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Friday, September 30, 2011

So Much Anger

Tell em Lawrence

They're is just so much anger out there and for good reason, but things seem to be coming to a boiling point. I don't know if  New York is a good metric, but I've seen protesters lining up outside of Wall Street for about a week now. At first the protests didn't get any media attention because they really didn't have a common cause, leader, or  not that many people were participating. MSNBC tried to give it a little bit of coverage to it but it was only because they weren't given coverage by anyone else. The protesters were mingling with the policmen and having a good time, until the merchants got tired of it and complained. I really don't blame the merchants, because they do have to make a living but I don't think that they expected the New York supervisors to do what they did. They started by trying to corral the people like cattle, using plastic barriers, but things were still in control, until the supervisors saw the video cameras and cell phone cameras recording the actions of the police. The first night went OK. as far as police were concerned because the police chief had plausible deniability that everything was going according to a procedure. According to Lawrence O'Donnell of MSNBC, the only reason internal affairs got involved was that celebrities like Michael Moore gave it coverage and Lawrence did a scathing piece on police brutality regarding the New York protest. They showed a clip of New York City police Deputy Inspector, Anthony Bologna, pepper spraying a woman that was behind the police barricade and then showed him where he just started spraying into the crowd.

I didn't see what the protesters were actually doing to provoke the police supervisors; if anything but I think it does need investigating, instead of sweeping it under the rug. I'll be keeping up with this incident, but I think it's going to spread  because people are angry, unemployed, and without answers. I just hope it's not as bad as the Arab Spring or the European riots.

It's even getting bad on the forum where I thought it was appropriate to write something about our CIA and Special Forces killing the person responsible for the last planned attacks made on our country. This American born terrorist was not going to stop. I didn't praise the president's part, because I didn't want to make it political or partisan. Along comes BOstinks and ruins everything with just regurgitated talking points, just to start trouble. That irritated me and I told him so. He kept coming back, so I warned him but that just excited him more. He kept posting so I just deleted him but he kept free posting for total of 44 times. That irritated me to no end, so I called the Advocate to report this nuisance but they told me that the lady in charge of that would be in later. I left my phone number and went  back to my blog to delete his posts. That is the third person ,who just won't take no for an answer. I expected that from Roy Mark, but the other night a poster by the name of neighbor kept re-posting and now this BOstinks is doing the same thing.He has been doing this for the last two hours but the joke is on him because I think VA automatically deletes after so many deletions.  They have to be related because what rational person thinks this his comment is so important that it must not be deleted? These posters always say that I will not allow a contradictory remark but I know that's not true and I have about 500 blogs to prove it. I do not want to host a blog, even it if it's a public one, for trolls. As a poster said the other day, I do this for free.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I’ve Found Myself


Isn't it amazing when you discover something about yourself?Especially since I'm already 65 years old, but I'm relatively new to blogging. I now know what drives me. My drive is a passion for the counter argument in an environment where I hold the minority view. Yesterday, I learned if you really believe in your cause or position, your brain and your heart will send a message to your fingers in unison, so you can type and let others know how you feel. I used to struggle with why am I'm even blogging in the first place, and why do I submit myself to all the abuse, but now I know. I hate the thought of knowing that only one side of the issue is being represented. I may not be the right messenger and I may botch it a few times, but I’m going to try to be that other voice.Some might ask what's different now, since I've always posted an opposing view. I will focus like a laser beam on the subject,try to stay away from those who want to argue but don't want to add to the subject. I've already strayed from that position because I allowed a poster to change the subject of my blog to what he wanted to discuss. He did leave me some tempting openings that I couldn't resist;I've got to stay away from the low hanging fruit...:-)

I've pretty much stayed out of the comment section, but yesterday I found an opening because the subject was a no- brainer. I don't know how anyone can justify booing a veteran for asking questions about his future status. I even gave them the benefit of doubt because I said, " for argument's sake let's say the booing was aimed at the DADT policy" but that still doesn't excuse the right of the veteran asking a civil question without the rain of boos. I was motivated by what I thought was an act that was indefensible. Usually, I dismiss whatever Gary White posts but his two comments in the "Gay Soldier Booed" thread really irritated me. How can a person hide behind religion to say such vile things about a soldier, he doesn't know anything about? That soldier might be on his third or fourth tour, yet, Gary pretty much said he was subhuman. The thread was closed for comments, or I would have made an angry response.

I spoke too soon when I talked about the calm before the storm because I see it coming in bits and pieces such as blogs about the Obama Administration and here comes the stories about welfare Queens getting their groceries with a Lone Star card and putting whatever latest, most expensive, vehicle is. What are the odds? According to a blog, Alton Easton wrote off the VA site, there are 1,649 stories of why he believes Obama is dangerous for this country.I have a feeling we will be seeing a lot of them It’s from an experience project/

I'm getting a chance to break down old talking points used by those that hate the prospects of people getting some kind of preferential treatment from the government. They say it's easy to make proposals using other people's money. They set up this barrier of "never" so no one can see through their selfishness. They are afraid that their taxes might go up 1¢. Yesterday, I made a matter-of-fact statement that there might be some pluses in offering college students-free bus rides. Off the top of my head, I thought about less traffic congestion and reducing the carbon footprint. I was told to spend my own money, spearhead a committee, or write a blog on how we could do that. That goes with along with the thinking of one poster who said, “let's not start the cycle of getting something for nothing." Now I know why my younger coworkers used to criticize me for not listening to their new ideas because all I would say is “if it was feasible, someone would have thought of it by now."Why did let myself get into that Neanderthal mindset?

Politics is anything but boring because every day, there's a new story that's got me saying," I can't believe they said that." For one, the media is leading with “Will Governor Christie run?" everyday. It's starting to take effect because the GOP money is being held back, in fact, Rick Perry had a political fundraiser but few wallets were opened. Rick Perry’s GOP opponents are trying to paint him as a liberal. That's rich...Then there is Michelle Bachmann, who has dropped to the bottom of the pack, so she's going to say outrageous things to get herself back in the hunt. Bachmann said we shouldn't trade with Cuba because the country is supporting Hezbollah, who wants to set up missiles in Cuba. She got that story from a little known newspaper in Italy, but their story said that Hezbollah wanted to set up some training sites in Cuba to go after some Israeli camps in South America. It's just me, but I would verify a story with the State Dept. before spreading it.

If you get a chance to view the last Jon Stewart show that featured Ron Paul; check it out.

