Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Secret White House Memo on Iraq Leaked

The New York Times released an internal, five-page classified White House memorandum written by U.S. national security adviser Stephen Hadley on 8 November. It raises doubts about Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's ability to control sectarian violence.

The memo suggests that if Maliki fails to carry out a series of specified steps, it may ultimately be necessary to press him to reconfigure his parliamentary bloc, a step the United States could support by providing “monetary support to moderate groups,” and by sending thousands of additional American troops to Baghdad to make up for what the document suggests is a current shortage of Iraqi forces.

It is not a surprise that the Times would publish the text of the memo. Anything thing they can do to hurt the war effort, discredit the Bush administration and console the enemy, they'll do.

I also would assume that senior members of the White House would engage in open discussion about the Iraqi situation. There are bound to be dissenting voices -- voices that Bush opponents would love to exploit.

What strikes me strange is the leak of a classified document and that the Times has no problem with publishing it so everyone and anyone can read it. I propose the White House leaker and the Times writer, Michael Gordon, be arraigned on charges dealing with revealing national security intelligence. It'll never happen but I do not think anyone who engages in this should be given a pass.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Cyber Monday

The concept behind Cyber Monday strikes me as a bit weird: people wait all Thanksgiving weekend and come to work on Monday and buy Christmas gifts online.

ComScore Networks has predicted that online retailers on would ring up $599 million in sales on Cyber Monday, which is 24% more than recorded on that same day last year.

Shopping online is much more enjoyable than actually do the same thing at brick-and-mortar establishments -- at least for my wife and me, and apparently lots of others as well. Deals can be found, comparisons made, and long lines and hordes avoided.

But why is it people think they need to do this at work on that particular Monday? It sounds as if this has become another American entitlement. Another day to not put in a full day's labor for a full day's pay.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Marriage and Longevity

In the December issue of The Atlantic Monthly, they source a study "Marital Status and Longevity in the United State Population,"by R. Kaplan and R. Kronick in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

The study was a comparison of the U.S. 1989 national health interview survey (NHIS) and the 1997 US national death index. From the abstract, the death rate for people who were unmarried was significantly higher than it was for those who were married and living with their spouses. Although the effect was significant for all categories of unmarried, it was strongest for those who had never married. The never married effect was seen for both sexes, and was significantly stronger for men than for women. For the youngest age group (19–44), the predominant causes of early death among adults who had never married were infectious disease (presumably HIV) and external causes. In the middle aged and older men and women, the predominant causes were cardiovascular and other chronic diseases.

Marriage brings sanity to our lives. We learn to honor and respect the opinions and lives of someone other than ourselves. Successful marriages require unselfish acts. Unselfish lives are lives dedicated to service. Those that serve their fellowman -- a husband or wife -- are going to enjoy a greater, more fulfilling life. They are less likely to engage in activities and behavior that are know to cut our lives short.

Security Breach at "TDF" Doping Lab

A breach in security can have a huge impact on the credibility of the organization. Consider the report last week that a hacker stole data from computers at the French anti-doping lab Chatenay-Malabry where tests are being challenged by American cyclist Floyd Landis, winner of the 2006 Tour de France.

The lab also admitted that it made an administrative error when it reported its findings on Landis' backup "B" sample. Floyd Landis has insisted he was drug free when he won the Tour de France. He said that a French laboratory "made some mistakes" when its results showed he had elevated levels of testosterone.

So we have an admitted error and a security breach at the lab associated with Landis' urine test that cost him his Tour win.The case against Landis is getting weaker by the day. This is not to say he was not doping. He does participate in a sport that is riddled with drugs and cheating. It is hard to take the side of the racers.

If this case were heard in an American court of law, a good lawyer would probably find him not guilt. However, this will not be an American court of law. The premise in this case will be guilty unless proven innocent. The governing body who removed Landis' title will not want to lose face and will see to it, within all their power, to make sure his title is not re-awarded.

We can learn a great lesson here: one mistake could be considered tolerable and can perhaps be "overlooked" but when the company's security is breached, it diminishing the credibility of the lab and brings into question their whole quality process. We appear to have a snowball effect going on here. This bodes well for the Landis camp.

A Quite Hurricane Season

It was a good year to have few Atlantic storms to hit the southeast U.S. The traditional hurricane season ends this week. The following numbers are certainly a blessing to a region that suffered so much in 2005:

9: The number of named storms in 2006.

17: The number of named storms predicted 31 May by a team at Colorado State University led by Professor William Gray.

45 mph: The wind speed when Tropical Storm Alberto hit the Florida Panhandle near Adams Beach on 13 June -- the strongest winds over Florida all season.

56 percent: The average homeowner rate increase Citizens Property Insurance Corp. requested even after no hurricanes struck Florida.

27 percent: The Citizens rate increase approved to start 1 January.

$100 million: Estimated damage in the U.S. from Tropical Storm Ernesto.

0: The number of storms that formed in October -- the first time since 2002 that no storms formed that month.

0: Category 4 or 5 storms formed in 2006 -- the first time since 1997.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Black Friday

Reading the news regarding the economics of the holiday shopping season, it forces us to think about how strange our economy has become.

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, has become a holiday in and of itself. Stores run ads to motivate shoppers to forsake sleep for long lines and a few deals. This year's Black Friday saw a 6% uptake in shoppers, for a total of $8.96 billion in one-day sales. Many believe the strength or weakness of this day will dictate the strength of the holiday buying season.

Retailers plan on the 4-5 weeks at the end of the year to judge their business success or failure.

It is a sad thing to think that a large portion of our economy is based on people buying presents for other people at the end of the year. Presents or gifts that when you look at them, are really useless.

What would happen if families limited their gift buying to a small gift per family member? No bought gifts for extended family members, friends, neighbors, co-workers? For one, it would bring the the focus of Christmas back on the Savior (except for the Liberals who'd want it eliminated because it has become a Christian religious holiday).

The "American Christmas" has become a pagan ritual for most, even for the religious. The spirit of gift-given has been corrupted by big business and marketing rubbish.

The economy will do just fine if we save more and become more frugal in our buying habits. We'll buy throughout the year more according to our needs and less on our wants.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Holy War

College football rivalries are great. Consider the big ones: Ohio State-Michigan, Alabama-Auburn, USC-Notre Dame, Florida-Florida State, Texas-Texas A&M, Army-Navy. Consider the regional ones: Oregon-Oregon State, Washington-Washington State, Georgia-Georgia Tech, South Carolina-Clemson, Oklahoma-Oklahoma State, Arizona-Arizona State, USC-UCLA, Cal-Stanford, etc.

As a Buckeye, nothing is better than the OSU-Michigan. However, I am a Utah alumni and have lived in Utah for over fifteen years, and I really get into the Holy War: BYU-Utah.

