Thursday, May 31, 2007

Freedom of Speech: Not in Venezuela Nor in DNC's America

Despite civil protests, Hugo Chavez has pulled the plug on Venezuela's most-watched television station. This station was the opposition's most vocal. Radio Caracas Television (RCTV), which has been broadcasting for 53 years, was replaced by a state-run station -- TVes.

This is no different than what Nancy Pelosi and her fellow Liberals would like to do with Conservative talk radio.

Talk radio is one of the greatest vehicles in the modern era. It works for Conservatives. It has failed for Liberals. It only makes sense. Sure there are many educated Liberals, the bulk of the DNC is not. That is the one advantage the Democrats have over the Republicans: an uneducated constituency.

What is it the allure the Libs see in Venezuela (and Cuba)? One thing and one thing only: power. They would like to control the masses the way Chevez (and Castro) have, despite the fact they lead broken societies.

So how do Pelosi and her cronies get away with double talk? Because the MSM is unwilling to call them on it. They want the Venezuelan station reopened but Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Medved, Michael Savage, and Glenn Beck off the air. Real honesty here. Luckily their constituency would never ask the question.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A Mormon as President?

Michael Medved, a devote Jew, has written a fair piece on Mitt Romney and Mormonism.

Does the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints constitute a benevolent, mainstream religion or a dangerous cult with a deranged and bloody past? Medved describes three rules to determine whether a denomination counts as decent or dangerous:

1-Forget about theology – to outsiders, all religious beliefs look weird and irrational.
2-Don’t judge a religion’s present impact and influence based upon the excesses or abominations of its past.
3-The only basis for evaluating a religion is the constructive or destructive behavior of its adherents: do their attempts to live their faith make the world around them better or worse?

As a Mormon, I am used to the whispers and behind the scene gabs at us. I also know that most are done based on ignorance. I also know that leaders of many local Christian denominations or congregations have active campaigns against Mormonism, instructing the flocks to avoid all dialog with Mormons, especially the missionaries. Any person who uses the "Mormon's are satanic" tactic has some serious problems with themself, obviously lacking confidence, or maybe just some education.

A person's religion should not qualify or disqualify a person from political office. Look at his/her life and how they live it. Better yet, look at their platform and record. Of all the major presidential candidates, Mitt Romney is the best for conservatives and for religious people, regardless of their political persuasion.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

UEFA Champions League Final


I need to mention the UEFA Champions League Final held this past week. I watched the match from the Winking Lizard in downtown Cleveland...by myself. (The salad and wings were great.)

I was impressed at how well Liverpool played. They were certainly the better side on this day but Milan won on the scoreboard, where it counts.

AC Milan scored on two Filippo Inzaghi goals -- one a direct kick deflection and the other taking advantage of a poorly executed offside trap. Liverpool's loan Dirk Kuyt goal and a massive effort at the end, could not even the score.

Liverpool went in as underdogs and gave it a great shot. Someone wins and someone loses. Hat's off to the Italians who on Wednesday night in Athens were the winning side.

Lebron James


It you have been following the NBA playoffs this year, you have seen Cleveland go down tot Detroit two games to none in the Eastern Conference Finals. In both games in Detroit, Cleveland had a chance to win both.

They had the ball with single digits on the clock. In the first, Lebron passed the ball to a wide-open Donyell Marshall who missed the three-point attempt. If he would have made it, Lebron would have had a triple double and the win. In game two, Lebron drove the lane, put up the contested shot, did not get the foul call (probably did not deserve it); unguarded Larry Hughes got the rebound and missed a short jumper; and Anderson Varejao missed the subsequent tip.

Listening to the media, you'd think Lebron, a mere 22 year old, was the biggest loser in the history of the NBA.

Both of these games were not well played by either team. But when a game goes down to the final shot, one team is going to win and one team is going to lose. Cleveland came up short on both. But to assume the sky is falling is a bit of stretch by the sporting commentators.

Cleveland may lose this series but Detroit is not all that much better.