Ron Paul is a nice man so it's hard to say bad things about him but Jon Stewart said it all ,when he asked him if his economic philosophy, (where the market has all the answers) has ever worked anywhere.  Mr. Stewart also told  Ron Paul that he didn't care what the states did, he just didn't want the Federal government to do the same thing. That pretty well sums it up, it sounds good but it depends on everyone toeing  the line, because there's no safety net for those that fail or stumble.  It's a pretty much winner take all philosophy.

Monday, September 26, 2011

I Don’t See A Sense Of Urgency


It's times like these, when I wish, I was back in the workplace having some interesting discussions, instead of just watching the depressing news, as it unfolds. I need someone to talk me out of thinking that this world is just stagnated with no sense of urgency.Perhaps I just need a vacation or I need to get another hobby besides blogging.

I think education, health care solutions, jobs, innovation, and fiscal responsibility should be at the forefront in all our path-forward discussions.

We used to be the leaders in graduating college students, but we have seen 16 countries pass us by. I don't sense any urgency at the local, state, or federal level. I always see the Department of Education and teachers unions being attacked on a partisan basis, but I don't see enough emphasis on the 54% of dropouts across the nation. The United States Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, is doing a great job with his "Race to the Top" initiative and is now allowing states to opt out “No Child Left Behind" because those goals were impossible to meet. Surprisingly, Mr. Duncan is not carrying water for the Democrats, because he doesn't believe the federal government can micro manage 95,000 schools and 15,000 school districts. He's right, but the local districts need to come up with their own credible plan, which can be adapted to get our children to learn the subject rather than the test. Mr. Duncan believes in rewarding progress not necessarily test scores. For example, a rich school with superior labs, students, and equipment should do better than a crumbling public school. If that public school shows progress, it should be rewarded. One man, one committee, one legislator, one governor, or one president can only set the wheels in motion; the rest of it is up to parents, teachers, and administrators, but they have to have funding and support. If we are going to favor school vouchers, perhaps we should find a way to keep public schools going at the same time. If we don't do that, we will be heading back to the days before the landmark “Brown vs. The Board of Education."I don't know a lot about the problems we are having with education, but that does not mean I'm not interested.I've seen and heard some excellent ideas,so if we know the solutions,what's the hold up?

Health care solutions, jobs, and innovation are intertwined because I think healthcare is a right, not a privilege. As legions357 stated, we have tried all the gimmicks but we're still in the same place or retreating to a double- dip recession. I also agree with BigJ that both parties are playing politics. Somewhere, somehow there has to be a way to find a viable reason for the Fortune 500 companies to invest their $2 trillion surplus in America. Our European trade partners are just diddling, so the innovations should be geared to American consumers. Barriers will first have to be trampled, because we need to get over the idea that a partnership with government is socialism. Capitalism in America is suffering because of a lack of an educated work force, expensive health care plans, greed, and a huge trade imbalance. I'm not for protectionism, but we need to get back to the days where it was feasible for the middle class to consume. The innovator for the next alternative energy solution will lose his enthusiasm, if we get into that “drill baby drill" mindset. I know that we will be on fossil fuels for a long while, but oil is not infinite and its effect on our health and environment should be considered.

The most disturbing thing to me is a lack of accountability. I'm reading yet another book where everyone knew about the financial crisis but no one from Wall Street stood up and told the world and worse, they don't want rules to protect them from themselves. Europe is going through the same thing, but they haven't had their Lehman Brothers, "come to Jesus" moment yet. Our former vice president admitted he ordered torture, a clear violation of the Geneva Convention, yet he never paid the price. It's not one or two incidents, but a series of them were no one is held to account for their misdeeds. I hope I'm wrong but I just read a story (Wiki Leaks cable) where our troops went into the wrong house looking for a terrorist, severely roughed up the women and children, but when they found out, and they were at the wrong house; they called in an air strike, destroying the home, children, and evidence. Atrocities happen during a war, but we must punish our own and send a signal of accountability.

I think that we need to see more stories of success because we're going down the road of negativity. I know that we react to what we see, but I'm not one that thinks that we will become a country without accountability, adaptability, or a sense of urgency.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Making the case for fair taxation

Not class war fare

Honestly,the Democrats can never convince a country that is struggling from a stagnant economy; that their policies have worked. The policies were working until April, when the Greece economy hit rock bottom, and the tsunami-hit Japan but Americans don't want excuses and who can blame them.The country does not want nuance ;they want jobs and improvement. The only alternative is to make their side, the lesser of two evils, metaphorically speaking.

The liberals are ecstatic because President Obama is starting to show the same passion that he used in the 2008 campaign election.It may be too little too late, but he is calling out republicans by name and is no longer trying to extend the olive branch, which has been knocked out of his hands every time he has tried it. The president is showing up in Republican districts and giving his audience their representative's phone number, so they can call to have their bridge repaired. Since that is a ground level approach, it normally would take a little time to show results but not this time, voters in Seattle, Chicago, and elsewhere have been hanging large banners reading “Fix this bridge."The president has until the end of the year to make his case because next year the attention will turn to the alternative.

That next step is to take back the message that the Republicans have controlled for centuries. The democrats must explain that the budget will not be balanced if we only increase taxes on the rich, but they should be raised and asked to to pay a little more, rather than put the whole burden on the overextended middle class. The Republicans will fight back saying that taxing the achievers (job creators) would be counterproductive ,because it would cause them to recoil and quit hiring the unemployed. If you listen to people like Mark Cuban, Warren Buffett and the CEO of GE Jeffery Immelt, nothing could be farther from the truth. Ideally, they want more certainty from Washington on regulation and taxation, so they can adjust over the years. I'm reading Ron Suskind's new book called “Confidence Men" where he asked a CEO from Wall Street why he thought President Obama was bad and indifferent towards them. The CEO said that they sensed a weakness in the administration, because every time Wall Street cried foul, the administration would pull back and give them more goodies. The CEO said that they would continue doing this because it's working.

