Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Europe's Huddled Masses

America has its own immigration problems but we tend to do a better job integrating those searching for the American dream compared to the Europeans. We still have a huge cash out flow -- remittances sent back to the homeland. In Mexico's case, probably their largest source of revenue generation. But our problems are not as acute as Europe's.

In eastern Europe, remittance make up a huge portion of their GDPs: Moldova (27%), Bosnia (22%), Albania (15%), Tajikistan 12%), Serbia (12%), Armenia (10%), Kyrgyzstan (8%), Georgia (7%), Macedonia (5%) and Hungary (5%). Those are enormous numbers.

People do what they need to do to provide for their families. Unfortunately, these remittances hurt real economic development, thwart growth and stifle the local economies.

However with local European populations declining, demand for local jobs may increase and the intra-European migration trends may dissipate. The exception will be the far eastern European / Central Asian state -- the "stans." They will continue increasing in population and will send people west. But will it be enough.

Europe has its problems. they will only get worse.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Private vs State on Sakhalin Island

The actions of the Russian government over energy and its openness to external investors has brought into question. Whether it is in the west with it oil pipelines through Belarus or in Siberia with Gazprom's unscrupulous tactics, few companies will engage Russia in infrastructure and large research projects.

Royal Dutch Shell invested $billions in a gas and oil project on Russia's Sakhalin Island. They had a 55% ownership in the $22 billion project. Now Gazprom is forcing them to reduce their ownership down to 27.5%. As a Shell spokesman said, it was as if someone held a gun to your head and said give me half your money; all you can think about is at least I have half remaining.

Russia has the professionals do the hard and often "dirty" work -- building the pipelines, the refineries, the infrastructure -- and then they come in an try to collect on the their hardwork.

Shell has been bad guy with the environmentalists. Doing things right, from an environmental perspective takes extra time and huge costs. These costs are then part of over-runs. The Russian government's royalties are delayed. Russia was its money. It is willing to cut corners. But doing so is not in the best interests of the locals, the environment, the investment. Greed rules.

You got a foreign entity with the smarts and the resources hoping to invest in a large project and recoup over years -- a normal investment process. The host nation, who did not have the funds nor the smarts, now wants to take over.

No reasonable external enterprise would do major infrastructure business in Russia. They can take it over any time. This has always be an issue with foreign business. Businesses assess the risk and make a go/no-go decision. In the case of Russia, more will be selecting the no-go route.

When greed rules, everything is done with short-term lens. A few get rich; the masses remain poor.

As a side note, in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, due to the oil boom, average houses can cost $1 million, one-bedroom apartments are renting for $3000 per month, 5 minute taxi rides $12, lunches $40, $70 cover charges, $19 drinks. As a boomtown, it may be the most expensive city ever. Once the project is complete, it will go back to becoming just another Siberian town.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Politicians Traveling to War Zones

Politicians who travel to "war zones" to see for themselves the situation on the ground is nothing more than a waste of taxpayers' money. This is not a gab at one party but a general statement.

How in the world do they thing they are going to get a "real feel" for the situation by limiting their travel to safe zones? They can't. They be staying in top quality quarters / hotels. They'll meet some planted Iraqis and soldiers who will tell them what they want to hear.

When they return home and get in front of a mic, they will tell us what its like "first hand." And we are suppose to believe them and assume they have credibility? Not me. These are nothing more than boondoggles using our money.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Independent Kosovo

United States and its European allies have agreed to support Kosovo's permanent secession from Serbia. This is a major step in this small nation's evolution.

I can't help but wonder how difficult it is for such a small nation with few resources and no direct access to an ocean port to prosper.

Sometime, what one wishes for may be great in the short-term but less than stellar in the long-term.

Nevertheless, we must wish them the best.

Conservatives' Priorities

American talk radio is the domain of conservatives, mainly 30-65 year old white males. Few conservatives like the job Congress has done; few appreciate the job President Bush has done.

In a WSJ/NBC poll last week, conservatives believe the federal government's top priority should be:

-- 32% - War on terror
-- 25% - War in Iraq
-- 13% - Illegal immigration
-- 10% - Economy/jobs
-- 8% - Health care
-- 3% - Energy
-- 9% - Other

When asked the one or two issues that most disturbs them (from this list), the responses were:

-- 55% - Declining moral values
-- 41% - Poor control of immigration
-- 26% - Poor quality of public education
-- 18% - American jobs moving overseas
-- 16% - American's lacking health insurance
-- 4% - Wage gape between high and low income workers

These responses are about what I would expect.

One thing most conservatives will agree upon is that despite their general displeasure with many of President Bush's policies, his stubbornness is admired. It is too bad he is not more ruthless.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Healthcare: Employer-based or Free-Market?

We have two major differences in how to best address healthcare in the US. One is to build upon the employer-based system (favored by most Democrats) and the other is to develop a new system controlled by the consumer (favored by most Republicans).

