Sat 31 May 2008
Posted by Tony Marini under Famous and Infamous
, ReligionComments Off
Earth to Sen. Obama: You can’t jettison 20+ years of baggage connected with the attendance of your crazy, racist church simply by quitting your membership! But that’s what happened today as he quit his membership in the United Trinity Church of Christ on Chicago. Although Obama cited saving the church and its membership scrutiny and harassment as his rational for quitting, I think we all know the REAL reason is to try and put some distance between him and the church (and it’s crazy clergy).
How can this strategy work? How can Obama be forgive his miscalculation in judgment, particularly since this took place over such a protracted period of time? How can we take the candidacy of Sen. Obama seriously given that at the first whiff of adversity he so cavalierly jettisoned his long-term and close association with his church?Simply put — we can’t!
If Obama can sever his relationship with an institution that he claimed in the past to be so personal and spiritually nourishing for him, what can expect from his presidency once similar adversity struck? Does he think that it will be similarly easy to escape a presidential crisis or imbroglio by taking his bat and his ball and going home?
This severance of relationship between Obama and his church challenges his credibility. I think that there are certain situations where you need to show loyalty over personal gain. Obama’s relationship with his church is such a situation. He should have taken his lumps for his poor judgment and moved on. But he obviously wants to capitalize on his favored candidate status in the media and do what amounts to a “do over”. Unfortunately for the Senator, there are no do overs. Although we all would like a chance to reverse some event or issue that dogs our personal life, it’s simply not possible. The past is history, and no matter how hard we try, it is impossible to re-write history to our own satisfaction.
I think that this politically-motivated stunt may very well backfire on Obama’s face. It certainly raises more questions about his past relationship with his church, and why he would take this extraordinary measure of severing his relationship with it. This action also calls into question Obama’s judgment and character. Because a person who can divorce themselves from their church for political reasons cannot have ethics or morals rooted very deeply.
Let’s hope that instead of putting the whole Obama-United Trinity Church-Rev. Jeremiah Wright controversy to rest, the media finally realizes that where there’s smoke, there’s fire. I hope they dig deeper and apply greqater scrutiny, as I for one feel that there is perhaps a well-hidden skeleton (or two) in Obama’s closet. We need to know if there is more to this story, as it would be unwise to further consider a potentially seriously flawed candidate for president.
Other candidates with such issues have been jettisoned and forced to withdraw from presidential candidacies in the past (remember Gary Hart, for one example?), so what makes Obama any different?
The answer to that is nothing! Except for his kid gloves treatment by the mainstream media.
Fri 30 May 2008
Posted by Tony Marini under Finance
, The EconomyComments Off
Recently, General Electric CEO Jeffery Immelt announced that there are several companies interested in acquiring the assets of the GE appliance division. All the interested organizations are foreign: China’s Haier Group Corp.; S.Korea’s LG Electronics; Mexico’s Controladora Mabe SA; Sweden’s Electrolux AB; and Turkey’s Arcelik A.S. There is even talk that India’s largest consumer electronics supplier, Videocon Industries Ltd., may be interested as well. The GE appliance division is the biggest supplier of refrigerators, ovens and dishwashers for newly-built U.S. homes. The appliance division is expected to draw bids in the US$3 billion to US$8 billion range. According to GE executives, the sale of this division to an acceptable suitor is expected to be a long process.
This impending sale is just another troubling divestiture or outright sale of a key US-held business or business unit to a foreign competitor. We all remember the ill-fated purchase of Chrysler by Germany’s Daimler-Benz, the acquisition of Lucent/Bell Labs by France’s Alcatel and the purchase of IBM’s PC business by China’s Lenovo as noteworthy examples. To some the foreign purchase of an “under performing” company or division may be just the new reality of a global economy, but to me it indicates that the seeds of our own multinational business base’s destruction are now being sewn.
The GE appliance division is a venerable American business, now more than 100 years old. With more than 13,000 employees, it is a significant US employer. Its loss of ownership to a foreign corporation will only serve to strengthen the position and viability of these non-US entities. Sure, some of the jobs will remain stateside…but I anticipate a vast majority will be cut due to functional overlaps and some will be inevitably cut to save money by exploiting cheap(er) foreign labor. Topping off the loss will be the fact that the profits of this division will then go overseas.
