Monday, May 4, 2009

Fake Swine Flu Products

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade
Commission (FTC) have announced that the public should be cautious
about products said to prevent, treat or cure the Swine Flu virus,
saying use of unauthorized or unapproved products could put people's
health at risk.

The government agencies say that they are "aggressively" investigating
phony flu products and/or claims.

The Canadian government made an official announcement on its website
that warned the public that although there are two anti-viral drugs
that could help prevent or reduce symptoms of the flu - including
Tamiflu (oseltamivir) or Relenza (zanamivir) - there are NO products
that are approved for direct sale to the public that would
specifically treat or guard against the H1N1 flu virus. Tamiflu and
Relenza are available only by prescription via a doctor or authorized
medical professional. The Canadians also caution that the medicines be
given only when the illness is diagnosed as being "moderate" or
"severe" and if the patient is at high risk of complications of flu -
such as existing respiratory ailments. The agency states that if taken
within 48 hours after getting sick, Tamiflu or Relenza can help reduce
symptoms, shorten the length of illness and potentially reduce serious

The Canadian health agency is also warning against claims for
"generic" versions of Tamiflu or Relenza, saying no such generics have
been approved and that such products could have dangerous additives in
them. The agency states that consumers should be very wary of buying
drugs over the Internet. For example, an online provider such as offers a package of 30, 10-milligram capsules of
Tamiflu for $88.65. At a "herbal alternative to Tamiflu"
called Defend-Rx is being advertised for $24.98 for a supply of 45
tablets. The site says the demand has been so heavy that they are
currently out of stock. But, the site claims that the product is "the
world's only natural weapon against bird flu (Avian Flu). But, it also
claims the ingredients in the product are "the main component in

The FTC suggests that the public report any suspected fraudulent Swine
Flu products to the FDA at
Also, anyone who wants to file a complaint against a company that they
think is trying to advertise or sell swine flu products can call the
FTC at 1-877-FTC-HELP.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Rare megamouth shark caught

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Oliver Teves in his article "Rare megamouth shark caught, eaten in
Philippines" goes on to tell us that the megamouth shark is one of the
rarest fishes in the world. In fact, this megamouth shark was just the
41st documented capture. Only 40 others had been reported in such
areas as Japan, California, Taiwan, Indonesia, Brazil, South Africa
and Mexico as well as other places.

As Teves goes on to report, the megamouth shark died while struggling
in the fishermen's net. It weighed 1,100 pounds and was 13 feet long.

The project manager of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Elson Aca, took
pictures and further tried to dissuade the fishermen from eating the
rare beast to no avail.

I can understand that. Apparently the megamouth shark is the main
ingredient in a delicacy that I'm guessing these guys don't get to eat
too often. It would be like someone wanting to study a thousand-dollar
bill I had just found; yeah take a picture but I'm going to "eat" it.

Believe it or not the megamouth shark is only 33-years-old with
respect to our knowledge of its existence. That was when it was first
discovered and it was so completely new that scientists started a new
family and genus.

The shark was found in 660 feet of water 185 miles from Manila. It is
a "filter-feeder." Filter-feeders" are fish that take food out of the
water by passing it through their mouth.

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This is very important in a
ecosystem because it helps keep the water pure.

There are other filter-feeders in the area where the megamouth was
found. One is the world's largest fish the whale shark.

The existence of these animals suggests that the water is in good
shape and the area should continue to be guarded.

I have linked to the picture of a megamouth shark.

I used to have a tropical fish aquarium. There was a terrible problem
with algae. I had a friend who had me add a catfish as a bottom-feeder
and snails and shrimp as filter-feeders. The water became much

Still, the fish all died.

Friday, April 3, 2009

G20 Protestors Attempt to Shut Down London

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On Tuesday, April 1, as a reaction to the G20 summit and the world's economic crisis, thousands of people converged upon London to protest economic policies, the environment, unemployment, and dissatisfaction with world leadership. As I walked up Bishopsgate Road toward work this morning, the beginnings of the protest, which started about 11 a.m., were already visible. A large number of businessmen and women were dressed down in an effort to detract attention, a huge surge of cyclists pedaled in for the protests and police officers stood prepared to manage the demonstrations.

