Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Welcome To The Poorhouse

How much did you lose yesterday?
Me? Not much.
While the stock market crashed more than 700 points on news of there being no agreement for a Federally funded bail-out of America's banking system, I just stayed about the same - financially speaking.
You see, I'm probably the third poorest person on the Internet. While my home and rental units and farm are fully paid for, I have no stocks, bonds or treasury bills.

I used to gamble a little too much when I lived on the West Coast. I liked roulette. It had the worst odds but the biggest pay-outs.
If I took $3,000 to Caesar's and played roulette and kept winning and winning until I had $15,000 and then walked away from the table and cashed out, I would have made a $12,000 profit. But, had I stayed at the tables and lost back $11,000 of my winnings - I wouldn't have lost $11,000, I would have made $1,000.
So don't panic. Your profit is just smaller than it was a few days ago.
Just keep doing what you're doing. It's okay to spend money, just don't waste it.
Buy what you need and then buy some of what you're going to need and save the rest.
How many Armani suits do you really need?
If I was a real sucker, I would spend another $20,000 to try to win the $11,000 back - but would have only put myself deeper in debt.
Wall Street speculators are the REAL suckers, in this case.
Now they want you to buy a bunch of chips that they don't really have.

Don't worry, you won't be living like this.
Say that everyone had to sell their house to buy another smaller house. If you now live in a 5,000sq.ft. home you may only have a 3,000sq.ft. home this time next year. If you live in a mansion, you may have to move to that 5,000sq.ft. home next year.
But because no one will be buying homes next year, the borrower market will dry up and banks will be selling homes at a lower price. You may end up making money on the deal in the long run.

The odd thing is; we believe everything that the Government tells us. When the market was under performing - they said that we should save our money. Too many people saved their money and the products, goods and services that we were producing and providing weren't selling. So then the Government said that we should shop our way out of a recession. They even made it too easy to spend money that many didn't have.
College students were given credit cards on campuses just for signing their names. Every department store would give you a small gift just for taking their cards. Sub-prime mortgages were pushed on people who either qualified for a standard loan or who shouldn't have qualified for a gas station card.

I had a lot of friends who wanted me to invest in a pyramid scheme. The problem was that something had to be sold (of the approximate value of the money spent) to make it appear legal. I made a list of ten reasons not to invest in a pyramid (And who could put a price on these wise tips?), made copies and sold that as part of the multi-level-marketing scheme. After I set the people in place, I walked away. You see, I couldn't invest in something that I knew that someone was going to be screwed. Many of my friends got stuck somewhere in the middle of these schemes and got nothing and some got paid. After a while, they did away with the pamphlet (Dummies, two went to jail. The pamphlet was the loophole.)
Anyway the way to get paid is to find a few bigger suckers than yourself and get them to buy your shares until they find bigger suckers to take their place until the whole thing crashes.
This is what happened in our banking industry. The suckers ran out. Congress seems to have actually noticed that we were being the suckers all along.

Am I worried?
Nah, you see...I care nothing about race, gender, religion etc. . I only care that a person is good. I only care that a person strives to do the right thing when that thing is needed. My crew will look out for each other.
If we just keep working and place more value on the things that really matter to us, only the selfish and greedy get screwed in the end.
As I wrote, in an earlier post (hurricane), good people come together in bad situations.
The guy that used to whizz by you in a leased Maybach will probably be working at the local Wal-Mart trying to sell you his Rolex so that he can by groceries. If you were humble and smart, you probably have been living within your means. You have money to spend and assets that are paid for.

If no one is buying gold, gold has no value. You can't eat gold. If someone is not used to having to hustle, they're stuck. People who can hustle (not cheat others - but work hard) will be worth more than some schemer who can't work.

As far as I'm concerned, we'll end up having to pay for their mistakes anyway. Maybe we should let them get down in the dirt too, to clean up the mess that they made.

(photos; Roulette - Fotosearch, Depression - FDR Library)

Monday, September 29, 2008

But some of my best friends are gay!

One of my younger brothers, who works in the adult film industry, is gay.
I've dated (well... done) some female strippers who turned out to be Bi.
I know a lot of gay guys and lesbians.
I like Ellen and Porsia (Rosie, not so much...).
Hey what you want to do in your home is your business.

I just don't see it. I can't see what a man could see in another man.
But I could understand if, say... Jessica Biel and Stacey Dash hooked-up. That would be one You-Tube video that I might actually watch. They're both hot so I could see the attraction.

In any other year, the Gay Marriage Bill in California (Proposition 8) would be getting a lot of press. (But we actually have issues that effect most of us this year - in a more direct manner.)

Derrick has written a piece;
To which I would like to respond.

I'm not in favor of gay marriage. I no longer live in California so I can't vote on the bill. So in essence, my opinion doesn't really matter.

If a man and a woman get married at a courthouse, society views the Civil Union with the same credibility as it would a church marriage (my friend ErickA's argument) .
If a Muslim is married according to Muslim customs - even churches, who don't have the same belief system, view the marriage as a Holy Marriage (Angry African's point).
Even I view both marriages as real marriages.
So my moral beliefs get put in check with logical arguments.

