all abortions except where the procedure is necessary to save the mother's life. Of course, Planned Parenthood and all the Abortion Rights groups are vowing to fight the law in court.

What exactly are they fighting for? The right to terminate a pregnancy, which is medical jargon for killing a baby? The right of a woman for control of her own body? Unless there was rape or incest involved, then exactly how did the woman become pregnant? Let's look at some facts:

Yes folks, I am NOT in favor of abortion. Here's why: If you take the position that all the cells within a person's body are human, then a fetus is made up of human cells, although quite a bit younger. A fetus has the potential for growing into a person. Thus, a fetus could be called a very young person (a child or baby in the making). Willfully killing a person is defined as murder. Ergo, abortion is murder. Somewhat simplified, but I'm a simple person at heart.

I am aware of the argument that in the beginning stages, this group of cells does not resemble a human being in any way. That's not the point! The cells are human in origin, and there should be no argument against that. However, it should be noted that most abortions take place when the fetus does have distinguishable arms, legs, torso, and head. How anyone could look at a fetus at this point and not recognize it as being a person in the making is beyond me.

I am also aware of the movement for reproductive rights of the woman. That is fine by me - take the pill, wear a diaphram, have the guy wear a condom, practice the rhythm method, but do not kill a baby just because you made a mistake! As my father would say, two wrongs don't make a right.

Let me put this in perspective: A person can live (for argument's sake), 85 years. That's 1020 months. Nine months out of that 1020 is 0.88% of a person's life. What is that compared to giving a gift that no one else can give?

To put a further perspective on things, what if your parents had decided to abort you? You certainly wouldn't be reading this now, would you? Wouldn't you rather have been adopted? Would you want to deny that of anyone for your own convenience? If so, then you had better find a concience. A couple of stories in closing...

Being young and stupid at least once in my life, my girlfriend and I thought she was pregnant. We talked about abortion, and decided against it. If she was and carried the baby to term, we were going to put the baby up for adoption. We could not stomach killing an innocent. Fortunately, it was a false alarm.

I have a couple of friends that have confided in me that they had abortions. They told me that not a day goes by that they either thought about what they did or thought about the baby that they aborted. They wonder what that child could have done. (They could have become President of the United States - Gerald Ford did, and he was adopted.)

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Haloscan Question

For those of you who use Haloscan, please comment on what you like and/or dislike about it. I'm thinking of changing over to it because I can back up the comments just in case Blogger takes a dump.

I don't want to lose everyone's input to this blog. And yes, I save my posts externally to the system - I've lost way too many files & data when servers & hard drives go "poof."


U.S. Foreign Aid and United Nations Voting Records

I recently received an email that listed the amount that various countries received in foreign aid from the United States, and the voting records of these same countries in the UN on issues beneficial to the US. Deciding to look this information up, I found that this particular email was listed on a couple of sites to be bogus.

But since there is sometimes truth in a lie, I researched a little further and found some information that relates to this topic. The Heritage Foundation had this article in their Research Trade and Foreign Aid section. It's from 1998, but it does show that aid does not buy loyalty. Not wanting to stop there, I started looking into our official government accounts & websites. Here's what I found and links to them:

Our government really should review who is receiving our tax dollars, and for those nations who spout off calling for the downfall of the United States and its citizens, yank that aid & put it back into the place where it would do the most good - the taxpayer's pockets!!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

News Bytes 2

Saddam had WMDs after all. Read at Investors Business Daily. Hat tip to Anne at Backyard Conservative for finding this.

For yet another example of the biased media, look at CUG's Post on the latest CBS Poll.

What is your child learning in school? Michille Malkin has a report here, and I also heard the tape on the radio earlier today.

Yahoo! News has a report that an al-Qaida terrorist has been apprehended in Iraq and has confessed to committing 116 beheadings.

The Clarmont Institute has this analysis titled Islamic Chauvinism and the Mohammed Cartoons on what the now infamous Mohammed Cartoons really symbolize, and it's not pretty.

The National Review has this post on why the Dubai Ports World deal should be cancelled.

The BBC logs this report on the India Nuclear deal. I expect more debate on this than the Dubai Ports World deal.

Finally, for a chuckle on what dogs really think, and some interesting bumper sticker sayings, visit Really Funny Wednesday by Gunn Nutt.