The President's plan introduced on Tuesday includes two parts: a) reforming the tax code with a standard deduction for health insurance so all Americans get the same tax breaks for health insurance and b) helping states make affordable private health insurance available to their citizens.

He proposes to make employer-provided health insurance taxable (not the case now) and create a tax deduction of up to $15k for families / $7.5k for single. This will result in lower taxes for most; better choices; less waste in the terribly dishonest insurance/provider system.

I am all for healthcare spending accounts and catastrophic insurance policies. I am against there employer pass 70-90%, the employee pass the rest for these 50-100% inurance covering whatever programs after a deductable, up to a certain amount...

People should pay for healthcare when they need it. People should not be going to the doctor for every sniffle or cold. People should take more responsibility for their own healthcare by eating better, exercising, getting adequate sleep.

Going to the dentist for a cleaning and checkup would be out of your pocket -- your spending account. The dentists would be forced to provide more competitive pricing for everything -- they can't gauge you (the insurance companies) for crowns and root canals. Doctors would not charge you $4k for a 20 minute colonoscopy procedure.

Catastrophic insurance would cover the major things like by-pass surgery, cancer treatment, post-accident trauma and recovery -- the real expensive things.

I am all for the open market. Anytime you can get the government out of your pocket and everyday life, it is better for all.

The government is only good for those things the free market cannot do for itself; e.g., border security, wanton pollution, much of the crime control, some transportation and communication systems, and care for the truly less fortunate who have no family to rely upon.

Judas in the Form of Senators

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed a resolution which declares President Bush's plan to send additional forces to quell the violence in Iraq is "not in the national interest." It was adopted by 12 votes to 9, largely along party lines.

The Democrats keep saying that we need to change course in Iraq and should be drawing down forces.

Is this a viable option? If we pull out, there will be massive murders in the hundreds of thousands. Terrorists will have a free base to operate, plan and conduct their world anarchy and jihad programs. Apparently, this is okay with Democrats. It truly is a cut and run philosophy, inspired more by the French than by Americans.

I am 100% convinced that those who are for a cut and run strategy do not care about what is best for America and for the world. They care about their power.

It is like the arms dealer who sells arms to the highest bidden -- whoever it happens to be. As long and they get their money and can live their self-aggrandizing lifestyle, all's well. They never think that the very weapons they sell could be used to kill them.

The position most politicians (both major parties) take is self-serving and rarely in the best interests of the big picture. In both Iraq and Afghanistan, if we leave, we create a vacuum: the insurgents in Iraq run the asylum and the Taliban returns to power in Afghanistan.

Many in Congress, while they are entitled to their opinion, are unwilling to stay the course. They must believe that America (and the world in which Americans navigate) will be a safer place with an American withdrawal from both theaters. I don't. I would like to see American fight those wars to win. That's what the argument should be focused upon...how to win by all means necessary, not how to lose while trying to save face.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

SoCal's Illegal Immigrant Round-up

The SoCal illegal immigrant round-up netted 338 who were arrested at their homes and apartments and 423 who were identified in local jails.

Apparently those already jailed will be transferred to federal custody when they finish serving their state sentences. The only reason that makes sense is that by deporting them, they will be back here a couple of weeks.

The illegals come from 14 countries, mostly from Mexico but also from Honduras, Ukraine, India, Japan, Poland and Trinidad.

The best stat is that of the 761 people arrested, more than 450 have already been deported once.

Effective immigration enforcement is not going to occur without bigger changes in immigration law. It has been my belief that the current laws are fine. Unless the border is secured and existing illegal employment laws enforced, this round-up is for show only.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

State of the Union -- Bush's 7th

I listen to every State of the Union speech, regardless of who's president. It is interesting to hear their topics and their new proposal, most of which seem to fall on deaf ears. Tonights was no difference.

President Bush spent the first half on domestic issues; the second on foreign policy, Iraq and the War on Terror. It is the latter that most seem to have the greatest interest in and the policies which have Bush at all-time approval lows.

On domestic issues, he discussed balancing the budget in 5 years and curtailing earmarks and entitlements. He is asking for the renewal of his loser No Child Left Behind program. He proposed some new healthcare options including tax deductions, grants and spending accounts. He went on about is immigration and temporary workers program.

He spent a good deal of time on energy policy with the goal of foreign energy independence. He pushed alternative fuels and gasoline reduction by 20% by 2017.

He spent the last half of his speech on trying to present his case for the extra 20,000 troop in Iraq and for his stay the course policy. He also asked for 92,000 more soldiers in the Army and Marines and support for a Civilian Reserved Corp.

He was humdrum about his domestic agenda, more enthusiastic about his Iraq and War on Terror message.

