Friday, May 23, 2003


There's mini-controversy brewing. Many are upset because Clay is getting equal treatment as the Idol himself. Some say what is the point of having an idol if there isn't going to be a distinction. Others charge racism. I wouldn't go as far, I would say prejudice.

A publisher accepted a fiction manuscript of mine and I'm reviewing the contract and contemplating making the leap into the world of publishing. I'll probably do it. The story is Catholic sci-fi and quite interesting if I may say so myself.

On tax cuts, I sincerely hope they help the economy, but I don't see them in themselves doing much. For stimulus, we need to restore business confidence. That only happens if businesses see an improvement in the demand/consumer side going forward. A one time bump in economic activity is not going to inspire business to make investments because there is no provision for sustained consumer demand. There are two major problems here, one is extremely high consumer debt and excess business capacity and inventory. These two factors create a parched earth syndrome. What I mean is that, when a drought stricken region gets rain, because the earth is so dry, it takes so much more rain to soak up the earth to make it useful. So also with this tax cut that will give many families an extra $400-$800, this extra money will get sucked up the paying down of consumer debt such as credit cards, mortgages, etc, or on the other hand, business will use this opportunity to get rid of excess inventory, i.e., they know there are extra $$ out there and so they'll slash prices to move excess inventory as opposed to making new investments. This is why these tax cuts are not a great stimulus.

A sensible tax cut would be not to tax the first $20,000 of income and create investment incentives for small and mid sized businesses. This way you create the conditions for sustained consumer demand and that demand inspires the supply side to invest to meet the anticipated demand.

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

I have a great tax idea, initiate accounting measures to depreciate talent and ability.

Last nite was 24 on Fox's season's finale. It was far slower than I expected. I give it a 7 out of 10. it ended with the President being poisoned or attacked biologically or something and that is the gimmick to hold our interest until next season. There really wasn't a convincing explanation why Mike-the-weasel-Chief of Staff all of a sudden changed his mind about the Cyprus recording. Oh well, that was that.

Monday, May 19, 2003

I watched some of CBS's mini-series on Hitler and was somewhat disappointed. I say somewhat because it's not like I expected great quality from CBS in the first place.

I am opposed to such a miniseries because I don't see how it serves the public good. In my view, there are only two options for outcomes of this series. For hateful people, they are ecstatic that someone is spouting off their views in prime time, even if only as an actor, a charismatic personality is shown saying these hateful things. For regular people, this show makes Hitler a sympathetic character which is precisely what we don't want. By showing his upbringing and early experiences, we are being shown, in a tacky way I might add, why he ended up like he did. And this to some extent absolves him of evil.

It would take expert storytelling and filim crafting to show him as the son of evil that he is and that takes dollars and talent and is not fit for network prime time coverage. To understand Hitler, I think we only need see the Schindler's lists, etc. We don't need to see him as a struggling artist, abused child, betrayed infantryman, political activists, etc, these things make him seem more like us and less like the embodiment of evil that he is.

I would tolerate a story about someone at that time who got sucked into the Nazi movement, because that is always an interesting and important story of how regular and normal people get sucked into ideologies and do not think a thing about it. We have the same problem here in the US with slavery. Take the Holocaust and extend it over the period of generations to capture the horror of slavery and then wonder why regular people were not moved with horror at this institution. How regular people get sucked into an institution of blatant injustice is always fascinating, but that sort of exploration and investigation should not be done for evil people because it seems to mitigate their evil.

Tammy Bruce
appeared on CSPAN this morning.
Tammy Bruce is an openly gay, pro-choice, gun owning, pro-death penalty, voted-for-President Reagan progressive feminist. She was drawn into feminist activism in the late 1980's to contribute to the ongoing effort to ensure safe and legal abortion for all women. Just two years after joining the National Organization for Women, and with a brand of feminism that places her somewhere between Donna Reed and Thelma and Louise, Ms. Bruce was elected president of the Los Angeles chapter of NOW at the age of 27. The youngest ever to achieve that position, she doubled the chapter's membership from 2,000 to 4,000 within a year with issue campaigns that introduced a fresh view of feminist activism. In her seven years as president (1990-1996, the longest continuous tenure in the chapter's 30 year history) she mobilized activists locally and nationally on a whole range of issues, including women's image in media, child care, health care, violence against women, economics, and domestic violence. Ms. Bruce also served two years as a member of the National NOW board of directors.

