It was an early night for me. I stood and watched the numbers slowly slip into Barack Obama’s favor, and by the time 10:00 rolled around, I had concluded my night with a shoulder shrug and a few moments of disappointment.
With one last look at the television, I found myself watching the coverage on Obama in Illinois. I was struck by the amount of enlightened faces, happy Americans, probably the largest number of smiling people I‘ve seen in a long time. A simple joy released among the crowd from chanting three simple words: “Yes We Can”.
I do not like Barack Obama. I do not believe in most issues he stands in favor of - but I will respect him as a fellow American. I am trusting him to use the power given, to ensure safety, stability, and a new outlook for all Americans - especially those in Washington. He has a vast belief system of ordinary people that are so drawn to him, they’re looking for a new beginning, a fresh start.
As for us Republicans - this is the time. This is the time for Republicans to start redefining who we are and what we stand for. Time to find true leaders to bring out the best of what we have to offer and to distribute these principles. We need to be ready for that moment, if and when Barack Obama slips, to lift not only our new leader back to his feet, but the hopes of the people. When a great leader fails to act, he fails his followers. We need to take things one step at a time, working on a local level, because we all know the effects of State politics come quicker and hit harder than a national level agenda. Starting with Scott Walker's campaign for Governor.
It’s a new beginning. I wish Obama the best of luck, health, and safety - and I hope he proves me wrong sometime in the next four years. As he sets up our future, I will be making sure a 'blue cleansing' (which we are witnessing right now) will never happen again in Washington.
I'm sure most of you have seen this, the Sarah Palin mannequin hanging from a house in California. Not only is Sarah Palin being lynched, but John McCain is surrounded by flames at the top of the chimney, as if he's emerging.
The question is, are people taking this election a little too far? Or is this election important enough, when we have a man trying to change the very principles this country was founded on...
My take on this Halloween display is - why do it?
News reporters that interviewed the two men (I'm assuming couple) who live at the house, they claim the display is harmless, fun, and portray it as art.
So, if I took a mannequin, dressed like Obama and hung it from my house (for Halloween) - I STRONGLY BELIEVE the police would be at my house, the words 'hate crime' and 'racist' would surface, and it would be frowned upon. The two even admit that Obama would be innapropriate to hang, so why is Palin fair game? Why is John McCain okay to appear in flames? Someone shed some light, because I don't get it.
At last, the politically incorrect teen has returned.
For starters, I love my title - courtesy of Rush Limbaugh.
Ever since Palin handed the presidency to McCain, liberals are scrambling, but really are running around in circles trying to dig up some good dirt…and good points.
Not only did Obama manage to make a stupid remark way-back-when, in regards to small town voters about, ‘clinging to their guns and religion’, but he also managed to make a foolish remark against Palin and refer to Bush/McCain plans as an ‘old fish wrapped in newspaper.’ Yes, it really isn’t that big of a deal, but considering there has been cheap shots at Palin ever since she emerged– US Weekly, for example, we’ll eat it up until the next story. I’m sure we’ve all seen the cover with Palin and her son, along with the “Babies, Lies, and Scandal”, in nice bold letters too. But if you open that same magazine, you’ll find on three pages, a spread of Michelle Obama’s stellar fashion sense and cheesy phrases.
Michelle Obama is a beautiful gazelle in simple and chic designer fabrics!
Sarah Palin is a scary, right-wing scandal-plagued caribou killer!
Obama used to lead McCain in white-women votes by 8 points, he is now behind by 12 points, so maybe Michelle Obama’s fashion perks can attract those voters back, who knows at this point.
Obama is a truly one of a kind. What he said about Palin, may not have been that big of a deal, but he knows people will take it far enough to make it a big deal…I think it was a lack of judgment. Not surprising, he tends to do that a lot when there isn’t a speech written for him.
And Joe Biden even has questioned Obama’s judgment. He said it himself, that Clinton would have been a better choice than him.
This is the Palin Effect – indulge yourself, enjoy it.
Just a reminder, Thursday is 9/11 and this will be another year gone by without another terror attack on the U.S. – so I would like to thank Bush, even though everyone else thinks he’s a moron.) Be sure to thank your local policemen, firemen, EMT’s, armed forces personnel, etc.. True heroes.
The House GOP’s 8/1 revolt set a fantastic example of good politics on offense. House Republicans should be holding public events every day in Washington to call attention to Pelosi’s anti-drilling block and her refusal to vote on the issue. Every House Republican should be clocking in…starting now!I’m pumped! I might even hold a sit-in at a busy local gas station. I’ll hand out the same sign and bring some tire pumps for Obama’s brilliant plan for tire-inflation and a regular car tune-up as an energy plan.
To me, the best moment on Friday had to be when Rep. Devin Nunes (R-California) pretended to be a Democrat, standing on the other side of the chamber, naming all of the GOP bills that the Democrats killed. He then shouted, “I am a Democrat! And here is my energy plan!” while holding a sign of a VW Bug with a sail attached to it. Underneath the words read: Democrat Energy Plan - Drive Small Cars And Wait For The Wind!