I fear that part of these divestitures is driven by naked greed. Steps are being taken today by “multinational” corporations that wouldn’t have been dreamed of even in the 1980′s. I also fear as corporations take that inexorable climb towards higher profits and better performance of their business units that the US is being put in the untenable position of producing few, if any, tangible hard goods. That situation may be all well and good in a peaceful and co-operative world political situation, but it will leave us in a precarious situation when we become so dependent upon foreign suppliers and foreign manufacturing that we find ourselves in the position of procuring the tools of war from an offshore supplier. Impossible you say? It’s not as far-fetched as one might think, as without the capability and capacity of producing tangible products with a viable heavy manufacturing base, we are reliant on somewhere else for our steel and the capability to form it.
Every rain storm starts with just a few drops, and it doesn’t become a torrent until these first drops fall. I think that the impending sale of the GE appliance division may appear at face value to be a harmless business transaction. But I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch of the imagination to see the first few pitter-patters of rain in this proposed divestiture transaction. When the torrent finally comes, what becomes of our national security, pride, prestige and reputation? Finally, what becomes of all the well-paying, skilled jobs that will inexorably migrate offshore?
They might have all been thrown out with the wash(ing machine) starting in the year 2008.
Tue 27 May 2008
Posted by Tony Marini under Famous and Infamous
, PoliticsComments Off
The press has been happily writing the political obituary, and in some cases epitaph, of Hillary Clinton for this presidential campaign season. This is of course when they take a break from the odes and encomiums to their anointed candidate — he who may do no wrong — Barak Obama.
Let’s get this clear at the outset, I have no use for Hillary Clinton. I think that she’s a socialist of the first magnitude and that a Hillary Clinton presidency would probably accelerate our decline as a superpower and perhaps as a first-world nation. Having said this, I believe that an Obama presidency would be even more dangerous to the future of our Republic.
But I am troubled by the media’s gravitation and attachment to everything Obama. He is their obvious favorite, and it’s not a subtle hint that we all get to discern this bias. It’s all Obama, all praise, all the time. If you don’t think this is true, just switch on NBC or MSNBC for a heaping dose of “Obamafied” political favoritism to the nth power.
Now according to my math, neither Obama nor Clinton will have the requisite number of committed delegates to outright win the Democratic presidential nomination before the August convention. They only way that either candidate will achieve the nomination is with super delegates. And these super delegates, for all their public commitments of loyalty to one candidate or another, may only codify this commitment at the convention when they stand before the collected pols and aver their choice of candidate. So any other determination of delegates, superdelegate counts and marches towards the nomination are for naught. Or, in the case of the mainstream media (MSM), to bolster the outcome in the campaign to favor their candidate.
And the declaration of the political fate of a viable political candidate by the MSM is premature and self-serving. The self-serving part is that the MSM may fully engage in the deification process of Obama, unimpeded by the calls for Sen. Clinton to resign or finally see the writing on the wall. Once Clinton has been properly disposed of, politically speaking, then the MSM can turn to slicing-and-dicing Obama’s token opposition on the Republican side, Sen. John McCain. Mark my words, once things sort out and Obama is inevitably ordained the Democratic candidate, you will see a full court press to diminish, marginalize and render impotent the candidacy of Sen. McCain. To the press, he is no major obstacle to the Utopian candidacy and ultimate presidency of Sen. Obama. No, John McCain is a mere speed bump that they will gleefully smooth flat for their “ebony Kennedy”, as one commentator referred to Obama.
The selection and promotion of one candidate over another is not the job of the MSM. They owe the news-consuming public the vigorous reportage of the news and not an active participation in making it. To me, the promotion of one presidential candidate over another counts as making the news. I count on the MSM to be my (our) advocacy in evaluating the fitness of the candidates for the office which they seek. I want them to be skeptical and vigorously investigate and vet these people, who by the way will be entrusted with the leadership of the most powerful country on Earth. The successful candidate will make decisions and set policies that will not only affect us for the next four years of their presidency, but they will have a ripple effect for generations to come. For the press to take an active rather than passive role in this selection, what used to be the people’s selection, is wrong and smacks of electioneering.
