Sunday, June 29, 2008

Products for new home owners

Since I have just purchased a new home, and being a first time home owner, I though I might share some of my experiences and product reviews with you. Hopefully these tips and impressions will help others that are starting out.

There are 2 products I want to mention right now. One is Murphy’s Oil and the other is the Task Force Reel Mower.

Murphy’s Oil is no new product by any means. There have been many commercials about the product and reviews going back decades. So I’ll be brief. If you have hardwood floors I recommend this.

My house is an old 1910 brick house. The wood is American Cherry wood. Being well preserved over the years the floors have held up well. But time and use wears on any surface. Yet, I can say that the dullness of the floors in my house disappeared with just one thin coat of the Murphy’s Oil diluted in water. I had previously swept the floors and then applied the Oil. The years seemed to just peel off and the luster of the wood came right out. You can see one example here

Photo found at

Another product that I bought was a lawn mower. I didn’t buy a gas nor electric mover, as my yard is not very large. I’d say it’s about 1/10th of an acre. Not a lot but enough in a urban setting. Considering the relatively small area, my age – 40 – and the fact that gasoline prices are high and going higher I picked a reel mower.

If you are not familiar with a reel mower, its a simple push manual mower. No gas or electric costs involved and good exercise. And for those that are into the whole save the environment idea it’s eco-safe. But they are expensive, or at least this one was.

I bought the Task Force mower. It was the only manual mower in Lowe’s and it cost $89. Not cheap but the recurring cost is non-existent really. There was minimal assembly needed, and I was able to put it together in about 10 easy minutes (including getting the handle bar on backwards).

The use of the mower is the real issue though. Does it work effectively. The answer is yes, definitely. There are 3 settings for the mower height. My grass had not been mowed in a couple of months and was about 12” in height. The mowewr went right thru the grass with ease. Of course there were a couple of spots where I had to go over the same spot more than once to get all the grass cut, and weeds have an annoying habit of bending, but it got the job done well. I recommend pushing the mover, then pulling it back and pushing again. This will generally get most grass and weeds cut.

One thing to keep in mind, watch your line. I mowed the back yard with precision. My front yard was a bit more difficult as there is a slight incline. I missed my line slightly and after raking noticed that I missed a couple of inches of a strip of grass. Not a big deal but not as nice as it all being level.

I have not used other manual mowers, but I can say this it’s effective and the cost really won’t go up. Also I found this bit of information online
“Reel mowers stir up the least amount of dust and pollen, and they have an excellent safety record. (By contrast, emergency rooms reported 80,000 lawn mower injuries in 2004 alone, which is the latest report available.)”

So there you go. I hope it helps some new home owners out there.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Ask for ad rates

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Repost - My New House pt 2 - the developing interior

This post is originally from my Black Entertainment USA blog.

As I mentioned a day or two ago (I've kind of lost track) I purchased a new home. Since I have shared my experiences on getting approved for the mortgage, as well as my thoughts on most every other subject, I thought you might want to know more about the house (or at least see inside).

The house is 2005 sq ft (which I plan to expand to 3500 sq ft due to the attic and basement). It's a 1910 brick house in relatively excellent condition. The house is filled with American Cherry wood, which I am told you cannot find anymore. Each closet is big enough to house a college student (litterally they are almost as big as some apartments I saw in New Brunswick back when I was in Rutgers). It has 2 floors and attic and basement - which run the full length of the house. The rooms are all large to above average in size. I have a small yard (which needs a bit of work). There is a small garage and behind that a shed too.

The house has 3 enterances, solid wood doors, and original skeleton keys in place. The lights are all original ceramic sconces (the white ones) and brass sconces. [I plan to sell the ceramic sconces on eBay if anyone is interested] The carpets you see are all going to be removed, and the hard wood floors below are in fantastic shape. All the furniture is newly purchased - and I picked out everything myself [I think I did a good job]. Not sure what I will do with the chandilier in the dining room, but it is also original and has haind painted glass. The dining room has pocket doors and the embedded trophy case has leaded glass. The fireplace is fully functional.

Now don't think there is no work to be done on this. I have work to do on the roof, yard, painting all the rooms, replacing some fixtures and a couple of 100 year old pipes. Oh, and curtains too - God they are expensive. Oh and still a few more pieces of furniture too.

And I have a few odd bits that I will be selling, like an antique (circa IBM 1950)iron desk, an old possibly handmade table saw, some light fixtures and such. The porcelian sink stays.

Of course I will be making the attic a master suite with its own bath (adding about 750 sq ft to the house). I also plan to add a sauna and hot tub to the basement after I finish the ceiling there.

All in all its a hopefully 2 year project, though I could easily live here without major change now. But my point in sharing this is that if I can do it (being single, not rich, with my own money, and never owning anything bigger than a futon before) you can do it as well. And if you plan and work hard from the start I bet it won't take you til you are 40 - my age - to get it.

Now the pictures of some of the rooms. If you have suggestions or comments let me know.

Still need to paint and add a 42 inch TV

another view from the dining room pocket doors

My office in a state of unreadiness

From inside the dinning room hiding some boxes

You can see my certificate from the Marines, and several of the items I sell at

Taken from the seperate pantry/butler's room - yes I know odd bits are around.

leading to the second floor and across to kitchen and the yard out back.

And because I know some one will ask

My Bedroom - with clothes about, and no the queen mattress and boxsping are not shown.

My bathroom - you really don't need to see more of it do you?.

While that's not every room or every detail I think you get the idea of the insides. I hope you have enjoyed peeking at this moment in my life. I'm glad to have shown it to you all and hope you go out and get the same or far better for yourself.

Best wishes to you my readers, I'll be back to writing in a day or so.

Labels: , , , , ,

Ask for ad rates

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Taxes: the real Presidential candidate issue

With all the attention being place on oil and energy in the past few days I thought I’d take another look at taxes. One of the least popular issues that every Presidential race focuses on. And consistently the public has the same request, lower taxes.

For 2008, the ‘election of change’ [a dumb concept considering that is a fact], we have 2 very explicit views. I say explicit, but if you don’t listen carefully or check any other details you may be distracted of confused by the polispeak that each candidate employs. So I want to take a moment, before the rhetoric switches back after the energy issue stops catching headlines, to look at their stances clearly (as found at The Tax Foundation).

Deferring to experience I will start with Senator McCain.

Originally opposed to the President Bush tax cuts, Senator McCain now is in support of this tax plan. He also favors cutting corporate taxes by 10%. For those that suffer from estate taxes he plans to implement a move to only 15% tax on estates over $10 million. He wants to remove the alternative minimum tax, which affects many middle-class families which it was not intended to tax, and he is strongly against any increase in taxes related to Social Security.

Now for Senator Obama.

While he has already voted to increase taxes for anyone making $31,850 he has publicly stated that he will only repeal the Bush tax cuts for the top 1% of the nation. How such a law could be enacted is unknown, and considering that proposals and campaign promises of a similar nature have never occurred his repeals may include more people. He has also promised to eliminate taxes for all seniors that make less than $50,000. When it comes to corporations Senator Obama has stated he will “close loopholes”, which means whatever you wish it to. He has no expressed plan for estate taxes or the Minimum Alternative Tax, presumably leaving them both in place. But he does have a defined plan for the Social Security tax, which he plans to increase – directly coming from wages. There may be an exemption for those above $102,000 but it isn’t clear.

Senator Obama also has several other plans related to taxes that Senator McCain has no comparable for. Senator Obama will create several ‘credits’ for various Americans. One credit will apply to those that work and make over $8,100 – the credit will be for $500 or $1,000 for families. He would also create a 10% credit for all homeowners with a mortgage. This mortgage owner credit would amount to about $500. There would also be an earned income credit for those making minimum wage and working full-time for $555, if children are being supported “responsibly” [how and who determines that?] then another $1,110 is available. For those in college up to $4,000 can be forgiven. Lastly Senator Obama wants the IRS to issue tax forms that are partially pre-filled to reduce the time in filling out the forms.

