Cheesy Video


Friday, April 4, 2008

Stop telling Hillary to quit the race!

The far left-wing party bosses in the Democratic party should stop telling Hillary Clinton to quit the race. The arguments the Obama supporters use to urge her to quit are weak. Obama leads the delegate vote by only about 3.5% of total delegates and the popular vote by only about 2.5% of total voters in primaries and caucuses so far. The number of states won is meaningless. This small lead with so many contests left is certainly no mandate and is not insurmountable.

How can the party that worked so hard to get everyone the vote now tell people that they don't want them to have the chance to vote? This is the pinnacle of hypocrisy. It is undemocratic and it is unAmerican. Is it any wonder that many moderates don't trust the left?

The Democrats made the rules for this primary season. Now they should allow everyone to play by the rules and let it all play out.

The argument that the continuing Democratic primary race benefits John McCain is baseless rhetoric. It is more likely that it will benefit Democrats if for no other reason than it is more interesting and newsworthy than anything John McCain has to say at this time. When the Democrats choose a nominee the party rank and file will support that person just like the Republicans fell in line behind McCain.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

How the Democrats should pick their nominee

The Democrats should put Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in a cage together and see who comes out. Obama has the reach, of course. But Hillary Clinton is built like a fireplug. And Obama has those skinny legs. He probably brawls like he bowls. I think she could take him.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Automakers blaming the wrong people

The United Auto Workers (UAW) and the big automakers in the U.S. have begun negotiating a new labor contract. Two of the biggest points of contention will be workers' pay and health benefits.

There is a two-tiered pay scale. Employees with high seniority get paid on average about $28.00 per hour and relatively new employees get paid half that. The companies will want to reduce the pay for the high seniority employees at least and maybe the lower seniority employees also.

Members of the UAW have among the best health care benefits anywhere. For the first time more members are retired than currently working. Health care benefits have been estimated to cost companies about $1500.00 per car sold. So the companies will want to roll back health benefits for workers and maybe retirees also.

The companies will claim that lower pay and reduced health benefits are necessary to remain solvent. Implicit in this claim is that the workers are to blame for the poor economic situation of the companies. This clearly is not the case.

The most basic reason that the companies are in trouble is that they don't sell enough cars either in the U.S. or abroad. The workers don't decide which cars to make. Executives decide which designs to put into production and in what numbers and what markets to target and how to market to them. The workers make what and how many they are told to make. When executives stumble workers tumble.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Privatization of U.S. intelligence

According to R. J. Hillhouse, PhD ( many of the functions of national intelligence are conducted by private companies contracted to the government. She reports that all levels of the intelligence community are populated by private contractors. Field level intelligence gathering, data analysis, management and even preparation of the President's daily intelligence briefing are conducted in part by professionals from such companies as Raytheon, Lockheed, and Booz Allen Hamilton.

The infestation of the intelligence community by companies whose major business is armaments and war implements is very dangerous to the American people. The prime allegiance of those contractors is to the companies that employ them, not the U.S. government or the American people. Naturally, employees of defense industry companies will always suggest to the President that America be at war. How is this different from 1984? How is this different from facism? It is no different.

Just as privatization of military functions is an incredibly bad idea (see earlier posts) so is privatization of intelligence. Control of intelligence and military functions must be returned to the United States Government.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Who is the greatest rock guitarist?

A better question is "where are all the new great rock guitarists?" When I think of all the people who qualify as guitar gods not one of them became popular after 1990. Most of them became popular before 1970. Why don't bands recruit, want, or feature outstanding lead guitarists anymore?

In fact, I can only think of one currently popular performer who is even known as a good guitarist. John Mayer is a pretty good guitar player though he is mostly known for writing and singing good pop songs. The Edge (U2) is really a rhythm guitar player, though a very good one. The same is true for the guitarists who have played with the Red Hot Chile Peppers. Derek Trucks is a good guitar player influenced heavily by blues as well as jazz and gospel and he deserves to be more popular than he is. Johnny Lang is in the same boat.

So is it that people aren't learning to play exceptionally well anymore or is the popular music industry the culprit? A few large record companies control most of what we hear. If they don't think guitar gods will sell we won't hear them. Let's hope that the current popularity of Guitar Hero video games spurs interest in playing the real thing.