The advocacy of the MSM for their candidate in this election cycle may delight the Democratic party, but that party may live to rue the day that they got this support. The rank-and-file journalists and analysts who constitute MSM is a fickle lot, and they may very well choose to support a Republican candidate in the next election cycle. While it may make the job of either political party in any given election cycle easier — they essentially get free political advertising — it blunts the interests of the citizens and voters in the United States. Skill, experience and leadership ability won’t be used to winnow out candidates in the future: The MSM will take on that task for us. We voters will get the best candidate chosen for us to ratify. We’ll get the MSM’s candidate, based on whatever metric that they find appealing, be it looks, extreme political ideology or some other factor.
Which leads us back to the calls for Hillary Clinton’s hasty exit from this political campaign. Regardless of the public’s interest in her and her ultimate underdog viability, the MSM has moved on and is ready to place the crown of victory on Obama. This is wrong and it smacks of election-fixing. And what makes it even more odious is that it is being done by the collective media, who (I thought) exists to provide the public the unvarnished news.
Simply put, the advocacy and promotion of a political candidate is NOT the media’s job!
Mon 26 May 2008
Posted by Tony Marini under General
, NationalComments Off
On Memorial Day it is truly a time that we should pause in what we are doing, bow our heads in respect and remember those brave men and women who have sacrificed everything in order to make or keep us free.
To me, graveside markers and lofty monuments of their sacrifices simply aren’t enough of a tribute or remembrance. We need to keep their memories alive in our hearts and in our living history, lest we diminish or forget their contribution and sacrifice to us and our country.
Each soldier, sailor, Marine or airman earned this respect from us with their sacrifice, and we should be correspondingly mindful of the true gravity of the observance of Memorial Day. It is not merely a day of marching bands, speeches, parades, barbecues and a day for displaying the new American flag…although all these things are important for our observance of this day. It should never be forgotten that this is a day borne of blood, suffering, death and loss — loss both personal and national. It is a day that should draw out our humility and our reverence. It is a day that should demand that we remember who we memorialize.
We should all live our lives in a way that shows gratitude and remembrance for service and sacrifices of our military. And we must NEVER forget why.
God bless each fallen hero who made the ultimate sacrifice. God bless all those who served in conflict but were not called home. And God bless all our noble troops fighting today for our freedom and liberty.
Wed 21 May 2008
Posted by Tony Marini under International
, ScienceComments Off
There has been a story circulating on television and on the Internet regarding an Army sniper in Iraq who used a Koran for target practice. The story details the desecration of this book in great detail — in my opinion way too much detail for the “crime” that was committed.
It appears that this story is being told in such detail in order to prove some point. I think the point that is trying to be driven home is that the US military is bad. And that the mission in Iraq is bad…and doomed to failure. The “murder” of this Koran proves this point in spades, apparently.
But to me, the actions of a single US troop does not prove some point or make any particular statement. This desecration could have been done out of frustration (after all there is a one-sided policy of religious respect between Islam and other western religions), or as a joke. Or as an act of bravado. Or by a deranged individual. Or any combination of the previous.
But in the end, regardless of the religious and political indignation in the Muslim world, it was still just a book and minor news at best.
There is a vastly more important story occurring in Iraq that is getting little or no play in the mainstream media (MSM). That story describes the incredible turnaround in combating Al Qaeda and ethnic Iraqi insurgents on a daily basis. Attacks on US troops and Iraqi civilians have decreased by over 70% over the past six months since the troop surge has been in place. And more importantly, Iraqi military units have stepped up in defending their country. One of the more impressive actions by the Iraqi military has been the occupation and securing of the Sadr City section of Baghdad. This one action has been tantamount to pacification of one of the more troubling insurgent areas in all of Iraq.
These are impressive milestones. However, there hasn’t been commensurate coverage of these successes in the MSM. In fact, they seem to employ a “hold on and wait for bad news attitude.” If I had to guess, this strategy would be in play to bolster the anti-war political position of their darling and presumptive Democratic presidential candidate (and president, if they have anything to say about it!), Barak Obama. What else could explain this egregious dereliction of duty when it comes to reporting the news? Because good news and progress in Iraq IS news! It is big news. But is isn’t the foregone conclusion that the MSM and the other anti-Iraq war and anti-Bush left wingers want. So, it just won’t be reported…as though it never happened.