As the morning progressed, we heard snippets of news throughout the office. The more violent events were taking place at the Royal Bank of Scotland near the Bank of England. Glass was broken and protesters conflicted with police. All of this news made us wonder what sort of chaos was going on elsewhere. At lunch, around 2 p.m., two colleagues and I walked down Bishopsgate to see what all the fuss was about.

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What we found was not a violent riot, but a peaceful demonstration called Climate Camp. A huge section of one of the City's major streets was closed off because a huge number of people had pitched tents in their protest of global climate policy. One group of people sat near a tree on the sidewalk meditating, a few protestors played a rhythmic drum number, and others did yoga in the middle of the street. The protestors had drawn chalk designs and protests on the sidewalk, and many carried signs protesting climate change, such as "Nature doesn't offer a bailout." The protest was peaceful and meaningful, unlike the meaningless window smashing that we had seen on the news.

The Climate Camp has pitched tents because it means to stay throughout the G20 Summit to ensure that its voice is heard.Further down the street, where the larger and less stable protest was happening in front of the Bank of England and the Royal Bank of Scotland, was more difficult to access.

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We made it as far as the square before the Bank before we hit a barrier of police
officers. Above the heads of the small crowd that had gathered around, we could see riot police mounted on horseback, so it was clear that law enforcement wasn't taking any chances.

The area was still an unusual sight. In an effort to see better, several people had climbed on top of statues, and sat drinking beers and enjoying the view.

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Across the street, four people sat perched atop the ledge above the doorway of a stone building, a sight that completely undermined the usual formality of the area. Though a number of people were hoping for riots and violence, the demonstrations today remained mostly peaceful. The face of the City seemed different with so many intruders. The streets, usually packed with cars, were silent. Business people and protesters alike walked freely down Bishopsgate as though it were a sidewalk. The air was tense, but passionate. Though we cannot tell whether or not the voices will be heard, they were certainly speaking loudly.

Monday, March 30, 2009

GM CEO Rick Wagoner Forced Out by Obama

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GM's Chief Executive Rick Wagoner has been forced to resign by the Obama administration as one price for accepting bailout money. While not without precedence, this development may be part of a trend of government power over the private sector.

Rich Wagoner had presided over GM's accruing billions of dollars in losses and in the plummet of the price of GM stock. Rick Wagoner was excoriated in the press, attacked by politicians of all persuasions, and even lampooned on Saturday Night Live.

Rick Wagoner will be replaced by Fritz Henderson, the company's vice chairman and chief operating officer. The ousting of Rick Wagoner, who was seen as moving too slow to address the structural problems causing the hemorrhaging of GM, is seen as just the start of a massive series of changes at GM. A new board of directors, for example, will be elected by August.

The government will also now be handling warranties for American made cars during the period of restructuring. Hotair's Ed Morrissey suggests that this arrangement will bring about all of the efficiency and customer service of the Department of Motor Vehicles to a process hitherto handled by car dealers.

That changes being brought about at GM are necessary is beyond dispute. There is some doubt, though, that the federal government is competent enough to determine what those changes are and, having done so, effectively implementing them. In a poll conducted in December, Rasmussen found that just 14 percent of the respondents thought that the government could do a better job running the big three automakers.

The heavy involvement by the government in the way automobile companies are structured and operate represents a kind of socialism in all but name. It is true that the government will not own the means of production of cars, but it will in fact enjoy all the rights of ownership due to the leverage it enjoys with its bailout program.

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This arrangement contains considerable political peril for Barack Obama. If GM or any other car company fails or even if it continues to falter, Obama will now own that failure. It will be Obama's handpicked executives who will preside over what happens to GM. If GM still goes under, it will be considered a government failure and not a private sector one.

A better solution would have been to allow the big three automakers to go into bankruptcy, with the government passively guaranteeing car warranties—without creating a bureaucracy—while the car companies restructured and renegotiated contracts. But that would have involved the government eschewing an opportunity to seize power and when was the last time that happened?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Obama made fun of Special Olympics on Leno


Barack Obama's historic visit to Jay Leno and The Tonight Show was overshadowed a bit by the Special Olympics. Obama tried to joke around in his first talk show appearance as President, but a reference to the Special Olympics was the main talking point of the interview. Obama joked about his 129 bowling score being "like the Special Olympics or something." Even before The Tonight Show episode aired, the White House moved fast to make sure the Special Olympics were not offended.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton read a quick statement of apology to reporters before Obama was seen on The Tonight Show with Leno. Obama even sent a personal phone call of apology to Special Olympics President Timothy Shriver, which was discussed with Shriver on Good Morning America today.