Although I have been a Ute season ticket holder in the past, I have not been lately (can't devote the number of Saturdays required). I do however buy tickets to the Holy War.

Today's game was a typical up and down affair. It turned out to be a disappointing loss for Utah. Despite some questionable calls, Utah has no one to blame but themselves. I really dislike BYU; but they won fair and square.

When you look at how the game unfolded, Utah should have won. BYU had an anemic rushing game. But Utah had no pass rush. Utah could not get 6 inches on a critical fourth down. Utah made some major mistakes -- penalties and bonehead plays -- and BYU was able to take advantage of them. You'd think in college football that if a team needs to go the length of the field to win with in just over a minute, the defense, who has a 4-point lead, could stop them. Not Utah. Congrats to John Beck and his offensive line for giving him more than ample time to find his open receivers, including the game winning pass at the end of the game.

This one was painful.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Democrats' Economic Plans

The Democrats won the November mid-term elections. That's a given. We'll have to see how they react. They did not win a mandate. A more accurate assessment is that the Republican lost. Call it Iraq, Katina, spending or scandal, they blew it.

I doubt very much those people who voted for the Democratic candidate or some third-party candidate, understand what they put in power.

Just take a look at what the Democrats hope to accomplish in the next two years, just in the area of economics:
  • Raise the minimum wage
  • Restrain CEO pay
  • Strengthen union clout
  • Expand the earned-income tax credit
  • Roll-back the upper-income tax cuts
  • Raise taxes on dividends and capital gains
  • Increase grants to low-income college students
  • Cut interest rates on student loans
  • Expand public pre-kindergarten programs
  • Expand age-loss insurance
  • Revamp unemployment insurance program
  • Cover mortgage payments for "displaced workers"
  • Give cash to families whose income falls sharply
  • Provide universal health insurance
  • Allow small employers to buy health insurance from a government-sponsored pool
  • Provide universal 401(k) with government subsidies
This is pure socialism. Every one of these ideas or programs removes personal freedom and encourages government dependency (slavery). The underlying premises assumes that the government knows how to better run your life and spend your money than you do.

These are my one-line responses to each of these bad ideas:
  • We don't need a minimum wage at all; the market will dictate wages.
  • CEOs should make as much as their Boards want them to make; it they want to upset their workers, so be it.
  • Unions were important in 1930, they are no longer viable.
  • I am all for fewer taxes but do not like new programs to help those who don't pay taxes.
  • Taxes for all tax-payers and government spending needs to be reduced.
  • Taxes should be cut on dividends and capital gains to encourage investment.
  • If someone desires a college education, there is nothing in their way prohibiting them from achieving this goal; scholarships, grants and loans are plentiful.
  • The market should dictate student loan interest rates.
  • Expanded public pre-kindergarten programs is nothing more than government sponsored babysitting.
  • Expanded programs even for age-loss insurance are always a bad idea.
  • The current unemployment insurance program is not intended to be a status quo for our lifestyles; lose a job, find a new one.
  • The government has no roll in maintaining our lifestyle so having them pay unemployed workers' mortgages is not a role the government should play; can't afford a house, sell it and downsize.
  • Giving cash to families whose income falls sharply is called unemployment and it is fine as it is.
  • Universal health insurance paid for and managed by the government will be a disaster to our economy and our health.
  • Small employers can buy health insurance from a pool -- with other small businesses not the government.
  • We already have a universal 401(k) system we call IRAs; we don't need the government to subsidize them.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Motivation Behind the Jeffs Trial

The more I hear about the prosecution of polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs, the more I question the motives behind it.

In April 2001, Jeffs married a 19-year-old man and a 14-year-old girl -- a first marriage for both. The girl apparently was forced into this marriage against her will, hence the cry of rape.

Hence, because of Jeffs' role, he is being charged
with two first-degree felony counts of being an accomplice to rape. However, the husband has not been publicly identified or charged with any crime.

So an accomplice deserves more attention than the actual "raper?"

The
attorney general's office is on a witch hunt. The state of Utah is condemning a culturally different religion -- the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

If the focus is on girls being forced into marriage -- which it should be -- I wonder how the Jeffs case will solve this problem?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Alexander Litvinenko's Poisoning

Russian Alexander Litvinenko, the 41-year-old former FSB top officer who defected to Britain in 2000, seems to have met the wrath of his fellow co-workers. He was poisoned with polonium 210, a radioactive element used as a trigger in nuclear weapons -- a chemical weapon that can cause a slow, painful death over the course of weeks or months, even with treatment.

Litvinenko has said he fell ill after meeting a source at a sushi restaurant in England while looking into the case of investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya. This Putin critic was gunned down at her Moscow apartment last month.

The Russian security service, the Federal Security Service or FSB, seem to have the motto: we get our man. Doctors say he has only a 50/50 chance of surviving.

UPDATE: sadly, he died early Friday morning, 11/24/06.

When you are an outspoken critic of President Vladimir Putin's Kremlin, accusing his FSB of blowing up an apartment block in 1999 so they could blame Chechen separatists and justify a new war in Chechnya, you'd better run and hide. Unfortunately, there appears to be no safe hiding place.

Of course, the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) has denied the allegations about its possible involvement in the poisoning.

Morneau AL MVP

Hot dang! The Minnesota Twin first baseman Justin Morneau was named the American League Most Valuable Player. He hit .321 with 34 home runs, 97 runs scored and 130 RBIs.

He received 15 first-place votes, eight second-place votes, three third-place votes and two fourth-place votes for a total of 320 points.

Derek Jeter, the runner-up, received 12 first-place votes, 14 second-place votes and one fourth-place vote for 306 points. Boston's David Ortiz finished third with 193 votes, and Frank Thomas finished fourth with 174.

It was the 10th-closest AL MVP election ever. The closest was 1947, when Joe DiMaggio beat Ted Williams, 202-201. Last year, the Yankees' Alex Rodriguez beat out Ortiz, 331-307.

Howard NL MVP


Phillies 1st baseman Ryan Howard was named the MVP of the NL with 20 first-place votes by the Baseball Writers Association of America. Howard defeated last year's NL MVP, the Cardinals' Albert Pujols, by a total of 388 to 347. Houston's Lance Berkman (230) finished third and New York's Carlos Beltran (211) finished fourth.

Howard becomes the second player in Major League Baseball history to win the Rookie of the Year and MVP Awards in consecutive seasons, following Cal Ripken in 1982 and 1983. Fred Lynn (1975) and Ichiro Suzuki (2001) won both awards in their first seasons.