That is until the next Koran is found with bullet holes in it.
Wed 21 May 2008
Posted by Tony Marini under Finance
, The EconomyComments Off
Well, another day…another Senate hearing on the high price of oil and gasoline. This time it’s the Senate Judiciary Committee grilling the CEOs of the top five oil companies at this “hearing” today. But let’s cut through the BS. This isn’t a hearing in the conventional sense — no new facts will be learned or gleaned by the senators on the panel. Rather, they are drawn to the bright lights and TV cameras like moths to a flame. The trouble is that these grandstanding imbeciles already understand perfectly what is causing the precipitous rise in petroleum prices. It is THEM.
We have senators wondering what legislation is necessary or steps than can be taken against OPEC, in particular, in order to help reduce the price of oil. Unless we get someone, perhaps one of the oil company CEOs, to stand up and tell these knuckleheads that there is already too much legislation…and that legislation, restrictions and government mandates are at the core of the rising oil cost problem, then the apparently insensate senators will continue their legislative ways. They also need to be told, in clear and unambiguous terms, that they need to allow more US exploration for oil and to allow more refineries (a major production bottleneck) to be built. In short, they need to unwind themselves from the far-too-close relationship that they have with environmental lobbyists.
But this will NEVER happen in one of these “hearings”. The same inane questions will be asked (some in an effort to embarrass the Bush administration) by the Senate panel members and the same plaintive answers will be offered by the CEOs.
Senators — listen up: It’s supply and demand, dummies! If the supplies are constricted, for whatever reason…and this constriction is accompanied by an increased demand…then the price will increase. Period. We are experiencing the increasing oil prices because of rampant oil speculation (oil futures), the lack of adequate oil production in US-controlled territories, inadequate refinery capacity and onerous government regulations. Add to this the death-grip squeeze that some foreign suppliers of oil have on us (OPEC), and you have the recipe for $10 a gallon gasoline if something isn’t done soon.
This “something” does not include grilling oil company executives and intimating that because they are enjoying large profits (in dollars but not percentage-wise of sales) that they are somehow gouging the American consumer. It does not include asking inane questions specifically designed to provide political points-producing sound bites. It doesn’t include wondering how anti-trust laws may be enforced upon OPEC. And it doesn’t include more laws and regulations to be enacted.
The answer is like the 900 pound gorilla in the room that nobody wants to acknowledge. The answer is to expedite new oil exploration in the continental US, in Alaska and in the Gulf of Mexico. The answer is to allow permits for several new onshore refineries to expand the production capabilities of the oil companies. And, finally, the answer is to resist the urge to treat capitalistic enterprises like they were privateering criminals.
Until the lights click on in each legislator’s head…and they embrace the obvious and seek the real answer/solution to the oil problem, then expect to pay and pay and pay. Remember, this is a purely POLITICAL oil price increase crisis. And it will only be solved with brave, common sensible political actions.
Mon 19 May 2008
Posted by Tony Marini under General
, ScienceComments Off
The Global Warming dominoes, that is! It seems that the theory of anthropogenic global warming doesn’t account for all the natural weather maladies that befall the Earth. The latest cause-effect link to be challenged by a more-than-credible researcher is the assumed link between global warming and more frequent and more intense Atlantic hurricanes.
According to a AP story dated May 18, 2008 it seems that global warming isn’t responsible for the recent spate of Atlantic hurricanes. In fact, “a prominent federal scientist” has changed his position on the topic as a result of research that he has performed at the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Research meteorologist Tom Knutson has recently published a paper in the journal Nature Geoscience studying the fluid dynamics of the atmosphere in the presence of increased atmospheric temperatures.
Knutson’s concluded that atmospheric heating will actually decrease the severity and wind velocity of hurricanes. Knutson’s work seems to support the theories of several other prominent meteorological experts who asserted that there was no proven link between global warming and hurricanes. In fact, this group of scientists attribute any increase in hurricane frequency and intensity to a normal multi-decade natural cycle.