When Mildred and Richard Loving won their Supreme Court case against Virginia, the wording in the opinion stated;
"Marriage is one of the 'basic civil rights of man', fundamental to our very existence and survival..."
"Basic civil rights of man"... . Damn, there goes my legal argument too.

If the bill passes in California, could churches that disapprove of gay marriage be sued for discrimination?
Does protecting one's interpreted rights become more important than those actually stated in our Bill of Rights?

I'm a Christian but not a very good one. When I go to church, I sit in the back - with the rest of the sinners.
I think that the purpose of religion is to help us to rule over ourselves and not to rule over or oppress others.
My belief system teaches me that gay marriage is wrong.
My feelings tell me that gay marriage just doesn't make sense.
But as the writer of the article referred to states, "If you don't like gay marriage, don't marry a gay!"
Okay, I won't but you can.

Mildred Loving, on the 40th anniversary of Loving v., stated;
"I am still not a political person, but I am proud that Richard and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the feeling, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight, seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all.
That's what Loving, and loving, are all about".

While I still can't support (vote in favor of) gay marriage, I have no real argument as to why.
What do you think?


Someone left a comment on an e-mail that I have an interesting assortment of blogs listed on my blog-roll. Even though I know none of the people listed, they seem to mirror my friends from my real life.
I have many friends. But I have even more enemies.
Sometimes my friends ask why anyone would even like me. Sometimes they wonder why they themselves like me. They always love me but dayum... sometimes many want to just beat the stew out of me. But what are ya' gonna' do?

So I looked at my Blog-roll and wondered why I included some of them.

Angry African... and I Love/Hate America are mostly up-beat in their approaches to life. I'm not a gangsta' rappa' so I don't have to be mad all of the time.
Pages From My Notebook and Bitter White Folks for Obama give me that liberal point of view.
She Blinded me With Science - I'm curious about the struggles of going from a not so good situation to being an MD.
Two Buppie Chicks just seem like a couple of girls I could hang out with.
Denmark Vesey, Raw Dawg Buffalo and The Assault on Black Folks Sanity all seem Public Enemy hard. The kind of N****'s one just rolls with.
Math Me Thinks - because I tutor a lot of my bad azz little niglet cousins and sometimes I look for advice on teaching techniques.
Kimbot, Lindy Hop Figures and Grandpasartblog ? I like art. Mostly Picasso, Dali, Haring, Scharf, Basquiat and graffiti.
Dream and Hustle - Seems to be working on more than just a hustle. That and he always answers even my dumb questions.
The Desultory Life and Times... , Controversial Blackness and Acting White - because they don't seem to subscribe solely to the stereotypes.
Subrealism - it makes me think in a more esoteric way.
Undercoverblackman - I never know what to expect.
Black Tennis Pros -Who knew that there were so many?
Aby RAd's Blog and Prepare to be AbSuRdized - often make me say "WTF?".
Derrick's Window - a gay guys perspective without everything having to be about gays.
Slant Eye..., Immigration, Assimilation And All That Jazz and Mixed Race America - Asians are usually dismissed as a non-minority.
WOC PhD and Resist Racism - Because I so often disagree with their assumption that all minorities should rely on "The Victim Card" whenever possible. But they do have valid points on many other issues.
Season of the Bitch and Feministe - I want to know what some on the feminist front think.
Illegal is Illegal? - I want to keep up with the immigration issue.

Some I agree with, some not as much. But all have valid and honest opinions with a lack of pretense.

In real life, I have Black, White, Hispanic/Latino and Asian friends. I have gay and lesbian and straight friends. I have conservative and liberal friends. I have male and female friends. I have dirt poor friends and embarrassingly rich friends. All of my friends are really good at something (usually many things) and are cool to be around.

Beaumont, Texas is really segregated (still ) so I don't get the feedback that I'm used to. All of these sites (and others) fill the void left from my friends at home in Cali.
(Initially, I started this blog so that I could argue with my friends from Cali.)

I'm wrong a lot. A LOT. But like my friends from home, I learn from these blogs.
But didn't the Oracle tell Socrates (and his haters) that he was truly the smartest man alive because he didn't assume that he knew everything?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Where Did We Go Wrong?

I was just checking out everyone on my blog-roll today and came across this mess of a dress.

How did we go from slavery to the Civil Rights Movement to Barak Obama being in serious contention for the Presidency to THIS? Someone forgot to send her the memo. Checkout Boughetto for the whole story;


Friday, September 26, 2008

Waiting For The View

Richard Nixon and the South Carolina Miss Teen USA contestant. This is how I now view the Republican ticket.
John McCain seemed to be easily agitated while listening to Barak Obama's answers.
Neither candidate hit a home run.
Neither wooed any opposing voters.
Neither candidate made any major gaffs.

(Okay, McCain was slow in getting the news that at the time of the start of the debate - Ted Kennedy had been released from the hospital. Oh, and that Katie Couric [Who knew that Katie Couric would stump the Republican nominee for Vice President and disprove a statement by the Republican nominee for President in the same lifetime - let alone the same week?]would confirm that Kissinger DID say that he supports a non-conditional meeting with adversaries.)

Obama seemed (over)confident in his answers and rebuttals.
McCain seemed angry. But he may have been distracted. I have a great-aunt with the same problem. She forgets what she's saying in the middle of a sentence.

