Saturday, August 18, 2007
New Zealanders are wondering why there is no government testing of clothing imports, and I suspect there will be political repercussions from this recall. The problem of tainted goods from China seems to be epidemic. From lead paint in toys to loose magnets that could cause choking the quality control for Chinese goods would seem to be nonexistent.
As for personal experience, I can give you a great example of shoddy Chinese goods. A few years ago I was installing a greenhouse in our backyard. To anchor the structure to the concrete foundation, I bought galvanized steel bolts. These were screwed into sockets I embedded in the concrete when I poured it. As I twisted the first bolt into the hole, the top of the bolt sheared off at the first sign of resistance. Upon inspection I found that the bolt was not steel, but pot-metal coated in zinc to look like a galvanized steel bolt. Guess where it was made? China!
I returned the defective bolts to Home Depot and replaced them with USA made ones after a lot of searching. I would hate to think of people’s lives being put at risk from poorly made or outright fake hardware like the bolts I found. The lesson? Examine everything you buy and approach anything made in China with caution.
You see in their rush to get stuff passed and get out of town for a vacation, Congress inadvertently gave Bush expanded powers to search and spy on American citizens. What the hell were they thinking? Well they weren’t. The language of the latest Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is intentionally complex and a bit vague when first read. Why? As with anything Bush does it’s a secret!
“This may give the administration even more authority than people thought,” said David Kris, an ex senior Justice Department lawyer in both the Bush and Clinton administrations. And why am I not surprised? So mind your manners and remember what your Mom taught you, always wear clean underwear, you never know when you may be strip searched.
Friday, August 17, 2007
Her intended is her longtime boyfriend, Henry Hager. White House sources confirmed the wedding plans but no details are set as of this date. I have to wonder if the first family night not be getting grandchildren soon. As my mother once told me with a wink, the first baby might arrive a couple of months early, but the rest will take 9 months.
The website and phone lines of the bank were jammed as customer rushed to pull out their cash. So many folks showed up at the bank offices that they ran out of cash and had to tell customer they would call them back when more cash reserves arrived. That is not good! Combine that with the stock market slide here and overseas and things look very bad for the economy that has allegedly “been strong” according to Bush and his minions. In reality the economy is a house of credit cards propped up by risky loans and funky financial reports. Now it’s time to really find out what’s going on, if we can.
Ship those jobs overseas, and you do get bigger profit margins since the labor in countries like China work for pennies on the dollar. That allows you to sell the good a reduced prices and still make big profits. The problem is, eventually the lower income people who shop at those stores have no jobs and run out of money. Why does nobody in big business get this very simple supply and demand equation?
Even Henry Ford knew that if he didn’t pay his workers a living wage, they couldn’t buy the cars they were manufacturing. It was simple then and it’s simple now. The problem is we have a lot of Harvard MBAs running around preaching global economic theory and looking at the big picture without ever thinking about the market for the goods that global economy is producing.
America is headed toward Third World status if we don’t turn this thing around. We have a class of Super Rich (about 1%) and the rest of us who if we are not among the working poor already will be soon. Big business is shipping as much overseas as they can and sacrificing American jobs at the altar of profit. It’s time someone slowed this down. Otherwise, the run on the people running out of money will be all of us.
You would think that something like that would be of interest to people. You would think! But instead a few months ago I did a piece on a tabloid story about Bush and Laura getting a divorce. It was most likely fabrication, though it keeps resurfacing in various media as a hint. Amazingly, most of the referrals to my blog come from people searching for that information. People would rather have gossip than facts!
Do I find that disturbing? Hell yes! Other than the schadenfreude of seeing Bush go through at least a little of the hell he has put the rest of the country through, I could care less. So what if people have said Laura is now living at the Mayflower Hotel down the street from the White House? Who cares other than George, Laura and their kids?
What should be worrying people is the complete breakdown of checks and balances that used to be the hallmark of our country’s government. What should worry people is the politicization of government agencies like FEMA. Remember how well that worked during Katrina?
The articles about the Bush divorce are interesting only in that they would have been unthinkable a few years ago. The willingness of the tabloid press to do them means Joe Sixpack is over he “he can do no wrong” phase of their feelings about the President. That’s good news.