Democrats must learn that we cannot get the whole enchilada at one time, perhaps they should just settle for getting hedge fund managers to pay tax on their income at ordinary rates rather than the 15% for capital gains rate. The Democrats should be for tax reform but must continue to be against the flat tax, fair tax, or a consumption tax that will favor the wealthy and hurt the poor, in this period of inequality. When the lines between the wealthy, the middle-class come closer together, then it would be an appropriate time to devise some sort of a flatter tax that's simple and fair. To do that in this economy, will only benefit the rich. Remember, the wealthy can benefit in a bad economy because they're the ones that are buying up the hotels, residential homes, businesses, and other assets to sell when the economy improves.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Let’s air it out BigJ



I chose not to air out our differences in a public forum because I have more respect for you than that. Other posters would delight in seeing us go back and forth.I answered on your July 18th blog but you never responded. I admire your passion and tenaciousness, but I'm not normally in lockstep with your solutions and opinions, but we used to have this “we will just have to agree to disagree" understanding. We should probably go back to that because it's 485 days. 11 hours, 51 minutes and 55 seconds to the 2012 election. It's a marathon not a sprint.

OK, let’s begin.

Please don't involve me in your squabble with other posters. While we're on that subject, I think Pilot is 10 times the blogger that I am, and no question he is an intelligent poster who likes to "tell it like it is" in his own words. Just because I don't agree with every word doesn't mean he's wrong, or that I fully understand what he's trying to convey. His old blogs, we're a must read for me, so I've been a fan of his  for years. Believe me, he's an equal-opportunity bomb thrower, when he wants to be. Don't think for one minute, that Pilot is intimidated by you.

I don't like an amateur hour show when I discuss politics or economics. I can have fun as well as the next person but if we are going to get serious, then we should deal with reality not a wish list. We shouldn't make suggestions that are unconstitutional or unrealistic.

Trust is a personal matter, and I can't fault your opinion of Timothy Geithner. It is ironic that a person with tax problems was put in command of the treasury. Anyway, I give Tim Geithner credit for his expertise and what for what he did to avert a depression. Larry Summers is an arrogant SOB, but he knows economics. While anything can be helpful; I don't believe working in the private sector is a must.We live in the days of the internet,email,smart phones,and nuzzling up to those in the private sector for answers, is not that hard.

You have this hang up with Ivy League schools and the makeup of the Supreme Court. You want diversity. President Obama appointed two women, and one minority, to the bench. I don't really care if they're from Mississippi State, Texas A&M or Harvard. We need to know the positions of a Supreme Court nominee, not the school they attended. Harvard is a prestigious law school, if you make it to the top there, your ticket to success will be much easier.

The national debt will not be paid off in our lifetime, but that doesn't mean we can't have a credible plan to start a downward trend in 10 years or so. The health-care bill is already law. We need to invest in American and put people back to work without hurting our environment. I like the president's new deficit-reduction plan, because it's balanced and makes good economic sense. The worse seniors can look forward to in 2017 is $35 co -pays.

President Obama's downward trend was because of a weak jobless economy that he inherited, but healthcare was successfully demonized by the opposition party, and it certainly was a factor. The healthcare bill had to be passed within the first two years because the Democrats had both houses (votes) and as I've said they thought that the stimulus package was a short-term solution to the job's problem. It's tough calculating DEMAND solutions.

Why was Nancy Pelosi challenged as most speakers are? That's easy, the challengers thought she was vulnerable and they had to satisfy their ambition.

There you go. This is where I have an issue with you. You call the Pro-Israeli lobby treasonous, but they have not committed an act of deliberate betrayal. The constitution says special-interest groups or lobbyist have a right to petition the government.It’s that simple without caveats. Our soldiers in Iraq have already died for ancient religious disputes like the conflicts between the Shia and the Shiite. Rick Perry and Mitt Romney's harsh rhetoric yesterday before the president's U.N. speech, did more to harm our foreign policy than the Pro-Israeli Group. Again, only Congress has the power to commit troops to war, unless it falls into the scope of limited action, then it's up to the commander- in-chief, not the Pro-Israeli Group. You must not have much faith in President Obama.

The president is tactfully going after the opposition party to show the contrasts between the two parties. Again, you should never speak down to your opponent because it elevates show hosts are obviously below the president of the United States. Come on, even Bill O'Reilly admitted that he was more important than anyone except the president of the United States…Smile

Now, on a personal issue. You take a righteous position because you now sign your name, but those of us who have been here  for awhile, knew you when you didn't take that position; in fact, quite an opposite one. Go through the list, the posters and you will see that most of the credible posters do not use their full name. You may be using that as a sparring tactic, but you don’t distinguish that.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A rocky September for President Obama


President Obama is going through a shaky September where he has to answer questions about a scandal and fight off charges of sexism, incompetence, and lack of managerial skills that Ron Suskin's new book "Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington, and the Education of a President," reveals.

I was called out by a poster to give my view about the Solyndra scandal, but I declined because it was not the subject of my blog, and the incident was in its first days of investigation, even though ABC and Fox News reported it as an obvious scandal.

This is what I understand about the Solyndra incident. The company made tubular solar panels in contrast to the conventional flat panels. The company was first considered for loan guaranteed by the Bush administration. The Obama administration speeded up to the process because of their love of green tech. Solyndra makes up 1.3% of the $38 billion in loans extended, but the company's bankruptcy sent up red flags to the House Republicans on the Energy and Commerce Committee. According to the Wall Street Journal, the FBI is investigating, but their focus was on the executives of the company, as to whether they knowingly misled the government to secure $500 million in loan guarantees.

A major investor in Solyndra was a venture capitalist named, George Kaiser, who was a major bundler for the Obama Administration in 2008. The democrats are pointing out that the other major investor was a Republican tied to the Walton family, and that Solyandra's CEO is a registered Republican. The White House is guilty of fast tracking this project without proper due diligence, but they also know that China is funding their solar panel projects and they wanted a heads up or at least a more level playing field. Why can't both parties be grownups, instead of spinning it for political gain?

There is another scandal brewing where cronyism and compromising military safety is being alleged. Representative Mike Turner, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee is alleging that the White House urged General Shelton to alter his testimony and make it more favorable to the company with close ties to the White House. According to the Daily Beast ."LightSquared provides high-speed Internet service to 260 million people. The Pentagon believes it could interfere with sensitive military GPS systems.LightSquared’s majority owner is Harbinger Capital, an investment fund that democratic donor Philip Falcone runs.