Not to take anything from Howard, I would have voted for Pujols. I thought he was the best player in the league and the best on his team, almost single handily assuring the Cardinals a spot in the playoffs, giving them the chance to win the World Series.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Rangel and the Draft

Congressman Charles Rangel (D-NY), the incoming Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, says he intends to introduce a bill in Congress to reinstate the military draft. His premise is that the fighting forces should more closely reflect the economic makeup of the nation. (He spoke about this back in 2003 also.)

Because those who make the decisions to go to war rarely have family members actually in the military, he feels it would give the war-makers second thoughts about entering into foreign conflicts. He says the current all-volunteer military is not sufficient enough to sustain the military challenges the U.S. is facing, including the potential military involvement in Iran.

Listening to the talk shows hosts, some feel the draft would be a good idea, claiming that we need more troops. Or the only way to get more troops is via the draft.

Rangle says we spend way too much on recruiting; money which could be better spent elsewhere.

There are things here on both sides that merit comment:

1) Although our young men and women could benefit from the training and discipline they would obtaining through military service, there is no real motivating factor to force the taxpayers to fund this.

2) There is no data that suggests that if we had more foot soldiers, we'd win the war in Iraq. Or if we have more troop, we could deal more effective with Iran, North Korea and the Middle East in general.

3) Whenever a politician say "that money could be better spent elsewhere," its time to grab your wallets. It is always a Democrat that knows how to spend your money better than you do.

4) We are fighting this war in Iraq with both hands tied behind our backs. We are fighting a political war at home. If we fought the war with our superior technology and without an anti-military reporter embedded in every platoon, we could quickly eliminate the problems. Fighting a war where the main objective is to avoid collateral damage is doomed from the start.

5) If the real war is militant Islam, then we should create a fighting force to address the enemy. If the battle is against nuclear non-proliferation, then lets fight that war. Another ten million foot soldiers are not the answer to either of these problems.

We have always fought the current war with the tactics and strategies from the last war. The days of redcoats, stormtroopers, and foxholes are past. Wars need be fought in a blitzkrieg style coupled with strong political engagement of those who will fill the leadership vacuum.

Whereas a draft might be an interesting social endeavor, it will not solve our foreign policy dilemmas.

Red flags go up whenever a Democrat proposes some pro-military action. The Democrats hate the military. They have from the 1960s and do so to this day. There is something Democratic in Rangle's motivation. And I can tell you that it does not have the country in its best interest.

Can you say Hitler's youth or communist youth indoctrination programs? If it's coming from a Democrat, that's the socialist leaning program they'd like to oversee.

Healthy Marriage

In this morning's Wall Street Journal, there was a cover page article entitled How a U.S. Official Promotes Marriage to Fight Poverty.

Dr. Wade Horn is the head of the federal Administration for Children and Families (part of the HHS). He believes that traditional marriage can have a positive impact on family economics. Congress has allocated nearly $500 million over five years for a whole range of welfare legislation. Any program that was not previously specified is devoted to his marriage promotion programs.

The idea that poverty has a lot to do with broken marriages has been around for decades. Back in 1965, 8% of children were born to unmarried parents. Today, nearly 33% are and 70% of black children are.

Study after study show children are better off in a two parent home -- a mother and a father. The children are less likely to be poor, drop out of school, become teen parents or get arrested.

Research suggests that marriage education works for middle-class white families. New studies will see if it works for poor, nonwhite couples.

As you can image, there are many opponents of using federal dollars for these pro-marriage programs. There is an opposition in all things; always has been, always will be. If the studies show that health marriage -- real marriage with both parties committed to honoring their vowels and going the extra mile to make it work -- does in fact help reduce poverty, there will still be detractors.

The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity.

Marriage just works. It works on the spiritual, emotional and physical side; it works on the economic side as well. The scientific studies are nice and important for a government but for me, not exactly necessary.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Buckeyes Are Big Ten Champs!

Return Missionary

As a young man, I served a full-time LDS mission. I served for two years in the San Jose/San Francisco area as a Spanish-speaking Elder. Twenty some years later, our oldest son just completed his two year mission in Siberia.

Like most missionaries, he really grew to love the Russian people, the language and culture. The Church is growing in that part of the world. In his mission, one of around ten Russian missions, realizes around 180 covert baptisms a year -- on the high end of Russian missions.

Coming from that part of the world back into the land of plenty has been a cultural and emotion shock for him. He kind of walks around in a stupor -- not really sure what to do with himself.

I took him to the university he will be attending in January to go through orientation and to get ready to register and pay for his classes. It was all a bit overwhelming for him. He was not ready to select him classes -- he had not even been thinking about it. He does know what he want to study, which serves him well.

He was a bit frustrated and confused with the whole freshman scene. Most of the classes he wanted to take were full. He'll be forced to take general ed classes his first semester. He did however get some positive news when he took and passed the Russian language placement exam. The exam gave him 16 credits of "A" grade of first and second year Russian.

It is funny to watch these full-time missionaries return home. If they weren't a little weird, I'd question how faithful and hardworking they were.

His mother and I are so proud of him. He will look back on that part of his life with great love and pride. I also feel that his Russian language and cultural skills as well as his leadership experiences will serve him well throughout his personal and professional life.

Well done son.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Parenting In Scotland Lacking

In Scotland, 1 in 17 children (54,000) are referred to authorities due to parental neglect, offenses and as victims of child neglect or abuse. "Bad parents" are identified as the single biggest cause of referrals.

Bo, RIP


In the spirit of college football rivalries, nothing is as intense as the Ohio State - Michigan game each November. This year's game has #1 OSU hosting #2 Michigan; the winner gaining a slot in the National Championship game in January in Arizona.

Today, the day before the big game, the legendary Michigan Coach Bo Schembechler passed away. A passionate Buckeye fan, I still respect my foe. A great coach. A great ambassador of the game. He will be missed.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Brandon Webb Wins NL Cy Young

Congratulations to Brandon Webb, right-handed pitcher for the Arizona Diamondback for winning the 2006 National League Cy Young Award.

He received 15 out of the possible 32 first-place votes and 103 points based on a 5-3-1 point system. San Diego's Trevor Hoffman finished second with 77 points and 12 first-place votes, while St. Louis' Chris Carpenter, the 2005 winner, was third with 63 points and two first-place votes.

Webb finished the season with a 16-8 record and 3.10 ERA in 33 starts.

Santana Wins AL Cy Young

Congratulations to Minnesota Twin left-handed starting pitcher Johan Santana for winning his second American League Cy Young Award.

He has become just the 14th pitcher in Major League history to win multiple Cy Young Awards.

Santana was named the unanimous winner of the 2006 American League Cy Young Award as bestowed by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Santana received all 28 first place votes. He was followed in the voting by Chien-Ming Wang (Yankees), Roy Halladay (Blue Jays) and Francisco Rodriguez (Angels).

