Friday, August 31, 2007

Economic Growth and Politics

I saw an article in the local Newspaper that referred to this study which gave NY state a D grade in economic growth and my knee jerk reaction was “Of course the growth is bad its’ a Democrat strong hold”. It is not a fair statement because I don’t have any actually data to say Democrat strong holds are bad for grow, so I took a deeper look in to the study. I compared the growth to the Red-Blue state results from the 2004 election and party affiliation of the current governor. I gave the letter grades a numerical value (A+ =4.5, A =4 B=3 C=2 D=1 F=0) and did an average. Would I call the results significant, no. But there is a noticeable difference.

Red Pres 2.1
Red Gov 2.1
Both Red (15 States) 2.2
Blue Pres 2.1
Blue Gov 2.1
Both Blue (13 States) 2.0
Mixed (22 States) 2.0

So those states that gave their electoral votes to Bush in 2004 and have Red Governors have a slight edge in average economic growth grade, while double blue are depressed slightly. Does this make sense? If the stereotypes run true of Republicans being capitalists and Democrats being socialist, then yes it does.

The stat that I think is more significant is the states that report Population grow.

Red Pres 41.9%
Red Gov 36.4%
Both Red 66.7%
Blue Pres 26.3%
Blue Gov 35.7%
Both Blue 30.8%
Mixed 36.4%

Of the states that voted Presidential Red (31) 42% of them reported population growth compared to 26% for Presidential Blue. The states that voted Presidential Red and have Governor Red (15), 67% of them reported population growth versus 31% both Blue (13). What level of growth was not reported in the study but it does stand out to me that the Red States report more of it. I really would have expected the mixed state to have performed better (California is the big stand out) but the numbers don’t support it.

With the 2006 election how does this effect things? I'm not sure, I haven't taken the time to put together the stats and do the compairison.

Thursday, August 30, 2007


The Heritage Foundation put out a report/article called “How Poor Are America's Poor? Examining the "Plague" of Poverty in America”

The following are facts about persons defined as "poor" by the Census Bureau,
taken from various gov­ernment reports:
  • Forty-three percent of all poor households actu­ally own their own homes. The average home owned by persons classified as poor by the Census Bureau is a three-bedroom house with one-and-a-half baths, a garage, and a porch or patio.
  • Eighty percent of poor households have air conditioning. By contrast, in 1970, only 36 percent of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning.
  • Only 6 percent of poor households are over­crowded. More than two-thirds have more than two rooms per person.
  • The average poor American has more living space than the average individual living in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens, and other cities throughout Europe. (These comparisons are to the average citizens in foreign countries, not to those classified as poor.)
  • Nearly three-quarters of poor households own a car; 31 percent own two or more cars.
  • Ninety-seven percent of poor households have a color television; over half own two or more color televisions.
  • Seventy-eight percent have a VCR or DVD player; 62 percent have cable or satellite TV reception.
  • Eighty-nine percent own microwave ovens, more than half have a stereo, and more than a third have an automatic dishwasher.

It wasn’t anything that I was tempted to comment on until I came across this story from the UK Telegraph.

A new underclass of Japanese is living in 24-hour Intenet cafes across the country, using private booths to eat and sleep in after a long day in a low-paying job.

A survey by the health and welfare ministry indentified 5,400 “Net cafe refugees,” although critics say that figure underestimates the scale of the problem.
Around 27 percent are in their 20s and work in convenience stores or on construction sites, while 23 percent are in their 50s

I know you can’t directly compare this but I haven’t heard of anything that compares to it in the US. If a person actually has a job, then they generally do have a place to live. The story goes on to state the average income of these working poor at approximately $950 (110,000 yen) a month or $5.48/hour. The US minimum wage just went to $5.85/hour. So an individual making the min in the US makes more than the average common laborer.

Hunting to Stop Global Warming?

Peta and others have a new direction in turning people toward vegetarianism.

The biggest animal rights groups do not always overlap in their missions, but now they have coalesced around a message that eating meat is worse for the
environment than driving. They and smaller groups have started advertising campaigns that try to equate vegetarianism with curbing greenhouse gases.
They have based this idea around this:
In late November, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization issued a report stating that the livestock business generates more greenhouse gas emissions than all forms of transportation combined.
They seem to be missing a possible side effect. It isn’t that eat meat produces the dreaded greenhouse gases, it is the animals themselves. If we follow their logic out then increased hunting should be the nature extension to continue reducing greenhouse gases.
"To put it into perspective, the return flight from Oslo to Santiago in Chile leaves a carbon footprint of 880 kilos. Shoot a moose and you have saved the equivalent of two long-haul flights," said biologist Reidar Andersen.
Is this the path they really want to take?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Independent Music Surprise

Last night I went to a house concert (it is exactly what it sounds) without much expectations. The music was not why I was going. My wife and I are new to the area and we both felt it would be a nice opportunity to meet some the locals. While we were successful in that endeavor, it turned out to be the music that was the high point. Edie Carey delivered a stellar performance that left me wondering why the current superstars are held is such regarded. I have paid more money and had less satisfaction from so-called “stars”. As for her style of music, the closest I would point to would be Sheryl Crow. That being said, I have never been tempted to buy any of Sheryl Crows’ music. After hear just the first song of the show, I knew I would buy at least one of Edie’s CDs (I end up buying 2 and intend to get the others).