I do believe we need to stay the course. The Democratic response by Senator Webb was expected. Whereas the repetitive talking points "the president took us into this war recklessly" and "mismanaged war" are well established, those making them do not seem to offering any solid solutions toward success. I doubt Bush's plan will succeed because the country and those in leadership are unwilling to fight the war to win. It is a given the Democrats do not have a plan, unless their only plan is the French-motivate one to withdraw.

The President needs to keep hammering home the point that Iraq is critical to the War on Terror. He needs to provide point after point on this topic. People do not relate Iraq to the War on Terror. Too many assume that we are fighting another country's war; that we do not belong in the middle of Sunnis fighting Shi'as.

I am behind President Bush. I do not agree on all of his policies but he truly tries to do what's best. I admire him staying course and for not governing according to the polls.

Elections in Serbia

Serbia held parliamentary elections Sunday with nearly 57% of the registered votes casting ballots. Of the 6.6 million-member electorate, it was the first national vote since Serbia became independent last year after it split with Montenegro, its last partner from the former Yugoslav federation.

The votes resulted in no party with enough power to govern alone, as it typical for European-type democracies. With over 20 political parties, a minimum 5% of the total vote was needed for a party to earn a place in the 250-member parliament.

Certainly there are those that favor a western-style government, while other favor a more traditional Balkan one. Overshadowing this is the discussions of whether Kosovo should be granted independence.

Regardless, it is great to see the democratic process at work. I hope they can create a freedom loving environment that will allow for all to flourish. That part of the world has seen its share of sorrow. Hopefully they are the path to prosperity.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Colts-Bears in Super Bowl 41

Super Bowl XLI is set: Colts vs Bears.

The Bears-Saints NFC Championship game was less than stellar. Mistakes by the Saints, especially Brees, capitalized on by the Bears, made the difference. Watching Grossman play is painful. However, you can't argue with the fact he has been the winner more times than not. A 39-14 win was great for Bears fans, painful for the Saints' fans, bla-bla for the rest of us.

The Colts-Patriots AFC Championship game was much more engrossing, as expected. Two great QBs -- Brady proven in the playoffs, Manning in the regular season but not in the playoffs. The Brady-lead Pats were 10-0 in dooms and Colts were undefeated this year at home. The Bears once-mighty defense faltering; the Colts' run defense atrocious but improving over the past few weeks. Something had to give. The Colts' come from behind, come from behind, and come from behind win and Brady's INT in the last minute was engaging. Arguably one of the best playoff games ever. Ecstatic for Colt fans, miserable for Pat fans, very fun for the rest of us.

Colts are favored by 7 points in Super Bowl 41.

One thing that really bugs me is the media making a big deal out of the fact we have two black coaches in the Super Bowl. They are the ones that encourage racism. The average person could care less about the fact Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith are black. Sports have really helped to break the color barrier for most. We don't need the media to keep asking the race-oriented questions or making the race-savvy "points".

Sunday, January 21, 2007

China's Antisatellite Weaponry


China successfully carried out its first test of an antisatellite weapon last week, destroying an orbiting test target with a ballistic missile.

Only two nations — the Soviet Union and the United States — have previously destroyed spacecraft in antisatellite tests, most recently the United States in the mid-1980s.

This is the other face of China, the hard power side that they usually keep well hidden,” said Chong-Pin Lin, an expert on China’s military in Taiwan. “They talk more about peace and diplomacy, but the push to develop lethal, high-tech capabilities has not slowed down at all.”

When one thinks about all the hype and money spent in the 80s with the starwars missile defense program, this capability make that type of defense somewhat mute. I seems that the most important defense for long-range missiles is being able to destroy them in flight. Obviously having a tracking method that was not dependent on a single satellite or system that can be taken out by a couple of Chinese missiles.

This has the beginnings of another weapons war, this time with China.

NFL Conference Championships

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Illegal Imigrants Trump Border Patrolmen

On 17 February 2005, Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean were on duty near El Paso when they encountered Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila in a van carrying 743 pounds of marijuana. When the agents tried to stop him, he fled. Unable to shake the pursuing agents, he abandoned his van and continued toward Mexico on foot.

The agents' version of what happened next contradicts Aldrete-Davila's testimony. The one thing all agree on is that, while fleeing, the illegal alien and drug smuggler was shot. Aldrete-Davila was treated at a hospital in El Paso and then returned to Mexico.

After learning of the shooting, U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton sought out Aldrete-Davila in Mexico and offered him immunity from prosecution if he would return to the United States to testify against the two agents.

Ramos and Compean were convicted of assault with a dangerous weapon, assault with serious bodily injury, discharge of a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence, willfully violating Aldrete-Davila's Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable seizure and obstruction of justice for intentionally defacing the crime scene, lying about the incident, and failing to report the truth.

They began serving their 11- and 12-year sentences on Wednesday. A day later, President Bush said he would take a "sober look" at the case to see whether he would pardon the men.

This is a sad commentary on America's willingness to address the border and terrorism. The fact we give criminals and illegals more rights than those trying to enforce the law is sad.