My personal favorites include, of course, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Duane Allman (slide), Dicky Betts, and Jimmy Page. But my most favorite has always been Carlos Santana because his solos are so melodic and fit so well in the songs of which they are a part. And though I'm not always crazy about their music I have the utmost respect for the guitar talents of Brian May, Slash, Eddy Van Halen, and Jeff Beck.

I also like a few guitarists whose popularity never matched their talent. Ry Cooder is a roots music player who is frequently outstanding. David Bromberg is another folk/roots kind of player who also plays rock guitar very well. I'll save blues guitarists for another post.

Monday, July 23, 2007

What does "RUN EASY BOSTON." mean?

This is a good question because the sentence is somewhat ambiguous. I assume it means something like "Run, people of Boston, but use less than maximum effort." The problem is with the use of the word easy. The ad should say "Run easily Boston." or even "Run easily, Boston." because easily is an adverb. An adverb directly modifies a verb, such as run.
The word easy is usually an adjective which is a word that modifies nouns. If the advertiser really meant to use the word easy then "Run easy Boston." would mean something like "Take control of the part of Boston that is casual and laid back or of loose morals." The advertiser is a shoe company so this meaning is very unlikely.
The word easy can sometimes be used as an adverb or something very much like it. Take the phrase "take it easy" for example. Easy is clearly modifying the verb take. How odd would the old Glenn Frey/Jackson Browne song sound if it was called "Take it easily." The word easy is used as a noun in New Orleans when they refer to the city as "The Big Easy." So usage is as usage does. Still, advertisers should endeavor to use currently correct grammar because the public may adopt their usage.
I say currently correct grammar because correct grammar changes over time. Languages are living things that evolve in many ways for many reasons over time. Usage panels exist at companies that publish dictionaries and grammar books. Their decisions about correct usage will sometimes change because popular usage has irreversibly changed. For example, it used to be incorrect to use the word since when you really meant because. But, because so many people would use the word since for the second word in this sentence many usage panels now consider it acceptable. So people who are obsessive-compulsive about grammar are fighting a losing battle. Grammar will never reach a perfect pinnacle from which it will never change. The real value of usage panels is to slow down the change of grammar so that most speakers of a language can understand each other over the course of, say, a lifetime.

Friday, April 20, 2007

What is the greatest achievement of a woman?

Which woman? No, seriously, greatest is a relative and subjective term. Your greatest may be different from mine or hers. None the less, some women have achieved some remarkable things. Several women have been elected to head of government positions such as Kim Campbell of Canada, Golda Meir of Israel, Indira Ghandi of India, and Margaret Thatcher of the United Kingdom. Other women have become head of government through succession or intrigue. England’s power and world influence increased greatly during the reign of Elizabeth I. The state of Virginia is named for her. Catherine the Great of Russia increased the size of the Russian Empire more than any other ruler. She divided and gave away an entire country in the process (the partition of Poland).

Several women have won the Noble Prize and not just in the Peace and Literature categories, which are cool enough. Several women have won the Noble Prize in Science categories including Marie Curie who won it twice; one for physics and one for chemistry.

Joan of Arc was a heroic and brilliant teenage military commander who became a saint. Eva Peron won the undying love of her nation. Mary raised a loving son and became queen of heaven. Mahalia Jackson became the greatest gospel singer of all time, sang at the inauguration of John F. Kennedy and the funeral of Martin Luther King, Jr., and mentored a young family friend named Aretha Franklin.

One of my favorites, though, is Belva Lockwood (see picture above) of Royalton, New York. Belva Lockwood was the first women to run for president of the United States. There is evidence that she even received some votes in the electoral college. And she ran twice, in 1884 and 1888; more than 30 years before women won the right to vote in the United States. She was also the first woman to practice law before the Supreme Court of the United States and in the federal courts. Also remarkable was that she began her legal education in her thirties as a widowed mother after already having a career as an educator. As preceptress (i.e., principal) of the Lockport Union School in Lockport, New York in the 1850s she did radical things like institute public speaking and gymnastics classes for girls. She encouraged girls to engage in regular physical activity just as she did. Belva Lockwood believed in and tirelessly worked for equal rights for everyone and for universal peace. Those are ideas that were way ahead of their time in the nineteenth century and still sound pretty progressive and good today.

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