Cleveland Rocks...But...


Ian Hunter wrote and sang..."all the little kids growing up on the skids are goin Cleveland rocks, Cleveland rocks..." I spent the week in Cleveland doing a product installation at Cleveland State University, experiencing the core of Cleveland.

This is a city that has it good points and its bad points. Despite the effort to build three great stadiums/areas -- Jacobs Field (Indians), The Quicken Loans Arena (Cavs), and Cleveland Stadium (Browns) -- plus the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland is still a city awaiting a resurgence.

The city's architecture is all over the place. There are great buildings built in the early 20th century sitting next to buildings with a more modern glass look. Poor designs, poor themes, non-inspiring. I will say this: they have some truly great churches from orthodox to Gothic.

Unless a game is going on, it is a dead city. During the day, there are few people actually working downtown. If they are working in those buildings, they don't leave them -- no pedestrians.

Go east, south or west and you really have nothing of any significant commerce. It is a city whose best years were probably a hundred years ago.

There are some economical challenging areas in central Cleveland. It appears that most modern businesses have red lined a 25-50 square mile area.

This city is one where the movers and shakers have abandoned the city for the suburbs.

The workers I had to deal with in the city behaved as if I was putting them out asking them to do what they were being paid to do -- from restaurant workers to FedEx employees, from university employees (not Dave or Ali) to airport employees.

Raised in Ohio, I am a Cleavland fan. I sure would like to see the lower class people pull their heads out and get on with life, get productive, take pride in the city. I'd like to see the city planners do a better job integrating the universities -- CSU and Case -- including creating a destination associated with the water/lake front and a more alluring public transportation system.

UPDATE 8/20/07: I just received a $95 speeding ticket from the City of Cleveland. A photo ticket for going 43 MPH in a 35 MPH. Way to go Cleveland; a rental car going eight MPH over the limit. Does not get any better than that.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Cycle Salt Lake Century


Today was the third time I have ridden the Salt Lake Century -- 100 mile bike ride. It may be the last.

The first third was great -- good speed, fun. The second third was okay but introduced the pain on the underside. The last third, even after some food, was bonk-city.

It seems that my genes do not lend them well to typical cycling speeds and endurance. For the first third, I averaged 20 mps. The second third saw it fall to 16 mph. The final third was 13 mph, plus a few too many stops to rest.

The four guys I went to the ride with did real good. It was their first road ride. They cranked it out like a walk in the park.

I think the next time I do one of these long road rides, I'll opt for the 67 mile or metric century. Seems to be the magic distance for me.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Immigration Reform: Back Office Style

Make a deal with Ted Kennedy and it is clear you have sold your soul to the devil. This latest Senate immigration bill is as bad of potential legislation as there ever was.

The bill provides amnesty to millions (the government say 12 million; probably two to five times higher) of undocumented aliens. Illegals will obtain a renewable Z visa, leave and re-enter the country (yea right), pay a $5000 fine, wait eight to thirteen years, get a green card and perhaps citizenship. The bill also includes a plan to create a temporary worker program, beef up border patrols (hire more agents) and crack down on employers who hire illegal immigrants. Once Bush signs the bill, millions become legal and will be entitled to all the benefits of the state including social security.

Kennedy said, "This agreement is the best possible chance we will have in years to secure our borders, bring millions of people out of the shadows and into the sunshine of America."

McCain called the new proposal "a first step but important step in moving forward with comprehensive overall immigration reform [and] put employers on notice that the practice of hiring illegal workers will no longer be tolerated."

Many liberals are unhappy with the proposal because it makes a far-reaching change in the immigration system that would admit future arrivals seeking to put down roots in the U.S. based on their skills, education levels and job experience - limiting the importance of family ties. Now the liberals are pro-family? Yea, right. This is liberal posturing. They love this. It is their best voter registration measure ever. They are creating a new set of victims -- new social dependents.