It brings me back to this question, why are people like this millionaires?

Cleric as Generals?

When a cleric is defined as:

1. a member of the clergy.

2. a member of a clerical party.

And clergy is defined as:

1. the group or body of ordained persons in a religion, as distinguished from the laity.
I have to ask how committed to peace and religious freedom any group is when its clerics openly control private militias?

Sadr organized the Mahdi Army shortly after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. Since then the Mahdi Army has become the most active and feared armed Shiite group, blamed by the U.S. for driving thousands of Sunnis from their homes in retaliation for Sunni extremist attacks on Shiite civilians.
It is just a question I have to ask to myself. This subject has many responses, from defending a different culture or attacks other religions buy saying they are no different. It still doesn’t address the problem of killing in the name of God, something I have said and will continue to say is wrong.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

France Steps up to the Plate

Over at Big Lizard there is a column from the 22nd about France becoming an “Honest Broker” in the Middle East conflict, mainly with Iraq. I post a somewhat snarky comment.

Well as John McClane said in the first Die Hard “Welcome to the party.” But I take a little offense to the words used (its’ probably just me). "honest broker” makes it sound like we haven’t been honest or competent in our efforts to help the peace process. I guess if you look at it with the idea that peace existed when the French were involved (before 2003) then we have been incompetent. But then again the Shiite and Kurdish factions were systematically being destroyed in a peaceful manner back then.
Don’t get me wrong I am glad the French government is now willing to be part of the process and I do think they can help. I also believe they have a responsibility to do so, since they have to balance all of the damage that had been cause by those who enabled Saddam.
One question though, with both France and Germany now having elected country leaders that are more pro American, does this mean we didn't actually hurt our world reputation?

Now it seems like they really are trying to help.

Speaking to 180 French ambassadors, Mr Sarkozy said a nuclear-armed Iran would be "unacceptable" and that the only response was to tighten sanctions while being open to talks if Iran suspended nuclear activities.

"This initiative is the only one that can enable us to escape an alternative that I say is catastrophic: the Iranian bomb or the bombing of Iran," he said, adding that it was the worst crisis facing the world.

This help is more in line with what President Bush is advocating. France has been involved with Iran for a long time and they have made a stand of sort.

We had hoped, let me stress, that the intense concerns to which Iran’s pursuit of a fissile material production capability has given rise could be resolved without recourse to the Security Council. But, in our view, Iran’s unwillingness to cooperate fully with the Agency, to do what is necessary to build confidence, to honour its international commitments, and to provide effective guarantees that its nuclear programme is exclusively for peaceful purposes has made Security Council action inevitable. This is not, however, the end of diplomacy, and we remain determined to work for a negotiated solution.

These are not strong words. They are more in the line of “Come on guys, quit it or I’ll tell mom.” And mom is Britney Spears. These words will guarantee the need for stronger words or backing down. France has decided to go with the stronger word approach.

It does not end with Iran but for the first time in a long time, France actually is more on Israel's side.

He was equally direct on matters elsewhere in the Middle East, promising that
France would not allow a "Hamastan" to be created in the Palestinian territories
after the takeover of the Gaza Strip by the radical Islamic group Hamas in

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Diplomad is Back

I was disappointed when they went away and annoyed when they teased of a comeback, but they appear to be back for now.

Arizona Scares Illegal Immigrants Away.

When one associates and advocates what others see as a problem there is something known as guilty by association. In legal terms, is it referred to as being an accomplice. So I have to ask, is it any wonder that people might take this attitude?

Abel Ledezma, a 31-year-old telephone technician from Chihuahua state in Mexico, has a work permit, but his fiancee, Cecy, a waitress, is undocumented. Ledezma put his house on the market in July after the governor signed the law. The two plan to move to Albuquerque, which Ledezma thinks is more welcoming of immigrants, legal and illegal.

"I feel like the people's attitudes towards not only immigrants but also Hispanics has become very rude" in Arizona, Ledezma said.

I applauded Mr. Ledezma for doing things the legal way since he has a work permit. If all immigrants were followed this path then I don’t this attitude would be as prevalent (Unfortunately some moron still blame others for their problems and target those who are different), but he seems to have no problem with those who give Hispanic a bad name. It may have to do something with being in love but his fiancĂ© is still breaking the law and he knows it. That makes him an accomplice to the crime.
Let’s take a look at the slightly modified statement and see how it stands up.

"I feel like the people's attitudes towards not only illegal immigrants but also Hispanics who protect them, has become very rude" in Arizona, Ledezma said.

The big debate is not about immigration it is about illegal immigration so it is only fair to add the first modification. I haven’t heard too many Hispanics speaking out against illegal immigration; in fact it has been the norm to defend it. So should the Hispanic community be viewed as accomplices also?

