Friday, November 30, 2012

Missile Defense Is Insurance Against the Unthinkable

It would take 33 minutes at most for an intercontinental ballistic missile to reach the U.S. from the rogue or enemy state that it is fired from. Think North Korea, Iran, Hamas, Al Qaeda. This well produced and researched one hour video discusses why missile defense is important and the functionality of it in the United States at present. You will be surprised at how far the U.S. has come with missile defense since President Reagan started pushing for it in 1983.

Unfortunately, the current president of the United States has a different agenda than President Reagan did. In 2009, President Obama cancelled the deal the U.S. had with Poland and the Czech Republic to build an interceptor site that would have provided protection of the U.S. and its allies from ballistic missiles. The Polish president called it a betrayal. And now that he's been reelected the U.S. president "can be more flexible" with Mr. Putin of Russia concerning the neutering of allied missile defense. Mr. Obama wants to cut missile defense spending in 2013 in addition to all his other debilitating cuts to military spending.

In recent days, North Korea has been moving intercontinental ballistic rocket segments to its missile launch site in apparent preparation for launch. They have the bomb and are working on the means of delivering it anywhere in the world. Iran has been busy making nuclear fuel, and coordinating with North Korea on its bomb and delivery systems. And recently, Hamas has been raining missiles upon Israel. All of this activity shows the importance of staying vigilant when it comes to missile defense development and implementation and not letting political ideology abrogate the defense of the American people. This defense is Job One of our common government as mandated 226 years ago by the U.S Constitution.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Vote Out the Golfer in Chief - 22 Reasons to Say Goodbye

This is the week of the Democrat National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, which will be a factory of lies and smears of Mitt Romney and Republicans, and at the same time there will be no playing up of the non-existent Obama administration accomplishments because there is nothing good to say. Everything this president has done has put a restrictor plate on the American economic engine.

If you are thinking about voting for Barack Obama for president, think first about these facts.
  • Less people are working in the U.S. now than in 2008/2009, though there are many more people. The administration tells you about jobs created in a month but they don't seem to factor in that 350,000+ people file for NEW unemployment claims every week.
  • 50% of college graduates can't find a job.
  • The only place you can get a college loan is through the government. There is no competitive market any longer.
  • Unemployment has been above 8% for more than 4 years.
  • The debt is 5 trillion dollars larger than it was 4 years ago.
  • Obama (The Golfer in Chief) has golfed more than almost any other president (more than 100 times).
  • 49 million Americans are on Food Stamps.
  • Obama, who has said that he would bring America together has caused America to become more polarized, more partisan than it has ever been by not compromising at all, by not working with Congress, by lying about what he will do, by imposing laws in a dictatorial fashion (DREAM "act"), and by name calling more than any other president before him.
  • Obama has continuously dissed America's friends and sided with its enemies.
  • Obama attacks the successful people in America, creating class warfare.
  • Obama pushed hard for Obamacare which will make healthcare more expensive generally, will cripple health insurance companies, impedes on the rights of individual Americans, and will reduce the quality of health care overall, and enlarges government and government's role in our lives.
  • Obama has made massive cuts in the military, weakening America's ability to defend itself.
  • Gasoline is $1.50 to $2.00 per gallon higher than when he took office and has been so fairly consistently for his term in office. In a sense, this is equivalent to a 50% tax on fuel under his administration. This would not be the case if he had a more pro-American energy policy.
  • He wants to tax carbon, thereby raising energy prices for consumers.
  • He placed a 3.8% tax on the sale of your home to help fund Obamacare.
  • Has OK'd the use of government funds to do research with stem cells from fetuses.
  • Supported partial birth abortion when he was a senator in Illinois.
  • Sued Arizona for enforcing laws against illegal immigration. Sued Ohio for early voting rights law for military voters. Sues Florida for trying to clean up its voter registrations by removing non-US citizens.
  • Has just given defacto amnesty to a large number of illegal immigrants.
  • He wants taxes raised on wealthy Americans, who already bear most of the tax burden, but this will actually hurt small businesses who hire a large portion of the workers in this country.
  • He has been very weak in his response to the dangerous country of Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons.
  • His requirements for automobile mileage are raising the cost of buying cars and trucks.
This list could actually go on. If you care that this country remain a country where the freedom of the individual is valued and where government is a smaller (not a larger part of your life) then you really should vote for Mitt Romney for president. It's not about what Mitt Romney can do FOR you, it's about what Barack Obama is doing TO you and TO this country.