After the debate (on NBC) both Vice Presidential candidates were asked to appear for their opinions on the proceedings.
Joe Bidden said the usual pro-Democrat stuff.
Sarah Palin said ... nothing?
Apparently Rudy Giuliani is more qualified to field questions from the press at this time.
Dayum, Sarah... knocked out of the spotlight by a lightweight like Katie Couric?

Check out The UndercoverBlack Man for a nice piece on the Republicans becoming worried: Damn. That's cold. http://undercoverblackman.blogspot.com/
I'm just waiting.
I'm waiting to see how Elisabeth Hasselbeck will staunchly affirm EVERYTHING that John McCain said in today's debate.
I like Elisabeth. I like that she is a true believer.
It's just that some people are so blinded by their loyalties that they overlook the truth.
I watched in disbelief as Mrs. Hasselbeck was almost livid in defending Sarah Palin's qualifications to be our next President-in-Waiting. "She's qualified!", Mrs. Hasselbeck would rant on a recent episode of The View. It's like when you're a kid and believe that your dad could beat-up Superman. One can't imagine their own father having any weaknesses. Mrs. Hasselbeck seems adamant in her refusal to believe that the Republican party's policies may not be right for our current condition.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

one TRILLION dollars

Maybe Sarah Palin was so focused on the financial crisis that she could not give one coherent answer to Katie Couric during her recent interview. I was waiting for Palin to just say "World Peace" and just give up. Palin sounded like the South Carolina Miss Teen USA contestant giving a rambling answer on illiteracy.

Palin = Ready to Lead?

Privatize Social Security? Isn't this McCain's (well the Republican Party's) plan?
Who gets the commission for the transfer of this wealth?
Do we really want to give Wall Street all of every body's money?

One TRILLION dollars?

How is this race this close?

Is this race only about race?

A Quick Journal About Ike

I thought that this was ironic. A scrap yard that is now nothing but scrap itself
(An explanation for this later. My computer (or the blog site) wont let me delete this photo)

Wed 9-10 The Radio host Tom Joyner just came to town. He remarks that Beaumont, Texas is nothing but refineries. Well... it is a port town (the second busiest in the country in terms of military equipment shipped for the Iraq War) that has petrol-chemicals as it's greatest employers. We're at the center of an area that refines about 20% of the country's petroleum products.
Ike is said to be headed south of us towards Brownsville or Corpus Cristi.

Thur 9-11 To the rest of the country, it is the anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center, The Pentagon (I had a cousin killed in the Pentagon attack) and the downing of a flight into a field in Pennsylvania.

There was a scene in Star Wars when the Death Star had blown up a planet and Obi Won Kanobi states that there has been a great disturbance in the Force. A kind of universal sigh in disbelief. I imagine that it was the same feeling felt when people learned of Pearl Harbor, the Killing of J.F.K., R.F.K. or M.L.K. .

Here in Beaumont (and the rest of the Gulf), we were waiting to see which direction the storm would take and awaiting word of a mandatory evacuation.
I spent the day re-boarding windows with ply-wood (after the false alarm that was Gustav) and making preparations to evacuate people who would need help in the process.

Fri 9-12 Scores of buses and planes are seen leaving town with the elderly and the ill.
There will be no local shelters open (not wanting to repeat the mistakes of NOLA during Katrina) and a dusk-till-dawn curfew has been put in place.
It's hot and the wind is picking up. I'm ready to shelter-in-place.
The low roar of the approaching hurricane can be heard in the distance.
The refineries are burning product (for safety reasons) and the night sky in neighborhoods surrounding the refineries looks as though it is on fire.
I decide to stay with some of my cousins tonight. This family is three generations of single mothers (for various reasons) and two teenage boys.
The lights go out about 10:45pm.
The women are terrified and want to leave for Houston (It's too late. And the storm should make landfall in Galveston and into Houston, so it's not a good idea.)
The kids burn though the batteries of their flashlights, cell phones, PSPs and portable televisions.
I just go to sleep. So does one of my young cousins.

Sat 9-13 I drive across town to check on my house with one of my cousins (The kid in the cast and white tee-shirt taking a break and letting a guy we met coming the other way take a few swings of the ax. [My cousin isn't up to chain saws yet...]). It's a five mile drive with trees and house parts blocking the roads. The trip takes about two hours to complete but there is at least one clear road. We chop, cut and push tons of debris from roads, deliver food and cooking supplies to needy people and make mitigating repairs to homes with no roofs. We make it to my house (minor damage that I repair in about an hour and a few fallen trees) and check on my neighbors. We then go back to his grandmothers house and cook ALL of the meat in the freezer and make Long Island Iced Teas and invite the neighbors over for dinner.