If I'm not mistaken, I believe there is a VW Bug for sale kiddy-corner of Jessica’s Café – so, my fellow lefties, if you’re interested…there you go, all you need is a sail and little wind!
[Not to mention, that afternoon, Barack Obama followed John McCain and flip-flopped on offshore drilling. This came after he played the race card on three separate occasions this past week. What can I say, he’s on a roll.]
Upon Senator Barack Obama’s grand return to the United States, one of his numerous senior advisers had this to say,
“If Barack Obama comes into office next January and our diplomatic security service is in the state it’s in and the situation on the ground in Iraq is in the state it’s in, I think we will be forced to rely on a host of security measures…I can’t rule out, I won’t rule out, private security contractors.” He then added, “I will rule out private security contractors that are not accountable to US law.”
Basically, he restated what was previously announced February of 2007.
With the US Embassy in Iraq coming to be the largest in world history, a certain little problem arose with that comment. Obama said he would maintain the embassy and keep its diplomats along with US personnel in full swing; but, our troops are unable to protect these individuals. That’s where private military contracting companies come in handy. The three main forces are DynCorp, Triple Canopy, and my personal favorite – Blackwater. As you know, these companies are not held accountable under current US law.
Obama previously proposed an increase in funding to the diplomatic security division, which would seemingly make way for a protective force made up entirely of US government personnel. The process of building such a force will likely take years to bring in agents, train, and deploy them. If elected, Obama may have no choice but to continue contracting arrangements with firms such as the world’s largest company, Blackwater.
To me, making diplomatic security a military operation would pose a serious challenge. Not only would US Military convoys be traveling inside Iraq, virtually crossing into deadly areas on a regular basis, but there simply isn’t enough military personnel to take on the job.
One adviser indicated that unarmed contractors would continue to operate at significant levels. “These contractors are not ONLY providing private security functions like Blackwater… They’re rebuilding schools, they are serving food, they’re doing logistics, they’re driving trucks.”
It’s a shame that no one brought up the notorious slaughter of four Blackwater contractors on March 31, 2004. The men were conducting delivery for food caterers (blood thirsty contractors, I know!). Their convoy was ambushed, their bodies beaten, burnt, dragged through the streets of Fallujah, and then their dismembered remains hung from a bridge crossing the Euphrates River.
In this case, the men were lightly armed transferring aid through a potentially deadly area. The last thing you want to do during a war, is leave individuals walking, driving, flying, etc. around unarmed, or lightly armed for that matter.
But, this whole Obama situation seems to be a little bit of a paradox!! It was Senator Obama who sponsored a bill in February 2007 presenting a legal structure to prosecute State Department contractor crimes in US courts. I recall, Obama’s staff saying “we’ll fight like hell to get it passed!” By the time the next president is in office, this bill will likely not be passed in time. If it does, and President Bush signs it, questions will remain open for answering about how contractor crimes can be monitored effectively.
The senior adviser acknowledged that Senator Obama could indeed find himself in a situation, as president, if he continues using forces he has labeled ‘unaccountable.’
I'm wondering if he used any private military contractors on his trip -- and I'm not doubting it at this point.
Quite frankly, I’d like to hear more about the new Batman movie and its reviews for making box office history, versus Obama’s overseas trip and how wonderful he’s being played-up to be. To say the least, I’ve had my fill of Barack Obama.
Armed with 300 foreign policy advisors, 10,000 press secretaries, and three top news anchors: Katie Couric, Brian Williams and Charles Gibson – Obama is ready for the camera! All he needs to do now is remember what his advisors told him during hair and makeup.
After being on the ground in Afghanistan for no more than two days, Obama came up with a brilliant plan…to put more troops in Afghanistan! Well, France has plans to send out 1,000 troops, Germany plans to send 1,000, the UK plans to send troops making it past 8,000, and Bush announced he’ll be sending more by the end of this month – thanks Obama for finally getting on board! Not to mention, McCain has now brought up the possibility of a surge in Afghanistan…and Obama had the nerve to call McCain a copycat!
Meanwhile, during Obama’s visit to Afghanistan, for some reason there was no mention about the air-raiding and bombing of villages as previously put forth. But, that’s okay, the media oversaw that and there won’t be any mention of it.
With his plan already set in stone for a 16 month timetable, we’ll see what’s to come during the current visit to Iraq.
Tuesday or Wednesday, Obama is expected to arrive in Israel, where I am excited to hear about his responses to questions concerning Iran - what his plans are, as president, for disarming Iran of missiles and possible nuclear weapons, if it’s not already done so by November.
It’s frustrating to see that the media will stop at nothing to get Obama elected. There’s a big difference between policy and politics! So, if the media isn't willing to come out and say it...I will: Obama is nothing more than a moron, especially when it comes to foreign policy.
Last week, Senator Obama had reportedly lashed out once again concerning the war in Iraq: "They said we couldn't leave when violence was up, they say we can't leave when violence is down."
