May 25, 2007

John Edwards Main Issues

Edwards’ issues are: (these are from his campaign website)

  • Restore America’s moral leadership in the world
  • Guarantee affordable health care for all American’s
  • Eliminate poverty
  • Strengthen the middle class
  • Fight global warming and America’s addition to foreign oil

Restore America’s moral leadership in the world – excellent idea, except for the fact that he is not the person to do it. How can he charge a University $55,000 to speak about poverty!?! See yesterday’s post for more information.

Guarantee affordable health care for all Americans – another good idea, except there is a lot of government control in his plan. We all know how the government works! I don’t want them running my healthcare program.

Eliminate poverty – again, excellent idea, it will be a challenging task. The starting place is to get the American people to realize their greed. This of course would include the greed of politicians as well.

Strengthen the middle class – I am not sure what he means here. If by strengthening the middle class he means expanding it, then I guess he wants to have only two classes: the rich people and everyone else or the rich and the poor. I wonder which class he and the other politicians will belong to?

Fight global warming and America’s addition to foreign oil – there still is little evidence of human caused global warming. As for America’s addition to foreign oil, we do have our own oil, the liberal earth lovers just won’t allow us to get it! Although, I do agree and have stated before that American’s could make slight lifestyle changes that would reduce the demand for oil and other resources.

That’s all for today! I will be letting my brain rest next week, so surf back in June!

May 24, 2007

Poverty Stricken Presidential Candidates

What a travesty it is when we see people like Presidential candidate John Edwards campaigning to eliminate poverty. Yet in return, he gets paid $55,000 to give that speech!

That is exactly what happened in January of 2006 at the University of California at Davis. At the time Edwards was not an official Presidential candidate. He was, however, the head of the Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity at the University of North Carolina. He was paid $55,000 to speak to a crowd of about 1,800 people. The topic of the speech was poverty in America. (John Edwards is also, the person who got $400 haircuts.)

Of course, we know that some taxpayer money does go to colleges and university. We also know that many colleges and universities across the country raise their tuition rate. The increased tuition rate for the California schools this year is 7%.

We continuously see this with the political environment. These rich guys (Republicans and Democrats alike) often say they are there to represent the little guys, the poor people, and the middle class, when in reality they are only looking out for themselves. Tomorrow we will look at John Edwards main campaign issues.

May 23, 2007

Hodge Podge of Politics

The rest of the week will be devoted to politics, sorry.

A recent AP/IPSOS Poll showed Congress’s approval rating is as low as President Bush’s. Only 35% of the people polled approve of how Congress is doing.

A few people at work were having a “Bush-bashing” conversation yesterday. They were blaming him for the high gas prices. One of the participants was a teacher who drives a big Ford 4x4 truck to work, which gets about 15 mpg.

No doubt, President Bush has a tremendous effect on things that occur in the United States and around the world for that matter, but everyone has their own part in the local, national, and global “community”. There are few reasons why a teacher needs to drive a big truck to work. It can be challenging to work with liberal, union minded people all the time!

Another guy at work was talking to his neighbor who is a large farmer around our area. This farmer said he is not planting potatoes this year, just corn. And yes, the corn was already sold, but not for consumer food.

People really need to wake up and look at their life. Everyone needs to be more responsible for their actions. Eric Clapton has a song, that goes, “Before you accuse me, take a look at yourself.” How true that is!

May 22, 2007

The Simpson’s

Last Sunday, “The Simpson’s” 400th episode aired on Fox. It also aired its 399th Episode right before. The 400th episode was a take on Fox’s other show “24.” The 399th episode was about things said and done on television. It wasn’t that great, but it did raise an interesting question. Fox News has been considered conservative and pro-republican, so why are there so many shows on fox that “push” the envelope. For example, “The War at Home” is one of the most distastefully done “comedy’s” that has ever been on TV.

Homer and Lisa (Simpson) conclude that Fox airs these raunchy shows so the FCC will fine them. The FCC, which is controlled by the Republican Party, gives the money to support the Republican Party! Homer and Lisa go on to explain what Fox’s and the Republican Party’s agenda really is, but there is a voice over, so you can’t hear what they are saying.

Yes, I know Homer and Lisa are fictionalized characters in a show that has been on for 20 years now. But the question is interesting. If Fox is so conservative, why do they air so many shows that don’t align with the “Right-Winged” conservatives and certainly not the religious right?