All of this is really getting away from the real problem. Individuals in Latin America would rather live illegal here in the US then legally in their home countries. As a country we can do 1 of 2 things, make our country not as attractive to outsiders or help make their home countries a better place to live. Since these are sovereign nation, our ability to affect their countries is limited. The direction Arizona is pursuing is of the latter nature.

The law is aimed at shutting off the job magnet by imposing harsh penalties on employers caught knowingly hiring unauthorized workers. Violators face a 10-day suspension of their business license for a first offense and could lose their license for a second offense.
Without employment possibilities, the attraction to live in Arizona diminishes. Will this have side effect, of course it will. One such would be an increase in the cost of living because wages will have to go up in order to attract replacement workers. Another could be a loss of businesses in Arizona because of the higher operation cost. It wouldn’t be limited to those since every action has unforeseen circumstances, but not all of them will be bad.

Will Arizona be better off without a large population of illegal immigrants, the current state government feels so and I happen to agree. When one form of illegal behavior is allowed, it makes it harder to enforce against others. The US needs immigrates, there is no doubt in my mind about that, but illegal immigrations is damaging in the long run. Why do I say that? Look back at Mr. Ledezma statement and the growing resentment he feels there is toward Hispanics. Many Hispanics are a great addition to the US but they will always be a point of resentment by others as long as Hispanics are the main source of illegal immigration. What hurts the US Hispanic community, hurts the US.

As with many topics, Captain Ed was there before me.

Gun Control

Gun Control has always been a sore spot to me, because most gun control advocates miss the point. They attack the tool not the user. In their beliefs, I guess they think if there isn’t a gun, then violence goes away. One only has to look at the Middle Ages to see the fallacy of this. Violence was done on the innocent because they had no way to stop it. Might made right in those days, because only the wealth could afford the weapons. The gun has been called the “equalizer" for a very good reason. For a very small price, any person can have the same ability to defend or attack. A gun does not fill a single person with the desire to hurt another. (it does make it easier but it is even easier if the other person doesn't have a gun)

Robert Knight, director of CMI, puts forward a counter argument and points out several holes in the Gun Control argument:

Robert Knight, director of CMI, puts
forward a counter argument and points out several holes in the Gun Control

"In their zeal to repeal the Second Amendment," the report
indicates, "the media failed to inform their audience of at least four powerful
arguments against gun control:

-- "Comparisons between countries are not useful . Unfortunately, direct comparisons based solely on crime rates and gun laws tell very little about whether gun control actually works. Social scientists believe that gun control is only one of many factors that influence rates of violence.
--"Guns are frequently used to stop crimes. To the Founding Fathers, the right to bear arms for self-protection was essential if citizens were to be truly free, but this essential fact rarely saw the light of day in the mainstream media.
-- “Most guns used in crimes are illegally acquired. Like it or not, banning guns only takes them out of the hands of law-abiding citizens, making it easier for people with no respect for the law to attack their victims.
-- "Gun control laws have no proven effect. At worst, gun control laws leave law-abiding citizens defenseless before rapacious criminals, and at best, they may not affect violence at all."

I find the third one to be the most telling. One might believe that if hand guns were completely outlawed, eventually even the criminals wouldn’t have them eventually. I mean it has worked for meth and crack hasn’t? Criminals will always find a source whether it is a homemade zip gun or an illegal import from the black-market.

The only way to reduce gun violence is to reduce the desire to perform violence. Until that is done, there will be no progress in making a safer society.

Many have point to the tragedy at Virgina Tech as a reason for gun control but the fact that the campus was the pinnacle of gun control seems to be ignored. The campus is a gun free zone and that did nothing to stop the shootings. The criminal had the gun and the innocent did not.

Now on the oppoiste side of the arguement, giving all law abiding citizens a gun isn not the cure. Once again this is only treating a symtom and not the problem. Being an anti gun control advocate should carry with it a responsiblity to to address the real problems that face society. Dealing with the reasons that cause violence, what makes a person willing to kill another.

Glorifing violence in movies, music, video games and books does not help. Allowing crimes to be punished with a slap on the wrist, does not help. If anybody is really serious about doing anything about violence then dealing with the problem has to start where the problem is, the people.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Death Penalty Pondering

I have never had to vote for or against the death penalty, I have never been given the opportunity. I have said “that a rapid dog needs to be put down” in an argument for it. But lately I have been giving it a lot of thought. Two articles (actually one column and one story) sparked the desire to write something about it. Michael Medved wrote a column calling Liberals out.

Liberals reveal their appalling hypocrisy when they proudly claim to oppose the influence of religion on politics, and then try to cite the Bible to argue against the death penalty..

He then goes on to show biblical references on how the Bible does not in fact prohibit the death penalty in both the Old and New Testaments. This is important because it easy show in the Old, while the New is what people pull the Biblical references against the penalty.

On the other side, the EU is scolding Texas for using the death Penalty.

"We believe that elimination of the death penalty is fundamental to the protection of human dignity, and to the progressive development of human rights.
We further consider this punishment to be cruel and inhumane," Lisbon stated on behalf of the EU."There is no evidence to suggest that the use of the death penalty serves as a deterrent against violent crime and the irreversibility of the punishment means that miscarriages of justice - which are inevitable in all legal systems – cannot be redressed

At Pro-Death they have this quote:

"If we execute murderers and there is in fact no deterrent effect, we have killed a bunch of murderers. If we fail to execute murderers, and doing so would in fact have deterred other murders, we have allowed the killing of a bunch of innocent victims. I would much rather risk the former. This, to me, is not a tough call."