I've read several of Ron Suskin's books, and I find him to be credible author. I think that the White House is being super sensitive because former Communication Director Anita Dunn said the White House created an environment of hostility toward women. The author cites Christina Romer as another source, because she was left out of some important meetings. This morning on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Mika Brzezinski, started questioning the author, as if he was on trial, she was fuming. Mika went onto say that the Obama administration has hired more women in high-level positions than any other administration. That's got nothing to do with it. When you have an elitist like Larry Summers and Timothy Geither, you're going to encounter sexism daily. I wrote a blog about two years ago where Larry Summers cussed out the head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Brooksley Born, for trying to make the secretive derivatives of Wall Street more transparent. And look what Dick Cheney said about Condoleezza Rice. He ruined her professional standing, when he said that she came in tearfully to apologize to him. Even though the women involved denied ever saying that the Obama administration treated women unfairly, it's not that hard to believe they're looking out for their future careers. That's unfortunate but as I understand, President Obama himself is seeing to it, that they don't have that problem in the future.

I'm going to download the Ron Suskin’s book before I go into too much detail. The charges of Obama's inexperience and inability to manage the alter egos are probably true, but I'll have to see the context. There are also charges of a dysfunctional government. This information could be damaging, especially during a presidential campaign. You ever notice how these “tell all" books always meet the election deadlines?

The administration is still reeling  over the loss the special election in New York ,where orthodox Jews are not comfortable with the president.  I think the orthodox Jews were trying to put pressure on the Obama Administration because of the upcoming requests by the Palestinians to be recognized the state by the U.N.  As a pundit said the other day, the democrats don't have to worry about losing the Jew vote, they like to make noise but they are good constituents.

They do have some good news, Elizabeth Warren has a slight lead over Scott Brown in their bid for senator of  Massachusetts.  That's pretty good for the person who has never run for office against a career politician.

I know it’s easier said than done, but this administration ought to cooperate with the investigations (I don’t have any proof they aren’t) answer reporters’ questions truthfully because as all White Houses learn, the cover up can be worse that the charge.

Some may ask “Why are you writing a negative blog about the Obama administration?"Am I? Nothing has been proven. I still have a lot of confidence in this administration.Besides,it's like a quarterback,we learn what he is made of, on how he reacts under pressure.We may not like problems but we must face up to them besides, I have yet to see a scandal free administration.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Social Security is safe


Social Security is one of the most talked about subjects around because a lot of people have been scared into thinking that it's on shaky ground. This has been going on since I was a little boy. It's not something we should be worried about because it's backed by United States Treasury bonds held by investors here and abroad. It's backed by the full faith and credit of the United States of America, so if that's worthless so are the dollar bills in our wallet, as well as the savings bonds and treasury notes held by banks and foreign nations.

Social Security has been bringing in more revenue than it spends since 1983. We currently have a $2.7 trillion trust fund projected to grow to 3.7 trillion by 2022. That's the money that was collected from your paychecks and loaned to the United States government. You would have to think that we won't have enough employers and employees to keep contributing, if you think, Social Security will go broke. If that's the case, it will be irreverent because the whole country and world will be bankrupt.

Every now and then, the term “Ponzi scheme" will come up to describe Social Security, but nothing could be further from the truth. Ponzi schemes crash, when they don't have enough new the investors buying in. Social Security does not have that problem. Payroll tax deductions are forever but every now and then adjustments must be made to keep Social Security solvent. A lot of factors affect the solvency of Social Security such as birth rates, employment, and economic growth. By law, Social Security cannot pay out more than it brings in, nor can it borrow to meet its obligations. In the unlikely scenario of the system having insufficient funds, it would have to reduce benefits but that would not cause it to implode.

No matter what you hear, Social Security is a self -financing system that does not increase the deficit or the debt. It's why reforming Social Security should be a standalone issue and not part of a deficit or debt reduction committee.

While it's true that a 401K, IRA, or other retirement funds may get you more bang for the buck, Social Security has always been meant to be a supplement not the main retirement fund. Politicians like to use it as a retirement vehicle saying that if the employee were allowed to take 2% of the 6.2% that is normally deducted from their check, and allowed to invest it with Wall Street, the employee would be better off as well as Social Security. Not so, with more baby boomers be ineligible for Social Security that 2% right now would be taking out of the Social Security proceeds. There's nothing preventing the employee from investing with Wall Street on their own with his after-tax money.

I know I probably didn't change any minds but at least check it out because it's no use you worrying about something that be there when you retire. I don't need a cost of living raise, because if I need that $12 more a month, then I'm living too close to the edge. There are some elderly people that need the $12.00 a month, so I don't begrudge them, we could do a means test. My wife and I took the 15% penalty each because we opted to take ours at age 62, and we don't regret it a bit.

Unlike Governor Perry,I can look my grandchildren in the eye and say "Social Security will be there when you retire" but I would advise them to fund their 401K or IRA. 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Just some Saturday thoughts


I don't know whether we will ever get to the point where we can discuss a subject, offer a different opinion and proceed from there. I think we get to a point where if you change your mind, or if you vary slightly from your position, you have a chance of being called a hypocrite. I think if we stick to the subject matter and accept the fact that there's more than one way at looking at a topic, we would get to a point where everyone gets input, but we don't get clear cut winners. We need to treat our discussions like a business meeting, where we know the boundaries and the opposing opinion before the meeting starts. Then again, we've all been too boring unproductive meetings, so I guess we'll continue to play-it-by ear and let the chips fall where they may.

Recently, Michelle Bachmann brought up a topic I thought was a dead subject. She brought up the unsuccessful attempt by Governor Rick Perry to force young girls to be injected with the HPV vaccine to prevent cervical cancer. This one issue has several branches of discussion. They are as follows:

1. The use of an executive order for social conservatives and libertarians; it was about the executive order
2. Michelle Bachmann said a woman said the vaccine caused her child to develop mental retardation.... We could branch out by saying that a politician should not spread hearsay. According to what I have read, the vaccine works. Her statement might have scared away people who were on the fence.
3. I would like to know if there were any kickbacks from Merck to Rick Perry's campaign.

It's the same way with religious arguments where the Christian can't use scripture as evidence, because his opponent will not accept it. The two might agree on historical grounds, but that's about it. People who like to skirt around the edges should not get into political arguments because then it leads to parroting talking points. A good example of that is the voter ID subject I barely mentioned in my VA blog, but it attracted those they were offended that I called it for what it is. My opponents never did produce documented proof of voter fraud. Their argument for a preemptive strike was noticeable. We both knew the reasons behind a voter ID law, but my opponents were satisfied throwing up smoke screens like proactive measures and following the law. It's the same people that don't normally like proactive government measures being discussed. One poster thought it was a tragedy that someone from the government would even mention that eating Twinkies might be unhealthy.

