Sunday, August 27, 2006

Is this governent really interested in limiting illegal immigration?

Take a look at this article. Do you feel safer than you did under the Democrats? I can understand that there is a threat from terrorists, but if we don't properly safeguard our ports, or in this case properly manage visa distribution, is this government really doing all it can to make our country safer?

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Does anyone see a pattern

I pulled this off a bulletin board but thought it was worth putting up...

Please pause a moment, reflect back, and take the following multiple
choice test. The events are actual cuts from past history.. They actually

Do you remember?

In 1968 Bobby Kennedy was shot and killed b y
a. Superman
b. Jay Lenno
c. Harry Potter
d. Muslim male extremist between the ages of 17 and 40

1. In 1972 at the Munich Olympics, athletes were kidnapped and massacred
a Olga Corbett
b. Sitting Bull
c. Arnold Schwarzenegger
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

2. In 1979, the US embassy in Iran was taken over by:
a. Lost Norwegians
b. Elvis
c. A tour bus full of 80-year-old women
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

3.During the 1980's a number of Americans were kidnapped in Lebanon by:
a. John Dillinger
b. The King of Sweden
c. The Boy Scouts
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

4. In 1983, the US Marine barracks in Beirut was blown up by:
a. A pizza delivery boy
b. Pee Wee Herman
c. Geraldo Rivera
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

5. In 1985 the cruise ship Achille Lauro was hijacked and a 70 year old
American passenger was murdered and thrown overboard in his wheelchair by:
a. The Smurfs
b. Davy Jones
c. The Little Mermaid
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

6.In 1985 TWA flight 847 was hijacked at Athens , and a US Navy diver
trying to rescue passengers was murdered by:
a. Captain Kidd
b. Charles Lindberg
c. Mother Teresa
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

7 In 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 was bombed by:
a. Scooby Doo
b. The Tooth Fairy
c. Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

8 In 1993 the World Trade Center was bombed the first time by:
a. Richard Simmons
b Grandma Moses
c. Michael Jordan
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

9.In 1998, the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed by:
a. Mr. Rogers
b. Hillary Clinton, to distract attention from Wild Bill' s women
c. The World Wrestling Federation
d Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

10.On 9/11/01, four airliners were hijacked; two were used as missiles to
take out the World Trade Centers and of the remaining two, one crashed
into the US Pentagon and the other was diverted and crashed by the
passengers.Thousands of people were killed by:
a. Bugs Bunny, Wiley E. Coyote, Daffy Duck and Elmer Fudd
b. The Supreme Court of Florida
c. Mr Bean
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

11.In 2002 the United States fought a war in Afghanistan against:
a. Enron
b. The Lutheran Church
c. The NFL
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

12. In 2002 reporter Daniel Pearl was kidnapped and murdered by:
a. Bonnie and Clyde
b Captain Kangaroo
c. Billy Graham
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

13. 2004 - Spain Railway bombings.
Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40


14. 2005 London Railway bombings
Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

Nope, I really don't see a pattern here to justify profiling, do you?

So, to ensure we Americans never offend anyone, particularly fanatics
intent on killing us, airport security screeners will no longer be allowed
to profile certain people. They must conduct random searches of 80-year-old women,
little kids, airline pilots with proper identification, secret agents of the
President's security detail, 85-year old Congressmen with metal hips, and Medal of
Honor winning and former Governor Joe Foss, but leave Muslim Males between the ages 17 and 40 alone because of profiling.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Spike Lee's Requiem

We watched the first two parts of Spike Lee’s Requiem last night. It was an amazing piece. I generally enjoy Spike Lee’s films, but do not always agree with his political agenda. There were parts where Lee was obviously pandering to a segment of his audience. He aired a segment that compared the evacuation procedures to what it must have been like to be on the auction block as a slave in the antebellum era. The tragedy of Katrina is amazing and overwhelming. It overwhelms racial and social boundaries. Whether you are from the Lower ninth or Lakeview the devastation was all encompassing. To focus so significantly on the effect it had on the African American experience almost limits the true impact of this tragedy.

I’ve previously gone on and on about the need to help New Orleans rebound from the devastation. I’ve blogged about the Conversation. I’ve mentioned the recovery. How much of the New Orleans that my wife and I know, will still be there for our daughter? All of these topics are still important today. I wonder if this piece is going to encourage the national public to support the rebuilding. Will the movie be dismissed as another self-serving Hollywood piece? Does anyone outside of the effected area truly still care?

