Monday, September 29, 2008


"We have trade missions back and forth, we do. It's very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia. As Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border. It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there, they are right next to our state."

That was Sarah Palin's response to Katie Couric's question: "Have you ever been involved in any negotiations, for example, with the Russians?" Was that a coherent answer? No way! Was that answer embarrassing to Palin? Yes, was it ever. That answer was one of the reasons, Kathleen Parker, a conservative columnist who initially celebrated McCain's choice for vice president, concludes that Palin is not qualified for the office and suggests she bow out gracefully by withdrawing her candidacy. When Couric commented, "But you said never second guess them (the Israelis)," Palin gave an equally embarrassing response.

"We don't have to second-guess what their efforts would be if they believe ... that it is in their country and their allies, including us, all of our best interests to fight against a regime, especially Iran, who would seek to wipe them off the face of the earth. It is obvious to me who the good guys are in this one and who the bad guys are. The bad guys are th ones who say Israel is a stinking corpse and should be wiped off the face of the earth. That's not a good guy who is saying that. Now, one who would seek to protect the good guys in this, the leaders of Israel and her friends, her allies, including the United States, in my world those are the good guys."

"I have a vast variety of sources where we get our news too. Alaska isn't a foreign country, where, it's kind of suggested and it seems like, 'Wow, how could you keep in touch with what the rest of Washington, D.C. may be thinking and doing when you live up there in Alaska?' Believe me, Alaska is like a microcosm of America." That was Palin's ridiculous response when Couric asked her to name a specific newspaper or magazine she reads. When she was unable to name a single publication, she tried to bluff her way out with this gobbledygook. Palin would have looked better had she named Playboy.

At first, I too was enthusiastic about McCain's choice of Palin. But, at the rate things are going, I'm afraid Palin is in for a complete meltdown. Unlike Parker, I'm not ready to suggest she step down. That may change when I watch the Palin-Biden debate on Thursday. Here is why I'm not ready to give up on Palin.

Palin is what she is - just a hockey mom who became the mayor of a small town and then got herself elected governor of Alaska. Here is how Newt Gingrich defended her resume: "She has a stronger resume than Obama. She's been a real mayor, he hasn't. She has been a real governor, he hasn't. She's been in charge of the Alaskan National Guard, he hasn't. She was a whistleblower who defeated an incumbent mayor. He has never once shown that kind of courage. She's a whistleblower who turned in the chairman of her own party and got him fined $12,000. I've never seen Obama do one thing like that. She took on the incumbent governor of her own party and beat him, and then she beat a former Democratic governor in the general election. I don't know of a single thing Obama's done except talk and write."

Does her lack of economic and foreign policy experience disqualify her to be president? Most certainly not. Should McCain be elected president and die while in office, Palin would take over and most assuredly rely on the counsel of the president's cabinet and the other presidential advisers. The business of the country would go on much as if McCain were still in office.

So what if Palin believes God created the earth in six calendar days and that in the beginning there was one man, one woman and a snake. In my lifetime I've had a number of friends who believed that. So what if she's opposed to abortions without exception. The Supreme Court and a majority of Congress will never go along with her on that. So, she would appoint conservative justices to the Supreme Court. To that I say, good for her.

While she's not the brightest star on the horizon, neither for that matter is McCain, Obama or Biden. She's just dimmer than the others. Unfortunately for the voters, the brightest star, Michael Bloomberg, is not in the picture. The United States will not be sucked into a black hole should Palin end up with the presidency.

"When the stock market crashed, Franklin D. Roosevelt got on the television and didn't just talk about the, you know, the princes of greed." Another stupid remark from Palin? Nope, that one came from her opponent. Apparently, Joe Biden doesn't know that the stock market crash of 1929 happened before FDR became president in 1933. And Biden doesn't seem to know that there was no television during FDR's time.

"They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations." Did Palin say that? Nope, that was Obama making a stupid remark about working-class voters in old industrial towns decimated by job losses. And while we're recalling stupid remarks, who can forget the claim by Al Gore, that prophet of climate gloom and doom, that he invented the internet.

I say to Palin, "Sarah! Stop embarrassing yourself!" When questioned during an interviw, don't try to bluff your way through with an incoherent answer which leaves us wondering if you know what the hell you're talking about. Just admit your shortcomings! Then keep your answers short and don't ramble on and on. You could have and should have answered Katie Couric's question about your foreign affairs experience sort of like this:

"Katie, I must admit that I do not have any experience in foreign affairs. But you and your viewers can rest assured that if something happened to John (McCain) that forced me to assume the presidency, I would rely on the expertise of the president's cabinet, the national security adviser, and the other advisers on the presidential staff before making any domestic or foreign policy decisions. Dont worry, Katie, the country will be in good hands."

With an answer like that, you will avoid embarrassing yourself. With an answer like that, the voters will not hold your shortcomings against you. An answer like that will instill voter confidence in your candidacy. If you can't admit your shortcomings, you will continue to embarrass yourself. And if you can't admit your shortcomings, you should not be a candidate for any office.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


AIG, a behemoth of the insurance and financial industry, has been taken over by the government. WaMu, the banking giant, is history and Wachovia is teetering. Wall Street superstars Bear Stearns, Lehman Bros. and Merrill Lynch have disappeared. Our financial markets are in utter turmoil and our economy is edging close the the abyss of a depression. Retirees like myself, who have invested their money in mutual funds, have seen their life savings depleted by a third. Other investors have seen the value of their portfolios tank with no end in sight. Who then is to blame for this financial crisis?

There has been a lot of angry finger pointing, much of it political posturing between Democrats and Republicans. Obama likes to say that eight years of failed policies by the Bush administration are to blame for the mess we're in and that his opponent supported those policies. That's pure hogwash. While the Bush administration with its aversion to government regulation may be partially responsible, there is plenty of blame to go around, with greed playing a major role.