I realize that police and agents sometime overstep their bounds. But the sympathy shown to known criminals and/or those in the midst of committing crimes have overstepped its bounds.

Border agents need to be ruthless -- shooting first, asking questions later. If someone is in the middle of the dessert and is running across the border, there is a huge probability that they are breaking the federal law. Firing upon them and hitting them is a good way to send the message south that illegals will not be tolerated.

Of course, most would consider this extreme. To that I answer: is border control important or not? Is there a relationship with terrorism? Like all security issues, those in power only act after the fact and the reaction is both too late and usually wrong.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Good Economic News Unreported by MSM

The University of Michigan's Consumer Sentiment Index rose more than expected, as consumers apparently feel more upbeat about their personal finances in light of falling gasoline prices. The index rose from 91 to 97, its highest level in three years.

What a Week for Global Warming


First we have House Speaker Nancy Pelosi seeking to create a special committee to deal with global warming. She wants to hold hearings and recommend legislation on how to reduce greenhouse gases. She has aspiration of producing a bill by July 07.

Then we have The Weather Channel leaving the realm of reporting on the weather to playing politics. TWC's Heidi Cullen stated if a meteorologist can't speak to the fundamental science of climate change, then maybe the AMS shouldn't give them a Seal of Approval. She went on to say the goal at TWC has always been to keep people out of harm's way...whether it's a landfalling hurricane or global warming.

Most meteorologists can't predict the weather two weeks out; why are we to assume they can predict it 50 years out. They've a real credibility issue here. I always joke about the weatherman in Arizona. They actually get paid to state week after week: "clear and hot" or "partly cloudy and hot." Oh yea, that have that in late summer they call the monsoon season, which is nothing more than rain on a surface that cannot soak up the water. They get to pretend they are giving up some real life changing news when the say "rain, heavy at time; beware of flash floods."

Consider this winter where it has been warm in the eastern U.S. and in Russia; very cold in the westerner U.S. Why do we have to have an explanation of why the weather is what it is. What do need to find a scapegoat to blame weather conditions on. You got one group of people who would have better server them self and the rest of us by being born non-human.

Earth is here for mankind. We certainly can be better stewards of the earth. But that does not mean we should blame man for all the trials we are confronted with in our daily lives.

If Pelosi and her cronies succeed in passing some legislation that burdens industry here with stifling regulation, who really benefits?

Is there undeniable proof that if we did not use fossil fuels, that the global warming would cease? Of course not.

Certainly we pollute too much. But despite the high consumption of fossil fuels in America, it is still one of the cleanest countries in the world. Is this one of those lead-by-example efforts? Boy, I am sure China and India are going to say, well America did something about global pollution, we had better follow suite. They could care less about their people. So many live in filth that global warming is the least of their worries.

Global warming is nothing more than political posturing. Nancy Pelosi only cares about global warming because there is a group in her party that does. She's not laying in bed at night contemplating the end of the world as we know it...that we must solve this "issue of such magnitude" before it is too late.

So when we read "most scientists agree average world temperatures will rise 2 to 6 degrees C this century, mainly because of carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels for power and transport, putting millions of lives at risk from flood and famine" we must realize they are speculating at best. Floods and famines, hot cycles, cold cycles, are all part of life. Despite what some politically motivated scientists state or what laws get passed, these cycles will continue forever.

If scientists choose to spend their lives blaming man for global warming, they have better have some solid proof. Just because a bunch of them say it is so, does not mean it is.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Google Earth Panic

I was listing to Michael Savage the other day as I was driving home. He had just discovered Google Earth. He was amazed at the tool. He was in a tizzy over the fact that it exists. He stated that it should be shut down immediately because it is a tool terrorist will use for target surveillance.

Savage appears to be a technology novice. If he is just hearing about Google Earth, he probably knows nothing as it relates to Web 2.0 and the way the younger generations are accessing the leveraging the Internet. Does he know about online maps or GPS? Not sure why, but Amazon recently removed their A9 street view maps product of major city streets and 'store fronts'.

Technology has always been used for good and for evil. The LDS Church has spoken on this many times as it relates to furthering the mission of the Church (good) and seeing some if its members getting addicted to Internet porn and sex-related chat rooms (bad).

If the terrorists did not have access to strong encryption technology, we could have an easier time intercepting their communications.

If we could eliminate the terrorists ability to use steganography, they would not be as covert.

If we did not have cheap, disposable phones, the terrorist would not have access to powerful bomb triggers.

If we did not have global TV, terrorists would have a more difficult time understanding the politics and pulse of a nation.

If we did not have email, Web sites, instant messaging, satellites, Internet, data networks, the terrorists would have a tougher time communicating.

I use Google Earth all of the time. It provides different information from a different perspective than a Yahoo! Maps or Google Maps program.