Last year, when the war was in full swing, Obama proposed a timetable to withdraw all U.S. troops within the next 16 months. Last week, with the war being at its lowest bloodshed level since the beginning, Obama insisted the same plan. Earlier this month, Obama even hinted he will consider revising his Iraq strategy after visiting the country.
There’s a noticeable difference between both McCain and Obama’s plan: McCain has suggested that his timetable for the return of our troops, would be in early 2013. Obama’s timeline would end during the summer of 2010, about a year and half earlier than dates proposed recently by the members of the Iraqi government. Both McCain and Iraqis said the withdrawal of U.S. troops would be linked to the ability of Iraqi forces to take over from troops - as they have begun to do so already.
Obama on the other hand, allows no such connection to be made, he more or less will force Iraqis to take responsibility of a currently unstable country.
During Obama’s first proposed plan, he argued that troops could not stop a sectarian civil war. He insisted that a withdrawal might be accompanied by a “spike” in violence. Well, he was wrong. Now, he describes the situation as “an achievable goal that we leave Iraq to a government taking responsibility for its future… a government that prevents sectarian conflict and ensures that the al-Qaeda threat which has been beaten back by our troops does not reemerge.”
Obama recently stated that he would consult with U.S. commanders and the Iraqi government, as well as “make tactical adjustments as we implement this strategy.” Now, I could be wrong, but don’t you think it would make more sense telling America your “strategy and intentions” after traveling to Iraq…after meeting with Iraqi leadership and General Petraeus?
I can almost guarantee you that American commanders will tell Obama that from a logical standpoint, 16 months will be difficult, if not impossible to achieve. Iraqis will likely say that a pullout that is not negotiated with the government and disregards the readiness of Iraqi troops will literally be a gift to al-Qaeda and other enemies. Now, If Obama truly intends to listen to such advisers, why would he lock in his position in advance?
AND, to throw in a little bit more, Obama called the McCain surge "a complete failure" only after it had just begun. He also said that the surge would take a reverse effect of tamping down al-Qaeda…wrong again So, the Obama campaign pulled all information linked to his negative standpoints on the surge from his website and replaced it with kinder, more supportive words.
Say what you will, but I'M sorry to say folks, the
inconsistency of Obama shows he simply isn’t fit for president.
Recently, seventeen students of Gloucester High School, in Massachusetts, have become pregnant. Now, whether or not this sudden jump of teen pregnancies was a pact between the students or a crazy coincidence, you can't help but think - why are these CHILDREN pregnant?
There's several different theories as to why the girls decided to let the bun start baking.
The first one I heard, was the girls had either troubles with their boyfriends, family, or friends and wanted to feel unconditional love from someone. In their minds, a baby that knows its mother, was the answer - I can guarantee, those girls won't be feeling any unconditional love once that baby starts screaming at 3am.
The second possible reason, was they wanted a child to take care of to show their responsibility as teenagers, that they can do things on their own. Having a child at that age, is certainly not responsible in anyway. Just because you're at the age your reproductive organs are ready for use, doesn't mean you will be with the result.
The third reason, was blaming the government for poor sexual education classes beyond the 9th grade schooling level.
I'm sorry, but the government is not the sole provider for sex education - that's what parents are for. I remember my mom sitting me down in 5th grade and telling me all about the birds and the bees, then again throughout middle school, and even to this day she makes sure it's stuck in my head. She always ends the conversation with, "You choose to have sex and become pregnant, you deal with it yourself - I'm warning you right now, not to be stupid." It's harsh, but she's right. The choice is yours and yours alone.
Besides the story itself, the mayor of Gloucester decided to publically accuse President George Bush for their pregnancies, due to budget cuts in their school funding for health classes and yada yada yada.
Couple questions for the mayor, if budget cuts have caused the end of health education classes in your high school, how is the town able to afford full service health care, child care services, various contraceptives, and pregnancy tests for you students?
And, if these budget cuts have been ongoing for the last seven years, how come the pregnancy rate boomed 400% over the last year, only in your school? Prior to this current situation, your school had pregnancy rates near the average for your state.
With an onsite daycare center for parent-students, available contraceptives, and a school that is open to, "If you get pregnant, we'll help raise your child." Sounds like there's a flaw within the school system itself.
Should high schools be giving out contraceptives to students? Is it sending the message that it’s okay to have sex, as long as it’s safe? Clearly, some kids are going to have sex regardless to what you say, but for the kids who have thought about it, but haven’t engaged in it, should abstinence be the major focus in sex education classes? Should classes be taught more than one time throughout high school? Tell me what you think...
My apologies for keeping a poorly updated blog in the last few weeks. As you know the school year is coming to an end, resulting with wrapping up one last unit before…exams. Soon enough it’ll be back up and running on a more consistent basis.
Besides that, in our U.S. History class we’ve been studying the Vietnam War, one of the great debacles as to whether or not the United States won or lost. To me, the timeline of events somewhat relates to what’s going on right now.
During the time, Robert Kennedy and Richard Nixon were running for office, one generation against the other. Similar to an Obama and McCain situation, considering Obama would be the nominee, which we’ve been hearing quite a bit lately.
