Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Check out the translator!!!

Through my travels of trying to get this blog system figured out, I discovered Google has a translator for your web pages.   It was pretty easy to install, and my posts are now available to all the major languages of the world.  I placed it in the top right hand corner of the blog right underneath the header.

If you are Chinese, you can read my blog in Mandarin.  If you are a fluent reader in Italian, then you can read it in the language you are most comfortable with.

Come check it out.  I want this blog to reach all people from every corner of the world.  I think communicating throughout the world is an important part in moving forward together and having a prosperous future.

Related Articles
Get the Translator for yourself

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What If? Part 1

Being a history buff I always like to go back and think about what life would have been like if certain events didn't take place.  What if Christopher Columbus had not gotten funding to sail west, Hilter's father and brother not dying when He was young,  or if John F. Kennedy had not been assassinated.  What would our world be like if some of these key events never took place.

This post will be the first of many in a series looking back at key events in history that completely altered our lives.  Being able to trace back in history the very reasons why we do something or who we are is, in my opinion, extremely fascinating.   I have written a post, Does History Have To Be Boring, that linking historical events to present day would be the best way to teach history.  By linking past events people get a direct connection to those events, and in turn can relate to the people who were there at the time those events were occurring.

Today, even as I write this, the seeds of future events are being laid down to change our world forever.  The  best way for us to tell what might happen in the future is to look into the past, put ourselves in the place of people who lived through these events, and figure out why they responded the way they did.  By doing this we can figure out if they made the right choice or not, but also if they had chosen differently, would it in fact have made the course of history a better one.  That is at the heart of this and future posts, What If?

We can say it would have been better to get rid of Hitler before He came to power, but how do we know that by doing that, that there would not have been a far worse outcome than even the one that did actually occur.
I am going to take an event that occurred in History and look at what caused it, if anything different could have happened, and if changing it could have made this world a better place.

This post is just a teaser for what I hope will be an interesting and engaging set of topics.  The first one I plan to do is on an event that I believe changed the course of American politics more than any other event in our nations history.  The assassination of JFK was such a profound moment because it was at a crucial time in the Cold War and also was at the dawning of a new generation(the baby boomers).  This generation would learn about their government and realize that it was more corrupt than anyone could imagine.  The assassination started the avalanche of mistrust with our government that still exists today and may never go away.

I hope everyone who reads these will think about how different things could be in our world had events occurred differently.  Also, to make people realize that the smallest things can change the entire world.
I'll leave you with this.  Hitler, as a boy was a very happy outgoing child that was full of life.  When He was 11 his brother died of measles which changed him into a boy who was closed off and angry at the world.  When his father died 3 years later, Hitler blamed the Jews who his father owed money to, for forcing him to work as hard as he did.  These 2 events possibly changed the course of history for millions of people.  So, think about the next time a child has a tough up bringing what they might become, and the hatred that could be fueled inside.  What if Hitlers family had not died in the way they did and when they did, What if?

Related Articles
Check out the What If books by Robert Cowley
What if Hitler was never born?
What if America lost the revolution

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Politics Around The World

In today's edition of Around The World we will look at events that happened this week regarding the new mammogram ruling by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. They stated that women should no longer get the screening before 50 unless they are in a high risk group. If you are in a high risk group then women are advised to continue to get the screening after 40.

These new guidelines are very suspect and women should be very wary of following these. In fact, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius came out Wednesday stating that she disagrees with the findings and that the Federal Government will not be advising women to follow these new guidelines.

Elsewhere in the world, Iran continues to be defiant with their nuclear program and the world is applying more pressure for them to cooperate. President Obama is meeting with leaders of other nations to discuss further sanctions. The problem with this is Iran will just pass on these sanctions to their people and not stop their activities of nuclear production. They have shown for years that they are willing to deny their country goods and continue to focus on building a nuclear program. This is without a doubt geared toward bomb production, not energy like they continue to claim.

Finally, the Senate released their version of the new health care bill.  Their plan is claimed to cost 848 billion dollars over the next 10 years and actually reduce the deficit during that time.  We all have to take this with a grain of salt, since when does government actually stay under budget and stay true to estimated costs.  Plus, knowing the basics of this plan I find it hard to believe that we will be better off the way it is currently constructed.   The system adds more people to cover without addressing the fact that the system can not support the amount of people it needs to care for already.  Stay tuned over the next couple of years.  I have learned that if something doesn't make sense it probably isn't, and this health care bill reeks of issues that will plague us for years. 

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Obama Visits China

This week President Obama made a trip to Asia and His most important stop was in China.  Considering China is a communist country, the relationship with the United States has never been warm and inviting.  The US knows that we need China for their work force and their ability to buy our debt, and they know that the US has the thirst for the products they produce.  It is a relationship of need rather then one of want or respect.

Obama  met with Chinese President Hu Jintao to discuss economic policy, climate change, and to establish joint cooperation in meeting these challenges.   Both men know that when one country is not fairing well the other is affected.  Working together is in the best interests of both countries and they are willing to do so to benefit each others interests.

Not much was actually agreed upon during the two day meeting other than they agreed to work together and be partners going forward regarding the major issues the world faces.  Some analysis' will say  that this was a failed trip because nothing was signed and there was no firm agreement on any of these major issues Obama came to discuss.  If you look at it from a historical perspective however, keeping close contact with our once and potentially future enemy is always a smart move.