Now I’m sure both plans have their appeal points, and many with children like the comments by Senator Obama. But let’s look at this in total.

Senator Obama has already voted to increase taxes of most Americans 3%, which he publicly stated he would not do. Because of that I feel every other statement about taxes he has made is in question. In addition every attempt to isolate any singular group of Americans to pay higher taxes has failed. Inevitably Americans not expected to be paying higher taxes do so.

I agree with the concept of excluding taxes for senior citizens that are making enough money to survive on their own. I do not agree on the fixed price or the cap. While $50,000 may sound comfortable today, not long ago $30,000 sounded the same. Any provision that does not take into account the increase of cost of living, nor the cost of medications (which older Americans have higher budgets on disproportionately) fails those it is meant to help.

While spouting polispeak about corporations and their earnings is a winning strategy with unions and newspaper headlines, it is not an effective tax plan. There are some loopholes in the corporate tax code that should be removed, but the real boost to the economy is decreasing tax rates. This allows businesses to increase the number of people employed, or raise their pay, or fund research, or expand to increase scales of economy. Whichever is done the economy for the nation receives more revenues in multiple areas that were stagnant prior. Raising corporate taxes has the opposite effect.

Estate taxes are a special situation that most Americans don’t fall under. Even so, for those that do have to deal with these taxes, they are huge. While most like to point out the multi-million dollar estates, those with far less pay the same tax now. Again this limits gaining revenues on these funds from other sources that could stimulate the economy. But I don’t have a strong opinion on this point.

Social Security is commonly called the “third rail of politics” and it is aptly named. Older voters are sensitive to anything that might affect their money. Considering that most voters are older, and this number is about to swell as baby-boomers age, this is an issue that none want to be on the wrong side of. Then again, younger voters have little interest in funding a program that they in all likelihood will never receive a dime from. SSI is a flawed program that has never worked exactly as planned. Increasing money by raising taxes on those that can’t afford it does little to help anyone beyond actually pushing its problems onto either another administration or generation. Senator Obama’s plan sounds exactly like that.

Senator Obama’s plan for college students sounds eerily like the short-lived plan proposed from then-potential candidate Senator Hillary Clinton. This plan forgives money instead of providing it though. A major question is this though, who will pay the $28.8 billion that this plan would absolve each year. [That assumes that only 7.2 million Americans go to college - and would this include those who take college courses online?] The money from this would have to come from somewhere, which means higher taxes.

I like a 10% credit for mortgages, as I will soon own a home. But in reality I don’t need it. My home purchase is based on the fact that I can well afford the mortgage, and that it is a fixed rate. Those that prepare properly for a home purchase have no need of a credit. Those that do not will not be saved by what would amount to maybe 2 months payment on their obligation. If this plan were less polispeak, it would be designed to help stimulate the economy – especially since 96% of all mortgage holders are paying on-time.

I can’t think of anything more to ask about a credit for those that have children [specifically it seems targeted to fathers paying child support] than who and what criteria equate to responsible. How would this be enforced. Under it’s current wording this implies that the Government would be involved actively in raising every child in America, under arbitrary and politically motivated rules. And what happens if the Government claims you are not being responsible? Do they take the children from the parents, or incarcerate them, publicly ostracize them or penalize them in some other way? Considering that the Government can’t balance a checkbook or check out foods for potentially deadly diseases I don’t trust their opinion on what is “responsible” in child rearing.

And lastly the IRS tax forms. It’s a nice polispeak rabble rouser. It gets headlines. It sounds great, until you think about it. How long do you think it will take to mail out tens of millions of printed tax forms? How will those who have never filed a tax form prior file? How much will this cost to be made? Especially since each and every form will be individual so scale of economies will never take place (never mind the fact that it would likely cost more each and every year – like stamps).

And perhaps most importantly, how will the Government ensure that every document is sent out to the proper person. Because if even one were to be mishandled, or one employee were paid off, identity theft would be rampant. Some would counter that the government send out documents now though no numbers exist on how many are improperly delivered. But the counter would accurately be that the Government is inefficient in every department, what would cause the IRS to suddenly become so?

So in honestly reviewing the tax positions of Senator Obama and Senator McCain, on balance I see McCain with better plans and more effective for the nation. You may not agree, and if so I’d love to hear where I got it wrong. And if I got it right let me know. [please remember I’m not an economist so don’t get too technical on me.]

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Ask for ad rates

How many votes to socialism

Finally there is a glimmer of honesty coming from some politicians, though the polispeak rages on. Where might I have heard this? Was it Senator Obama admitting that, yes you, will have your taxes raised? Was it Senator Clinton admitting that universal healthcare will be worse than the current system? Was it Senator Dodd stating that he did get a special deal unavailable to average Americans? Was it Congressman Murtha apologizing to the 8 Marines, and the Armed Forces in general?

No it was not any of the above. Such honesty would likely stop the earth from spinning. No the glimmer came from Representative Maurice Hinchey (a Democrat, and sadly from my state, NY). He gave up the polispeak to state that he believes that the Government should nationalize oil refineries, if not the oil companies.

Now his views and those of Malia Lazu are stupid. Not that they are as individuals but their ideas about nationalization, or in other words moves to socialize the nation are.

Perhaps in an idealistic world nationalization is a great idea. But in such a dreamland, communism works to benefit everyone (unless you believe in any form of God). Then again, reality is the only state of existence human beings (that are not on mind altering drugs) live through.

Let me explain how stupid I feel these ideas are.

First, the Government is a failure at everything it runs. No surprise right? Only the Government employs people without qualifications (ie your local DMV or post office or former-FEMA head Michael Brown) and virtually guarantees their lifelong employment. Add to that the fact that the Government is inefficient. There is not a single department that uses less money to run than the year prior. Try to use a .25 cent stamp. Compare the budget of the FDA in 1970 to today (if you aren’t busy keeping your kids from playing with lead toys or eating E-coli laced food). And that is with the advent of computers and programs specifically designed to increase efficiency.

Second, the Government is schizophrenic. On a regular basis the Government fails to act or acts against itself. That’s because the various departments have policies or missions that overlap some other department or law or political group. Every election there is a sway of priorities and with it funding. Just look at the energy needs of America. We knew what our needs would be with high probability, yet from 1970 on we legislated (under Administrations of both Parties) fewer refineries, removed the ability to drill for domestic oil, and selected the worst options to pursue for energy alternatives.

What in the world makes anyone think that the Government can run a national healthcare program or oil companies? Let me correct that. Why do some think that the average American is so dumb as to believe that the lopsided, inefficient, debacle of Government organization is better than market and/or individual decision making?

I will accept that 80% of the oil in the world is owned by national companies. But none of those countries are as large, wealthy, diversified, successful, or free as America. Do we really want to compare Venezuela, Mexico, or Sweden to America? Seriously.

Malia Lazu does skip over the heart of American life.

“…the goal of corporations is to make as much as possible for their shareholders...”

That ideal built the nation. Microsoft made home computers, and therefore the internet, a reality. They did it because of the profit. The decades of computers and the internet being created and used by academia (1950 – 1980 at least) didn’t make it one penny more affordable or usable by the public. The same can be said of most ever industry in the nation.

“…if were going to start talking about crazy policies, like killing our environment…”

Please someone do tell me which politician or policy mentioned killing our environment? Not an interpretation that comes up with that statement, but an actual intent to kill our environment. Because you can interpret anything if you try.

But if you want to look at crazy policies try this – spend 25 years ignoring any energy alternative, then pick one alternative (that no other nation uses) without consideration of the consequences and pour billions into it. That is stupid and crazy.

And yes I mean corn ethanol. If you wonder why the portions of your food are smaller, or the same size and more expensive, just look at corn ethanol. And while you are at it ask an eco-freak why we use corn ethanol even though it is believed to be the singular cause of dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico. Directly killing every living thing in the Gulf, that is a crazy policy killing our environment. [For those that don’t know, every nation that is successfully using ethanol makes it from grass, not food.]