Sun 9-14 The water system is flooded with salt water so we have a boil-water notice. Above is the method of showering that we must use for the next few days. The alcohol burns because of the many cuts and scratches acquired in the clean up process. I've gotten my Tetanus shot but still don't wish to risk an infection. I thought that I was still in good shape (I can still run a 4.2 ... umm... 20. No, not 40) but...ouch. My abs, glutes and lats are killing me. My young and helpful cousin apologizes that he has to leave. His mother and grandmothers can't take the heat and lack of electricity and water so they decide to leave for Shreveport, LA (which is where the storm would head after it was through with Houston).
Mon 9-15 - Thurs 9-18 Fences, trees, roofs, windows and walls. I used to work in construction (back in the day) so I end up making free repairs to many homes. Ants, mosquitoes and snakes - all are common after a hurricane.
Fri 9-19 The lights finally come on. Air Conditioning, T.V. and a cold Coke. I may be addicted to Coke. All I wanted was an ice cold Coke for more than a week. Oh... I had warm Cokes but the things one looks foreword to. (I wanted to type all this on this day but there was (is) still a lot of work to be done.) I make deliveries of food to my tenants. One says that he found some food that a store had thrown out and that he was fine but wanted to know if I could get him a couple of packs of cigarettes. Yes. I knew how he felt - with me it was Coke but for him it was a cigarette.
Houston is not NOLA What was the difference in the case of Ike ? The people. The people are taking responsibility for themselves and are not expecting the Government to solve all of their problems. Yeah, there are some (actually, some of those in Houston are there because of Katrina) who still want Uncle Sam to do everything for them. The worst example is that one of my cousins got a hotel room in Dallas next to people still living in hotels three years after Katrina hit NOLA. WTF? People in Galveston were warned of "Certain Death" if they failed to evacuate.
Those you see on T.V. failed to heed the warnings. Crystal Beach, High Island and most of Galveston are largely white - so don't try to use race as an excuse.
Where are all of the tele-thons for these people? C'mon Kanye, tell me again that George Bush hates Black people. He may, but the response to Katrina wasn't racially motivated - it was simple incompetence.
Where is the uproar? 5th Ward in one city is the same as 9th Ward in the other. Why no cries of racism? Why not the endless blog posts about government neglect?
Oh, that's right...our economy is about to implode. We actually have common threats to our well being and not the minor inconvenience of someone not liking us or looking at us in the wrong way.
Maybe we're actually growing up and realizing that what's in our best interest is to work on what is actually important and not the trivial disagreements on gay-marriage, overturning Roe v. or Britney's shorn hair.
NOLA failed because everyone was waiting for someone else to solve their problems.
Houston (well, all of Texas) is doing better because we are doing the hard work ourselves and working together to fix our common problems.
We were warned of the collapse of the dollar in coming off of the gold standard. We were warned about foreign entanglements, we were warned of giving up our rights through the instruments of fear (Patriot Act).
If we're smart we won't suffer the fate of NOLA and be sitting around blaming everyone else for that which we should have prepared.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Token Guilt (But it's MY house, n****'!)

Why Token Guilt?
Because it's hard when no matter how bad one had it in the past, they still can't understand the real Black experience.

Because when one decides to follow the rules and overcome any situation, they are called a "House N****' ".

Because once one has achieved a certain level of success, they are instantly transformed into
"Not Really Black" (Tiger Woods, Prince, Barak Obama, Halle Berry, Vin Diesel, The Rock etc.)
or "One of the Good Blacks" (Collin Powell, Oparah, Whoopi, Will Smith etc.).

Because when one chooses not to let the condescending philosophy of "White Guilt" become an excuse instead of a motivating factor, their "Blackness' is called into question.

Because one gets to say that they like a non-Black female because of who she is not because of what race she is, the choice is not seen as "trophy".

Because one receives the same preferences (in cases of Affirmative Action - more) as the dominant culture, they are not given credit for good networking skills.

I'm claiming my own social malady - Token Guilt.
It's hard not to let one's condition determine one's outcome.
I think that I'll blame my parents.


One TRILLION dollars?
For what?

BBC News;
There have already been 1.7 million foreclosure proceedings in the US in the first few months of 2007, and up to 2 million homeowners are expected to lose their homes over the next two years -according to estimates by the US congress Joint Economic Committee.

That's $250,000.00 for every person who could lose their home or has lost their home in the past two years (and next year).
$250,000.00 !
Many of the same people could own their homes for less than 250k.

Other guys who explain it better than myself:
Dream and Hustle - http://dreamandhustle.com/
Raw Dawg Buffalo - http://rawdawgb.blogspot.com/
The Desultory Life and Times - http://thedesutorylifeandtimes.blogspot.com/

Wall Street gets more rich while you get get stuck with the bill.

According to ABC News, the total credit card debt for every American is $960 billion.
One TRILLION dollars could pay off everyone's credit card debt and still have $40 billion left over to give every American $100.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

And Let There Be Light

Damn... what a week.
Yeah, hurricanes suck but my abs, glutes, lats and guads are stickin'. Maybe I should have included the post hurricane clean-up workout to my list of good things about hurricanes.

The thing that one will notice is that selfish people are more selfish and generous people are more generous during and after a disaster. I saw people (of all races) who lost everything helping others and people who came through unscathed (of all races) who would hoard free handouts.

After seeing the situations in Galveston, Crystal Beach and High Island - I don't want to hear anything else about how the foolish Blacks in New Orleans should have had enough sense to leave. How they should have known better than to build homes in a dangerous area. How the government should have done more to help. Let me say this again - The people in New Orleans were victims of their own over-reliance on the Government and their inability to take care of their own self interests. Race has nothing to do with foolishness!