John McAdams - Marquette University/Department of Political Science, on deterrence

Over at My Way News they cite a 2003 study done by Naci Mocan that determined an actual, measurable deterrent.

Although these results demonstrate the existence of the deterrent effect of capital punishment, it should be noted that there remain a number of significant issues surrounding the imposition of the death penalty. For example, although the Supreme Court of the United States remains unconvinced that there exists racial discrimination in the imposition of the death penalty, recent research points to the possibility of such discrimination.35 Along the same lines, there is evidence indicating that there is discrimination regarding who gets executed and whose sentence gets commuted once the death penalty is received.36 Given these concerns, a stand for or against capital punishment should be taken with caution.

So far I showed at an argument that makes a Biblical case for it, groups of politician saying don’t do it because we say so, and a scholar who says he can prove a deterrent. It would be easy just to accept the Bible quotes, call the politicians a bunch of stuffed shirts and bleeding hearts, and justify it with a study. But none of it really puts my mind at easy. As I started to go into on my Bad Behavior post, I think we need to do more up front before we jump to the end.

Naci Mocan has another paper he is working on with R. Kaj Gittings called "The Impact of Incentives on Human Behavior: Can We Make It Disappear? The Case of the Death Penalty" that I want to read through. The title strikes a cord with my current frame of thought.

Right now if I did have a chance to vote on the Death Penalty, I'm not possitive I would still be for it.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Right to Privately Fund Killing part II

Captain Ed talked about this first but I have to wonder how this fits into something I spouted off sometime earlier.

Interestingly, McConnell talked numbers. Less than 100 "US persons" have their communications monitored, and all under warrant.

Wendell Belew and Asim Ghafoor are US citizens as far as I have ever heard. So if they fell into this program and one believes McConnells numbers, then they don't have a case. It could be very well that these two things are not connected but think about this.

The number of foreign persons outside the US monitored through the NSA is in the thousands -- which, as McConnell notes, is still pretty "surgical".
Telephone numbers are, after are, fairly explicit points on which to focus. The NSA does not have millions of numbers monitored by vast armies of translators.

Witches PR or Christian Symbolism

I have never read any of the book or seen the movies, even though I am a big fantasy and sci-fi reader but if this take on the Harry Potter books is true(found originally over at, then Jo Rowling is owed a big apology from some small people.

What I make of that is that Jo Rowling has a wonderful talent for tapping into Biblical and literary symbolism. From the very beginning, I've believed that Hogwarts is the literary representation of the Christian Church.

As I have said some of the treatment she has received is Just Plain Wrong from anybody claiming to be a Christian. Even if it isn't her motivation, she should never receive ill treatment nor a threats in the name of God, for her writings.

As for why I have never read them , it is a mix of a perception (by me) that they are kids books and that it appeared to me (with no research) to be a PR tool for Wiccans. I have never said anything more negative then "there not for me". If Jo Rowlings ever did come out and say that they are in the same mold as C.S. Lewis's creations, I still don't think I would read them. Why? They just don't appeal to me.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Albright and Religion

Former Sec of State Albright is promoting the idea of bring religion in to diplomacy in an upcoming, six-hour television event, "God's Warriors," hosted by CNN chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour .

IMO, one cannot look at the current situation in ME without looking at the religious aspect, because as she puts it…

Solomon. With this being holy to all three of the Abrahamic religions, it's very difficult. And religion, rather than bringing people together on this, is driving them apart, which ... I don't think [is] what is intend.

She continues along this line and what she says, makes me believe she is not the right person for the job.

It's so interesting; we're talking about the whole issue of sovereignty here. Because the parties both believed that God gave them that little piece of land, we started playing with a term, which was that it belonged to God. Divine sovereignty.

Maybe she does mean to come across this way but the “little piece of land” comment is condescending from someone who doesn’t get it. To her it is just a case of figuring out how to convince them to forget part of their believes.

Anybody who's been to Jerusalem can see why it is so complicated. Physically, religious holy places are completely intertwined, one on top of the other. So in many ways, there's great appeal to saying it belongs to God, and then trying to figure out how it [is] administered, maybe through some international group of some kind.

It isn’t really about the land; it is about the promise from God for the Jews and the word of Mohammad. An international group of some kind is not going to be able to administer what belongs to God. In religious term, everything belongs to God. Christians believe we are just steward until he takes it back. The Jews believe the land was set aside for them especial because they are the Chosen People (the Christian Bible also agrees with this). The Muslims hold that the Jews usurpers of the true God (Allah) and have stolen their birthright. I could go on and expand this to death but this simplified version begins to show how complicated it is.

If her “little piece of land” wasn’t condescending enough for you, how about this?