Today, President Bush has pledged that the federal government is still behind the rebuilding effort. Just ask the residents still waiting on the trailers from FEMA how supported they feel.

Spike Lee makes this event look almost like a Black/White issue. That is akin to saying that AIDS is a gay disease. The water that destroyed the city did not go down streets and say, “Oh this is a black area, I will decimate this area”, or “By golly, this is a White area I should leave this section dry.” I do not believe that any levees were dynamited this time. No poor areas were sacrificed to save rich areas. One of the most amazing parts of New Orleans urban geography is how mixed it was. Eighty percent of the city was flooded. That is not eighty percent of the black section, nor eighty percent of the white section. Eighty percent of the city means just that. Natural disasters are colorblind.

The 1st half of the film keeps some attention on the rebuilding effort, and for that I am appreciative. It was well done, in that it put a human face on a horrendous event. By the way, Max Mayfield, the director of the U.S. National Hurricane center is now saying that we need to stop building on coastlines. He is speculating that in the future there will be a hurricane disaster dwarfing Katrina.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

A bit of a break from reality

This is my wife Elizabeth

You Are Heineken

You appreciate a good beer, but you're not a snob about it.
You like your beer mild and easy to drink, so you can concentrate on being drunk.
Overall, you're a friendly drunk who's likely to buy a whole round for your friends... many times.
Sometimes you can be a bit boring when you drink. You may be prone to go on about topics no one cares about.

This is me

You Are Olde English

Drinking is more than a hobby for you. It's your favorite drug.
When you drink, you want to get wasted. As quickly and cheaply as possible.
Looking back on your best times drinking... well, you don't remember them at all.
You may be a few brain cells short, but you still can chug a 40!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Traveling and Terrorism

We've done a bit of traveling this summer. Just recently, we returned from New Orleans. Cassie, my daughter, got to spend a week in New Orleans with my parents (thanks Mom). Elizabeth, my wife, and I went to London during that week. Traveling is a wonderful past time once you have arrived at your given destination. The means of transport available leave something to be desired.

Let me cover the important stuff first. Cassie is now using a sippy cup (thanks Mom). She is also speaking a few more words and seems to have thoroughly enjoyed her time in New Orleans, mostly spent in Metairie. Getting to spend time with cousins at the beach, and Grandma's adventure at the Children's museum were big hits. Grandma willing, she will be back for a week of Grandparent camp again in 2007.

Elizabeth and I went to London for a quick four-day trip. We met her parents and one of her brothers. Everyone else had gotten to Europe a bit ahead of us. The museums are amazing. The war cabinet rooms, where Prime Minister Churchill spent most of his time during WW II, are an amazing experience. The British museum has a wonderful collection of artifacts from numerous historic eras. Anyone interested in a more tactile experience should visit the British war museum there are numerous items to touch and see that have actually seen combat. You can talk about any one of these things, but to actually be in the museums brings a lot more reality to the experience. Reading a book does not nearly give you the same feeling.

My two favorites were the British Library, and the Tower of London. The tower was where numerous prisoners of high importance were kept. Sir Walter Raleigh's prison cell was enlarged for his comfort and to accommodate the needs of his wife and children. Yes, they allowed his family to move into his cell during his imprisonment. Another interesting tidbit, Lady Jane Grey was brought to the Tower, believing that she was about to be crowned Queen. Less than two weeks after her arrival she was beheaded. The Crown does not rest easy on a head that is in the wastebasket.

In the British Library, I saw a copy of the Magna Carta, as well as numerous other works that were over 500 years old. In one part of the main exhibit room, you will find a 13th century Torah, a 15th century Q'uran, and a copy of the New Testament from many years ago. The texts were sitting there peacefully next to one another. Unfortunately, the adherents of these religions, myself included, cannot seem to live in peace.

The food was amazing, Lebanese and Indian, were my favorites. We also saw the new theater production based on Queen music, "We will rock you", and I recommend it strongly.

It was a wonderful trip. It was very surprising in one respect; I was surprised at how much the city looked like I thought it would. A good bit of the city appears as if it's still in the 1960's. Heathrow was much less modern in the interior than I would have imagined. Most airports I've been in, almost all U.S. have a lot more carpeting, and more recent furnishings, than Heathrow appeared to have. Also, arrival and departure boards are not as easy to find. We left 6 hours before British Airways stopped their flights. We, thankfully, were blissfully ignorant of all the commotion.