I just found out yesterday (a week late, I lost my cell phone for a time) that USC beat Ohio State. The country is being sold to foreign investors and the Government is offering bail out assistance to US banking institutions approaching one TRILLION dollars.

I wanted to give McCain a fair shot at my vote. I was willing to give Palin the benefit of the doubt. I'm not sure that either is up to the task of fixing America's many problems. Palin said nothing of substance in her ABC interview. In fact, she seemed confused when a question wasn't one she was usually asked.

The Book of Revelations seems to be more true prophecy than symbolic poetry. WTF?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Venus (No, not Williams)

Oh, the Venus that is Sarah Palin.

Lucifer - 1.[Poetic], the planet Venus when it is the morning star. 2. Satan, the leader of the revolt of angels before his(her) fall.

Damn...I wish I were a poet. Then I could describe how Sarah Palin and Venus (Satan) are one and the same in an eloquent manner.

Wasn't Lucifer described as a beautiful angel? When describing Sarah Palin, aren't the first words usually about her beauty.
Didn't Lucifer bring voters er..umm.. angels with her before her fall?
Didn't the Devil quote the Bible to Christ in the Christ's moment of temptation ? Doesn't Palin claim (then deny) knowing the will of God?
Which of the two (Palin or Satan) is good at double-speak? Both... I may have to look further into the similarities.

(Gotta' do hurricane stuff. My power (and computer) will be out for a few days)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

I Think That I'm A Brad Pitt Fan

Can a guy like Brad Pitt movies but not be a Brad Pitt fan?
This past weekend, I just wanted to order pizza and sit on my couch in my shorts and watch football and movies. The past two weeks have been spent getting my young cousins ready for school, seeing that all of my relatives were evacuated, and dealing with my tenant's monthly needs. (Now it looks as though we'll be asked to evacuate again - this time running from Ike.)
This weekend it was going to be Guy Richie movies. Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch (Pitt was the ("ish") as a drunken Irish(?) boxer. But Pitt was also great in Fight Club, getting high from a honey-bear in True Romance and as a crazy activist in 12 Monkeys. That's when I thought; "Damn.. I might be a Brad Pitt fan.") and Revolver.
Guy Richie is cooler than his wife (Madonna - Who was pretty hot during her "plump" Like A Virgin days.). He's kind of a British version of Tarrantino. Revolver dealt with good vs. evil - or the perception of good vs. evil to be exact. Two of the protagonists were a con-man and the other a chess master. "Interesting", I thought, "How would each view the world?".

"The formula for the con is no different from that of the corporation, they are based upon one principle - self gain" - Billy "Salt" Peters, confidence man

It seems as though corporations run America. We have no rights - unless those in power choose tell us that we do. We have no vote - Diebold, ES&S and Sequoia (Voting machine companies that control more than 80% of our election services) have stolen it. We have no right to privacy - the Patriot Act has seen to that. Municipalities void our right to bear arms, our right to own property (eminent domain), and free speech (making only certain areas okay in which to protest).

The Federal Reserve loans us (the Government) our (the citizens) own money and charges us (the tax-payers) interest.
The Federal Government is set to spend hundreds of billions of dollars to bail out Fannie-Mae and Freddie-Mac. There was never a need for these companies. They were only invented as a tool used by investors and speculators to hedge their bets. Obama calls it a practice of "Heads I win, tails I don't lose". The auto industry is hoping to receive from 25-50 billion dollars to bail them out from their self-inflicted wounds (The auto industry focused on building a lot of products adequately instead of building only a few well - as the Asian auto makers did.) The Airlines are also scrambling for their piece of the Government's Corporate Entitlements Program. Multi-billion dollar corporations receive billions in tax credits and cuts while everyday citizens are wallowing in debt.
Cui Bono?
Not me. Probably not you.

In his farewell address, on the eve of his leaving office, Dwight D Eisenhower warned of the dangers of the "Military - industrial -(Congressional) complex". He warned of the Government becoming too powerful and abusing that power to suppress citizens rights in exchange for corporate profits.
As of yet, I'm not sure for whom I'll vote. I'm leaning (heavily) towards Obama - but he has to tell me something. The show is over, get down to the meat and potato issues.
McCain doesn't seem like a bad guy. In an interview for the book Making a Killing - Outsourcing the War, McCain states; "It looks bad. It looks bad. And uh... apparently Haliburton has more than once has overcharged the Federal Government. That's wrong.".
Documents show that on Aug 3, 1992 - Kellogg, Brown & Root Services (KB&R - Haliburton) were given a multi-million dollar contract to investigate whether outsourcing some of the duties usually performed by troops (peeling potatoes, latrine duty, laundry, logistics and some security) would be better served if administered by an outside company. During which time Dick Cheney was the Secretary of Defense. Needless to say, the findings of the study were in favor of such an arrangement.
Over the next ten years, Haliburton was given over 700 contracts to do these jobs. In five years, Cheney's net worth went from less than about one million dollars to more than 60 or 70 million dollars... working for...you guessed it, Haliburton.
McCain; "I would have a public investigation of what they've done."
At this point, the interview ends. McCain nervously winks at the camera and leaves the room. A secretary can be heard in the background saying that Vice-President Cheney is on the phone. Was some sort of deal made to keep McCain quiet about the issue? I don't know.
Haliburton is no longer headquartered in America (where congress could investigate) - it's now headquartered in Dubai. WTF? A Foreign company that is based in the Middle-East is in charge of our military's needs?
America is divided. Not by race, gender or political party.
America is divided by executive (them) and proletariat (you).