Hoyer In, Murtha Not, Pelosi Rebuffed

House Democrats on Thursday chose Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer to be House majority leader over Rep. John Murtha, the choice of Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the newly elected Speaker.

Hoyer was elected on a vote of 149-86. Hoyer is one of the most accomplished Democratic legislator in the House, widely respected on both sides of the aisle. Hoyer is more qualified; Murtha being a certifiable wacko.

It took only a week after the Democratic victory and Pelosi statement "we made history and now we will make progress for the American people; we will not be dazzled by money and special interests."

With Pelosi behind Murtha for majority leader, repayment proved to be too difficult for her. When we make friends with the devil, he always comes home to roost.

Politicians, regardless of affiliation, do just about anything to get and increase their power base.

Although Pelosi was elected as Speaker, this Murtha sponsorship and subsequent defeat questions her leadership abilities. This rebuff came not just from the moderate arm of the party but from the liberals as well.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

MLB Managers of the Year


Congrats to Major League Baseball's Managers of the Year, named by the Baseball Writers' Association of America:

AL: Jim Leyland, Detroit Tigers. He was followed in the voting by Ron Gardenhire (MIN), Ken Macha (OAK) and Joe Torre (NYY).

NL: Joe Girardi, Florida Marlins. He was followed in the voting by Willie Randolph (NYM), Bruce Bochy (SD) and Grady Little (LAD).

For all his success, he was fired in early October. With this piece of hardware, he should not have too difficult of a time finding gainful employment in MLB.

... Until Palestine Stretches from the River to the Sea

The following are statements made by Hamas leaders in the last two months from reports by MEMRI, the Middle East Media Research Institute, 8 November 2006.

Rejection of Israel and Its Legitimacy

In an interview, Palestinian Political Bureau head Khaled Mash'al told the daily Al-Hayat: "Why am I required to [recognize] the legitimacy of an occupying [entity] that is sitting on my land when there are millions of Palestinians who come from the land on which this entity is sitting? It is true that there is an entity called Israel, but I do not wish to recognize it."(1)

At an October 20, 2006 Hamas convention in Khan Yunis, Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Al-Zahar stated that "Israel is a vile entity that has been planted in our soil, and has no historical, religious or cultural legitimacy. We cannot normalize our relations with this entity. The history of this region has proven [time and again] that occupation is temporary. Thousands of years ago, the Romans occupied this land and [eventually] left. The Persians, Crusaders, and English [also] came and went. The Zionists have come, and they too will leave. [We say] no to recognizing Israel, regardless of the price we may have to pay [for our refusal]."(2)

In a sermon in Khan Yunis, Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniya said: "Israel wants Hamas to hand it the card of recognition in the hope that this would lead to recognition by other Muslim countries. Israel may have been recognized by part of the Palestinian people and by some Arab countries. However, it [now] wants something more significant - the [trump] card of Islamic recognition - and it wants to obtain this recognition through the Palestinian government and Hamas..."(3)

Palestine From the River to the Sea

On the issue of a Palestinian state, Khaled Mash'al said: "The [Hamas] movement has agreed to [the establishment of a Palestinian] state within the 1967 borders and to a hudna [a temporary cessation of hostilities]... As a Palestinian, I am interested in a Palestinian state and I am not interested in the occupying state. Why do people require the Palestinians [to accept] the existence of two states as one of their principles and goals? The Zionist state exists. I [wish to] speak of my Palestinian state that does not exist. I am the one that has been denied [the right to] a state, to sovereignty, to independence, to liberty, and to self-determination. Therefore, my main [goal] is to focus on obtaining my rights. I wish to establish my state."(4)

Mahmoud Al-Zahar said: "We [aim to liberate] all our lands... If we have the option, we will establish a state on every inch of land within the 1967 [borders], but this does not by any means imply that we will relinquish our right to all the Palestinian lands. We want all of Palestine from [Ras] Naqura to Rafah, and from the [Mediterranean] sea to the [Jordan] river."(5)

An announcement issued by Hamas on the occasion of the anniversary of the Kafr Qasem massacre stated: "We will not relinquish a single grain of the soil of Kafr Qasem, or a single inch of stolen Palestinian land. Sooner or later, our people shall return to its land, to its cities and to its villages from which it was expelled..."(6)

On the 2002 Arab (Saudi) Peace Initiative

Hamas Political Bureau Head Musa Abu Marzouq said: "Hamas has serious reservations about the [Arab] initiative since it involves acceptance of two states, Palestine and Israel. Hamas rejects this because it means recognition of Israel."(7)

Khaled Mash'al also referred to the same topic: "The interested parties [involved] in the Arab-Israeli conflict and in a [potential] settlement never took the Arab initiative seriously. The problem, therefore, does not lie with the initiative or with the Arab countries, but rather with the U.S. and Israel, which reject this initiative and wish to impose the Quartet's terms on us. In the past, we were told that the [Arab] initiative is only a step [towards a goal]. Then, some of the Arab and Palestinian parties told us, officially, that accepting the Arab initiative is an important step in convincing the international community that [the Palestinians] accept the Quartet's terms. So they are not interested in the initiative itself but in its end result. That is, [they are interested in the initiative] as a step on the way to accepting the Quartet's terms.(8)

On the Legitimacy of Resistance and Jihad

In an October 6 speech Ismail Haniya said, "We [derive our] legitimacy from the legitimacy of the jihad. We are a government born from the womb of the resistance, from the womb of the martyrs... We are a government that comes out of resistance and jihad, and out of the desire for resistance and jihad against the Zionist occupation..."(9)

Khaled Mash'al said: "We do not regard our actions as terrorism or violence but as resistance that is legitimate, even according to international law, so I refuse [to use] any term that would imply self-criticism. It is the aggressor [i.e. Israel] that is perpetrating violence and terrorism. It is [Israel] that is employing every type of terrorism against people, against the land, against the holy places and against the [very] trees...As long as my people are in exile and my land is occupied, I have the legitimate right to resist... It is the American injustice and the Zionist aggression that cause terrorism and [create] the climate of terrorism... Had the international community offered us a way to obtain our rights without resistance we would have taken it, since resistance is only a means [for us], not an end."(10)

Endnotes:
(1) Al-Hayat (London), October 12, 2006.
(2) Al-Ayyam (PA), October 21, 2006.
(3) Al-Ayyam (PA) October 14, 2006.
(4) Al-Hayat (London), October 12, 2006.
(5) Al-Ayyam (PA), October 21, 2006.
(6) www.palestine-info.info , October 30, 2006.
(7) Al-Ayyam (PA), September 18, 2006.
(8) Al-Hayat (London), October 12, 2006.
(9) www.palestine-info.info , October 6, 2006.
(10) Al-Hayat (London), October 12, 2006.