Certainly intelligence is provided and would be useful for surveillance. Are we saying the terrorists would not do what they want to do if Google Earth were not public? I doubt it.

Privacy was another of Savages' complaints. The sad fact is that privacy is almost gone. However, Google Earth has no real impact on my personal privacy, or his.

The governments of the world have real-time satellite surveillance. They can see some serious detail. They can monitor situations in real-time. I feel this is a good thing.

Technology is here to stay. What was secret yesterday is common place today. We will use technologies for good and for evil. That is what we except in an open society. The hard part is knowing what should be open and what should not be. Pulling the plug on Google Earth is not going to make us more or less safe.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Barrack Oba-bla-bla-bla-ma

As a Conservative and one who usually votes Republican (will never vote for a Democrat), I only hope Barrack Obama becomes the 2008 Democrat Presidential nominee.

He is a liberal, first and foremost. His most endearing quality is that he stands for nothing. Oh yea, he also has no experience, unless some state level politics and 2 years as a US Senator qualify as meaningful experience.

It is that American Idol mentality of selecting our Presidential candidates.

UPDATE 1/19/07: the news that Obama was raised by a Muslim father, attended an Islamic madrassa in Indonesia, and the fact that he claims he had a secular up-bring, which he didn't, will quickly bring about his demise as a legitimate political figure. His Presidential aspiration are over.

Death Tolls and Their Meaning

With the drive-by-media's love affair with reporting negativism, the are ecstatic about the report coming out of Iraq that more than 34,000 Iraqis were killed in violence last year. The UN's number are similar, averaging just under 100 a day.

The killings will continue to occur when you have thousands bent on anarchy and literally doing anything to resume power. The question is will America be willing to do all to destroy these misguided fools?

My bet is no, unfortunately. Why? Because we will not fight to win. We will not fight the ugly battle that is required. Having sufficient troops and police are critical but only if their rule of engagement are basically non-existent.

When I see these 100 death a day, or 3000 US soldiers since 2003, it makes me wonder why we focus on these numbers when other numbers of death, unrelated to Iraq, military or terrorism get little attention, and certainly little money. What are is this? Automobile crashes.

We just accept that in this country just under 45,000 people in America die on the roads each year.

Certainly, deaths in Iraq due to violence as a percentage of its 27 million population is greater than the percentage of car-related deaths in the 300 million US. The US is spending billions on Iraq. It spends just a fraction of that on driver education and crash prevention.

The safety requirements imposed on the car manufacturers has helped keep this number fairly stable over the past number of years. However, 45,000 deaths, not counting the hundreds of thousands injured in crashes, is a huge impact to America -- our productivity, economics and societal health.

People are claiming how tired they are of Iraq. That's an embarrassing statement. If you are tied of Iraq, and you are not in the military or in a military family, you are an official looser. You are that group of people who are easily manipulated by the MSM.

Anyone who listens to the MSM's negative diatribe and actually thinks they are delivering cutting reporting and insightful analysis, is misguided, poorly informed and lacking in critical thinking. The MSM's agenda is liberalism, ratings and how to sell ads. They report on what helps them to that end -- accuracy and unbiasedness be damned.

Maybe this is why we are an American Idol society.

Monday, January 15, 2007

MLH Day: An Acutal Holiday?

This is one holiday that should be done away with. There's no reason to shut down school, close banks, stop the mail.

Ther are lots of great men and women, but that does not mean we need a holiday for them. We have too many holidays as it is. Paying someone for not working never has sat well with me. Let's keep it to Memorial Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving (take 2), Christmas. Not sure why we need to take New Years Day off and I have never been a fan of Labor Day, but add those two, and you have six. No need for any more. We are getting too much like Europe and Britain and that bank holiday crap.

This particular MLK day has worn out its welcome. Do we really need to hear the King family, friend and other black leaders carry on about how important it is to carry on the legacy?

This day is set aside for one race and one race alone. It is racist by its existance. This day should not be a national holiday..

Friday, January 12, 2007

Federally Funded Embryonic Stem Cell Research

The Democrats are proposing a bill that would provide federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.

The White House is opposed to this and says the President will veto any legislation to this end. They stated that "destroying nascent human life for research raises serious ethical problems, and millions of Americans consider the practice immoral.”

Couple of thoughts on this:

-- There is always a hope for cures to major diseases but that is just it, a hope. It may turn out that the research yields favorable results, but it may not.

-- Do women need another reason to kill their unwanted newborns?

On one hand you have those that want to kill the unborn; on the other hand, you have those claiming the research will preserve life. The motivation is not to find a cure for terrible diseases, rather more ammo for the pro-abortion cause.

In no way does embryonic stem cell research justify abortion -- the most heinous of all crimes.

Boxer's Foot In Mouth

Boxer is a phony. Her true character comes out with remarks like she made yesterday against Secretary of State Condi Rice.

She said Rice is not fully qualified to make policy at the highest levels of the American government because she is a single, childless woman.