Perhaps, and this is a big perhaps, now some of those folks will start reading the real news and realize what a mess we are in. I really do believe that American’s can and will take back our country from the corporate gangs that now run it. The first thing we need to do is to wake up.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
The story, a real tale of corruption in the small Texas town of Tulia, will be shot in Louisiana! Guess their film commission gave the production company a better deal? No matter, it’s long overdue, and if it turns out anything like the book, it will be a compelling film. At last word, Blakeslee’s roll will be played by the consummate actor Gary Sinise.
Why do I care about it? Well Nate’s mom is a good friend and she is just busting her buttons over the success of her son’s writing. Look for more from Nate Blakeslee in the future.
This latest batch of tainted goods from China reinforces my belief that China is not-ready-for-prime-time. Yes the country has lots of factories and lots of cash, but it has virtually no regulatory control of things like lead in baby toys! We banned that substance in paint and toys over 30 years ago, as has most of the world, why not China? Again, the lure of big profits from cheap Chinese goods has gotten an American company into hot water. I have to wonder if in the end the added profits will outweigh the loss of trust and destruction of Brand that these scandals produce.
Hey, here’s a hot idea! Why doesn’t some smart American company start making toys again. You can charge premium process for that Made in the USA label and the inherent safety it represents!
Here's the video clip that made the Daily Show last night. What happened to this Dick Cheney and where are they keeping him?
His guest was Stephen F. Hayes, author of Cheney: The Untold Story of American's Most Powerful and Controversial Vice President. In his interview he noted that Hayes was one of the few people to ever get to actually speak with Cheney. After hearing Hayes defense of Cheney’s lies about the war in Iraq, I know why he got to do the book. He is a lap dog of the highest order.
Stewart started the segment by playing an interview with Dick Cheney in 1994 where he says that going into Baghdad after the Gulf War and trying to topple Saddam Hussein would throw the country into chaos. He even says that it would bog our country down in a “quagmire”. That was then, and apparently a different Cheney inhabits the body of the old one.
In the interview, Stewart asked Hayes why the 2003 Cheney said it was going to be a cakewalk when the 1994 Cheney saw the reality of what has happened. Hayes hummed and hawed and talked around the issue. Stewart, unlike the rest of the press, “pressed” him on the issue and even noted that his own (Jon Stewart) patriotism was questioned by “some idiot on Fox”.
The full exchange is on Media Matters who documented the interchange. It is very telling that a comedian gets more truth from this author than he puts in his book. Read it and please don’t buy this jokers book!
Look for more executive orders in coming months as Bush becomes increasingly isolated and the most lame or all "lame duck" presidents. ThinkProgress.org has a list of fleeing rats. Watch for at least two more resignations before Labor Day.
The unit is being spun off with a separate board of directors and perhaps a new management structure according to an article in the Dallas Morning News. This move comes on the heels of several tests that proves the machines can be easily hacked and votes can be altered. Also mentioned in the article was the controversy involving the former president of Diebold, Wally O’Dell. His ties to the Republican Party and President Bush attracted lots of attention as Diebold machines were rolled out in many states before the last election.
Though the company says it still has confidence in the product, this move shows the Diebold folks as trying to distance themselves from it as fast as possible. I suspect prosecution or a major investigation is in the offing. Guess we will all have to keep our eyes and ears open on this one.
Right now a lot of the fight is by the combined air forces of Afghanistan and the US. If this sounds like déjà vu, it is. In 2001 Tora Bora was the battle where many think Bin Laden escaped US forces and fled into Pakistan.
They must be expecting really bad news, otherwise they would have these guys on every news program in the country. I expect that the Senate and House will balk at this latest ploy, but who knows? Already there are rumblings that a secret meeting will not be met with approval. In accordance with the war funding legislation the testimony and reports are to be public, so this may be a trial balloon by the Bush folks to see if there will be resistance.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.) has already told the White House that the presentation plan was unacceptable. Let’s hope more resistance is in the offing. If the Bush White House filters the report, it will be all hearts and flowers, and full of half-truths and lies. I trust the Generals will tell the truth and that is why they need to appear in person.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
OK, the show claims it is trying to stop kids from abusing animals, but the message is clear. "It's fun to abuse animals!"