Listening to her was interesting. She is calls herself a liberal Democrat, etc. but she really is a Log Cabin Republican. I think the only reason she self identifies as liberal or Democrat is because she is gay and the conservative crowd would not openly accept her.

To me she sounds like one of those conservative Blacks who provides fodder for the the Right to make attacks the Black community. She provides material for the Right to attack Liberals and gays.

I'm not unsymphathetic to many of her issues and there has to be a diversity of views in a very politicized debate. But she's very much like a Horowitz, who is raking it in by a blanket attack on the Left, which doesn't make sense in my view. It is true that the nature of liberal activism has to change and evolve, which it has to an extent, they want to the see the left dissolve completely.

Friday, May 16, 2003

msn Search: the impact of negative groupthink on Pearl Harbor

Last nite's ER season finale was very good. I have to commend the producers for a very powerful show to cap off a lackluster and frankly, pathetic, season. Carter joined Luka in the Congo in NGO work and was exposed to the horrors of sub-saharan civil wars. I certainly hope that the nurse that appeared on the scene does not emerge as a major character and perhaps as Carter's love interest. She is a bilingual Montrealian who is apparently sex crazed and loose. I find it interesting how they seem to portray foreign women as exotic and sexually aggressive. This was how Corday (sp?) was depicted at first when she and Benton began to date. They are doing the same with this new nurse. She is a good actress and may bring character depth to the show, but only if they drop the overtly sexual dimension of her character.

I think Gallant's character has been a flop, lose him. Gant is irritating, lose him. Susan Lewis, wasted character, lose her. Romano, there's no where to go with him, lose him.

Thursday, May 15, 2003

Between West Wing and Fox's 24, Vice Presidents and the 25th Ammendment have been given a run for their money. West Wing's president invoked the 25th ammendment so as to preserve the objectivity of the Office in dealing with his daughter's kidnapping. I think this use of the 25th makes far more sense than on 24. The John Goodman twist was quite good. I think of him less as Roseanne's hubby and more as a dark type from the movie Fallen. I think he is going to definitely make the first few episodes of next Fall very interesting. His character showed quite clearly that he intends to step in boldly into the office.

The only weakness in the storyline was this. The VP had to resign a couple of episodes ago because of a scandal. Now, the President finds himself in a position in which he cannot trust himself, but the VP position is vacant and thus no VP to turn things over to. What I fail to understand is why the President didn't pick a VP, Leo for instance, and then have him ascend to the Presidency? It makes much more sense than handing power over to a Republican Speaker of the House. Even if the VP picked would have had to undergo Senate confirmation, I don't imagine that would have been a problem.

Wednesday, May 14, 2003 - Study: Only 10 percent of big ocean fish remain

The study, which took 10 years to complete and was published in the international journal Nature this week, paints a grim picture of the Earth's current populations of such species as sharks, swordfish, tuna and marlin.

The authors used data going back 47 years from nine oceanic and four continental shelf systems, ranging from the tropics to the Antarctic. Whether off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada, or in the Gulf of Thailand, the findings were dire, according to the authors.

24, TV show on Fox, continues its fast pace and ridiculous twist to its season finale. Overall, its been a good show. However, how many things can possibly go wrong in one day? Anyway, they do have me guessing and looking eagerly to see what will happen next week. Of course, I am irritated that the nation's first Black president gets shafted and what are the chances that we get a Black Democrat President and no Black cabinet members? His cabinet invoked the 25th ammendment and had him deposed. Stupid story line, but lets go along with it. Is it possible that there would be absolutely no loyalty from his Cabinet only a few hours after he averted a major terrorist attack? Also if there were some Black and Latino Cabinet members, he probably won't have been deposed. Also, besides the President and his wife, Black people are completely absent from this show as they are from tons of other shows. Why?