MEMRI holds copyrights on all translations. Materials may only be used with proper attribution.

Vietnam and Free Trade

It has been twenty years since Vietnam moved away from a centrally planned economy toward a free market system. In 1994, the U.S. lifted its trade embargo. Market growth in this former U.S. enemy continues to be high.

Vietnam has become a major location for offshore activities. The Japanese are heavily engaged in joint ventures, including software associations Vijasgate and Vinasa. Intel announced a $300M microchip assembly plant in Ho Chi Minh City. Canon has two factories in Hanoi and is building a third. Estimates have nearly 600 homegrown software companies in Vietnam.

On 26 October, Vietnam agreed a deal to become the 150th member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) once formalities are completed around the turn of the year. However, as one price of entry, Vietnam agreed to remain on a list of so-called “non-market economies,” alongside China and several other WTO members, most of them former Soviet republics. This makes it harder for Vietnam to defend itself against the charge of dumping, something Vietnam is prolific in.

Vietnam has a willing labor force. Vietnam will be a competitive exporter in a wide range of commodities, including textiles and garments, shoes, electronics, but primarily in agricultural commodities. In a market-driven economy, some farmers will prosper while others will go out of business and move to factory jobs in urban areas.

Related, the White House is urging Congress to pass a bill normalizing trade relations with Vietnam. However, PNTR (permanent normal trade relations) did not pass Congress earlier this week. This comes on the eve of President Bush's visit to Vietnam. However, U.S. Trade Representatives feel this PNTR status for Vietnam will eventually happen.

One the surface, all FTAs look good as being open and the basis of a capitalistic society. But things are rarely on an even playing ground. These agreements are weighted in favor of the third-world countries, with the U.S. getting the short end.

Globalism, although inevitable, should be trumped by American nationalism.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Energy's Impact on the Stock Market

In Monday's Wall Street Journal, there was an interesting article on 18 key sectors of the U.S. stock market listing their market capitalization on 9 Dec 1998 when oil was trading at $11.16 per barrel and on 10 Nov 2006 when oil was at $59.59.

The sectors are oil/gas, industrial goods/services, technology, banking, financial services, healthcare, retail, food/beverage, telecom, autos, chemical, insurance, media, utilities, travel/leisure, personal/household, basic resources, and construction.

All sectors grew except travel/leisure, telecom, food/beverage and autos. The biggest growth sectors were banking, financial services and ... oil and gas. This sector grew the largest from $637B to $1396B -- the largest in real dollars and growth percentage. ExxonMobile grew from $193B to $442B.

Giuliani As A Republican Candidate?


Rudy Giuliani has set up an exploratory committee to look into a run for the presidency.

This proves he is as egotistical as most say he is.

He is a Republican in name only. He does not have a conservative bone in his body. He has no chance of winning the Republican nomination.

He has parted ways with two wives. He is pro-"gay rights", pro-abortion, pro-government-funded embryonic stem-cell research, pro-multiculturalism. The liberal list goes on and on.

Giuliani's time is past. He provided NYC great leadership in its time of need during the 9/11 aftermath.

The only chance Giuliani has at the White House is as a Democrat -- where the bulk of his principles lie.

Monday, November 13, 2006

"Gay Rights" Marketing Blitz

Name the Liberal / Democrat talking point -- church-state separation, multiculturalism, marriage, sex/morality, public education, MSM, abortion, Christianity, embryonic stem cell research -- in each case, they are popularized by evil marketing campaigns. The more you hear the spun message, them more you become sympathetic to their cause.

Consider homosexuality. The campaign for "gay rights" is not a recent phenomena. It evolved from the 60s. First they used a positive term for their lifestyle: "gay." Then they added "rights"as if they were denied rights other Americans had and they didn't. As if they were denied their Constitutional rights.

As David Kupelian states in his book The Marketing of Evil, they use desensitizing, jamming and conversion techniques. Desensitizing is the inundating the public with positive, non-offensive, gay-related advertising. Jamming is psychological terrorism designed to silence the dissenting voices. Conversion is classic brainwashing by convincing the masses that gays are no different than you and I -- that they deserve total support for their innate lifestyle.

They twist history making claims that some famous figures were gay (absolute no proof), so it is okay for people to be gay. They fail to point out other, less appealing figures (Nazis) were gay.

The MSM has been pro-gay for years. The major newspapers and media outlets have gone out of their way to sponsor, if not favor, homosexual journalists.

Why are people gay? They tell you it is a genetic disposition, or that they were born that way and have no choice in the matter. They want people who feel remorse for acting on their "gay tendencies" to eliminate these negative feelings by "understanding" it is perfectly normal, natural and they way god made you.

They never talk about studies of adult gay males who were abused as children by other males. In other words, there are no environmental factors involved in the process. Likewise, that the gay lifestyle may be chosen and not a condition of birth.

The gay movement does not acknowledge the Light of Christ -- a conscience in the vernacular. Traditional notions of right and wrong are replaced by "consensuality:" as long as two people consent, they can do whatever, so long as it does not hurt others, so they say. (A pedophile justifies his behavior because he does not believe he is hurting the child, rather loving him.)

Gays have been able to be gay for as long as man has been on the Earth. Their campaign is not about equal rights. They hope to stifle all traditionalists -- Judeo-Christian doctrine. They claim they are fighting battles as the blacks did for decades. But being black is not unnatural or self-destructive. Gays enjoy a very free life. In fact, they are on the higher economic scale.

We use the phrase "hate the sin, love the sinner." But they poo-poo this. They want all to give in to their urges. They want to redefine truth. They want "anti-gay" censorism. They do not want to feel the pains of remorse -- part of the consequences of sin. In their minds, traditional Judeo-Christian counseling; i.e., a Mormon Bishop helping a gay-leaning young man, are only torture for the youth. They fail to understand the difference between appeasing council and real love, because real love is often painful.

Anything that sounds wrong, feels wrong, looks wrong, probably is. However, if you are told it is okay again and again, you will convince yourself that it is okay. However, truth is truth -- if it is wrong it is wrong and will always be wrong.

Chinese Shadowed USS Kitty Hawk

Chinese Song-class diesel-powered attack submarine shadowed the USS Kitty Hawk in the Pacific, near Okinawa , undetected and surfaced within five miles of the carrier Oct. 26 within firing range of its torpedoes and missiles before being detected.

The surfaced submarine was spotted by a routine surveillance flight by one of the carrier group's planes. The sub is equipped with Russian-made wake-homing torpedoes and anti-ship cruise missiles.

Posturing? Tactical practice? This is a troubling event. Is this normal or rare? I wonder how many similar things go unreported?