The Presidential election will decide the energy path of this nation for decades. That is if that future President has the balls to say ‘Making a single choice is the wrong choice. America is defined by picking the best out of a bunch; and we need a bunch of energy options.’

Any Presidential candidate that refuses to make that kind of statement should not discuss anything about energy. Because anything less is either a lie, or based in the stupid notion that the best answer for the future is known today.

As Neil Cavuto correctly states, energy policy in America over the last 30 years has been

“It’s your way, or my way, or the highway.”

That policy, followed with steadfast implacability by both Republicans and Democrats, has led to an increase in crude oil prices of 1566%. How much higher will that price go in 10 more years of the same policies?

How much higher will the price be, and the worse off citizens will live with, in a socialized oil industry?

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Ask for ad rates

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Wilderness Society doesn't like oil shale - I'm shocked

Earlier today I wrote about oil shale, and it’s potential to help ease energy needs in the future. I received an email later in the day from a Mr. D.B. [I’m withholding his name since he did not publicly make a comment] pointing me to information found at The Wilderness Society. The specific page I was directed to mentions (with a nice use of bold tags and darkly worded writing) how oil shale is ineffective as a fuel source today, will not affect prices today, and that any new action is inadvisable since oil companies have access to oil shale today.

I never stated that oil shale or anything else will resolve the price of crude oil, or the need of energy in the United States, tomorrow. In fact in the few lines I devoted to a timeline I clearly stated a far future point.

“Now since there is no oil shale market (yet) and given that mining shale is a very different process from drilling for oil, I would imagine that several oil companies will be looking for acquisitions and joint-venture deals with mining companies that have the ability and experience in this field. Schlumberger, Shell, EnCana, Chattanooga Corp, Fushun Mining Group, Tosco Corporation, Petrobras, Viru Keemia Gripp are just a few involved in some aspect or projects with oil shale. I doubt that the number of companies will decrease in the coming years.”

But I will say that not acting today on multiple energy sources simultaneously will only create a bigger problem in the future. It is the inaction and political bickering of past Congresses that has lead to the problems of today. In 1973 America knew that foreign oil was a problem. It was $10 then. Since that time we have decreased our refineries, decreased our drilling, blocked multiple sources of drilling, blocked or hindered multiple pathways for energy research, and cherry picked the worst energy alternatives in the world. Thus oil today is $140, gasoline at $4.07.

I will also dispute the claim that oil shale is unusable as an energy source. It may have difficulties but several nations use it today. They may not be the size of the U.S. but they are creating power via oil shale. Thus near term use is a reality (unless you believe that Estonia has a secret ability to generate most of its power from oil shale). In fact Canada, Turkey, Jordan, and Egypt all have plans to use oil shale to some degree or manner for power generation. Effective use, which the article states is maybe a decade away, is near-term especially as other nations find means to use this resource.

Thus already 2 of the major themes to not START a serious oil shale program are defeated between this post and the last. The big question, which I know little about, is what are companies doing currently.

The article states that a handful of companies haver some land with oil shale reserves. It states that nothing has been done with this land. It does not state whether environmental regulations will allow the mining of shale, or any other material. Just like the oil reserves found of the coasts of America, we know where it is and comnpanies hold rights to explore – but federal and state regulations prevent any action on them. The article completely fails to address that issue, which is a factor that has helped to cause the current environment.

The article wastes no space in stating we should not rush into oil shale, but it gives no space to any alternatives. It is that kind of philosophy that leads to problems that cause a rush to action. Again, I was not advocating oil shale or any single energy source. I advocate (and believe the government needs to mandate) all energy sources. I think we need to require oil shale development, and solar, geothermal, wind, biomass, grass-derived ethanol, nuclear, and coal as well as oil. Developing all of these ensures that America will have power at reasonable prices in 10 years, 20, even 50 years after all oil is gone.

Now I can understand why no alternative was suggested. Wilderness Society has since 1935 sought to protect wild nature. They are like other groups that prevent logging to save spotted owls, and refuse to allow drilling in ANWAR. The friends I grew up with, went to college with, served in the millitary, and currently live around would call these people treehuggers. Not meant in a nice way.

While I respect their love of nature, I am a city-dwelling internet using, motorcycle riding man of the 21st century. I fully understand that to live the lifestyle we all enjoy there are sacrifices that must be made. I also understand that technology and understanding of the environment have improved enough that we can minimize the impact we make to gain the fuels and resources we need. I futher understand that the only way for humanity to cease it’s impact on nature is to give up computers, cell phones, iPods, cars, lights, television, movies, plastics, hamburgers, you get the point.

Mr. D.B. may have many reasons to believe that oil shale is not viable today. And I agree with some. But I am willing to work on it and other ideas so when we need it in 10 or 20 years we will be ready. Their argument would have you light a candle.

But choose for yourself.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Ask for ad rates

Haditha Iraq - Marines innocence not worth of headlines

Code Pink must be angry, annoyed, and the New York Times is the usual indifferent paper that is common. Why are all these groups likely experiencing such emotions? Because yet again all their hype has been deflated in regard to Iraq, the Marines, and our Armed Forces.

Haditha Iraq. I’m sure even those casually paying attention to news noted the slew of articles and news reports condemning 8 Marines, alleging a murder of 24 Iraqi civilians. The comments came out before charges were made, and they all made their decision before facts were ever presented. Across the nation ultra-liberals rejoiced, and Hollywood used this story as fodder for its anti-war anti-American Armed Forces rants they called entertainment movies.

Even politicians jumped into the act, half-cocked.

NOTE that Congressman Murtha did not know any facts on the case. When confronted with information that radio communications and drone videos proved the charges false, he ignored it. He nearly implicates the Commandant of the Marine Corps in his lies and illogic. But when confronted on the veracity of what he alleged he admits that nothing like his claims were ever said. He like so many ‘honest’ ‘unbiased’ organizations has twisted facts for their own purposes.

Yet today marks the 7th Marine that was accused and eviscerated by the media and Congressman Murtha that has either had their charges dropped completely or been found innocent.

And for those that never served in the military, a court-marshal or any charges are presumed correct and the defendant guilty until proven innocent beyond doubt. Guilty until proven innocent beyond doubt. And 7 Marines have been proven innocent to date.

But have you seen that reported in the media? Have you seen any of the over 30 articles mentioning the innocence of these men or remorse for having besmirched their names and that of the Marine Corps?

How about Congressman Murtha, who had a lot to say on television and in Congress. What did he say when the Marines were being found innocent of his accusations and false charges?

Now some would say that I don’t know what I’m talking about. That the fact I was a Marine does not count, because I have not been fighting in Iraq. Only a wartime soldier would understand his views. Ok, then tell me why he can’t respond to this man.

Playing to the crowd? How could it not be more obvious that this is what he is doing?

But today there is even more room for the ‘unbiased’ media,, and Congressman Murtha to remain silent and stupid (in my opinion). And the fact that 7 out of 8 Marines have been exonerated beyond doubt has been reported.

Who presented the news that allowed me to share this revelation with you? Fox News. Funny how the one news source I am constantly told lies, is the only news organization that has covered fully the fact that these Marines are innocent. They are the only ones I have been aware of to question the accusations and smears these Marines have endured.

So I have just one question, based on the silence of Murtha and those like him do you think that if (and in all likelihood considering the 7 prior cases when) the final accused Marine is found innocent beyond any doubt they will publicly – as boldly and prominently as when they first opened their mouths without facts – apologize to these Marines and their families?

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Ask for ad rates

Oil shale: questions and opportunity

As I write this President Bush is expected to discuss offshore oil drilling in America, and the opportunity of Oil Shale mining. In recent years I have heard a lot about oil shale and its mining, but I really didn’t know anything about it. Like most I expect the thought of oil shale made me think of a rock that is filled or comprised of oil. That is not the case.