Tuesday, May 13, 2003 - Suit seeks ban on Oreo cookies

SAN FRANCISCO, California (Reuters) -- A lawyer who has spent much of his life enjoying Oreo cookies has sued Kraft Foods Inc. seeking to ban the much-loved cookies in California because they contain trans fat, an ingredient he calls inedible.

Kraft boasts that people have eaten 450 billion Oreo cookies since they introduced the chocolate wafer sandwich cookies with a creamy filling in 1912.

But if British-born attorney Stephen Joseph has his way, that culinary love affair will come to an end, at least until Kraft stops using hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils to make the cookies.

I find it interesting that some of the more prominent commentators in St. Blogs seem not to like Black people much, recently I've seen high cringe factor statements from Shea, Relapsed Catholic and Bettinelli. They probably would argue that they aren't racist, the question I formulate in my mind is that would a White person who dislikes Blacks be less uncomfortable at their blogs than a moderate Black like myself? The answer is yes, and that is extremely telling and suggestive. -- Somalia: Endorse Peace Talks, Aideed Urges Countries and Adan Mohamed

Somali presidential candidate Hussein Farah Aideed has appealed to the international community to recognise the Somali peace talks in Kenya.

He was speaking in a Nairobi hotel at the weekend where he addressed over 400 Somali delegates who had come to witness him officially launch his party's campaign for the Somali presidency.

Mr Aideed, a son of former president Mohamed Farah Aideed, has been endorsed by two political parties, the Somali Reconciliation Restoration Council (SRRC) and the Somali National Agency (SNA).

The party that wins the first ever free and fair elections set for between June and July will form a transitional government. "Somalia will for the first time in decades, hold a free and fair election based on the principle of one person, one-vote," said Mr Aideed.

Four other candidates who have declared their interest for the presidency but are yet to name their parties include Colonel Abdullah Yussuf; a former official with the Federation of International Football Association, Mr Farah Adow; Mr Abdikasim Salat and Dr Abdirahma Jama.

Apart from the transitional president, 450 members of parliament who will be nominated by the delegates attending the Mbagathi peace talks will also be elected. The United Nations, regional governments and international organisations will act as observers of the Somali elections.

Muted campaigns have already started with candidates lobbying the delegates attending the conference. Yesterday, Mr Aideed held a luncheon for his supporters at the Tin Tin Restaurant where he assured them that the elections will go ahead as planned.

I find this interesting because I watched a documentary on the History Channel on the battle for Mogidishu in 1993. Hopefully, some sanity can come out of that madness in Somalia.

Friday, May 09, 2003

Tax cuts for business investments are not necessarily the answer. Businesses do not spend or invest unless they know that there will be a sustained demand for the product. For this reason, stimulus should be cunsumption driven and as well as provide the environment for businesses to invest to meet demand.

Trickle down economics is really voodoo, because what those economic charts fail to account for is self interest, greed and most importantly power. Once a certain class attains power they will manipulate the market to prevent it from being an authentic market. All things being equal, trickle economics may work, but all things are never equal and the deck is stacked against the less powerful. Long and short, we need tax cuts, for the people and small bizzes not the wealthy and not the huge corporations.

ER last nite was ordinary, season finale next week seems like gimmick. The Practice season/series finale was quite good. Alias' season finale was a disaster. West Wing's looks like it'll be good, there is a story line that leads into it, providing a compelling reason to watch with excitement and anticipation. For me, the use of gimmicks to stir interest or make a show interesting displays a lack in the show's content.

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

I just read for free the first two chapters of Saints Preserve Us: an Ash Lake Mystery by Kathryn Lively. If the first two chapters are any indication, I think we have a winner on our hands.

I have to confess that this Democrat is not all together opposed to tax cuts. I will say thought that I was listening in on the House, Ways and Means committee vote yesterday as they debated the tax proposal and was dissappointed. I would wholeheartedly support a tax break on the first $20,000 of income which was proposed by a Democrat. We all know that it would do wonders for the economy and really help the poor and the middle class out. But God forbid the Republicans think about compassion and helping out the little guy (I allow myself this cheap shot).