Windows Keyboard Shortcut of the Day

Microsoft Windows Keyboard Shortcut of the Day

To minimize all open windows...
Press the Windows logo key and M.

Try it a few times now to save clicks and effort in the future. Fun for the whole family!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

2016: Obama's America - Movie Review

Produced by Gerald Molen, written and starring Dinesh D'Souza.

2016: Obama's America is a well-made documentary exploring Obama's history, and which asks the following question "Who were Barack Obama's forefathers?" This is a question that was not answered to any degree before Barack Obama's election in 2008 (though there were those who tried to sound the call). Voters were so eager for "hope and change" and so eager to elect the first nonwhite president that they didn't look at or care about his radical background - a background steeped in Marxist, socialist, anticolonial, anticapitalist, anti-Israel, and anti-America ideologies. Some pundits say that the background and history of the candidate (or president) shouldn't be delved into like this. That it's unpatriotic. What?? A person's past and his background are predictors of his future actions. Not always of course, but more often than not for sure.

The early moments of 2016: Obama's America tell Dinesh D'souza's history, which he points out is very similar to Barack Obama's history. They are born the same year, they graduated college the same year, they both went to an Ivy League college, they both were married the same year, and they both grew up in impoverished third-world countries where anticolonialism is prevalent.

2016 then takes the viewer to Africa, the home of Obama's father, his forefathers, and much of his family. Here we learn story of Obama's visit to Kenya after the death of his father and we meet at least one of his relatives. D'Souza spoke to Obama's half brother George Obama, who wrote a book in 2010 despite having only finished the 7th grade. D'Souza asks George Obama if he thinks his brother Barack should help him in some way. George suggests pridefully that he is a grown man and can help himself. Incidentally, the two met in a park, so obviously George did not want to have his home on film, which Dinesh suggests is very small. My question is, the president's brother wrote a book and he still lives in a hut?

Indonesia was also visited by D'Souza and the film crew. Barack Obama (Barry Soetoro at the time) spent a portion of his childhood growing up there, going to a Muslim school as an Indonesian citizen, and according to the president's book, eating dog. Hawaii was also a backdrop for some of the film.

2016 uncovers, as much as any documentary can with this secretive person, the president's background and shows who his father and mother were, shows who his mentors and teachers were, and shows the company Barack Obama kept himself immersed in, all of which reveal that he is no garden-variety Democrat or liberal but rather that he has an extremely left-of-center philosophy founded upon anticolonialism, and anticapitalism.

The film points out that everything that President Obama is doing is purposeful and are not just bumbling attempts at doing what is right for the country. His spending and increases in debt are meant to weaken America's position in the world, the economic stimulus was meant to hobble the economy, and his giveaways to other countries are meant to spread the U.S. wealth.

The film also asks and attempts to answer another question, "If Obama wins a second term, where will we be in 2016?" According to the film and the experts that D'Souza speaks to, America will be further down the road to socialism, it will be further diminished as a world power, even to the point where it will be vulnerable and unable to deter wars anywhere in the world. The wealth of individual citizens will continue to decrease as well as the country's wealth on the whole.

David M. Walker, who served as United States Comptroller General, had some sobering things to say about the debt and deficit suggesting that we are fast heading down the road of Greece and Spain. When the debt is the same as the yearly GDP (Gross Domestic Product) or near it, I'd say he is right. (On a side note, I hope Mitt Romney appoints David Walker treasury secretary when he is elected.)

If you want to know more about Barack Obama, you will learn a lot about him from this documentary, much of which in fact is based upon Barack Obama's two autobiographies. D'Souza starts with facts he learns in those to build a foundation of knowledge about someone that he suggests is one of the most unknown people ever elected to the office of president.

2016: Obama's America is expanding its reach in theaters. Check for a theater near you.