Take a look at 1933 for example, Adolf Hitler was elected Head Chancellor of Germany.  This is a full 6 years before World War 2 started.  Did you know that Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and even Joseph Stalin never met Hitler in person?  3 of the most powerful heads of state in the world never actually sat down with Hitler to settle their differences.  Now Churchill was not Prime Minister of Great Britian until 1940, but his predecessor Neville Chamberlain met him twice, but only right before the war to prevent it from occurring.  Roosevelt and Stalin were in their position the entire time Hilter was in power.  

Part of the reason WW2 occurred was that the relations with Germany were non-existent.  Hitler was able to build up an army (which was forbidden by The Treaty of Versailles after World War 1) for 5 years and built an infrastructure that would surpass every other country in the world.  Along with doing this, Germany was allowed to spread the word of hate for years with very little international pressure.

The United States and China keeping close contact even if they don't accomplish anything is a good.  This allows the lines of communication to stay open for the times that our countries do disagree, there will be a dialogue first.  Unfortunately long term there is almost no getting around  the fact the the US and China will butt heads.  As China becomes more and more powerful economically and militarily, it may cause major problems down the road.  Keeping that open dialogue  may prevent future wars, something that obviously was not done in the 1930's.  Even when the Soviet Union was in power our leaders kept in contact because even though we were enemies, we did not want war.  

Obama is showing that we have learned from the mistakes that caused WW2.  Keeping our friends close and our enemies closer.  For as long as we are on this earth China will never be a friend, but at best an acquaintance.  Our two countries will lead this world for the next 100 years together, and the worlds ability to survive during that time and into the future may very well depend on how well we get along.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

World War 2 in HD

WWII in HD on HISTORY – Coming November 15th (promo) - The funniest movie is here. Find it

Last night the History Channel had on the first of their week long series WW 2 in HD. They have taken old footage shot during the war and colored the film and cleaned it up to create a detailed look at the war. For those who are not old enough to have experienced anything from WW2,(which is most of us at this point) this is the best documentary I have seen. It captures the feelings the soldiers and American citizens had during the war.

Up until now, films of the war were either in black and white or very poor film quality which did not capture the power and enormity of the situation. This new series changes all of that. Some of the old video is still not very good, but there are other clips that look as though they were filmed yesterday. The newly refurbished videos look so cleaned up that it puts you in the place of those soldiers the same way live CNN or Fox news does today.

Last nights episode started with video taken during the beginning of the war when Germany started to invade all of eastern Europe in 1939 and western Europe in 1940. The videos showed life in Germany with Nazi soldiers every where as well as talked about the laws that had been put into place against Jews. This WW2 story is one I have read about hundreds of times but the quality of the videos really helps to place you in that time period and get an understanding of what it must have been like.

From there the story follows an Austrian immigrant who escaped Nazi imprisonment and came to the United States. The show spends sometime following him in the US in 1940. They show how much the United States was disconnected to what was going on over in Europe, and showed many home videos of people just having great times while Germany was taking over the world. These videos were all given great color and really put a lot of personality on a time period that was mainly in black and white. Black and white video really does not capture the power of an event like color does.

As the show moves forward they show battle plans of the Germans and footage of Germany in Paris and many other places. Until December 1941 it seemed like Germany would take over the entire world. Plans for Germany to come to South America and conquer the continent and then invade North America are shown in great detail. Then Pearl Harbor happens and all of that starts to change.

What they show however is that for the first year after Pearl Harbor it was not a guarantee that The US would have any measurable effect on the war. They explain that at the time of Pearl Harbor the US Military was only the 17th largest in the world and was not considered to be very formidable at all. None of our men had any real training and our equipment was old and no where near as good as the Germans. There were videos of boot camp training that showed how ill prepared we were in the quality of men and supplies.

Again, the power of the show is not in the information but the quality of the film that was cleaned up. Hearing these stories of the war with great looking films really places you during that time period and just how desperate and scary of a time it must have been. Hitler running crazy taking over the world and seemingly to be unstoppable while not having the confidence in our Military that we have today.

I think people today forget how important having a good military is. Think about all the things we don't have to worry about because we no we are safe because of our great solders. That feeling of protection was not there once we were hit on December 7th. The American public knew we didn't have a strong military, and throughout 1942 there is video showing some of the unease and panic of this first year. Many people volunteered to join our military during that first year but the outcome was never guaranteed. With half our Navy destroyed at Pearl we were very limited in our response in 42'. The battles we did have against the Japanese were very one sided at first. Americans were ill prepared for the scale that this war would be.

The first night of this series was very powerful and I am eagerly awaiting the rest of the episodes. The first night also covered the battle at Guadalcanal and our pushing the Germans out of North Africa in 1943. These videos make all the difference in showing what it felt like during this time period. Some of the cleaned up shots make it seem like it was filmed in 2008 not 1942. This is a show every American should watch, so that they understand how lucky we are to still be Americans. In 1942, it was not a forgone conclusion that we were going to beat the Japanese and Germans. At that point we were young and untested while they were conquering the world. Some of these videos are very graphic but at the same time they are the most powerful videos I have seen of any war, including those taken during our current conflicts. Today's wars we know the United States is so powerful that it would have to be close to the end of the world for our country to fall, but during WW2 the United States could have collapsed if we lost.

Watch this series and thank a solder next time you see them, because they are the difference between feeling safe and being afraid and unsettled while you live your life.