I think most of us are hybrids, where we all can gripe about government intrusion, but most of us have a stopping point. The ideologues take it to the next level. We probably all gripe about the misuse of the emergency rooms, but only a few of us would take it to the next level by kicking out all the uninsured. That's the only reason I support the individual mandate for now. I'm willing to listen to the constitutional arguments, where I could be proven wrong, but until then, it’s the only option because unless the insurance companies get the additional 31,000 customers, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will not be cost effective.

I was called out for making a plea or not accepting personal stories. The poster never got clarification; therefore, he went with his assumption. My first option was to ignore the poster, but then his allegations would be taking for truth, by those that do not know me. I then thought, if I supplied him with some truth, it would vindicate me in his eyes, and he would  just go way. No such luck, he came up with new charges, but he never did dispute the content of the blog. I just take it for granted that people know when personal stories are important and when it's just another point that cannot be verified. One poster admitted that they aren't interested in stats. If that's the case, what's the point of discussion? I guess we could continue in a backyard gossip manner. I'm not comfortable in that format.

I guess it just boils down to the personality of the poster. There are some that like to troll and create mischief, others like to vent, while others just like to type words on their computer and see them magically appear on the forum. I was wrong about the lighthearted atmosphere at the VA, because it was just the calm before the storm.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The calm before the storm


I shouldn't be leery of a good thing, but it seems like the VA is becoming less controversial even though the subjects have not changed that much. I didn’t get any negative responses to my last blog. I don't know if the posters think I'm too hard- headed and not worth their time or maybe they are saving their bullets for now.

There have been some interesting threads lately because the young staff at the Advocate are picking some unusual topics to discuss. Of course, I like having more political blogs, because I like reading the different opinions but the comment section threads have also been enjoyable. I enjoyed reading the responses from the “flashing lights" thread because the comments were pretty interesting and thought provoking. That thread reminding me of a “Seinfeld" episode where an insignificant subject turned into a pretty interesting discussion with varying opinions.

I spent a good portion of my morning trying to decide if I really wanted to pull the trigger and join Facebook. I examined the VA Facebook, but I think you have to join before you can see who the members are. I did get some excellent help, but I'm still weighing my options. I certainly don't want a family page interfering with my on -line friends. I know that I can be as private as I want to be, but doesn't that defeat the purpose?...I'm confusing myself but since I already have a twitter account, a personal blog, should I go for a trifecta and open a Facebook account? How will it benefit me?

I had a difficult night because, when I got home, my satellite system was messed up, and Dish Network was not taking any calls. I did the usual, rebooting, resetting, and patiently waiting for a screen to come up. I received about 50% of my channels but after 5 hours of a busy signal; I gave up trying to reach them. This morning the HD channels were back but my locals weren't. I've tried some more things until a blue error message filled the screen with this message " we are aware of the problem, please refrain from calling, and we hope to have this problem resolved as soon as possible." I hate being at their mercy.

Between phone calls and waiting for the reboot, I decided to log on the VA, but now I wish I hadn't. I don't usually get upset over comments made by a poster but I had a low blood sugar episode, so I was already irritable. It was one of those comments that I've heard repeated over and over but this time I felt a need to respond. Holein1's comment about Americans taking care of Americans and leaving out the government is one of those “lollipops and unicorn" answers that never seems to materialize. It's like “if I was a millionaire, or if I win the lottery" statement. It's nothing to do with Holein1 because he probably believes that. When an American helps out another American it usually makes the breaking use segment. I'm glad he didn't respond because we might have done an all- nighter because, as it is, I posted three consecutive long posts.

Monday, September 12, 2011

What Unity?


If we want unity, we sure have a poor way of showing it. It was great to see all the enthusiasm and work that was done for yesterday's 9/11 ceremonial event, but it took us 10 years to get where we are, because of politics, cost overruns, and bureaucracy.

It all starts with us, because we use words that are taken out a context to make a point, and then we're supporting a lie. When the question of disrespecting the current president of the United States came up; a poster answered by saying that Michael Moore, and the Dixie Chicks disrespected President George W. Bush. Are you kidding me? Is this the best you got? Michael Moore is a successful filmmaker and a liberal political activist who has also criticized President Obama. I believe the Dixie Chicks were overseas when they said that they were ashamed of President Bush because he was also from Texas. Entertainers are entitled to their opinions but disrespecting a president goes a lot further than that. It started with protesting President Obama's speech to our schoolchildren, a congressman shouting " you lie" at the State of the Union and being the first president who had to publicly display his birth certificate to prove he was a United States citizen.

BOstinks has the audacity to say, "How can there be unity in a country that has its most divisive citizen in the White House? BO tells the Republican Party to get in the back seat; his VP calls the Tea Party terrorists. He refers to his Anglo grandmother as a "typical white person," he claims policemen tactics were "stupid'" before there was an investigation, has drunken labor union leaders threaten opposition, attends a church that claims the U.S. deserved 9/11. Let me go through his two paragraphs of misinformation.

1. The most decisive citizen in the White House? By whose standards?
2. He uses BO instead of Barack or Obama so his disrespect is revealing.
3. President Obama jokingly said that the Republicans cannot have keys to the car anymore since they drove it into the ditch.... He hates to be told that the president inherited the recession.
4. There is not any proof that the vice president called the Tea party-terrorist.
5. He said his grandmother was a “typical white person" which is a matter -of- fact statement... He meant no disrespect to the white race or his grandmother.
6. He said the police overreacted in arresting his professor friend from Harvard... While it was foolish for him to get involved; he was vindicated.
7. The president has no control over unions any more than Republicans have control over the NRA on and United States Chamber Commerce.
8. He uses attend a church that claims the U.S. disserved 9/11... He uses it in the present tense, but it has been three years, since he attended and besides he doesn't know what a thing about black sermons that is heavy in rhetoric.

Then came the genius, jasonborne, saying “have you noticed how much love everyone is showing Governor Perry. No they aren't calling him a, non-citizen, or terrorist. They aren't exactly showering him with accolades though. Do you get angry when they say bad things about our Governor? He is a white guy so it probably doesn't matter as much, right??? "............................... He quickly threw in the race card, as if we're supposed to shower politicians with accolades. He doesn't know that criticizing a politician comes with the territory. Let me know if we protest when President Perry (that sounds awful) wants to talk to the schoolchildren on their first day back to school, or a Democrat calls him a liar at the State of the Union. We'll take it for granted that he's a United States citizen.