Kennedy: Wanted to end the war right away
Nixon: Wanted to slowly pull troops out, with peace and honor
Obama: Wants to pull troops out right away
McCain: Has considered fighting for 100 years if needed, but wants to slowly start pulling troops out, winning with peace and honor
Previously, Johnson had escalated the war (Bush), and then Nixon (potentially McCain) would hopefully start decreasing the number of troops, if elected – with hopes of winning the war.
With Nixon elected, he was determined to end the war, armed with his ‘secret plan’. This plan was to use Vietnamization; a term used to sum up the United States supplying Southern Vietnam with weapons that they need, as we slowly turn over the power.
If Obama were to be elected as president, what we certainly don’t want to do is what Ford did, after replacing Nixon – suddenly pulling out all of our troops, fleeing South Vietnam. That’s when countless innocent lives are lost for no excuse other than being completely unprepared.
There are many different allegations as to why Ford pulled out so quickly, going against what Nixon had planned. The most plausible explanation could be from the bad reputation the United States received after Watergate and the ongoing war, which by then seemed to have no point.
It seems as if history is repeating itself here. Hopefully, we can look back upon our past and learn from our mistakes.
Both Democratic Presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have promised to restrict free trade agreements, blaming the amount of job losses in the United States on outsourcing.
Clinton wants to put an end to all new trade agreements and strictly enforce the current agreements, including NAFTA (North America Free Trade Agreement.)
Obama blames the politicians in Washington for approving trade agreements that he says are bad for the economy because they don’t protect the workers.
There are two misleading notions about these arguments:
Current job outsourcing is a result of the decreasing rate U.S. competitiveness and importance/value of the job itself, not free trade agreements. The downward rate of the U.S. competitiveness is a result of improper education. This especially comes into play with jobs concerning technology, engineering, and science.
Free trade agreements help the economy more than hurt it. This is due to increased trade opening new markets for businesses to sell their products. For example: NAFTA recently has increased trade from $297 billion to $810 billion. The Peterson Institute for International Economics estimates that ending all trade barriers would increase the U.S. income by $500 billion.
Increasing U.S. protectionism will further slow economic growth and cause more layoffs, not less. If the U.S. regresses and closes its borders, other countries will more than likely do the same, resulting with an economic domino theory. This easily could cause layoffs among the 12 million U.S. workers who owe their jobs to exports.
While there needs to be necessary adjustments to new and changing circumstances, free trade between nations ultimately benefit all who participate. Protectionism can only lead us down a road to impoverishment and international commercial tensions.
The U.S. State Department announced that Blackwater will continue their contract, for another year but will be in an ongoing investigation concerning the September 2007 incident which left 17 Iraqi civilians dead.
"They committed a massacre against Iraqis and until now this issue has not been resolved. No judicial action has been taken, no compensation has been made," Maliki told CNN.
"I would say that the U.S. side should not have moved to renew the contract before the outstanding issues with this company are finalized. I feel this decision was taken without the approval of the Iraqi government."
Last September's shooting outraged the Iraqi government and enforced the State Department to change aspects of its deal with Blackwater, including tightening up rules of engagement and putting cameras on all security convoys.
As you may know, I'm a radical supporter of Blackwater and Erik Prince's decisions - this news is music to my ears.
With people in search for that special change that’s being granted oh-so-many times by Democrats, the Republican status is at an all-time low.
Yet somehow, John McCain seems to be holding his own, perhaps being the only electable Republican in the nation. Conservatives, like myself, may not be thrilled with what McCain has to offer, but we know, what controls the legislative and judicial branches, swiftly moves in favor for us in the long run.
If McCain were to lose, he should still be able to save a couple of Senate seats and a number of House seats.
For McCain to start getting a better vibe, he needs to be able to compete against a Democratic nominee. All of the nitpicking between Obama and Clinton eventually will boost McCain.
Currently, McCain is shown that he’s closely ahead or dead even of both Obama and Clinton.
There’s an expected bounce of a Democratic candidate gaining 10 points once the primary race is finished. With McCain lagging behind 10 points or so, it’s clear he’ll have a shot. If the bounce brings in more than 15 points the opposite will occur – the sooner the bounce happens, the more time McCain has to repossess himself.
Depending on who is the Democratic nominee, McCain will have different strategies to claim the presidency.
If Clinton ends up being the nominee, he’ll have to focus more on the Midwest and West, similar to what Bush had done in 2000 and 2004.
If Obama gets chosen, McCain’s focus will more than likely shift to the East and possibly even out into the Northeast.
If chosen, Clinton will be an easier opponent to defeat, concerning younger voters, white male independents, and the fact ‘Clinton’ is the name standing, which isn’t appealing to numerous people.
In order to excel against Obama, McCain will have to pursue a powerful economic strategy in the Rust Belt, which we all know isn’t his strength. To boost his appearance on economic terms, he could very well choose Mitt Romney as a running mate, almost for certain grabbing Michigan and New Hampshire.
It was brought to the attention of the New York Times that Dan Little’s company will not be driving starting April 1, 2008. Since the recent notice, the news has now grabbed the attention of thousands and is getting truckers backing him up, joining in the strike.