Everyone seems to be piling on Wall Street. Yes, there is the greed of Wall Street with its get-rich-quick schemes, but there is also the greed of Main Street to keep-up-with-the-Joneses, no matter the cost. If my neighbor has a Buick, I've got to have a Cadillac. If he's got a boat, I've got to have a bigger boat. Main Street has been living on credit beyond the means to repay its debt and now the days of easy credit are over. And that brings me to the subprime mortgages which have made some people rich, caused others to lose their homes, and led to a disasterous decline in the housing market. Charles Krauthammer put it this way in a recent column:

"I have little doubt that some, if not many, cases of (Wall Street) malfeasance will emerge. But what we conveniently neglect is the fact that much of this crisis was brought upon us by the good intentions of good people. For decades, starting with Jimmy Carter's Community Reinvestment Act of 1977, there has been bipartisan agreement to use government power to expand homeownership to people who had been shut out for economic reasons or, sometimes, because of racial and ethnic discrimination. What could be a more worthy cause? But it led to tremendous pressure on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac - who in turn pressured banks and other lenders - to extend mortgages to people who were borrowing over their heads. That's called subprime lending. It lies at the root of our current calamity."

And while we're speaking of greed, let's not forget our churches. In my formative years, churches were small and there were no radio preachers or televangelists. Churches were made tax exempt only because, without that exemption, they might have found it hard to survive. Billy Graham and others like him, while they did ask for donations, were concerned with saving souls, not with making money. All that changed with Jimmy Swaggert and those that followed.

Today's megachurches and televangelists are raking in billions of dollars in donations, many of which are invested in money making properties not related to any church activities. The greed of the churches exceeds that of Wall Street. While the good churchgoers on Main Street are piling up a mountain of debt, their churches are piling up a mountain of tax free money. There is no longer any justification for exempting wealthy churches from having to pay taxes.

Many of us on Main Street are infuriated with Wall Street and are opposed to the Treasury's bailout plan of spending $700 billion to buy up the mortgage-backed securities held by troubled financial institutions. But when we demand that the greedy Wall Street fat cats be punished, we ought to take a good look at ourselves. We're no different from those fat cats. We're just not wealthy. And if our anger prevents the passage of a sound bailout plan, we will all suffer for it. Credit will freeze up for everyone and then jobs will disappear. Our economy will collapse and we will all find oursleves in another great depression.

Friday, September 26, 2008


This practical math equation should be taught in all math classes. From a strictly mathematical viewpoint, it starts out with the following questions:

What makes 100%?

What does it mean to give MORE than 100%?

Ever wonder about the people who say they are giving more than 100%?

We have all been to those meetings where someone wants you to give over 100%.

How about achieving 103%?

What makes up 100% in life?

Here is a little mathematical formula that will give you the answers to these questions:

If A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z is represented as

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26, it is obvious that

HARD WORK (8+1+18+4+23+15+18+11) =98%

and KNOWLEDGE (11+14+15+23+12+5+4+7+5) =96%

but ATTITUDE (1+20+20+9+20+21+4+5) =100%

while BULLSHIT (2+21+12+12+19+8+9+20) =103%

and finally, but most effectively, ASS KISSING (1+19+19+11+9+19+19+9+14+7) =127%

So one can conclude with mathematical certainty that while HARD WORK and KNOWLEDGE will get you close,

and ATTITUDE will get you there,

it's the BULLSHIT and ASS KISSING that will put you over the top!

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Whenever there is a natural disaster, like a hurricane, tornado or flood, it is often the poor, with few possessions to begin with, who lose everything. Such was the case with Hurricane Katrina and such is the case with Hurricane Ike. Galveston was hard hit by the storm and the 2,200 families living in 975 units of the four public housing projects for the poorest Galvestonians - Oleander Homes, Cedar Terrace, Palm Terrace, Magnolia Homes - were especially hard hit.

Rhiannon Meyers, a newspaper reporter wrote a gut-wrenching article that illustrates the pesonal pain those who are the poorest among us suffered from Hurricane Ike. I thought it was well worth reproducing. Here is Meyers' article:

By Rhiannon Meyers

The Galveston County Daily News, September 24, 2008

GALVESTON — The housing projects echoed with the sound of doors cracking and giving way.From Oleander Homes on the west end of Broadway to Magnolia Homes near The University of Texas Medical Branch, residents of Galveston’s public housing projects battered their way through the front doors of their flood ravaged apartments Wednesday to get a glimpse of what was left.

They kicked at the doors with frustration, sometimes punching holes through the rotten wood. A Galveston Housing Authority crew, carrying a crowbar and a makeshift battering ram, smashed through every door that wasn’t already open.

Same scene.

When the doors gave way, they revealed a scene that looked the same at every cookie-cutter, first-floor apartment north of Broadway: refrigerators splayed, face down, on the floor; moldy couches at odd angles; a thick layer of brown slime coating the floor; a rotten, rotten stench.

Jasmine Woods, 12, wrapped a purple Ball High School T-shirt around her face and navigated her way through the devastated apartment on her mother’s instructions to salvage only beds and school clothes.

The stuff they saved filled half of the smallest U-Haul truck she and her mother could find.

Many questions.

Frustrated residents tossed trash in the streets and chunked their clothes from upstairs windows.

Deandre Womack, who lives with his grandmother in Palm Terrace, flung with fury whatever wet clothes he could save into his car. As he got in the car to leave, his grandmother asked him to lock the house.

"You can’t close the door, grandma — I broke the lock," he said. "They can have what’s in there, anyway."

Angry residents stopped every car that drove by the housing projects to search for answers.

Latrice Walker, who’s five months pregnant, cornered the housing authority crew that was battering down doors.

"What are y’all doing?" she shouted. "I live here — you can at least give me some answers."

She cornered a smartly dressed housing authority building supervisor and started peppering him with the same questions everyone was asking Wednesday morning: Where am I supposed to live? How long do I have to get my things out? Where is FEMA? Where is the housing authority? Are they going to tear this place down?

‘Really bad.’

John Williams, the maintenance director, answered Walker ’s questions. "We do not have housing," he said. "There is no housing. Trust me, I lost my house on the West End . It’s just really bad."

Residents are angry and confused, said one of the crewmembers battering down doors. He declined to give his name, saying he couldn’t talk to the media. But he said he hoped the "real story" gets out about what’s happening in the housing projects.

The maintenance worker, who lost his home in Ike, said residents were told they have until Friday to remove their belongings. Many residents live in apartments there, though they’ve never signed a lease. He’s worried they may not qualify for federal assistance. Even if they do find a hotel to stay in, FEMA requires a credit card first and "these people don’t have credit cards," he said.