"Progress is a nice word, but change is a motivator and change has it's enemies" Robert Kennedy

Both parties and both candidates seem to be stressing the idea of change. Let's get real...these are just convenient sound-bites and campaign slogans. I believe that both candidates want to change the country for the better, they have different concepts of how to go about such a change and in which direction. But both are little guys, just bit-players in a major production.
Watch George W. give a speech - he seems confused. His delivery is that of someone trying to explain something to someone in exactly the same way that someone explained it to him.
Ask yourself; Are you smarter than a fifth grader? Many who have seen the show will answer;"Usually".
Now, ask yourself; are you smarter than George Bush? Hmm...everyone seems to have answered,"Yes".
George Bush is no cowboy, he's just a slow child playing a cowboy. He was born in New Haven Connecticut. His oil company did poorly, his baseball team stunk and his daddy got him elected as Governor of Texas.

"The great mass of people will more easily fall victim to a big lie than to a small one." Adolf Hitler

The invention and power of the Think Tank is scary. Think Tanks generate "evidence" and arguments to support a pre-supposed position and policy.
Project for the New American Century;
"Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophe and catalyzing event - like a new Pearl Harbor."
Was 911 an inside job? I don't know, I hope not. I does seem possible (see; False Flag Operations i.e. Gulf of Tonkin). Since World War II, every President in almost every year has had the need to engage in military action. In order;
Guatemala, Iran, Lebanon, Haiti, Cuba, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Congo, Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Cambodia, Chile, Angola, Afghanistan, Libya, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Lebanon, Ghana, Chad, Bolivia, Panama, Iraq, Somalia, Yugoslavia, Macedonia, Iraq, Bosnia, Iraq, Sudan, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Yemen, Philippines, Columbia, Iraq, Libya, Haiti, etc... .
It's a form of economic imperialism and subjugation.
If Sudan would offer favorable concessions to the west, the genocide would end in a matter of months. American companies would grow rich by exploiting another country's assets.

"Marks don't often get suspicious. If they do, it's with the details that don't matter" Maury the Mint, confidence man

I'm not a cynic, I'm a skeptic.
Most Americans have fallen for "the Beautiful Lie". Kind of like one's parents telling them that if they're good - Santa Clause, The Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny will bring them something that they think they want.
When Michelle Obama stated that for the first time in her life she was proud to be an American, I understood.
It's not that she didn't believe in the idea(l) of America, she just didn't see a practice that matched up with the dream.

I have a brother who has beaten, robbed and killed others. He sells and uses drugs.
I love my brother...but I'm not proud of him.
This is what Michelle meant.

We need to stop being afraid.
Afraid of gay rights and legal immigration.
Afraid of liberals and conservatives.
Afraid of Blacks, Whites, Asians and Hispanics/Latinos.
Afraid of not having a flat-panel television in every room of one's house.
Afraid of not having an SUV, sedan and a sports car in every garage.
Afraid of SARS, West Nile Virus, Bird Flu and Anthrax.
Fear is what allows others to control you, to take your Constitutionally protected rights.

"It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wring" Voltaire

What matters?
The Iraq War - not the ever-evolving War on Terror.
The Economy - not the desires of investors and speculators.
The New Energy Equation - not the profits of big oil.
That's it! That the highlight reel.
Take care of these three issues and the other "problems" will be manageable or even solvable.
Which candidate can solve these three issues?
That's who'll get my vote.

"How fortunate for leaders that men do not think" - Adolf Hitler

[Quotes from; Revolver (alternate ending), McCain quotes - Why We Fight.) Next weekend I'll just watch football]

Sarah Palin Fights to Add "The Chocolate War" to Oprah's Book Club !

No, not really. I made that up.
In fact, "The Chocolate War" is one of the many books that Sarah Palin wanted banned from the Wasilla public library. Maybe she wants to ban Orwell too.
(see; http://assaultonblacksanity.blogspot.com/ )
Aren't the Oprah book club's choices supposed to reflect books that Oprah actually endorses? When Oprah endorses a book, it is not as though she is trying to ban the books not on her list.

"The item in today's drudge Report is categorically untrue. There has been
absolutely no discussion about having Sarah Palin on my show. At the beginning
of this presidential campaign when I decided that I was going to take my first
stance in support of a candidate, I made the decision not to use my show as a
platform for our candidates. I agree that Sarah Palin would be a fantastic
interview, and I would love to have her on after the campaign is over."
-Oprah's statement posted on the Drudge Report

Isn't it still the Oprah Winfrey Show?