Majority of truckers state that it’s impossible in many ways to continue operating at the pace they are with all of their profits going towards fuel.
Little pointed out, “Our $50 fill-ups may seem intolerably high to many of us, but consider what it’s costing him: more than $1,200 to fill his truck, which then gets about 5 miles to the gallon.”
“Where is this magic set of railroad tracks, leading to every grocery store and Wal-Mart in the country?” he asked. “Even if you could ship everything on the rail system we have, which would be impossible, how does it move from there?”
FedEx and UPS are two known companies that will not be involved in the strike, so deliveries will not be interrupted.
I'll keep you updated on this story as it unfolds.
Website for the movement: www.americanfuelconsumersmovement.com
The elevator would be a 62,000 mile straight shot cable aimed directly into the sky. Payloads would lift the cable upward without using large launch forces, slowly climbing from one atmosphere out into space.
The tiniest of technologies: carbon nanotubes, is what attracted scientists so strongly to the possibility.
The elevator would function by a cable with one end attached to the earth’s surface, stretching upward beyond geosynchronous orbit at 21,7000 miles. After the 21,7000 is reached, simple physics takes place. On the lower end of the cable, the competing forces of gravity and outward centripetal acceleration at the top end, would keep the cable under sturdy and stationary tension.
The carbon nanotubes would be interconnected to form a ribbon, making the cable stronger than steel.
Bradley Edwards of Eureka Scientific in Berkeley, California said, both the U.S. and Japanese firms, among a couple others are ramping up the production of carbon nanotubes at an incredible pace. The quantity they’re looking at is around 5 years worth of hard work for a single cable.
“In 15 years we could have a dozen cables running full steam putting 50 tons in space every day for even less, including upper middle class individuals wanting a joyride into space. Now I just need the $5 billion,” Edwards said.
Getting the first space elevator off the ground, would use two space shuttle flights. Twenty tons of cable and reel would be launched up to geosynchronous altitude by an upper stage motor. The cable is then fed down to Earth and attached to an ocean-based anchor control station, located within the equatorial Pacific.
Once in place, a platform-based free-electron laser system is used to beam energy to photocell-laden "climbers". These are automated devices that ride upward on the ribbon. Every climber adds more and more ribbon to the first, resulting with increasing the cable's overall strength. A little over 2 years later, and using nearly 300 climbers, the first space elevator is capable of supporting over 20-tons, is now ready for service.
"If budget estimates are correct, we could do it for under $10 billion. The first cable could launch multi-ton payloads every 3 days. Cargo hoisted by laser-powered climbers, be it fragile payloads such as radio dishes, complex planetary probes, solar power satellites, or human-carrying modules could be dropped off in geosynchronous orbit in a week's travel time," Edwards said.
The elevator is still being aggressively researched for environmental impacts. Studied as to whether or not lightning, wind, and clouds could play a hazardous factor to the cable itself.
The other day I had the pleasure of watching a presentation given by Steve Steiner, a grad-student at MIT, who happens to be the team leader for DeltaX Space Elevator Tether Team. After learning more of what I already had known on nanotubes, I’ve come to believe that the space elevator isn’t as crazy as it sounds.
With Tuesday’s events being called the Second Super Tuesday, it certainly seemed to be the appropriate name for the evening’s poll counts.
"I am very, very grateful and pleased to note that tonight, my friends, we have won enough delegates to claim with confidence, humility and a great sense of responsibility, that I will be the Republican nominee for president of the United States," McCain told supporters Tuesday night.
John McCain swept all of the four nominating contests on Tuesday evening, to become the Republican Presidential Nominee. McCain won in Texas, Ohio, Vermont and Rhode Island. With these winnings, McCain rounded up over 1,919 delegate votes, which you may be aware of, is the total count needed to close the nomination.
Huckabee dropped out of the presidential race after being aware of the current numbers and McCain’s current position.
"It's now important that we turn our attention not to what could have been or what we wanted to have been, but now what must be -- and that is a united party," Huckabee told supporters in Dallas.
As you know, I don't like McCain (neither Clinton or Obama, as well) - but I knew this situation was going to arise sooner or later.
Possible new strategy: I should support Hillary Clinton in order for her to grasp the nomination and be elected as the next Commander in Chief. Then, two years into her term, she disrupts the plans of the United States and ends up with a downward spiral. With that in mind, the American people recall Hillary Rodham Clinton, along with dismissing her vice president, therefore, having another small election. Resulting, that the people of America realize that the democratic process isn’t necessarily the correct way to go about running a nation.
The remaining candidates aren’t really a choice at this point, so I’m a little happy I don’t have to take part with voting in this election.
Instead of always taking a serious route on politics, I’ll change it up for once.
Recently, I’ve come across a new way to express your feelings on the remaining presidential candidates. CNN’s Jack Cafferty, presented a blog post to his viewers, in regards to picking theme songs for the candidates. Some of which, are very creative. (My favorite was probably the Star Wars themed selection.)http://caffertyfile.blogs.cnn.com/2008/02/29/pick-a-campaign-theme-song/#comments
As you know, music plays a big part in almost everything. The candidate’s campaigns surely need the right music, whether it’s to…pump up the crowd, set a mood, send a message, etc. For each event, they have a new song, so this is your chance…show your creativity.