Many residents are chronically ill. Some said the sights they are seeing are overwhelming them.

Relatives of Lena Lewis, old and fragile with diabetes, kicked at the back door of her first-floor apartment in Oleander Homes until it splintered and swung open, revealing floors slick with grime and appliances where they weren’t there before."

Everything’s turned upside down," niece Delores Young reported back to Lewis, who waited at the door. "There’s mud all the way through. I’m so used to your floors shining. … This is depressing. You don’t even know where to start."

Young broke through her aunt’s front door. Lewis walked in, slipped on the grime in her house shoes, walked outside and yanked off her rubber gloves and respirator, blaming the rush of emotion on her "diabetes acting up."She clenched her fists and looked out over the rest of the damaged homes, as tears, magnified by her lenses, streamed down her face."I need somewhere to stay — I can’t live here," she said, her voice shaking. Young grabbed her shoulder. She said: "You know what, Aunt Lena? You can’t be in here. It’s no good to be here."

‘Nowhere to go.’

In a quiet voice, Young told Lewis she was tired of being a burden.

Eighteen people moved into Young’s place since Ike slammed into the island. Young recently found out she no longer has a job.

Calmetta Lundy, who lives in Palm Terrace, said she’s living in a house, with no electricity, in La Marque with 27 people, including a newborn and two elderly people with heart disease.

Others shared stories of living with dozens of relatives and friends on the mainland and jumping from house to house when the relationships became strained.

Tomeka Lott, has been living from "pillar to post" since Ike hit, hopping between various relatives and friends with her two children. Their wet school clothes were strewn around the house.

"I’ve got nowhere to go," she said.

Refusing shelter.

Many public housing residents said they left on the bus and were moved from shelter to shelter until they found rides back to Galveston . Citing uncomfortable conditions in shelters, they said they refused to stay in a shelter run by the city.

But they’re homeless, otherwise.

David Latrigue rescued a pair of lace-up boots he wore when he worked for the ferry landing from his Oleander Homes apartment and photographed the rest of the damage. He thought, as he crossed the causeway, "We’re going to come back to nothing." He was right.

"They’re going to tear these places down," he said.

His friend, Charles Schinette agreed: "It’s going to look like a mini Third World country."

At Oleander Homes, Carolyn Gamble sat outside clutching a muddy TV remote. She said she knew from watching the news that her home was gone, but she had to see it. From the watermark on the walls, it seemed like the floodwaters licked her ceiling. Her belongings, which she estimated at $4,000, were covered with mold, mud and mosquitoes.

She packed some things in a truck, but had nowhere to take it.

"Ain’t nowhere to come back to live," she said.

Sadness and joy.

At Palm Terrace, residents gathered around a dead dog trapped in a chain link fence. Neighbors had been taking turns feeding the dog since the old man who owned him died. They named him Duke. On Wednesday, they looked at the dog’s remains with pity and sadness. They survived, but Duke didn’t.

There was a lot of sadness in the projects, but there were some gleeful moments, too.

Helen Roberson, 77, begged a man to crawl through her broken home to find her pet bird, Pretty Boy. When he crawled out carrying the cage littered with seeds and droppings and Pretty Boy clinging to the corner, Roberson broke into a wide smile. "

He’s still alive," she said. "I heard him hollering."

Neighbors looked on in amazement. Some called him a miracle bird. Another lady placed an untouched Bible next to Pretty Boy.

She said she found it in her devastated living room, opened to the page with the verse: "The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want."

EDITOR'S OPINION: Oleander Homes, Cedar Terrace, Palm Terrace and Magnolia Homes are old and run-down. Some of these projects were built shortly after World War II. They have long been breeding grounds for drug addiction and crime. In recent times, they've barely been fit to live in and should have been demolished years ago. Housing projects for the poor are a Catch 22. Once established, they soon become delapitated but can't be replaced because there are no other places for the poorest among us to live.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


A friend sent me this tongue-in-cheek comparison of 1957 with 2008. Since it is not that far-fetched and shows how stupid we have become, I've decided to include it in my blog.

SCHOOL -- 1957 vs. 2008

Scenario: Jack goes quail hunting before school, pulls into school parking lot with shotgun in gun rack.
1957 - Vice Principal comes over, looks at Jack's shotgun, goes to his car and gets his shotgun to show Jack.
2008 - School goes into lock down, FBI called, Jack hauled off to jail and never sees his truck or gun again. Counselors called in for traumatized students and teachers.

Scenario : Johnny and Mark get into a fistfight after school.
1957 - Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up buddies.
2008 - Police called, SWAT team arrives, arrests Johnny and Mark. Charge them with assault, both expelled even though Johnny started it. Extra counsellors are on campus the next day to help students cope with their "feelings."

Scenario: Jeffrey won't be still in class, disrupts other students.
1957 - Jeffrey sent to office and given a good paddling by the Principal. Returns to class, sits still and does not disrupt class again.
2008 - Jeffrey given huge doses of Ritalin. Becomes a zombie. Tested for ADD. School gets extra money from state because Jeffrey has a disability.

Scenario: Billy breaks a window in his neighbor's car and his Dad gives him a whipping with his belt.
1957 - Billy is more careful next time, grows up normal, goes to college, and becomes a successful doctor.
2008 - Billy's dad is arrested for child abuse. Billy removed to foster care and joins a gang. State psychologist tells Billy's sister that she remembers being abused herself and their dad goes to prison. Billy's mom has affair with psychologist.

Scenario : Mark has a headache and takes some aspirin to school.
1957 - Mark shares aspirin with Principal out on the smoking dock.
2008 - Police called, Mark expelled from school for drug violations. Car searched for drugs and weapons.

Scenario: Pedro fails high school English.
1957 - Pedro goes to summer school, passes English, goes to college.
2008 - Pedro's cause is taken up by state. Newspaper articles appear nationally explaining that teaching English as a requirement for graduation is racist. ACLU files class action lawsuit against state school system and Pedro's English teacher. English banned from core curriculum. Pedro given diploma anyway but ends up mowing lawns for a living because he cannot speak English.