Oil shale is a fine grain rack filled with kerogen. In heating the oil shale a gas from the kerogen is released which can be used in heating homes and creating power, or the gas can be cooled to create a synthetic petroleum-like oil. The use of that oil is similar to the uses for crude oil, but they are not the same thing.

How much oil shale is there, and is anyone using it? Those are the next questions I had. The answer may well surprise you as it surprised me. There is estimated to be 3 trillion barrels of oil equivalent of oil shale in the world. The United States is one of the major sources of deposits in the world with 1.8 trillion barrels equivalent under Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah. This is in comparison to the 267 billion barrels of oil estimated in Saudi Arabia (as of 2006). And currently first world and emerging nations including Germany, Russia, China, Israel, Brazil, and Estonia all have varying degrees of oil shale industries producing energy and fuel. Who knew.

Now consider this, mining companies - such as BHP Billiton, Anglo American, Kazakhmys, Vedanta Resources, Xstrata – and oil companies have been having a strong year as energy is on the forefront of political and investment minds. With the rise in speculation of crude oil prices, rising gasoline and home heating oil prices, and calls for alternative energy sources oil shale stands to be more actively in the public domain than ever before.

Now since there is no oil shale market (yet) and given that mining shale is a very different process from drilling for oil, I would imagine that several oil companies will be looking for acquisitions and joint-venture deals with mining companies that have the ability and experience in this field. Schlumberger, Shell, EnCana, Chattanooga Corp, Fushun Mining Group, Tosco Corporation, Petrobras, Viru Keemia Gripp are just a few involved in some aspect or projects with oil shale. I doubt that the number of companies will decrease in the coming years.

Opportunity abounds for the investor and individual that seeks it. How you take advantage of this potential is up to you. But I would expect that oil shale will become a greater factor in at least American energy future plans than ever before.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ask for ad rates

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

American oil: 1970 or 2010?

How bad is the energy situation in America? We all are aware of the increases in the price of oil in the past couple of years. In fact there has been a massive amount of attention to every rise and fall of the price per barrel. That attention has of course translated into greater speculation fueling great price fluctuations, happier members of OPEC, richer brokers, and tighter margins for virtually every type of business in America.

But how bad is it? Does this compare to say the 1970’s and that oil disaster? Actually very well. In fact there is virtually no comparison. From 1970 to 1980 the price of oil went up 1566%. Again that was an increase of 15x in 10 years or 1.5x every year for that decade. In the past 10 years oil has increased a mere 300% or 3x counting today’s high.

So what other factors have been involved in the run up between then and now? Considering the fact that oil consumption in America has increased 21% since 1980 alone (I couldn’t find data since 1970). Of course that is 28 years or .75% a year. So that does not explain the price increase, especially when you consider that the price of oil only increased 33% from 1980 to 1990. So there must be another reason.

Perhaps it’s the fact that there is a limited supply of oil in the world. Knowing this, and the fact that the Middle East has no other major exportable good, it makes sense that as demand continues to be steady or increase the price will rise. But that still does not explain the recent dramatic (moreso due to media influence) increase.

Until you look at speculation. In the 1970’s perhaps 15%, maybe 20%, of the nation was involved actively with the stock market. In the 1980’s there was a huge increase in trading of everything, backed up with a healthy helping of movies from Hollywood fueling interest (recall Trading Places, Wall Street, Other People’s Money). As a result the investing populace doubled. Then with the tech bubble we saw the numbers swell to around 60-70%.

As these numbers swelled, more and more people became aware of alternative investment vehicles. Commodity trading along with spot trading became the new penny stocks. With an upfront cap of only 5% of the total investment oil was primed to run as the housing market had its bubble burst. And here we are today.

The only other major factor has been the fact that since the 1970’s neither Republicans or Democrats have done anything about America’s energy needs beyond polispeak. Every administration has talked about alternative energy sources, and funded no research. Each decade has passed without increases in domestic drilling while OPEC made more money. As the years passed the number of oil refineries has dropped to roughly half as many in operation today as in 1970. And speculators made money.

Why is America in an oil shock, and complaining about gasoline prices (which have had a fractional increase in price as compared to oil) – not to mention soon to be reeling from home heating oil prices? Because we have politicians that have been more concerned with fueling special interest groups (eco fanatics and oil companies alike) rather than the average American.

So what is our answer? What are we the people going to do? We can either sit back and accept yet more polispeak about creating advances while ethanol kills the Gulf of Mexico and sits unused in the 5 states that actually have it available to the public or we can get real change. We can either leave domestic oil sources untapped and penalize our economy or use oil and fund research for other sources. We can either do something or suffer the consequences of inaction and polispeak promises.

That is the choice in front of us. Every other option is just a stopgap answer that will placate anyone with a short memory and nothing else. Because the energy situation in America is hardly bad…yet. But soon it will be a real crisis, and one that will give this generation and the next an understanding of the 1970’s that will make them pray for alternative day fuel lines.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Ask for ad rates

Monday, June 16, 2008

Senator Obama to travel to Iraq and Afghanistan

Senator Obama has finally declared he will be going to Iraq and Afghanistan prior to November. Finally. It took long enough.

Senator Obama is known for his opposition to the Iraq war. It’s been one of the most critical points in his candidacy. The war is unpopular (now) and many seek an end at all costs. But most of those that are making such a call have never been in Iraq or Afghanistan and thus have no idea beyond those already in polls and party polispeak.

Considering that Democrats have voted overwhelmingly for the war, then jumped boat when the polls turned against the war I’m not surprised that so few have taken the time to get first-hand experience. It’s far easier to say

or even more recently to not only ignore that the surge has worked, some political stability has been established, and we have move closer to the goals we have been fighting for – but to say

But a future Commander-and-Chief must be able to go beyond petty political polispeak and posturing. Iraq is one of the key thoughts in America. How we resolve this issue will determine the safety of Americans worldwide for a decade or more.

I do not believe that as a senator opposed to fighting in Iraq, opposed to the surge, in favor of a timeline (which I think is stupid – it’s telegraphing your strategy which has never worked historically), and critical of anything that differs from this view that 2 days in Iraq back in January 2006 is enough. And if he only takes a trip of similar length it should be noted that it’s pandering to the public for votes.

But I look forward to Senator Obama going to Iraq and Afghanistan and getting more first-hand information. I really look forward to hear his comments on the obviously massive changes since his last short visit, especially when he speaks in a debate with Senator McCain on the subject.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Ask for ad rates

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The aftermath of the Yahoo - Microsoft deal

If you have looked at the stock market (U.S.) lately then you cannot have missed a couple of things. Banks are still reeling, Lehman Brothers being the latest in a string of major financials that have had to seek out financing to shore up massive losses. Oil companies are getting a lot of negative publicity due to the election year politics. Energy alternatives are sparking another round of interest, as the generally do every election year for the past roughly 20 years.

But what has garnered a lot of attention is the sector that no one has really spoken about in some time. The technology arena. In particular the latest mega-deal, Yahoo and Microsoft. Everyone has heard some aspect of it, and opinions are flying.

Now the deal officially died last week. Microsoft won’t raise their price or even offer one for Yahoo. Yahoo for its part made a deal with Google, allowing ads from the leading search engine to appear on Yahoo for $300 million. So the shake up begins.

Microsoft has had it’s price raise because it won’t be buying anything, and stockholders will be happy about not having the books burdened with Yahoo. Google is happy as they seriously increase ad revenue with the increased exposure. The likelihood of increase revenues for higher ad fees and increased numbers are on the horizon and analysts will be checking the quarterly reports to see if a new trendline confirms this speculation.

Those looking at what may happen should keep an eye out on Yahoo. After failing to be bought by Microsoft, and only securing a deal that really benefits Google the shareholders are boiling. The desire for bigger profits is going to weigh heavily on the CEO and Board. Something is going to need to be done.

I expect that a couple more deals and the takeover of a smaller technology company will be in the air for Yahoo. Plus an expanded advertising sales campaign will likely unfold within the slow summer quarter showing better numbers as fall unfolds. If I am correct opportunity may abound in the disappointment this deal failing has caused.