D'Souza's book, Obama's America is an even more detailed look at the same subject matter and you can get it here: Obama's America: Unmaking the American Dream

Stimulus Doesn't Work

Click to view larger image
This chart by Obama administration economists Jared Bernstein and Christina Romer was amended by James Pethokoukis of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). It really shows the failure of the Obama administration's economic policies, especially the economic stimulus plan.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Romney/Ryan 2012

The choice yesterday by Governor Mitt Romney of conservative Congressman Paul Ryan as his vice-presidential candidate is a brilliant one and it's a winning ticket for the Republicans in 2012, not to mention everyone else. This choice shows that Mitt Romney is concerned about America's stagnant economy and will help to unleash businesses to grow. A successful businessman and a budget knowledgeable Washington politician are the right cure for what ails the flagging economy.

Did you know that Paul Ryan is just 42 years old but has been in Congress for more than 12 years? He is also chairman of the House Budget Committee.

Both of these men are for less government, something important to many Americans, including the Tea Party who will probably embrace the choice of Mr. Ryan. Less government and less ambition for what government should do will equal lower taxes for everyone, solidify America's credit rating again, and strengthen the economy. An unleashed business sector will increase revenues to the government, reducing borrowing and improving the U.S. debt and deficit positions. Salaries and job growth will rise because companies will be selling more products. The stock market will rise because companies will be doing better.

Additionally, both of these men care about smart healthcare reform and will work to repeal and/or neuter the costly and invasive Obamacare.

It is indeed time for America to come back. Romney and Ryan will lead this country toward a better 21st century and do it from the front, not from behind.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

9/11 Photo Books Available Now

September 11 memorials book
Be sure to check out the new books New Jersey 9/11 Memorials - A Photographic Guide and The National 9/11 Memorials - A Photographic Guide. One is a photo book of more than 80 different New Jersey September 11 memorials with information about each, a chapter on the history leading up to the terrorist attack, a timeline of the day itself and events of the following years. Also included is a chapter with all of the victims and first responders names, as well as a foreword by Thomas Kean, former governor of New Jersey and Chairman of the 9/11 Commission

The other book, The National 9/11 Memorials, has dozens of photos of the four nationally important 9/11 memorials with information about each, a chapter on the history leading up to the terrorist attack, a timeline of the day itself and events of the following years. Also included is a chapter with all of the victims and first responders names.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Laser Beam from Space?

Happy Independence Day! Have a look at these pictures of the Edison, New Jersey fireworks display on the 4th of July, 2012. Is what showed up in these pictures a laser beam from space? Is it a laser shot up to the sky from the ground? Is it a quantum energy trail? Is it a purple fireworks trail? Or is it just a digital artifact (anomaly) from my Olympus SP560UZ camera. These pictures were shot in burst mode, which is when the camera shoots a bunch of pictures in rapid-fire sequence. Myself, I'm going with the artifact theory. But you never know. Comment below and let me know what you think. If you click on each picture you will see the original sized version.

suspicious fireworks?
Here is the first captured occurrence of the beam. It is at the top center of the picture. Click to enlarge.

This is the frame right before the second occurrence. Click to enlarge.

This is the money shot. Click to enlarge.

This is the frame immediately following the previous shot. Interesting. Click to enlarge.

Spider-man Sent to Recycle Bin

Review of the new movie The Amazing Spider-man at Bigscreen Ballyhoo.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Individual Liberty Fail

It's a dark day for America as the U.S. Supreme Court rules that the healthcare insurance reform act known as Obamacare, with its mandate for people to buy healthcare insurance, is constitutional.

The only good thing about the ruling is that it will energize the majority of Americans who are against imposed healthcare insurance to elect a President Romney in November. Then it will be Repeal and Replace in 2013.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Four more years of this?

 This Mitt Romney ad hits the electoral target. It's about the economy and this is the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression.

.@BarackObama is out of touch with the struggling middle class, claiming that the private sector is doing fine

See also this article at Investor's Business which paints an even more negative record for this president.

We don't need four more years of a dysfunctional economy.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Oil Production and Use in 2012

Here is a great article at concerning oil usage and production and why we shouldn't be too worried about there not being enough of it for the future. It seems to me that the only thing that will cause high oil and gasoline prices, less availability, and more dependence on Middle East oil is government restrictions on drilling in the U.S. and other friendly countries. I especially like the pistachio comparison in the article. Hat tip to Bonjour Planet Earth.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Facebook Goes Public

If there has ever been a sure thing in the world of investing it is that Facebook, the social media king of planet Earth, at least in the short term, is going to make investors tons of money with its stock offering today. The company is going to become a publicly traded corporation today with its IPO (initial public offering). Look for the stock to soar straight up on its opening day and to be worth ten times its offer price in the near future.