History Channel website
History of World War 2
WW2 Timline

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Politicians and their quotes

I am back from my little hiatus and decided I would find some great quotes from those in the political world.  Some are funny, others are outrageous, and some have defined our society.  I could just make a post on every stupid quote Bush has made, but it would literally be 100 pages long.  How in the world did we ever elect that dippity-do.

  • "If I'm going to say anything about John Edwards in the future, I'll just wish he had been killed in a terrorist assassination plot."- Ann Coulter 

  • "We should invade their countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to Christianity."- Ann Coulter  

  • "The issue of economics is not something I've understood as well as I should. I've got Greenspan's book." - John McCain

  • "The idea of cloning Joe Biden is dangerous, profoundly wrong, and has no place in our society, or any society"- Barack Obama

  • "Look, when I was a kid, I inhaled frequently. That was the point."-Barack Obama

  •  "Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."- George W. Bush

  • "If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator."- George W. Bush

  • "I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we're really talking about peace."- George W. Bush

  • "I'll be long gone before some smart person ever figures out what happened inside this Oval Office."- George W. Bush 

  • "You teach a child to read, and he or her will be able to pass a literacy test." - George W. Bush

  • "See, Barack's been talking down to black people on this faith-based...I want to cut his nuts off."- Jesse Jackson

    •  "In Iran, we don't have homosexuals, like in your country."- Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

    • "I love California, I practically grew up in Phoenix." - Dan Quayle

    • "Things are more like they are now than they have ever been" - Gerald Ford

    •  "If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure" - Dan Quayle

    • "According to this week's Time magazine, President George Bush is a serious fitness buff. He works out 60 to 90 minutes a day with weights. Apparently he likes working out because it 'clears his mind.' Sometimes it works a little too well." - Jay Leno
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    Wednesday, November 11, 2009

    Taking a Day off

    Just wanted to say thank you to those who have check out my blog.  I am probably going to take a day or 2 off  from the blog.  On days that I am not posting I am learning how to get this blog out there, and just need a day or 2 to not worry about it.  I will be back soon with more topics and more information to read about.

    Thanks Again,

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    Monday, November 9, 2009

    Money Around The World

    Today's Around The World will center around the financial side of things. Everyone, at least in the stock market, seems to think things are going great and everything is starting to improve. Unfortunately, this is not the reality of what is actually going on. Unemployment is over 10%, foreclosures continue to go up, our national debt is over 12 trillion dollars, and the dollar is collapsing which will lead to inflation. The problem there is if the dollar continues to collapse then we could have inflation regardless of whether or not the economy continues to improve.

    Last quarter our economy grew by 3.5%, which is great under normal circumstances. The problem is, to get that growth the government spent or freed up 3 trillion dollars. This basically devalued the dollar, not expand our economy. For us to come out of this we are going to have to produce, manufacture, and invent new goods. Creating government funded wealth will only dig us further into a whole.

    I hope things will get better but everything in my mind looks like we are in for a very rough period still. America is relying on debt to get us out, and at this point we are starting to see the side effects of what our government has done. Yes, the economy is growing again, but because it is from government money the dollar is weakening and commodities are becoming more and more expensive. This will lead to inflation, which could collapse our economy again.

    So many companies and people are looking for a hand out from the government. The best anyone can do is say no to government help, because soon enough all that debt that our country has out there will come due. If we can't pay it then the interest rates of the 80's will look like a sale compared to where we will be headed. Contact your local congressman and demand that government balances its books before the rest of the world forces us to.

    Money News
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    Thursday, November 5, 2009

    Sports Around the World

    To commemorate the victory by the New York Yankees this week, I figured I would do an edition to sports.
    I am a huge sports fan along with my passion for politics and history. My favorite sport is baseball but don't follow one team.

    I believe I get a better sports experience by not following one team, but enjoying the sport for what it is. By doing that I can walk in to any game, no matter who is playing, and enjoy it all the way through. Then, regardless of who wins I can honestly say I enjoyed the game.

    Those who are die hard fans of a certain team are always spending the whole game stressing, and then are in a bad mood when their team doesn't win. Half the time they don't have a good time because their team lost and the rest of the time they were so stressed out until they did win.

    Sports is about enjoying the game and having a great time with family and friends. People say it is about the competition, but they are on the sidelines. Once you are done playing sports in your life, sit back and enjoy the games don't keep competing. If you want to compete go back out and play the sport.

    Sporting News 

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    Wednesday, November 4, 2009

    Gay Marriage Loses Again

    The election that was held on Tuesday, November 3rd in Maine was to decide on the issue of allowing same-sex marriage.  Just like 30 states before it the measure got voted down.

    The margin of it not passing however is very telling on how our societies views on the measure is changing.  In California, a similar vote was held in 2000 that would have forced the state to recognize same sex unions, that measure failed 61% to 39%.  In Maine the measure lost by a margin of 53% to 47%.  In California last year, Proposition 8 was a law to stop same-sex marriages from being recognized by the state.  That measure won but by a far less margin then just 8 years prior.   The result were 52% to 48%.  Also the exit polls were very telling on where the trends are headed.

    Of everyone who voted for Prop 8, 70% of them were 65 or older.  Those under 65 voted against the measure 2 to 1.  Given demographic shifts same sex marriage laws will change over the next 20 years whether people like it or not.

    You just need to take a look back at how are various generations see and accept people for who they are.  The greatest generation are a people who are very close minded and set in there ways.  They would never accept or allow anyone different to have the same rights as them.  Baby boomers are more accepting but don't understand why gays need to have the same rights.  Seeing as baby boomers are the main generation in power now, you are begining to see a shift in society regarding the laws of same-sex marriage acceptance. 