But that is just one outlook. What do you think?

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Ask for ad rates

Friday, June 13, 2008

The challenges to a Senator McCain Presidency

Politics is an amazing arena. It’s the only business in America where lies, misperceptions, misspoken statements, and polispeak are valued assets and critical winning strategies. And that’s true of every political party and elected official from local government to the highest office.

I mention this because of a conversation I had with a woman today. She is interested in getting her voice out to the masses for this election. She believes it to be very important, and thus she is also interested in creating a blog. To that end she contacted me and eventually we discussed the Presidential candidates.

Now in this discussion it came out that she prefers Senator Obama over Senator McCain. There’s nothing wrong with that. When I asked her why, the reasons she gave were very telling. The only reason involving Senator Obama was the fact that he would provide change, every other reason in our 2 hour discussion focused on a belief she had on Senator McCain. I feel that much of what she believed is similar to what others believe as well.

While there is nothing wrong with being for any one candidate, the reasons should be well defined. Let me clarify.

These are the reasons she felt McCain was a bad choice. He is too old, he had cancer, he must suffer from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), he is another President Bush, he is a warmonger (my paraphrase), he is non-partisan, he won’t change anything, and he has a temper. This is the summarized version of her reasons why Obama should be President.

Now while Senator McCain is old, it is well known that he is very physically fit. Many pundits and politicians admit that he is in excellent shape for his age, more than many that are decades his junior. And his genetics – as viewed by looking at his mother who is in her 90’s – show a propensity to remain active and mentally intact for another 20 years. Add to that the fact that Presidents have served at his age before.

And by the way, is Senator McCain is senile for calling Sunnis Shiites, then what is Senator Hillary Clinton when she repeatedly comments on barrel rolling planes and sniper fire that never existed? If that is not senility, or a lie what do you call that? As opposed to mixing up the names of 2 groups of people that most Americans can’t tell you the difference between or even spell.

In looking at his cancer, he had a skin cancer that was non-lethal. It was removed. He is currently free of any cancer and has been for years. There is no reason to believe that he would get cancer again, but there are many politicians that have fought cancer and continued to serve in office. There has been Presidents that have suffered ailments during their Presidency and still governed effectively.

But to combine the 2 questions of age and cancer into one solution, that is why there are Vice-Presidents.

As for being a warmonger, that is a harsh inaccurate and politically driven perception (though again I note that she did not call him that - others I've spoken with have). Groups like and Code Pink may feel that such a title may applie to McCain, but then again they felt the same about Senator Clinton and EVERY other politician that has not advocated the immediate retreat from Iraq. It would be far more accurate to say that as a former military officer, a decorated veteran, and a former POW Senator McCain has a far greater appreciation of what it means to fight for our country than most politicians or civilians. Considering that he has a son that has actively served in Iraq recently, he appreciates as much as any parent the fears of an active war. Thus I am left to conclude that if he believes that it is important for America to win if possible, and/or to exit in a manageable manner – and is willing to risk his own son – that he believes such steps are in the nations best interest long-term.

It’s well known that Senator John McCain has a temper. He has had words with many Senators and politicians over his 25 years of political service. Then again so have many Presidents. In fact it is now more publicly acknowledged that President Clinton had a horrible temper. According to Dick Morris, who used to work for President Clinton, he was struck in anger by the President. Since Mr. Morris said this on national cable television and has not been sued or asked to retract his statement I am led to believe it was true. So we have evidence that recent Presidents have tempers, which did not prevent them from their duties.

To go back to the military past of Senator McCain, which Senator Obama has never had a day of, I was told he had to have PTSD. This was a point that was brought up multiple times. The woman I spoke with could not see how anyone that went through what McCain has could not be so afflicted. Yet in 25 years in the Senate there has been no incidence ever reported. Not one politician, of either party, or an aide has ever noted anything that would be likened to PTSD. I wouldn’t say that McCain never has a bad memory, but like many veterans he has lived a productive life without incident. So why is that a fear? PTSD is not like LSD. It doesn’t suddenly crop up one morning with a cup of coffee. There are symptoms and signs. This is what my father dealt with, and as a man that did have PTSD, suffered from Agent Orange, and lost an arm and leg most would never have been able to tell as he worked on his small farm and daily interactions. But when things were bad, there were always signs.

Suffice to say that I feel this is an unwarranted and probably politically motivated issue.

I’ll combine the question of whether McCain is another President Bush and whether he is non-partisan. Don’t take my word on this but look back a year and a half. Look back 2 years. Read how the liberal media lauded Senator McCain, and Republican were angry with him, for breaking party lines on various issues. Look at how the media positively covered McCain as the most bi-partisan Republican and as the kind of Republican Democrats could work with. Look at the multiple laws he has passed and tried to pass. Count the number of times McCain was called a moderate, and conservative groups that backed President Bush whole-heartedly were angry with McCain.

The fact is that the main thing that has changed is the media and pundit perception of Senator McCain. What he did has not changed, but the perception has been molded by the media, just in time for people who don’t follow politics daily to just notice.

Last is change. Everyone is speaking about change. Which is just dumb. No matter who is elected change is guaranteed. Neither man is President Bush so change is a fact.

But on one hand we have a candidate without experience (relatively) as compared to one with over 3 decades of service to the nation. Of course I was told that Senator Obama can surround himself with people that have experience and he can make decisions based on their knowledge.

So why is McCain faulted for his experience, and that of those he would have around him, since Senator Obama would be drawing from a pool of politician that are just as embedded in “old” politics as McCain? The only real difference is that McCain has his own experience to balance against the opinions of those around him, and Obama does not.

Now I don’t fault anyone for picking any candidate. I am happy that many are getting involved because I agree that this is an important election. But I want to emphasize something. Picking a candidate based on current soundbites and a set of rules that apply only one way is not picking a candidate that is in the best interest of America.

Check the facts, learn about the candidates for yourself. Look at the vote where Senator Obama voted to raise the taxes of everyone making $31,850 or more (and Senator McCain voted against) and ask if that is rich. Ask why every multi-millionaire and billionaire that advocates higher taxes have never given a single extra dollar to the government than they were required to – in fact a few have preferred to give their money to charities instead. Ask how Senator Obama will pass bi-partisan laws with a record of voting highly partisan and liberal. Ask if you prefer a President that is historically moderate or liberal – with a populace that in all honesty is middle of the road depending on the issue.

If you look for those facts, and ignore the pundits and polispeak; if you ask those questions and come to an answer for yourself, then that is who you should vote for. And it’s when you vote on that basis that America will truly get the best choice for America’s future.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Ask for ad rates

Calling NASA about mining stocks

On the best day, in the best markets, investing is difficult and stressful. But the current market environment is far from the best of anything. Even so there are a few things we can definitely say about this current cycle. Most notable is that this may well be the year of raw resources, commodities, and the mining and energy companies that find them.

As many of the stockbrokers I have worked with are wont to say,
“You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure this out.”

[Something I stopped saying after having said that to a rocket scientist who still disagreed with my analysis of a stock position.]

Energy is a critical issue in every world market right now. Whether it comes from oil, ethanol, coal, geothermal or any other source. Considering the constant demand in the U.S., the increasing demand in China and India, and the growing desire to have cleaner energy (for whatever reason) this is not a short-term issue. Yet oil and energy companies are under political attack. And thus there is an opportunity. If you know where to look.

There are far too many speculating in the commodities markets, particularly oil, right now. The rise in oil is attributed by many to be directly tied to that speculation. Given the current political environment and election I would not be surprised to see legislation enacted to raise the margin requirements in commodity trading up to 50%. Even if it is not raised (or to that level) the mere action of talks occurring in D.C. will hit that market hard. So I suggest another old broker ideal, look where the market isn’t hottest.

Coal. It’s one area that isn’t getting a lot of conversation on cable news channels at this time. It’s a fuel that is available, abundant in the U.S., and with current and future technology cleaner than ever before. It’s also easier to improve technology to make it even more clean, and last I checked no environmentalists were seeking to block its mining to save any owls.