I had been watching this closely because I don't want to accuse the Republican Party of trying to make it difficult for this president to pass economic bills that might improve our economy. I have seen bills that republicans have supported in the past, but now they no longer support them because the president supports it.

I see where Governor Perry finally got the word and is now trying to backtrack his Social Security statement. He is no longer calling it a "Ponzi scheme" or "monstrous lie" but that may be because Michelle Bachmann is planning to use that against him. Michelle Bachmann has dropped six points in the polls. She is down to 4% trailing the Governor Perry by 26 points. I thought Romney's performance in the last debate would make up some ground, but it didn't. Romney is still a Mormon and behind by 12 points.

Wasn't it great that the ceremony wasn't interrupted by a car bomb? Knock on wood. I did get to watch a conspiracy show about 9/11. I should have turned it off in the first 2 or 3 minutes because the man behind the conspiracy was Alex Jones. Everything was explained except WTC 7, but engineers don't have any evidence of planted explosive devices. The Truthers must not have read the FBI and engineering report because even though the airliner vaporized after it hit the Pentagon; investigators found pieces from the airliner and bodies. The question about the small hole the downed airliner made in Pennsylvania was answered by the county coroner.

Where was all this opposition to the FDA, EPA, and other government agencies prior to January 2009? I mean besides the libertarians who want complete freedom from the government.

The last 8 minutes of this face off between Joe Scarborough and Tavis Smily typifies  where we are today.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Tenth Year Anniversary of 9/11


It's amazing how we all know our whereabouts and what we were doing on the morning of September 11, 2001 even though it was ten years ago. That was the morning 19 Islamic terrorist hijacked three California bound airliners because they knew the airliners had the right amount of fuel they needed, to do the most damage.

I remember my family being at the Galveston Burn Center that day because my daughter was being treated for a severe staph infection that almost took her life. I had run out of vacation, so I came back to Victoria because she was progressing nicely but I was giving special permission to leave at moment's notice if I needed to. I don't know what I was doing at work because my mind wasn't there. We got a call from security telling us to monitor our televisions because our country was being attacked. We kept watching the two airliners crash into the Twin Towers time after time. We had just vacationed in New York about a year before the attacks, so I was familiar with the area that the ABC commentators were talking about. Everyone was gathered around the TV sets in different offices, sharing all the rumors, we heard that day. On that particular day, most were stunned and confused but some were angry. I was in the daze worrying about my daughter and now our country was being attacked. It wasn't until a few minutes later when my wife called to confirm what she just heard and to tell me my daughter was responding favorably to her treatment,when I stared to feel better. After that call, I started paying more attention to the television reports.

The attacks on 9/11 lead to us attacking the training centers in Afghanistan and wiping out just about all of Al Qaeda in that country. We also removed the Taliban from power. This country was united, President Bush had about a 95% approval rating and 75% of the country were with him when we attacked Afghanistan. It was  at this time when I started reading about the Middle East, their customs, and the terrorist groups. I just had to get answers as to why we were attacked. It was during this time when I started reading the New York Times and Washington Post religiously; their online editions were free back then. Back then, I believed if an article made it to print; it was true because it went through a series of vetting. I didn't start suspecting the New York Times, and the Washington Post until I started seeing some articles that were beating the war drums, for a war with Iraq. I switched to weekly magazines like the New Yorker ,where Seymour Hersh explained how the Pentagon was feeding war propaganda to the New York Times and Washington Post. I went onto read Ron Suskind's book “The 1% Doctrine" that explained the Dick Cheney theory. Dick Cheney's theory was if there was 1% chance that a country was going to do harm to us; it was legitimate for us do a preemptive strike on them or those that supported them.

The 9/11 attacks did change me; it made me realize that you can have everything today and lose it tomorrow. It also thought me that you cannot believe everything you hear from the media; especially in this 24/7 news cycle. We no longer have the old news reporters who waited for the very last minute to report, because they scrubbed their sources for the truth. In writing blogs, I will check two or three sources before I submit the material but sometimes that's not enough.

There are times when I think we are overdoing it with media 9/11 saturation, but as the day approaches, I get caught up in it-like everyone else, I just hope the threats in New York, and Washington are bogus, and they get to commemorate that special day without harm.
What were you doing on that dreadful day? Has it changed you?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Where are we as a people?

August 7,2011

I'm probably in the mushy middle on the death penalty because it won't deter the criminals. I will more readily accept the verdict of guilty with positive DNA evidence.  Having said that, I won't actively protest the death panel nor will I applaud it. I know it makes me a bleeding heart liberal but I don't believe we need to execute the mentally ill or minors; even though they commit crimes that might warrant it.  I will also admit that I might be singing a different tune if one of my loved ones were the victim of a hideous crime.

Last Night,NBC’s Brian Williams began a question to Rick Perry, the Texas governor, this way: “Your state has executed two hundred and thirty-four death-row inmates, more than any other governor in modern times.” Before Williams could continue with the question, the audience at the Reagan Library broke into raucous cheers, perhaps the loudest ovation of the night. As evidenced by
 the video I provided.

I know it's normal for wanting justice to prevail and to send a message that we will not tolerate capital murder but do you think it's appropriate for Californian’s to stand up and applaud for executions that were carried out in Texas? They don't know a thing about those executions.I believe we had a couple of cases that were controversial but we went ahead with the execution.

It might've been necessary to execute 234 people as the governor is proud to say, but he doesn’t  really represent me because I'm not proud of that record.  I don't judge the pro-death penalty people but I do think it's odd if they stand up and cheer as if it's a sporting event.

I guess when the audience applauded it stunned me ,like the time Congressman Joe Wilson blurted out to the president " You lie" at the State of the Union.
From Dick Cheney's book

You know how all republicans say that President Obama should listen to his commanders in the field...  Not so when, Dick Cheney was secretary of defense.  Dick Cheney deliberately kept Colin Powell from leading the charge against Saddam Hussein when Iraq invaded Kuwait. Colin Powell wasn't tough enough in Cheney's eyes because he cited several polls of Americans not being on board.  Cheney thought public sentiment should never be considered because he knew best.  Dick Cheney did not have any tolerance for skeptics or those with a different opinion.