The Special Olympics comment about Obama's bowling score was a very brief part of the Tonight Show interview. But it was the main talking point afterwards, even as Obama talked about the economy, AIG, and the road ahead for the administration.

Obama also discussed the restrictions placed on him by the Secret Service, the search for the new family dog, and got to compare Washington to American Idol and Simon Cowell.


The choice of Leno and The Tonight Show to host the first interview with a sitting President was a little bit surprising. David Letterman has made the most news interviewing politicians lately, and The Daily Show and Colbert Report have interviewed every politician except for a sitting President.

Leno got this coup as another sign that he is leaving The Tonight Show on a high note, as his final show is just weeks away. Since Leno will be carrying much of NBC primetime on his shoulders once he goes to the 10 p.m. slot, he needs a lot of momentum going forward. Being able to speak to President Obama certainly can't hurt.

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Obama has already used late night and other traditionally un-Presidential outlets like the Internet to get much of his message across. It wouldn't be surprising if Obama makes another late night appearance in office someday, despite his little gaff about the Special Olympics.

The President has been a multi-tasker lately, able to fill out an NCAA tournament bracket and talk to Jay Leno, while dealing with AIG outrage and the rest of the economy.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Jennifer Anniston and John Break Up Again

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We are just getting past media scrutiny of Jennifer Aniston's angst with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, but there will be no down time for Jennifer Aniston. Jennifer Aniston and John Mayer have called it quits, for the second time.

A friend of Aniston told Hello Magazine, that the decision to break up with John Mayer was hers. Jennifer returned last week from promoting "Marley & Me" in the UK and, according to reports, broke off the relationship which had become cold after their Oscar date in the limelight. We were told the famous shot of her smile toward Brangelina was "all for John," who was sitting behind them. Was it really "all for John?" or was it, like all of her publicity stunts all for Jen. Jennifer Aniston is one of the slickest celebrities when it comes to getting free PR via true life drama.

I can't help but wonder if Jennifer Aniston's on-again-off-again relationship with John Mayer will work to enhance Jen's PR as her new film, "He's Just Not that in to You," is released.

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No one in Hollywood would manipulate the public like that. Would they?

Jennifer Anniston has yet to make public comment. When she does it will be well planned and well stated. Sweet, sweet Jen is always above the frackus. She does an incredible job playing the innocent, jilted woman, only this time Jennifer Anniston is the jilter and Mayer is allegedly the jilted.

John Mayer appears nonchalant about the second of his break-ups with Jennifer Aniston, especially for someone who was dumped. He took credit (or blame?) for the first break-up with Aniston, but doesn't seem bothered by this break-up.

John Mayer spent time last night on Twitter making up six word stories, a la Hemmingway, with fans. I guess "he's just not that in to" Jennifer.

Aniston continues to increase film credits. She is a good enough actress, but I had to laugh when Hello Magazine reported that she has mentioned wanting to play a 007 girl.

She may actually be under consideration for a role with Bond. This would take James Bond to an all new level --- from which I'm not sure it would ever recover.

Meanwhile, back in the romance arena, word has it that she has set her sights on British heart throb Daniel Craig.

Maybe Jennifer Aniston will do us all a favor and just move to the UK altogether.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

To Spend or not?

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During difficult times economically, we can not blame the director of marketing who wants to reduce advertising costs or to extract a higher value from them.Meanwhile, cutting massively the advertising spending is not an intelligent strategy. For an effective promotion, companies must invest in the right brands, in the right areas and send exciting messages through appropriate channels.

Few of the companies that have a portfolio of brands designed for a variety of market segments for several regions, differentiate their investments based on strategic priorities.The traditional process of establishing a marketing budget suffers from 3 drawbacks. First, they allocate a limited importance to the major differences between the intensity and sensitivity of appearing between market segments and different regions. Secondly, they do not recognize the important choices that have to be made regarding the growth, the development and strategies for each brand, market segment and region. Thirdly, the market share and the impact of investments in advertising on profits are not measured. For this reason, target market shares are not related to the advertising budgets.