Gold. When economies are shaky, or perceived to be, everyone wants their hands on at least some of this yellow metal. With Lehman Brothers reporting a $6 billion bailout similar to other financials earlier this year, the economy is in question still. While gold has retreated in recent months from its run at the start of the year its way off the lows. And it would take little to spark another run, like maybe a weak dollar. Sound familiar?

The other precious metals. If gold is good, platinum is sweet. And silver is their poor cousin.

Uranium. If we aren’t using oil, and coal hasn’t been looked at, the only immediate answer left is nuclear. Short term it solves many questions, and it’s very clean. As pressure builds for politicians to investigate all energy alternatives nuclear will hit the table again. Add just one or 2 new power plants and there will be a spike in this mined resource on expectation of a growth spurt in the industry not seen since the 70’s.

Now there are other reasons to be in mining stocks for the near, mid and long term. I don’t think most need more though. No one knows which of these mined materials will be the first to run. The political environment hinges on the person elected President. The economic forecast is in shadows currently.

But probability says at least one if not all of these will have their value increase. And the best hedge may be owning the mining stocks as opposed to the particular individual material. Yet another old saying is
“don’t mine the gold, sell the picks and axes”.

The turmoil in the stock market is hardly over. The price of oil may even out. At least till winter hits. But I will guarantee that talk about energy, and therefore mined materials will not end before the Presidential election at it’s soonest. Any rocket scientists want to speak up?

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Ask for ad rates

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Scam email alert: IRS Stimulus check scam

I was made aware of something today that I wanted to share with you my readers. Now I have no doubt that none of my regular readers are affected but for those that find this post as an introduction to my site I hope it helps.

Everyone is aware of the Economic Stimulus Plan authorized by President Bush and the Government. $600 is being sent out to those who filed their taxes as single, married families get about $1200 depending on how many kids they have. None of that is new news. But there are scam emails circulating the net that are using this information to phish and scam based on this check. [The following is from a scam email recieved by a friend of mine]

Sent out randomly as an email and supposedly from an IRS email account, like Internal Revenue Service (IRS), it has a title of 2008 US Economic Stimulus Refund ! or something similar. This is a fake address, and it has nothing to do with the Government.

The body of the text may state:

    Over 130 million Americans will receive refunds as part of President Bush program to jumpstart economy. Our records indicate that you are qualified to receive the 2008 Economic Stimulus Refund.

    The fastest and easiest way to receive your refund is by direct deposit to your checking/savings account.

    Please follow the link and fill out the form and submit before June 20, 2008 to ensure that your refund will be processed as soon as possible.

    Submitting your form on June 20,2008 or later means that your refund will be delayed due to the volume of requests we anticipate for the Economic Stimulus Refund.

    To access Economic Stimulus Refund, please click here.

    Note: If you received this message in your SPAM/BULK folder, that is because of the large amount of e-mails we are sending out or because of the restrictions implemented by your ISP.

This is a fake and a scam.

The IRS will not contact you via your email account. They don’t even know if you have an email address. Any document from the IRS will state that it is from the Department of Treasury of which the IRS is a part. Also any official documents will be sent via the postal service and bear the U.S. seal. Not to mention that any document will be in proper American English - ie. the first sentence fails to have proper tense structure.

Any Stimulus check will be sent out to the address you have placed on your IRS tax form(s) you filed with the government. If you filed via electronic filing then you will receive your Stimulus check via direct deposit to the bank account you filed. There is no other means to get a check.

Checks are being sent out via social security number. You cannot speed up the process no matter what government department you contact. Plus any contact must be via writing and not email.

Any information from the U.S. government that could come via email will not trigger your spam filters. Nor is the Government limited on the number of emails it is able to send out or receive.

If you receive an email like this, DO NOT follow any of the links. Notify your email provider and delete the email.

Again this is a scam with the intention of either getting your bank account information, or to gather enough information to steal your identity.

I hope this helps someone out there.

Labels: , , , , ,

Ask for ad rates

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The questions of the party lines

Lately my conversations with ultra-liberals have began to take a repetative tone. I’m hearing complete paragraphs of conversations that are verbatim. I’ve begun to wonder if it’s some kind of Ipod track that they have hooked up to their mouths. It’s as if their brains have shutdown to any original thought or the concequences of the party line.

Ok so some of the conversations have not been quite that bad. Some. But there have been massive misconceptions, faulty facts, and a complete disregard for consequences.

So let’s look at a couple of common quotes.

Oil companies are bad for making big profits.

Since when is making a profit a bad thing? Is that not part of the American dream? Isn’t that why every small business in America was created?

But go deeper. Beyond the jealousy of the profits they make, look at the impact they have. Oil companies do not make more money with higher oil costs – OPEC does. Gasolines price is ~60% based on the cost of oil. In the past year oil has more than doubled in price; yet gasoline has only risen ~40% in the same time. That means the oil companies are doing a good job of keeping the cost down.

The profits that oil companies make is not isolated to 2 people as ultra-liberals would like you to think. Millions of mutual funds and IRA’s hold large positions in these oil companies. When they make a profit (which is their job) their stock goes up and investors and retirees have more money. Capping their profit in fact will take money away from retirees and investors, thus hurting the average American.

Capping profits will not stop the need of an oil company from making a profit. To get that profit they will need to cut jobs and stop research into efficiancies, exploration, and alternatives. That means the unemployed in the nation will go up. That will hurt the economy. And if they cut jobs, hundreds of other companies that work directly with this industry will have to cut back too. And by the way, the price of oil will not be forced down a penny while this happens.

We need to leave Iraq now.

As I have said many times that’s not only impossible, it’s stupid. You cannot end a fight just by walking away, not after people have died. Walk away and the orphans (possibly created by the people we are fighting and having nothing to do with our troops) will turn to the only people with power in the area. A great many of those people want to kill every American because we exist. They are the same people that created 9/11 and several other terrorist acts that have failed in the over 2300 days since 9/11. Those orphans will be fed hate against America, and I will guarantee will be committing terrorist acts against us in 5 years from an immediate pullout.

Add to that the fact that if Al Quida and Iran get to boast about making the ‘cowardly Americans run away’ they will gain respect and recruits to their causes.

We will have troops in Iraq for 100 years.

Pay attention to what you are hearing and being told. Troops in Iraq is not fighting a war in Iraq. We have had troops in Germany for 50 years, Japan for 50 years, Korea for 40 years, and Vietnam for 30 years (ronding off the years). Last I checked we are not at war with any of these countries. Nor are we removing those troops and bases in any decade in the near future.

President Bush has ruined America.

How? As far as I have lived and am aware there is nothing I do today that I have not been able to do in the past. There is no restriction to travel, doing business, paying bills, dating, or any other aspect of life that did not exist 30 years ago. So how has America been ruined?

We still elect officials and create laws. We still drive cars and build homes. We still criticize the government and elected officials when they do or porpose something stupid. We are till the most free nation in the world, with tens of thousands entering the nation every year for that reason (illegally or not).

What I think is really meant by that is someone saying that does not like President Bush. I agree that President Bush may be the least articulate, least intelligent Presidents ever. I agree that he has failed the nation in several aspects. But he is not the horrendous life-threatening force that some want to see him as.

So many want to live in the past. They can’t get past the decision, made by Senators and Cogress – of both political parties – to go to war in Iraq. But that was the past, as is who to blame. The 2008 election is about the future and answers to issues happening now, not in 2002.

I want change. Real change.

This is a really stupid statement. Unless the definition has been altered since I was in 3rd grade, the 2008 elecetion guarantees change. No matter who wins, change is a fact. The comment makes about as much sense as saying that a person is “keeping it real”.

The statement should be ‘I want to change X’ or ‘I want a positive change in Y’. Better yet is the statement ‘I will change Z like this and it will be positive’. But if a politician were to say that then you might actually form an opinion on what they think and intend to do. Some would agree others not. You could lose an election (or gain a landslide) for such comments. Having a plan and a clearly stated objective is a boon and a bane.