Well, the extremists really are very nervous in terms of the question of sovereignty and the creation of an international organization, which they misinterpret to be world government, which it actually is not. And then there are the even more extreme views -- you know, some of them saw the secretary-general as the antichrist and that I was consorting with the devil.
These are the people who are afraid of the U.N., because they think it has black helicopters that will swoop down and steal your lawn furniture. And then there are some people who don't like the U.N. because it's full of foreigners, which frankly can't be helped. So you have a wide range of critics there.

I’m afraid of the UN because prop up dictators with Oil-for-Food, allow rape and prostitution while pretending to help, allow terrorist to re-arm right in front of them, protects counterfeiters and pack the Human Right panel with the greatest violators of human rights. Besides I don't have any lawn furniture for the black helicopters to take away.

Definitely not Dog's Best Friend

Since he has pleaded guilty I will make a comment on this horrible story. One can tell I have a warm place in my heart for man’s best friend (just look at the blog title) so it show comes as no surprise I find this extremely disgraceful behavior.

On Monday, Vick's attorney Billy Martin announced that the quarterback will plead guilty to federal dogfighting conspiracy charges. Conditions of the terms are unknown, but Vick faces up to five years in prison.

The most damning evidence made public against Vick came Friday when co-defendants Purnell Peace and Quanis Phillips also pleaded guilty. In their plea, Peace and Phillips admitted to killing eight dogs in April at Vick's property in Virginia and said that Vick participated in the death of the animals. The animals were destroyed because they failed to perform well enough in testing to see if they were "game" enough to be good fighters.

"Every time you read about this story, it makes you want to take a shower," another unnamed general manager said.

PETA has really been all over this (and rightly so) but it isn’t surprising that the comments like this have come out.

If Michael Vick is going to jail then anyone who has a hunting license should go as well. The media is persecuting him so badly for this but look at how many animals die each year and nobody says anything about it. Look at the large mount of wildlife that dies each year for no reason; the endangered animals list grows every year. It does not matter whether the wildlife dies a quick death,or a torturous one, as depicted in the charges. The bottom line is that innocent animals die each and every year, but why does Michael Vick go to jail for it while every hunter and poacher gets away with it?

The first thing I will say is, if a poacher is caught then they face criminal charges. Secondly, there is a difference between a quick death and a torturous one. I, for one, would prefer one second of pain before I die compared to hours or even days. Thirdly, if wildlife population gets too large then they end up die in other ways then a hunter. With a larger source of food, the population of natural predator will also increase until they have thinned out the herds. Following a decrease in food source, the predators look for substitutes to avoid starvation. So whether man hunters them or not, “innocent wildlife” will die each and every year. My last point, much to my disgust, Michael Vick is not really going away for killing dogs, he is going away for running an illegal gambling ring.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Hillary's Story

No one will ever accuse me of being a Hillary fan but right now there is a false start on her First Lady records. The take by some is that she is hiding them by not releasing over 2 million pages

Last week The Los Angeles Times reporter Peter Nicholas noted the contrast between the former first lady’s campaign and the millions of White House documents still being locked up at the Clinton Presidential Library:

"Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton cites her experience as a compelling reason voters should make her president, but nearly 2 million pages of documents covering her
White House years are locked up in a building here, obscuring a large swath
of her record as first lady."

Richard H. Collins over at Townhall feels there is an easy way to fix it.

Hillary could solve this potential problem, and give her campaign a boost, simply by agreeing that transparency is important to her and therefore she is going to do what it takes to get the records released before the election.

But this isn't that simple. What isn’t mention in his column is the fact that both Pres. Bush and Pres. Clinton have to sign off on this before it can even be consider for release. As far as I know neither has. While one can easily say Bill would not sign off just to protect her, one cannot say the say about George.

I think they should be released but this isn’t the same as Kerry not releasing his military records and running on his service record.

Track all Visitors!!!

It seems like a no brainer to me and much of America but some people still seem that doing something illegal is better than doing the right thing.

Is this a case of xenophobia, paranoia, nationalism or desire to feel safe from outside threats during a time of crisis?

  • By a 71% to 16% margin, voters also favor a proposal that would require all foreign visitors to carry a universal identification card ...

I would say all of the above. Most foreign visitors pose no threat what so ever but some do actually want us dead. This is called the 95 to 5 rule. 95% of the laws are is responds to 5% of the people.

Bad Behavior part I

School violence may be sparking a new fade in England, wearing armor to school. This is another case of treating the symptoms while ignoring the problem. The problem isn’t kids being stabbed (something that shouldn’t be happening) but the willingness to stab another person.