Look at Amazon, Google, and Apple. Facebook is at least as hot as these companies and they are valued in the hundreds of dollars per share of stock. Sure these companies sell actual product, but Facebook has found a working business model and it is a product that consumers love to use, despite its ill-conceived (and I say doomed) Timeline redesign.

Facebook is slated to offer shares of its stock in the $35 to $38 dollar range, but the price won't be there for long. Buy this stock early.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Monumental - In Search of America's National Treasure -- Movie Review

I recently watched Monumental - In Search of America's National Treasure with my friend Rob. We were in a packed theater in North Brunswick, New Jersey on opening night participating in a live simulcast event hosted by Kirk Cameron (of the 1980s TV series, Growing Pains), who also narrates/stars in the historical documentary about America's founding. He invited the viewing audience into his home where a viewing party was going on with his friends, family, the makers of the film, and some VIPs like his grandfather who'd fought at Iwo Jima, his pastor, and a relative of Martin Luther King Jr. He also had some very good music lined up.

In the film, Kirk expresses worry about the cultural decay and the political direction that is affecting the United States in the early twenty-first century, and he is worried about the country we will be leaving to our children. The movie is meant to give the viewer some hope that all is not lost yet. Cameron hopes it will spark some action. The movie suggests that there is a path that we can follow, a path, Cameron says, that worked before.

Cameron travels to Europe, Boston, Plymouth, Washington and other places, tracing America's past, and discussing America's founding with several historians who set the record straight concerning the Pilgrims (the forefathers) and the Founding Fathers of the United States.

The movie addresses the liberal talking points about America's history. What we learn in grades K-12 and in college, as well as in the mainstream media, is often colored by the viewpoint that America is inherently a bad nation, full of bad people and bad leaders. Cameron and the producers of Monumental show that along with some bad there was plenty of good in America's past. Every nation and every people have good and bad in their past. It is inescapable because every group of humans has its "bad eggs", including the oft-portrayed-as-angel Native Americans. But the ideas that started America, starting with the Pilgrims and continuing on to the Founding Fathers in 1776 were rooted in good because they were rooted in God. The very reason the Pilgrims came to America was for religious freedom. Not to persecute the Indians. They were not Conquistadors. They weren't looking for gold. The Pilgrims tried to live in peace and harmony with their Native American neighbors.

The film goes on to state that the same is true of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Twenty-seven of the signers were graduates with Christian seminary degrees. Most of them believed in God and all believed that founding a nation based on morals derived from Christianity was a good idea. Not a nation governed by a religion, but founded in partnership with its moral foundations. It was the founding documents and the foundation for justice that they provided which allowed racial and social justice to slowly but surely reign victorious.

I didn't care for some of the rough camera work by the cameraman and director at times (The bouncy, unsteady camera shots to me can be disorienting and motion sickness inducing.) but thankfully this didn't occur throughout the whole movie.

I had recently been to Plymouth Massachsetts and had seen the Mayflower 2, and the Pilgrim Museum, but unfortunately I missed out on the National Monument to the Forefathers which is the semi-focus of this movie. I wish I had seen it. It is impressive, in stature and in its conception. The monument, built in 1889, is hidden in a neighborhood near Plymouth and is an inspiring symbol of how this nation was formed. Monumental says that if we want to reform the nation, then the principles which this monument delineates will be how it must be done.

The historical documentary is a positive look at America's past and a hopeful look towards America's future. See it today, and if you can, see it with your kids so they can see America's past in a different light than is provided by the U.S. public school system.

Get more information about the film at the movie's Facebook page.

You can buy it here:  Monumental: In Search of America's National Treasure  

Friday, January 27, 2012

Ameritopia – The Unmaking of America - A Book Review

Get a copy from Amazon.
Ameritopia – The Unmaking of America
by Mark R. Levin
Threshold Editions, Simon & Schuster

Last week saw the release of Mark Levin's new book, Ameritopia – The Unmaking of America. Mr. Levin has been marketing his book on his popular radio show for months and now that it has been released he has made his show an almost non-stop infomercial for the book. He did the same thing with his last book Liberty and Tyranny, which in my view was a better, more ground-breaking book. What has been proven by radio hosts Mr. Levin, Howard Stern, Glenn Beck and others with a book to sell is that using their microphone and their particular soap box, there is no better tool for selling books than a large radio audience. Unfortunately, Mr. Levin takes great advantage of this fact and rather than mentioning it just a few times and then moving on, his tomes become the centerpieces of his radio show for weeks.