She should be making the same claim to the others in Congress who are childless. She does not; she has not.

On the surface, she tries her hardest to practice what she preaches. But the fact is she's a rich bitch from CA, living the life of a celebrity, looking down on her constituency chaff. She does not care about her constituency. All she wants is the power to govern as she sees fit. And she will govern solely for the purpose of remaining in power.

The MSM should blast her for this remark. Where are all of the femin-a-Nazis? They are the ones that claim children shackle women and that they are better off without.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Beckham to LA


The headlines are David Beckham to play for MLS's LA Galaxy beginning in August. Beckham will finish up the year with La Liga's Real Madrid. He signed a five-year deal worth $1 million a week, the biggest in world sport.

Financially, I don't know how the Galaxy will cover the costs. Certainly most will be financed by endorsements. They can't sell enough tickets to cover that salary.

America must be very gullible. Consider the following:

-- Beckham is not good enough for the English national team.
-- His playing time on Real Madrid is minimal -- he rarely starts.
-- Real Madrid would rather use its money on other players.

Beckam's best years are behind him, and he's only 31. His heyday was 10+ years ago. His only skill -- and he was one the best in the world at it -- was his abilities on set plays. His free kicks and crosses were some of the best. However, his defense, dribbling, playmaking, heading, speed were nothing special.

This is huge gamble for the Galaxy. He will not even be the best midfielder on his team. He is there for marketing purposes. And if America fall for this gimmick, they are fools.

The bet is that his handsome appearance -- he's a metrosexual -- will intrigue female fans. However, once he opens his mouth, his appeal diminishes. He has a feminine British access. Once people watch his performance on the pitch, his allure will decrease.

Take an average NBA player who's best years are behind him and send him to Greece, Italy, Philippines, Spain, and you get the picture. Beckham is living off of misplaced reputation. It will be good for MLS but could bankrupt the Galaxy.

There is no way I would pay any extra money to see Beckham play football. He's no Steven Gerard, Ronaldinho or Drogba, and never was.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Schwarzenegger's Healthcare Program

Schwarzenegger calls himself a Republican? Oh, how the times have changed.

Schwarzenegger said, "my solution is that everyone in California must have insurance. If you can't afford it, the state will help you buy it, but you must be insured."

No one can afford it. But most of us pay it. Who wouldn't rather use that money for some other purpose?

I don't get it where people think everyone deserves health care or that health care is a right. Our rights are defined by God and delineate in our Constitution.

Does it seem fair that if you operate a business of 10 or more people, you are required by law to pay the health insurance (or a portion thereof) of you employees? Shouldn't that be the employers choice -- a benefit of working there?

For a typical family of four or more, the monthly fee for health insurance ranges from $1000 to $3000 per month. The company pays between 70-90% of that fee. The employee must pay the 10-30% of the cost, plus the deductible plus the amount the insurance will not cover (from 10-50% of the bill).

Schwarzenegger wants to charge doctors a 2% revenue fee and hospitals a 4% fee. These costs will a passed onto the consumers, that's assured.

His proposal will cover the illegal immigrants. It will favor the younger, healthier employee. Small businesses will opt out and go for the social program. Small companies will choose not to expand over the ten employee limit -- especially if they don't think they can cover the extra costs associated with hiring that 10th or 11th employee.

If the CA citizens believe that health care should be required for all, then they should go the route used for auto insurance -- make it a requirement or law. But not via the employer. Should the employer subsidize auto insurance, home owner insurance, boat insurance also? Of course not. But why the mandate on health coverage?

Regardless, the biggest beneficiaries are going to be the insurance companies (so maybe this is a true Republican program...)

Liberalism is mental disorder. Socialism is liberalism in action. Schwarzenegger is a liberal. He is a European socialist. He represents more evidence that the Republican Party is moving more and more to the left every day. Where are the true conservatives?

The Democrat Quitting Strategy in Iraq

NY Times editorial on Tuesday, Past Time to Get Real on Iraq, is typical MSM rubbish. This clearly is showing that this once mighty newspaper continues its downhill tumble. Consider some of the points:
If the voters sent one clear message to Mr. Bush last November, it was that it is time to start winding down America’s involvement in this going-nowhere war.

Mr. Bush must acknowledge that there is no military solution for Iraq.

Iraq’s unraveling may already be too far gone.

Nor can America simply turn its back on whatever happens to Iraq after it leaves. With or without American troops, a nightmare future for Iraq is a nightmare future for the United States, too, whether it consists of an expanding civil war that turns into a regional war or millions of Iraq’s people and its oil fields falling under the tightening grip of a more powerful Iran.
Let's get out of Iraq but not turn our back on Iraq? Can't believe this writer actually wrote this crap.

There is no proof that the voters wanted us out of Iraq. There is proof that they do not like the way Iraq has gone or is going. American like to win. The problem is that we, including Bush, are fighting this war not to lose. If America fought this war to win with aggressiveness and harsh military tactics, Americans would be optimistic.