Somehow in all this, there has to be an investment in our future. Investments come in spending programs as well as tax cut programs because either way, the government has to bear the burden but can count of revenue returns as a direct result of the outlay. However, the investment notion gets lost because it is not sexy enough to get one re-elected. Oh well.

I don't watch American Idol, but if I did, I would think that Kimberly Locke is on the chopping block. I think she is the best singer of the group but no one can match the voting power of the teenie boppers who worship Clay, Josh and Ruben. We'll see tonite . . .of course, even though I don't watch that show . . .ahem (clear throat).

24 on Fox has taken a very stupid turn. The 25th ammendment was invoked and the VP spearheaded a take over declaring the president unfit to rule the country and the Cabinet supported him. For a show that has displayed an exceptionally tight script with the exception o f the Kim Bauer storyline, that was nothing short of dumb.

Alias' season finale was disaster with an interesting gimmick twist at the end. My wife and I think that they must have gotten new writers this season because the quality went down faster than the economy under President Bush.

It is interesting, but when you have daughters it is very difficult to imagine having a son, at the present time I have absolutely no desire to have a son. I just think little girls are such a blast. Of course, if I do get a son at some point, I would change my mind completely, but at the present time I just don't get the fixation with sons. A friend of mine asked why I wasn't crazy about having a son, "don't you want someone to play football with or teach how to fish?" Well, girls can play football or sports and fish just fine, is my response. I've gotten a little sensitive on this point because I do think that girls are view as somewhat second class.

Speaking about football, how 'bout 'em Bills!!!! Kick Butt!!!!

Monday, May 05, 2003

Someone came to my blog via this website called Ono hvem?. Apparently this person is compiling all Ono websites, it is quite amusing.

I watched the Democratic presidential debate on Saturday, naturally as a Democrat, I watched with utmost interest.

Senators Kerry, Lieberman, Edwards, Graham,Rep Gephardt and Gov. Dean, i think advanced their causes. Ambassador Braun is in only for the ride, but she is a smart cookie and what she is doing is raising her profile so that any Democratic administration would be under pressure to consider her for a cabinet level poisiton or high level ambassadorship. Sharpton was just Sharpton, both he and Braun were clearly short on policy discussions. Kukinch was interesting but too far left to be taken seriously, but he has raised his profile.

At the present time I think Kerry is the one candidate that can challenge and beat Bush. Dean, if nominated, can only win if he brings non-traditional voters like students and activists into the mix. Edwards is a no, Graham looks like the prefect VP, Gephart is too slick. Lieberman is a possibility, but he appears to be too closely tied to Israel and he would not be trusted to be a fair broker in the Middle East, nor would he be trusted to be tough on Israel which sometimes borders on excessive force in the Palestinian issue. In fact he may not be, but he'd have to demonstrate very clearly, his independence.

I find it interesting that there are no legitimate Black candidates in this whole race.

On another note, the Washington Post had an article on Michael Steele, Lt. Gov in MD, African American Republican, faithful Catholic, Business man, etc. The talk is that because he has absolutely nothing to lose, he probably would challenge MD US Senator B. Mikulski for that seat in 2004. I think he is a very strong candidate. I just met the man a couple of weeks ago and was very impressed by him. I understand that he is in charge of altar servers at his parish in St. Mary's, Landover, MD. He is pro-life, anti-death penalty, good on Catholic issues, good on social issues, overall a very strong candidate.

Friday, May 02, 2003 - Georgia high school students plan white-only prom - May. 2, 2003

BUTLER, Georgia (AP) -- Gerica McCrary said she cried when she heard about the decision to hold a separate white-only prom only a year after she helped bring black and white students together in her rural high school's first integrated prom.

Many white students at Taylor County High School said they plan to attend next week's mixed prom, but a small number of whites said they also wanted a private party.

Juniors are charged with planning the prom each year and last year they decided to have just one dance -- the first integrated prom in 31 years in the rural Georgia county 150 miles south of Atlanta.

Until then, parents and students organized separate proms for whites and blacks after school officials stopped sponsoring dances, in part because they wanted to avoid problems arising from interracial dating.

After school integration, separate proms were common in the rural South. Taylor County was among the last to cling to the practice.