McCain has ended all Presidential aspirations with this deal. President Bush has just completely killed off any remaining conservative supporters, including me. It has become clear that he will probably go down in history as one of our worst presidents, right there with Carter. Any presidential candidate who does not come out in open opposition to this is doomed. That puts Romney is a strong position to be the next president of the U.S.

This bill is a sell out. It flips the bird to the rule of law. It is encouraging a country without borders. It will make America look more like Mexico, enriching those who prosper on the backs of cheap labor, depress wages for the working class.

We have laws in place to address the illegal immigration problem. Congress did something very similar in 1986 with the Immigration Reform and Control Act. What did it accomplish? The illegal problem is more out-of-control. The border, though better over the past year, is still a porous sieve. This bill will have no positive impact on homeland security.

This is good 'ol boy, back office politics, or is it "back orifice politics?" This is not about what's best for America. This is about what is best for a handful of fat Senators. This was not normal Senate procedure.

Why do we even care about illegals' rights? Why do those supporting this bill make it sound as if we are the bad guys? Why do we give them free healthcare? Why do we give them free education? Why do we continue funding prisons that are full of illegals who are hardened criminals?

Let's enforce the existing laws by penalizing those who hire illegals, deporting all felons including those with fake IDs (felony) and who have been caught a second time entering the country illegally (felony). Let's build the fence from sea to sea. Let's refuse public services to those here illegally.

Bush, along with McCain, is dropping the I-Bomb on America. This may very well be the end of the Republican Party. Cudos to Kennedy, Reid and Pelosi -- very shrewd. Your welfare utopia state is getting closer every day.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Democrat Surrenderites

Surrender-at-all-costs Senate Democrats failed in their attempt to cut off funds for the Iraq war. Sure there is displeasure in both parties over President Bush's handling of the conflict. But cut and run is not the answer.

I personally never felt going into Iraq was in the be interest of the US, despite Saddam Hussein. There are creepy dictators all over the world. For most, we turn a blind eye. I felt the costs would be too high and like all major foreign conflicts, they last indefinitely. Historically, that is and will always be the case.

The 67-29 vote against the measure, far short of the 60 needed to advance, point out who the surrenderites are. What is amazing is how many Democrats did not vote for the towel toss-in measure.

Here are your 29 Senate surrenderites...the typical cast of characters:

Akaka (D-HI), Yea
Biden (D-DE), Yea
Boxer (D-CA), Yea
Byrd (D-WV), Yea
Cantwell (D-WA), Yea
Cardin (D-MD), Yea
Clinton (D-NY), Yea
Dodd (D-CT), Yea
Durbin (D-IL), Yea
Feingold (D-WI), Yea
Feinstein (D-CA), Yea
Harkin (D-IA), Yea
Inouye (D-HI), Yea
Kennedy (D-MA), Yea
Kerry (D-MA), Yea
Klobuchar (D-MN), Yea
Kohl (D-WI), Yea
Lautenberg (D-NJ), Yea
Leahy (D-VT), Yea
Menendez (D-NJ), Yea
Mikulski (D-MD), Yea
Murray (D-WA), Yea
Obama (D-IL), Yea
Reid (D-NV), Yea
Sanders (I-VT), Yea
Schumer (D-NY), Yea
Stabenow (D-MI), Yea
Whitehouse (D-RI), Yea
Wyden (D-OR), Yea

They Attack Us Here Because We’re Over There

I did not listen to the GOP debate last night from South Carolina. I really can't get excited about politicians this far in advance of a major election. Besides, there were great hockey and basketball playoffs games that almost always trumps a bunch of taking heads. I'll get energized once Hillary gets the Democratic nomination.

However, I was interested in aftermath of the debate and comments of Ron Paul. I really don't know much about him but he certainly sounded like a Democrat when he responded to a question about how September 11 changed American foreign policy.

He said “Have you ever read the reasons they attacked us? They attack us because we’ve been over there; we’ve been bombing Iraq for ten years…”

The debate moderator then asked, “Are you suggesting we invited the 9/11 attack, sir?”