Scenario: Johnny takes apart leftover firecrackers from 4th of July, puts them in a model airplane paint bottle, blows up a red ant bed.
1957 - Ants die.
2008- BATF, Homeland Security, FBI called. Johnny charged with domestic terrorism, FBI investigates parents, siblings removed from home, computers confiscated; Johnny's Dad goes on a terror watch list and is never allowed to fly commercially again.

Scenario: Johnny falls while running during recess and scrapes his knee. He is found crying by his teacher, Mary. Mary hugs him to comfort him.
1957 - In a short time, Johnny feels better and goes on playing.
2008 - Mary is accused of being a sexual predator, loses her job and her name goes on a blacklist. She faces 3 years in State Prison. Johnny undergoes 5 years of therapy.

Scenario: Seven year old Johnny hugs a female classmate during recess.
1957 – The female classmate giggles and her friends all smile and tease them both. The children return to their play and all grow up, marry and have kids of their own.
2008 - Johnny is expelled from school and charged with a felony sexual assault. The girl’s parents file a $3 million dollar civil suit against Johnny’s parents, the school and the State. The girl is forced to undergo 5 years of therapy.


Those of you who have been reading my blogs are well aware of my concern about the threat posed to Israel's security by an Obama presidency. You also know that I have attacked my fellow American Jews for their blind allegiance to the Democratic Party.

Ben Shaprio, a Harvard Law School graduate, is a syndicated columnist and author of the book, BRAINWASHED: How Universities Indoctrinate America's Youth. His column in today's echoes my sentiments and reveals the partisan stupidity of some leading Jews, in this case the The United Jewish Appeal Federation of New York. Here is Shapiro's column:


Jews, according to both anti-Semites and philo-Semites, are smart folks. Anti-Semites claim that Jews are highly intelligent -- and therefore threaten the world via conspiratorial monetary and political control. Philo-Semites point out that Jews have provided a vastly disproportionate number of Nobel Prize winners, as well as various leading scientists, philosophers, writers and artists.

Virtually everyone agrees, then, that Jews are intelligent. And yet for all of our intelligence (I am an Orthodox Jew), large groups of American Jews lack the most basic instinct for self-preservation; they lack the understanding to protect Jews by acting to protect Israel.

The non-religious Jewish community demonstrates particular blindness. Most non-religious Jews, who see no special value in Jewish identity, distract themselves with "social justice" policies -- policies like abortion-on-demand and gay marriage -- that directly contravene traditional Jewish values. Meanwhile, they ignore existential threats to Jews worldwide -- threats they cannot escape with protestations that they aren't practicing Jews, or that their Judaism only goes as far as the occasional bagel. For many non-religious Jews, political liberalism trumps both Jewish values and Jewish existence.

How else to explain the disastrous series of events last week in New York? The United Jewish Appeal Federation of New York scheduled an anti-Iran rally highlighting the blatant Jew-hatred of visiting Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The Federation invited both Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin (R-AK). Palin accepted. So, at first, did Clinton -- but when she learned that she would be appearing on the same stage as Palin, she backed out.

At that point, the organizers of the rally made a terrible decision: They disinvited Palin. reported that the decision was made after Democrats complained that they did not want the rally turned into a partisan event.

This is the height of idiocy. In the possibility of a nuclear Iran, Jews face the gravest menace since the 1973 Yom Kippur War. They must mobilize every ally, unearth every friend, in order to create a groundswell of support for a military strike against Iran by Israel -- the only true solution to Iranian nuclear ambition. And yet they turned away Sarah Palin -- perhaps the future vice president of the United States, and at the moment, the most popular female politician in the United States -- because they feared offending Democrats.

Only a baseline allegiance to the Democratic Party -- only a deep-rooted leftist partisanship -- can explain such behavior. Any rational group, seeking to draw attention to the Iranian situation, would leap at the opportunity to host Palin, who routinely draws tens of thousands of fans.

More than that, any rational group would recognize that if high-ranking Democrats withdraw from anti-Iran rallies simply to avoid being seen in public with high-ranking Republicans, then perhaps Democrats aren't the friends of Israel they purport to be. Any rational group would be suspicious that Hillary Clinton is more concerned with Sarah Palin than Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Any rational group would use their anti-Iran rally as a forum for candidates, allowing those with the most pro-Israel message to capitalize politically.

Instead, the organizers disinvited Palin. In doing so, they demonstrated a political bias unworthy of a pro-Israel organization. More than that: In rejecting Palin, they demonstrated loyalty to Democrats over loyalty to Jewish causes. That became especially clear when the text of Palin's un-given speech was released. "We gather here today to highlight the Iranian dictator's intentions and to call for action to thwart him," the speech reads. "He must be stopped. The world must awake to the threat this man poses to all of us. Ahmadinejad denies that the Holocaust ever took place. He dreams of being an agent in a 'Final Solution' -- the elimination of the Jewish people. He has called Israel a 'stinking corpse' that is 'on its way to annihilation.' … Iran should not be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons. Period. And in a single voice, we must be loud enough for the whole world to hear: Stop Iran!"

This is strong stuff. And it is stuff that the rally organizers abandoned when they kowtowed to Democrats rather than recognizing that support for Israel must be a non-partisan issue. It was foolish. It was dangerous. And most of all, it was dishonorable.

Monday, September 22, 2008


Michael Bloomberg, New York's mayor, is a multi-billionaire businessman. His predecessor, former prosecutor Rudy Giuliani, is credited with cleaning up the city's awful crime mess. Bloomberg has revitalized the city's economic life and made it easier for those in need. Yesterday, with our nation on the brink of an economic catastrophe that would hurt every American and reach far beyond our borders, Tom Brokaw interviewed him on NBC's Meet the Press. From the program's transcript, here are some of Michael Bloomberg's remarks:

"There are two crises. One is the crisis in the financial market, a lack of confidence that almost closed down the financial system this past week and that Hank (Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson) has to address. And it's up to the Treasury with the acquiescence of Congress, but to do something quickly. And nobody knows exactly what they should do, but anything is better than nothing. You've got to restore the public's belief and the market's belief that we will go on. And this is not just an American problem, it's financial markets around the world that are all interlinked and they're all collapsing. The second problem, which is up to Congress, it's a much longer-term problem and may be the genesis of the problem that we have today in the financial markets, and that is that people are losing their homes, deserted homes are destroying neighborhoods, people are losing their jobs. We have some industries that Congress tried to protect, and instead of protecting them they've caused them to not keep up in a competitive world with new products. We have an education system that isn't preparing us for the future, and we have a retirement system that's just not going to be there when we need it. So there's two things here: One you got to do quickly; one you really need a lot more thought about and that Congress should spend that time debating. But I don't know that there's time for a lot of the debate now."