    15 years ago these same-sex marriage measures would have lost 75% to 25%, now however they are almost even.  Then you have Generation X, this is where you will see these measures start to pass and equal rights begin for gay couples.  Gen X( people aged 29-46) people are just starting to come into power in business and politics.  There acceptance and ideals are even more evolved than their parents.  Of course there are still many amongst the group that do not accept gays for who they are and will always reject them.

    The Generation that will rid the country of the discrimination of gays will be when the Generation Y and Generation_Z come into there own and become the power leaders of our country.  These generations are more accepting than anyone can even imagine.  Go to a local high school and you will find clubs and events held for gay students.  This is something that was not even accepted 10 years ago.  Talk to a high school student about a gay friend and they talk about them like they are just someone in the gang who likes the same-sex, whats the big deal?

    The point is that gays in society where considered a fuapau even just 10-15 years ago.  Today, amongst those who are less than 30 it is very accepted, and those still in there teens it is a way of life.  They don't even see it as being weird to have gay and straight friends who all hang out.  They are the ones who will put into place the laws necessary to give gays their needed rights.

    It is wrong to deny anyone equal rights because they are different.  They are asking for these rights not to be accepted by society or accepted by a religion.  They are asking for these rights so they can be at the bed side of a loved one if their dying or claim possessions of a loved one if they pass on.  There are many  basic human rights they don't get because their union is not recognized by the government.  The argument that it will deminish the value of your marriage is a terrible reason to not allow another American the same rights you have.  Their marriage has nothing to do with yours, just like yours has nothing to do with your neighbors.  By denying them these rights you are only strengthening their cause.

    Some day these laws will pass not because of will or hope or determination, but because as the generations go,  people become more and more tolerant to change as they begin to understand that it is wrong to deny those who just want to be included like everyone else.  The American way of life is not the perfect way of life, but it allows us to gradually see our faults and mistakes and gives us a chance to fix them.

    Related Articles
    Analysis of Proposition 8
    Arguments against gay marriage
    Arguments for gay marriage
     The Bill of Rights applies to gays as well
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    Tuesday, November 3, 2009

    Politics Around The World

    Politics will always be about who thinks they are right.  The truth is that we are all right and we are all wrong.  We are right because we want to make a difference to our country.  We are wrong because we don't want to listen to our countrymen.  The sign of a great leader is knowing that you don't know the answer and listening to those who do.  Saying their wrong because you don't understand it makes you wrong.

    Poltical News

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    Monday, November 2, 2009

    H1N1 Vaccine For Gitmo Inmates, Ridiculous

    Reports are coming out today that Guantanamo Bay terrorist inmates are getting H1N1 vaccines sent to them now, before many Americans who need and want it can not get it.  There have been major shortages all over the United States for the vaccine.

    My wife even tried calling to get the vaccine from our medical provider and they said that they received only 100 doses, and those are only being reserve for people in high risk categories.  They also said that an expected date was unknown as to when they would be receiving more.

    American citizens who have never done anything wrong are now getting 3rd world treatment over terrorists.  
    Army Maj. James Crabtree, a spokesman for the U.S. jail facility in southeast Cuba, said "The US is responsible for the health and care of the detainee population." That is fine but make sure law abiding American citizens are taken care of first. 

     I am not saying that we should give them treatment, just make sure the rest of us are vaccinated first and then worry about the scum of the earth.  Until there is enough for them, give them extra vitamin C to fight it off.  Terrorists made their bed long ago.  This is about life and death for many people and the thought that a terrorist gets treatment over a natural born citizen is disgusting and un-defendable.

    Does this mean that we can now sue the government if a loved one dies from swine flu?  By not giving the vaccine to citizens, because they want to protect the terrorists, this holds them liable for everyone who dies who is not able to get the vaccine.

    I love this country very much, but sometimes the people who run it make me sick to my stomach.  I am proud to be an American I am not proud of the Americans who are placing terrorists well being over that of other Americans.  DISGUSTING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Related Articles
    Fury over vaccines for inmates
    Government defend action of giving vaccine to inmates
     Fox News report on gitmo accinations

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    Saturday, October 31, 2009

    Money Around the World October 31st , 2009

    I decided to try something a little different today.  On days I don't share my opinions on events going on in our world, I thought I would think of ways to create links to a group of news events of the day.  Today it will be about financial, tomorrow it could be about politics, the next day could be about history.  I  will still post frequently, but wanted to create more material on a daily basis.  I hope you like it, comment on what you think.  

     Money News
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    Wednesday, October 28, 2009

    Obama for Gay Rights

    Today, Barack Obama signed into law a bill that would
    make any crimes of hate against gay and lesbian people a federal crime. The law was included in a 680 billion dollar defense spending bill, that will fund military operations for the next year.

    Noting statistics that show that there have been over 77,000 hate crimes against gays and lesbians over the last 10 years, according to the FBI. Obama said that this was another step in the pursuit of equal rights for all people.

    This law was originally introduced during the Bush administration, however Bush promised to veto any version of this bill if it approached his desk.  The religous right has a problem with this law because they feel that it may focus on prosecuting those who speak against gay rights in protest.  Authors of the law promise that this law does not focus on hate speech but on crimes that are violent and motivated by sexual preference.