Paul responded, “I’m suggesting that we listen to the people who attacked us and the reason they did it. They don’t come here to attack us because we’re rich and we’re free. They come and they attack us because we’re over there.”

Giuliani scoffed it by saying it is ridiculous to assume that we invited the attack because we were attacking Iraq.

Should we be expecting to hear Paul say, "why can't we all just get along?" or "let's just give peace a chance," or "love is the answer, not war."

It is also obvious that Paul has no real understanding of history. Like most people, they think the Islamic revolution is a recent development.

For me, a historical understanding of the world, its cultures, religions, wars, etc. is a critical Presidential criterion. Most of our recent Presidents failed this test, including our current President. I just hope we do not make this mistake again.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A War Czar?


President Bush has chosen Lieutenant General Douglas Lute to serve as Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Iraq and Afghanistan. He is tasked with being the full-time manager for the implementation and execution of the U.S. strategies for Iraq and Afghanistan.

I don't doubt the capabilities of the General, I don't know him. What concerns me is that Bush appears to have abdicated his Commander in Chief responsibility. If I had to define the role of the CiC, being a full-time war manager would be crucial to that definition. Appointing a surrogate war czar would not.

This disappoints me.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Russia and Turkmen Agree on Gas Deal

Russia has established a new energy deal with Turkmenistan. They will construct a direct pipeline around the Caspian (into Russia).

The new pipeline is due to run from western Turkmenistan along the Caspian shore, pumping billions of cubic meters of gas through Kazakhstan before entering Russia. Collectively, they will export the gas throughout the world.

The U.S. was trying to create an alternative that would route the gas below Russia.

This is a win for Russia and a loss for the U.S. However, it is not an unexpected event.

This is an interesting view into how other countries view business: what is good for the the business company is good for the country. Most nations' senior leaders take an active role in commerce. The U.S. Department of Commerce takes a less strategic role and more of a tactical one.

I would not change the way we work here. It just point out that when the government leaders and their government energy company (Gazprom) want something, they will get it. They control the bribes, kickbacks, environmental impact, funding, etc.

It has never been an even playing ground. However, the U.S. wins more often then not due to its superior business, technology and logistical skills and abilities.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother's Day

Mother's Day is celebrated at different times in different manners in many of the world's nations. It is a great day -- a time to reflect on what our mothers mean to us.

My mother, raised in southern Ohio and spending all of her adult life in central Ohio, has been a great blessing to me. She is very kind and giving. She'd do anything for her children and for just about anyone else who was in need.

She's a great sports fan, especially if it involves The Ohio State University, and most specifically the football program.

She's a great cook. Some things she's cooks very well. I have to keep those items minimized when talking with my wife, if you know what I mean.

I have a scarf she knitted for me when I was in high school in our school colors. It is one of my most cherished possessions.

She's one who goes to the extreme during Christmas -- spending a bit more than she had. But giving is what she's all about.

My parents divorced when I was in high school. She has had her financial ups and downs over the years but has done amazingly well. She is in her early 70s and still works 30 hours a week for her most recent full-time employer. She's one of those ladies that must stay busy.

I am blessed to have such a great mother. Thanks Mom. I love you.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Terror Plot Foiled at Fort Dix

This week, a terrorist plot was foiled in New Jersey. Five foreign-born Islamists with radical ideology were planning to kill as many soldiers as possible at Ft. Dix Army base east of Philadelphia. A sixth man was charged with helping them obtain illegal weapons.

Something as simple as a simple phone made by a retail store clerk when he came across a jihad training video the store was asked to copy onto a DVD. That sparked a multi-month investigation, including some infiltration and lots of surveillance.