"Our regulation in this country is designed for the world of 50 years ago. We have separate regulation for different industries, except today those industries all do the same thing. Also, our regulation isn't consistent with regulation around the world. And every company, every bank, your job, my job, all our jobs depend on commerce and what happens elsewheres in the world. And we have to find a ways to, to pull together, in Congress not have all of the different oversight committees, in the executive branch not have all the different agencies, and not just think that we're the only ones that can do this, but pull it all together. Paulson's been talking about it for a long time. But I think it, Tom, it comes out of this instant gratification. We all were happy when the stock market was going up, we were all happy when there was all this money sloshing around in the economy, and everybody could get a loan whether they could pay it back or not. When companies went out and bought other companies and people got great bonuses, it was great. And nobody wanted to say, 'Wait a second, this can't go on forever.' I'm happy to say in New York, at least, we didn't think it was going to go on forever and for the last couple years we've been salting away money. I don't know that we've salted away enough, but we've been saying again and again nothing goes up in a straight line forever."

"But I think--let me get back to this bipartisan or partisan thing. What the Democrats have to understand is that while we do need to reform our regulation and we do need more restrictions, it is true that it is capitalism and free enterprise and companies that create jobs and wealth for every American. And what the Republicans have to understand is, while it may be capitalism and free enterprise and companies that create jobs, we have to have regulations that are realistic and they have to be followed. And I think if both parties could learn that and come together then there really isn't that much difference between them, and they can go and take this country to the next level."

".......... the executive branch of government has to be the solution, and that's the lack of confidence in our financial markets and in the institutions that make up those markets. The other is the longer-term focusing on the problems that, in the end, got us here. We, we spend money we don't have. We have trillion dollar deficits. We have a birth rate that's too low to support Social Security. We have a health care system that's going to bankrupt us. We're going to spend 25 percent of our GNP on health care, and we get worse health care than they do in western Europe and they spend less money. Our public education system throughout this country--we worked hard on it in New York--but we all have--and other cities are doing it, too--but we have a long ways to go."

"We have an energy policy--we're transferring our wealth to overseas to a bunch of countries that don't have the same values as us. In some cases, they're using our money to finance terrorism against us. We've got to sit down--infrastructure as well. There's a whole list of things. Immigration. We don't have an intelligent policy. Those are the things we've got to do. But that has got to be done in Congress. It needs leadership from the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, from the White House, but it needs bipartisan cooperation no matter how this next election turns out."

"We can't spend our time talking about the bailouts in the past. You've got an automobile industry that has--in Detroit they've cut employment from 500,000 people down to 250,000 people. That's 250,000 Americans. You know what a group of 250,000 people--it's a lot of people. They've lost their jobs. Today, if they have jobs, they probably don't have as good jobs. Why? What were we doing wrong? I would argue that we tried to protect an industry where we should have been assisting people. We should have been working on training, we should have been working on regulation that would force them to come up with products that are good for the world so that they can sell them and keep their--keep jobs, good-paying jobs with benefits. That's what we're trying to do in this country. And where you let the free markets work, generally it does. But free markets cannot work without some regulation."

".......... economists will make the argument that capital gains taxes going up will dissuade people to invest. People will make the argument that it's not fair that some people make their money in capital gains form rather than an ordinary income. I'll leave that for the economists and the tax policy writers to debate. But I think everybody understands we like to have lower taxes. But if we want services, we're going to have to pay for them. And the worst thing we're doing is to do the worst--take the services but not have us pay for them. That's the situation where we're going to lead--leave a terrible world for our children and grandchildren."

Michael Bloomberg's wisdom far exceeds the combined knowledge of Barack Obama and John McCain. As a candidate for president, he would be a tremendous improvement over the poor choices we are now confronted with. It was reported that Bloomberg considered a run at the White House as an independent. That never came to fruition because, under our electoral system, an independent canditate really has no chance of being elected president. What a shame!


Life is far from normal for many residents in the area ravaged by Hurricane Ike. Many homes have been left uninhabitable. In the Houston area alone, around 750,000 homes and businesses are still without power. Countless people lost all the food in their refrigerators and freezers. At social service offices, the lines this morning are up to seven blocks long with people waiting to apply for a supply of emergency food stamps. Some were so desperate that they started lining up at seven o'clock last night. Employers have terminated people who have been unable to get to their jobs.

FEMA is not without its faults, unjustly blaming the state for its failure to open, in a timely manner, PODs (Points of Distribution) for storm victims throughout the area. Once the PODs were open, some were slow to receive ice, water and MREs. The FEMA emergency supply distribution center at the Reliant Stadium complex was poorly organized with supply trucks waiting needlessly for hours before being directed to the various PODs. As a result, several PODs ran out of supplies, especially MREs.

It is clear that, given the experience of one Houston area homeowner, FEMA needs a serious reality check. With his home uninhabitable, he applied to FEMA for emergency housing assistance. The following day he was given a motel voucher. Well and good - under the circumstances that was fast. Unfortunately, he could not find any vacancies at the motels that agreed to honor the vouchers. When he notified FEMA of his predicatment, he was told to relocate to another city. And when he told FEMA that he could not move to another city because he had a job in Houston which he would lose, he was told, "I'm sorry, we can't help you."

We can't help you? What kind of crap is that? I suspect that most of the motels on the FEMA list are not the Marriott or Holiday Inn types. I can commend the government for being frugal with its voucher program, but considering all the waste in government, FEMA should have housed this storm victim, and others like him, in costlier motels or hotels if that became necessary for him to keep the job his family depends on. Whatever happened to plain old common sense?