Whoever is in charge of the Palestinian TV network needs some serious education in child psychology. Showing a costumed character abusing cats and taunting lions sends the message that it is OK to do this. And people wonder why there is such a cultural divide in the Middle East?
These kinds of shows only ramp up the violence and insight kids to antisocial behavior.
Of course I guess it is slightly better than the Mickey Mouse knock off encouraging kids to die as martyrs.
Looks like lots of activity coming up for the coastal states of the country, and according to reports, places hard hit by Katrina, like New Orleans are not ready. The levees are barely back to pre-Katrina strength and so far little rebuilding has been done elsewhere. I have to wonder how the Gulf Coast could survive another blow so soon on the heels of Katrina and Rita?
Right now the best option is preparedness for the possibilities, knowing evacuation plans, etc. Additionally, I proposed a faith-based initiative, prayer. That is about all we can do right now since the Bush administration has turned its back on the rebuilding efforts. Check the latest issue of National Geographic and see the dismal progress for yourself.
My travel plans include a couple of trips to Florida this summer and fall and I am watching the weather closely. I experienced a hurricane in Florida once while on a business trip. It was a very mild one, but I don’t want to do that again, especially if it’s going to be big! Stay up on the current conditions and forcasts through the National Hurricane Center’s web site.
The Bush administration has become notorious for creating its own reality and in the case of the Iraq war that is painfully evident. Bush continues to tout progress while on the ground the death toll climbs and the areas of the country that are peaceful shrink. Additionally, so little has been done to guard the infrastructure of the country that things like electricity and water are more illusion than fact.
So in September, expect more of the same since the report will be written prior to Patraeus’ report and crafted by the Bush folks. I predict it will tout a resounding success of the “surge” and declare that Iraq is well on its way to a peaceful democracy. Never mind that part about the government falling apart and the citizens being blasted to smithereens by insurgents.
Sound a bit disturbing. You betcha! The capabilities of these next generation satellites is still not for public consumption, but sources say they can see through cloud cover and create clear pictures of the ground. According to the Wall Street Journal, they can even se through concrete using an array of technologies from radar to lasers and electromagnetic imaging. Spooky stuff, and most of it is still classified.
Why so much interest in you and me? Well Bush considers anyone who disagrees with his agenda a potential enemy. I suspect Cheney is behind the move and aside from the Daily Show’s references to him as “The Penguin”, I sincerely believe he is dangerous and neurotic. Keep your eyes and ears open, and remember that everything you do both inside and outside your home could be watched by Big Brother Bush.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
"To celebrate Earth Day Lindsay Lohan drove a Hybrid into a tree."
Aside from that it was lots of canned laughter and not much funny. Guess that just proves that the GOP has no sense of humor. That is, unless you count the last 7 years as just one big joke on the American people.
Lead paint disappeared from American made toys decades ago and now it resurfaces in cheap toys made in China. Why? No regulations over in that country, so questionable materials are par for the course. Frankly I am surprised this hasn’t happened sooner. If there were ever an argument for “Made in USA” products this is it. It should be a wakeup call to American companies who chase low price manufacturing and risk their reputation.
Great parody of The Office with a heavy political message.
Authors of the study cited many reasons for the disparities, including the stigma of government benefits, eligibility rules and lack of information about the benefits. To be eligible a family has to be in very dire straits, 130 percent of the poverty level. So these are people for whom food is a really basic insecurity issue.
I have to wonder how we can continue to hear reports of how well our economy is doing with so many folks needing food assistance? Feeding the hungry is one of those issues that Jesus talks about over and over in the Bible, but only a few fundamentalists would include reducing hunger as a priority over protesting gay marriage or abortion. Maybe it’s time to read the “red letters” in the Bible as well.
So Karl admits he is a dick! Finally!
This also confirms my suspicions that he is leaving to spend more time with his lawyers in preparation for some really heavy legal stuff. Watch for indictments in everything from Plame-gate to the Attorney Firing Scandal. Karl is at the center of them all and he needs to get convicted soon so Bush can pardon him before he leaves office.