All this said, I am a steadfast fan of Levin's radio show, but I cannot wait until he gets past being an unrepentant shill for his book.

As with his last book, Levin introduces a new term which he uses throughout the book, and ineffectively on his radio show, to describe the people who want to control our lives. Where liberal elite, radical egalitarian, elitist, and even Illuminati might be good enough terms to fill the bill, Levin repurposes mastermind, a term which is used by Napoleon Hill and his followers as a group of people serving as a larger sort of braintrust. Two heads are better than one. Levin's use of the term sort of parallels the use of the term in the sense of the evil James Bond anatgonist or of say, Osama bin Laden, but it doesn't work in the political philosophy sense in which he uses it and it is unnecessary in describing the political elite that want to control us.

While reading Ameritopia, it will be noticed that there is probably more quoted text in this book than there is original text by the author. That said, the quotes are generally enlightening and germane to the subject matter at hand.

In the first chapter of the book, Levin lays the groundwork for his thesis by saying: “Equality, as understood by the American Founders, is the natural right of every individual to live freely under self-government, to acquire and retain the property he creates through his own labor, and to be treated impartially before a just law. Moreover, equality should not be confused with perfection, for man is also imperfect, making his application of equality, even in the most just society, imperfect. Otherwise, inequality is the natural state of man in the sense that each individual is born unique in all his human characteristics.” This statement about equality is one that Occupy Wall Streeters and liberals in general will disagree with.

The author suggests that in the utopian worldview, an individual is just a cog in the wheel of society. This runs counter to what America is all about and, what Levin argues every utopian society offers, that is a loss of individualism, not to mention freedom.

Speaking of labor, property, and freedom Levin says: “...the individual's right to live freely and safely and pursue happiness includes the right to benefit from the fruits of his own labor. As the individual's time on Earth is finite, so, too, is his labor. The illegitimate denial or diminution of his labor—that is, the involuntary deprivation of the private property he accumulates from his intellectual and/or physical efforts—is a form of servitude and, hence, immoral.”

Throughout Ameritopia, Mr. Levin looks at utopian societies as envisioned by political philosophers of the past, starting with Plato from two thousand years ago. He finds that: “Utopianism requires power to be concentrated in a central authority with maximum latitude to transform and control.”

For example, Levin looks at Plato's Republic and de-idealizes his Ideal City. “But in the City, the individual is indentured to the state. Justice is synonymous with the well-being of the City. The classes exist to work as a harmonious collective to ensure order. Dissent, independence, and change are considered destructive. Ironically, it is unlikely Socrates would have survived long in Plato's City, given its totalitarian complexion.”

In his look at Thomas More's Utopia, published in 1516, Levin calls it “...a tyrannical society, destructive of individual sovereignty and free will, with many of the attributes of a communist state.”

The author next turns his critical eye toward Thomas Hobbe's Leviathan, written in 1651. He applies some slippery slope logic to Hobbes' utopian government, saying: “Indeed, is not an all-powerful Sovereign, which is Hobbes' answer, a great and more certain threat to the individual?” And having concluded that Hobbes' model government is sure to be despotic, Levin says, “Hobbes creates a false choice between polar opposites. Either they live in anarchy or live under despotism.” I disagree with Levin here concerning the quoted Hobbes material. He takes Hobbes Sovereign to its ultimate logical extreme, which would not always or often be the case. But Levin is correct that the civil society always needs to worry about who it invests its power in.

Levin then moves on to Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels' Communist Manifesto, written in 1846. Levin publishes a damning quote from the anti-humanistic treatise which those authors seem proud to expound: “In this sense the theory of Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.”

First of all, “Abolition of private property” is a phrase, not a sentence. But be that as it may, Levin handily evicerates the Communist utopia calling them “totalitarian regimes” where the people have no “individual liberties and rights”. I think it may be easily said that there is no single document which has resulted in more dead humans than the Communist Manifesto.

