Saturday, November 22, 2008

Helping Out The America Car Industry

Though GM and the other big 3 showed up in their corporate jets to beg for bailout money from Congress, they really need it. Hundreds of thousands of American jobs are on the line and if you consider the other thousands those jobs support we are talking huge disaster if GM were to shutter its plants.

What the car makers lacked was a real plan for what they are going to do with the cash. If they intend on only using it to plug up the leaks it won't work. They need a real plan of action, albeit preliminary, to show that they actually have a vision of what the American car manufacturing worlds will look like post-recession. Perhaps a real effort to move toward non-internal combustion cars? Or a genuine fuel efficient model that doesn't look cheap and tacky.

The Japanese figured this out long ago and they lead the market in fuel efficiency and style, why can't we take that back? Perhaps because the management of the Big 3 are a bunch of ossified old billionaires who have no idea what their market is anymore.

I sincerely hope they will put their over-paid heads together and come back to Congress with a plan. The US cannot afford to let them fail. Hundreds of thousands of jobs depend on it and that will affect our whole economy. I have already written my representatives and asked them to find a way to help the automakers. We did it once with Chrysler and it worked out pretty well, we can do it again.

Friday, November 21, 2008

One More - Old School Hitler Rap!

OK, couldn't resist just one more Hitler parody. This one is old school by Mel Brooks. It was released with the DVD of "To Be or Not To Be". Enjoy or be horrified!

Rise and Fall of the Mortgage Market! finds really great stuff, especially for a Friday afternoon. Finally, something in the mortgage crisis to laugh about. Ignore that the translation is bogus and enjoy!

Bush Burned In Effigy In Baghdad

Well so much for that "George Bush Square" that Richard Pearle has been holding out for in Baghdad. Today, followers of Muqtada al-Sadr held a rally and prayer vigil where they stomped and burn an effigy of Bush. Apparently they don't like us occupying their country? How unusual?

The protest was to voice their opinion on the recently negotiated pact that would allow US forces to stay in Iraq until 2011. It has yet to be ratified by the Iraqi Congress, but passage is expected soon. To give an idea of how different people see this agreement, in our country it's called a "U.S.-Iraqi security pact" but in Iraq it's called a "withdrawal agreement".

Tomato tom-ah-toe!

Obama's Choices & The Road Ahead

I remember after the primaries that I had spoken with friends who were Hillary supporters. I told them that I thought she would make a great Secretary of State. She has the contacts with foreign leaders. She is a very accomplished politician and diplomat and she can be very tough and formidable when necessary. All of those are good skills for a Secretary of State, especially given our current standing in the world.

The choice of Hillary has been criticized by some in the blogosphere but for me it’s a great fit. I think Obama’s choices for his cabinet so far are sound and he has chosen people who are experienced but not worn out. He has not made the mistake Bush made by inserting the cabinet of his party’s predecessors as his own. The bush cabinet looked like a replay of Bush Sr.!

Now it’s time to put the network of individuals to work, those supporters of Obama who are now wired up in his network. So far he has encouraged people to help out inn the wildfire relief in California, and that is a good start. The network of supporters will form the basis of a new American activist movement, motivated people who are willing to respond at the ring of a text message to pull together for the good of our country.

My hope is that all of us who are part of that network are as willing to work as we were to vote!

Transgender Day of Rememberance

I missed the date, but the sentiment is still valid. Yesterday was Transgender Day of Rememberance. The Transgender Day of Remembrance was set aside to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice.

I count a lot of Transgender folk in my group of friends and I know from their stories the challenges they face. My hope is that their struggle as well as the struggle of all queer people will make great strides in the coming years.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Detroit Shows Up For A Handout

So Detroit showed up in Washington today with their hands out and their private jets waiting on the runways. OK, so that is a slightly unfair thing to say, but it was a bad image to give for their poor-house story.

Detroit is suffering from lots of problems, most of which are a lack of imagination and poor management. Granted there are expenses for wages, pensions and health care, but the biggest problem is that they don’t make cars people want. The big 3 have continued to make big gas guzzlers when America wants small efficient cars like the Toyota Prius. Detroit makes small cars, but in general they suck. They feel cheap and drive crummy and look worse.

There is a lot of hope and fortune tied up in the Chevy Volt, but if it premiers at $40,000 it won’t go anywhere. A luxury price for an electric car is silly. For the rich who want an electric car, there already is the Tesla. For the common man, a reasonably priced electric is the answer. Why Detroit can’t figure out how to do that is a mystery. Fewer moving parts, less assembly, what’s the problem?

Well, electric cars have been around for a while. The EV1 was a hit with consumers but failed for the company since dealers hated it. Not enough service money. Besides it was done at gunpoint for California only. Why couldn’t they just roll out a larger production version? It could be on the market right now!

My hope is the automakers return to Washington with a real plan to save the industry. I feel sure the Senate and House will support them if they come with more than their hands out.

Happy Great American Smokeout!

Today, the Thursday before Thanksgiving is the Great American Smokeout. No it isn't a barbecue, it's the American Lung Association's drive to end smoking in America.