    Those who don't understand or believe in gay rights are no different than slave owners and white folk prior to the civil rights movement. They didn't want blacks to have equal rights because the whites felt they were superior. It is funny that the same group of people who are not accepting of gay rights are the same group of people who were very much against minority rights as well. I guess you can't teach an old dog new tricks. 100 years from now the the religious right wing crazies will be looked at the same way the KKK are today, pathetic, lame, and self absorbed.

    In the end this is another small win for gay rights groups moving toward the goal of being completely recongnized by the federal government. Barack Obama showed today what it means to be truly inclusive to all Americans. Obviously, this is not the end game for gay rights in this country, but it is another step in the right direction for their ultimate equality.

    Related Articles
    First major federal gay rights bill
    Obama say he will end "don't ask, don't tell"
    Laws against hate crimes passed

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    Tuesday, October 27, 2009

    "Iron Lady" freed

    Biljana Plavsic released today from prison

    Another example of how weak the Europeans are when dealing with war criminals. Former Bosnian Serb leader Biljana Plavsic was released from a Swedish prison today after serving only 6 years of an 11 year sentence. When she was in power she was considered every bit as ruthless as Slobodan Milosevic.

    Plavsic was responsible for the driving out, torturing, and "liquidation" of many non Serbs during the war in Bosnia. In 2001 she was tried for war crimes which she admitted to, and pled down her sentence so she would only serve minimal time.

    The former "Iron Lady"(that is what she was called because of her ruthlessness) is 79 years old. Even though she is at the end of her days, releasing a criminal of this magnitude shows the world that some acts of killing are alright and others you get the death penalty for. What this woman did was no less brutal than what Saddam Hussein did to his people, and yet she only gets 6 years in prison.

    If the world is to send a strong message to countries who torture their people and have violent dictatorships, then leaders such as Plasvic need to be executed. Countries should show to the world that if you do not treat your people with civility and humanity that you will be tossed away like a rag doll yourself.

    The weak response by the Swedish courts is a slap in the face of countries like the United States who fought to help end the brutal conditions in Bosnia in the 90's. The only reason this is not bigger news is because at this point we have bigger fish to fry.

    We all need to remember, those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. If we let people like this go after 6 years, I can almost promise you she won't be the last to torture their own. If this is the worlds response to evil, then evil might just stick around and play awhile.

    Related Artlces
    "Iron Lady" Freed from prison
    The Bosnian War
    Outrage over Release
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    Saturday, October 24, 2009

    Why is the CDC Donating H1N1 Vaccines?

    Unless you have been living in a cave, you know that the swine flu has spread all over the world. Today, President Obama declared a national emergency to help fight the disease. This will allow hospital officials to more aggressively treat and vaccinate people from this disease. The illness that began last April in Mexico has now spread all over the world, and there are even some reports the virus has infected 1 in 5 US children and spreading like a wild fire.

    Barack Obama declares a swine flu national emergency today

    Thursday, October 22, 2009

    Chicago needs better sex ed classes

    A local Chicago high school definitely has some issues to work out. Robeson High School has 115 girls who are pregnant or already have children out of 800 girls. This of course in an inner city school, but their needs to be some kind of responsibility placed on the teachers, parents, and administrators. Obviously the sex education these kids are receiving is not getting through.

    Here is the video of the sorry below. Leave a comment if you have any ideas on how Chicago, and for that matter, America can fix the issue of teen pregnancy.

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    Wednesday, October 21, 2009

    Big paycuts for wall street; are they justified?

    It has been over a year since the United States government issued the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, or what most refer to as the bailout. Washington is coming out and saying that all the banks that received funds from the bailout last year have to severely cut their top executives pay this year. The top 25 executives at each of these companies need to slash their salaries up to 90%. Is this really justified? On the surface, of course it is. However, there is always more to every story.

    Monday, October 19, 2009

    Should Pot be Legalized?

    This week the Justice Department informed federal officials not to arrest people with prescriptions to medical marijuana or the doctors that prescribed it. This new ruling only applies to the 14 states that allow medical marijuana. Officials say it is a waste of their time to go after people who have gone through the proper channels to receive these drugs which can be very helpful to people in pain.

    This move was made because of the change in administrations, but one can suggest that maybe our government is gradually loosening the strangle hold it has on this drug. Pot is a drug of course, but it is unlike any of the other illegal drug in our country. In fact some would argue that alcohol is far more destructive to a person than pot, and alcohol is legal. I haven't formed my opinion yet on whether pot should be legal. I know a few people who have used pot and the way they argue the point of legalizing it is very convincing. It is not a drug that kills you or makes you flip out and go crazy on people. It is not addictive and it is a drug that calms you down. It helps countless people who are in great pain everyday, and allows them to function without the side effects of many pain medications today.

    Like I said, I am not firm on my opinion yet on legalizing it, but in the very least allowing people who have a medical need should be legalized nationwide. I have heard plenty of stories of people who have been in chronic pain that use pot to overcome it, and lead healthy and productive lives. Check out the video and let me know what you think about the issue.

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    Saturday, October 17, 2009

    Books and Things

    How did we get in this Mess?

    A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post in my other blog, Does learning about History have to be Boring? In the blog I discuss that the way history is taught in schools is why so many people find it to be boring, you should check it out. In the post I state that linking what happened in our past to what is currently happening in our lives would make history far more interesting to kids. Instead, children are taught random dates in history that they have no idea how those dates effect how, where, and why they are living today.