Levin then looks at some of the people who had a positive influence on the Founding Fathers. John Locke was one of those, a thinker who had a great deal of influence on the nascent country. Levin points out that Locke believed “that the wealth created and possessed by one individual does not prevent another individual from creating and possessing wealth.” This is a popular belief among conservatives in the U.S. today, and is something that is forbidden in the various utopias.

One of the thinkers that Levin reviews and talks about often on his radio show is Alexis de Tocqueville. In regards to the tyranny of government Levin mentions this: “De Tocqueville then made the profound observation that this dreary existence is accepted by the people, for they go through the motions of electing their guardians, deluding themselves that they and their fellow citizens remain free for they participate in self-government. However, as the administrative state grows, the vote is less effective and the individual is increasingly disenfranchised.”

I agree with Levin and de Tocqueville that the result of elections sometimes seems to result in little change, but voting is all we have when we want change in a representative republic. Revolution in a democracy can be as simple as voting the bums out. And as Levin often espouses on his radio show, it is imperative that if we want to effect change we must vote, not sit at home.

Mr. Levin's brief look at the liberal/statist Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt was instructive to me and I am sure will be to others as well, considering the whitewash these guys are given in the public school system. Of Wilson, Levin points out: “In short, for Wilson, rights are awarded or denied the individual as determined by the government.” And of Roosevelt Levin opines, “Roosevelt repositioned the utopians as enlightened, modern, and futuristic, and, conversely, presented the advocates of civil society and constitutionalism as obstructing individual and societal progress.”

Roosevelt's New Deal increased the scope and reach of the federal government in ways unprecedented since the ratification of the Constitution, some would say in breach of it. And in speaking of Roosevelt's “Second Bill of Rights” Levin says: “There is little space between Roosevelt's premise and the distorted historical views of Marx and Engels.” He goes on to point out how closely Roosevelt's “Second Bill of Rights” mirrors the Soviet Union's 1936 constitution.

Levin argues that America is already well on its way to being Ameritopia, the utopia that statists, liberals, and progressives want it to be. The federal government has burgeoned to an uncontrollable size. Taxing, spending and debt are irresponsible and immoral. Regulations and bureaucracy are leviathans unto themselves, intruding into every corner of our lives in spite of the Constitution, and entitlements burden and provide foundation for the growing utopia.

Levin says that the Constitution “...secures for posterity the individual's sovereignty...” Little wonder then that utopians attack the Constitution as much as they do. Levin states that it is still not too late to preserve the American republic.

Ameritopia is a cogent argument against utopianism. The reader will learn much of political philosophy. It is a fine historical essay as well. It's not an easy read by any means, especially considering all the middle English usage in the quotations, but you can grasp it if you soldier on.

But as far as fighting liberalism, progressivism, socialism, and Marxism, Liberty and Tyranny is the better book and it will have the longer lasting value.

Mark Levin's radio show can be found here.

Mark Levin's Liberty and Tyranny can be found here.

Mark Levin's Ameritopia can be found here.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

President Obama's State of the Union Address - The Egg McMuffin of Speeches

The political stump is where you can hear the real, unadulterated words of President Obama. You hear sound bites of them every day in the news. In the speeches that he gives when traveling the country while fundraising or pushing a particular issue, the president uses Republican bashing, wealth bashing, petulant, blame-everyone-but-himself, fudge-the-numbers, fudge-the-reality language and comes across as little more than a left-wing ideologue.

And then there's last night's State of the Union address. In the televised address to both houses of Congress, President Obama came across as someone who might be willing to cross the aisle to work with the other political party. He and his speechwriters tried to sound more moderate, more reasonable, and more pliable. He spoke well of America and its flag, he spoke well of the military and their successes against bin Laden and in Afghanistan and Iraq. He spoke of liberty and tyranny (!) and of intolerance for Iran's nuclear ambitions. He also spoke almost conservatively when speaking of unfair trade and piracy from countries like China.

Appreciative and appreciated words.

But the president and his speechwriters are liberals and a liberal message can't help but pervade even this attempt at an aisle-crossing speech. He went on to say in the State of the Union address that our relationship with Israel is stronger. It is clearly not. His actions have distanced us from Israel and increased the threat against them from multiple enemies in the region. Egypt, Libya, the Palestinians, Hamas, Syria, Turkey, and Iran are all greater threats to Israel than ever. He said our ties with Europe and Asia are stronger. They are not. He said our ties with South and Central America are stronger. This is true, if the government is left-leaning, or socialist. It is not true of more democratic, or conservative states like Honduras or Colombia.