Saturday, September 20, 2008


Yesterday, in my blog, "Crap From Hurricane Ike," I blogged about the storm bringing out the worst in us. It dealt with the favoritism shown the wealthiest neighborhood in the Houston metropolitan area and the undeserved praise given the Black Panthers by the Houston Chronicle. In yesterday's Chronicle, which I read after the aforementioned blog was published, I saw a letter to the editor which condemned the justice system for its callousness in the wake of the hurricane.

As a former cop, I do not hold attorneys, especially criminal lawyers, in high regard. My favorite lawyer joke goes like this: "What's the difference between a lawyer and a liar? ... The spelling!" The letter writer, Robert J. Fickman, is the former president of the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association (Houston is part of Harris County). His letter makes a mockery of the term "justice." The Chronicle entitled Fickman's letter, "Thoughtless Justice." Here it is:

"The people of Harris County have suffered enough in the last week. More than half are without power. Many are without shelter. People are standing in line for food, water and ice. Many are unable to go to work, and children are out of school. On top of this, there is a shortage of fuel.

With all this hardship, the folks that run the Harris County Criminal Courthouse had an opportunity to show a little humanity this week. The humane and intelligent thing would have been to automatically reset all bond cases for two weeks. That didn't happen. Instead, thousands of people on bond, who are presumed innocent, were required to make routine court appearances beginning on Wednesday, for no good reason.

Adding this additional thoughtless hardship on those at the bottom simply reveals the true nature of Harris County's criminal justice system. There was no need to make these people drive to court during this week of recovery.

Life gives people a chance to define themselves. Those who run the criminal justice system defined themselves as thoughtless and mean-spirited. A little humanity would have gone a long way. Apparently, asking for a little humanity from those that run our courts is asking too much."

Even though I am a hard law and order advocate, I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Fickman. Many people out on bond are poor and can ill afford to drive around looking for fuel which, in the aftermath of the hurricane, is scarce and costly. In view of these trying times, there is simply no excuse for the callousness displayed by those in charge of our local "justice" system. Whatever happened to "temper justice with mercy?"

Friday, September 19, 2008


The aftermath of Hurricane Ike is among us and it has brought out the best in us and the worst in us. Generally speaking, FEMA has shown considerable improvement over its Hurricane Katrina debacle. There has been some sniping between fedeal, stae and local officials, but most of that has been due to communication breakdowns or political posturing. After all, this huge storm devastated an enormous area, the magnitude of which exceeded that of Katrina.

As for the worst of us, here are two examples. One relates to the restoration of power by CenterPoint Energy which owns the elctric transmission system that provides power for much of the Houston-Galveston area. The other one concerns an editorial in the Houston Chronicle which praised the local Black Panther organization.

CenterPoint Energy, with the help of work crews from all over the United States and even as far away as Canada, has done a remarkable job of restoring power so far. But, here is the rub. I'm sure most of you have heard the saying, "Money talks, bullshit walks." It sure does in Houston. Here is how one ordinary subdivision was screwed in favor of a plush neighborhood.

The Timber Lakes Estates, which is located in the Cypress area northwest of Houston, is an ordinary subdivision. It was left without power as a result of the hurricane. Until yesterday, work crews had spent more than two days restoring power to the area. Only a five-block area was left without power when suddenly the workers pulled up stakes and left. It would have taken only a few more hours to finish restoring power to the rest of Timber Lakes Estates.

The workers told shocked residents that they had been ordered by CenterPoint to stop their work and leave immediately for the Bellaire and River Oaks sections of Houston. Well, guess what? River Oaks happens to be the wealthiest neighborhood in the Houston Metropolitan area and is home to many of the city's "movers and shakers." Enron's disgraced top executives used to live there too.

While CenterPoint denies that wealth played any part in the decision to leave Timber Lakes, an "insider" informed a Channel 2 TV reporter that the energy provider did pull out their work crews in response to complaints by affluent River Oaks residents that their service was not being restored fast enough. The Timber Lakes residents are furious, and they have every right to be infuriated.

Now to the Houston Chronicle's editorial "Mutual Defense," which was pulished on September 15th. The eidtorial's byline read, "Black Panthers' protection of shops in face of hurricane is a positive sign of social harmony." What a line of crap!

The editorial noted that "Leaders of Houston's Black Panther Party had hired out nearly 20 of their members at area gas-and-convenience stores, offering protection from the theft and mayhem that sometimes happens in the chaos before and after a storm of Ike's magnitude." The editorial discussed the perceptions, depending on whether you were black or white, of the original Panthers. It went on to praise the new Panthers as, "Standing ready in black and Hispanic neighborhoods to protect stations belonging to owners without regard to ethnic or racial background."

The original "Black Panther Party for Self Defense" was formed in 1966 inside San Quentin prison by a bunch of convicted thugs and thieves, The media portrayed the Panthers as folk heroes - community activists providing free breakfasts to poor black children and protecting blacks from police oppression. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The thuggery and thievery continued once the Panthers left prison. Did they accomplish anything in the fight for justice and civil rights? Absolutely not! When their aura finally faded, the Panthers simply left behind a legacy of unresolved urban conflict, crime, death, and black hatred of whites. That's some legacy!

The current crop of Panthers is a poor imitation of the San Quentin group and was obviously so named in order to capitalize on the notoriety of the original Panthers. If you want to learn more about the orignial group, which at times I personally had to deal with, you can read my December 1, 2006 blog, THE BLACK PANTHER LEGACY.

My beef is not with Houston's Panthers. It is with the Houston Chronicle, which has brought out the worst in journalism by praising a bunch of shake-down artists. In the aftermath of Ike, an army of thousands and thousands of volunteers - whites, blacks, Hispanics and Asians, young and old - has been working all over the storm devastated area, serving people desperate for help. Many of these volunteers are storm victims themselves. They've never asked to be paid a single penny for their services, unlike that small group of intimidating Black Panther mercenaries.

Had the Panthers offered their protective services for free, they would have merited the praise heaped upon them by the Chronicle. Instead, they simply took advantage of, and profited from, an impending disaster. Their "service" sure looks a lot like the old Mafia protection racket to me. And in the process, the Panthers managed to hoodwink the politically correct editorial staff of the Chronicle.