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Buckeye Alumni in Sarasota

November finds us deep into college football conference play. Every game counts whether it is a competition for bowl eligibility, conference leadership, or being in contingency for a BCS game and the national championship game.

Today, I was at Captain Curt's in Sarasota, Florida. For a number of years now, members and guests of The Ohio State University Sarasota-Manatee Florida Alumni Club gather for all Buckeye football games. The place was packed -- standing room only.

Everyone was dressed in the best scarlet and grey and wearing their buckeye necklaces. People that have not spent time in Ohio might have a tough time relating. I don't know how many times I have been asked: "what's a buckeye?" Unfortunately for them, I probably give them more than enough information.

Before and after, script OHIO is played, as are "Hang on Sloopy," "Carmen Ohio" (the Alma Mater), and others. After major plays, everyone cheers. After a TD, the Buckeye fight song is played and everyone claps along.

Although we were mildy concerned about today's game at Northwestern, the confidence was high. By half-time, all the thoughts and discussions were focused on next week's game at home against Michigan -- OSU #1 vs UM #2. Both OSU (11-0) and UM (11-0) won rather easily today, setting up the show down and a seat in the national championship game in January.

Other fans share a similar bond with their teams: Nebraska, Penn State, Norte Dame, Texas, Florida, Auburn, etc. It is a joy to be part of this fellowship. As someone who does not live in Ohio, it is a thrill to join with other Buckeyes in such fun and exciting times.

Way to go Sarasota; it was fun. Go Bucks!

Carmen Ohio
----------------
Oh! Come let’s sing Ohio’s praise,
And songs to Alma Mater raise;
While our hearts rebounding thrill,
With joy which death alone can still.
Summer’s heat or Winter’s cold.
The seasons pass, the years will roll;
Time and change will surely show
How firm thy friendship O-hi-o.

Veteran's Day

Today is Veterans Day. for many, it goes unnoticed unless you work for the government and get the day off (except it was on Saturday this year, so you probably got off on Friday).

I always take time to reminisce about the Veterans. My paternal grandfather, two uncles and my father were / are veterans. My grandfather served in WWI; one uncle in WWII; the other in Korea; and my father in Korea.

I was listening to the NPR the other day and they stated that there are only fourteen WWI vets still living in the USA. There are other WWI vets still living who served in their respective countries -- Germany, Italy, France, UK, Australia, Canada. Each of the survivors is over 100 years old.

My grandfather died 2.5 years after I was born. He knew me but I do not remember him. However, my father has done some family history and I have a record of his letters home during his time during the War -- in the US and in Europe. Through this and what my father has told me, I know him a little better.

These men fought a war that isn't talked about much anymore. Our memories are short. They lived before the technology we take for granted.

Although they be forgotten by most, they will always be remembered by some.

Thank you WWI vets. And thanks to all you other vets including those currently serving.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Hotel Wi-Fi Ripoff

Wi-fi has become an expected offering for its customers in most travel-oriented businesses. From hotels to restaurants, we expect this. In fact, we don't want to pay for it as an add-on fee.

Wi-fi and high-speed Internet access for businesses are cheap. When businesses require us to pay $10 a day, that's too much. In some cases, we are forced to do so because of the situation we are in -- a hotel that is hosting a conference we are attending.

More and more hotels are offering free Internet access. We all know they embed the fee into the price of the room. But if they keep increasing the price of hotel rooms, consumers are going to look for other, cheaper alternatives.

However, this week the situation has come to the point of a rebellion. The hotel where I am staying -- namely their hot spot provider T-Mobile -- charges $10 per day for wi-fi. I am here for a week and the fee is $60. A bit steep no doubt. However in the actual conference room area, they block the T-Mobil wi-fi and force you to use a separate wi-fi service FOR $350 PER DAY PER IP ADDRESS!

To use the Internet for your presentation or for your demonstration, you must pay $700 for two computers x 4 days.

I was tempted to buy the wi-fi gear needed to bridge the signal to a separate AP in the conference area. It would have been cheaper than paying $2800 for four days of access for two laptops. (BTW, I passed on the Internet access in the conference area.)

Recommendation: don't book or attend a conference at the Hyatt Sarasota (or any hotel for that matter) until they change their Internet access model. They'd charge a thirsty man stumbling out of the desert $50 for a bottle of water. BTW, they do charge $4.5 for a bottle of water in the hotel room. I am rarely that thirsty.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The New Congress

The predictions were on target this time. The Democrats will take control in January of the House by around 15 seats. The Senate race is closer, but it is looking to move Democratic by 1 seat.

Congrats to the Democrats. The Republicans just could not overcome the stench of corruption from lobbyists to Foley, anti-illegal immigration and the Iraq situation. Economics had very little to do with this election -- more of a Presidental issue.

It was however a slap in the face to the arrogant White House and the incumbant Republicans. They needed a kick in the pants.

With their small majority, the Democrats will attempt to govern with posturing, subpoenas, and liberal politics. However, with a Republican in the White House, their grandiose ideas may not go far.

We will hear talk of partisanship, but I don't believe that is possible with the leadership of either party.

I like gridlock if it limits new laws, new spending and liberal politics are put on hold. The best government is one that is limited in power over its citizens.

I do not think a liberal government is in the best interests of its citizens. But the voters have chosen differently. Time will tell if this is the best course for the country according to its citizens.

For the pass 100+ years, by far, the Democrats have been in the majority. Thus, we are back to normal.

This will be a good opportunity to see what a liberal Congress will do for America. It will set the stage for the 2008 Presidential election.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Ortega wins Nicaraguan Election


After four attempts at the presidency of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega has won the country's presidential election.

The one-time revolutionary has 38%, nine points ahead of his conservative rival Eduardo Montealegre, with more than 91% of votes counted. He needed to win 40% of votes, or 35% and a five-point margin, to win outright and avoid a second round. He will take office in January next year.

Mr Ortega led Nicaragua from 1979 to 1990, but says he has changed from the leader who seized property from the wealthy during the 1979 Sandinista revolution.

A communist is now a republic-building capitalist. We'll see.

Monday, November 06, 2006

The Political Zoo

I admit it, I am a Michael Savage fan. He is a true Conservative. He tell it like it is. He holds to no party line. My wife can't stand to listen to him because of his angry and disrespectful demeanor -- typical guy from Brooklyn.

For some reason, Liberals like him more than most Conservative talk show hosts. I personally have no idea why any Liberal would call him to talk to him live on his show. He is rude and belligerent, usually ending with a "get off my show you freak."

I had a cross country flight today. I picked up his latest book, The Political Zoo. Although it is nearly 400 pages, it is an easy read, just right for a 5 hour flight.