Go from house to house in every greater Baghdad house and apartment removing and destroying every weapon and bomb-making materials. Control the borders as if they were prison fences. Shoot and ask questions later. If a building has a snipper shooting from it, destroy the building completely. Safeguard and expand the oil industry. Detain indefinitely all suspected insurgents; it they try to escape, shoot them dead.

An "exit strategy" is a cut and run strategy. This is the Democrat quitting strategy. Quiting is an option for quitters. Americans are not quitters.

Bush's most important task is to define what victory in Iraq is and to give the forces the abilities to fight to win using all weapons and tactics they deem necessary. We leave when that is accomplished.

We fight not according to MSM / PC rules, but through the harshness that is war.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Congrats to Gwynn and Ripken


Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr. were elected in their first year of eligibility to baseball's Hall of Fame. I respect Ripken and truly love Gwynn's game -- up the contact hitters!

On a related note, Mark McGwire fell way short of the necessary votes he needed. His chance of ever making it is a long shot.

Gators Thump Bucks

More embarrassed I could not be. It was men against the boys. These games happen. Total annihilation -- enjoyable for the annihilator, extremely painful to the the annihilated. Beaten in every aspect of the game -- players and coaches.

This one mandates a hiding of the all the Buckeye paraphernalia and a conscientious effort to forget all about. Time will heal the wounds but scaring will remain forever.

Belarus and Russia in Energy Battle

This is like watching a couple a teenage girls getting even with one another. First, Russia demands the doubling of the discounted rate Belarus pays Russian for natural gas -- a $3.5B subsidy.

Belarus responded last week by imposing a new transit fee on Russian crude that uses the Druzhba pipeline that runs from Russia through Belarus to Poland and Germany in the north and Ukraine, Slovakia, Hungary and Czech Republic in the south.

Russia refused to pay so Belarus took its pay in the form of oil from the Druzhba pipeline.

Russia retaliated by cutting off pipeline shipments.

What does all of this mean? For one, Europe cannot count on Russia as a reliable source of oil and gas.

I can certainly understand (and support) Russia's position. These ex-Soviet states need to accept capitalistic way and pay the fair market price for commodities.

One cannot expect Belarus to understand as they are still ruled by dictator Alexander Lukashenko -- a teenage girl in the world of market dynamics.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Israel Leaks Plan to Nuke Iran

According to the London Times, Israel has drawn up secret plans to destroy Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities with tactical nuclear weapons. They certainly have the means.

My first reaction to this is that this information was leaked intentionally.

Certainly Israel and America, and perhaps some other EU countries, have tactical plans to destroy Iran's nuclear sites. But why would anyone leak this unintentionally? If this went through some deep throat informer, I'd hate to be that person, because his life would be over (as he would be killed).

It definitely gives Iran some additional info to consider as it thumbs its nose against the western world.

I do image we'll see this tactical bombing sometime in 2007.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Liar Is In -- the Nick Saban Sell-out

"Integrity" is out. "Character" is out. "Teacher" is out. "Leader of men" is out. "Liar" is in.

He succeeded at LSU. He leveraged this to an NFL gig. In his two years with the Miami Dolphin, he failed.

He is on record discouraging his assistants from pursuing other opportunities (head coaching jobs) siting loyalty and finishing the job they came to do.

He's not the only one but he appears to be one of the biggest of the head coaching liars.

Alabama sold out. They hired a liar. They will fired him someday siting some misdeed or some other reason. Think about the high school recruit -- can they every really believe anything that comes out of Saban's mouth?

So in the future, when you hear a head coach deny this or that, take it with a grain of salt.

You've got your used car salesmen, lawyers, pond scum, your politicians and your head football coaches (it is a toss-up on the the later two).

Saban, you stink. Alabama, there's blood on your hands. You have gone from just another SEC team to my least favorite SEC team.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Self-Aggrandizing Pelosi

It is D-day in DC with Madame Pelosi at the helm. Arrogance run a muck, once again.

She say the "we have waited over 200 years for this time to come; we will not just break through a glass ceiling, we will break through a marble ceiling, in more than 200 years of history, there was an established pecking order -- and I cut in line."

She goes on to call herself "the most powerful woman in America" and "let's hear it for the power."

What about Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice -- first black and woman to serve as Secretary of State? I don't think we heard them shout that they were the first to do this nor were they boasting of their power.

I am all for women in high positions -- if they are qualified, they deserve to be in those positions with equal pay. People that boast and brag rub people wrong. I am amazed that this attitude has served so well throughout her many years in the House.

She'll celebrate with $500-1000 per person parties and only welcome the haves, despite the fact they claim to serve the have-nots.