He said in his speech that our military will be stronger in the years to come, but 500 billion dollars in cuts, a smaller fighting force, and the smallest navy since 1947 counter this statement. All of this in the face of increasing threats around the world. Everything Barack Obama has done since entering office has been aimed at reducing the military's strength (not too mention increasing the size of the budget, and the debt).

In his State of the Union speech, the president (a Democrat) said that he believes what Republican Abraham Lincoln believed: That government should do for the people only what they cannot do better by themselves, and no more. However, his actions for the last three years show just the opposite. He wants government doing any and every thing that people could do better for themselves.

This president once again called for immigration reform so that illegal immigrants can enjoy the benefits of American citizens and not have the worry of being deported hanging over their heads. :`-( I ask again, what kind of country do we live in where our leader wants to sanction the illegal actions of millions of people? Against the will of the majority.

The 44th president also called (yet again) for a tax increase on millionaires. Nothing new there. He and his speech writers know what works with his base, I guess.

He continued on to say that he wants to develop more energy in the U.S. from all sources of energy and even suggested opening up more public lands to drilling. This would be great if it were true, but he has turned down the Keystone XL Pipeline from Canada which would have greatly helped reduce oil imports from the Middle East and has continuously been a thorn in the sides of oil companies that want to drill in the Gulf of Mexico or off the coasts. And despite his failed backing of solar energy company, Solyndra, he wants to double down on that type of investment.

My suggestion to those who listened to President Obama's 2012 State of the Union address (hopefully his last)--Forget everything you've heard, because it's the stump speeches where the truth (and more lies) comes out to play. As Rush Limbaugh likes to say, this is nothing more than a State of the Union Show.

Get a free download of State of the Union addresses. State of the Union Address (1790-2001)

Egg McMuffin is a registered trademark of McDonalds Corporation.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Republican Presidential Primaries - 2012

What should be clear to anyone of voting age in the United States of America is that there have been way too many debates in this election season. What is it, sixteen or seventeen by now? And the same topics come up over and over. When the eventual Republican nominee is finally chosen, he will meet in a debate just two or three times with President Obama, when the voting public should see five or ten of those debates. How wrong is that?

The debates have generally not hurt Mitt Romney, but have catapulted Newt Gingrich from a low percentage, second tier candidate to a top tier, South Carolina winning candidate. Mr. Gingrich received two standing ovations for answers in two subsequent debates which helped him seal the deal in South Carolina.

To date, Herman Cain, a great conservative candidate has been drummed out of the race due to perceived infidelity problems and a subsequent drop in funding. Michele Bachmann is out, so the only shrill badger left in the race is Rick Santorum. Jon Huntsman is out due to consistently low poll and voting numbers. And the latest dropout is Governor Rick Perry due to his poor showing in the New Hampshire Republican primary (where Democrats and Independents can vote for which Republican should run for president).

Mr. Romney had won the Iowa caucus by eight votes in the first week of January, but now that most of the votes have been certified it appears that Mr. Santorum won the Iowa caucus by thirty-something votes. What further muddies the muddy Iowa waters is that a number of counties or districts' votes will never be certified or counted, leaving the question of who actually won the Iowa caucus an answer that perhaps only God knows or cares about.

Mr. Romney went on to win the New Hampshire primary the next week by a comfortable margin over Ron Paul, Mr. Gingrich, and Mr. Santorum.

And this Saturday, Mr. Gingrich stole the show by defeating Romney in the South Carolina primary, with 40% of the vote after the aforementioned recent debate performances. Mr. Romney took 28% of the vote, Mr. Santorum took 17% of the vote, and Mr. Paul took 13%.

The sunshine state of Florida is the next battleground for the Republican hopefuls. The Republican primary there takes place on January 31. One can only hope that the topics in the coming weeks are more focused on what President Obama has done wrong with his administration and to this country, and less on Republican "vulture campaign" tactics, to paraphrase Mr. Perry.

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Wealthy Freelancer - A Book Review

Get a copy from Amazon.