I rarely watch The View. Barbara Walters is way past her prime, but it's her show...what are you gonna' do? Sherri Sheppard always looks like she's hungry. Joy Behar just takes up space. Elisabeth Hasselbeck is, well...young. She states what she believes with an almost accusatory conviction. I don't agree with her most of the time but she makes good television. Whoopi is good. I noticed that the guests seem to give a polite hello and handshake to the other hosts. But with Whoopi, it's always a smile and a kiss. People seem to feel as though they know her. Celebrities seem to view only her as their equal. Even if I don't agree with her, I understand her calmly stated point of view.The rest sound like a bunch of hens cackling.

Now news of Elisabeth's support of the McCain/Palin ticket and comments made about Michelle Obama (while a guest on The View) being persnickety have raised questions of her objectivity. She's not objective. She is on the show to have a view. Elisabeth only crosses the line in stating actions performed behind the scenes of the show. Should she be fired? Of course not. Should she be educated on decorum? Absolutely.

In other non-trovercies;

Brittney looked great at the VMA's. Jessica Biel is hotter than Angelina Joille. Kanye West's song at the VMA's sounded a lot like a Phil Collins song. It seems as though the '80's are back in style.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

From USC to the RNC

USC has leap-frogged Georgia and Ohio State to gain the number one ranking in the latest USA Toady Coaches poll.
I'm a huge USC fan (No, I didn't go to USC, I went to BYU-Hawaii Campus for ummm..."vacation".). Living in Texas, all I hear is how Texas beat USC in the Rose Bowl for the national title -three seasons ago.
Fans tend to talk more (ish) than the players who were actually involved in the game. Bush (Reggie not George), Leinert, and Vince Young often speak of each other with admiration and respect. We fans can talk all we want but we lack the better understanding of those we follow. Only those players involved truly understand the trials and sacrifices made to reach the position of being one of the top two contenders in the country.

When the issue of Sarah Palin's daughter's pregnancy was brought up to Barak Obama, Mr Obama told reporters (looking for a juicy soundbite) that it was Mrs. Palin's family's business and a personal matter. He even pointed out the fact that he was raised by a single mother.

When Barak Obama capped a successful and celebratory convention with an inspirational speech, John McCain congratulated him on a great job done.

Most of the "news" that we'll hear over the next month will be hyperbole, conjecture and opinion. All of the players involved in this year's election understand the game better than most of us sitting back and watching the events unfold.

Random Observations From the RNC

Spit as gel - Must be from Alaska. One must made-do with what one has.
Juneau = Juno - Quite the coincidence that the name of a movie about teenage pregnancy and the name of Mrs. Palin's pregnant teenage daughter's school were both Juneau (Juno).
Speeches - Was McCain really checking out Palin's b'dunk-adunk?
Fred Thomas - Where was this passion and energy during his campaign?
Mike Huckabee - He almost had me voting for him.
Mitt Romney - He seemed to be campaigning for himself in 2012.
Rudolf Guilianni - A bunch of catch phases with no substance. And at one time, he was the front-runner.
Bush (George not Reggie) - Like Rudy, he's still trying to bring up 911.
Sarah Palin - Mmnumm...mmnumm...mmnumm. (Me eating my words). Damn, Wonder Woman delivered. How much substance and truth were involved is subjective but it seems like McCain picked the right "pit bull in lipstick".

Mendacious Minds:
No, not lying, just a bit misleading. While not endemic to their party, the Republicans seem to have studied Machiavelli's philosophies (The primary duty of political leaders is to secure and maintain power. Sometimes the necessity to put aside moral considerations will arise when the ultimate goal of winning will be of more importance.). Contrary to the family values/ abstinence only philosophy of the party - Mrs. Palin's situation demonstrates the family values of keeping a baby born out of wedlock. Troopergate - Republicans circled the wagons to deny that any abuse of power ever took place in the on-going investigation. In "War Secrets Senator John McCain Hides" by Sydney Schamberg; Mr McCain is portrayed as having secrets to hide from his fellow servicemen and American citizens. Mr Obama says that he will never question McCain's patriotism and Vietnam Veterans are paraded out to speak of John McCain's courage (even though the article and John McCain's book "Faith of My Fathers" portrays McCain as the "Crown Prince" and having been treated more lenietly than his fellow POW.

Are people lying or covering secrets? Sure, it's part of the process.
In our age of blogs, the National Enquirer, TMZ and the Internet - "facts" are easily found. If we had had all of these tools available to us in times past, we would probably have never elected Reagan, JFK, Lincoln or FDR. Some secrets just are not that important.

In all honesty, I hope that nothing bad comes out or proves to be true about any candidate.
In a time when our country is so badly in need of change in the right direction, I hope that the best of the two political teams win. I've been surprised by all of the candidates. Mr McCain's hail-mary seems to have worked (not for a touchdown - but they are at the seven yard line). I just hope that neither team drops the ball.

What's Wrong With NOLA?

Poverty in one of those damned if you do (something), damned if you don't (do something) issues.

I've read many of the seemingly endless lists of studies and reports dealing with the causes and effects of poverty, but their seems to be very few studies or reports that have usable answers to the problem. Often, when questioning the flaws in the accusatory points of view, I'm referred to another list of studies and reports that fail to give answers to the problem. With all of these highly educated and accredited professionals studying these effects and causes - why has there been so little progress in this arena? Are these professionals so well educated that they fail to see the real problems involved in poverty? (i.e. - George Bush assumed that a "Shock and Awe" strategy would quickly win a war. He failed to take into account the many social constructs and the combination of loyalties in which the people that he was trying to subjugate would ultimately rely. Like America (only) throwing money at the problem of poverty and not addressing other issues.) Are their views those that sound good in theory but often fall short in practice?