Monday, August 13, 2007
Well I guess we , the American people are the mob he refers to and guess what Karl. It pleases us a whole lot! His response gives some insight into his attitude and that of the whole Bush bunch into their feelings about the “rest of us”. The Bushies feel superior, not only in political position but as privlidged human beings. You see to them we are the teeming masses, worthy of only lip service and occasional handshakes. They live in gated-guarded compounds and interact with the real citizens of this country only in photo ops.
As Karl runs from Washington to escape prosecution, he will find few friends among the rabble and just might end up like Nero becoming one of history’s most despised characters.
Let us parse the code here. Since the Bush White House never tells the truth and speaks in krypto-neocon some translation is needed. I would suspect that the phrase “spend more time with his family”, means time to prepare his defense with his lawyers. The word “resign” in the Bush White House means fired. Finally the hasty exit would indicate that either an indictment is pending or the GOP has forced Karl out in hopes of polishing the president’s image.
Rove is just another rat leaving the sinking Bush ship and I cannot imagine that his departure was not accompanied by some fierce talk in the White House. Congress is closing in on Bush and his cronies and Rove was a very weak link in their chain of deniability. He was getting some cover with the old Bush standby “executive privilege” but that is becoming tiresome and I suspect Congress won’t continue to cave to that excuse.
I have to wonder if Karl is not going home to spend time with his family as they prepare to move to a summer home in Paraguay to avoid prosecution for high crimes?
Sunday, August 12, 2007
For many in the GOP Thompson was the Great White Hope, but his campaign was a complete non-starter. The other interesting news was Mitt Romney outspending the other candidates 10 to 1 and only getting 32% of the vote and Guiliani wasn't even in the poll.
The GOP race is looking dim and if Huckabee is the next "hot story" I will predict now a Democratic Landslide.
Somebody woke up and realized she is a polarizing figure that could keep voters home on election day, or worse. She might even win the Presidency, but I suspect it would be at the cost of the Senate and House races. Over 40 Democratic candidates when interviewed feared her impact on their races. That is not good.
With so tenuous a hold on Congress, the Democratic Party can ill afford to elect a President and lose Congress, it would put the country right back in the position it is now, with the exception that a would be dictator would not be in the White House.
OK, so now for my partisan rant. I support Barak Obama, and the reasons are many, but the big one is his effect on people who hear him speak. He inspires people. He gives people hope and after the dark morass of the Bush administration, our country needs that hope more than ever.
Obama does not come out and say he supports Gay Marriage, and that’s fine by me if he guarantees the GBLT community the same rights as every other American. I would happily get a Civil Union from the State and let my church marry my partner and myself. Marriage is a religious not a civil construct anyway. In the bigger picture, Obama backs full civil rights for EVERYONE! So what if I call my union a “civil union” and someone else calls theirs “marriage”, that is a semantic problem and in time it will change.
Obama also brings other positives to the table. He may be able to motivate voters who have traditionally been absent at the polls. If minority voters as well as the elusive “liberal” voters would show up, a landslide for the Democrats would ensue. He is no magician, but I genuinely feel Obama is the closest thing to a great candidate that the Democrats have had in a decade.
Another amazing part of the project was the fact that the congregation raised almost all the fund necessary to start the building, over $3 million, in one year. For our 37th anniversary we set out to raise $3.7 million and got amazingly close. Our Senior Pastor Dr. Jo Hudson and the Dean of the Cathedral Michael Piazza announced the total at today's service.
Unfortunately, I was out of town. However I managed to keep up by watching on the Internet.
For more information go to www.cathedralofhope.com.
Teens in these camps are given large doses of “Christian training” as well as forced marches, brutal treatment and in one case, being dragged behind a truck on a rope. Sounds like good old time religion to me!
Rev. Charles Flowers and an assistant are being charged with aggravated assault for their treatment of a 15 year old girl in their camp. The teen said the assistant held her down while Flowers tied her to the back of a vehicle. She was dragged after being forced to run behind a moving van.
Somehow I don’t think this is what Jesus had in mind when he said “love one another”.