The Wealthy Freelancer - 12 Secrets to a Great Income and an Enviable Lifestyle
by Steve Slaunwhite, Pete Savage, and Ed Gandia. Alpha Books, 2010

I was in Barnes and Noble - one of my favorite haunts - the other night and while browsing the shelves came across a great softcover book whose title jumped right out at me. (Actually the red Corvette on the cover jumped out as well since I have always loved that car.) The title jumped out at me because I am a freelance editor and writer, and there is nothing more appealing to me than the idea of being a wealthy one.

For those who may not know it, a freelancer is an independent contractor or self-employed individual working for various clients or companies, owing allegiance to none of them, and being responsible for all the business trappings that any small business owner must face. Being a freelancer (in any career field) can be daunting. Lack of clientele, lack of income, lack of productivity, and lack of time are just some the problems that freelance professionals may deal with. The pluses are being your own boss, not having a regular commute, no office politics, and more time with family to name a few. My favorite is control of the thermostat.

The subtitle of this particular must-have book - 12 Secrets to a Great Income and an Enviable Lifestyle - is unfortunately a little misleading. The twelve "secrets" actually refer to the twelve chapters of the book, each of which is a broad topic incuding many more secrets (tips, ideas, strategies) for getting the most out of your freelance career. Because there are dozens of great ideas in this book the publisher sort of undersold the book's value to the reader with this subtitle.

Unlike many other career books, this one gives you more than you expect - loads of steps you can take today and tomorrow to grow your freelancing business, make it more efficient, and increase your income.

Steve Slaunwhite is a marketing coach, copywriter, speaker, website creator, and the author of several books. Pete Savage is a marketing consultant, speaker, author, and coach. Ed Gandia is a marketing consultant, copywriter, speaker, author, and coach.

Each of the authors has been freelancing successfully for many years and the reader learns from them about the ups and downs, and dos and don'ts of a successful freelance career. In their engaging and informal style they also use many anecdotes and stories from other successful freelancers to support their many helpful strategies.

The authors set the stage by desribing what a wealthy freelancer is. As you can guess it's about money, but it's also about the perks and benefits of being a freelancer as well. The reader is constantly reminded to remember why he or she wanted to become a freelancer in the first place and to keep that in mind when pursuing goals and clients. They then cover getting and keeping clients, pricing your services for success (you don't want to undersell yourself with your rates), and boosting your productivity.

The authors even include an appendix which can serve as a troubleshooting guide when you run into certain inevitable freelancing obstacles.

If you're a freelance professional you will definitely find some useful secrets to apply to your business once you're done reading this enjoyable and well-constructed book.

P.S. It's cheaper on Amazon than what I paid for it at Barnes and Noble and is available in paperback and for the Kindle.

Monday, January 9, 2012

When Oppression Comes in Round

Round, Iron Manhole Cover
What brilliant civil engineer decided to place manholes and their attendent, round manhole covers in the middle of the road?

Is this ancient Rome's fault (as so many things are), or Thomas Edison's, or is there someone else whom we can blame for persisting in the use of these iron banes to a commuter's existence?

Maybe it didn't matter as much when cars were going 14 miles per hour or when horses were pulling buggies and wagons through dusty city streets, but it matters now.

As if potholes, train tracks, and buckling New Jersey asphalt isn't bad enough, the brain surgeons in charge of roads, sewage, or utilities in New Jersey (and America at large) persist in increasing the wear and tear on our cars and the crappy driving conditions by placing manholes in the middle of side streets, and highways alike.

And not only do they place them on roads where you will hit them every few hundred feet while you are going 50 or 60 miles per hour, but they seem to indent them into the road surface just for a little bit of extra fun -- or at least for maximum discomfort on people and wear to vehicles. (Perhaps this was a deal with auto makers in Detroit to shorten vehicle life.)

Manholes in all cases should be placed under the sidewalks near the street, or at least as close to the edge of the travel surface as possible. How about placing them at the shoulder of the road, whether that shoulder is dirt or paved? It doesn't seem like a difficult requirement, at least going forward. (But then again we'll all be in flying cars soon, right? So the point will be moot. Or will it? Leave it up to the civil engineers and they will find a way to add potholes to the sky.)

I don't appreciate this travel malady, this civil engineering oppression, nor have I ever done so and I think the next president of the U.S. should address the malplacement of manholes.

I think it's an issue we can all support.