I have little faith in Pelosi, but time will tell. IMO, she is over her head and will spend time doing the wrong things and trying ever-so-hard to get more of my money, using it to fund her pet projects.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Saddam Execution Videoer Get Arrested

Arresting people who videoed the execution of a murdering, stealing, raping despot is western political correctness gone a muck.

Mocking a guy like Saddam seems to be an acceptable action in their culture. Is there some after-the-fact law stating filming an execution is against the law? If so, why didn't they search the guards before they entered the chamber?

They say it was an unauthorized video. Is there an authorized video that will be distributed shortly?

Iraq, do not make the politically correct mistakes we have made in the West. Don't arrest some poor saps for doing the job everyone in the Iraq wanted to see. Don't cave into US pressure of political correctness. Focus on the important things, not some stupid thing like an unauthorized video. Makes me sick.

Presidential Funeral Overkill

I really only recall the Reagan and now Ford presidential funerals. I was real young when Kennedy died, same with Eisenhower. I do not recall Johnson's. I vaguely remember Nixon's. Even then, I do not recall such grandiose pomp -- I am sure it was due to his Watergate disgrace.

In the case of Reagan and now Ford, at first I thought all of the pomp was nice, but enough is enough. Seems these are political events and are designed to take the country's mind off our real problems. These week long, multiple funerals (Ford had 3) are more fitting for a dictator or some Communist leader. This is not American.

I hope in the future, America can honor its President's with one simple, state funeral and a private graveside service at the place of internment. But because these are egotistical men by definition, they would not have it any other way. Double with their wives.

Where's Obama?

Tuesday, on Wolf Blitzer's The Situation Room they were running a story on the hunt for Osama bin Laden and they mistakenly displayed a graphic that read Where's Obama?.

CNN went out of it way to apologize for the mistake to IL Senator Barack Obama. (Probably not yet done with its apology.) I don't recall ever seeing a MSM entity going so far out of its way to apologize for a mistake. They make mistakes in just about every program, but they went out of their way on this one. Could it be that it involved a leading Democrat; that they would have done the same thing if the figure would have been a Republican?.

I am a little perplexed as why they have not gone to the same extent to apologize to Osama bin Laden for the mistake.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Greatest College Football Game


Boise State vs Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl was perhaps the best college football game I have ever seen. It had everything -- much of it borderline unbelievable.

We had the Cinderella school from Idaho from the non-BSC conference WAC against the highly favored and historically rich powerhouse from the Big 12.

The Broncos looked the better team through the first three quarters. Then in the fourth quarter, the strength of the Sooners came front and center. When Oklahoma tied the school and after the interception and TD by Oklahoma, the tide seemed to be turning. However, Boise State did not give up. They needed to go the distance to force overtime. They had 4th and 18 around the 50 yard line. Then they executed one of the best hook and lateral play I have ever seen, resulting in a TD.

In overtime, Oklahoma scored on an Adrian Peterson run. It looked too easy. It looked like the Broncos had met their match. However on their own 4th and 5 (or 7 for the TD), they used the half-back option for a TD. Knowing their defense was getting weaker each series, they decided to go for the 2 point conversion. They executed the ancient Statue of Liberty play -- Jared Zabransky to Ian Johnson -- for the conversion and the victory.

To top it of, during the post-game interviews, Ian Johnson proposed to his girlfriend, who just happened to be the head cheerleader. She said yes.

One final thought, for those of us not overly-passionate about either team, it was arguably the best college game / bowl game ever. But if you are a member of Sooner Nation, the pain is severe. I've been a passionate fan on the losing side. The condolences did little to ease the pain.

I can't help but think that when it comes to sports, especially in big games, the underdog is often the winner. Bet against the experts, and you'll right more than 50% of the time.

As a passionate Buckeye fan, this worries me.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Romania and Bulgaria in the EU



The celebrations rain in Romania and Bulgaria as the European Union's newest member countries. One can only imagine the benefits this will bring to those nations after years of Soviet domination. But is expansion good for the EU?

It has gotten to the point where the EU has gotten too big. Germany, France, Holland and the UK have been required to subsidize those weaker economies and societies.

Frankly, I have no idea how they make it work. Just the language issue alone is a major showstopper.

I wish these new nations the best. But I do feel that the continuing growth of the EU will be its Achilles Heel.

Optimism in 2007

As we begin another calendar year, the opinions fly as to what 2007 will have in store for us.

Based on the MSM, the pessimists seem to rule. (That's in the media's best interest -- since they mainly report doom and gloom because that's what sells.)

-- A terrorist attack in America
-- Global warming
-- Natural disasters
-- War with Iran or North Korea
-- Increase in the federal minimum wage.
-- Reinstatement of the military draft will be reinstated.

Negativism is no way to go through life. Sure bad things happen but good things happen as well. 2006 was not my best year but when I list the positives against the negatives, the year was not as bad as I thought.

Only God knows what 2007 will hold. I for one am looking forward to the new year. I'll give it my best and bet the good outweighs the bad.