The chapters are short. Each addresses a favorite liberal from a Conservative's. Some political figures are just too each to pick on. For Conservatives, easy picking with Annan, Boxer, B&H Clinton, Couric, Dean, Feinstein, Ginsburg, Gore, Jackson, Kerry, King, Pelosi, Reid, Schumer, Sharpton (my favorite), any Hollywooder, and handful of Republicans (non-Conservatives).

It truly is a political zoo out there, on both sides of the aisle.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Economics of Happiness

In the October 2006 issue of World Business magazine, there's an interesting article entitled The Economics of Happiness. It tries to quantify happiness with a so called Satisfaction With Life (SWL) ranking.

The key findings are

1 Money isn't everything. Once the basics of life are established, the link between wealth and human contentment is lost.

2. The most content nations are in the north including Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Sweden and Canada. The U.S. is better than most of Europe (not Scandinavia), in line with Australia, New Zealand and Norway. Asia is the worst.

3. World-Life need to be in balance. Europe and South America work fewer hours and enjoy more leisure time. Asia is the worst.

4. Happier people are more productive.

I am not sure I'd want to live in Scandinavia or Canada but what I do notice is that a big house, lots of toys, second houses, extravagant vacations, all have no impact on happiness. In fact I'd say that more is really less.

I admire those that can handle their riches -- those that give abundantly. Unfortunately, there are few that I am given the chance to admire.

Hard Copy Publications

Was was thinking about all of the periodical I read on a regular basis. I think I might be a bit wacko...

Wall Street Journal, Economist, US News and World Report, Red Herring, The Atlantic, Fortune, Inc, Entrepreneur, World Business, Global Services, CSO, SC Magazine, ISSA Journal, Network World, Network Computing, Enterprise Security, Information Week, Information Security, CRN, Natural Hazards Observer, Information Week, VAR Business, National Geographic, Sports Illustrated, ESPN The Magazine, Scouting Magazine, Field and Stream, Bassmaster, American Rifleman, Travel+Leisure, Travel+Leisure Golf, Gourmet, Ensign, Renaissance Magazine, Scottish Life, TR News, MS&T Magazine, Wild West, American History, Civil War Times, Dog Fancy, Bicycling, Mountain Bike, Backpacking, Skiing, Snowboarding, Utah Business, and Wasatch Digital IQ.

And I actually read the bulk of each issue. I will let some of these subscriptions lapse because I am currently reading too many periodicals and not enough books.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Hypocrisy on Both Sides

Couple of thoughts on this Evangelist Ted Haggard topic, from both sizes:

The left honors, emphasizes and praises the gay lifestyle. However when someone from the right is caught allegedly switching teams, it is a vile and terrible thing.

On the right, when a spokesperson engages in the very thing he preaches against, he let's down himself, his family and his associates.

In both cases, hypocrisy is the word.

The one difference I see is that the right admits guilt, the left never does. One cannot live the lie, the other can.

Terrorists Support Democrats

Polls and more polls. Opinions and more opinions. I like the latter; not the former.

So when I read a senior member of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades say "of course Americans should vote Democrat," my interest is peaked.

The national Democratic leaders -- Howard "Freak-out" Dean's Democratic National Committee, Nancy "Wantabe Speaker" Pelosi, Hillary "In With the Devil" Clinton and Ted "Give Me Another or Let's Go for a Swim" Kennedy don't want to talk about the "ringing" endorsement their party has received.

The Democrats are the cut and run party. That's a given. Their hatred and detest of the military is only second to their hatred of Bush 43.

It is telling that the terrorists would prefer a U.S. government that is more gentle and appeasing toward them and their cause.

What basis in fact is there to the belief a withdrawal from Iraq would end the insurgency? Would a withdrawal embolden the terror groups to enhance the resistance? Or would they establish a peace-loving society based on solid democratic principles?

(I have always stated we never should have gotten involved in Iraq in the first place. Wars are always way longer and more expensive than estimates. But we are there. Congress said go. They funded it. The job must be finished.)

I think the Dems will win some seats in Congress but I feel that both sides of the capital will remain Republican. Always bet against the MSM political polls -- you'll be right close to 75% of the time.

This off-year election will be based on who turns out to vote. Kerry probably will motivate many more Republicans who were thinking about sitting this one out. (Kerry, who claims to have been making a joke on Bush's education actually did worse in college than Bush; and based on what Kerry has been saying, we are much better off with him on the sidelines than in the game. Ditto with Gore.)

A Democratic majority in either the House or Senate is not going to make that much of an immediate difference in what we do in Iraq. It would be hard for Democrats to force President Bush to pull out of Iraq, short of cutting off funds; and they have not threatened this yet.

The bigger issue here is approving conservative judges. That's my main reason for sponsoring Republicans.

Both sides are full of pork. Both are corrupt. Both are sleazy. We are forced to vote the lesser of two evils. The key here is they are both evil.

Some may say, why not vote for a third party candidate? Because they never win. I'd rather focus my conservative efforts and opinions on shifting the Republican Party back to the right. Both parties are left of center, one just more so. I'd like to see the Republican Party adopt most of the principles of the Constitution Party. Read their platform. http://www.constitutionparty.com/party_platform.php

Regardless of how next week turns out and who constitutes the majority -- Republicrats or Demoblicans -- we have a government that is not accountable to the people. It is too big. It has too much control over the lives of its citizens. It has overstretched is Constitutional bounds.

Friday, November 03, 2006

National League Gold Glove Awards

Position / Name / Team / Career Awards
-----------------------------------------
1B / Albert Pujols / St. Louis Cardinals / 1
2B / Orlando Hudson / Arizona Diamondbacks / 2
3B / Scott Rolen / St. Louis Cardinals / 7
SS / Omar Vizquel / San Francisco Giants / 11
OF / Carlos Beltran / NY Mets / 1
OF / Mike Cameron / San Diego Padres /3
OF / Andruw Jones / Atlanta Braves / 9
C / Brad Ausmus / Houston Astors / 3
P / Greg Maddux / LA Dodgers / 16

Kudos to Maddox for tying Jim Kaat's record of 16 Gold Glove Awards for a pitcher, and to my favorite shortstop, Omar Vizquel.

Microsoft - Novell Partner on Linux

Who would have thought...

Microsoft announced yesterday that it would work with Novell Inc. to make Windows interoperate with Novell's Suse Linux in the data center in areas such as virtualization and Web services. Microsoft will also help market Suse to its customers.