Let me fast forward now to yesterday (August 12th). Elizabeth, Cassie and I left New Orleans to come home. I had heard what the new air travel restrictions were. You cannot carry gels or liquids on board for security reasons. I called Southwest airlines for clarification and was told bottles for a 19 month old were fine as long as the parent tasted it in the presence of a TSA agent at the checkpoint. That seems reasonable considering the circumstances.

We got to the airport about 2 and 1/2 hours prior to takeoff in case there were hassles getting on the flight. This proved to be part of the problem. We got to the security checkpoint, where we were instructed that the juice needed to be dumped. We were told that juice could be bought inside the gate at one of various vendors. O.K. We immediately went to the nearest store inside the security checkpoint and bought juice for Cassie. The salesperson per new regulation, had to put it in a Styrofoam cup with no top, rather than the plastic bottle it came in. This meant that we could not save any to give to Cassie later.

Cassie enjoys running around as any healthy 19 month old would. She has more energy than the Energizer bunny. She went through most of the juice very quickly. There was a little bit left when we boarded the plane, but the ticket agent told us it must be dumped. For those of you without kids a thirsty toddler is an unhappy toddler. When we got on the plane I went to the flight attendant and asked for apple juice for my daughter's bottle. I handed her the bottle. She had to call someone to ask if she could do this.

Now why did I tell you the Saga of the Juice Bottle? While we watch the news please keep in mind that the U.S., Israel and Britain get chastised if there are civilian casualties caused by their actions. Abu Ghraib is an abomination; the collateral damage in Lebanon is terrible. The desecration of a mosque at our hands is distressing as are any other civilian deaths or injuries. But realize that Hezbollah uses human shields, and targets Pizzerias or Discos. Al Qaeda considers it a success if a Delta, British Airways, or El Al flight is blown up. Fattah celebrates the death of Israeli school children.

Either we are the better more civilized side of this conflict, or we should stop worrying about civilian populations that support our destruction. I don't want to hear PM Fouad Siniora of Lebanon complain about collateral damage in his country. He has chosen to allow a terrorist organization harass Israel for 20 years from Lebanese soil. As the head of a country you are responsible for how the inhabitants of that country affect others.

We are the better, more humane, combatants. We don't target civilians and in that we should be proud. Now if only we could be safe and proud at the same time that would be a feat.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Key to Real Estate... Location, Location, Location

I've been interested in politics for most of my life. My question to all of you is the following. Have politicians ever appeared to think less before speaking than they do today? Today, women appear to be doing there best to not think before they speak. Men achieved this lack of thinking years ago.

Fidel Castro is so ill he has handed power to his brother. Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen just stated that while this was a wonderful development, "After Lenin's death communism went on. After Karl Marx died, communism went on. After Chairman Mao died communism went on." Now I have two problems with this statement. First, what empire does Castro control? Second was anyone following the teachings of Marx on a national scale, before he died in 1883?

A local Miami TV station reported Castro's illness last night, at which time that same station dispatched TV crews to a street in South Miami where there were block parties because of this announcement. These parties appeared to rival those in New Orleans for Mardi Gras. These Cuban immagrants to the area are overjoyed. What exactly are they worried about? Is Cuba going to overthrow South Florida; some people think it already has, but by anti Castro forces.

I want to look at Cuba for a minute to understand its importance on the world stage. Cuba has a land area of 110,860 square kilometers. Cuba is the 105th largest nation in the world. There population is 11,382,820. Cuba is the 73rd most populous nation in the world. Obviously, these are not the items that make Cuba so much of a priority to the U.S. Maybe they are an economic powerhouse.

Cuba's Gross Domestic Product ranks 89th in the world, and the per capita income of $3,000 dollars annually is ranked 126th in the world. I obtained these figures from Wikipedia. Needless to say the United States is in much better shape in all of these rankings than Cuba. Maybe, it is none of these but it is simply a real estate issue.

Cuba is roughly 90 miles from Florida. So location is the issue. Does anyone have neighbors they don't particularly like? I know that we do. So apparently, does the U.S.A. But, why then are we not paying any attention to Mexico and its instability? Does anyone outside of Arizona know what is going on in Mexico?