As I have said before, I have four mutts in the house and they don’t always get along. Tex (if you look real close to the picture, he is the white Jack Russell mutt) has always had a bad habit of nipping at the Smokey’s face (Smokey is a Australian Shepherd/something? Mutt) when he (Tex) gets excited. No actual damage is done, think of someone coming up and poking you in the chest several times. I call this being a jerk. Recently Smokey has gotten tired of this behavior and has done the “throw down” on the smaller Tex. I should have addressed the problem more serious before. Till now had just pull Tex away after he had started, hence addressing the symptom but not the original problem. Things changed when Smokey actually drew blood on Tex. As a temporary base, a muzzle has been introduced, not to Smokey who actually caused the damage but to Tex the original aggressor. This has reduced the behavior back to an annoyance and a fight hasn’t broken out again. If this was the only thing I did, then another fight would be in a very short order. I could walk them separately (Tex’s behavior is most prominent during walks) but once again it would only allow the behavior to continue and elevate to situations when I could not be an influence. It is not practicable to separate Tex from the rest, nor am I willing to give up on him. He has to be shown that his behavior is not acceptable (and no I do not mean beating him at any time). During the walks, I pay attention to his state. When he gets into an excited state, his lease is shortened so he cannot get to any of the other dogs and of course he is wearing a muzzle. Other than the shorting of the lease, his bad behavior is ignored (the walks continue at the same pace). Good behavior is re-enforced such as when he is walked with just the oldest dog (Candy is the hard to see black Cockier Spaniel mutt), the muzzle is not used since he does not nip at her. There is all ready an improvement in behavior in Tex and Smokey no longer feels the need to lay the smack down on him (Tex). When his behavior improves enough, then the muzzle will come off and he will have the full rights of the pack.

Tex is the aggressor, therefore the source of the problem. It is his behavior that needs to be addressed. Protecting Smokey from the “jerk” behavior does not solve the problem because I cannot always be there. Permanently separating them only creates another problem, what to do with Tex? Putting him to sleep is drastic and completely overboard with the problem (most of time all four get along very well). Giving him away is not easy and would only pawn the real issue off onto someone else.

Bad behavior, such as stabbing another person or as simple as a dog nipping, needed to be identified and addressed as soon as possible. Ignoring it only makes matters worse and then requires more severe action. Aggressors need to be shown that type of behavior is not tolerated. Protection for the victim should always be temporary until the real problem can be addressed, because the protection is usually accompanied by a loss of freedom.

Friday, August 17, 2007

King George?

Wiki and do a reasonable summary of what exactly an executive order is but it boils down to “laws” coming from the executive office. This practice is not spelled out in the constitution but come from an interpretation of..

"executive power" given in Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution and the statement "take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed" in Article II, Section 3.
One of the biggest and best known examples would be when Pres. Lincoln suspended the wit habeas corpus and issued Emancipation Proclamation. After reading over this concept, one might be tempted to thing that King George would be biggest user of this “executive power” but he is not.

Order break down since President Kennedy

George W. Bush 242 (to date) approximately 37/year
Bill Clinton 364 approximately 46/year
George H.W. Bush 166 approximately 42/year
Ronald Reagan 381 approximately 48/year
Jimmy Carter 320 approximately 80/year
Gerald Ford 169 approximately 68/year
Richard Nixon 346 approximately 62/year
Lyndon Johnson 324 approximately 58/year
John Kennedy 214 approximately 86/year
While I am sure this will do nothing to less the idea that Pres. G.W. Bush is tyrant but when compared to Chavez or Captain Ed calls him “The happiness Dictator”.

Also the one that pops out to me is the number Pres. Cater's used.
Want to see wat "laws" different presdient have made independent of Congress, check these sites out.

The White House
Executive Orders Disposition Tables (Federal Register)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Who likes Hillary

The Captain has a good story about intellects liking Obama but does comment much about who the less educated like. The A Gallup Poll analysis shows the less educated you are, the more you like Hillary. Being less educated does not make one stupid but it does make an individual more reliant on experience.

With my degree, I was required to take several economic classes and because of my job have to look at finances on a regular bases. Most people without some college do not have that experience to draw on. This forces them to make uninformed decisions or trust someone with that experience. That is what Hillary is playing off, "I am here to take care of those who can not take care of themselves". This is the same approach the nobles of the Middle Ages took. The poor, dumb, serfs need me to make their life livable.

Union Breakers to Union Makers

Over at Townhall, Mike Glover has break down on how far certain canidates are in the union pockets.

There once was time when the unions were fought tooth and nail by companys. A lot of blood was spilled by both sides. Over time the unions pushed in to the government laws which protected their views and thus made themselves useless. Now unions are there to protect the incomptent. I am sure there are some instances where the union is still the campion of the weak but those situations are fewer and fewer.

Richardson said he would set concrete goals for increasing union membership from its current 12 percent of the work force, pushing for a level as high as 20 percent.
"My secretary of Labor would be a union member," he said. "All of those union-busting attorneys would be gone."

Union-busting attorneys? Union membership is not declining because of a busting movement, it declining because people don't want to join. The only way to get membership up is force people to join.

Joe Biden is clueless on this one too.

Biden called for easing restrictions on union organizing and noted the decline in membership from the 1950s, when roughly one in four workers belonged to a union.

,but everyone agees with him.

However, they contended that the biggest problem facing unions was the steady drop in membership, and all vowed to make it easier for unions to organize.

This implies that the restrictions are new, but things haven't changed in that time. What he is really saying is that the unions can't grow under the current rules so we need to help them cheat. The drop in membership is directly tied to the services offer by the unions and more people are saying no thanks.