    This got me thinking as to why we are in such a big mess regarding our health care issues. Throughout the last 100 years everything we have done as a nation has led to this current problem that we have. I can link very strongly that World War 1 caused the health care issue we are having today. You can go back and look at historical events from the 1910's and see how the United States reacted and thrived with certain events. Every new event that happened forced the American people and government to change their lives and pass certain laws that have led us to this debacle that we are in now.

    June 28th, 1914, this is the date that started our health care issues. Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria has been assassinated and WW one is about to begin. Germany declares war on Europe and there is a deadly war that lasts for 4 terrible years. Many believed that because of the new advances in weaponery that the war would be short and swift. The opposite happened, because of the advanced weapons, a trench warfare began that lasted most of the war. This long drawn out war devasted the land and forced the countries involved to spend endless amounts of money to supply the war. When the war was over Germany had lost. With the Treaty of Versailles Germany was forced to pay all the loses on both sides of the conflict.

    This bankrupted Germany and causes a revolution that eventually started the National Socialist German Workers' Party and brought Adolf Hitler to power. On the economic side the repayments that Germany had to make were made with loans from France and the US, which in turn never got repayed and partially led to the stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression.

    The Great Depression lasted from 1929 until 1941 and the start of World War two for the United Sates. Intially our government did little to help the american people during this crisis. It wasn't until 1933 that programs began to be put in place that eventually would help people in tough times and retirement. With social security , President Roosevelt helped protect people with basic needs. The way this program was set up in the 1930's helped contribute directly to the problems we have with our medical system today. Medicare which was added to the social security system in 1965 only added to the issues. There was something else completely however that is the main cause.

    WW2 breaks out and is equally, if not more devastating than the first. The United States fights until 1945 and defeats both the Germans and the Japanese. When our soldiers returned they started families and expanded into America's heartland. The sudden rise in births is refered to as the baby boom. Child births from 1946-1964 rose rapidly and then tapered off after then. With the child births dropping after the boom there started a major influx of people who eventually needed coverage and those paying into it. Those baby boomers now are getting close to retirement and requiring more medical help. To accomodate this we need to expand our medical system rapidly, but we are running into many issues because of a shortage of doctors and rising medical costs. The baby boomers are requiring more help then we as a nation have the ability to provide. The children who came after 1964 are the ones who are charged with taking care of the baby boomers and paying for their retirement and medical care.

    There is simply not enough people to provide for the boomers. If there is to be reform, it needs to focus on raising the age the people receive benefits. Since 1933 that is something our government has done very little about. The fact that in 1933 the average life span was 65, in 1965 it was 70, and today it is 78. Except for a 2 year increase to social security there has been no adjustment to when people receive benefits, even though they are living longer.

    In the end we have promised so much to a group of people that is too big to accomadate. We have also not built up an infrastructure large enough to support this large influx of older Americans because until now we haven't needed it. Is there a solution to our health care system? See my other blog on why reform is not needed. I think there is a solution but it doesn't involve Washington providing health care. The solution involves people being responsible for themselves and getting our system caught up to the 21st century. Our system is setup very in effeciently. At a time when we need a system to accomadate more people, it is still running in the 20th century for a smaller number of people.

    World War 1 caused us to have an enormous group of people today that need care. Every action in the world has a seperate but equal reaction, this is definitly true here. WW1 caused the great depression, the great depression brought about the social programs that we have today, WW2 led to the baby boom, and the baby boom has led to our current crisis. We are in a mess of our own doing. The question is, if we correct this problem, what problems will we create for future generations?

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    Friday, October 16, 2009

    Good to see Washington still has a Sense of Humor

    Did anyone see the Jay Leno show last night? If you didn't, you should definitely check out this clip. All the ramblings going on in Washington right now with the health care debate raging, Jay decides to go there and play a skit on how even politicians can get along.

    Congressmen Dennis Kucinich and Steve Latourette of Ohio agreed to do the skit. Kucinich is a democrat and Latourette is a repulblican. Of course they differ strongly on the health care debate, but they do share something in common. They know how to step back from the seriousness of whats going on and make complete fools of themselves. Both agreed to do this skit that shows each other sitting in front of a TV with snuggies on, giving each other chamgpne, swinging each other on swings, and singing kumbaya.

    This was a great skit that shows even politicians can have a sense of humor. When there are heated debates going on in Washington, its good to know our leaders can take a step back and laugh at their ridiculousness. Check out the video below.

    Wednesday, October 14, 2009

    H1N1 Vaccine Not 100 % safe?

    Is the new vaccine safe for you and your family? The politicians, doctors, and drug companies want you to believe it is. They believe if they get this vaccine out to the general public that it will slow the spread of the swine flu. The swine flu showed up from a pig farm in Mexico in April and spread like a wild fire from there. To date, it is estimated that over 400,000 people have been infected and 4500 people have died worldwide from swine flu according to WHO( World Health Organization). In the rush however, testing for this new vaccine has been very limited.

    Swine flu was detected in April 2009 on the world stage. Now, it is October and there is already a vaccine in place to fight off this new strain of flu. Many people are very grateful that governments, companies, and scientists worked efficiently and fast to create this potential life saver. The question that is raised however is, did they create a safe vaccine? There have been may questions and concerns raised by the general public regarding the safety of the H1N1 vaccine, these concerns are justified. On average, the testing process for a new vaccine or medication is 15 to 20 years when done properly. This is quite a bit more than the 6 months it has been since the swine flu showed up.