Now as an ex-cigarette smoker, you would think I would be sympathetic to those folks who still continue to sully their lungs with cigarette smoke, but I am not. I am tired of going to a bar and coming home reeking of cigarettes. Getting that smell out of leather is a real bitch!

I will freely admit I have smoked cigars in the past, and though I find the smell of cigar smoke a turn-on, I know many folks do not. So in the interest of the community I have forsaken the stogies and gone smoke-free. Now if Dallas would just pass an anti-smoking ordinance for all public buildings we all could breath more freely.

I understand there are those who claim it will hurt business in bars, but I know folks in San Francisco who tell me that the bars are just as busy as ever several years after a smoking ban. The lure of camaraderie, booze and sex is stringer than nicotine! In fact without the smoke, I might even show up at our local watering holes more often, knowing it wouldn't take a dry cleaners to remove the sediment of the nights visit from my clothing.

So here is to the Great American Smokeout. Good luck to everyone who is trying to quit. My suggestion as someone who did quit is just go cold turkey. Find lots of good books and take up a hobby. You surely can find better things to do with your hands than lift a burning tube of paper and tobacco to your lips every few seconds.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Internet Pirates! 50 Million Individuals Medical Info Stolen

First it was the pirates off the coast of Somalia and now it's on the internet!

If you thought your medical history and prescription information was secure, think again. Express Scripts, one of the nation's largest pharmacy benefits managers, got a nasty little extortion letter which included personal information from 75 Express Scripts clients inlcuding Social Security numbers, dates of birth and, in some cases, information about prescription medications.

According to a story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "the letter demanded money from the company — the amount has not been disclosed — and threatened to use the Internet to reveal personal and medical information about millions of people if the demands were not met."

The company manages information on 50 million workers at 1,600 American companies. That is a very big security breach and the FBI is pressing forward on the case.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Begich Wins Alaska, Ted Stevens Is Out!

The Associated Press just called Alaska's Senatorial race in favor of Mark Begich who will become the first Democratic Senator from Alaska in recent memory. Ted Steven's 40 year career has now ended in a flurry of scandal and his conviction.

Begich has 150,728 votes (47.76 percent) and Stevens has 147,004 (46.58 percent). Under state law, the only time an automatic recount is triggered is in the case of a tie. Stevens can request one, but would have to pay for it himself.

Repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell - Generals & Admirals Petition

From PageOneQ comes the text of a petition signed and calling on the new administration to repeal the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy. Here is the text and the signers of the petition:

We – the undersigned -- respectfully call for the repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. Those of us endorsing this letter have dedicated our lives to defending the rights of our citizens to believe whatever they wish. Scholarly data shows there are approximately one million gay and lesbian veterans in the United States today as well as 65,000 gays and lesbians currently serving in our armed forces. They have served our nation honorably. We support the recent comments of former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General John Shalikashvili, who has concluded that repealing the "don't ask, don't tell" policy would not harm and would indeed help our armed forces. As is the case with Great Britain, Israel, and other nations that allow gays and lesbians to serve openly, our service members are professionals who are able to work together effectively despite differences in race, gender, religion, and sexuality. Such collaboration reflects the strength and the best traditions of our democracy.