But just ambigously wanting to change things, since that is the only predictable outcome of the 2008 presidential election, is safe and allows voters to inject their emotions. That definitely will win an election. To bad that it makes no impact or potential steps torwards improving anything. It can’t since it doesn’t even attempt to define what it will change or how.

In the 2006 mid-term elections Democrats were elected under the rally call of change. What change happened is that millions of taxpayer dollars were used to hold a multitude of Congerssional meetings on issues that never involved a single law being broken, the health of professional athletes, pointing the finger of blame at one political party or another. Please tell me how any of that prevented the mortgage crisis, put food on a table, or money in anyones pocket? But you can’t call them liars, because it was a change.

Is Senator John McCain President Bush? No. So a 3rd term of Bush is a stupid and feeble statement based on capturing an emotional response and not the benefit of the nation. Is global warming real? Probably not, but there is nothing wrong with having a cleaner world. Can you fix an economy (ie giving people more money in their pockets) by increasing the taxes they pay? It’s never worked before.

So when you think of the Presidential election think of this – How do you want to change the issues you think are important to America? How will those changes happen without hurting other Americans? Who has a plan to attain those changes? What plan is based in the reality (and not emotion) of the world today?

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Ask for ad rates

Political comments from Youtube

Sometimes I find it quite interesting the opinions some have in regards to politics. Even in the most neutral of facts some cannot let go of there own prejudices to evaluate what is before them. The most troubling aspect of that is the fact that these vocal individuals are actively trying to sway voters to their often misguided views.

Case in point, I decided to place a video detailing the electoral map based on where the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates currently stand. This is not a really debatable issue. It’s a snapshot of the then current political highs and lows in sentiment of various states. These are not final votes and will change given time. But it does establish clearly that neither candidate can today state they have a consensus of though in America to their views for our future.

[the Youtube video and comments can be seen at]

One of the comments I received was the following,

“Don't believe a word you hear on Fox FRAUDCASTING!! Nothing but Right Wingnut Talking Points. Watch The Daily Show for the truth. Fox Fakes the "news"!!!BOYCOTT FOX FRAUDCASTING!!”

Now I realize that ultra-liberals hate FOX News. It’s irrational to have such a hate but they do. But how does presenting a fluid fact as a lie help anyone decide who to vote for? How does advocating a satirical psuedo-political pusedo-news comedy show prove that one candidate is better than another? One might be a better subject of jokes, but where does that help the nation and economy?

Another comment stated,

“…which leads me to believe that you like many other Republicans follow blindly with a "Mom and Dad are Republicans" mentality. Now I know everyone is entitled to their own opinion but with an election as important as this..It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see which candidate will benifit this country but John McCain will get votes and it will somehow again be a close election. By the way, Fox News is hardly "Fair and Balanced." …”

Now I am familiar with many in the Black community across the nation. I have never notice a group of people more likely to vote Democratic (or for any political party) simply because their parents did. I may be naïve, or I may not know enough about the politics of other groups in America. But I can say that in the last 20+ years of following politics I have seen more Democrats, and Black Democrats, vote the party line with less idea of why beyond the general impression that they should and the media assumes they will.

As for a rocket scientist knowing the outcome of the election, it seems that the rest of the nation needs such help. There are massive differences between the candidates and neither candidate has the best solution to all issues facing the nation. So if the election will “somehow again be a close election” I have to believe it’s not that crystal clear or obvious.

Those to the extremes of either party will claim how obvious this election is, but most refuse to give real facts and that means you need to do the homework lest you get talked into buying a bridge.

Labels: , , ,

Ask for ad rates

Monday, June 09, 2008

College for everyone? Seriously no

Sometimes I just have to wonder what liberals are thinking. Today I noticed a news program that was discussing the issue of the birthright of getting a college education. The implication was that Senator Obama will provide government funding to enable every student to go to college. That isn’t exactly true of what Senator Obama has said, and it has so many problems that it’s a joke.

First, let’s be honest. College and higher education is not a birthright. It’s an option. Millions live and work everyday without one. The obligation of the government is to provide a basic education to the children of the nation. It is the obligation of parents to make sure that their child uses that education to their benefit. And it is a step towards adulthood for that child to determine if college is a path they wish to take.

Even more honest is the fact that every child should not go to college. Seriously, your kid may not be the next lawyer, doctor, or college graduate. You probably know if little johnnie or jane is not going to get there long before they reach 12th grade. And that’s not a bad thing. The military is not for everyone, neither is being a policeman, a doctor, an accountant, a salesman, a scientist and so on.

Many liberals love to point out that college tuitions have grown over the last 5 years. They point out that many families can afford college. The first point is true, just as the cost of a car, home, and dozens of other products/services have grown as well. But these same liberals leave out the fact that while most families can’t afford Ivy league colleges there are city colleges, state colleges, and junior colleges that are easily more affordable. Add to that the fact that there are hundreds if not thousands of grants and scholarships that go unused every year. Money is out there for virtually every kind of student, and colleges make huge efforts to help students afford the cost of higher learning.

When I went to college I had a scholarship. I also worked 2 part-time jobs. So did dozens of my friends. It was my responsibility to earn or borrow the money I needed to gain the education I wanted. Had I spent more time in the library I could have gotten even more money.

Some will say that college should be easier. Why? Is life easier? Is work easier? Is raising a family or being in a marriage easy? The fact is that the things that are least easy are what we all tend to want most. We appreciate what we earn and sweat for. Give a person a fish and they’ll wait for another, teach them to fish and they will work to make sure they are not hungry.

Now Senator Obama believes that the student aid form is what is preventing kids from going to college. I believe that if filling out a piece of paper is too difficult, you shouldn’t be considering college anyway. So it’s a long form, so is a mortgage or car loan. So is building up an IRA or retirement fund. I don’t care if the form takes a day to fill out, that’s one day out of a life filled with greater knowledge than the day before.

“Another common reason that high school students decide not to attend college is that they discover they are
unprepared for it in 12th grade.”

You have to be kidding right? If you have been getting D’s and C’s all your time in school I think you know long before 12th grade that you will not be going to college. If you prefer to watch a movie based on a book instead of reading for a school report, college is not for you. If you can rebuild an engine and could care less who Nicholas of Cusa is, college is out. If you spend summer vacations building decks for friends and family, or working in the garment industry making marker – and the concept of how an extra hydrogen atom can attach a water molecule puts you to sleep – college may not be an option. [And I spent every summer from junior high school until I left college working in the garment industry]

Now here is another interesting thought. If Senator Obama were to provide funds for every child in America to go to college, where is that money coming from? College will still need to be paid for, so who will pay it? You will. It’s called higher taxes. Which means you will have less money, whether you have kids or not or whether your kids goes to college or if your kid is able to finish with a degree. If you feel you don’t have enough money to live on now, wait till you have to pay for your neighbors kid to go to college – you know the kid that can’t give you back the right change in Mc Donald’s even with the cash register figuring it out for them. That’s money that is well spent indeed.

But there is a bigger issue that few even consider. America needs skilled labor. Carpenters, truck drivers, machinists and more. As much as the information highway has grown, the basics are still out there. There are no machines or internet programs that will build a house. Or fix plumbing. Or drive a dump truck. Or dig in a mine. And we are running out of those types of laborers. There is such an emphasis on trying to get every child to be a computer geek, or a trial lawyer and so on that everyone forgets that someone has to build the wires, lay the cable, and maintain it for you to get an internet connection or even lights. And you don’t need college degrees for that.

Now I believe in the importance of a higher education. I believe that you should go to college. But only if you want it. Only if you strive for it. Only if you will make it count for something. Otherwise it’s just high school part 2.

Something that my father once told me I feel applies here. He said,

“No matter what you do, if you do a good days work and get a good days pay you can hold your head high in front of anyone.”