    The government and drug companies would never tell anyone that this vaccine was unsafe. No one would take it, and they would have spent the last 6 months wasting time. Think about it, why would the government tell us the vaccine was unsafe, regardless if it was or not. The general public is scared of this new disease and looking to the government for answers. The government says it has this solution, and for the most part people are alright with the governments response. There are others who are critics of this new vaccine. Jeffry John Aufderheide, of VacTruth says, "it's too early to be widely distributing the vaccine. The trials didn't even start until last week and they are already calling it safe. How are they able to say something is safe without testing it?".

    That in fact is the truth of the H1N1 vaccine. It is based off the regular flu vaccine but the testing process for the new vaccine has really just started. To release it to public is the governments way to help control the hesteria that is starting to grip the nation over this flu. The reality is that this flu is no more dangerous than the regular flu. Many people are getting it but the death rate is similar to that of the seasonal flu. What 'is' unusual about the swine flu is its ability to transfer from one human to the next much more efficiently than the regular flu. Doctors who advise their patients against the vaccine are concerned about Guillain-Barré syndrome, which is a condition that attacks the nervous system. This condition can be brought on by low levels of respiratory illnesses, which swine flu is. For most, the swine flu will be your regular flu, but the groups most at risk are people with respiratory issues. Swine flu attacks them the hardest. As you can see that creates a balancing act on who should actually receive the vaccine, if it is indeed safe. If you get the vaccine, you are essentially getting the virus in low doses. If you don't you could risk getting the full blown disease and be in real trouble.

    The point of this article is to not scare people from getting the H1N1 vaccine. I have provided many informative links from this article so you can see the information yourself. I have 2 young children and am probably going to get them vaccinated. The point of this article is to make sure people do their homework first. Don't automatically assume that because the government and big drug companies say something that it is the way it is. There has been plenty of evidence in our past to suggest that the government says what it needs to accomplish its agenda. With the drug companies, they are always in it for one thing and one thing only, money. I won't go into it in this blog but Baxter, one of the main drug companies supplying the vaccine, had applied for the patient to this H1N1 vaccine a year before the outbreak. Just a little food for thought. Before you trust blindly what you are receiving and what you give your kids, look at the sources that are telling you it is safe. Not everything is what it seems when big money and big government are involved. Be safe and do your due diligence before deciding what is safe for you and your family.

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    Tuesday, October 13, 2009

    This is whats wrong with our health care system

    I wasn't going to write anything today, but I wanted to highlight the major issue with our health care system. Denying a 4 month old baby health coverage is absolutely absurd. The boy was born at a reasonable 8 pounds 4 ounces. By 4 months this baby weighed in at 17 pounds and 25 inches which placed him in the 99th percentile. Sure this is a big baby, but to the point that insurance companies can deny him is not right in any way.

    My son was 5 pounds 14 ounces, and by the time he was 4 months old he was 17 pounds. Now, he is actually under weight at age 5. The point is that insurance companies should not be able to determine off of very limited information who to give coverage to and not. Children all grow at different rates. Just because a baby is big at 4 months doesn't mean they will be big at 15 months. Babies grow so rapidly the first few months that the percentiles are very general and not a good indicator of future size in babies as young as this.

    Children in no way shape or form should be denied coverage for whatever reason. This child should receive coverage none the less because of the new child health care bill. These are some of the changes that have been made by our government in the health care debate. Congress however wants to completely overall our system and get the government involved in providing health care, which is completely unnecessary, See my previous post. The government needs to set regulation in place that protects certain groups, such as children. They have done this with the child health care bill.

    Our health care system definitely has a ways to go when insurance companies are allowed to deny coverage to a 4 month old baby. That's immoral, wrong, and to be honest, quite disturbing.

    ****UPDATE******** The insurance company, Rocky Mountain Health Plans, rescinded their denial of coverage. I guess they realized how stupid they were. Plus, I am sure all the bad press was not welcomed either.

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    Saturday, October 10, 2009

    Pelosi Sucks

    I thought I would go a little lighter on this edition and direct everyone to a silly website. Pelosi is a random website that I found that highlights our lovable speaker of the house Nancy Pelosi.

    Video Hosted at

    I am not a huge fan of Pelosi, but I am not over the top against her either. I am not big on sites like these but it highlights what is wrong with someone like her being in such a powerful position. I disagree with many of her views on policies and I feel she needs to realize she is in America, not Europe. I think she forgets that sometimes.

    I am an Independent, I am socially liberal and fiscally conservative. I can't stand the way Democrats have run things lately and it is so hard to trust Republicans. It seems like every Republican is out for himself and it seems like every Democrat wants to save everyone at the expense of everyone else. It really is ok to let some people suffer. By allowing people to not feel entitled, they discover their ability to suceed or fail when they try hard for something. When you're allowed to just fall back on the system why would you ever fight hard to make sure you become successful?

    Pelosi is someone that should never hold a high office position. Just like George W. Bush or someone like him should not hold a high office position. The issue with both of these leaders is that they are far too polarizing. This is never a good thing when you are trying to get bills passed and bipartisanship in Washington. When you are a leader you need to be able to hear and understand both sides of any argument. If you are too far to the left or the right, in any debate, you fail to understand what the other side is even trying to accomplish. What comes of this are 2 sides that don't understand each other at all and can never come to an agreement. Funny, hasn't Washington been this way since 2000. Bush, who is as hard right as they come led the republicans, and Pelosi who is as hard left as they come has been leading the democrats.