With Oracle now getting into the Linux support, Linux does look like the winner just about everywhere except the desktop/laptop.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

American League Gold Glove Awards

Position / Name / Team / Career awards
-----------------------------------------
1B / Mark Teixeira / Texas Rangers / 2
2B / Mark Grudzielanek / Kansas City Royals / 1
3B / Eric Chavez / Oakland Athletics / 6
SS / Derek Jeter / NY Yankees / 3
OF / Torii Hunter / Minnesota Twins / 6
OF / Ichiro Suzuki / Seattle Mariners / 6
OF / Vernon Wells / Toronto Blue Jays / 3
C / Ivan Rodriguez / Detroit Tigers / 12
P / Kenny Rogers / Detroit Tigers / 5

The Mystery of Hate

Why do children in Iran, who can not even locate Israel on the map (especially because it is so small), burn its flag in the city center and offer to commit suicide for its elimination? Why do Egyptian and Jordanian intellectuals agitate the innocent and helpless against the peace agreements, even though they know that their failure will push their countries back 20 years? Why are the Syrians willing to remain a pathetic and depressed third world country, for the dubious right to finance terror organizations that will eventually threaten their own country's existence? Why do they hate us so much in Saudi-Arabia? In Iraq? In Sudan? What have the Jews done to them? How are the Jews even relevant to their lives? What do they know about the Jews? Why do they hate the Jews so much in Afghanistan? They don't have anything to eat there, where do they get the energy to hate?

Is it something that the Jews did or do? Fifteen hundreds years of anti-Semitism taught -- in the most painful way possible -- that there is something about the Jews that irritates the world. So, the Jews did the thing everyone wanted: got up and left. They established their own tiny little country, where they can irritate themselves without interrupting others. They didn't even ask a lot for it. Israel is spread on a smaller territory than 1% of the territory of Saudi Arabia, with no oil, no minerals, without settling on another existing state's territory. Most of the cities that were bombed [by Hezbollah] were not plundered from anyone. Nahariya, Afula, and Karmiel did not even exist until the Jews established them. The other katyusas landed on territories over which no one ever questioned the Jews' right. In Haifa there were Jews as early as the 3rd century BC, and Tiberias was the place where the last Sanhedrin sat, so no one can claim the Jews plundered them from anyone.

Have the Jews ever done something to them? When? How? Why did Ahmadinejad say in his speech that "Israel is the main problem of the Muslim world"? -- more than a billion people living in the Muslim world, most of them in horrible conditions. They suffer from hunger, poverty, ignorance, bloodshed that spreads from Kashmir to Kurdistan, from dying Darfur to injured Bangladesh. How come the Jews are the main problem? How exactly are they in their way?

SIDS Cause

Researchers into SIDS or sudden infant death syndrome shows that the victims had a brain abnormality that prevents the detection of insufficient oxygen levels in the body. As a result, babies with the condition can be smothered in their bedclothes, especially if they are sleeping on their fronts.

The study suggests that the slight abnormalities in the brainstem may impair a babyƂ’s ability to sense high carbon dioxide and low oxygen levels in its body. This would increase the risk that a baby will inhale its own exhaled breath and become deprived of oxygen.

However, other scientists state that a brain abnormality was unlikely to be the sole cause; that much more research is needed in order to understand and, ultimately, to prevent these tragedies.

Illegal Immigrant Status

Don't know if this was actually sent or who Pete McGlaughlin is but this message is on-point with respect to the amnesty program favored by most of our Congressional reps. Vote accordingly on 7 Nov.

**************

The Honorable Paul S. Sarbanes
309 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC, 20510

Dear Senator Sarbanes,

As a native Marylander and excellent customer of the Internal Revenue Service, I am writing to ask for your assistance. I have contacted the Department of Homeland Security in an effort to determine the process for becoming an illegal alien and they referred me to you.

My primary reason for wishing to change my status from U.S. Citizen to illegal alien stem from the bill which was recently passed by the Senate for which you voted. If my understanding of this bill's provisions is accurate, as an illegal alien who has
>been in the United States for five years, all I need to do to become a citizen is to pay a $2,000 fine and income taxes for three of the last five years. I know a good deal when I see one and I am anxious to get the process started before everyone figures it out.

Simply put, those of us who have been here legally have had to pay taxes every year so I'm excited about the prospect of avoiding two years of taxes in return for paying a $2,000 fine. Is there any way that I can apply to be illegal retroactively? This would yield an excellent result for me and my family because we paid heavy taxes in 2004 and 2005.

Additionally, as an illegal alien I could begin using the local emergency room as my primary health care provider. Once I have stopped paying premiums for medical insurance, my accountant figures I could save almost $10,000 a year. Another benefit in gaining illegal status would be that my daughter would receive preferential treatment relative to her law school applications, as well as "in-state" tuition rates for many colleges throughout the United States for my son.

Lastly, I understand that illegal status would relieve me of the burden of renewing my driver's license and making those burdensome car insurance premiums. This is very important to me given that I still have college age children driving my car.

If you would provide me with an outline of the process to become illegal (retroactively if possible) and copies of the necessary forms, I would be most appreciative. Thank you for your assistance.

Your Loyal Constituent,

Pete McGlaughlin
****************

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Declining Newspaper Circulation

Almost every major U.S. newspaper suffered circulation decline for the six-month period ending September 2006.

According to the Newspaper Association of America, the average paid circulation fell 2.8% on weekdays and 3.4% on Sundays. This trend was worse than the declines revealed during the preceding six months released in May.

Most of the major papers have been impacted: USA Today (-1.8%), WSJ (-1.9%), NY Times (-3.5%), LA Times (-8.0%), Wash Post (-3.3%), Chicago Trib, (-1.7%), Houston Chron (-3.7%), Newsday (-5.0). Of the major papers with over 500,000 in circulation, only the NY Post (+5.1%) and NY Daily News (+1.0) showed gains.

Why? There are better sources for news. A newspaper comes out once a day. Because of the Internet, news over a few hours old is, well, old. The Internet gives people the ability to get what they want, when they want, with the knowledge that the info is the most current.

The one thing most people like with the hard copy newsprint is how it integrates into their lifestyle. Whether it is in the morning over breakfast or coffee, on the commute, during breaks or lunch, on the way home, as the day winds down, it is all about comfort.

The traditional newspaper is more appealing to the baby boombers and senior citizens. They've obtained their news via the newspaper for years. They like it that way. The computer generations do not have this habit. Their comfort is the computer.

Regarding my preference, I get most of my news from the Internet but I faithfully read the WSJ daily and The Economist weekly. I subscribe to about twenty other magazines that are not news-related, which I read weekly or monthly.

I'll read the USA Today or the local paper when I travel, but don't pay for them directly. I like the USA Today's sport section. I like the local paper for the local angle. I find the national and world news coverage in most papers very weak. Their only real appeal is local; but I find most local news boring, including my own.

The same problems with the newspaper industry impacts the TV news -- boring, liberal slanted and old -- be it national or local. (In fact, I cannot remember the last time I watched TV for news.)

Back At You Kerry