Both CNN and USA came out with a story about suicide in the US Army. Both paint a pretty dismal picture for the troops, but at least CNN does a comparison against the private sector (They have to thrown in the comparison isn't valid)

It is difficult to compare the military suicide rate to that of the private sector because of demographic differences and overall human stress factors, officials say.

In 2006, the overall suicide rate for the United States was 13.4 per 100,000 people. It was 21.1 per 100,000 people for all men aged 17 to 45, compared to a rate of 17.8 for men in the Army.
And it was 5.46 per 100,000 for all women, compared to an Army rate of 11.3 women soldiers per 100,000

So what does this comparison point at? Even with the stress of being in a battlefield (30% of the suicides actually happened while deployed), the men in the Army are less likely to commit suicide while women are more likely.

I went looking but wasn't able to find a stat for the ratio of men to women in the Army but from personal experience I would put it in the range of 10:1 Army wide. That would mean women tend to be much more isolated in the Army (less of a support structure) and more prone to depression then men.

There are many resources to help with suicide thoughts and if anyone is felling them I hope and pray that you would reach out to someone before acting on such thoughts.

One online page I picked at random has this to say.

“Suicide is not chosen; it happens when pain exceeds resources for coping with pain.”

Many times a person just doesn't see any other way out of the pain. It is our responsibility to be resource for coping and not a source of the pain.

One thing that I received in my time in the military was additional resources in dealing with the ever present pain of life.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A Leader?

Is this a statement of a leader or more of an adminstrator?

To make the government more accountable, Obama said he would post all
non-emergency bills online for five days before he signed them into law,
allowing Americans a chance to weigh in on the legislation.

So in those five day, he would let those who scream the most make up his mind.

A Right to Privately Fund Killing (Updated)

There are several lawsuits against the Bush administration's warrant less wiretapping program, but this one is reported to be the front runner in order to achieve a shut down of the program.

Legal experts say that of the dozens of lawsuits alleging civil rights violations by the secret surveillance program, the one involving the Oregon charity that al-Buthi controlled has the best shot of succeeding. That's because al-Buthi and his lawyers claim to have proof their communications were monitored: a top secret NSA call log accidentally turned over to the defense team by government officials.

They probably do have proof because in all likelihood they were tapped.

Soliman al-Buthi is a prominent religious leader in Saudi Arabia, a father of three and a ranking government official. He's also a terrorist, according to the United States and United Nations.

To me this sounds exactly what I would expect the government to looking into. Although if he is a suspect, why is there a problem in getting a warrant?

If the charges against Soliman al-Buti are true, then he has been raising charity money all around the world and directing a portion of it to terrorist organizations. With this lawsuit he essentially demanding we protect his rights to plot to kill us. Of course he is doing this through proxies because...

Al-Buthi was not expected to attend the hearing at the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals because he remains a fugitive in this country. He's also listed on an Interpol "no fly" list and is subject to arrest and deportation to the United States if he steps outside Saudi Arabia, which does not extradite its citizens.

So a man, that is a wanted fugitive, is looking out for our right to privacy, and his right to help kill us.


Crossroads Arbia is also commenting on this

UPDATE: March 2, 2006The Washington Post has further
of this story.]
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Civil rights attorneys have sued the National Security Agency, claiming it illegally wiretapped conversations between the leaders of an Islamic charity that had been accused of aiding Muslim militants and two of its lawyers.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Portland asks that electronic surveillance by the NSA be shut down, arguing the agency illegally wiretapped electronic communications between a local chapter of the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation and Wendell Belew and Asim Ghafoor, both attorneys in Washington, D.C.

If these allegation are true about both calls orginating in the US then it should not have fallen into the warrantless wiretap as far as I understand. But as one reads on in the story it is revealed that it wasn't commincation between the local chapter and the lawyers but between
the director in Saudi Arabia and the Lawyers.

According to a source familiar with the case, the records indicate that the National Security Agency intercepted several conversations in March and April 2004 between al-Haramain's director, who was in Saudi Arabia, and two U.S. citizens in Washington who were working as lawyers for the organization.

Now the lawyers are US citizens and should be granted a certain level of privacy if they are talking about the legal issues (No proof that they weren't, that I know of).

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Militas and Gangs

I keep hearing about how the different militias are part of the problem when it comes to the violence in Iraq.

U.S. forces say they have had success, especially against Sunni Arab militants who were their main enemies for the first three years after the fall of President Saddam Hussein in 2003.

But they have faced more violence from Shi'ite militia, who they say have ties to neighboring Shi'ite Muslim Iran.

Now when I hear the term militia I think of the ones that were prevalent here in the states during the 80's and 90's. A bunch of people (mostly guys) sitting around on some compound gathering food, water and guns while they rant at the oppresion of government. Many of these people just want to be left alone, not pay taxes and blame others for their problems. I imagine they still exist but keep a much lower profile, because if the government frowns on large groups of well armed criminals that get a lot of publicity (While large groups of well armed, law abiding citizens only makes the democrats nervous).

US militia group didn't go around killing, kidnapping and destroying property on a regular bases like what is happening in Iraq.

Mahdi Army militiamen have cleansed entire neighborhoods of Sunni residents and seized Sunni mosques. Day by day, hundreds have been killed and thousands have fled their homes, seeking safety in the shrinking number of majority Sunni districts.