I believe that. I’ve held my head high as I swept floors, pulled out garbage, worked as a telephone operator, in a bindery department, a telemarketer, a bar back, a DJ, a bartender, a 3rd line cook, a busboy, a security guard, a stockbroker, a lab assistant, a director of operations in import/export, a writer, and over 155 other positions (of which I have never been fired and have had over 66 promotions). It’s not what you do, it’s why you do it and what goals you put in place for your life.

College has been very important for me. I continue to read and learn. It helps me understand the various issues I discuss in numerous blogs I write for. It helps me understand the ramifications and obfuscated meanings in politics and political speeches. It helps me expand my mind and imagine the improbabilities of the universe. But that’s not for everyone, and I don’t need to pay for anyone to reach that level unless I choose to do so.

When I went to college a very good teacher did me a kindness, sending me a few dollars every so often. He wasn’t obligated to do so, he did it because I had shown my desire to learn in high school. It wasn’t much, but it meant a lot – because he didn’t need to do it. That gave me a reason to strive harder. But it would have meant nothing if everyone in America was paying for my education and I had nothing invested in it.

So again I say, liberals need to think about some of the things they say they want. College is a great thing, and helping some get there is good. But lets be realistic, it’s not for everyone. I don’t want to pay higher taxes to waste my money and some kids’ time on a useless venture.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Ask for ad rates

Friday, June 06, 2008

Forget the first Black nominee, what's going on with the fist bump?

I can’t believe this. Actually I can. The insanity of imbalance and degree of scrutiny placed on Senator Obama now that he is a nominee is mounting. His every move is being analyzed for some secret Black meaning.

Take this video for example

I have seen about 3 different news organizations cover what you just saw. Not Senator Obama confirming that he is the Democratic nominee but the fist bump. The fist bump. I’ve watched as reporters have acted as if their hands are deformed as they try to recreate this action. I’ve watched as reporters have researched the history of the fist bump with an old Louisiana blues entertainer (who comments that the fist bump goes back to slavery days in the cotton fields). I’ve watched as commercial media makers are commenting how this will be a new craze to sweep the nation.

And I wonder how stupid most of these people are.

Simply stated, Senator Obama no more created the fist bump than Al Gore created the internet. Sports teams from the local to the national have been doing this for at least years if not decades. This year there was a Budweiser commercial with a Clydesdale horse and a Dalmatian dog that had a fist bump, will Senator Obama get credit for that as well?

More importantly who cares? Why is it a big deal? Why is every movement of Senator Obama being followed so closely.

I can’t recall such minute actions of a Presidential candidate being observed and commented on. Can you name an action that Senator McCain does or has done in the past 25 years that has been commented on with such fervor (his war injuries do not count).

So what is next? Senator Obama patted his wife on the butt that night as well, is that a new craze? Will that be the new thing the media attributes to Senator Obama (no doubt to be argued by various Women’s Rights groups)? Is it the next secret Black thing that the major media thinks needs to be spread around?

There are dozens of reasons to vote for or against Senator Obama, a fist bump isn’t one of them. There are dozens of reasons to be excited or interested about the nomination and potential of the 1st African American to reach this level in the Presidential race ever. There is a lot of history in this moment, after nearly 400 since the dawn of slavery in America and 143 years after Jim Crow laws. And the focus some place on the average everyday action of a fist bump insults every moment and aspect of the historic news.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Ask for ad rates

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Senator Hillary Clinton's swan song

Well it's amazing but Senator Hillary Clinton finally realizes that Senator Obama has beaten her and is the Democratic nominee. It's only taken her a day to realize that 2143 is over 2118, and that she has lost. Only a day to recognize that using race and religion as negative attacks has not helped her, that every woman in America will not flock to her just because of her gender, that taking every position possible on issues (like illegal immigrants getting driver's liscences) or lying to the public (with Ireland and Bosnia to name a few) is not a means to gain votes. She has come to realize that far too many people remember her promise to bring jobs to NY state - which she has not only failed to do but there has been a net loss of jobs since she was elected - and understand she would do the same to the nation.

Now I hope she learns that her strongarm tactics to wrangle the Vice Presidency will fail as well. The Democrats that voted for her are not mere pawns in a bid for her to gain more power. She is not going to blackmail Senator Obama with less than 18 million votes (her math is way off) to guarantee that Senator Obama cannot win with her on the ticket.

In all I expect that there is just one thing to say... one song to sing...

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Ask for ad rates

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Senator Obama is the Democratic Presidential candidate

With great joy I can now say that Senator Barack Obama is the Democratic nominee for President of the United States.

As of 5:37pm the total delegates and Super Delegates reached 2123 in a surge as many formerly supporting Senator Hillary Clinton abandoned her. There is no question that comments from Senator Clinton acknowledging her interest in the Vice-Presidency helped to sway at least some of the late breaking delegates.

At the start of this long nomination cycle I stated that I believed that Senator Clinton was the probably nominee, which I was abhorrent to. While I have followed the entire process as neutral as is possible for anyone who is an American citizen (anyone following this election and claiming to not have a position is generally lying as all citizens have a vested interest and therefore a preference of some degree), I have not hidden my dislike and distrust of Clinton and her campaign. More importantly, I have provided ample reasons and examples of why she was not the best candidate for the future of America.

I must admit my surprise that Senator Obama has won. Like many pundits and bloggers in 2006 and 2007 I did not feel America was ready to have a Black President or even candidate. It would seem that I was wrong, West Virginia not withstanding.

But now is when the real issues will appear. The real questions of what are the plans that will improve America. The plans that will unify the nation. The plans that will carry the nation to the future. And these plans will be compared to those of Senator John McCain, with the best becoming President.

Race is still the predominant issue going forward. I still see that as a factor that will secretly withhold votes from Senator Obama no matter what people say publicly. I hope to be proven wrong on that, again.

We will hear about Rev. Wright yet again. There will be calls of the Muslim conspiracy, and the hidden terrorist threat circling the internet among the least intelligent people in America. Information and facts will be misquoted or re-interpreted by those with agendas less about politics and more about prejudice.

That is not to say that any debate against Senator Obama is solely racially motivated. He does have problems. He has less experience, his foreign policy comments are questionable, and his economic plans are arguably impotent. Senator Obama is a huge liberal, and the nation is very much a more central moderate conservative.

But these are questions for the near future.

Today I am simply elated that an African American has risen to be competing fro the highest office in the land, and the most powerful political position in the world. We should not be fooled into believing that this will prevent issues like Megan Williams case, Sean Bell case, unequal legal action – like in Jena – and many others from happening. We cannot think that this obscures or fixes problems like the under funding and poor teaching of students in cities, or lack of representation in corporations of Blacks in the highest corporate levels.

This is one step, both symbolically and in reality, but it cannot be the last. Nor can we allow ourselves to make our decisions based solely on the basis of skin color.

I am pleased today. But tomorrow I will continue the process of covering this election, analyzing the plans of both candidates, and offering my opinion on who seems to bode best for the nations future potential.

Good bye Senator Clinton, Congratulations Democratic Presidential nominee Senator Obama.

(now if he can just make sure she doesn’t wrangle herself into the Vice-Presidency it will be a really good race indeed.)

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Ask for ad rates

Associated Press announces history making news for Senator Obama

I had to stop packing for my move and work to present this:

AP tally: Obama clinches Democratic nomination

WASHINGTON (AP) — Barack Obama effectively clinched the Democratic presidential nomination Tuesday, based on an Associated Press tally of convention delegates, becoming the first black candidate ever to lead his party into a fall campaign for the White House.

Campaigning on an insistent call for change, Obama outlasted former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton in a historic race that sparked record turnout in primary after primary, yet exposed deep racial divisions within the party.

The AP tally was based on public commitments from delegates as well as more than a dozen private commitments. It also included a minimum number of delegates Obama was guaranteed even if he lost the final two primaries in South Dakota and Montana later in the day.

The 46-year-old first term senator will face Sen. John McCain of Arizona in the fall campaign to become the 44th president.

Labels: , , , ,

Ask for ad rates
Ask for ad rates