I guess I’ll throw mine in…I came up with a couple for each one.
1.) “Runnin’ Down A Dream” - Tom Petty
2.) “You Can’t Hide Your Lie’n Eyes” The Eagles
1.) "Dude Looks Like A Lady” - Aerosmith
2.) “It’s My Party And I’ll Cry If I Want To” - Lesley Gore
1.) A movement from Bach or Mozart, that way he can relate to his early years of life.
2.) “Which Side Are You On” - Dropkick Murphys
1.) “Countin’ On A Miracle”- (MY MAN)…Bruce Springsteen
2.) “Minister Of Rock And Roll” - Lenny Kravitz
1.) “Who Are You?” - The Who
2.) “Hello, Is Anybody Out There” - Pink Floyd
1.) “Here I go again” - Whitesnake
2.) “Don’t Come Around Here No More” - Tom Petty
Harmless way to poke some fun at the candidates. If you post, please keep the titles appropriate.
Within the last six months, Blackwater has been in the news, facing the American people with a bad reputation. You may recall, back in September of 2007, Blackwater contractors gunned down 17 unarmed civilians in Baghdad’s Nisoor Square, which caused great controversy pertaining to whether or not the use of private military contractors is needed.
Federal authorities are still investigating the incident and are currently running a two week trip, with eight prosecutors and FBI agents. The team left Tuesday night for Iraq, where they plan to interview witnesses, observe, and obtain evidence from the shooting.
Back in November of 2007, a grand jury investigation had prosecutors question about 30 U.S. witnesses, which includes many employees of Blackwater, in Washington D.C.
[Erik Prince testifying in Washington]
The trip is being used as an investigation, deciding whether or not the Blackwater contractors who were involved in the shooting, should face criminal charges. Prosecutors want to know whether or not Blackwater used excessive force in the shooting or violated any laws during the attack.
The incident has turned into a heated debate; contractors involved in the event, validate that their vehicles were ambushed in the intersection of Nisoor Square, felt threatened, and took proper precautions. While others are saying, they opened fire with no intentions of defending themselves.Iraqi reports would like the contractors to face trial in Iraq, rather than the United States. As for now, the U.S. will take the case until more evidence is uncovered. Blackwater and other contractors have activity operated in a legal gray area, this is do to the exemption of contractors from prosecution in Iraqi courts in 2004 - it's also difficult to tell whether or not they can be charged in U.S. courts.
With the team overseas, prosecutors are investigating whether they can bring charges under the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act. In order to achieve this, prosecutors must show that the State Department contractors were 'supporting the mission of the Department of Defense overseas.'
For those of you that don't know what Blackwater is, here's some background information:
Erik Prince is the founder and current CEO of Blackwater Worldwide, previously known as Blackwater USA. He operates the Prince Group, which is Blackwater’s parent company, out of McLean, VA. He is formerly a US Navy SEAL but ended his duty early, due to his dad’s unexpected death.
In late 1996, Erik Prince and Al Clark, both had the idea of opening up a lodging and training center for members to come and hangout with other sportsmen to train with firearms.
In 1997, Erik Prince ran with the idea and pursued it into a private security company. At the age of 38, he now runs the world’s most powerful mercenary army. Erik Prince doesn’t like being referred to as a ‘mercenary company’, but rather a ‘private security company’.
[The man himself, Erik Prince]
In 1998, Blackwater opened to the public, in Moyock, South Carolina. Within a year, started the first of many annual attacks within the United States.
First, was the Columbine in Colorado, April of 1999. Prince opened up a mock high school called ‘ARE YOU READY? HIGH’ on the company grounds to help train law enforcements on becoming more equipped for events such as this.
The following year, the attack on the USS Cole, off the coast of Yemen, this is known to be the most devastating peacetime attack against a US Vessel. The Navy awarded Blackwater with a 35 million dollar contract to train sailors against such attacks.
In 2000, under the Clinton Administration, Blackwater licenses goods and services to the federal government.
Then came September 11th, in 2001. After the Bush Administration declared the Invasion of Iraq, Blackwater took of becoming the fastest growing military company. The CIA contracted Blackwater in Afghanistan; Prince went over himself with the first deployment for about a month to get things set up.
In 1991, the Gulf War gave the ratio showing that there were 60 soldiers to every 1 US contractors serving active duty. The Bush Administration took this into context and later on, Cheney and Rumsfeld wanted a 1 to 1 ratio. Currently there are 145,000 soldiers to 135,000 contractors overseas right now.
Being a private military contacting company, there’s not a thing an Iraqi court can do. That’s what people tend to dislike about Blackwater the most. The government isn’t contracting Blackwater overseas as many people think, the State Department is. Iraq has its own domestic laws that pertain to military contractors, but these laws haven’t been able to be enforced over our own U.S. Military.