For a better allocation of investment in advertising is essential a zero-based budget approach.This approach has the following practical observations:

- Minimum investment levels. Investment in advertising under the minimum level are usually ineffective and is it better not be made at all in this case.

- The costs of advertising. This can vary considerably from one category to another. Can vary from 5% of income up to 45% of revenue.

- The answer to advertising categories. The effects of excess investment in maintaining market share in one segment or another. The investments needed to gain 1 percent of the market share in one year, for example, can vary from 2 to 4 times the level of maintenance.

- Market share of the company. The necessary investments in advertising made in order to maintain the market share (maintenance level) are directly related to the scale and the competitive position. When the relative market share doubles, for example, the investments needed in advertising to maintain the market share may be reduced by 30%.

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In case of a competitive position that is stronger, belonging to a market with massive growth and the existence of some beneficial conditions, the company could consider an investment strategy.First, there should be a framework of solid innovations, together with other elements of the marketing mix to support the growth.Secondly, the consumers of the market segment should be quite sensitive to advertising, so that the additional investments be able to transform into an increased market share. If these conditions do not exist, a strategy developed to maintain the market share would be the best solution.

If a brand has a weak position on a market which recorded a growth or a contested position on a market with a lower growth, the company should invest in order to gain a market growth or to collect.If the intensity of advertising is significant on the relevant market segment, a collection strategy is preferable.Finally, a collection is suitable if a brand has a weak position on a market which registered a low growth.

This methodology can be a good tool to support a more aggressive difference of the investment levels, for a portfolio of brands designed for a variety of market segments and regions. Companies that have used this approach have forceful released almost 20% of investments in advertising.They could, instead, focus their spending to the areas where they were having a greater impact.

However, in order to implement this approach, the companies must be prepared to make some fundamental changes:

- Establishment of an evaluation based on the facts of the total advertising expenditure in terms of market share and profit impact.

- Shift from budgeting aggregates and the free discussion based on facts on the allocation of advertising expenditures (explicit involvement of the general manager and financial manager).

Before deciding to distinguish the levels of investment, the company should allocate the best people for the activities of collecting and maintaining the brand. In many companies, managing brands is perceived as being beneficial for a career manager. For this reason, most brands and segments are identified as having growth opportunities, even if the featured profitability of the strategies of maintaining and collecting can be much higher. The fact is that the defense position of leadership on the market, using limited resources and maximizing profit on a market that fails, having almost no resource, often requires a higher level of effort and talent than to grow the market share in an expanding market, using unlimited resources.

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Finally, it might be the right moment to evaluate the contracted advertising agency. The relationship between a client and an advertising contracted advertising agency follows also a life cycle, the inevitable pattern of growth and decline. It seems that your agency lost its original booming? Maybe it became too big?Does it produce sad campaigns, that don't excite anyone?Emphasis goes to collateral services, in order to hide the agency's creative bankruptcy? If you recognize the signs, it might be time to have a new start!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

World newest Billionaires

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The old saying, "The rich get richer..." isn't always true in an economic downslide that is a recession and depression in our times. This year, Forbes announces it's well-known "Rich List", called Forbes World's Billionaires List 2009. Comparing my copy of last year's list to this year's list, it's clear that the rich aren't getting richer, and in fact, the world's richest people saw more than a two TRILLION dollar decline in total net worth for 2009 compared to 2008. Of course, sadly, Yahoo! reported that 18 members of the Forbes Rich List who were on the list last year died, and therefore are no longer included on the list. Death and depression both can cause a member of the Forbes Rich List to fall right off the list.To get a complete copy of the list, you'll have to pick up a copy of Forbes Magazine, like I did, but I can share some interesting people who made the Forbes Rich List.
First, let's look at the first woman on the list, Alice Walton. Ms. Walton is part of the Walmart heirs, and she is currently 59 years old. Her estimated net worth is over 17 billion. She was not the only 'Walton' family member on that list, and in fact, the Forbes Rich List has many Walton heirs and their families. Guess Walmart, a discount supermarket and hard goods store, is thriving, even in and especially in a tough economy.
Also on the Forbes Rich List, you will find Michael Dell, of Dell Computers weighing in on the Rich List at a cool $12.3 billion. Mr. Dell is among the youngest members of the Forbes Rich List, at age 44.
In fact, many of the Forbes Rich List members are over the age of 60, with a considerable number of the top 50 richest billionaires in the world over 70-80 years of age. Another interesting fact to note is the number of times some of the Forbes Rich List members have been married. Many on the list are stated to have been married three, four or more times. The Forbes Rich List does note the ones who were widowed, and then how many times each have been divorced, whether or not they are remarried, and how many children they have.
Makes me wonder... perhaps the rich aren't as happy as us poor working class might think!
Like Mr. Dell, other computer or internet related Forbes Rich List members include Larry Page and Sergey Brin, both making the list from Google.