I on page 200 and Dick Cheney has already fired two military commanders.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The War of Words


The "war of words" has officially begun in Victoria and throughout the nation. I was digging around for nonpolitical material for my VA blog but when I came back from lunch, I saw the challenge from BOstinks and I decided to put it in a blog instead of answering directly. It seems this poster gets irritated because I label his posts" talking points." That's exactly what they are because he can't back them up. He thinks tort reform, corporate tax cuts are ways to jump start our economy, but he can't prove it. He heard that somewhere,I guess. He justifies "voter ID laws" keeping illegal aliens from voting, but I have not seen any documented proof, of a large-scale voter fraud. That's right there with making Sharia Law illegal in the United States. Those people need to read the constitution.

I saw an old CNN documentary titled "Unwelcome: The Muslim next door" this weekend. I didn't know someone could go through law school and still be ignorant. This small town in Tennessee brought a suit against a Muslim congregation that wanted to build a mosque in their town. The lawyer for the plaintiffs asked a witness if he thought Islam was a religion. What kind of question is that? We're not much better, because a subscriber to our local paper got upset because the Advocate featured two young Muslim girls playing with their cell phones outside their mosque, during Ramadan. How can rational human beings equated those two young girls with Islamic terrorists?

The first shot was fired long time ago but in the spirit of a new political season Jimmy Hoffa, head of the Teamsters Union, got it going this Labor Day by calling the tea party " son of bitches"and one of the Koch brothers compared President Obama with Saddam Hussein and a tea party activists, Tony Katz, said, "Obama is Kenyan for Rodney Dangerfield." We mustn't forget that Maxine Waters said, "the tea party can go to hell." Looks like the democrats are going after the tea party, and the republicans will respond with "he's not one of us." This is the Congress's first day back; I'll guess I'll have to tune in to see what they said on the house floor today. We can take that short period of peace after Congresswoman Gabriel Gifford's tragic shooting and frame it, because it's just a memory now.

Yesterday, Joe Scarborough was hunting through the newspapers looking for some sort of anguish or condemnation for Hoffa's words. Really, Mr. Hoffa's words are just that, what the Wisconsin and Ohio governors did to collective bargaining is much worse What some GOP governors did to prevent people from voting is much worse Thank goodness allow those laws will be overturned by the courts. Joe Scarborough's co- host Mika Brzezinski is no better, because she pretends to be a goody two shoes. She thinks the two parties should hold hands and sing "Kumbaya." Today was no different because the cross hairs Sarah Palin used in a political commercial or even the raffle of a glock pistol in Tucson, Arizona should not be held up political weapons to use against the other side. Joe Scarborough and Michael Steele said they will keep copies of Hoffa's words to use next time the democrats complain about republicans.That copy will worn out before the year is out. I've never been to a union gathering, but I think it's safe to say that harsh rhetoric is the norm.Mr. Hoffa was talking to his union people and using language they understood. Now, when Mitt Romney says that President Obama is using a “pay phone that is not connected" economic system, and he will use a 'smart phone system" that's something that is confusing but comical at the same time. I think Mitt Romney will only catch Rick Perry if he stops trying to be a comedian, a member of the tea party, or anything else that he thinks is popular. He has enough credentials as Mitt Romney to give President Obama a good run for his money.Every time I have been asked for advise I've always said "just be yourself"because people can see through the smoke screen.

I will close (starting with this one) each blog with something that I read in Dick Cheney's new book.

People complained about the money wasted when President Obama took Michelle to New York City in a presidential helicopter. Dick Cheney told a story of him calling Don Rumsfeld, who was on vacation in Vail, Colorado informing him of some pressing matters. Mr. Rumsfeld asked him to fly from Washington to Colorado, so they could discuss the matter on the way back to Washington. He then asked Mr. Cheney if he could take a detour and deliver a package to H.R. Halderman, who was vacationing in a neighboring state. When he arrived at the location where H.R.Halderman was, he was stopped by some MP and asked to open the package. The contents turned out to be, Time, Newsweek, and U.S. News and World Report magazines.

Dick Cheney takes pride in that he was to go- to man when someone needed to be fired or demoted. He said that he didn't skirt around the issue ,he just gave it to 'em straight. He's such a heartwarming man.

Tonight's campaign prediction:

 I have said that tonight's debate will be a tame one but I'm going to change my prediction.  I don't know what Michelle Bachmann will do since she lost her veteran campaign manager.  She might go back to the unpredictable, shoot from the hip, rogue candidate.  Have you seen the lame campaign ad put out by Ron Paul saying Rick Perry was Al Gore's cheerleader?

I think you will hear Ronald Reagan brought up more than " middle class" and tax cuts will be raining from the roofs like confetti.  Republicans don't mind deficits if it will put more money into their corporate donors pockets.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Just another Labor Day


I officially retired on December 31, 2002, so Labor Day doesn't have any real significance to me, but it's the first time my wife didn't have to worry about working on Labor Day.We are going to have a relaxing day. I'll eat my cold cuts and read another 100 or so pages of Cheney's book and my wife will do whatever she wants to do.

Labor Day is the official kickoff of the political season but when did it ever stop? Yesterday's talk shows were following the same script and just juggling the hosts and guest. The question of the day was “Will President Obama come out with a big bold plan that will not get past the House of Representatives, or will he go with plain vanilla short-term solutions?" I think David Gregory of Meet the Press said what I've been saying all along, this election is about the role of government. Presidential historian, Doris Kearns Goodwin, made the quote of the day when she said” why do these politicians want to run the government if they hate it so much?" I've always wondered that myself. Meet the Press had the extremes from Paul Gigot to Maxine Waters, but if it wasn't for Ms. Waters, Paul Gigot would have gotten away with that “Governor Perry created more jobs than anyone" talking point. David Gregory gave her about 10 seconds to correct the record by saying most of those jobs were government jobs.

I have read about 130 pages of former vice president Dick Cheney's new book, and I've found it to be quite interesting, even though I haven't gotten to the juicy parts yet. I've always been interested in the behind-the-scenes activities of Washington. Dick Cheney's parents and grandparents were Democrats and admired FDR. It's funny because Ronald Reagan admired FDR, yet he governed exactly the opposite. The former vice president mentions his deferments in avoiding the Vietnam War, but he never mentions how many, he received (5) and he doesn't dwell into the reasons. I was very surprised that Chris Wallace, asked the former vice president about secret plans to destroy the Iranian nuclear facilities. I was equally surprised that Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, said the president would have been impeached if we had done that. That last part wasn't in the book so, Wallace, didn't ruin the story content for me. The rest of the interview with the former vice president was pretty much status quo, no one really challenges the former vice president. Chris Wallace tried to start a little political mischief, by asking the vice president if he thought Hillary would've made a better president .Dick Cheney took the cue and gave the answer Fox News wanted for their audience by saying that she would have made a better president. As always, former vice president Dick Cheney is never apologetic or wrong.