The answer is simple. The ratings. Fox has been ranked #1 in the 18-49 year old demographic market for 7 of the past 8 years and number #1 among teens for 12 of the last 15 years. Of course, with #1 ratings comes MONEY!.

NewCorp (which owns Fox) generated revenue of over $25 billion! Over $5 billion comes from Television shows (not cable/satellite programs). Therefore, Fox (as well as other networks) will air whatever draws a crowd and will generate the most money for them. Want to see people eat bugs? Turn to CBS. Want to see rich “lonely” housewives? Turn to ABC. Want rude/crude humor? Turn to Fox.

I guess that is why I watch PBS when I feel like having the TV on. Even if I barely get the channel with my antenna, the sound and picture are usually fuzzy and snowy, but it is still better than watching the rest of the garbage on TV.

The crazy part is many people pay $20 to over $100 a month to watch the garbage!
Just my thoughts.

May 18, 2007

The Spin is On!

Ok, no “fluffy” blog today, this one is down to business. As usual, Governor Rendell is spinning the latest defeat of Act 1 by the citizens of the great state of Pennsylvania.

Here is his quote on Wednesday (5/16/07):
“I am not surprised by the resounding defeat of the Act 1 tax shifting proposals. Unfortunately, in many cases, the full value of the property tax relief that the shift would have provided was not clear to the voters. I believe this contributed to the lackluster voter support.”

In other words, he blames the local school districts for not clearly explaining the meaning of Act 1 to their taxpayers. In reality, Act 1 provides only temporary relief (which was clearly explained to the voters), then everyone will be paying more in taxes. Most people would have been foolish to vote for this believing it will solve their high property taxes.

In fact, Governor Rendell didn’t even want the people to be able to vote on it (you can read his address to the Special Session in 2005). Apparently, he thinks the people of Pennsylvania are too dumb to understand anything and we should just do whatever he wants us to do!

Another quote, “Nevertheless, the local tax shifting proposal was an idea I accepted from the Republican leadership. They had hoped that this approach improved on Act 50 which they enacted under Governor Ridge. I expressed concerns throughout the process that voters would not embrace this sort of local tax shift.”

In other words, “It isn’t my fault, I didn’t come up with this. Those nasty Republicans did and they were simply trying to fix up something they screwed up under a previous (Republican) governor.” In reality, Governor Rendell called a special session of the legislature for property tax relief in September of the prior year (2005). According to many reports, much of Act 1 was wrote with “arm-twisting” and other political “activities” by the Governor’s supporters.

You can read the press release at the Governor’s Website.

Here is a quote from the 2006 ceremony when Gov. Rendell signed the bill into law.

“Today is a great day for Pennsylvania homeowners, especially seniors who have been driven from their homes as they attempt to escape the burden of skyrocketing property taxes for far too long.”

And another:

“This day is a major victory for Pennsylvanians who have fought for decades to have their property taxes cut. Every homeowner in Pennsylvania will not only get significant reduction, but they will finally get a say in future tax increases. This bill represents a victory of the possible over politics-as-usual.”

So to sum up:
In June 2006, it was a great day for Pennsylvania because of Gov. Rendell’s signature on Act 1.
In May 2007, it wasn’t surprising that Act 1 was defeated, because it isn’t as good as Gov. Rendell’s plan of gambling, raising taxes, and all of the other fees and borrowings in the Governor’s budget proposal.

I hope the voters of Pennsylvania really pay attention the next time they vote for a Governor.

May 17, 2007

Treating the Customers Right

It seems like all of my magazine subscriptions come at once. So here is another letter I sent to the editor of ComputerWorld magazine.

I enjoyed reading Paul Glen’s column “Tripping on the Red Carpet Treatment” in the May 7th issue. Paul really hit the nail on the head so to speak. Often times, we treat our “red carpet” customers better, but at the expense of our other customers.

Each customer should be “special” to your organization and treated as such. While not all customers will get the elaborate “red carpet” treatment, none should be treated as being unworthy of walking on the carpet!

Of course, Paul is right, whatever “special” treatment is given to one customer, it should not alienate another customer.

May 16, 2007

The Voters Came Through!

Act 1 was rejected yesterday in EVERY school district in Indiana County! Most by a wide margin of 60% or more.