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Again, much younger members of the Forbes Rich List, being 36 and 35 respectively.

Then comes our Microsoft Billionaires on the Forbes Rich List. Steve Ballmer, Microsoft, weighs in at $11 billion. Paul Allen, also Microsoft, comes in just under that at $10.5 billion. I wonder if he really missed that .5 billion he has less than Allen? So is there any guess who made the number one spot on the Forbes Rich List? It came as no surprise to me that, once again, Bill Gates was on the Forbes Rich List. In fact, William (Bill) Gates III is once again considered the richest man in the world. Even though he has stepped down from running Microsoft, and even though he reportedly lost $18 billion last year, he's still capping out at over $40 billion, claiming him that coveted top spot.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Dow up but would it remain up?

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The DOW opened in the black this morning for the first time in weeks. The 379-point rise, courtesy of good Citigroup news, gave some people hope. That hope has risen further, as stocks continued to climb, albeit modestly, throughout the day.

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The Dow Jones Industrial average has risen 4.80 percent, a large climb considering the recent economic conditions having left it tumbling lower and lower. A large number of companies are gaining a few percentage points here and there in the stock market today, a shining ray of light on the otherwise gloomy economy.
Does this mean we're seeing the light at the end of the tunnel? Doubtful, in my opinion. While perhaps things will stay steady at the rate they've risen to, economic forecasts suggest that things will not really improve until sometime in 2010 at the earliest. In a nation full of foreclosures, with nearly the highest unemployment rate since World War II, it's going to take a lot more than a nearly 400-point rise in the Dow to get things back on track.
Perhaps these little steps will affect the bottom line, and make a difference for the people who really need it. Maybe some of these companies who are beginning to climb the stock market again will be able to afford to hire more employees.

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But one small blip in the radar isn't going to make a big impact. I believe that this is the first of several small blips, each momentary, but leaving the stock market a little higher than it was the day before. Eventually, we'll reestablish the financial backing we need to raise the stocks to the enormous heights they were before this economic collapse, but not any time soon.
I live in a small town that has been relatively unaffected by the huge economic crisis. However, I do find myself, and many others, shopping more cautiously now, attempting to save money, and holding our breath for the time it hits our community. It's going to be some time before these little blips amount to much of anything, but once they do, I have faith that the entire United States - and possibly the rest of the world - is going to let out one huge sigh of relief. In the mean time, we'll sit and wait, saving our pennies. Hoping.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Economy, Recession, and Recovery

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Economists are still waxing grim about the new unemployment figures
released by the Department of Labor last Friday, estimating current
unemployment levels at 8.1%, the highest since 1983. The AP looked
specifically at 3 markets - housing, jobs, and stocks - and consulted
experts on past trends as well as future predictions.

First, the job market.

Economists are predicting that our troubles with the job market are
not over. Some experts predict that the unemployment rate will top 9%
nationally this year. Some states are weathering this storm worse than
others. In my state, Michigan, January figures put unemployment at
11.6% and climbing and predictions are even more dire.

Economists are focused on 1983 right now, but with this year's current
prediction of 9% unemployment, we're still sliding in under the
December 1982 record of 10.8 percent. Still, it's looking for a silver
lining in a very dark cloud that shows no sign of passing overhead any
time soon.