But such groundbreaking work isn’t without vigorous opposition from the global warming scientific cabal. In fact, although little has been revealed in the mainstream media regarding the Knudson findings…there has been a number of news stories that endeavor to re-validate a global warming-hurricane link, while also taking scientific pot shots at Knutson’s findings. And most of the detractors belong to the list of the “usual suspects” when it comes to defending global warming and all things bad.
However, NOAA hurricane meteorologist Chris Landsea praised Knutson’s work as “very consistent with what’s being said all along.” “I think global warming is a big concern, but when it comes to hurricanes the evidence for changes is pretty darn tiny,” Landsea said. Landsea was not part of Knutson’s study.
You might need to be supremely patient to find more falling dominoes. But if you read carefully and cast your media net widely, you just might see some additional important stories that help to decouple atmospheric anomalies from global warming.
You’ll also have to set your BS detector its high setting, as the global warming defenders and apologists are going to vigorously try to discredit any and all research and data presented to the contrary. Because when it comes to global warming, there can only be one set of conclusions. Hellfire and damnation!
Thu 15 May 2008
Posted by Tony Marini under Famous and Infamous
, PoliticsComments Off
Sen. Barak Obama took great umbrage with comments that President Bush made before the Israeli Knesset today regarding appeasement of state-sponsored terrorism:
“Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along.
“We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: ‘Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided.’ We have an obligation to call this what it is – the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history.”
President George W. Bush
Me thinks Sen. Obama doth protests too much! He is unequivocally on the record that he will personally negotiate with Iran if elected president. And we all know that Iran is a recognized terrorist-sponsoring state. Whether President Bush was referring to this intention to negotiate by Obama in his speech is unclear. But obviously the President’s words touched a raw nerve in the Obama camp.
A true leader doesn’t carp, grouse and complain at every perceived slight or political attack. A true leader, well, leads. It is obvious that Sen. Obama is trying to score valuable sympathy points and gain political advantage where ever and whenever he can. If this political opportunism is any indication as to how he will react to criticisms and attacks from abroad if he were president, then I fear that we all have a lot to fear in an Obama presidency.
We need a leader who will actually lead…through strength and strong actions. Not a whiner who will complain that someone has “done him wrong”. This is the real world, not the lyrics of a blues song!
Wed 14 May 2008
“The sky is falling, the sky is falling. And the arctic ice is melting!” This is the rallying cry of the enviro-nuts who find it necessary to “protect” a species whose numbers have increased, in fact having doubled, since 1960.
Today the Interior Department placed the polar bear on the threatened species list. The reasoning behind this listing is the dramatic declines in sea ice in the arctic over the past few decades, which is the habitat of the polar bear. The utter madness of this preemptive protection decision is fully detailed in an Associated Press story by H. Josef Hebert, excerpted here:
Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne cited dramatic declines in sea ice over the last three decades and projections of continued losses, meaning, he said, that the polar bear is a species likely to be in danger of extinction in the near future.
But Kempthorne said it would be “wholly inappropriate” to use the protection of the bear to reduce greenhouse gases, or to broadly address climate change.
The department outlined a set of administrative actions and limits to how it planned to protect the bear with its new status so that it would not have wide-ranging adverse impact on economic activities from building power plants to oil and gas exploration.
“This listing will not stop global climate change or prevent any sea ice from melting,” said Kempthorne. He said he had consulted with the White House on the decision, but “at no time was there ever a suggestion that this was not my decision.”
Kempthorne, at a news conference, was armed with slides and charts showing the dramatic decline in sea ice over the last 30 years and projections that the melting of ice – a key habitat for the bear – would continue and may even quicken.
He cited conclusions by department scientists that sea ice loss will likely result in two-thirds of the polar bears disappearing by mid-century. The bear population across the Arctic from Alaska to Greenland doubled from about 12,000 to 25,000 since 1960, but he noted that scientists now predict a significant population decline. Studies last year by the U.S. Geological Survey suggested 15,000 bears would be lost in coming decades with those in the western Hudson Bay area of Alaska and Canada under the greatest stress.
Environmentalists were already mapping out plans to file lawsuits challenging the restrictive measures outlined by Kempthorne.