The closest examples that I can think that match up to the Iraqi miltias are the KKK (definently evil done in the name of God), organized crime, current gangland and the wild west gangs. None of the them are perfect matchs, but of them have an element of similarity.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Save, not Kill

Sandy Rios column over at Townhall is a very on spot look at the the homosexual crisis . May homosexual advocates equate disapproval to hate. Some carry it farther, since we disapprove then we must want them dead. I have said it before, killing in the name of God is a path of evil. Christians are suppose to be agents of love, not of death.

Meanwhile apostates like the "reverend" Fred Phelps represent the other side of this dangerous, deadly deception... purporting to be followers of Christ, while revealing their own side of evil by declaring "God hates fags." I've got news... God loves sinners, including fags and the rest of us so much that He sent His only son to die a brutal death to pay the penalty for their sin and ours.

We are not here to condem sinners to hell but to reach out to them so they don't go. And never forget, we are all sinners.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Utah Miners (update)

The news coming out of this disaster hasn't given any additional info about the fate of the 6 trapped miners, but has given a lot of speculation and finger pointing. What caused the cave-in is still in dispute, depending on your side. The company (and I mean from the CEO down to the miners) say it was caused by the earthquake. Those who oppose mining say that the cave-in was the seismic event. One thing for sure the individuals trapped don't care what caused right now. They may be trapped in total darkness right now. If they made it to the safe shelter, something all mines are required to develop and maintain, the could survive for quite sometime.

The miners have not been heard from since the mine, located in the Manti-La Sal National Forest in remote central Utah, caved in early on Monday. Officials say they could potentially survive for weeks in an underground chamber if they were not killed by the initial collapse.

Having actually been in one of these chambers, I have a good idea of what these individuals (I say individuals because women do have a very small but growing presence in mining) are faced with. If they are in an pre-made chamber, they have water, some food, possibly air if the lines didn't break and additional safety equipment. The requirements for these chambers are strictly enforced and if found deficient by MSHA, a Cease and Desist order would be issued during one of the quarterly inspection all underground mines receive.

The chamber I was in was design to hold up to 100 people for a week. Even with out an air supply, 6 people could remain alive for quite sometime. If they made in to a similar chamber then there is a real possibility they still live.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Senators being President

Martin Frost is not a someone I follow on a regular basis so I don't know much about him other than this story about senators possible being good presidents.

Senators do deal with foreign policy on a regular basis. Maybe electing someone with a demanding job like being a U.S. senator is not such a bad idea after.

I would whole hardly disagree with him on it though. I have never liked the idea of a senator being president. The biggest reason I am against it is because they really don't make decisions not the type of decisions a president, governors or even businessmen make. Senators get involved with a lot of committees, they make a lot of compromises and backroom deals and in truth accomplish very little on their own. They tend to focus on legalism and minor details without the greater/big picture view.

Martin Frank seems to think that sitting senators aren't elected because they don't have the time to campaign properly.

Thus it should come as no great surprise that no sitting member of the
United States Senate has been elected president since John F. Kennedy in 1960. Senators have very demanding schedule...

While I think it has more to do with this second part.

... and they face the addition issue of actually having to cast
public votes on very controversial issues during the course of the

They have to cast vote not just during but their past voting record comes in to play. John Kerry got cast as a flip flopper because of his voting record but almost any senator could be cast in the same light (except Obama because he really hasn't done anything). Even "Mr One Term" John Edwards got caught in this with his vote for action against Iraq. Hillary is caught up in this too. This is the reason, IMHO, why senators have a hard time, their records can be distorted too easy while still telling the truth. Senators have nuances and that is a bad thing to have as a presidential candidate.

Sidenote on Utah Mine Collapse

Let me first say that my prayers are with the the trapped miners. Over my mining career, I have only worked at one underground mine (not coal) and even then I think I went underground only about 10 times. But having that experience under my belt I see this excerpt a little different then most people.

Inspectors have cited Genwal for 30 violations in 2007, MSHA records show.
Recommended fines in the 10 cases where penalties have been leveled so far range
from $60 to $524.

Underground mines are inspected every quarter and always receive citations. The citations are divided up into three categories. The first being minor and are considered to be exceptions to the safety program. Something like a shovel or a hose not being where it should be. It could be one individual not wearing his safety belt. In general the minor violation are isolated events and are not consider a hazardous situation. When these minor violation become more numerous or repeated then that steps it up to a S&S.

Serious & Significant violations are what inspectors consider a hazardous work environment, an accident is imminent. These citations carry a heavy fine (in the thousands) and must be corrected in a reasonable time. If an operation does not correct them by the next visit, the repercussions are serious.

Which brings us to the next level, a Cease and Desist Order. This could be just the area where the violation occurred or the entire operation.

So back to the story, Genwal received 30 citation or an average of 7.5 per inspection. Only ten of them actual carried a fine and not a single one of then was an S&S. In the mining industry this is win and would have been seen as a very good year. Does this mean that Genwal ran safe mine? Without know their incident rate I can't say for sure but it is a good sign that they did.