Former Secretary of the Army Clifford Alexander
Admiral Charles Larson, USN (ret.)
Lieutenant General Quinn Becker, USA (ret.)
Lieutenant General Henry Emerson, USA (ret.)
Lieutenant General Robert Flowers, USA (ret.)
Lieutenant General Robert Gard, USA (ret.)
Lieutenant General Jerry Hilmes, USA (ret.)
Lieutenant General Claudia Kennedy, USA (ret.)
Lieutenant General Donald Kerrick, USA (ret.)
Lieutenant General Ira Owens, USA (ret.)
Lieutenant General Thomas Rienzi, USA (ret.)
Vice Admiral Harold Koenig, USN (ret.)
Vice Admiral Jack Shanahan, USN (ret.)
Vice Admiral James Zimble, USN (ret.)
Major General Anders Aadland, USA (ret.)
Major General Floyd Baker, USA (ret.)
Major General Harry Brooks Jr., USA (ret.)
Major General Leslie Burger, USA (ret.)
Major General Alexander Burgin, USANG (ret.)
Major General Rosetta Burke, AUS (ret.)
Major General William Burke, USA (ret.)
Major General Michael Conrad, USA (ret.)
Major General Eugene Cromartie, USA (ret.)
Major General James Delk, AUS (ret.)
Major General Oliver Dillard, USA (ret.)
Major General John Faith, USA (ret.)
Major General Jack Farris, USAF (ret.)
Major General Fred Forster, USANG (ret.)
Major General Robert Gamrath, AUS (ret.)
Major General Albert Genetti Jr., USA (ret.)
Major General Luis Gonzales-Vales, AUS (ret.)
Major General David Hale, USA (ret.)
Major General Randy Jayne, USANG (ret.)
Major General Lawrence Johnson, AUS (ret.)
Major General Dennis Laich, USA (ret.)
Major General Frederick Lawson, AUS (ret.)
Major General Thomas Lynch, USA (ret.)
Major General Dennis Malcor, USA (ret.)
Major General John Roth, AUS (ret.)
Major General Henry Rasmussen, USA (ret.)
Major General Alan Salisbury, USA (ret.)
Major General Michael Scotti Jr., USA (ret.)
Major General Harry Sieben, USANG (ret.)
Major General Paul Smith, USA (ret.)
Major General Robert B. Smith, USA (ret.)
Major General Charles Starr Jr., USA (ret.)
Major General Story Stevens, USA (ret.)
Major General Joseph E. Turner, AUS (ret.)
Brigadier General John C. Adams, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Clara Adams-Ender, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Hugh Aitken, USMC (ret.)
Brigadier General John "Joe" Allen, USAF (ret.)
Brigadier General Patricia Anderson, AUS (ret.)
Brigadier General Dale Barber, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General George Baxter, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Robert Baxter, USAF (ret.)
Brigadier General George Blysak, AUS (ret.)
Brigadier General Harold Bowman, USANG (ret.)
Brigadier General Douglas Bradley, AUS (ret.)
Brigadier General Jack Capps, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Richard Carter, AUS (ret.)
Brigadier General Steve Chapplis, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General BG David Cole, AUS (ret.)
Brigadier General William Colvin, USANG (ret.)
Brigadier General Joseph Cutrona, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Tom Daniels, USAF (ret.)
Brigadier General Von DeLoatch, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Robert Dilworth, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General George Eggers Jr., USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Evelyn Foote, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Robert Giffen, USAF (ret.)
Brigadier General Robert Hardy Jr., USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Carlos Hayden, AUS (ret.)
Brigadier General Edwin Heffelfinger, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General James Hunt, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General John H. Johns, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General J.D Johnson, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Keith H. Kerr, CSMR (ret.)
Brigadier General Douglas Kinnard, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Dean Mann, AUS (ret.)
Brigadier General James Martin, USAF (ret.)
Brigadier General William Meehan II, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Harold Miller, AUS (ret.)
Brigadier General Kenneth Newbold, AUS (ret.)
Brigadier General I.R. Obenchain Jr., USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Phil Peay, USANG (ret.)
Brigadier General Dorothy Pocklington, AUS (ret.)
Brigadier General Robert Poirot, AUS (ret.)
Brigadier General Philip Pushkin, USANG (ret.)
Brigadier General Virgil Richard, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General William Richter, AUS (ret.)
Brigadier General Kenneth Rieth, AUS (ret.)
Brigadier General Ernst Roberts, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Murray Sagsveen, AUS (ret.)
Brigadier General Norman Salisbury, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Donald Schenk, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Bettye Simmons, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Theodore Vander Els, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Daniel Wardrop, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Robert Watling, AUS (ret.)
Brigadier General John Weinzettle, USA (ret.)
Rear Admiral James Barnett, USN (ret.)
Rear Admiral Robert Krasner, USN (ret.)
Rear Admiral Charles Rauch, USN (ret.)
Rear Admiral Alan Steinman, USPHS (ret.)

  • AUS is the Army of the United States. **General Scotti passed away in September, 2007. His widow asked that his name remain on this statement.

Cheney and Gonzales Indicted by Grand Jury - Seriously!

Vice President Dick Cheney and former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales have been indicted by a Grand Jury in South Texas. Not for the crimes you might imagine either! The charges are related to the alleged abuse of prisoners in Willacy County's federal detention centers run by a private company. Cheney has investments that tie him to that group.

The indictment accuses Cheney of a conflict of interest and "at least misdemeanor assaults" on detainees by working through the prison companies.

Personally, I suspect this is headed nowhere, but it makes a nice dark cloud for the VP to end his career under and that's just fine by me.

Monday, November 17, 2008

James Dobson's Group Faces Layoffs

It couldn't happen to more deserving people. Focus on the Family, the hate group in Colorado Springs that masquerades as a ministry is laying off employees. Seems they spent so much on getting Proposition 8 passed in California, they are running low on funds.

If there is a tarnished silver lining to that ballot initiative, it's this. Read more on

How to Train a Mule

In this current battle for LGBT rights, I am reminded of a saying my grandfather used to tell me. I didn't understand it then, but I see the wisdom of it now.

He told me how you train a mule. You do it with a rolled up newspaper, and gently tap the mule on the nose to nudge it the direction you want. However, first you smack it's ass with a two-by-four to get its attention!

Well taking to the streets is one way to smack our complcent country in the ass and get its attention. It worked for the Civil Rights movement of the 60's and it can work now, especially now that we have a more progressive administration and congress to deal with! Peaceful marches and demonstrations can serve to shake the country from its Bush induced coma and awaken people to the realization that there is a whole class of people who are denied equal rights simply because of who they love.

The protests in major cities around the country were a first step in the next battle for equal rights for LGBT people. Our goal should not be just marriage, but full and equal rights iunder the law. Now where are those picket signs?