“They’re trying to make this a threatened listing in name only with no change in today’s impacts and that’s not going to fly,” said Jamie Rappaport Clark of Defenders of Wildlife and a former U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service director.
Members of Congress also were skeptical.
The Bush administration “is forcing the polar bear to sink or swim,” said Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., chairman of a House committee on global warming.
Democratic Sen. John Kerry called it “a lifeline for our last remaining polar bears” but said the bear’s survival won’t be assured without limits on oil development in the same Arctic waters where the bears are found.
“It remains to be seen how much this belated listing decision will improve protection for polar bears and their rapidly shrinking habitat,” said Clayton Jernigan, an attorney for Earthjustice. He said the Interior’s announcement made clear steps would be taken to avoid interfering with offshore oil development in waters where bears and oil drilling are expected to coexist.
Kempthorne proposed 15 months ago to investigate whether the polar bear should be declared threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
That triggered a year of studies into the threats facing the bear and its survival prospects at a time when scientists predict a continuing warming and loss of Arctic sea ice. The Arctic sea ice serves as a primary habitat for the bear and is critical to its survival, scientists say.
Now let me say first and foremost that I like polar bears. They are a cute and cuddly, warm and fuzzy species. But you know what, I like humans too! And I don’t want to see unnecessary hardship thrust upon millions and millions of Americans in the form of impossibly high oil and gas prices. All to save around 25,000 polar bears. If it’s a choice between humans and polar bears…sorry polar bears.
I guess the thing that bothers me the most about this endangered listing is the fact that there is so much speculation regarding the proposed demise of the polar bear. The amount of speculative language associated with this listing — may, perhaps, could, might, believe, etc, — in my mind calls into question the motives of the Interior Department and the environmental groups that forced this decision via lawsuit.
I’m also amazed by the reaction of members of my Congressional delegation, Rep. Markey and Sen. Kerry, to this government action. By their comments, they appear to live in a rose-colored glasses world where we can capriciously reduce “emissions” without consequences. Emissions that, by the way, are the engine of every facet of our modern life. For example, at a time when Americans are paying almost $4.00 per gallon for gasoline, Kerry’s chief concern is with “limits on oil development in the same Arctic waters where the bears are found.” To me this is crazy, backwards thinking! This is particularly galling when Kerry’s first impulse is to speak negatively regarding new oil exploration at a time when polar bear populations are actually increasing. And at a time when millions of Americans are making financial decisions like eat-or-drive…or eat-or-heat.
I would think that the primary advocacy of our lawmakers would be for human beings. But apparently my Congressional delegation has drunk deeply from the anthropogenic global warming theory cup. Frankly, it’s a sip that I refuse to take! And it seems a wholly unjustified drink to have been taken given that facts have been revealed about the cooling of the planet in recent years.
But those are small details when it comes to global warming and all the inanity surrounding it. Remember, you need any pretense to gain much needed credibility for a theory constantly seeking an outcome. If the polar bears prospective demise helps the cause, then so be it.
Example #155 of the road to hell being paved with good, and misguided, intentions.
Tue 13 May 2008
Posted by Tony Marini under Famous and Infamous
, ScienceComments Off
On Monday evening’s newscast, NBC network anchor Brian Williams tried to tie the recent spate of tornadoes in the US Midwest to anthropogenic global warming. After Williams spoke with several “smart” people, each wondered that “we must be doing something to the Earth.” He related this fact to weatherman Bill Karins…who immediately corrected Williams that the increased number of tornadoes was more likely due to the La Nina phenomenon rather than as a result of global warming.
It was quite refreshing to hear Mr. Karins put forth a cause for the tornado activity different from global warming (when he could have just as well be intellectually dishonest and join the global warming causation chorus). But even though in the end viewers were rightly informed about the cause of the tornadoes, it is quite telling about the mindset of Williams and his “smart” friends. There is a recent proliferation of deadly tornadoes, so WE MUST BE doing something wrong. Man is the root of all evil on Earth, so why not cut to the chase and blame us first! This is the true pity and fallacy of the theory of anthropogenic global warming. It is a theory constantly in search of an outcome…there are more tornadoes, so they have to be caused by global warming.
“Smart” people are sure of it!
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