The people need to continue to push for a government that is in the best interest of all. Gov. Rendell and others need to know they work for us! We don’t want “smoke and mirrors”, we want real reform. Just because we are from rural Pennsylvania, doesn’t mean we are stupid and can be talked into anything.

It will be interesting to see how the Governor spins the widespread public rejection of Act 1.

Visit the Indiana County website for statistics on your township.

May 15, 2007

Letter to the Editor of SmartMoney Magazine

Below is a quick letter to the editor of SmartMoney Magazine, another addition to my quest for publication.

I always enjoy James Stewart’s column each month, he always writes about, well, common sense!

Living within our means is a responsibility of every citizen. It should also be the priority of the government to live within its means as well! Congressional bailouts do not help anyone. It only promotes inefficiency and ineffective operation. Of course, the taxpayers end up paying the bill.

American’s need to stop trying to “keep up with the Jones.” Of course, that is easy for me to say, I live around the Amish, and well, I have running water and electric in my house!

May 11, 2007

Protesting Graduation!

Graduation is a great time in a person’s life, whether it is from High School, the Military, College, or whatever. It is a very special and memorable event in that person and their family’s life.

Today is the graduation at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, where almost 300 students will receive their diplomas. The commencement speaker will be President Bush. So not only, will the students get their diploma’s they will get to see and hear and possibly meet the President of the United States in person.

The local news stations have been reporting that protestors are showing up with their signs and banners against the President. While I do not always agree with everything the President says or does, he is still the President and deservers the respect due his position. But more importantly, the setting today is to honor the graduates, not a place for protestors.

Hopefully, today’s graduates will remember their graduation for what it is, not for what the protestors want it to be!

May 10, 2007

Why are people the way they are?

I was trying figure out the answer to this question last night. I could not come up with an answer. It is difficult for me to comprehend. Why do people do stupid things? Why do they create problems for themselves and then do nothing to try and solve the problems, only complain and make the problems worse?

I came across this thought for the day and it seemed to answer my questions:

“Covetous people never get enough money, proud people never get enough praise, and self-centered people never get enough attention.”

I am sure everyone knows someone like this, the goal is not to be that person!

May 09, 2007

Corn: Good for you and your car?

The largest Ethanol plant in the United States is being built here in Western Pennsylvania. They have not released any information as to what will be used to manufacture the Ethanol, but many farmers around the area are hoping for corn.

I recently chatted with one farmer who is no longer focusing on growing consumer crops. This year the main focus of their farm will be on corn, which will be used for manufacturing ethanol.

That’s good business for them, their crops aren’t even grown yet and they have someone who will buy them all! However, what about the consumer? Who is going to grow the lettuce, peppers, cabbage, tomatoes, and other crops they normally grow? Last year a dozen ears of corn cost around $3.00 at the roadside stand. I won’t be surprised to see prices closer to $5.00 this year.

What about the cattle, pig, and poultry farmers who purchase much of their corn to be used as feed? They will be paying higher prices for feed, so you will be paying higher prices for your burgers, bacon and eggs, at the local butcher shops.

It takes just as much energy to manufacture ethanol as it does gasoline. Furthermore, the “corn syrup” which is a sugary substance can also damage the fuel system in your car.

As more farmers switch to growing corn for ethanol, where will our food come from? We will import it from other countries. Does everyone remember the e-coli outbreak with spinach not too long ago? No thanks! I’d rather import oil that doesn’t make me sick!

Just my thoughts.

May 01, 2007

Knowledge or Confidence? Which is better?

A survey asked 8th grade students in the United States and Singapore if they agreed with the following statement, “I usually do well in mathematics.” About 40% of students in the United States “agreed a lot” with the statement compared to less than 20% of students in Singapore. This demonstrates that American students are confident with their abilities in mathematics.

However, the actual data show different results. In fact, according to the “Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study” the most confident United States students scored an averaged 541 while the students in Singapore scored 642 on a standarized math exam. Even the least confident Singapore students averaged higher scores than the most confident student in the United States!

The focus on American education has been on confidence and experience rather than actually learning the facts. In my opinion, it is a great idea to teach children to be confident in their abilities, however, at some point in time, they actually need to use those abilities and have the knowledge to use them!

To modify an old expression: “You can tell a kid he’s a good fisherman, but that ain’t gonna feed him!”