These home-grown terrorists are the terrorists we need to guard against. We have seen what they have done in London and Madrid. Because of our lax immigration policies and weakening of the integration process we have historically been quite good at, we will have do deal with hundreds if not thousands of these autonomous cells.
The men, ages 22 to 28, held jobs ranging from roofing to driving a cab to delivering pizza, and had no clear motivation other than their stated desire to kill United States soldiers in the name of Islam. They considered a variety of targets, including the annual Army-Navy football game and warships docked in the Port of Philadelphia, but ultimately dismissed Dover Air Force Base in Delaware as having too much security and picked Fort Dix largely because one of their fathers owned a restaurant nearby that delivered to the base.
This incident points out two very important actions or activities:

1) We all have a role to play in the defense of our nation, state, city and neighborhood.
2) Good investigation, surveillance and infiltration takes time and skill. It is not as easy as you might think.

A great big thanks to a wise store clerk and to a great team of FBI investigators.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

RUSH - Snakes & Arrows


Rush has been putting out great music since 1974. Earlier this month, they released Snakes & Arrows. I have all of their studio recordings, some of the live material and the Rush in Rio DVD. I have seen them live at least ten times. Obviously, I am a big fan.

This latest recording is not bad. It is typical Rush but there are three tunes here that are as a good set of tunes they have ever produced. They are the instrumentals "The Main Monkey Business," "Hope" and "Malignant Narcissism." "Far Cry" will get the radio play but "The Main Monkey Business" is a top ten, all-time Rush song.

Neil Peart's lyrics are great, the music is excellent, and well we just have to take Geddy's voice -- it is what it is for these 33 years. The album art is some of the best album art I have every seen.

They'll be coming to a town near you. If you have not seen them, plop down the jack and experience of night of Alex, Neil and Geddy, and gobble up their latest CD as your prep material.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Are the Facts on Mormonism Really That Complex?

I stand amazed at the lack of religious education that exists in America. Whether it be the Born-Again Christians refusing to vote for a Mormon because they say they are not true Christians or the latest from the Rev. Al Sharpton.

He said in a recent debate that "those of us who believe in God will defeat Republican Mitt Romney for the White House. As for the one Mormon running for office, those who really believe in God will defeat him anyways, so don't worry about that; that's a temporary situation."

Sharpton denied he was questioning the Mormon's own belief in God. He said he was contrasting himself with Christopher Hitchens, the atheist author he was debating at the time. Sharpton can't even lie with class.

I really like watching Romney. Of all of the presidential candidates, he is by far the most presidential looking and behaving. He would be a great representation of the standards we need in the White House and to represent this nation, despite the fact he is a Mormon.

His shot is a long one but I hope in his presidential quest he is able to remove many of the LDS stereotypes out there.

Monday, May 07, 2007

A French President That Likes America?


I worked for a French company for nearly five years. I have been all over France, probably a dozen trips, usually spending a week at a time. I had at least three French bosses including one female, who was one of the best people I ever worked for. On a business level, it was not bad. Their were some subtle cultural issues but nothing significant. I could not move up in the company because of the good'ol boy system that exists (that's why I left), but overall, not a bad experience.

I have followed French politics and events for years. This latest presidential election being no exception. Right-leaning Nicolas Sarkozy won a clear majority 53% to 47% for leftist Segolene Royal, with an 85% turn out. His clear election win has paved the way for radical reforms to kickstart France's sluggish economy, tackle simmering social discontent and chart a new foreign policy course.

Ms. Royal's platform was so socialistic that it was unbelievable...the government will do this for you or give you that. She failed to win the female vote. People have realized that socialism cannot work to that extent because some economic backbone is required to pay for the programs. France is a socialist nation, that's not going to change. But in order for their form of socialism to work, it must have a capitalistic foundation.

It would only be the leftists that would riot as a response to their defeat. Instead of burning a 100 cars on a typical night, last night's festivities saw over 700 torched.

Sarkozy's simple platform to address their stagnant economy, lack of immigrate integration (the Muslim car-burning problem) and participate in the global war on terrorismcourse was easy to sell (not so much the latter but the former two definitely).

Modern governments, in order for their nations to prosper, must be friendly to business, they must manage immigration and integrate those that are allowed to enter legally, they need to control spending, and they need eliminate extensive corruption (all governments are corrupt, they just differ on scale).