Hypothetically now, depending on which democrat is elected, if any, this almost guarantees troops will be dismissed and Blackwater will have the possibility of being excused from part of the military government. Don’t forget though, the Clinton Administration were radical supporters on keeping private military companies and making sure they stay private, for things not to be publicized. President Clinton is also the one responsible for giving Blackwater their contracts first.
A considerable amount of Americans agree that war should be based on rules of accountability, oversight, and law. That everything that happens should be in the public eye and accounted for. People, who think this, tend to be oblivious of what goes on overseas – it’s a war, sometimes doing the right thing isn’t always doing the right thing.
Blackwater runs on the term – Rules for the Use of Force. Blackwater, can return fire at anytime they wish. Whether they have an identified enemy or not – they can even start firing first to give the enemy no time to react. To me, this seems more effective; taking out the enemy before they start shooting at you. When being the first to attack, it’s called Offensive Aggressive Operation. When Blackwater sees enemy insurgents that are posed as a threat, they fire. They are now being called the “Peace and Stability Industry” – rather than mercenaries. The US Military uses Defensive Aggressive Operation, which is why they’re not allowed to fire first.
Blackwater is a main protector of US Diplomats in hostile environments. A lot of their work is done in public areas. When under fire or see a threat, they act on their instinct immediately – you have a split second to make a decision on your next move and sometimes innocent casualties occur.
Since troops and contractors have been deployed in Iraq, the 6 ½ year timeframe, Blackwater has had zero casualties of U.S. Diplomats and other high ranking government officials. To me, they seem to have a system that works.
Recently I’ve been informed, by numerous people, that Gunther von Hagens' BODY WORLDS: The Original Exhibition of Real Human Bodies showing in Milwaukee, is the one company, out of the two, that has all of their bodies accounted for; who they are and where they came from. The other company, has the government looking into their actions. That’s good to know, at least one knows where their bodies are coming from.
If anyone has information on this, let me know.
Alright, I’m sure that many of you watched the special on ABC’s 20/20 on Friday night, pertaining to where the bodies are coming from, used in the new exhibits exposing human cadavers. Many of you know, that Gunther von Hagens' BODY WORLDS: The Original Exhibition of Real Human Bodies is currently touring in Milwaukee and will be until June 1st of this year.
Coincidently, I was asked by a couple of my friends if I wanted to go and see the exhibit this weekend and the first thing that came to mind was absolutely not.
I had no clue that ABC was doing a story on it tonight, so I made sure I was home to watch it, to learn more about what I already had read about, from the pamphlet - a very biased pamphlet.
To give you some background information on what I’m writing about, is a museum-like exhibit that has actual dead human bodies on display, to show the anatomy of which lies beneath your skin. They're cut, sliced, separated, and posed, in many different ways, from sports like movements, to dancing, to everyday activities, the list goes on…there’s dozens and dozens of bodies in one exhibit at a time! Meaning, there’s hundreds of shipments, of dozens and dozens of bodies. Many of which are from Chinese decent.
I know I’m not the only one who thinks it’s wrong, to skin an actual human body and display it as an attraction, to make money off of it. Let alone, not only one company has this exhibit running, but two… and it’s landed here in America.
There’s something called a black market for bodies, run out of China. The story goes, that most of the bodies are executed prisoners, that were dumped on the street and being sold for $200.00 a piece. Then they’re shipped to wherever, AFTER the process [shown below] is taken into account. [The US Government passed a bill saying that no bodies can be shipped into the US in 2006] BUT bodies are still being shipped over - now, with the description on the package saying ‘Plastic Body Model For Medical Use’.
The two exhibits are:Gunther von Hagens' BODY WORLDS: The Original Exhibition of Real Human Bodies and BODIES: The Exhibition.
Gunther von Hagen's BODY WORLDS is the company that has stopped using bodies from China, suspecting illegal trades, after receiving bodies with execution style wounds. All of his bodies are donated from people in Europe with their consent.
BODIES: The Exhibition is the company that was caught recently using bodies from China - after the president of Premiere Exhibitions (provider of the human cadavers used in BODIES: The Exhibition) was shown most of his bodies were obtained through a black market in China. He was appalled to find the pictures and videos taken of the run-down building, in which his bodies where being worked on, after being obtained illegally. He said Premiere Exhibitions will start their own investigation and correct the wrongful doings that have taken place.
The process for displaying bodies in the exhibits, goes as follows:
1. Someone dies, whether it’d be natural causes, medical problems, murder, execution in prison or any other way, etc.
2. Bodies are picked up off the street, bought, found, or donated.
3. Cleaned, picked at, rearranged.
4. Soaked in a chemical vat of preservatives and plastic to keep form. "Plastination": is the process where the body's fluids are removed and replaced with a soft synthetic polymer. This enables mummification to the bodies and gives them a shocking lifelike appearance
5. Molding of whatever they choose to do. (Both done before and after chemical vat bath)
7. Money making exhibit.
Even if all of the bodies are accounted for, it's not the right way to present human cadavers. I’m sorry, but I worked in a hospital, I’ve gone through a couple of cadaver labs myself, I’ve seen the process of investigating cadavers before. You look at the cause of death, learn from it, perform whatever it may be you need for medical use, take pictures if you need to, but you don’t display them for money!