We're starting to get more dribs and drabs of the president's Thursday night's speech, as parts of it are being leaked to get the public's reaction. NPR's Mara Liasson said the president should include big bold steps and that another stimulus might be approved, if the president also mentioned ways of reducing the deficit and debt without giving specifics. It's like a small business asking for loan that will keep them going but presenting a business plan to show how they will tackle their long-term debt. Mara made an excellent point, but she's in denial if she thinks that the Tea Party will approve anything the president presents.

Michelle Bachmann is proving why she should not be considered a credible candidate for the president of United States by saying that we should lower the minimum wage and lower the corporate tax rate to zero in order to get this country going again. Someone should send her a copy of the Wall Street Journal. I take that back, someone explain the financial section of the Wall Street Journal to her. Corporations are doing great, it’s the working middle class that continues to struggle, and she wants to cut minimum wage standards. I feel sorry for Mitt Romney because he feels he needs to adjust this message to appeal to the tea party folks. Mitt Romney is a smart man. I don't know why he's lowering himself to that level. Mitt Romney doesn't have the political skills of Rick Perry, who is very comfortable playing both sides of the fence.

Our community has a political issue of its own. Our police officers want to organize to form a collective-bargaining union, and the city wants to know why. I didn't pay much attention to the editorial board's recommendation because it was their opinion, but now I'm having second thoughts. I imagine the city's largest advertisers don't want any type of union talk. That's been the standard for many years. When I saw the comment made by the editorial staff stating “Please elaborate for us on why you can't work together with the city now. Are city officials refusing to meet and talk with you about any concerns?" It made me wonder as to why our newspaper editorial board is so interested in this issue. I remember those same words being used by my employer's representatives when we asked if we could join a union. It's collaboration because; once a union gets a foothold it spreads, causing concern for our nonunion businesses. The city, local businesses, and editorial board want to cut this off because a "meet and confer petition" is the first step of changing how we do business in Victoria.I imagine they are wondering  how far this will go. This is a local issue and, I don't want to nationalize the issue but the national GOP board of governors decided to take down what's left of unions. Victoria doesn't want to let it put its nose inside the tent.

For those are you still working; Happy Labor Day, enjoy.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Victoria needs a clean break from libertarianism


Victoria needs a clean break from the libertarian Ron Paulite mindset, so we can get something done in our city. I don't know anything about our city officials, but I certainly don't want a fiscal conservative when the economy is fragile. Fiscal conservatives are needed when the economy is stable or booming, to remind us that we need to keep our fiscal house in order. Right now our officials are running scared of spending an extra nickel, even if it means savings in the future. I'm not asking for our city officials to empty the bank accounts. I just want them to be prudent and account for the expenditures. They have made some serious mistakes in the past, and they need to be held accountable but they still have run the city/ county and not listen to the people that are trying to save $1.25 of property tax.

I got a taste of that when the city decided to spend $6,000 for iPads. One poster said, we could've got cheaper alternative tablets not knowing that Apple makes a sturdy product, and you get what you pay for. Another poster told a story of practically duct taping his old desktop to save money. There's fiscal conservatism and then there's cheap to a fault.

We have to have some of the most close- minded posters I've ever seen. Our police officers want to form a collective-bargaining union and without hearing the proposal; our close-minded citizens say, "no way Jose." If there's a proposal for a pay increase for county or city employees it's the same answer. I know no one cares if we keep competent people at the county, because it's all about keeping property taxes low. These people are moving and taking their money with them. I understand that they have not had a raise in four years, and most of their benefits have been cut back. You hear stories like the taxpayers are struggling not realizing public employees are taxpayers. I wish the city and county would privatize everything, because that's the only way that it will get through their thick skull..Wait, I take that back, it’s an impossible task because they will make up some sort of excuse. Private companies will not repair their equipment or meet all the demands because it would take away from their profits. As long as we have public employees, conservative/libertarian Republicans will shun them because it's the nature of their ideology of individualism and an unfettered free market.

I knew people would try to nationalize the collective-bargaining proposal, and done from a right-wing perspective. Collective bargaining it just an agreement between the city and its employees on how to handle wages, complaints, work standards, and policies. It also gives the employees some say. I've never been in a union, but as a taxpayer; I'm not going to demonize an agreement between management and employees.

As long as we have Ron Paulites controlling the agenda, we can forget about growth because tax abatement, joint ventures, investments, and collective bargaining are all tools of the devil, in their Ayn Rand world of the unfettered free markets and individualism. We can start by electing a democrat to replace Congressman Blake Farenthold, and if you must elect republicans, elect compromising RHINOs.

I'm glad there are a couple of competent  posters giving the" just say no" crowd a run for their money at the VA forum but unfortunately they are wasting their time until we get rid of the libertarian/conservative mindset.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

President Obama will not lose in 2012!


Last night MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell's guest, Allen Lichtman, a professor at the American University told Lawrence that he could can forget about the polls because President Obama is winning on nine of the 13 keys necessary to win the presidential election. The professor said that a presidential candidate has to win six or more of 13 keys and President Obama currently has won nine of them. Professor Lichtman's formula has correctly called every president since Ronald Reagan 1984 re-election. He accurately predicted Bill Clinton's win over President George H.W. Bush. In 2005 the professor predicted that the democrats could pick a name out of a phone book and win the 2008 presidential election.

The top keys working for the president is scandal-free administration, capturing Osama bin Laden, and incumbency. The president has to worry about his lack of charisma and leadership on key issues including healthcare.

Below are the key and those marked with an X is where Obama loses...U= undecided

X..1...Party mandate...The GOP won the house in the mid terms
.....2...Contest...................... ...... The GOP does not have a serious candidate
.....3...Incumbency.. .....................self explanatory
.....4...Third Party.........................None
U...5.. Short term economy......... If we are in a recession.
X...6...Long-term economy... ...... Practically no growth.
......7...Policy Change.................. No major changes.
----8.. Social unrest............. ........ No sustained social unrest
---10.. Foreign/ military failure.....None
---11. Foreign military success.....Osama bin Laden
X.12.Incumbent charisma...............cannot connect,not a national hero
....13.Challenger charisma..............none

I wouldn't bet the house but it's not a crazy formula but I guess we will be seeing studies like this one for the next fifteen months..:-)