The belief in the myth of "The Universal Solution" is also to blame. There is no magical solution to eradicate poverty. Obtaining a good education seems to be the most often cited response to the poverty question. pulling oneself up by one's bootstraps seems to be another often stated response to the problem. Access (the answer to "Institutional Racism") is another component in the overall equation of poverty. Giving money directly to the poor (without the proper preparation in managing money) seems to be the least effective answer to solving the problem. Are these people poor because they lack the necessary skills to do better or can they not do better and are lacking in marketable skills because they are poor?

Last night, I was watching ABC's World News Now. I saw a report on NOLA evacuees complaining about the inconveniences of having to stay in shelters. WTF? If the government fails to evacuate these people, the media has a field day. If the government does evacuate these people and the people have to wait longer to eat, wait to bathe or use an outhouse - these people feel that more is owed to them. Many evacuees (even from areas evacuated but not effected by Guztav) are looking to the government to solve their problems. I just spoke to members of a few families today about their expectation of free rent and $2000.00 checks. It seems that many evacuees only evacuated in the hope of having some monetary gain from the storm.
Many evacuees and their supporters in the new media seem to suffer from "Social Munchhausen Syndrome" (the condition of making a bigger deal of a situation than is merited or the act of creating a problem in order to appear to fix the problem). These evacuees have been given free transportation away from a dangerous situation and now they have the nerve to complain about a shower?

Perhaps I'm suffering from "Disaster Fatigue" or "Hurricane Fatigue". I'm tired of evacuees from NOLA complaining about what someone else should do for them.
Louisiana is ranked as number thirty-eight (out of fifty) in terms of it's graduation rate. The state is ranked forty-seventh in terms of per-capita income. Poor and under-educated is what we are starting with when dealing with this state of poverty.

The evacuation went more smoothly this time around. Many complain because there wasn't enough damage done to satisfy their entertainment needs. I just spoke to people from Houma who lost everything. Tell them that not enough damage was done.

The population in NOLA is 300,000 or only about sixty-five percent of it's pre-Katrina population. With a population willing to evacuate and the experiences from Katrina, NOLA did good job in avoiding many problems that plagued the city the last time around.
There were more than 2,000,000 people evacuated
There are over 1,000,000 people without electricity
There are only 9 deaths attributed to Gustav.
There have been only 2 looters arrested.
There is more than 10,000,000,000 dollars worth of damage caused by the storm.
Mayor Nagin has asked many residents to stay away from the city until the streets are cleared and the infrastructure is in place to support the city (a request that has gone largely ignored).

Yes, I'm tired of people complaining. If I see Anderson Cooper interview someone about how little the system did for New Orleans, I'm through with NOLA.
These people will have to fix their own problems or deal with the consequences themselves.

(Note; To anyone thinking that I'm cold-hearted - Accept this challenge.
Adopt a family.
All of the time spent whining about our system could be better spent in tutoring the children in your adopted family with their homework.
Don't donate to charity (a faceless and detached act). Use the money to help your adopted family catch-up on bills, buy groceries, clothes, bus passes and school supplies.
Instead of chastising me, spend that time and effort mentoring your adopted family in the social skills and mentality needed to sustain their newly acquired lifestyle.
Do all of this while being on call for every minor crisis for ...oh,say..two years.
After two years of you acquiring actual/empirical knowledge - then we can talk about facts and not theories.)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Who Is Sarah Palin?

I've seen her compared to Tina Faye and Peggy Hill.
Tina? Nahh, same hair color and similar glasses but not quite.
Peggy? Nope, Sarah does have that down home feel and the bee-hive hair but Sarah is better looking.
Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman?
Yep !! That's the ticket. One could go a lot of directions with this image. Maybe she'll provide McCain with a super hero bounce.
"...fighting for her rights...in her satin tights... fighting for the red, white and blue...Wonder Woman.."

Monday, September 1, 2008

John, Sam and Gustav

Like the coolest brotha' on the planet in his Pulp Fiction role, it looks as though much of the Gulf Coast has dodged a bullet fired from point blank.

As for me in Beaumont, Texas - I'm fine. The storm went just far enough north to not have any major effects on us.

New Orleans, the rest of Louisiana and Mississippi seem to have taken much of the hit. The Weather Channel, CNN and the rest of the networks seem to be searching for dramatic footage to hold their viewers' attention. It seems as though Hanna and big-bad Ike are set to take over the spotlight. Sure, systems will fail, streets will flood and people will lose their homes. Only, not on the scale of Katrina.

I have yet to make it out to Church Point, Louisiana to check on my farm and the homes on the property. All of my family evacuated this time.

When Travolta's character dodged a bullet - he continued in his old ways. They caught up with him. He Died.

When Sam dodged a bullet - he reformed. He learned his lesson. That wasn't the way in which he wanted to lead his life. He went on with his life.

It seems as though Louisiana, FEMA and the Bush administration have learned as well. If given the choice - always choose to be Sam.