The exhibit just seems wrong to me. Check it out for yourself - let me know of what you think. Yes, you can learn a little something about drugs and alcohol, from someone dying and then showing their liver, heart, lungs, etc... but there's only so many times someone can show and tell you, not to do these things. There are many ways to educate oneself on the anatomy of a human body - this is not the way.
The good news is there’s a bill that was just passed by the California Assembly, which is being taken into account. The Federal Government is now looking into the case, to find out exactly where the bodies come from, as well as whether or not to shut the companies down.
You know where I stand on the issue...how about you?
Send some feedback, I’m curious as to what you think - are you okay with it? Against it? Do you think it's art? Science? Education for the public? Have you seen the exhibit yourself? Would you still be okay with it, if children started being used in the exhibit?
On Wednesday, President George W. Bush signed an economic stimulus plan, that includes tax rebates for almost all Americans. This package is also designed to offer tax breaks motivating businesses to invest.Dozens of members from Congress, including Nancy Pelosi, came out and stood on the stage behind Bush as he signed the bill. The president called the plan "a booster shot for our economy" to save America from falling into a recession.Most taxpayers will receive a check of up to $600 for individuals and $1,200 for couples from the IRS, with another $300 per child. People earning at least $3,000 and those who still owe little or no taxes would get $300 for individuals and $600 for couples. Those making more than $75,000 a year and couples with income exceeding $150,000 are to get smaller rebates - $50 less per $1,000 they make over those thresholds.
Rebates are expected to start being dished out in May.
This evening, Mike Huckabee made a campaign stop at the Country Springs Hotel, in Pewaukee. It was a public event that took place in the ballroom, starting around 7:00pm. I arrived at about 5:45pm and there was a solid 100 supporters waiting in line, anxious for the doors to open. The energy from the people tonight was most certainly uplifting for Huckabee, after receiving no delegate votes, from the last round of primaries.
Huckabee's speech tonight, touched base on a lot of issues. The first thing he said was "Nobody has a total of 1,191 delegate votes yet, therefore I will not give up, for there is no reason to! I will take McCain all the way into November and settle things the old fashioned way - I will certainly be in this until the end." He reassured people that even though the math doesn't work out and people are saying he doesn't have a chance to catch up to McCain…he's not backing down. "It's not time for our campaign to start winding down, it's time to start winding up."
Another important topic he went over tonight, that I’ve heard before from his last speeches, was, "In order for America to be free, we need to have three things. One, we need to be able to feed our families, you don't like the food you've got now, well you won't like it coming from a foreign country. Two, we need to be able to fuel ourselves. We need to use our own system for fueling and move toward energy independence, here in the United States, so we can tell those other countries that we need your fuel, as much as we need your sand. And three, we need to be able to fight for ourselves. We need to have a stronger military, so our enemies will stop and think twice about engaging upon us."
[Mike Huckabee informing everyone, he's not backing down.]
After his speech, I made my way into the press room behind the stage (I will not share details of how I got back there ha-ha) and I had the opportunity to do some amateur journalism. TV stations were setting up cameras for interviews, as I stood there by myself with my digital camera and notepad. Huckabee entered and was first greeted by myself and WISN's news anchor Terry Sater, whom I was chatting with seconds before he appeared. Sater gave Huckabee an interview and when he was finished Gov. Mike Huckabee walked over to me. And here’s what I asked him…
Governor Huckabee, you say having the world's strongest military is crucial, which I agree with myself, but where do you stand when it comes to private military contracting companies, such as Blackwater?
"I support private military contracting companies, I support Blackwater very much with what they're doing. I think that our military and Blackwater in particular, can get things done more efficiently. It depends on the contract though, as you may know, Blackwater had a few incidents where they were out of line, but I do support them...depending on the contract. I think they need more oversight on their actions.”
When you said we need a short-term stimulus package, but we need to do more, can you explain what that something more is?
“My short-term economic policies will move us toward our long-term economic goal… simply put, America's federal tax system is broken. What we have now is a system that is failing American families and businesses. Our tax system burdens low and middle-income families, robbing them of the chance for upward mobility. It wastes hundreds of billions in useless tax preparation, paperwork and confrontation. It pits industry against industry, class against class. My FairTax proposal will allow American workers to keep their entire paycheck, businesses to compete on a level playing field with their foreign competitors, and bring jobs and investment back to the U.S.”
The last question I have Governor is, you said you’d like to bring our troops home as soon as possible, while still maintaining activity overseas - can you give an estimated time of how long it will take?
"I support General Petraeus' current plan which, according to current projections, should reduce our troops to pre-surge levels by mid-July. Beyond that, I don't support a timetable. Further withdrawals will depend on favorable conditions on the ground and the recommendations of our generals. I agree with President Bush's plan of ‘return on success.’”
[Myself with Gov. Mike Huckabee, after our interview.]