Even if the economy does turn around, it will most likely still be a
weak market for 4 or more years, based on predictions. In the
meantime, Michigan in particular will keep reeling as plants keep
closing. According to Michigan's WARN list, a large number of
companies are doing mass layoffs or closing plants this season. Many
of them are automotive-related, but not all. Personally, two of my
local friends got laid off last week and only one was in the
automotive industry.

Secondly, the housing market.

It's no surprise to anyone that house values have dropped. In January,
they're down 14.8 percent from just a year ago according to the
National Association of Realtors. Areas that were previously dealing
with the housing boom are harder hit by price drops than Detroit, but
that's because we were having difficulties in Michigan before the
recession even hit.

The housing market is complex, though.

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We like to look to history to
determine the future, and the Great Depression is often brought up
when talking about the current state of our economy. As it relates to
housing, home prices fell about 30 percent during the Depression.
Regardless, according to the National Association of Realtors, it will
take a while for any stimulus to affect housing data.

Thirdly, many economists and industry experts are focused on stock.
The stock market peaked in October, 2007. At this point, it's now less
than half the value it was then. Experts agree that the market has
survived worse, but many of them were surprised that it fell as far as
it has.

As for predictions regarding stocks, we look to the investors to tell
us if things are picking up. Investors are watching the markets
carefully, waiting for all markets to pick up as well as signs of
increased consumer spending, and we're waiting for them to start
reinvesting in the market. This is a follow up to an article I did
this past week on the economy and the newly released employment rate

Friday, March 6, 2009

Obama and his 10 year budget plan - Doom?


Politicians at every level are often jeered for trying to be all
things to all people, no matter how disparate their interests and
objectives may be. President Barack Obama campaigned on the idea of
change; the underlying hope of the potential for change from
theObama's 10-Year Budget Proposal "business as usual" in Washington
was the message I believe brought voters to the polls.

On February 26, 2008, President Obama gave the nation yet another
glimpse of not only how he envisioned changing the way business is
usually done, but how he is actually going about making those changes
a reality when he truthfully revealed his first budget for the U.S.
while in office.

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The president was candid—he didn't tell the nation
what they wanted to hear, but he told them what they needed to
hear—and his budget reflected items that his predecessor kept on
separate books, so to speak, including funding of the wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan as noted by, among other major line items.

President Obama outlined a 10-year budget plan that includes his
pledge to halve the budget deficit by 2013. He and the nation face a
tight-rope walk with the current economy. Refreshingly, the president
gave the information straight on the chin.

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For every change that is
desired, there are choices to be made and costs to be incurred—that's
the way it is in the real world. As individuals, we face these
realities every day when we choose whether or not to purchase a new
car, whether this week we will eat bologna or steak, or even if we can
afford to refill our prescriptions.

For the first time in a very long time, it feels as if Washington and
each citizen of the U.S. is in this situation together. It's not a
pretty place to be, but it is together that as a nation we have the
greatest strengths.

The proposed budget must first, of course, make it through Congress.
It's time for each of us to examine the president's proposals and
write our senators and representatives to let them know what we do and
do not support about the budget so they canObama's 10-Year Budget
Proposal act accordingly. That is how a democracy is supposed to work
and finally, American citizens have someone in the most powerful
position in the nation who is leading by example.

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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Fighting Rush Limbaugh

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Chairman of the Republican National Committee Michael Steele has angered quite a few people in the Republican Party by some harsh words he uttered about Rush Limbaugh during an interview on CNN.

Michael Steele said of Rush Limbaugh, "Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer. Rush Limbaugh—his whole thing is entertainment. Yes, it's incendiary. Yes, it'sMichael Steele Picks a Fight with Rush Limbaugh ugly."

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Rush Limbaugh, who has never allowed an attack to go unanswered, was quick to respond. "The Republican National Committee and Michael Steele need a little leadership ... we're going to have to drag them kicking and screaming back to our core. They are caught up in so much fear because of where they live and work in Washington, DC."

On the surface it would seem to be an act of lunacy for Michael Steele to pick a fight with Rush Limbaugh, who is beloved by the Republican base, Rush Limbaugh's speech before CPAC on Saturday was the hit of the Washington conference.