    The point of this is that our leaders need to be middle of the road, while our lower level congressmen need to be our hardcore liberals and conservatives. Congress would be far more effective if they did not have hardlined leaders who are unwilling to budge when it comes to debating these very important issues. When you have a leader who understands both sides of any argument you get a leader who is willing to negoiate with both sides. You get a leader who can introduce compromises without aleinating completely one side or the other.

    This is precisly the reason Washington has become non-biparsian over the last decade. By having leaders who are hardliners at the top of your party, what you get are parties with no leaders at all. The purpose of a leader is to listen to all sides and pick out what is best from all sides. The leader is supposed to encourage those strenghts in their subordinates to help them thrive and excel. All Bush and Pelosi have done over these 10 years is encourage the poor decisions and attributes of their own parties while not listening to the quality legislation that may have been introduced by the opposite party.

    What is missing in Washington D.C. are leaders who are willing to step back and see everyones morals, everyones values, and everyones strengths. Sometimes being a good leader means you need to put aside your beliefs and truely listen to all those who have a great idea. George Bush has his strengths as a politician but they are not as a leader. He is a down to earth person who communicated with his constituents very well. This why he was a good governor. He was aware of the concerns of the people of his state and knew how to run it to be successful. We all know that Texas is not the United States. You can't run a country like you do a state. To run a country, you need to not only think of your countrymen, but also how the rest of the world views your country men. Both are equally important, especially when talking about the most powerful nation in the world.

    Just like Bush, Nancy Pelosi is a fine politician. I do believe she has many strengths that can be useful in Congess. She is a mother of five and has very strong values that have built up over her lifetime. She is not one who sways easily and would be best used as a pitbull to gather base support from her party on major issues. She is not however a leader; one who listens, learns, and gets the best out of those beneath her.

    In a way Pelosi does suck, not at being a congress woman, but at being a leader. What is needed today, in times of great peril and economic stress, are great leaders not great congressmen.

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    Friday, October 9, 2009

    Is Affirmative Action Good for Everyone?

    Before I start I want to admit that I am an American white male. Many who read this may just write me off as being racist or unfair. Others will think I just don't understand the plight of minorities, but all I want in this world is equality for all mankind. I see affirmative action at this point doing exactly the opposite of what its original intentions were.

    Affirmative action was started by President Kennedy under Executive Order No. 10925. The purpose of this was to ensure that when a person was considered for a government job that no one was denied by their color, religion, or gender but by their qualifications. This of course was a good idea, because everyone does deserve a fair shot at any position. If you are qualified to perform a duty and are able to function on a daily basis at that position, you have all the rights in the world regardless of who you pray to or what you look like. Of course in the 1960's this was easier said than done. Racism, was of course everywhere in our country, and forcing people all of a sudden to follow this directive by a President would not be taken lightly.

            In 1965 President Johnson took affirmative action to a whole other level with Executive_Order_11246 . This order forced any company doing work for the US federal government, with the government, or by the government to hire a certain percentage of employees of different races regardless of qualifications. This is where this program went completely hay wire. This was a good short term plan that should have gradually been scaled back into Kennedy's original plan. However, once you raise the bar you can't go back, especially when it comes to race relations.

          With Johnson's plan, it gives great opportunities to minorities, which I have no problem with in the short term. Minorities at that time had very little opportunity and they needed a jump start to get experience in important positions in society. The keyword to all of this is "short term". Long term, this program is no different than the inequalities that were placed upon minorities prior to the 1960's.

           What this program does is give people jobs because of their race, not because of their qualifications. Remember, under affirmative action, companies need to hire a certain percentage of people based on their race. If there are not enough qualified members from a certain race, it doesn't matter. That company still needs to hire based on those percentages. That leads to people who are unqualified in positions they don't deserve. While those who are qualified are out of a job.

            I want those who read this to take a minute and have that last paragraph sink in a little bit. Prior to the 60's, we will all agree that whites got jobs that they didn't deserve solely because they were white. Many of them were unqualified but got the job because of their race. How is that different from affirmative action? Its not.

            Today affirmative action is creating the same inequalities for white people that society created for minorities prior to the 1960's. Obviously there are still many issues regarding race in our country. At this point, the thought that your race can keep you from getting a job is not nearly what it was in the 1960's, at least not for minorities. There are many examples of people who are more than qualified for a position, but lose out because they are not the right race. There are many examples of companies not getting government contracts because they don't have the right mix of people who are racially diverse.

           As a white male I have no issues losing a position to a person of a different race if they are just as qualified for the position as I am. They worked just as hard and have the skills needed to do a job that is highly competitive. What is hard to swallow is when you lose the chance at a position solely because you are a certain race. When you're more than qualified and the best suited for the job, then you lose it because the company needs to hire someone of a different race. At this poin,t under this program it is doing exactly the opposite of what it was intended to do. Improve our country and give everyone equal opportunities.

          Affirmative action was an incredible program that was needed at a time of great social upheaval during the civil rights movement. Today however, it has run its course of need and fairness. In this world, where the most powerful man in it is African American, the field of opportunity has definitely grown for minorities. It is time now to make our country truly equal for everyone and scale back programs that only promote further inequality.

          I don't think affirmative action should be completely abolished. President Kennedy's version of the program is more in line with what the program should resemble, not President Johnson's. I want equality for everyone, but like 50 years ago when minorities were not getting a fair chance, now so too are whites under this program.

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