EDITOR'S NOTE: I was mistaken when I originally wrote that the first President Bush resided in River Oaks. Furthermore, I was informed by a reliable source that as of 9-21-08, River Oaks was still without power. The problem appears to be with the many trees that toppled across the power lines. In any event, there was no excuse for pulling the work crews out of Timber Lake Estates only hours before they would have finished the job for the rest of the subdivision.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Barack Obama has a history of befriending some rather questionable associates. There is his preacher, mentor and close personal friend for 20 years, Jeremiah Wright, who married the Obamas and baptized their children. Then there is his association with Tony Resko, the convicted felon, who helped pay for Obama's $1,300,000 home. And there is Obama's friend Bill Ayers, a former terrorist, who was on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted List for setting off more than 10 bombs during the 1970s.

Who can forget Obama's radical preacher and close friend shouting from the pulpit, "No, no, no, not God bless America, God damn America!" Wright claims there is a government conspiracy to imprison black youths. He accuses the government of supplying young blacks with illegal drugs. He refers to our country as the "U.S. of KKK A." There is his demented accusation that the government created the HIV virus "as a means of genocide against people of color."

Then there is Wright's preposterous pronouncement that because (among other wrongs) our government supported state (Israeli) terrorism against the Palestinians, the United States is to blame for the 9/11 attacks on New York and the Pentagon - "the chickens coming home to roost," as he phrased it. He has warmly embraced that rabid racist hate-mongering Louis Farrakhan who calls Jewish, Korean and Vietnamese landlords and business owners "bloodsuckers" and says "Judaism is a gutter religion." Wright also published the terrorist Hamas Manifesto in the "Pastor's Page" section of his church bulletin.

There is reason to believe that William Charles "Bill" Ayers and Barack Obama have been friends since 1986. There is clear evidence that they were close associates for many years. They served together in 1995 on the Annenberg Challenge, overseeing the distribution of about $50 million to area schools. That same year, when Obama was seeking election to the Illinois state senate, Ayers hosted Obama's very first campaign fund raiser in his own home. The two also served together on the nine-member board of directors of the Woods Fund of Chicago, an anti-poverty foundation, from 1999 until Obama left in 2002.

What does the friendship between Ayers and Obama say about Obama's judgement and political views? Ayers was an anti-American, pro-communist, traitorous radical during the Vietnam War and was a leader of the "Weathermen," a notorious underground terrorist group. In 1970, the Weathermen (aka Weather Underground) issued a "Declaration of a State of War" against the United States government, thereafter bombing over 30 government facilites and police stations.

Bill Ayers once declared: "Kill all the rich people. Break up their cars and apartments. Bring the revolution home, kill your parents, that's where it's really at." Ayers is unapologetic about his terrorist activities. On Sept. 11, 2001, Ayers is quoted by The New York Times as saying, "I don't regret setting bombs ... I feel we didn't do enough." When asked if he would "do it all again," Ayers replied, "I don't want to discount the possibility." Why would Obama associate himself with this unrepentant former terrorist? And even defend him?

Ayers is an "American Distinguished Professor" in the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago where he specializes in urban school reform. Distinguished indeed. Just because he is a college educator does not make him respectable. Nor does it atone for his terrorist activities. It only goes to show that the educated idots who run our instutions of higher educaton are eager to recruit the most radical left-wingers, like Ayers and former Black Panther member Angela Davis, as faculty members.

Obama flat-out lied by claiming he never heard Jeremiah Wright give any inflammatory sermons during the 20 years he regularly attended services at Wright's church. Only when it became apparent that his preacher's hateful pronouncements were seriously damaging his primary campaign, did Obama condemn Wright's radical statements. Obama has downplayed his association with Resko and Ayers, despite indications to the contrary. With friends like Jeremiah Wright, Tony Resko and Bill Ayers, how can anyone in their right mind vote for Obama to become president of the United States?

Monday, September 15, 2008


I am sitting here, thankful that Hurricane Ike has done only minor damage to my home. There is no newspaper delivery, I'm unable to receive Direct TV, and the local TV channels carry only coverage on the storm's aftermath. So, there is nothing coming to my attention that would get me to do my usual bit of ranting.

However, in today's, Mike Adams had a column dealing with the mandatory sexual harrassment awareness training sessions at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Since I've published several blogs on the educated idiots among college adminstrators, here is Adams' column:

F.A.S.H.I.S.T! by Mike S. Adams

I just got an email from our new Provost telling me that I – like everyone else working at the university – must start attending mandatory sexual harassment awareness training sessions every two years. The good news is that I’m going. The bad news is that I’ve gotten some other angry white men together to help me completely disrupt the training sessions.

On October 20th, there will be a meeting of a new campus group called "Faculty Against Sexual Harassment Initiatives and Sensitivity Training" - or FASHIST. I’m the founder of the new group. And the reason I’ve chosen the name FASHIST is twofold:

1. Our university is moving rapidly in the direction of fascism and we need to turn things around as quickly as possible, and

2. We need to go ahead and call ourselves FASCIST because that’s what the feminists – who don’t actually know what fascism is - will call us when we try to oppose a government-mandated thought control program.

Our first order of business will be to adopt a slogan for the new group. One of the other founding members of FASHIST wants "Hell no, we won’t go" to be the slogan. This is largely due to his contempt for the hippies that work in his department. But I like the phrase "We don’t harass, so kiss our ass!" But I’m concerned that the chancellor will deem the slogan to be itself harassing.

Those who join UNCW FASHIST will not attend the sexual harassment training sessions biannually as has been proposed. We will attend every single one of them. And we will interrupt the meetings – just like the radical protestors of the 1960s – with a lot of tough questions for the administration. Some examples follow:

1. UNCW defines harassment as "unwelcome conduct based on race, color, religion, creed, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status or sexual orientation that is either a condition of working or learning or creates a hostile environment." If the university forces me (unwelcome conduct?) to attend sexual harassment training (based on sex?) as a condition of working at UNCW then, obviously, I’m being sexually harassed. Can we then fire the administration for imposing this mandate?

2. Is the term "mandate" sexist?

3. Our university sets lower admission standards for blacks than it does for whites. We don’t do it for the black females who can cut the mustard. We do it for the black males who can’t. But some of the black males we admit on lower standards drive around campus with their windows down blaring rap music denigrating women by calling them whores. Is this hostile environment sexual harassment? Is our affirmative action policy therefore sexually harassing?