Michael Steele seems to be reacting to the gibes by Obama administration officials such as Rahm Emanuel that Rush Limbaugh is, in effect, the leader of the Republican Party. The tactic being employed by the Democrats appears to be to tie the Republicans to Rush Limbaugh while vilifying Rush Limbaugh as some kind of bomb throwing extremist. Rush Limbaugh's often stated wish that Barack Obama should fail in his policy initiatives is being depicted as little short of sedition, unlike Democratic attacks on President George W. Bush.

The Democratic tactic appears to be having the effect of driving a wedge between Washington Republicans such as Michael Steele and the Republican base, represented by talk show hosts such as Rush Limbaugh. The Republican base has already been discontented with many Washington Republicans for their perceived lack of fiscal discipline and their over eagerness to make compromises with Democrats.

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Michael Steele has attempted to heel that rift, as have Congressional Republicans. Clearly Michael Steele's ill considered attack on Rush Limbaugh represents a setback in that effort, angering Republicans in general and Rush Limbaugh in particular. Fortunately there is an easy way to heal the rift. Michael Steele needs to go on Rush Limbaugh's show and offer an explanation and a mea culpa. If Michael Steele can be sincere and not repeat the mistake, all will be well and all will be forgiven. After all, after Al Qaeda and Iran, the Michael Steele Picks a Fight with Rush Limbaugh real enemies are Barack Obama and the Congressional Democrats. Michael Steele needs to direct his fire at them and not at the man who has been called "leader of the opposition" for at least the past fifteen years.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Rush Limbaugh and the conservative movement


The 2009 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) produced a message of inclusion - of angry people. Rush Limbaugh was placed in the vaunted position of keynote speaker, which is a good indication of just where the GOP stands within the political arena. Polarized. Focused. Frustrated. Angry. Looking toward a self-aggrandizing reactionary pontificant to lead the way.
Rush Limbaugh told the choir, which was full of those there to hear the preacher, exactly what they wanted to hear. Liberals are bad. They are subverting the country from within. Obama is attempting to destroy the country that it took generations to build.Limbaugh makes it sound like Democrats (synonymous with "liberal") are the most vile people in the world. Actually, they're not, he is quick to disclaim. Their intentions are good, but... But it is part of the master plan. Because conservatives need direction to take the country back.
So, after telling everybody a joke about god thinking he was Rush Limbaugh to show how non-pompous he is, seconds later Limbaugh says, "Everybody asks me, what are we going to do?"
Limbaugh does look a little like Buddha. But, then, Buddha wasn't a god. Or so angry all the time... But the party faithful enjoyed it, giving Rush Limbaugh one standing ovation after another.
Tim Pawlenty, Governor of Minnesota, talked about the new GOP. It has become a common theme among the more progressive Republicans: The Republican Party needs new blood. There is talk of inclusion and diversity in the party that is made up primarily of white people. But in the straw poll taken at the Conference, Bobby Jindal is the lone face of diversity among the likely contenders for the Republican nomination for the presidency. Sarah Palin is the only woman. Democrats and Independents, political commentators and pundits call the GOP the 'party of old white men' or 'the party of tokens.' It isn't difficult to see why.

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Mike Huckabee finished sixth in the straw poll (7%). Newt Gingrich came in fifth (10%). Ron Paul finished third, tied with Sarah Palin (13%). Bobby Jindal edged them out for second (14%), even after that horrible speech on Tuesday evening. Mitt Romney finished on top (20%).
The CPAC straw poll showed a big difference in the choice among the hardcore faithful (the CPAC members) and regular Republican voters. CNN revealed that Sarah Palin won in a national poll among potential Republican voters in 2012, polling 29%, with Mike Huckabee polling a close 26%. Bobby Jindal polled a low 9% (and the poll was taken before the Republican Response speech)..

Michael Steele, who was just recently elected to the Chairmanship of the Republican National Committee, is the first black man to ever hold the position. Some point to it as a sign of the changing face of the Republican Party. Others point to it as a political maneuver to counter the black man that occupies the White House.
At this year's Republican National Convention, there were only 36 black delegates in attendance, down from a record number in attendance in 2004 (167).
In his CPAC speech, Rush Limbaugh said he didn't see black people, women, or Hispanics. The sad thing is, given the make-up of the Republican Party, it may have been the most factual thing he said in the entire hour-and-a-half that he spoke.
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