A French president that likes America is actually a possibility. Who would have thought?

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Republican Defecting to Oblablama

The London Times runs the following story, as if it were an ubiquitous opinion:
Disillusioned supporters of President George W. Bush are defecting to Barack Obama, the Democratic senator for Illinois, as the White House candidate with the best chance of uniting a divided nation.
There might be a few defectors but the story would be more accurate by stating Republicans are having a tougher time with their association with President Bush and his low poll numbers.

Any Republican who would defect to Oblablama would be a fence-sitting Republican. They certainly would not be a conservative. They would be politicians that would do anything if it meant higher opinion polls. Obama is a liberal in ever sense of the word.

Over the past 30 years, the traditional Democrat has moved way left of center, totally focused on fringe and special interest issues. The traditional Republican has move to where the Democrats were forty years ago. They are left of center also.

The older I get and with the passage of time, true conservatives are becoming fewer and fewer. Too few people actually stand up for true and proven principles. Too many fall prey to the amoral society we live in and the detritus associated with it.

The decline of the American society began in the sixties with free love, drug use and their expressed rebellious, anti-establishment attitudes -- all founded upon false principles. Conservatism is the opposite of this. Liberalism make sense to those that have nothing to conserve, in other words the losers.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Sprinklers


Like many of you in the west, if you have a yard of any decent size, hand watering is not an option. An in-ground system is a necessary evil. Why evil? Because winter happens and spring begins.

After a typical winter, I will need to replace 2-3 sprinkler heads. I have lived her over ten years, and I have replaced most of them at least once. This past winter was not typical.

The cold temperatures causes havoc on lines that do not drain. The end result is a busted pipe. The process to identify the location is through running the line and looking for the flooded soil.

For most yards, it is a trenching shovel, replace the pipe, test, refill. For my yard, I have to deal with roots. I have lots of poplar trees (don't plant them!) and their roots run close to the surface. So a shovel needs to be paired with some pruning shears and a chain saw -- yes a chain saw. I have some roots in the path that are four inches in diameter.

Luckily the weather has been cool in Utah most of the spring, except for a few days last week in the 80s. Today, we had flurries and 40 degree weather and high winds. Not ideal sprinkler repair weather. Nevertheless, the job is nearly done -- allowing the glue to set in the cooler weather takes much longer.

I could blame global warming, but it is the cold that causes the problems.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Media Ownership Reform Act (MORA)

Media Ownership Reform Act (MORA) being proposed by Congressman Maurice Hinchey (NY-22)is nothing more than a left wing attempt to remove voices that do not agree with the socialist left.

It desires to compel news outlets to investigate issues thoroughly and present their findings in an unbiased way...provided the results meet with the liberal agenda. Yea, we need a law to do this.

George Soros is the money behind the puppet congressman, supported by Speaker Peloser and dozens of other flammers.

They just can't stand dissenting voices. Instead of allowing people to make up their minds, they want to legislate speech. This tosses out the Constitution's First Ammendment.

Talk radio works for the conservative movement. It fails for the liberals.

I guess social democrats assume the drive-by media is unbaised. Of course they know they aren't. This is pure politics.

Another reason to distrust liberals, like I needed another. I distrust all politician but absolutely despise liberals and democrats, probably as much as they despise me. But at least I am courteous and amiable.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Liverpool FC to Champions League Final


This was worth the three hours off work on a Tuesday afternoon here in the USA to see Liverpool move to the UEFA Champions League final in Athens.

Chelsea won 1-0 at Stanford Bridge last Wednesday. Today, Liverpool took a 1-0 lead through 30 minutes of extra time forcing the infamous penalty kicks at Anfield. Liverpool made their first four PKs while Pepe Riena blocked two of Chelsea's first three.

Although Anfield's day's are numbered, Liverpool's fans are second to none. It's always a fact that as an LFC fan, you'll never walk alone.