4. Five years ago the administration chipped in $60,000 to help bring Ludacris to campus. He sang a lot about hos. Shouldn’t we be forcing the administration to attend mandatory sexual harassment training not the other way around? Is there a short bus that drops these intellectually challenged administrators off at work every day? Certainly, we don’t let these people drive themselves to work.

5. Let’s say a black professor complains about racism so often that we just let him fornicate with his white students in order to get him to shut up. Is this an example of sexual harassment against women? Or racial harassment against white professors? Just curious.

6. When a female student wears a top that fully exposes her nipples, has she sexually harassed the men in her class? What if they like it? Does that mean only the gay men are sexually harassed? How about the lesbians?

7. What if a feminist professor comes walking up to me in the hall and touches (actually rubs) the lapel of my blazer, looks into my eyes and comments on the softness of the fabric. Does that mean I can rub her blouse without her permission? If so, just how close can my hand get to her breast?

8. What if I get erectile dysfunction after a feminist rubs my lapel. Can I sue for damages?

9. What happens when a gay pride group steals my rainbow – an important Old Testament religious symbol, of course – and converts it to a symbol of approval of acts specifically prohibited by the Old Testament? Is that religious harassment? Or homosexual harassment?

10. Finally, I’ll have something to say about the Professor of Psychology who recently told members of his psychology class that I referred to the Chancellor as a "whore" in one of my columns. That is a lie. But, of course, it doesn’t matter since the university pays for speech that characterizes women as "hos." But I suspect that many psychologists would tell us that making up a story like that is a form of projection. So maybe the psychology professor subconsciously thinks his boss is a whore. That leads to my final question: Can subconscious misogynistic thoughts be sexually harassing?

Of course, all of those hippies who were protestors in the 1960s have to be excited about my plan to shake things up at UNCW by speaking truth to power. But, unfortunately, many of them have married feminists who won’t let them join an organization like F.A.S.H.I.S.T. For the record, they are the ones I call "whores."

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


During the last couple of years, Halliburton, big oil companies and other conglomerates have been demonized by the media, by the democrats and even by some republicans. Halliburton (and its former KBR division) has been singled out for attack because the left-wing hates Dick Cheney, its former CEO - more so for that reason than for some of its questionable business practices. Exxon Mobil and other oil giants (one of my friends refers to BP as "the enemy") have been excoriated for profiting from high oil prices at the expense of consumers.

It is true that Exxon Mobil and other oil giants have reported record profits since the price of oil shot up. Obama and his fellow democrats want to reimpose a windfall profits tax on the oil companies. Since 1988, no windfall profit tax has been enacted in the U.S.. However, with gas prices at record levels, at least seven bills that will tax windfall profits of crude oil producers have been introduced in the 110th Congress during 2008. Senate Democrats, led by Chuck Schumer and Harry Reid, have proposed a 25 percent windfall profits tax, while Rep. Dennis Kucinich has been calling for a 100 percent windfall profits tax rate. Hillary Clinton is barnstorming the country talking about a windfall profits tax that will not only stick it to the corporate fat cats but will "pay" for a gas tax holiday.

Wikipedia's description of the windfall profits tax includes the following criticism:

In a February 12, 2008 editorial titled "Record Profits Mean Record Taxes," Investors Business Daily said that regular income taxes already take into account the high profits, and that there's no need to do anything extra to tax or punish the oil companies. As an example, the editorial states "Consider the magnitude of the contributions from Exxon alone. On those 'outlandish' 2006 profits, the company paid federal income taxes of $27.9 billion, leaving it with $39.5 billion in after-tax income. That $27.9 billion was more than was collected from half of individual taxpayers in 2004. In that year, 65 million returns — which represent far more than 65 million taxpayers because of joint returns — paid $27.4 billion in federal income taxes."

In an August 4, 2008 editorial titled "What Is a 'Windfall' Profit?" the Wall St. Journal wrote, "What is a 'windfall' profit anyway? ... Take Exxon Mobil, which on Thursday reported the highest quarterly profit ever and is the main target of any 'windfall' tax surcharge. Yet if its profits are at record highs, its tax bills are already at record highs too... Exxon's profit margin stood at 10% for 2007... If that's what constitutes windfall profits, most of corporate America would qualify... 51 Senators voted to impose a 25% windfall tax on a U.S.-based oil company whose profits grew by more than 10% in a single year... This suggests that a windfall is defined by profits growing too fast.... But if 10% is the new standard, the tech industry is going to have to rethink its growth arc... General Electric profits by investing in the alternative energy technology that Mr. Obama says Congress should subsidize even more heavily than it already does. GE's profit margin in 2007 was 10.3%, about the same as profiteering Exxon's."

By reading the entire Wikipedia description of windfall profits taxes it is apparent that such taxes do not result in the desired effect. In the 1980's, those taxes led to a reduction in oil production and, as a result, failed to generate any significant revenues for the government. Furthermore, the lower oil production led to higher fuel costs. The politicians, mainly democrats, who are now proposing new windfall profits taxes are pandering to beleaguered consumers with feel-good legislation designed to punish big oil for profiting from the rise in the price of oil.

In a recent column, George Will put the "obscene" profits of big oil into their proper perspective. Will wrote: "Obama thinks government is not getting a 'reasonable share' of oil companies' profits, which in 2007 were, as a percentage of revenues (8.3 percent), below those of U.S. manufacturing, generally (8.9 percent). Exxon Mobil pays almost as much in corporate taxes to various governments as the bottom 50 percent of American earners pay in income taxes. Exxon Mobil does make $1,400 a second in profits - hear the sharp intakes of breath from liberals with pursed lips - but pays $4,000 a second in taxes and $15,000 a second in operating costs."

That should put the obscene profits charge to rest. The oil companies are not responsible for the rise in the cost of a barrell of oil. And while they have made record profits as a result, they are also paying record amounts in taxes. The demonizing of Halliburton is really designed to satisfy those who hate its former CEO, Dick Cheney. And the demonizing of big oil, along with the proposals for a windfall profits tax, are merely phony politicial ploys designed to soothe consumer anger over the high prices at gasoline pumps. Is big oil really all that bad? I don't think so!